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2020.07.10 21:01 Flirtyandfun1 M4F 41 year old professional looking for post COVID FWB.

I had a really good FWB last summer and I found it to be just what I needed. I am a professional who is 6’1, fit, handsome, and really laid back. I am married and I am looking for a woman who is married as well. I don’t desire a single woman because I don’t intend to change my situation and this was the basis for the dissolution of my last FWB. My wife has cheated on me several times. To be honest we have cheated on each other throughout our relationship. We do love each other immensely but we both have failed each other in this department. I found out that she had a long-standing affair two years ago. After that my mentality changed and I started exploring woman outside my relationship. It would be great to find a woman who could be my friend and lover. Somebody who I can talk to who understands and relates to being a parent and spouse. I am a very laid back man who loves to keep things light. I enjoy snowboarding, hiking, traveling, concerts, socializing, and following investments. I am looking for a woman in King or Pierce county. If any of this resonates with you please dm me for a conversation. I wish everyone the best of luck finding what their hearts desire.
submitted by Flirtyandfun1 to seattler4r [link] [comments]


2020.07.10 20:47 tocororos My husband thinks I’ve been having an affair with his arch nemesis for years.

Okay so let me give you all the juicy deets reddit. Me 31F, husband 39M, arch nemesis ~30M

About seven years ago I got really drunk at a bar and had a one night stand with a guy. I thought I’d never see him again but we ended up getting married a few years later. What a fairy tale story! Well about a week after meeting him, I hooked up with this guy I use to work with years ago. No big deal right? Well my future husband and I start dating and I let him know that I had been with someone else recently but I had no problem being exclusive with him. A couple of years go by and the Arch Nemesis (AN) will text me or try to message me through social media. I tell him “I have a boyfriend. Please do not contact me”, then I block him and let my future husband know what happened. Finally I’ve got this guy blocked on every single platform imaginable. It’s been probably five years since I’ve gotten a message from him.

As the years slip by my husband is just stewing about how much he hates AN. I had some sort of idea that he didn’t like this guy but I never knew that it was to this extent. At the beginning of June I was informed that my position at work had been eliminated. Luckily there was another job they were looking to fill that I could move into. Best of a bad situation, but none the less stressful as fuck for me. This was the time the accusations started.

Now it’s going to get real crazy so hang on to your butts. This all started with some old calendars. Yes, I’m a weirdo and keep my old calendars. My husband told me he was going through them to figure out when we first started going to therapy, which I don’t believe for a second. He’s lied a lot in the past which is a whole other conversation. I had made little stars to mark something. I honestly don’t remember what; it was years and years ago. There were other marks too like little dots, X's and whatever. Some of them I remember what they are other I don't. Well my husband associated the stars with what he remembers as a room card key that also had a star on it. It was actually a flash drive that looked like a room card key. It was pretty cool actually. I have a close friend that is in the hospitality industry. They passed out stacks of these things at a conference she went to. On the flash drive were pictures or music. I don’t really remember what. I’ve long since thrown it away. Anyways he thinks I put stars on the days I was going to a hotel to fuck AN. He confronts me and I tell him that’s crazy and stop going through my stuff.

A week later and I get a text while I’m at work. My husband says he knows I’m not at work and I’m at a hotel with AN. He also lets me know that he is leaving me. I was in fact at work and shopping for groceries to grill out all weekend with my loving husband. I call him and calm him down. I get him to agree to get back into therapy ASAP. We have a phone conference with our old therapist and I agree to sit down with my husband so he can interrogate me about every single mark I have made on a calendar for the past seven years. Once we get that done he tells me he has went through all of my bank statements. (Note: we keep separate bank accounts but he is on mine so he can drop bill money in.) Now I have to try to explain any “suspicious” purchases that I’ve made in the last few years. Also he finds an eye glasses prescription that puts me close to where AN lives. Oh wait how would he even know where this guy lives you ask? Because he’s been online stalking him! Yes, he’s looked up his criminal record, all his social media shit, who he hangs out with and where those people live too. He had put together a whole timeline of where this guy lived and where his friends lived. At this point I’m furious and a little scared.

Over the next few weekdays he can’t sleep. He wakes up with nightmares about me cheating on him with AN. He accuses me of actually loving AN more than him and that he knows AN fucks me better than he can. I stay at a friend’s house over the weekend because he’s being crazy and scaring me a lot. After the weekend he’s still being a total asshole to me so I ask him to go stay at his parent’s house for a while. We had a couple joint sessions with the therapist. She isn’t taking sides which blows my mind. He is literally going through all of my stuff to make up some weird stories and online stalking some guy.

Finally, the most recent mind blowing bullshit is that he went through my dirty underwear too! He found a pair that he thought looked “cum stained” and was appalled that I just “left them laying around.” Yeah I’m married to an almost 40 year old man that has no idea how a woman’s body works. I felt completely violated and disgusted. I have no clue why this guy is going fucking nuts.
submitted by tocororos to JustNoSO [link] [comments]


2020.07.10 20:25 Zelda_32589 Behind the Mirrors

Extremely Graphic
I'm writing this and posting it here with the hopes that noone will have to live as I have these past few weeks. I know this is fucking stupid, but I need other people to understand, especially the love of my life Tara. I know she's never gonna read this but still, understand me. I love you so much and I would give anything to have you back here. With me. Yes I did wrong, we both did. And though it's much too late now, I still want to make things right. I would never hurt you again, I swear on my life Tara, it's the mirrors! I know... Perhaps I am going insane. No, I am insane, and I have been for years but I fucking swear its the mirrors. Every single mirror in this fucking house, I swear to God every single one, I can't trust them. Nobody will listen to me, but the mirrors and the reflections... they watch me. They peer deeply into my soul. Into a darkness I have lived with all my life. If you were here you'd ask, "why not break them"? Well they don't fucking break. I tried already, my God have I tried, so so many times, smashing them with bats and hammers! And not even a crack. At best my reflection becomes bloody and at worst enraged. I would simply throw them out but I can't even pull them off the walls. It's like they're held in place by cement! So right now I'm sitting in my closet typing this with... a little friend, praying that that thing, has the balls to come out. Maybe it is now somewhere roaming the house. If you stumble across this and decide to come home, then know that might look like me, but its not. I don't know what the fuck it is, but I can tell you it sees you. It knows what your fears are, and it's gonna use them. This won't be easy to understand, I know, but... I have to explain what "it" does. There's a bit to tell however. To others who read this here on reddit, stay the fuck away from this place. And for whoever is looking for my body and finds this on my phone, read it only once you're safe... if you are, and I hope you are.
Where to even start...? I remember when my fiancée and I first moved into this house. The house was completely empty except for the mirrors. I admit it was odd yes, but we had been searching for a new home for months and every other option was out of our league in some way. I didn't like this house. Not it's almost rotten wooden finish from the outside, or the sickly pale yellow walls inside this motherfucker. But hey, it wouldn't have taken much money to renovate. My... "fiancée", must have really felt like playing Martha Stewart however because she fell in love with everything on first sight. Looking back maybe that should have been the first red flag! I just stood there as she eagerly shook the hand of the real estate agent and agreed to a purchase. I hadn't said a word throughout the entire tour. Sometime later we moved in only bringing the bedroom furniture out from storage, the plan was to work on renovating the inside first then hiring someone to work on the outside once we recouped a bit of money. Our first few nights were peaceful nothing strange, but that all ended soon enough. I remember I had gotten up early for work one morning and was freshening up in the bathroom, it was still dark out and I was still very groggy. I had began to shave when I first noticed my reflection in the mirror. Sure it mimicked my every movement perfectly, but something about it's -my, eyes seemed off. They slightly twitched out of synch. I mean, I was looking at my reflection but my reflection's gaze just danced around my face as it looked back at me, like it was studying me trying to predict what I was going to do next. It was very slight and almost imperceivable but it was there and I noticed. I remember my face so vividly. It was like looking into the face of something that would eat your fleah, like someone who would listen coldly as your scream and beg for your life. Then chuckle as you took your last breath. Yeah, it was unnerving as fuck, but at the time I just figured that all the repainting and lack of sleep was playing with my mind, so I casually dismissed it. Besides... I was going to be late for work and didn't have time to try and rationalise my delirium. I finished getting dressed and walked over to my fiancée's side of the bed. I kissed her on the forehead. She too had to get up in an hour, so I wanted to head out quietly and quickly so she could actually rest. Before I officially left out the front door I glanced back at the living room walls to admire my handiwork. I gotta say I did one hell of job, not that you can tell now. The walls were a beautiful blend of beige and gold and all that remained were the wooden floors. A good restaining and the vibrant cherry red would be glistening and after that the kitchen would be dealt with. I closed the door and headed off to work. And that, was that.
On my way home that afternoon I stopped by a bar for a drink. Well more like a few. Now I've never been a saint and I admitt that at one point I was a slave to the bottle, but that was years ago and after dealing with my boss, well I fucking earned it. I swallowed the bottles as fast as I could so that I could make it home before my old lady, and hopefully sober up a bit. When I arrived home however, I noticed her car in the drive way. It's not like Tara to leave early, so I assumed either something happened or she felt as tired as me. I had barely set my fucking foot in the door when I heard my fiancée's footsteps approaching me, and she was pissed. Her footsteps thundered from our bedroom like a bat out of hell, and I saw fury all over her face. I was in the process of asking her what happened, but I didn't make it past the "what" part before she shoved me against the door. Seeing as I was good and tipsy I fell against it pretty hard.
"Why the FUCK did you do that this morning!!?" She hollered, and I obviously confused proceeded to ask her if she had lost her God damn mind.
She continued, "No! But clearly YOU have. Now why the fuck did you grab my leg and drag me off the bed like that!?"
I examined her for a while before I responded, in my head thinking 'this bitch must have really lost her sanity'...
"I kissed you on the head and then I left."
I said it as soft and composed as possible. I just wanted to deescalate things quickly. Well, she wasn't having that. She accused me aggressively,
"No. No. I was dead asleep when I felt you crawling onto the foot of the bed. You reached under the cover grabbed my leg and pulled me over the edge! You said nothing. Then you started to drag me into the closet!"
At that point I simply had to interupt her,
"What in the fuck are you talking about!? I KISSED your forehead and left for work!"
There was a long pause as she looked at me in disbelief. She was so furious, so hurt by what she thought was a lie.
"You know I was a little concerned with you going into the bathroom and talking to yourself in the mornings, but I said to myself, 'gee this must have been a whole ordeal. Us finding a place is stressing him out' ".
"Bathroom...???"
I remember my eyes gliding over to the bedroom door into the hall. "Yes! The fucking bathroom!"
She studied my body language and after some time a look of realisation illuminated her face.
"You're drinking again..." I felt shame.
I guess I have to confess to something dark now...
When I was an alcoholic I was a violent man. Hell I won't mince words here, I beat her. Badly. I have no excuse, but had I not previously, before the alcohol, caught some other man between her legs... I could have better controlled my anger after turning to it. I just remember her moans. The look of a pleasure that I was never able to give her as she lay on our bed back then. 'Something better than me', written on her face, a-and the heavy breathing. The slight tremble in her breaths... it sickened me. All of it sickened me. Each sip I took afterwards only caused the memory to become more vivid, and even after the tearful apology, whenever she said anything to me all I could hear were the sounds she made that day. Well, when the whiskey was in full effect that is. Still... my actions were never justified. I didn't want her to leave me. I wanted things to work out between us so I gave up the alcohol, but I guess the trust was gone. Ultimately, for the both of us I think. Or, maybe I never really had it to begin with. My struggle to trust goes pretty far back. My mother was... evil. I won't dwell on all the trauma here, but to satisfy any sick curious minds I remember being locked the closets as punishment when I was a child. Usually, for some imaginary offence. I would scream and scream, and she... she'd laugh. No amount of banging on the door could change her mind and get her to come back to open it. After gasping for air, struggling to breath or move, darkness and silence would take over. I wanted to die so many times back then. I would curl into a little six year old ball on the floor, and I would want to die in that closet. Hmh, closets... all the things we are ashamed of are kept in those, far from the sight of prying eyes. In truth people don't fully realise it but the closet is really a type of tomb. Its a place we keep dead things that are still alive and well and shameful. I gotta say, it scares me how much this house resembles my childhood home. It burned down by the way, and my mother (may she rot in Hell) burned with it.
But enough of that. I begged my fiancée to stay with me. I said we would sort through things together, and we could still make it work. She packed her shit and left anyway. I couldn't blame her really, we both knew the type of monster I became when drunk. But what disturbs me most about what she told me that day is that I can't remember waking up any morning before that one. Not a single one. Much less going into any bathrooms to have psycho-babble with myself. All I can remember is sleep, actually being at work, and painting, but whatever. It doesn't really matter anymore. The rest of the day I sat alone in an empty house and I wondered if she would ever come back. I wondered if she ever should. I lay on the bed, our bed, the same one she betrayed me on, and fought the urge to cry. Then sleep came to me and my inner demons were finally silent.
At some point during the night I was awakened suddenly by an anxiety attack. My heart fluttered uncontrollably but as I went to sit up I realised that I was completely paralyzed. My arms, hell my whole body..., it wasn't good for shit. I darted my eyes across the room trying desperately to adjust to the darkness. I could make out nothing but the silhouette of furniture and the faded luminescence of the street lights against the walls. Well, I wasn't so fortunate for very long. As my eyes began to adjust, for the first time in that house I could see them. On opposite corners of the room, from the foot of my bed, they just stood there facing me. Two figures. They were completely nude and were a slight dead pale colour, and both, had their heads tilted up looking at the ceiling with their mouths opened. Then they began to groan. Loud. My heart was pounding and I furiously tried to move at least one of my limbs with not so much as a twitch happening, then I slowly began to recognise who they were. It was me and my fiancée! As I began to fully recognize them their groaning turned to rattling, then silence as they both slowly closed their mouths in unison. They then lowered their faces from the ceiling to me. Without saying a word the one who looked like my fiancée walked painfully slow from the corner to the door and out into the hall, closing the door behind her. Then while still standing in the corner the other began to decend to the floor. It was so haunting, as if he did it in slow motion with a strobe light stutter. He fell from my line of sight at the foot of my bed, and from there he crawled, almost dragging his legs, from the corner to my closet. Before fully entering he rose to his feet and faced me one more time. His face was just as twisted as the firt time I saw him. Then he spoke.
"We're watching." His voice croked in an airy dead rasp.
He entered the closet and the door shut behind him, although, I never actually saw his hand reach for the handle. For one final chill, I heard my mother's scream from inside the closet. It was the same one she let out as she burned alive in my childhood home. ...And thats all I can remember from that night. Fuck, I don't even remember waking up the next morning. I do remember being at work however, and I desperately tried to ask others what they knew about the paranormal and demons. Nobody would even listened to me, I may as well have been a ghost. Not one person so much as glaced up at me. Oh well... fuck 'em.
Jesus, this is taking longer than planned. Still I hope you get the point, so I think I'll skip ahead a bit. Now of course spooky shit like that happened throughout the week, but as the weeks turned to months it got fucking worse. Because of course it would. I began to completely avoid the mirrors in this house, my reflection didn't even mimic me anymore. I would pass by one and in the mirror my reflection would be living out nightmarish scenes. One of me stabbing my mother in her face repeatedly. One of my fiancée burning alive in the closet trying desperately to escape. Like I said before, flying into a rage and smashing them didn't do anything. The reflection of my fiancée Tara, for instance began to bloodcurdlingly scream and beg me to stop. Once I did she would laugh at me as her reflection faded. Since the mirrors couldn't be pulled from the walls I decided to cover them with blankets and sheets. This never stopped them from appearing in the house though. I would pass by a room and one of the entities would be standing there, watching. On one especially difficult occasion my reflection began to walk toward me. It was approaching me pretty quickly. The groaning began to rise as it reached out to grab my arm, and I just barely managed to slam the fucking door shut. Then after a short period of silence I heard a gentle sobbing on the otherside. The sobs lowered in volume and soon a tiny voice called out from the other side.
"Mama, please! Please! Open the door! I swear to God, I won't be loud anymore. I swear to God mama, I swear to God..." So much pleading in that little voice. So much pain... and fear.
Then the sound of the tinest fists started to pound against the wooden door. That small creature begged for me to open the door, he begged for me to come back and open the door with everything his little body could muster. And... I knew what that little boy felt. The dread, the fear, the hopelessness, I knew it better than any man or woman ever could. I still do. But... I also knew that that little boy died in that closet long ago, and he burned down with that house. And my mother. In one final desperate plea he gently spoke,
"It's okay mama. I know you love me, and you're gonna come and get me soon. You aways come back and let me out. And I love you too... I promise."
That angel. That poor angel, who never did anything to anybody. Who would go another eight years without holding a grudge. Who would never know his father or the truth about why he left. That poor poor angel, who would never get to learn why his own mother hated him so much before she burned alive. How could I ever open that door? What was I going to tell him? But I'm a weak fucker, and after thinking on it I relented and opened the door. And nothing. Just a tiny handprint on the floor, and a room full of wishing that I had been there sooner. I wish I would have been there for myself when I so desperately needed it. But I can't go back in time. So for anybody reading this post, be kind to yourself. Find that small child inside you, the one who's scared and alone. Tell them its gonna be okay because things won't always be that way forever. I don't mean to be sentimental, it's just... well, it's just that you need your own love and affection too. Just as much and sometimes even more than anyone else ever has or ever will, you need it too.
But by this stage of things there's no use for regret, besides I'm getting sidetracked. I just needed to release that, I guess I owe myself that much. Anyways those are the things I've experienced everyday. My reflection toying with me, the reflection of Tara toying with me. Making sport of my pain and preaching at me in a way. Telling me I can't run from myself forever. Like I don't fucking know that already, it's sickening. So sickening. And draining. Again enough time has been spent on that. I need to tell you about today, and the whole fucking point of writing this post.
You see the reflections fucked up big time. They finally pushed me over the edge. I arrived home early from work today. I needed the rest of the day off to cope with the stress of this house, and since my boss was acting like the cocksucker he is, when he didn't respond to my request to go home... I just left. Fuck that job and fuck those people. But as I came into the house... as I came into the house... I heard my fiancée in our bedroom. The heavy breath, and soft moans tumbled into the hall, filling the air. It was all the same. Her ecstasy only pausing for shallow gasps. My stomach began to turn, and I had to once again swallow the lump in my throat, which at this point I'm pretty sure was actually my heart. I made my way to our bedroom door as quietly as I could, and slowly opened it. There she was, laying on our bed, her hands wrapped around another man's head with her fingers laced between his locks of hair. My love, my fiancee, Tara and some stranger. His head bobbed and swayed as his face was buried between her legs, and that... bitch... that disgusting bitch... she looked dead into my eyes as her smirk gave way to a gentle passionate lip bite. I backed away and I closed the door. I felt a lifetime of bitter bitter hatred burn inside my chest. All I had strength to do was collapse in the hallway, rest my back against the wall, and cry. It must have been only a few minutes but it felt like a lifetime. But as I sat there crying my eyes out I realised something. There were no other vehicles in the drive way. That wasn't MY fiancée... that was one of those fucking reflections. So I went into the bathroom and as I sat on the floor to put the pieces together, and it dawned on me. It wasn't in it's world anymore, it was in mine, and maybe, just maybe, this time a hammer would do good. That's when I heard the purr of an engine outside the house and I heard the front door close. Then laughter drifting across the living room as my fiancée walked into the kitchen. I waited for Tara to call out to me to let let me know it was really her and she was back, but it never happened. More fucking trickery and more fucking deception. I decided then to kill it, so I walked quietly from the bathroom to my bedroom and entered. Of course there was no one there, only the hammer on the nightstand, which I grabbed and made my way into the kitchen. The bitch was at the sink. She didn't even notice me approaching from behind. Turns out whatever these reflections are, ghosts or demons, they can be fooled too. And that was my chance. Just so you know you can't catch these motherfuckers off gaurd very often. I grabbed that bitch's hair and pulled it's fucking head so that I could see it's face. My God did I wanna see its face. Every ounce of fear and suffering, and I was not disappointed! It screamed... it screamed in absolute horror. Finally it felt what I did... and it felt good. It begged me to let it go, but not again... I wasn't falling for the same shit again. That bitch was in my world, and I wasn't going to play by it's rules. Ever again.
I swung the hammer as hard as I could against her forehead, right where I had kissed my real fiancée. It may have imitated Tara, but I knew better. You should have heard it, like a billiard ball landing on wood floor. After three more swings it was over. I chuckled as it gasped it's last breathes, that was one down and I had one more to go. But my reflection is clever, in the mirror in the hallway I watched it. It was in anguish holding Tara's reflection sobbing inconsolably. There was and is no way it was going to come into my world again, so I have a little backup plan. You see a while back I puchased a gun, and now, I am sitting here in my closet. Ironic, even now as I wrap this little tale up, tiny fists are banging against the door begging me open it. Poor thing, trying to save me. I'm not opening that door though, I can't do that ever again, so I'm not. I'm going to blow my fucking brains out. I hope it works, but obviously I wont be around to know for sure. Or... maybe I will... I-I just don't know anymore. Anyway, I placed the sheets back over the mirrors for your protection. If you've found me then I hope you are safe... and to my fiancée I am sorry. Take care of yourself and know I love you more than I could ever say. Forgive me.
Also... I'm sorry about the mess...
submitted by Zelda_32589 to creepypasta [link] [comments]


2020.07.10 20:18 Lucky-Zebra9235 Relationship struggle

Relationship struggles
A little background info: My wife and I have been married now for 5 years, “together” a total of 7. She is 43F from Russia and I am 34M from the U.S. We met through Facebook and for the first 2 years we really got to know each other through conversation. Or so I thought. We eventually travelled back and forth to visit each other until she finally made the permanent move to the US.
When we first discussed our sexual history and experiences, I was absolutely transparent about my past. Even about getting in trouble with law as a teen and the stupid little details about getting a BJ for making a basketball shot from a female friend when I was in high school. By being so transparent and open, I expected honesty and transparency in return. Not once did I make her feel like her past would have been a dealbreaker, nor was she to be judged.
My wife said she was only with 2 people sexually, which was said to be from her 2 previous marriages. Both marriages in which (it’s a running joke now that our marriage/relationship is her longest) did not last long at all. She did mention going on some dinner dates and meeting people. She bragged to friends and even told me that one guy wanted to be her lover and offered to buy her an expensive car. When I was told this, I immediately told her “No man would ever offer to buy a woman a car without sex being involved.” She insisted this never happened.
After our first meeting, I was in heaven and in so much love. On my return home, I got sick and eventually tested positive for HSV. (She gets cold sores occasionally) Ugh! I immediately ask her to be honest and truthful, but she still stuck to her only having 2 partners. I know it only takes 1 occurrence and some people don’t even know they have it. Regardless, I chose to believe her and move forward.
Here we are, 5 years into our marriage and my wife’s history of what makes her who she is today is still a mystery to me. Not that I care about the number of partners, it could be 100 and I likely wouldn’t care, but it’s the dishonesty and trust that I now have an issue with. I did find out the man who offered to buy her the car was Indeed her lover and they were sleeping together, he was paying her rent etc. he was also married and had a family. She eventually broke that off when we met because she wanted a family and he obviously already had one.
My dilemma is purely in my head. I love my wife to death, everything about her, except the unknown. I now have trust issues and am struggling trying to find neutral grounds to reason with. She spent near most of her life in night clubs and being single, how could I have been so naive and gullible to believe that she only had 2 experiences? I guess I just wanted to think she was telling the truth.
Again, it’s not at all about the number of people she’s been with and I’ve told her that. It’s about the need to lie and understanding what created this amazing person and understanding all the negative and positive that came with it. I just want to feel whole with her and not need to feel like everything she told me was a lie to hide who she really is.
TL;Dr wife is 43, I’m 34. Married 5 years. She lies to this day about her sexual partners, claiming only 2 from previous marriage. I contracted HSV on first visit. Found out she had a married lover.
submitted by Lucky-Zebra9235 to relationships [link] [comments]


2020.07.10 19:40 Leopath Bloodlines: The Legacy of Charlemagne (Part 14)

Bloodlines: The Legacy of Charlemagne (Part 14)

Emperor Julien I

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14th of December, 1314
I’ve grown so tired of the days waning in and out. All sorts of nonsense. Why do people get caught up in the petty and foolish whims of old men? Today I’ve chosen to pass a few new reforms for France upon the advice of my court physician and my council. I’ve ordered for provincial apothecaries to be built across the provinces of the Empire. This should help better the health of my subjects and hopefully make them more productive. This along with granting more powers and abilities to some of the more capable women in my court. I’ve passed the Women's Full Status Reformation Act which will allow women into positions as governors, advisors, administrators, though I don’t expect them to fill my court. Dorothea had come to recommend this act and truly I’ve met many capable women in my life who could do my advisors' jobs leaps and bounds ahead of them. This has surely irked some more traditionalist factions in the court but frankly to hell with them. I’m Emperor and I can administer this Empire how I please. If France is prosperous the just thing to do is make sure this prosperity can be expanded onto all of my subjects. Besides, the truth lingers in the back of my mind. The secret that’s haunted me my entire reign. Based on my last letters exchanged with her Douce is sick now, her mind once so sharp and wonderful is now riddled with madness and hysteria. The Great Pox consumed her. I pray for her daily and yet I know there will be no answer. I don’t write to her anymore and I feel like my heart is being torn once again. While I care for Dorothea, no I love my wife. Douce was always a woman whom I held especially close in my heart and knowing she’s suffering leaves a terrible void. I wrote her husband to inform me should anything happen to her though in truth I hope to pass first. I doubt she will, in her current state, mourn my loss as I would do for hers.
14th of April, 1316
When I awoke my joints ached especially hard I laid in bed crying out as I grabbed my drink downing it I looked at the bottle of wine in my hand and felt it drip into my beard before the servants came in. I could barely make out their voices as they were helping me out of bed. Everything was numb and the world was so quiet. I had a sudden vision. A memory almost gone of the sound of a glass bottle breaking. The day my father had passed. I resented my father, he was truly a vile man. Yet as I held the bottle in my hand and stumbled out with a cane in one hand and a servant holding my other arm they began dressing me and I just kept looking at my bottle. Will my children remember me the same way I remember my father? Had I truly become him? All of my efforts, all the suffering I put myself through had been in an effort to stray from his path. I did not want to be remembered in the same breath as ‘Charles the Terrible’. I’ve become my father. The very thought disgusts me to my core. I sat on the throne though my mind was never really in focus. By the time I started making my way back to my room I just kept looking at the empty bottle in my hand. I could barely walk and by the time I collapsed onto the floor I didn’t even call for help. Everything hurt so much, and the longer I went without drink the more it hurt. My father drank because of his sickness and so did I. This can never excuse me. I am truly despicable. The pain in my foot was almost unbearable. I looked up to see a tapestry depicting Charlemagne with a sword on display and I was tempted to cut off the foot and hope the pain would go away then and there. But I knew the pain would always be there. Help was on its way but everything was going dark. The pain was fading. I saw some guards rushing towards me but I couldn’t hear their armor or footsteps. Only the slow beating of my own heart before it too fell silent. I didn’t hurt anymore.

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Emperor Julien II


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6th of June, 1316
Father's funeral had been relatively brief but it was a lovely ceremony. Hundreds of subjects had shown themselves surrounding Notre Dame in a massive swarm in mourning for their late Emperor. He was quite popular among the people. I was stunned to learn of his death, he was still relatively young. But his gout had gotten worse over the years. Brandimena had been comforting during what has honestly been a very difficult transition in my life. I’m supposed to be Emperor now, and although I’ve been preparing for this my whole life it is still jarring. For now my first duty and priority is to organize a coronation ceremony. Since father was a bastard there was naturally some question of his legitimacy as Emperor and by extension my own. Of course father's popularity and his good life helps. Hopefully I can live up to all of these great expectations set out for me.
18th of July, 1316
After over a month of celebrations the day had come for the coronation. As I approached and knelt before Pope Ioannes XX he held the crown over my head reciting a prayer in Latin before placing it upon my head “And so by the grace of god I name you Emperor Julien II of France, Emperor of the Romans, and King of Navarra!” And with that a resounding cheer as the crowds of nobles shouted “Long live the Emperor! Long Live France!” as I rose and was handed the cross orb and the family sword I turned to the crowd. Afterwards I had to deliver my greetings to everyone and meet with my council of advisors. This ceremony was expensive, as were many of the projects my father had started prior to his death mostly building up castle fortifications, keeps, and training grounds to help train larger armies. As this whole thing came to an end I set my mind to my next goal which was to refill the royal treasury.

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13th of June, 1318
My reign has so far been peaceful and mostly uneventful. Administering and managing new construction projects my father started. I’ve been focusing instead on grooming Julien as he’s now getting older. It's time to start the process of introducing him to his future vassals. Though today, I spent at Brandimena's side as she gave birth to our fourth child. It was announced to be a boy, our second son. We named him Baudouin, a family name that unlike Charles hasn’t been tainted. My great-grandfather was an excellent Emperor in his day and his name is still respected. Feels appropriate to name at least one of my sons after him.
2nd of October, 1321
I’ve received a report that some distant kinsman from the Latin Empire is staking his claim on France. Apparently he’s rallied support from several thousands of Greek soldiers to try and seize power. Honestly it sounds like the laughable attempt. I tell my Imperial Marshal to prepare some levies for when he arrives. Once destroyed he’ll be imprisoned and never see the light of day again. I figured it’d be a matter of time before a pretender rose to challenge me.
9th of March, 1322
While preparing to face this pretender a letter had arrived from the Pope. It seems he has personally demanded that I reverse France's investiture law which states that I as Emperor may appoint bishops in my land. Frankly I find the notion insulting. France is a sovereign Empire, the Emperor does not serve the Pope. I had sent a reply some weeks ago stating that it is I who rules my land and the Pope must mind his own quoting Matthew 22:21 “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's; and to God the things that are God’s”. It seems he took that quote quite literally using his powers of God to formally excommunicate me from the church. As a zealous man who deeply worries about my own soul I can’t let things escalate this far. I’ve issued a declaration of repentance to the Church and hopefully the Pope can forgive me. I care about my status but not enough to damn my immortal soul.
13th of March, 1322
I met with the Pope who was still in my court from his excommunication and after some repentance and confessions he lifted my excommunication, there was also the passing of the Papal Investiture Law. And with that done I now ride off with my armies to face this pretender as reports have come in that he landed in Normandy some days ago.
23rd of April, 1322
My father was never much of a commander himself; he had little training or education in most martial skills. Me? I personally loved sparring, jousting, honestly I always wanted to be a warrior king and lead my men into battle personally. Now I had that chance and to face off a pretender though as we arrived in Alencon the pretenders army was much smaller than initial reports suggested, I wonder if this is even his main army? Either way I lead the center of my forces as we descend down on them. Arrows flying overhead raining down on them as they returned with their own volley. The volley alone forced them into a retreat as we gave chase. This was much too easy and there was no signs of Yves the Pretender. Either way we must give chase further south to eliminate them and find out what is actually going on.

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25th of July, 1322
The pretender army was crushed in Chartres and the Pretender himself was captured. Was this really all he had? I expected so much more, a truly pathetic display. Either way being able to lead a charge in battle was exhilarating. With Yves now arrested and imprisoned the only question as we return to the capital is what to do with him. Executing him would be wrong after all he is a member of the House of Karling. Perhaps living as a monk will do him good. I will write to the Knights of Sardinia and exile him there to join their order. That should put him somewhere he can’t do much damage.
30th of August, 1322
When I returned to Paris I was greeted by a messenger from Pope Ioannes XX. He apparently arrived recently and had come to deliver an ‘urgent’ message to me. As Emperor of France and defender of Christendom his Holiness wants me to join in a new crusade. The Seventh Crusade was one of utmost importance and was called upon the request of Queen Clara of Italy. With the Holy Roman Emperors having abandoned the church causing chaos and the frequent invasions into Italy most have had enough. It’s time to cripple the Emperor by removing all imperial holdings in northern Italy. The lands would naturally go to Queen Clara as the rightful monarch of Italy or rather to beneficiaries of the crusaders who would then become Claras subjects. I knew this was bound to come up during my reign. Ever since the Emperors and German nobility adopted the Fraticelli heresy they’ve been a constant threat at the very heart of Christendom. I was hoping the Pope would do something about it. “Inform Pope Ioannes that France pledges its full support and I am more than happy to make a large sum donation from my treasury to support this crusade.” Finally, a battle where I can actually test my abilities as a commander. Considering that my Uncle Louis was at least for a time King-Consort of Italy it only makes sense if I make him my beneficiary going into this.
18th of May, 1323
Dangerous times we live in, a terrible plague of Smallpox has broken out and spread across France and the lowlands. Almost the entire empire along the Atlantic side has fallen ill. I’ve been working with my advisors to build up apothecaries to deal with this epidemic but only so much can be done. I worry if this will hinder the crusade, hopefully it passes before then.
15th of July, 1323
I came into the royal bedchambers to find my wife Brandimena sobbing into her hands, “My dearest, what’s wrong?” I asked rushing to her side as she shook her head wiping her eyes “It’s nothing Julien really..you shouldn’t worry about me.” I touched her cheek and pulled her in an embrace as she cried against my chest and I could feel her tears soaking through my clothes “Whatever it is I’ll be here for you. Hey, it is okay.” she then said between the sobs “father is dead.” I sopped for a moment “By God, I’m so sorry. I’m here for you.” she continued “Five days...five days ago he simply slumped in his chair and he just never got up. It was hours before anyone noticed.” “It seems it was his time to join in heavens light. He’s in a much better place now you know.” she nodded against me as I then offered “Do you want to pray? Together?” she smiled wiping her tears before breaking again as we went to pray she sniffled constantly trying to keep her composure. Being Empress was not easy on her, like me she had to constantly keep her emotions bottled up. But losing a parent isn’t easy. At least I still have my mother.
8th of November, 1323
With the crusade in two months time I’ve decided to call on the levies. The smallpox plague has subsided along the coastline and so I suspect it won’t play a large role in the coming war. Either way I’ve ridden off to lead the crusading army southeast into the Imperial holdings in Italy. Soon these heretics will face the collective wrath of Christendom.
19th of January, 1324
Today is the day, Pope Ioannes XX has formally declared the Seventh Crusade against Holy Roman Emperor Ehrenfried. As my armies cross the alps we will be the first crusaders to arrive, honor and glory. More importantly a chance to repent for any sins I’ve committed in my life and prove myself as the warrior king I know I am meant to be.

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17th of May, 1324
The initial skirmishes in the Alps were harsh as one might expect. After all these are incredibly treacherous mountains that have claimed the lives of many. Though as we siege the city of Piedmont and my other armies perform their own sieges across the German held territories. Though a letter just arrived from one of my armies in Cossato to the north. It seems the Germans have arrived with an army of 13 thousand men. I know this is not their full force but certainly they are facing threats from the east and north as well. Either way, I’ve issued orders for the other armies to travel to Cossato and rendezvous. Once they do they will be able to support one another and hopefully beat back the Germans into the mountains. The longer they are here with little supplies or food the faster they’ll starve out. Hopefully this siege will end soon and I can join them!
5th of June, 1324
The Battle of Cosatto is over and it was a slaughter. Being positioned in the mountains meant we were able to trap and ambush the Germans and routed them with minimal losses. I arrived near the end of the battle rallying my men as we chased down the retreating armies. In the end not a single German survived the onslaught as their army was wiped out. Those that did flee will surely die in the snowy and mountainous wastes. I order for my men to begin dispersing and travelling back to their original targets. Hopefully with enough sieges this war will end quickly and decisively. As for me, I’ve chosen to travel east to Milan which will be the vanguard of my armies and surely the front lines.

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21st of June, 1324
The siege of Milan was going well though today another army of around 12 thousand or so Germans arrived. I’ve sent out calls for reinforcements while preparing to lead the center charge as volleys of arrows fly across the battlefield. This is finally it, my glorious moment at the forefront of a crusade leading my people in the name of France and Christendom. As their right flank collapses entirely I call them into the center in a cavalry charge as I command a second volley. Once they crashed together their forces began their full retreat as we mounted cavalry and began the pursuit to cut down any of these heretics we could before they could get away. As we gave chase I noticed one of the commanders crawling over a rock in a huff fleeing in the opposite direction of his men “Who was that?” I called out as one of my men answered “I believe that's King Pieter of Frisia m’lord. I think he’s fleeing.” he said before taking aim with his bow “No no, don’t let’s spare the coward. We have more Germans to kill.” I said as we continued to give chase. A successful battle indeed.
1st of August, 1324
Just as we were regrouping near the end of the battle another ten thousand Germans arrived from the north in a sudden rush to reinforce those that did flee. I noticed among their ranks the coward King Pieter. Either way the second phase of the battle seems to have come. After months of fighting and chasing I once again took charge of the center. Once cavalry charge and they almost instantly fell apart. It seems they weren’t ready for our superior numbers. Either way we swooped to the right to trap and kill who we could as our left flanks continued to clash. In the end we secured our victory despite their reinforcements. That is the price of cowardice.

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13th of September, 1234
More sieges and successes all around. It seems the German forces are avoiding us though as we continue sieging Milan and Piedmont it becomes apparent that this crusade is coming to an end. With land secure all that will be left will be chasing the heretics back across the alps and getting the Emperor to formally surrender. Despite sitting here in my tent most days I grow increasingly tired and filled with fatigue. My court physician says there's nothing to worry about probably just due to high exposure to the elements. He’ll treat my general fatigue and hopefully I’ll start feeling more awake.
21st of October, 1234
After my physician had me drink salt water to induce vomiting and balance my humors I still have not recovered any. He is consulting various records and looks to me quite seriously “Your grace this could, according to the stars and your records here, be the earliest onset of gout. It seems many of your predecessors have had it in the past including your father. If that’s the case I have some treatments that can help it getting worse but once you have severe pain in your joints, especially your foot, let me know.” he said before starting a blood letting to drain out my blood.
30th of October, 1234
As I wake in my tent with aching joints and pain I knew the physician was right. Damn him! This hurt so much. I remembered how my father complained about his own gout for years, how he turned to drinking near the end of his life. And just to add to my misery I was practically shaking violently in anger when I read the letter. My son, Julien, has apparently decided to renounce his claim to the Empire and become a Bishop. It seems he was convinced by his bitch wife Duchess Valence of Blois. She then married some peasant Norseman. Of course she picked when I was gone on crusade to do this. Though clearly she underestimated my connections. I’ve sent various letters including to my spymaster. She will be killed but first I will formally revoke her title of Duchess and hand that to someone else. The sooner she’s buried the better.
10th of December, 1234
We gathered in the capital of Parma, there I met Queen Clara for the first time in person. There was a mass celebration and ceremony as the crusade came to an end. The one eyed Emperor Ehrenfried was also present as he signed a treaty fully recognizing Clara as the rightful Queen of Italy and renouncing the Empires claim to the Kingdom. With that the Pope has proclaimed the Seventh Crusade a success as the Fraticelli Heretics have been pushed back. Though, beneath the surface of celebrations and drinking there was the air of tension. This was not the end of the religious wars in the Holy Roman Empire. No this has opened an entire new series of conflicts that will only continue to grow in the coming days. Either way for now the catholic population of Italy has been freed and I am to return back to France where I suspect a rebellion might soon emerge. Apparently the King of Brittany has been growing his influence further and further out within the Empire and it’s time to properly curb his lands. Luckily I have an entire army of crusaders at the ready should he resist.

The Holy Roman Empire and Kingdom of Italy c.1325
13th of March, 1325
We’ve arrived in Brittany itself with the entire crusading army. Should a rebellion emerge my forces will be at the ready. Hopefully this display of force alone should be enough to get what I want. Mostly through inheritance over the past few generations King Jaspert d’Anjou currently has vassals all across the Empire well beyond the borders of his Kingdom. It’s best I start changing that before he only grows his power base further.
24th of March, 1325
It’s just as I feared. My father and grandfather had allowed Brittany to grow more and more powerful without checking them. Now as I came with my returning Crusaders King Jaspert has raised a banner in rebellion refusing to give up his lands. A civil war has broken out though I am confident. Jaspert is a fat and proud man, too arrogant to surrender and known for his cruelty and cold attitude. He hasn’t made any friends and he has as much military experience as a nun in a nunnery.

The Breton Rebellion of 1325
submitted by Leopath to CrusaderKings [link] [comments]


2020.07.10 19:19 chocolatecookieguy Heritage equality

Hello, This is gonna be a short one So let me say something. According to Islam woman and men can't get the same heritage. But!!!!! According to Islam all of the man's money belongs to his wife . And all of the wife's money is still her money. By islamic standards a man is required to spend on his wife. He has to buy her stuff. She can use his car but he can't use her's without consent. So, men nowadays don't follow these rules. They are cheap selfish bastards . They don't wanna spend a single penny on their wife. So if that's the case, then heritage equality is the only solution. Either you follow all of the islamic rules Or you just don't . You can't wine about gender equality while you're a cheap filthy man . There is a video by an imam who explained this btw I'll link it when I find it . Opinions please
submitted by chocolatecookieguy to Tunisia [link] [comments]


2020.07.10 19:10 frustratedFreeboota Bonnie, of Bonnie and Clyde

Bonnie

Name / Alias: Bonnie Baker
Age: 25
Alignment: Villain*
Starting Reputation: -3D+
Public Information:
Bonnie and Clyde, a duo of supervillains known for a short-lived but highly successful Crimespree, having robbed a Dozen Banks before disappearing from the Cape scene entirely. Bonnie and Clyde are both ChangeTinkers, although their exact specialties are unknown. Bonnie possesses a rather massive brutish changer form, while Clyde has a strange semi-liquid form that is resistant to damage. They are known for bantering with those who attempted to stop them, and avoided using excessive force, although property damage was high at a couple of their heists. They have recently re-surfaced in the city of Devilfish.
Physical Appearance: Out of costume, Bonnie is a sturdy denim clad trans woman about 5’7” in height, with shaved auburn hair. She has a black beanie hat that she wears quite frequently. In costume, Bonnie dresses as a variation on the archetypal 1920s gangster, with trousers, dress shirt, and suspenders contrasted with a sturdy set of work boots, bandana, and dieselpunk welding goggles. She wears a white wig. Halfway there Bonnie is a big monstery version of herself, in her current attire. Her hands are clawed, her muscles are big, and her clothes are torn or stretched. As a changer, Bonnie is a grey and brown dinosaur sized monster wearing a harness of sturdy yellow, iron, and black tinkertech.
Mentality Out of costume, Bonnie is innately deferential with authority. Her upbringing makes it a little hard for her to assert herself in the face of queues, people cutting in front of her, etc. She is frugal financially, avoiding unnecessary expense. In costume, Bonnie plays an ostentatious bank robber, see? With a few stock phrases and a few flashy poses. She'll run and take cover first, fighting second. Especially when most of her gear is pretty unwieldy. As a mini monster, Bonnie is a touch more aggressive and physical in problem solving. As a monster, Bonnie is a bit more surly, ignoring people for the most part. She focuses on whoever got her attention last, working out what she has on her to deal with them.
Resources Wealth Level: 7 Bishop Knight (Clyde) and Bonnie Baker (Bonnie) are Life-partners, and do their finances as a single unit. Bishop Knight is an Endocrinologist, and Internal Medicine Physician, operating out of a local clinic, and taking referrals from many of the local hospitals and Family doctors in the Devilfish area. As they are one of the only Endocrinologists in the local area, they make good money. Bishop Knight owns a 2016 MINI Cooper, and Bonnie Baker owns a Ford pickup truck. It is not uncommon for them to use the other’s vehicle.
Together they also own a pull-trailor from their old crime-spree days that they can pull with Bonnie's Truck. They keep the trailer in good repairs so they can lug around Bonnie's massive changer form and her massive equipment. The Knight-Baker household is a small farmstead outside Devilfish, where Bonnie Keeps Goats, Chickens, and a decently sized Vegetable garden to sell at the local farmers market..
Equipment
  • Burner phone
  • Stab vest
  • Notepad
  • Pen
  • Large and sturdy wrench suitable for two handed swinging into people’s faces.
  • Bandages
(Tinker tech in the comment section)
Skills: Bonnie is, as a former Hutterite, trained in farm labour and home maintenance. She’s since supplemented these with a job as a mechanic. She cannot play video games at all. Terribly bad at them, but keeps trying shooters for inspiration for tinkering.
Bonnie is also an amateur at tenpin bowling, and a functional cook for anything that can be cooked by shoving all the ingredients in a pan. (Stir fries and curries whenever it's her turn to cook!)
Power: Trigger type Natural Single Trigger: TinkeChanger
Bonnie is a tinker and a changer. TINKER - Bonnie is able to create advanced tech, with one downside. It is all too big and unwieldy. A force field projector will be too big for a backpack, a gun will be too heavy to aim without setting it down. The exception to this is tools, making tinkertech that's primarily designed for machining parts or field repairs will not run into the block that keeps Bonnie from making her technology convenient. She can build better power sources, but they'd all be pretty big and unwieldy. Aesthetically, they tend to adhere to dieselpunk and retro futurist designs. Bonnie is able to access her tinker power while in her other forms, though these forms are less suited for creating or maintaining technology.
PARTIAL CHANGER - Bonnie is able to willingly undergo a brief change into a stronger form. This form mostly resembles her normal appearance, barring an increase in size, a tongueless jaw that opens in segments, a set of vestigial arms grows beneath her ribcage, a vestigial tail, and a noticeable increase in musculature. Any injuries sustained in this form carry over to her normal person form, and vice versa.
Her skin in this form will resist light stabbing and cuts, and she is able to lift and carry a maximum load of one metric ton.
While in this form, Bonnie has a hard time speaking coherently. It will mostly come out as loud groans and mumbles. It also comes with a change of mentality, increasing aggression and cowardice. Sort of a double down on the fight or flight response.
CHANGER - Once per month, Bonnie undergoes an involuntary werewolf-like change into a large, armoured form. She spends 24 hours in this form, able to talk but in a greatly distorted voice. This form is 5 metres tall, and 14 metric tonnes in weight. It walks on its arms and legs with a bent over gait. It possesses a large tail that can be used for balance, and an additional set of arms that are smaller than the others and with finer motor control. This form is, funnily enough, large and strong enough to wield Bonnie's tinkertech without too much inconvenience. Any injuries Bonnie has acquired will be present in this form, and vice versa, with the exception of any injuries inflicted on Bonnie's Changer form's extra arms and tail. Her normal person form doesn't have those.
This changer form is strong enough to lift and carry twelve metric tonnes, and moves at a maximum speed of 16kph. Despite its outward appearance and skeleton differing greatly, its internal organs are roughly human writ large. Outside of the plates of its carapace, it is no more durable than a large african elephant.The elbows, knees, back, and forehead of this changer form are about as tough as steel plate, while the skin will resist cutting or stabbing from conventional weapons.
Bonnie is able to speak in this form, as opposed to her partial changer form. It comes out sorta gargled and deep, like the really awkward aliens from ancient Egypt in the 5th Element. Additionally, Bonnie gains a sense of superiority towards those smaller than them. Until something proves that it can hurt or hinder her, monster Bonnie will likely be unconcerned by it.
Example Bonnie looked over her "harpoon" gun. Ten feet long, hydraulic powered, propane tank fed. About 38 kilos, without the ammunition she'd need to reload the thing. Or the cable. Why she'd thought this was going to be a good idea was anybody's guess. Maybe she could mount it on the back of a truck or something? Hang on a minute, who needed a truck? She turned back to her blueprints. The comically large trigger, the oversized grip, the rail on top. She slapped her head in the universal sign of "Duh." This was still for the other her! How she was going to pick this thing up like that was another matter. Maybe a bigger gun rack or something? Big old frame to drop more gear on and save on dressing up. That could work. That could definitely work. Oh hey! Where did all these sandwiches come from?
Backstory: Growing up among the Pineland Hutterites was fine. No, really. The perfect environment for a trans lesbian mechanic to grow up. Doubting herself, uncomfortable with the way she was looking at the world, trying to hide herself from the people around her.. for years.
It wasn’t exactly a situation that was conducive to good mental health. Her body was getting more and more calloused as she carried on with her work, and the scratches and cuts on her arms from metalwork became a fixation for her. Eventually things boiled over, Bonnie’s family noticed that she was hiding something, and a family ‘intervention’ was the final breaking point for Bonnie. She triggered, morphing into her (partial) Changer-form on the spot before running away from home.
She managed to hitchhike out of town and survive on her own for a while, not necessarily flourishing but well enough that she could afford a place to transform in peace, and to scratch the tinkering itch without going mad.
Online she would find communities that understood, whether they be chatrooms for the Queer community, for tinkers to share ideas, or even a support group for those with changer abilities.
It was here that they met Bishop (Clyde). They were the first one she had met who was a fellow changer and a tinker. They became friendly, and eventually decided to meet up to collaborate. Things went differently than expected by either of them, and they fell in love.
They had dreams of a future together, but nothing came free in this world. Theirs was a whirlwind romance of tinkertech, scheming, armed robbery, and transitioning. All so they could gather the funds needed to settle down together. Back in Bonnie’s hometown. Only partially out of spite.
In recent years it seems that Devilfish is becoming a hotbed for parahumans, and no one could deny these two that called it home the chance to stretch their legs.

submitted by frustratedFreeboota to wormrp [link] [comments]


2020.07.10 17:10 subreddit_stats Subreddit Stats: Reformed top posts from 2020-07-03 to 2020-07-10 04:11 PDT

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    1. Losing the Battle to Jealousy (81 points, 18 comments)
  5. 81 points, 1 submission: pleasantcore
    1. SCOTUS holds that teachers at religious schools fall under the ministerial exception (81 points, 57 comments)
  6. 79 points, 6 submissions: fosternoh2
    1. Are there any ex Catholics on this forum who’ve become reformed? (45 points, 61 comments)
    2. Why doesn’t Calvinism have formal titles like “saint” like the Catholic Church? (21 points, 63 comments)
    3. Besides the book recommendations on the wiki, what are good books for a catholic to read about reformed theology/Protestant theology? (7 points, 13 comments)
    4. Does Matthew 12:32 prove the catholic concept of purgatory? (3 points, 7 comments)
    5. Why are there so many Protestant denominations if we don’t need the church to interpret scripture? (3 points, 35 comments)
    6. How can I know communion is valid in reformed churches if there’s no bishop or priest? (0 points, 35 comments)
  7. 70 points, 11 submissions: AutoModerator
    1. Daily Prayer Thread - (2020-07-08) (12 points, 3 comments)
    2. Daily Prayer Thread - (2020-07-09) (7 points, 1 comment)
    3. In the Word Wednesday - (2020-07-08) (7 points, 5 comments)
    4. Missions Monday - (2020-07-06) (7 points, 24 comments)
    5. Daily Prayer Thread - (2020-07-04) (6 points, 5 comments)
    6. Daily Prayer Thread - (2020-07-07) (6 points, 15 comments)
    7. No Dumb Question Tuesday - (2020-07-07) (6 points, 129 comments)
    8. Daily Prayer Thread - (2020-07-05) (5 points, 0 comments)
    9. Free For All Friday - post on any topic in this thread - (2020-07-10) (5 points, 109 comments)
    10. Sermon Sunday - (2020-07-05) (5 points, 2 comments)
  8. 65 points, 1 submission: Yancy166
    1. I'm finding trying to do a 'read through the Bible in a year' plan more stressful than edifying (65 points, 48 comments)
  9. 60 points, 1 submission: HeftyElderberry3
    1. What is the best Reformed denomination for an American Catholic to join? (60 points, 79 comments)
  10. 58 points, 1 submission: cohuttas
    1. Being a Pastor Isn’t ‘Just a Job’ (58 points, 70 comments)

Top Commenters

  1. MedianNerd (726 points, 69 comments)
  2. Deolater (350 points, 51 comments)
  3. visiting-china (350 points, 41 comments)
  4. davidjricardo (318 points, 48 comments)
  5. partypastor (234 points, 35 comments)
  6. mvvh (226 points, 52 comments)
  7. ManitouWakinyan (208 points, 64 comments)
  8. CiroFlexo (208 points, 39 comments)
  9. neo-seceder (194 points, 27 comments)
  10. NukesForGary (187 points, 34 comments)

Top Submissions

  1. If you have a second, please pray for my Dad. by TimmytheBonsai (155 points, 30 comments)
  2. Skinny jeans. Could someone please tell me what the big deal is? by 1_blueshell_12 (123 points, 154 comments)
  3. Christian Freedom in a time of COVID - an email from my Pastor by davidjricardo (85 points, 21 comments)
  4. SCOTUS holds that teachers at religious schools fall under the ministerial exception by pleasantcore (81 points, 57 comments)
  5. Losing the Battle to Jealousy by Ghost_of_Thucydides (81 points, 18 comments)
  6. I'm finding trying to do a 'read through the Bible in a year' plan more stressful than edifying by Yancy166 (65 points, 48 comments)
  7. What is the best Reformed denomination for an American Catholic to join? by HeftyElderberry3 (60 points, 79 comments)
  8. Being a Pastor Isn’t ‘Just a Job’ by cohuttas (58 points, 70 comments)
  9. Survey on Various Christian Perspectives of Hell by pjsans (58 points, 44 comments)
  10. Question about smoking by yaboiChopin (48 points, 85 comments)

Top Comments

  1. 117 points: visiting-china's comment in Skinny jeans. Could someone please tell me what the big deal is?
  2. 82 points: TomatDividedBy0's comment in Skinny jeans. Could someone please tell me what the big deal is?
  3. 78 points: neo-seceder's comment in Skinny jeans. Could someone please tell me what the big deal is?
  4. 77 points: jonnymilba's comment in Question about smoking
  5. 68 points: Fit_Parsley81's comment in Question about smoking
  6. 68 points: saxypatrickb's comment in Is Cultural Marxism actually a real and imminent threat?
  7. 54 points: This--Is----BORIS's comment in Can a single Christian man date and possibly marry (in good conscience) a Christian woman who divorced her husband?
  8. 51 points: davidjricardo's comment in Skinny jeans. Could someone please tell me what the big deal is?
  9. 49 points: lanierg71's comment in What is the best Reformed denomination for an American Catholic to join?
  10. 48 points: MedianNerd's comment in Pastor recommendations?
Generated with BBoe's Subreddit Stats
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2020.07.10 17:09 subreddit_stats Subreddit Stats: Reformed top posts from 2020-07-03 to 2020-07-10 04:11 PDT

Period: 6.58 days
Submissions Comments
Total 111 2604
Rate (per day) 16.86 378.07
Unique Redditors 83 586
Combined Score 1925 11320

Top Submitters' Top Submissions

  1. 156 points, 1 submission: TimmytheBonsai
    1. If you have a second, please pray for my Dad. (156 points, 30 comments)
  2. 126 points, 1 submission: 1_blueshell_12
    1. Skinny jeans. Could someone please tell me what the big deal is? (126 points, 154 comments)
  3. 86 points, 3 submissions: davidjricardo
    1. Christian Freedom in a time of COVID - an email from my Pastor (84 points, 21 comments)
    2. Churches Were Eager to Reopen. Now They Are a Major Source of Coronavirus Cases. (2 points, 14 comments)
    3. Will International Religious Freedom Survive the Trump Administration? (0 points, 4 comments)
  4. 84 points, 1 submission: pleasantcore
    1. SCOTUS holds that teachers at religious schools fall under the ministerial exception (84 points, 57 comments)
  5. 83 points, 1 submission: Ghost_of_Thucydides
    1. Losing the Battle to Jealousy (83 points, 18 comments)
  6. 77 points, 6 submissions: fosternoh2
    1. Are there any ex Catholics on this forum who’ve become reformed? (44 points, 61 comments)
    2. Why doesn’t Calvinism have formal titles like “saint” like the Catholic Church? (18 points, 63 comments)
    3. Besides the book recommendations on the wiki, what are good books for a catholic to read about reformed theology/Protestant theology? (6 points, 13 comments)
    4. Why are there so many Protestant denominations if we don’t need the church to interpret scripture? (5 points, 35 comments)
    5. Does Matthew 12:32 prove the catholic concept of purgatory? (3 points, 7 comments)
    6. How can I know communion is valid in reformed churches if there’s no bishop or priest? (1 point, 35 comments)
  7. 64 points, 11 submissions: AutoModerator
    1. Daily Prayer Thread - (2020-07-08) (11 points, 3 comments)
    2. Daily Prayer Thread - (2020-07-09) (7 points, 1 comment)
    3. In the Word Wednesday - (2020-07-08) (7 points, 5 comments)
    4. Missions Monday - (2020-07-06) (6 points, 24 comments)
    5. Daily Prayer Thread - (2020-07-04) (5 points, 5 comments)
    6. Daily Prayer Thread - (2020-07-06) (5 points, 4 comments)
    7. Daily Prayer Thread - (2020-07-07) (5 points, 15 comments)
    8. Free For All Friday - post on any topic in this thread - (2020-07-10) (5 points, 108 comments)
    9. No Dumb Question Tuesday - (2020-07-07) (5 points, 129 comments)
    10. Daily Prayer Thread - (2020-07-05) (4 points, 0 comments)
  8. 60 points, 1 submission: HeftyElderberry3
    1. What is the best Reformed denomination for an American Catholic to join? (60 points, 79 comments)
  9. 60 points, 1 submission: Yancy166
    1. I'm finding trying to do a 'read through the Bible in a year' plan more stressful than edifying (60 points, 48 comments)
  10. 59 points, 1 submission: cohuttas
    1. Being a Pastor Isn’t ‘Just a Job’ (59 points, 70 comments)

Top Commenters

  1. MedianNerd (736 points, 69 comments)
  2. visiting-china (354 points, 41 comments)
  3. Deolater (336 points, 51 comments)
  4. davidjricardo (308 points, 48 comments)
  5. mvvh (224 points, 52 comments)
  6. partypastor (224 points, 35 comments)
  7. CiroFlexo (203 points, 39 comments)
  8. ManitouWakinyan (201 points, 64 comments)
  9. neo-seceder (196 points, 27 comments)
  10. NukesForGary (188 points, 34 comments)

Top Submissions

  1. If you have a second, please pray for my Dad. by TimmytheBonsai (156 points, 30 comments)
  2. Skinny jeans. Could someone please tell me what the big deal is? by 1_blueshell_12 (126 points, 154 comments)
  3. SCOTUS holds that teachers at religious schools fall under the ministerial exception by pleasantcore (84 points, 57 comments)
  4. Christian Freedom in a time of COVID - an email from my Pastor by davidjricardo (84 points, 21 comments)
  5. Losing the Battle to Jealousy by Ghost_of_Thucydides (83 points, 18 comments)
  6. What is the best Reformed denomination for an American Catholic to join? by HeftyElderberry3 (60 points, 79 comments)
  7. I'm finding trying to do a 'read through the Bible in a year' plan more stressful than edifying by Yancy166 (60 points, 48 comments)
  8. Being a Pastor Isn’t ‘Just a Job’ by cohuttas (59 points, 70 comments)
  9. Survey on Various Christian Perspectives of Hell by pjsans (58 points, 44 comments)
  10. Question about smoking by yaboiChopin (45 points, 85 comments)

Top Comments

  1. 125 points: visiting-china's comment in Skinny jeans. Could someone please tell me what the big deal is?
  2. 82 points: TomatDividedBy0's comment in Skinny jeans. Could someone please tell me what the big deal is?
  3. 79 points: neo-seceder's comment in Skinny jeans. Could someone please tell me what the big deal is?
  4. 73 points: jonnymilba's comment in Question about smoking
  5. 69 points: Fit_Parsley81's comment in Question about smoking
  6. 68 points: saxypatrickb's comment in Is Cultural Marxism actually a real and imminent threat?
  7. 51 points: MedianNerd's comment in Pastor recommendations?
  8. 51 points: This--Is----BORIS's comment in Can a single Christian man date and possibly marry (in good conscience) a Christian woman who divorced her husband?
  9. 51 points: davidjricardo's comment in Skinny jeans. Could someone please tell me what the big deal is?
  10. 50 points: lanierg71's comment in What is the best Reformed denomination for an American Catholic to join?
Generated with BBoe's Subreddit Stats
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2020.07.10 17:04 ForeverLost81 Full Story - Please please try not to judge me harshly - I know I am a bad person

***long post** barely covers it but this is the short version. I started a job 2yrs 2 months ago, my boss was based mainly at another site an hour away but started frequenting our site. He started flirting with me a lot, knew I was married, have been since 20yrs old. Rumours he had slept with the two girls at the other depot but he dismissed that and sounded believable and I could never ask them as I am married. I just believed him. We got friendlier and he got flirtier until I told him nothing could happen. He told me he was a workaholic, thought he was born to work. He literally did work 7 days a week 6 til 10 as an average. Said he dumped the person who was probably the love of his life at 25 as he never wanted marriage and kids, said she was a bit of a nymphomaniac too. He said sex wasnt a big deal to him though. Told me he had had one night stand. Then told me his latest relationship was over, that he had moved out a few months prior after 6yrs but he would always be friends with her because they'd been through a lot at the start of their relationship when her ex died. Said he had never been intimate with her. Gave various reasons. I believed him when he said he hadn't as it was far fetched as lies go, he said they were friends more than anything and he always slept in the spare room once he moved in. So anyway I fell for him in the end, never been unfaithful before, was always a good wife, felt a little like I missed out on life in a way settling so young but I would never cheat. He changed that, I fell hard. He love bombed, told me he loved me from day one, we were meant to meet, he never felt love was like in the movies til me. Bombarded me with romantic messages, in and out of work, saw me nightly (husband worked away in the week). Messaged all day and all night. He bought gifts, he was thoughtful, was romantic, said he never knew love like in films was real until now. Said he never felt comfortable cuddled up etc or even sat on sofas with people but he felt entirely at ease with me. He said he no longer felt work was all he was born for. He had some quite big health issues, heart ones so often had high blood pressure etc, was in and out of hospital weekly. Fainted a few times and I wanted him to slow down work and out of work he was always helping his mum and sister out. One day he had cardio version and he still drove that night the hour to my house even tho he felt awful. He bought gifts a lot, saved coffee cup kids with my lipstick mark on them, went out of his way for me. Told me his family drama but obviously I never met them, apparently they knew about me though. Said he wanted me to meet them, his mum and sister. He did an awful lot for them too, his mum had health issues, had had Mrsa yrs ago and suffered since and told me his sister had mental anxieties and often caused drama, both worked in thr care industry so didnt earn much unlike him he said so he supported a lot. Anyway a couple of months later my husband found messages. I didnt want to hurt him to admitted only to a drunken work do kiss. I told him I was leaving him. He cried etc and my affair guy suggested I stay til the kids were older, then I said that's too long so he said just let's see the year out, save money so you're secure as he knew I was worried sick about leaving my husband for financial reasons. I told my husband I was done though as I didmt feel it was fair to him. The affair guy told me no matter his emotions I was the love of his life now and always would be. I went on holiday that had been pre booked with H and kids and when I came back my affair partner started pulling away. I started getting anxious. He said he was having family dramas with his sister and his mum, his health was getting worse and work was stressful, some I knew was true but wasnt convinced on all. I then got a picture off him from his ex girlfriends location according to the pic and I flipped. He calmed me down and said his phone had frozen. He was meant to be living with his mum at this point but again I wasnt certain. He told me he had sold his house to buy one nearer to me but I googled that house and it sold a year prior,I confronted him and he said it was a mistake. So from summer 2018 til xmas things got a little sketchy. He kept pulling back and saying he just needed to sort his head out. I offered so many times to end it and let him sort his head out and stuff he kept saying no. Then at xmas I got a disciplinary at work and was facing the sack. He said i would be fine, as an aside I actually wasnt in the wrong here but less than 2yrs stood no chance. All the while I was living with my husband mainly because I did always want to be friends with him at least and couldnt afford to leave but my husband knew my heart was gone. I got the sack in Jan 2019. Around the same time I was told I had skin cancer on my face and had to have surgery. Affair guy said it was all a bit much alone with his family issues helping out his sister in debt etc. He was always doing something for someone it seems. I got a new job but between jan and March I barely saw him. Intimate nights stopped, ended up being quickie in a hotel or meet up for a bit in the car at lunch. In march I went to his ex girlfriends house overnight, he told me he was at his mums. I saw his car. I messaged him and told him we should just be friends and I drove away but he saw me and chased down after me, cried and cried and said he didnt know what to do, life was too much, he wanted to die. That when I went on holiday the September before he had broke down and had more health drama, he went to his ex gf's and she just let him go back to 'his' room. He told me he stayed a couple of nights a week but hadn't dare tell me. He really did cry. I believed him when he said nothing was going on, stupidly. We carried on but I got more and more anxious. He kept putting me off meeting his family, made me more anxious after he said I could, I had asked about meeting his ex and he had said yes once he told her but to give him time as he just wanted to be normal for a little while longer, no health stuff, no telling his ex about me and upsetting her or my meeting his mum whilst we weren't 100% even tho he said his mum knew about me. Cried again and said his health was failing and he still couldn't see his own future never mind one with me, told me he wanted me at his funeral. I asked if his ex would be there and if I was found out she wasnt an ex, he denied. Told me he had lost the pics of us together, his phone had lost them so he couldn't send me them after I had asked for months. In april i was bad, i looked at his sisters public Instagram, there was a pic of her with her mum and boyfriend and then one of her with another woman. The woman i suspected was his ex gf. I called and he denied denied denied, said it was the sisters friend. That his mum had just gotten out of hospital that day and it was to cheer her up. He went mad at me suggesting it was his ex. Anytime i suggested the ex wasnt an ex he blew up at me, said he wouldnt be putting up with all this if he didnt love me etc. went away for a week that night and I believed him again but my god I was paranoid by now. Couldnt exactly ask anyone for evidence of anything, married after all. He then got his sister to privatise her instagram, made me more paranoid. When I got home he told me his dad died. I created a false instagram account, added his sister and found the day after his dad dies she had posted a cheery post about late start in work. Bad I know but I was digging at this point. He had denied so much until i had proven it. I had my face surgery which he went with me, barely spoke to me then avoided me for 7 weeks. I was a wreck now, still hadn't met his family, nothing seemed certain but he kept saying he was suicidal and needed space. In july on my birthday I went back to her house, a card in the window, to my amazing girlfriend.....I called him and told him to stay away from me as he obviously lied. He found me, again, said he was off work as he was so ill. Took me to the room he supposedly stayed in, bed made, he said she made it. I went into her room, his clothes in there, you name it. He told me thsts just how it always has been but he slept in the spare room and got his clothes the night before or from the laundry basket that was in his room etc etc. I wanted so badly to believe him and he kept saying he was just trying to keep her happy whilst sorting his head and his life out and she left him to it, that's why he was there, for space. Still insisted he was in the spare room. Said he wanted to die as he was in pain from his medical stuff daily and his mental health was awful. I kept talking about leaving him and he kept threatening suicide. My head was screwed. I carried on but he barely ever saw me, except for he fixed my car for me but no more romance, nothing like how it was. I kept telling him to leave her and me, sort himself out that way but he kept getting angry saying I was pushing him, how could I push someone with so many issues. How uncaring could I be. Said if he was using me what was he gaining as all we did was argue...I felt awful. I told him he needed to sort his life out, work less and start actually having a life, he was saying he was miserable and he said he would but I needed to back off, he said he would leave his job and her house but not until he felt comfortable enough to do so. Fast forward to November and I saw online his mums house sold and I questioned him, he hadn't told me, he said nothing. He also knew I had faked an instagram account because by this point his sister was pregnant and he told me it was a boy and she posted it was a girl, I admitted what I had done as I never once lied to.him. He has basically then said he wanted space til after xmas, that he was moving out of his girlfriends house and quitting his job, sorting his life out. I called him before xmas having seen him on WhatsApp, something he always refused to be on and he said I was stalking and stuff, said he was terrified I would show up at his mums or his ex's. I said i went to hers twice to find out the truth, I had no reason to go back and I never once made contact with her or his family. I left it til after xmas. When I called then he said he had quit his job, moved out in with his mum, wont tell me where he lives now or works. Said I am a stalker, I scare him and he has blocked any onlne trace of himself. His ex gf picture even disappeared off his sisters Instagram, he told me he isnt likely to talk to her again but I feel like he just wants to protect her from me. He told me nobody from his work would leave off the back of him leaving but I already know his receptionist left at the same time. He said he wants never to be in a relationship with me and that he never cheated; that I shouldve given him space and time. I even found out he lied about where he was born tho, why lie about that. The day his mum was in hospital was actually her birthday and it was his ex on thr picture. His dad owns the house he told me he sold to live nearer to me, his mum has been working thr entire time, his sister was in her steady relationship a year before he met me, I found that out on Facebook as she joined and that part is public. He is nowhere online except ebay, he hates social media. NOw I feel like I messed him up, made him want to commit suicide but he is now happy and I am crying every day wondering what happened to that amazing guy, what happened to me, what do I do now because I hate that he hates me, it hurts that he says I scare him. It hurts knowing he moved on so easily like i never really meant anything to him.
Found out during one of the last phone call his sister had a baby, he didn't want to talk to me and said she had it that morning and it was an awful day for him as they were both in intensive care and said i should think about what other people might be going through before calling. I found out later she had the baby 3 days earlier. I found out just recently that the day he said his mum was in hospital and his ex and sister etc were all there it was his mums birthday, she hadn't been in hospital. Found out his mum is not poorly like.he told me and is working still. Found out his sister was in a steady relationship from before I even met him, he told me it started around same time and his and mine and was on/off causing drama. Found out the house he told me was his and he sold at the start of our relationship so he could buy somewhere nearer to me sold a year before and is currently in his dad name according to land registry (his father who has apparently been dead a year). He is seeing someone else even tho he told me he wanted nobody. He never wanted WhatsApp or his family etc on social media, he now uses it and his family are now on Facebook. Did he just lie to me.because I was married, will he be being normal with this new girl he is seeing. I know no details of her just that he is buying her lots of gifts like he did me at the start but if she is single then he wont have the hassle of marriage, he will introduce her to his family, cannot lie about details regarding them etc. Is it just me that he has treated so badly?? His ex was with him 7yrs and still clearly loved him judging off a card she wrote but he couldn't maintain anything with me, is that my fault? What does she have better than me or if hes moved on now will be better after having hurt me and having changed his work lifestyle so much and having less stress and more free time. I broke NC last night, an 'accidental message and then he called but that threw me so I was a bit quiet and so he dialled off and I sent him one more and said I miss him and I am still struggling but he didnt reply. He only argued when i said he was cheating on me or needed to make time after how he started it all. And why string me along with threats of suicide for a year then now it's like I never existed. He is still friends with his other ex but I dont exist. Havent seen him since November. To be clear I did leave my husband as I know it's not fair and maybe I deserve to feel this way. I know he has treated me badly, counsellor said it was emotional abuse but I can't understand it, I still see him as a good guy deep down who wanted to be good and that I just didn't give him space. I still miss him. I come across as an awful person i know, I've done bad things. I am hoping not to be judged too harshly because I am sorry, truly sorry for what I have done. I just don't know how to move forward without missing him and feeling i messed it up.
submitted by ForeverLost81 to BreakUps [link] [comments]


2020.07.10 16:59 dnspartan305 The Dragons of Phandelver: Session 2- In and Above Phandlin

Recap:
A newly formed band of adventurers, hired by the dwarf Gundren Rockseeker, discover the site of an ambush where their employer was seemingly kidnapped. After being ambushed by goblins themselves, the party tracks the perpetrators to their cave hideout and wipe out the goblin bandits, bribing one goblin into walking away and saving Sildar Hallwinter, the escort of their vanished employer, though Gundren himself has been taken to the goblin king somewhere in Neverwinter Woods. Wounded and exhausted, the party beds down for the night inside the now goblin-free cave...
Party (Level 2): Aligrax (Blue Dragonborn Paladin); Elliot of Moira (Variant Human Fighter); Eris (Zariel Tiefling Paladin); L’aur’e’el (High Elf Celestial Warlock)
Story:
The party is woken up by Sildar Hallwinter brewing them some tea as thanks for their aid. As they converse, the party learns that Gundren discovered the location of a long lost cave where dwarves and gnomes once forged and enchanted magical armor, weapons, and items, and had hired them in the hopes of taking back the cave from whatever creatures had moved in after its abandonment. Now though, Sildar begs the party to travel onward to Phandlin with him, and to wait in the town for him to return with word from Gundren’s brothers before proceeding to locate and rescue his friend.
The party agrees, and with the help of Sildar collect the loot the goblins have stolen from other waylaid travelers over the years before making their way to Phandlin with the supplies and a new friend. Upon arrival, Sildar books lodgings for the party for one week, before setting off by himself to find the remaining Rockseeker brothers. In the meantime, the party proceeds to return the looted provisions and the supplies they were hired to escort to their various shops, as well as handing over the crude goblin weapons to the town blacksmith to be used as scrap metal. The party meets and befriends a few NPCs, none of particular noteworthiness however, before screams from the townsfolk split the air.
High above the town, flashes of white and green scales shine in the afternoon sunlight, as two dragons lock in combat. L’aur’e’el is more perceptive than the others, and manages to see that the green dragon seems to be attempting to flee even as the white ruthlessly and relentlessly pursues the slightly larger green. Suddenly wheeling around, the green unleashes a green mist into the face of the white, causing it to briefly seize up and drop, though the white catches itself not far above the town and continues the pursuit of the once again fleeing green, though not before pausing to eye the town and the party after L’aur’e’el attempts to message it.
As the dragons fade into the distance, the party offers their services to the townmaster Harbin. He tasks them with traveling to nearby settlements with words of warning about the dragon, and offers of refuge for those who live alone. The party accepts the jobs (Umbrage Hill, Dwarven Excavation, and Gnomengarde), and prepare to embark. Before they can, the white dragon is seen flying back the way the two dragons came, wounded but trumpeting victoriously, with no sign of the green. While Elliot stays behind in Phandlin to protect it should the dragon return, the rest of the party sets off to the nearest location, Umbrage Hill. However, they fail to see the white swooping down into the forest ahead of them, though it does leave with its prey shortly after.
After an hour of travel, the party comes upon a hilled clearing in the woods with a large windmill atop the gardened steppe hill. Leaving their horses in the trees, the party enters the clearing to witness a blackened and bleeding wingless manticore assaulting the windmill, within which an old woman shouts down at the beast, sending bursts of Sacred Flame to attempt to drive it off. The party immediately jumps into action, with Eris and Aligrax rushing into melee as L’aur’e’el attempts to circle his way towards the windmill’s entrance while attacking with Sacred Flames, Guiding Bolts, and Eldritch Blasts.
After a short but brutal skirmish, during which L’aur’e’el is impaled multiple times with tail spikes and Aligrax is wounded while protecting Eris, Eris manages to cleave the manticore in half with a critical smite as it turns to flee, attempting to take one of the horses along with it. Upon investigating the carcass, Eris and Aligrax realize that the claw marks and blackened patches of the manticore’s hide are dragon-sized and frost bitten. What they fail to realize however, is that this manticore is without a mate and was recently pregnant, and it’s desperation and rage were due to its fear for its (now doomed) cub following its crippling and its mate’s death at the maw of the white dragon mere minutes ago.
Meanwhile, L’aur’e’el learns from the old half elf woman that she is Adabra Gwynn, a retired adventurer turned alchemist and potion maker, and that the manticore came to her begging to be healed, and attacked in a desperate rage after learning that its wings were beyond her ability to recover. As thanks for their aid and for the right to harvest the carcass, Adabra offers a 5% discount on all potion purchases moving forward, which L’aur’e’el manages to negotiate to a 20% discount on all normal healing potions in the future. However, the party must also fix Adabra’s door, which the manticore destroyed, a task which the party attempts for nearly an hour before deciding to send out the Phandlin carpenter on the morrow.
As the party leaves, they try once again to convince Adabra to come with them to Phandlin after her initial refusal upon hearing news of dragon activity on the area. Once more she refuses, stating that even if she had to worry about a dragon attack, she isn’t wanted in the town and will not return until she will be accepted once more. In response to the party’s confusion, she announces that she’s killed far more powerful dragons before, but refuses to elaborate on her unwelcomeness in the town, sending the party off with one last reminder to send the carpenter in the morning.
And so the party returns to Phandlin as the sun sets, bedding down in the inn and readying themselves for the next day and their travels to warn others of the dragons’ fight and flight...
Thus ends session 2.
DM Notes:
Elliot’s player was unable to make the session, so his general inactivity and willingness to stay in town was to protect his character from potential death (besides, there were only two draft horses that pulled the wagon, and while L’aur’e’el was light enough to double up with Aligrax, both Paladins and Elliot wear heavy armor and so wouldn’t have been able to ride together).
Both dragons came from the southeast (Icespire Peak) and initially flew towards the northwest (Thundertree), with the white dragon returning to Icespire Peak while the green’s location and condition are unknown.
The Redbrand ruffians noted the arrival of the party, but were too distracted by the dragons to take action against them yet.
Both Daran Edermath and Adabra Gwynn were members of the party responsible for slaying the Orchard Razed around a century ago (their further history/relationship as well as their classes and levels are yet to be revealed).
The manticore was the normal stat block with 1/2 health and tail spines, as well as without the fly speed.
Two Paladins fighting side by side, both with high AC and NOVA potential are a very powerful mix, especially against a single enemy, and the protection and dueling fighting styles working in tandem are also fantastic to witness.
The player of L’aur’e’el isn’t enjoying the warlock spell slot limitations, and asked me if I will allow multiclassing. I agreed and recommended Divine Soul Sorcerer due to the player not being a degenerate power gamer like me, as well as the flavor and mechanical benefits of sorcerecleric spell lists, metamagic, sorcery points, and spell slot shenanigans when mixed with pact magic. The character will have tons of flexibility and I as a power gamer will know where to draw the lines in shenanigans to keep the party balanced.
Thanks for reading, please leave your comments and questions, I love feedback!
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2020.07.10 16:40 darthcharon Sentinels Nuzlocke: Day one. A BATTLE AGAINST TIME

Sentinels Nuzlocke: Day one. A BATTLE AGAINST TIME
For those just joining us, check out this post to see whats going on here.

Mission: A Battle Against TIME
Target: Baron Blade
Participants: Freedom Five Legacy, Freedom Five Bunker, Freedom Five Wraith, and Idealist.
Location: Mordengrad.
Briefing: The Sentinels have discovered that La Capitan has sold some temporal device to Baron Blade, and while the rest of them chase down the time traveling pirate, Idealist set off to share this information with the Freedom Five. Not certain what his plan might be, Legacy, Bunker, and Wraith head to Mordengrad, where he was reputed to be in hiding. While hesitant about bringing a child along, they begrudgingly allowed Idealist to come along, mostly because they knew that if they didn't, she'd find a way to come anyways and make things worse.
Mission Summary: "And what did you call this... device?" Legacy asks hesitantly as the three of them approach the Mordengrad border.
"A Temporal Interference and Manipulation Engine, or TIME!" Idealist rolled her eyes, "Seriously, you work with some of the smartest people in the world, this shouldn't be that hard for you to figure out."
"You know, in my day, we respected our elders," Legacy responded in a guarded tone.
"We're not in your time, gramp" Idealist shot back.
"Not yet, maybe," came a mechanical sounding voice, "If Stinson's theory about TIME is correct, it could be used to pull something as big as the moon back in time. Or forward, for that matter. Hold up, I'm getting a signal from Wraith. She must have found where the good Baron is holed up."
"Then lets go say hello." With that, the three set off, closing in on the Wraith's beacon.
----------------------
The three of them quickly arrived at the beacon's location, only to look around confused at the seemingly empty warehouses around us. "Well, we're here. Does anyone see-"
"AH, YOU'RE FINALLY HERE, PARSON." a booming voice shouts over the intercoms, "I'VE BEEN EXPECTING YOU."
"Blade," Legacy hissed, "What have you done with Wraith?"
"I'M AFRAID SHE'S A LITTLE... TIED UP AT THE MOMENT," The voice continues, "BUT YOU SHOULD BE MORE CONCERNED ABOUT YOURSELF. YOU'RE STANDING AT GROUND ZERO OF WHAT WILL VERY SOON BE THE FUTURE-QUITE LITERALLY IN THIS CASE! LET US SEE HOW WELL YOU STAND UP TO THE TEST OF TIME, WHEN TEN, A HUNDRED, A THOUSAND YEARS HITS YOU IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE. FIRE THE TEMPORAL CANNON!"
The three brace themselves, ready to dive to cover from the inevitable attack, but it never comes. "I SAID, FIRE YOU INCOMPETENT FOOLS! DO I NEED TO DO EVERYTHING?"
"Sir, t-t-the transmitter isn't working! Something's wrong!" a timid voice comes from the speakers, appearing to come from far away. As he speaks, a feminine shape emerges from the shadows, holding a small box in her hand. Idealist lets out a snicker, and even Legacy can't help but smirk.
"THAT'S IMPOSSIBLE, I BUILT IT MYSELF! NO EXPENSE WAS SPARED, EVERY WIRE WAS DOUBLE AND TRIPLE-WAIT, WHAT HAPPENED TO THE SIGNAL AMPLIFIER?...WRAITH."
"Sir, Wraith has-"
"ESCAPED, I KNOW. AND SHE TOOK THE SIGNAL AMPLIFIER WITH HER. WITHOUT IT, THE SIGNAL ISN'T STRONG ENOUGH TO REACH THE SATELLITE. WELL PLAYED, HERO, WELL PLAYED."
"Give up Blade," Legacy shouts out, "Its over."
"ON THE CONTRARY, MY AMERICAN FRIEND. WE'VE ONLY REACHED HALFTIME. I MAY NOT BE ABLE TO CONTACT MY SATELLITE FROM THE GROUND WITHOUT THE AMPLIFIER," As he speaks, the ground begins to rumble. As the baron's mobile defense platform rises from the ground, the baron steps towards its edge to face the heroes directly, "I won't need the amplifier for the signal to reach the satellite at fifteen thousand meters above the ground!" As the platform rose upwards, the heroes quickly moved after it. The space race had begun.
"We need to stop him!" Legacy shouted.
"No way can he outrun my omni-cannon," Bunker suggested, "but if I'm going to bust his platform, I'm going to need time to charge."
"Then we'll buy you that time!" Wraith replied, firing a grappling hook that just barely reached the rising platform, "Legacy, see if you can't distract the baron. Get him talking, I'll try and take down the shields from the inside."
"What do I do?" Idealist asked.
"Fire everything you've got at that platform!" Was Bunker's response.
The plan in motion, the heroes moved in to engage, but the baron had plans of his own. Several jet-pack armed blade battalion soldiers leapt from the ground in pursuit of the heroes, firing volley after volley. Though the heroes wanted to deal with the inconvenience, they knew the baron was the real threat. Giving the battalion anything more than a stern look was exactly what the baron wanted, so for now they would have to suffer the small arms fire.
With superhuman strength, Legacy grabbed onto the bottom of the ship, pulling back on it for several seconds. The baron managed to shake him off eventually, but the damage was already done-Wraith had managed to find a way in, unhindered save a handful of very persistent blade battalions that chased her inside.
From the inside of the platform, Wraith was able to do serious damage to its structure from within. And with the aid of her infra-red eyepiece, she was able to spot and preemptively disable the baron's toys before he even had a chance to use them. Even the timely arrival of some of the baron's engineers could to little to negate the damage the Wraith was doing. In just a few moments, the platform's shields were crippled enough for a...hedgy hog (?) to barrel through, shattering the shields and then chunking a small section of the platform itself. "Boom! Pshhh! Hedgehog noises!" Idealist shouted with glee as she surveyed the damage from below.
"I appreciate the enthusiasm," Legacy sighed, "but are the sound effects really necessary?"
"Parson, Blade Battalions coming your way!" Wraith shouted in warning, her eye having picked them up.
"I see them," Legacy confirmed, "Ignore them. If the Baron gets to fifteen hundred meters, then we're out of time."
Bunker, from his position on the surface, could do little but prep the Omni-Cannon, but spotting the shields had fallen already and unwilling to sit completely on the sidelines, he took aim with his grenade launcher. "Good thing I installed those long range ballistic enhancements," He muttered to himself before firing his explosive payload. The explosion took out only a small chunk of the platform, but also took out a few of the Baron's soldier's as well.
"Fools, the structural integrity of the platform is already below fifty percent!" the Baron shouts, "Drive them back!" more battalion soldiers poured out from the platform to engage the heroes, but a blast of adhesive foam from Bunker gunked up the hangar bay and put a quick end to that idea.
"Hear that?" Legacy calls out, "already halfway done. And we're barely four thousand meters up! Finish it!" Inspired by Legacy's presence, the team doubled their pressure. The explosions from Wraith's sabotage got louder with every passing moment and the volleys from Bunker and Idealist went from taking chunks out of the structure to chunking the structure.
The Baron could only shake his head in disbelief. How had it all gone so wrong so quickly? Perhaps if he-no, this ended now. "You, there! Take the helm. I have work to do." The baron had only barely enough time to turn around before a final blow, delivered by Legacy himself, very nearly cracked the platform in half. Wraith quickly jumped from the building, firing her grappling hook towards Legacy, who quickly nabbed it to keep his partner from falling to a messy death.
The forms of all the crewmembers of the vessel could be seen jumping out as well, donning jetpacks and trying to flee back to Mordengrad. A few persistent and loyal goons even tried continuing the fight. But the heroes only had eyes for one survivor, and soon, from the falling wreckage, he emerged.
Donning his iconic Blade Suit, the mad scientist flew out , weapons primed and ready. "Don't think for a moment that you've won, Legacy! I will-huh?" A bright light, and suddenly the baron was engulfed in plasma energies. When the smoke cleared, the baron's suit was left as nothing but a mechanical skeleton the baron frazzled but unharmed. With his free hand, Parson quickly reached out and grabbed the stunned villain before gravity caught up with him, allowing the suit to join his mobile platform in freefall.
"I charged my cannon," Bunker explained over communications, "I wasn't going to not fire it."
"Well done, everyone," Legacy smiled, "But it seems now the good Baron is without a place to stay. What do you say we find him some lodging at a nice American cell?"
"Woohoo!" Was Idealist's response.
"Wraith, do you want me to-" Legacy started to respond, looking down at the woman hanging from the rope around his arm, only to discover that she was no longer there. In bemused disbelief, Legacy could only shake his head and ask, "How doe she do that?"

Final Report: The classic Baron is one of the easier fights, but even he can catch you off guard if you're not paying attention. But between Legacy's two take-downs and Wraith's infrared eyepiece, Blade himself couldn't really get off the ground, pun intended. Incidentally, the environment ended up being the real threat, with a pair of blade battalion platoons arriving very early to put out consistent damage every turn. I chose to ignore them because the baron was already getting lowish by that point, but 4 damage to basically everything a turn could not have been ignored for long.
In retrospect, Bunker and Idealist might not have been the best choice here, as both struggled with awkward starting hands and spent the first two turns just drawing and deploying their key cards, but Wraith did work. An early razor ordinance, plus utility belt, let her put out some very consistent damage while still manipulating the baron's deck. Idealist did start coming into her own by turn three, and admittedly probably did deal the most damage of anyone once she started going, but Bunker was a bust. The only useful thing he did was adhesive grenade once, and then finish off the baron with a single charged omni-cannon shot, but by that point, Idealist was dealing nearly fifteen damage a turn thanks to inspiring presence. He did get a grenade launcher early that helped, but Wraith was doing more damage and controlling the villain. At best, Bunker shaved off a turn.

Well, this write-up ended up being longer than I expected. Dunno if the rest will be this long, didn't realize how much I had written until I actually stopped and reread it. In any case, I hope you enjoyed the read, and look forward to tomorrow's issue, when the Chrono-ranger calls in a favor from the Extreme Prime Wardens of Haka, Fanatic, and Captain Cosmic to chase down an old foe whose been a plague upon his life, and who recently escaped from Fort Adamant...

EDIT: just a few spelling/grammatical errors
https://preview.redd.it/0y5fbo8nk1a51.jpg?width=1080&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=20f09148c9ca85d2956603a5fdc8e87c355b7d63
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2020.07.10 16:39 havsjaue My boyfriend seems to think most women want him and have been desperate to be with him. (29m/27f)

I know this sounds really weird.... but hear me out. We are both late 20s, he’s 29.
Basically, my boyfriend seems to think that every girl in his life has wanted him some point. He’ll mention things that aren’t really necessary to mention just to kind of prove it at times. A few select examples.....
There are others but those are the ones I can think of for now.
I don’t know. Of course girls are interested in him but I’ve never met anyone that’s this convinced that women are falling at his feet and desperate for him. To clarify, I’m not. He massively pursued me for several months until we got together and I wasn’t interested at first. He’s sensed that and told me multiple times that he feels the situation isn’t the same but idk, the whole thing gives me the ick a bit.
And it’s weird because sometimes he gets really insecure about his looks? He told me he had a bad obsession with the gym back in uni and needed that to feel confident. I don’t know.
Not to mention it’s not the only narcissistic trait of his, he has a big complex about his job because it’s high up, which I guess I can more understand being proud about, but he definitely lets it define him too much.
Am I overthinking it? Maybe he’s telling the truth but he’s so OTT about it that I find that hard to believe, and it’s just.... odd. Who keeps track like that?
tldr Boyfriend seems to think every woman that he’s been with has been absolutely desperate for him and distraught to be left by him, as well as having a reputation for ‘anyone that met him having a crush on him’. Despite evidence to the contrary. Feeling weird about it.
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2020.07.10 16:22 havsjaue My boyfriend seems to think most women want him and have been desperate to be with him. (29m/27f)

My boyfriend seems to think most women want him and have been desperate to be with him. (29m/27f)
I know this sounds really weird.... but hear me out. We are both late 20s, he’s 29.
Basically, my boyfriend seems to think that every girl in his life has wanted him some point. He’ll mention things that aren’t really necessary to mention just to kind of prove it at times. A few select examples.....
There are others but those are the ones I can think of for now.
I don’t know. Of course girls are interested in him but I’ve never met anyone that’s this convinced that women are falling at his feet and desperate for him. To clarify, I’m not. He massively pursued me for several months until we got together and I wasn’t interested at first. He’s sensed that and told me multiple times that he feels the situation isn’t the same but idk, the whole thing gives me the ick a bit.
And it’s weird because sometimes he gets really insecure about his looks? He told me he had a bad obsession with the gym back in uni and needed that to feel confident. I don’t know.
Not to mention it’s not the only narcissistic trait of his, he has a big complex about his job because it’s high up, which I guess I can more understand being proud about, but he definitely lets it define him too much.
Am I overthinking it? Maybe he’s telling the truth but he’s so OTT about it that I find that hard to believe, and it’s just.... odd. Who keeps track like that?
tldr Boyfriend seems to think every woman that he’s been with has been absolutely desperate for him and distraught to be left by him, as well as having a reputation for ‘anyone that met him having a crush on him’. Despite evidence to the contrary. Feeling weird about it.
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2020.07.10 16:11 Cute-Acanthocephala4 Broken Relationship vs. Asexual

My father was emotionally manipulative and a horrible person to my family. My parents divorced shortly before their 30th anniversary. My father had over a dozen affairs, at least one child out of wedlock, and had an affinity for teenage girls. He had a knack for blaming everyone around him. He was about the most toxic person you will ever meet. This was a dozen or so years ago.
I am aromantic, asexual, touch-repulsed, and sex-indifferent. I was married for a little over ten years and have four children. My ex-wife and I had a horrible romantic relationship, but were stellar companions, work together incredibly well, and were best of friends. We divorced a while back and have remained fast friends. While I write this, we are on vacation together with our four children, her two children from her current marriage, and her new husband (who I loving call my husband-in-law).
When my family discovered that I was asexual my mother had the most difficult time with it. It wasn't because she didn't believe me, but that she couldn't differentiate between my situation and her situation. She doesn't date now because she was burned so badly by my father. However, she dated in high school, had many boyfriends, and was excited for marriage.
I did not date in high school, I had a single girlfriend in college and constantly pressured me into sex (usually by challenging my masculinity), and I got married: a requirement in the religion of my youth to get into heaven. I looked at marriage like death but had to if I wanted to be a good Mormon.
I asked her if she finds men attractive: yes. Is all that holds her back to dating is the experience of my father: yes. If she were to accidentally fall in love with a good man in her life (like a widower) would she go for it: yes. Would you look forward to a physical relationship again: yes. Mom, you're a heterosexual woman!
I want none of those things! That was what finally opened her eyes to the difference. But it was interesting that she couldn't (at first) differentiate between a broken person after a horrible abusive relationship and an asexual individual
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2020.07.10 15:58 Nobleman_hale The Heroes of Chult: Where are they now?

Almost exactly one year ago, I completed the entirety of the Tomb of Annihilation module. Wanting to give the players a break from the fact that they saved the world, I gave them all exactly one year of downtime. Going in I warned all of them that the world was not going to stop moving because they were on downtime, and that things were already in motion for the future campaign. So...where are they now?
Following the end of the module, the party attended the funeral of Syndra Silvane, who had perished within the Soulmonger. They moved in to her estate in Baldur's Gate, an additional boon which I bestowed upon the party, receiving the magic item promised to them all at the start of the campaign. Afterwards, the party sailed south to Chult, bringing the Skull Chalice as well as the surviving Lukanu and Zaal to Kir Sabal, meeting Princess Mwaxanare. Lukanu, having stood beside Queen Napaka for long enough, agreed to instruct the princess in the proper practice of ruling. With the demise of Ras Nsi, several scouts from Mezro began departing the demiplane, exploring the outside world for the first time in decades. A few traveled to Kir Sabal, and are working on re-establishing diplomatic relations between Mezro and Omu. The party would then return to Baldur's Gate properly and settle their affairs, and it was here the party each went their separate ways
Themi: Themi's downtime was by far the simplest and shortest. She took the tomb plans found in Wither's office and brought them to Candlekeep, studying there for the entire year alongside her pet Almiraj, Carrot. While there, she identified the strange spectacles she'd found, discovering they were planar gate keys to Sigil. She served primarily as a source of information for the rest of the party, providing any information with ease from the comforts of the Great Library. (I out of character gave her access to the FR wiki, with her taking notes on various lore bits that interested her).
Cordelia: Cordelia would babysit Bol for a short time, before he departed for Port Nyanzaru, seeking further adventure in the jungles to the south. Cordelia then departed for her homeland of Mount Celestia with an unconscious Musharib. Upon arrival, the dwarf was bathed in the holy water seas of Mount Celestia and awoke instantly. He opted to retire from the guiding business, taking up a residence in the Silver City. Cordelia on the other hand would return to her college in Celestia and take on a short period of study to change her spell list out (This was shortly before UA Class Features Variants was published, so I allowed a DM fiat way of changing spells). She then would seek passage into the higher heavens, in search of magic items. Along the way she met with her celestial guide, the angel Barachiel, and acquired the title of "Falling Star" for her heroism among the Celestians. She would eventually return to the Material Plane, securing a ship's passage to Chult, where she would go to reunite with Bol.
Felbar: Felbar departed Baldur's Gate aboard the Kraken's Storm, proceeding to the city of Athkatla, where he attempted to purchase a book unique enough for entry into Candlekeep, but kept his actions secret from the party, not willing to risk his plans leaking to other parties. He would make his way north to Candlekeep, and discover that the Ring of Winter concealed a secret that only the deepest frost could reveal, located in Winter's Hall, the divine domain of the goddess Auril, and discovered the powers it possessed should it fall into the hands of the frost giants. Given this revelation, he settled on making for Auril's palace once he reunited with his comrades, hoping to find a way to destroy the ring. He then proceeded to Chult as well, where he took revenge on the pirates of Jahaka Anchorage for sinking the ships of his gnomish brethren. Following that event, he was informed by Cordelia that his possession of the Ring had been leaked to the Zhentarim. Wanting to preserve his own life, Felbar sailed off into the sea, and vanished from the world, reappearing ten months later in the port town of Saltmarsh and contracting workers to install upgrades for his vessel, which was incredibly heavy with gold and magic items.
Bol: Bol was headed back to Chult when he received a mysterious visit from his past, an Eladrin woman by the name of Rishana Boughfall. Rishana offered Bol a keepsake from his homeland, a single seed of an ironwood tree, the last of its kind. Rishana begged Bol to regail his exploits in Chult, and it was during that conversation that Bol revealed the unfortunate fate of Artus Cimber...as well as the Ring itself. Rishana, having acquired her information, departed eastward for Zhentil Keep to inform the Zhentarim of her find, while Bol departed south for Chult. He was arrested within a day for disturbing the peace in Chult. As an act of penance was assigned to help Azaka Stormfang find her mask atop Firefinger. Along the way he was attacked by a Zhentarim scouting party and narrowly avoided capture when Azaka revealed she was a weretiger. The two proceeded south, stopping briefly in Kir Sabal to speak with Asharra, who offered Bol the chance to commune with Ubtao if he dealt with a pressing issue. The sacred soil of the garden of Nangalore and become corrupted. Bol, Azaka, Lukanu, and Zaal all proceeded into the ruins of Nangalore, which was teeming with demon corruption. During the campaign, the druid Rhea had spilled a disgusting bottle of perfume in Nangalore, which caused the blooming gardens to wither and die. The corruption became so potent that Jubilex attempted to use it as an anchor point for a portal to the Abyss. Bol and crew slew the mighty demon at the portal's epicenter, but it would be some time before the gardens would recover. Bol asked Ubtao one question only, "Where can I find a fire giant?" An odd question for sure, but Bol was seeking somebody who could forge magic items, and Ubtao guided him towards the Firelands in Chult's Underdark. Bol then headed west, meeting up with Cordelia in the Heart of Ubtao. She, Azaka, and Bol, all began heading for Wyrmheart Mine, seeking to subdue Tinder or harvest her scales. Along the way they were attacked by a Yuan-ti patrol, who was raiding the Wreck of the Star Goddess. They narrowly escaped and headed south. Just before their arrival however, Bol recieved a message from the Emerald Enclave, warning him of a Zhenatarim patrol near their location. The party fled the area, making a sprint for the Peaks of Flame to search for an entrance to Chult's Underdark. Along the way they stopped in Omu, finding the Nine Gods all guarding their respective shrines, and attempting to keep the Yuan-ti out of the tomb, as Fenthaza has now become obsessed with freeing Dendar. The party made a note to return later and headed to the Peaks, finding the Great Door where Dendar was kept prison. Dendar offered them passage to the Underdark, however it was not all they hoped for. They were awakened from a fitful sleep by a drow, a slave in Dragonglass, a city run by an Efreeti by the name of Shoqif al-Banzor, a noble in the City of Brass. They ended up meeting Jigir, a fire giant who crafted them amulets to help protect them from scrying. After all the chaos they caused in the city however, Shoqif merely wanted them out of his hair, so he gave them passage to the City of Brass, leaving them all to find whatever fate they would. During their stay, they met Keshma al-Wazir, who was in the city attempting to sell the Navel of the Moon to the Grand Sultan. She begrudgingly returned them to Omu in exchange for saving her in the tomb. Before their departure however, Bol did something both immensely brave and immensely stupid. He challenged a Goliath to a drinking contest with something that would definitely had killed him if he didn't have his god's attention at the time. He had been making effigies to Illneval, hoping to garner his favor, and this was the spark. Illneval offered him a partial Tanarukk transformation while raging, and he made an oath to spread the chaos of the Orcish pantheon far and wide, following the path of a paladin at the start of the next campaign. The trio of heroes then raided the fane of the night serpent, stealing the crown jewels of Zalkore from the Yuan-ti, a secondary component needed for releasing Dendar alongside the Black Onyx Crown. They fled Omu, finally returning to the mine. A Zhentarim scout watched from afar as Tinder fled the mine heavily wounded. He quickly informed the Zhentarim, which led to a showdown with the Zhentarim, with popular figures such as Manshoon showing up to participate in the fight. The party narrowly escaped once again.
Well, that's all for me! The follow-up campaign will soon begin. This is the spoiler free version, as I'm planning on showing this to my players and discussing any edits that need to be made, so if you have any questions, feel free to comment or PM me!
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2020.07.10 14:46 whiteshadow255 Recap of the whirlwind

Now that we’ve all had a few days to discuss and marinate (and maybe cool down a bit), I wanted to lay out the accusations that I’ve heard as well as my current take on it based on discussions with many of you and many hours of being glued to my screen. This might be beating a dead horse at this point. If so, move on. I’m still getting it straight in my head, as I feel many are. Obviously, I can't comment from the perspective of the women, this is from the perspective of someone rationally trying to sift through all the bullshit, and weighing the kernels of truth against my personal belief system. Others have different beliefs, and that's fine-- this isn't an attack on those. If anything, I hope it can help others tease apart at a finer detail what they think about the situation, whether you agree with my assessments or not. We’re all waiting for more evidence or a statement from the man himself, sure, but regardless of what comes out in the future, this has proven to be a good exploration of really important topics, and as upset as I’ve been I feel like I’ve learned a lot in this process, as I’ve changed my mind 50 or so times. So here goes.
“He’s a rapist” Not a single woman has said anything about anything non-consensual. Further, by every account, Lorin is rabidly, vocally anti-substance so we can have a good sense that the consent was not plied with molly or alcohol or what have you. Further, this consent happened over a long period of time and all the accounts I’ve read they didn’t even hook up until months down the line after many hours of conversation. The reason that term is being thrown around is because of the ‘statutory rape’ curveball from that phone call, i.e. a technical term when someone can’t give consent legally because they’re a minor (I’m not even going to get into how unfair it is to make light of that term for women who have actually been raped). So some have spiced up the rape allegation with:
“He’s a pedophile” The youngest we’ve heard mentioned is 17. Fact: age of consent is 16 years old in 34 states, 14 of which allow any age differential between partners. Don’t believe me? https://aspe.hhs.gov/report/statutory-rape-guide-state-laws-and-reporting-requirements-summary-current-state-laws/sexual-intercourse-minors. This is also true of most of the world: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_consent#/media/File:Age_of_Consent_-_Global.svg. While it is a legal gray area depending on where in the country you may find yourself, it appears most are really arguing the moral issue and only falling back to the legal issue— the possible 17yr old in TN thing— if they have a vendetta against Lorin and want him in prison or when they lose ground on the moral argument and are looking for a technical ‘gotcha.’ Let’s be real— that argument is not in good faith— reminder: pot is only legal in 11 states, and I’m sure none of you have ever done molly or sid or k or aya or anything like that ever in your life or ever done anything in the legal gray area (/s). Bottom line, 16 is consent in most of the world. You may disagree with an older man dating a younger women. You may think it’s gross, immoral, whatever. Here’s the thing— that’s a preference. Humans have those. And those preferences are none of our business. Would I do it? Nope. Do I think it’s a good idea? Definitely not. Does it happen? Yep. Do I lose sleep over consensual relationships? Nope. I have no desire to police other people's sex lives-- as someone who was raised Catholic in the South, I know what that looks like. To the people obsessing over how ‘weird’ or ‘creepy’ it is, I suppose the irony is lost on you in how weird and creepy it is that you’re obsessing over it— sounds like the headmaster at a religious boarding school. For those that preach acceptance of sexual identity, it’s a pretty bad look.
“He abused his power” There are 5 kinds of social power: legitimate, coercive, reward, expert, and referent. Referent is where the power of celebrity would fall— it’s very strong, but also has no teeth. It’s purely a perception in the eye of the beholder. It also has 0 repercussions for denying. It is imaginary power. Contrasted with, say, Harvey Weinstein's use of coercive power threatening to ruin someone’s career if they didn’t give in to his hokey pokey. Lots of people seem to be stuck on this allegation. But here’s the thing— it is not uncommon for there to be a power imbalance between partners— whether it’s a difference in financial status, career position, or level of fame (be it at a local level or greater). If you have a job and your partner doesn’t/you’re the breadwinner? BAM: Power imbalance. If you’re well known in the community but your partner is new to the area? BAM: Power imbalance. BeTtEr NoT AbUsE yOuR PoWeR! Another commenter had a good example: A hot 30 year old woman at a top law firm dating a fresh out of school accountant at a mid-tier firm— is she abusing her power by dating him? Conversely, does he have some right to lock her down? I’m sure that’d go over well: “how dare he expect to lock down this strong successful career woman with all her prospects, what a pig, how naive!” If you’re willing to pull out the pitchfork on this one, the points will be get dull quick from all the stabbing you’re going to have to do. As much ink has been spilled over this allegation, ironically, it's also the allegation that Lorin took seriously and seems to have been trying to answer for with his open invite to connect with him if someone felt like he wronged them in the past. However, these women didn’t seem interested in making amends or healing what I absolutely agree is legitimate pain, they seemed interested only in his public immolation. As were we.
“He’s a hypocrite.” So let me get this straight. If he DIDN'T start a non-profit and DIDN'T donate a bunch of time, money, and energy towards humanist causes, and DIDN'T preach messages of love and empathy, then no one would think twice about all this shit? “I can't believe it! He's such a fucking asshole for starting a non-profit and donating 100s of thousands of dollars to righteous causes and starting up and supporting all kinds of social good projects when he himself isn't perfectly righteous!!” Do people realize how silly that sounds?? No one is perfect. A man is never as pure as his ideals. That’s not a reason to crucify the man, it’s a reason to celebrate the ideals— and it’s exactly what he seemed to always try to do by deflecting credit and attention to “Bassnectar” the project rather than Lorin the man.
“He’s a groomer” From these women’s OWN accounts, Lorin seems to have been an attentive, albeit polyamorous(ish) boyfriend, who Encouraged them to be healthy in mind and body Encouraged them not to drugs Praised their talents and their efforts to develop them Encouraged them to write out their goals and dreams Encouraged them to eat healthy and exercise Warned them of the ulterior motives of other guys, particularly guys at festivals, particularly around substances. Gave them money, offered travel, tickets to shows, down payments on apartments. I know right, WHAT A FUCKING MONSTER.
From what's been presented, Lorin is a player. Full stop. And it seems like the worst part of their relationship with Lorin is simply that it ended or that they weren't the only one getting his attention.
Seems like Lorin’s biggest mistake was trying to do what he felt was the right thing w/o getting legal when the accusations started flying.
Seems like the only thing non-consensual were the de-contextualized recordings of him trying to make amends that were shared to wolves with demonstrable axes to grind.
Seems like many of his friends and fans were quick to throw him under the bus, after preaching for years right alongside the man messages of thinking for yourself, and love and empathy and acceptance. Hypocrite, you say?
I know better than to have gurus. I’m old enough to have been disappointed by enough ‘heroes’ to not have them anymore. This is not about ‘defending your god,’ this is about being a human, being sparing with your judgment of others, and holding space for the truth.
It's also about some fucking killer music, experiences, and the solidarity of a group that lit me up every time, where I felt welcome and whole, and ready to take on the world— and the fact that all that has been cancelled.
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2020.07.10 14:40 Ascendotuum [Twilight Kingdom] - Chapter 69

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Khumaka led them down, into the bowels of the great stone fortress. Murmux trailed along at the back, his eyes watchful and his shoulder blades twitching. He could see why Asher had declined to join them. Whatever manipulative games the bastard was playing, they did not involve debasing himself to such a journey. The whole place reeked. The air was moist and smelt of rotting seaweed. Everything was slightly damp, and the spiral steps were slick as they descended into darkness.
The rocky passageways might have reminded Murmux of the catacombs of his home but for the fact that the walls were carved from white, soapy limestone instead of night absorbing obsidian. There was no lighting in these deep passages, and Khumaka carried a single, smoking torch. Candle sent her blue witch-lights into the air, bobbing over the trailing crowd of humans, who muttered appreciatively. The old man eyed the lights with wild eyes and stepped further away from Candle.
They were low down, now, almost at sea level and the noise of the waves could be heard slapping against the rocks in perpetual motion. Sea air blasted in through narrow, unshuttered slits cut in the walls, setting the lights bobbing and Khumaka's torch shuddering. The scent of the sea was overwhelming and made Murmux want to sneeze. He wrinkled his nose and stepped carefully over a patch of seaweed, steadying himself against the soapy walls.
The elderly human led them further down, deep into the bedrock, they were well below sea level. They passed various narrow doors and openings. Peering in, Murmux could make out shadowy figures, that vanished as the witch lights bobbed by. If they were humans, they were quiet and quick to hide.
After a few more minutes Khumaka came to a stop outside a rickety door.
"Here we are," he said and pushed it open with a creak. "It's a bit crowded, but there's nowhere else."
There was silence as everyone surveyed the space. Murmux hid a smile. It was less a 'room' and more a hole in the rock – and a tiny hole at that. Calling it crowded was generous – the room was too small for everyone to stand in at the same time. Most of what little space there was, was taken up by half-rotten bunk beds, stacked three high. The place was filthy, and the air had a stale, unhealthy quality.
"I don't want to stay here," announced one of the children. "It smells funny." He was quickly hushed by his mother.
"You'll do as you're told, and be grateful for it," she murmured, bobbing a quick curtsey in Candle's direction. The girl looked back, appalled as if she was unused to such deference. Her manners were a strange mixture, Murmux pondered. She was a puzzle that he intended to solve. Behind Candle, Zephi was quietly prodding a mouldy old straw mattress. Some bugs wriggled out of it, and the child squealed. Everyone looked at her.
"Eww!" She said, and then popped one in her mouth when she thought no one was looking.
"This won't do," said Candle, turning to Khumaka with a frown. The elderly human sagged against the door.
"I'm sorry, my lady," he said, wiping his brow. "There really is nowhere else."
"What about my quarters?" She asked. "Asher said I would have my own room?"
"Your own suite, yes," said Khumaka, nodding. He scrunched up the corners of his parchment and then smoothing it out again as he spoke. "But that is for you. Humans are required to stay below. They are not allowed in the residential quarters except for your personal servants."
Candle's eyes brightened.
"Oh, you should have said." Whirling on the spot, she put her hands on Zephi's shoulders. The small girl jumped and sucked her fingers clean guiltily. "Zephi here is my personal maid."
"I am?"
"Yes." Candle turned, searching the room. Looking for him, Murmux realised with a jolt as their eyes met across the cave. "Murmux is my scribe." He laughed and then folded his arms, leaning back against the rough stone wall. The girl glared at him, so he wiped the smirk from his face. "Ahem, Murmux is my scribe and manservant. Narimab is my dresser and Huruben here, is my master of wardrobe-"
"I didn't see any luggage," said Khumaka, checking his list with some anxiety. He flipped the parchment back and forth as if it would provide answers.
"It's arriving later," said Candle, her lip twitching. She continued naming people, and their imaginary jobs until she ran out of breath.
"My lady," said Khumaka, dabbing his brow. "My lady, this is most unorthodox."
"I need a lot of help," said Candle, crossing her arms. "I am most incapable. It would be rude to draw attention to the fact." She looked around at the group. "This room should be quite satisfactory for five or six of you," she said. "The rest of you will come with me to my quarters."
She swept out of the room, and Khumaka scuttled after her, waving his papers.
"But my lady, your quarters... they are quite ample for yourself and one or two servants, but they are not large enough to house so many in comfort."
"That's quite all right, Khumaka," she looked up his harried expression, and her face softened, spoiling her imperious, privileged spawn of dragon act. "If anyone complains tell them I insisted. Please can you show us the way?"
The old man nodded and holding his torch high, retraced his steps through the limestone warren and back up to the cobbled courtyard. Once there, he proceeded through a dim passageway which led into the heart of the massive stone keep. Candle opened her mouth and stared up, gapping at the main hall along with her herd of humans. It was intimidating, Murmux allowed. He cast a disparaging eye over the wall – intimidating and gaudy.
The interior of the Angarrack was bone white, with chalky walls much finer than the damp bedrock passages below. At the centre was a great staircase that rose to caverness heights, twisting in a bone spiral, the banister railing forming spikes like a giant's rib cage. The holes between the stair slats were large enough for a person to fall though, but then what dragon would be afraid of falling? The effect was airy and open, with a brittle elegance that set Murmux's teeth on edge.
To the left, a massive archway cut through the rock, and open to the elements. The entrance was large enough for a dragon, and the wind swept through, carrying the tang of salt from the black waves that were visible beyond. Khumaka hesitated on the threshold of the great hallway and turned to a side door.
"I'm sorry, my lady," he said to Candle, looking uncomfortable. "But I dare not take so many humans up the main stairway."
She inclined her head.
"Do what you must."
"The older generation spend more time in their true forms," Khumaka explained as he led the way up a side passage. "They seldom use the small passageways. But the younger lords and ladies, begging your pardon, find the small form more enjoyable. I wouldn't want to offend them – or you, of course my lady." To his delight, Murmux realised the poor man was sweating. "Of course Angarrack is only this crowded at this time of year. Normally we are more than capable of providing proper accommodation."
The elderly human blathered and yakked his way up several more flights of stairs. The small stairs, as Khumaka called them, were close and narrow, without the grandeur of the main stairwell. They passed several small folk sized rooms, all of them finer than those in the bedrock and then moved into what Murmux assumed from the scale, were the dragons' quarters.
"Nearly there," said Khumaka, and swung open a door. The humans spilt out into a wide rocky corridor that was set out like a gallery. Murmux sniffed, the hair on the back of his neck rising as a foul odour assaulted his nostrils. A spark escaped from his hand and pinged harmlessly onto the floor. Candle's witch lights sputtered and winked out. People bumped into each other as those at the front came to an abrupt halt.
Khumaka didn't seem to notice.
"Lady Hezekiah's private collection," he said, proudly, waving his hand to take in the breadth of the room. He did not notice the distraught faces of his audience.
Various objects were on display, arranged in neat rows. Some of them were labelled in a looping, elegant hand. All of them were dead. The bones of some great ocean leviathan hung from the ceiling in a limp imitation of life. An auroch skull reclined on a velvet cushion, next to the full skeleton of an imp. Six human heads were nailed to the wall in descending order of size. The skin was stretched yellowing and papery over gaunt bones, the hair stringy and oil-coated.
Someone let out a whimper and was quickly shushed. Zephi stared about her with great interest, peering at the nearest head and then reaching out one pale finger to give it a prod. "Please no touching," said Khumaka, turning sharply. "My lady takes great pride in her trophies. She will be angry if anything is disturbed."
Zephi put her hands behind her back and smiled up at him. She alone seemed unperturbed. But what fear could dead bodies hold for a child raised in the dark underbelly of the Necromancer's Keep? Murmux would have laughed at the shock in the human's faces, but for the fact that the next item in the collection was one of his late brothers. Dead as a doornail, the warrior hung, stuffed and suspended in perpetual, grisly flight for the rest of his nights. The laugh withered in his throat as Murmux walked past. He tore his gaze away from the glassy eyeballs that seemed to follow him accusingly as he moved. The humans were making him cranky with the stench of their fear. The hallway smelt bad anyway. Stale. The scent of embalming fluid and old death was suffocating. It reminded him of home.
Tightly bunched together, the humans shuffled down the gallery, following Candle and Khumaka. Murmux followed with a loose gait, schooling his face to disinterest. He was used to death, yes, but there was something about the trophies that was unsettling.
At the very end of the hall, hanging in pride of place, were two last grisly trophies. The first was a Necromancer's skull, complete with moonsilver horns glinting in the torchlight. The second, a massive dragon skull mounted on a plinth. The hollow pits of its eye sockets were deep with shadows. They shifted as Khumaka moved, giving it the appearance of life.
"A dragon," said Candle, seemingly unable to contain herself. Her fists clenched at her sides. Murmux wondered whether she was angry or scared. What kind of place had she come from that the skull of a fallen foe could elicit such a strong response? Such a human response?
"My Lady's sister," Khumaka said and carried on down the hall as if the matter warranted no further comment.
"Her sister," repeated Candle. Her lips were pressed together in a thin line. Murmux hid a smile. Persuading her to leave Angarrack would not be as hard as he had feared.
"I wonder where Asher keeps his collection," he mused aloud. Candle shot him a wide-eyed look, her cheeks losing what colour had remained.
"The young masters keep their collections in their own suites," said Khumaka, "in the western turret." He led the way through an archway and down another flight of stairs to the right. "Guest suites are in the eastern tower."
"Thank the Dawn for that, " Murmux said under his breath and resisted the urge to chuckle. The tension was making him giddy.
"Here we are," said Khumaka. He pulled open a great door to reveal a suite of rooms. The elderly human hovered anxiously, his eyes glued to Candle as he waited for her approval. Her herd of humans crowded around her, exclaiming and chattering at the top of their voices. Murmux rolled his eyes and hung back. He was sure the rooms would be luxurious and spacious. He just hoped the bastards had left some of their grisly trophies for Candle to admire.
"This is perfect," he heard Candle saying from inside the room. "It's lovely, Khumaka, please don't concern yourself." He rolled his eyes. "Can you bring us some extra blankets...for my staff?"
"Yes, yes, of course, my lady. Thank you, thank you so much." Khumaka reversed out of the doorway and bumped into Murmux's broad chest. Murmux glared down at him and was rewarded with a squeal. The human scuttled off to do whatever it was human slaves did.
He stood in the dark corridor for a moment, enjoying the moment of calm, before striding through the doorway to inspect Candle's new quarters. It was almost as vulgar as the main hallway, but he supposed it was spacious enough. More cave than room, one side was fully open to the elements. Dragons seemed to enjoy living in homes riddled with holes, Murmux mused. Probably something to do with their small brains and the fact that they were basically animals.
The star-speckled sky was fully visible, and there was a sheer drop down to the dark water below. Candle stood on the ledge breathing deeply, a look of delight on her face, as she looked out. One of the children ran tottering toward the edge, and she grabbed him before he got too close.
"This won't do," she said, handing the squirming child back to his mother, who bobbed a quick curtsy, to Candle's obvious discomfort.
"Better than the hole in the bedrock," said Narimab, inching towards the ledge and peering over with great caution. She shuddered and turned pale as she beheld the drop. "Maybe. I think I would prefer to sleep in one of the back rooms, if that is possible?"
"In here," called Zephi, and Murmux turned to see various doorways opening off the side. They led to three small chambers and a storage room.
"For your luggage," said Narimab with a laugh, as she peered around the door. "The dragons certainly know how to look after their guests."
"Their guests, yes," said Murmux. "Everything is wonderful as long as you have scales and stay on the right side of Lady Hezekiah."
The smile dropped off Candle's face, and Murmux almost felt bad. Almost.
"Let's move the furniture around," she said, after a moment. "I don't need this to sleep on." She waved to the large four-poster bed at the back of the room. "Help me move it into the back room, so we don't have to worry about the little ones tumbling off the edge while we sleep."
"How very modern," said Murmux, raising one eyebrow. Candle snorted, and then laughed again, the tension leaving her face as quickly as it had arrived.
"I wonder if grandpa would approve!" She mimicked Asher's gruff voice, a wicked grin spreading across her usually tense face. Murmux grinned back at her.
"You sound ridiculous," he said.
"So does Asher," she said, to his delight. "Alright, you lot, help me move this."
"How long are we staying?" Zephi asked, planting herself in the doorway, hands on her hips. She was right in their way, and Murmux nudged her aside with one foot.
"What?" said Candle, staggering backwards, as they half dragged, half carried the bed into the room. They dropped it with a thump. It was instantly swarmed by small children who settled on top of the pillows with beatific expressions.
"That's right, loves," said Narimab, wiping her brow, "get some rest while you can. We all should."
"How long are we going to stay here," said Zephi loudly. The obnoxious child did not like to be ignored. "When are we going to your home, Candle?"
Narimab and the other humans busied themselves, moving various bits of furniture around and pretending they weren't listening. Murmux folded his arms across his chest and leaned against the door, eyes on Candle. She didn't answer, stared at the Necromancer brat, her face strained.
"It's okay, dear," said Narimab, patting Zephi's arm. "I think this is our new home now." The older woman looked weary, the deep lines of her face creasing. Murmux was reminded again, how fragile the humans were. "It's very nice after all. High walls, no wights, a roof over our heads...we have plenty to be grateful for."
"I suppose," said Zephi. "And there is chocolate cake." She looked around, as if expecting to see it materialise. "Somewhere."
"Maybe Zeb will show us," said Huruben. "At the Night Market or whatever it was."
"Get some rest now, dears," said Narimab, and the two older children tucked themselves onto the end of the bed.
"Yes," said Candle, "get some rest."
She turned back to the main cavern and sat on the edge, her feet hanging over as she frowned at the sea. Murmux contemplated going over but decided against it. He didn't need to nudge her in the right direction. Everything was proceeding as he had hoped.

[previous]
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submitted by Ascendotuum to redditserials [link] [comments]


2020.07.10 14:35 _insertname_here_ 1000 most common words in the English language

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2020.07.10 14:14 Klokinator The Cryopod to Hell 241: Invasion!

Author note: The Cryopod to Hell is a Reddit-exclusive story with over three years of editing and refining. As of this post, the total rewrite is 1,016,000+ words long, and we are all caught up to the main sub on HFY! For more information, check out the link below:
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(Previous Part)
(Part 001)
...
The chill of the night-time wind sweeps across Tarus II's surface. Strange, monstrous beasts hover in the sky, their pill-shaped bodies floating through the air without wings. These creatures, beasts which evolved on Tarus II, travel in packs, allowing vast numbers of sky-bound bugs to float into their open mouths. Known as cloud-beasts, they offer a hint of homeliness to the humans and monsters who've lived most of their lives on the beautiful blue world.
Not far away, in the Warpgate Encampment, hundreds of lights illuminate the area. Spotlights, flying drones with glowing bulbs, ground-mounted halogens, and all manner of other devices brighten up the pitch-black of the night, turning the walled camp into a fortress as bright as the day.
Two soldiers, decked out in fullbody T-REX's, stand next to the warpgate. Between them rests the gate's control pad, a soft white screen waiting for someone to login and input coordinates and calculations to another warpgate.
Both men hold a rifle in their grasp, resting against their chests. They shift back and forth on their feet to try and make the blood flow, and to eliminate the feeling of 'pins and needles' tingling in their toes.
"Hey, John," The soldier on the left says.
"What?" John replies, not even turning his head to look at the other soldier. "Need to shit again, Luke?"
"No! No, I'm good..." Luke mumbles. "I'm just, uh... bored."
"Sounds like a 'you' problem," John mutters. "It's a nice night out. Take in the air. Look at the stars."
Luke rolls his shoulders around to try and work out a kink in his neck. "Easy for you to say. We've been standing here for hours! You do that for fun every weekend."
"It's called 'meditation,'" John growls. "I like to get close to nature. Nothing weird about that."
"That's what you call it. The rest of us just want to know why you always disappear into the jungle and come back covered in mud. Got a lover inside a bog? Maybe a cute Medusa chick? What's the deal?"
John lightly waves the tip of his gun toward the Horned Forest, to the east of the encampment. "The only woman I see over there is Mother Nature. Don't you think she's out of my league?"
Luke glances at John. He slugs the other soldier in his arm. "Hah! And here I thought you didn't have a sense of humor!"
"Of course I do," John mutters. "I just don't feel like fooling around, what with the warpgate behind us."
Luke turns his head slightly to glance at the two long, curved arms sticking out of the steel platform beneath his feet. They rise twenty feet into the air and curve their tips toward each other before stopping some two feet apart.
"Yeah... pretty ominous. You, uh... are you scared?"
John shrugs. "A little."
"Yeah..." Luke mutters, his voice a whisper. "Me too. Commander Hiro says the demons are going to open the portal, eventually. Do you think they can? We destroyed the Core, right?"
"Commander Hiro knows better than either of us clowns," John says. "She's our tech-goddess. She made these blasters, these suits, and all of our equipment. If she says the demons will come, then..."
Luke returns his attention forward, toward the bottom of the platform. Dozens of soldiers casually mill around, chatting with one another. Slings attach their guns to their chests, keeping them within arm's reach while also allowing them to free up their hands.
Not far away, a dozen newly-created sentry towers stand fifty-feet tall, their spotlights aimed at the warpgate. Three snipers sit within each nest, all of them chatting up a storm while they wait for instructions.
"Has... has Commander Hiro ever been wrong?" Luke asks, his voice trembling. "About anything. Has she ever made a wrong call?"
John turns his head slightly to look at Luke. His friend's legs tremble almost imperceptibly, a sign of the fear he's trying to contain.
"Not that I know of," John mutters. "There's always a first time for something, but I doubt today will be that case."
Luke's head lowers as he gazes at the ground. "Trillions of demons. Can we win?"
"I doubt it," John says, his voice containing an odd edge. "But then, you know me. I've always been a pessimist."
"Yeah, you sure have," Luke says, chuckling uneasily.
As John and Luke guard the gate, John tilts his head to the side to look at the clock on his HUD.
11:47 AM.
A look of sadness appears on his face, shrouded by his faceless helmet. He glances at Luke.
"Say, why don't you go and grab the next shift early? I think I can handle it here for a minute, by myself."
Luke blinks in surprise as he turns to his friend. "Huh? Early? But Commander Hiro said-"
"Come on, Luke! I'm sure you've gotta use the little Skippy, and so do I. Let the next guys take over a few minutes early. What will it hurt?"
"Well..." Luke says, his voice hesitant. "I don't think we should. I'd never want to make Commander Hiro angry. She's one of my favorite people."
John doesn't reply. He stares at his friend's helmet for several long moments before sighing. "Haa... alright. Suit yourself."
...At that moment, right when the clock strikes 11:50.
A sudden sizzling sound begins crackling from the air behind Luke. The younger man turns to look at the warpgate behind him in horror as sparks of electricity bolt toward its center, connecting from five different points.
"Holy-!"
Luke's jaw drops. He immediately looks at the control panel, as a giant red warning appears on it.
"Initiating warpgate connection. 0:20 Seconds remaining. Decouple? [Y/N]"
A big red button for disabling the connection appears. Without hesitation, Luke jerks his arm forward to press it, just like Commander Hiro ordered.
In that split second, his gaze flicks to John, as the older man takes aim with his heavy blaster.
"No!"
Too late, all Luke can do is cry out one word of alarm before John pulls the trigger.
BLAM!
A heavy bolter shot blasts from the gun's barrel and punches straight through Luke's T-REX armor, rips out his stomach, and flings him backward. An instant later, Luke hits the ground with a wet thwop.
John doesn't even blink.
"I gave you your chance."
His single gunshot, along with the warpgate's activation, grabs the attention of every soldier in camp. They quickly beeline for the portal, looking at it, Luke's body, and John's smoking gun. "John! What happened?!"
"Luke was a traitor," John replies. "He tried to stop me from disabling the warpgate."
The other soldier guffaws. "Luke?! He did? No, never mind that! Hurry up and disable the gate!"
John smiles. "Sure thing, pal."
BLAM! BLAM!
John's weapon fires two more rounds, ending that soldier's life and alerting the entire base. Seconds later, a hail of gunfire smashes into John, battering him to the side. The last thing he sees is the countdown on the warpgate's initiation cycle.
"Initiating warpgate connection. 0:03 Seconds remaining. Decouple? [Y/N]"
Haha... you're all... too... late...
John dies before he hits the ground.
By the time the soldiers start to leap up the steps to the warpgate, they arrive just in time to see the decoupling notice disappear.
"Warpgate coupling successful. Initiating rift sequence."
The nearest soldier grabs at the keypad and furiously presses all over it. His expression warps into horrified rage. "I... I can't turn it off! Where's the decoupling button? Why did it disappear?!"
A female voice speaks from the console, her tone mocking in nature.
"Stupid humans. I removed that option. This warpgate will never close again."
FWOOM!
The warpgate violently connects with the Labyrinth Core, making all the soldiers shout in unison.
"We've made contact! Move, move, MOVE!!"
At that moment, a massive horde of undead begins pouring through the warpgate like water through a sieve. The fleeing soldiers turn around and fire their guns in tandem, transforming the battlefield into a deafening cacophony of slaughter.
Armored skeletons, unarmored skeletons, zombies, mummies, undead gargoyles, liches, specters, and all manner of other hellish creatures rush down the soldiers nearest the warpgate. Their sturdy T-REX's provide them only momentary protection before the undead tear through the nanites like steak knives through styrofoam. The men and women nearest the gate scream in agony as their innards leave them, flying in wide arcs across the ground.
One female soldier cries out helplessly as a skeleton rams its fingers into her eyes, gouging her brains out before she can even raise her gun. She falls backward, lifeless, as the undead keeps charging forward recklessly, without regard for its life.
Four dozen soldiers die in the blink of an eye. However, the other soldiers manage to hide behind erected concrete blockades, firing full-tilt into the neverending mob of rotted flesh and sinew.
"Reload!" One soldier at the frontlines barks. He jumps backward as another soldier takes his spot, spitting hot lead into the nearest half-dozen zombies. Despite the humans possessing energy weapons, plasma cannons, and other such advanced devices, they opt to use plain old bullets of varying sizes, instead. Thanks to the advanced designs of their weapons, the barrels never overheat, nor do the differing bullets ever jam in the firing cylinders.
However, with only finite ammunition, some of the soldiers sweat crazily as they watch thousands upon thousands of undead creatures pour from the warpgate.
...
Not far from the frontlines, Lieutenant Samuel activates his T-REX. A brilliant golden hue materializes over his body as the powerful Rhino armor takes shape, giving him two massive spikes on his shoulders, and one on his helmet. He flexes his arms and howls like a bear as he feels the strength inside the heavily reinforced suit.
"Get me some covering fire!" Samuel barks. "You over there, find Commander Hiro and notify her of the gate breach on the double! And you, get the Generals!"
Without waiting for a reply, Samuel begins dashing forward.
Slowly, at first.
The colossal, one-ton armor supports itself via the billions of nanites forming its surface. Samuel, still getting used to its immense bulk, takes one step forward.
Then another.
And another.
Slowly, he begins to build up speed.
Despite a quarter-mile separating the warpgate from the eastern edge of the encampment, Samuel's Rhino suit eventually begins moving with unstoppable force. He stomps forward at five miles an hour, then seven, and then ten...
Soon, the sounds of massive stomping noises startle many troopers as they see their designated Lieutenant storming toward them like an enraged bull.
Relief appears in their eyes.
"It's Lieutenant Samuel!"
"Make way!"
Miraculously, a path opens up before Samuel as he storms forward unwaveringly. His body becomes a bowling ball as he barrels past his fellow soldiers and careens into the mass of undead right before they break through the forward line.
BOOM!
Samuel swings both of his arms outward, away from his chest. The violent motion instantly crushes the heads of five skeletons and six zombies, flinging them into their nearby comrades and toppling the entire front line. The sheer might behind Samuel's Rhino exosuit turns him into an undead-steamroller.
Samuel raises his fists over his head just as two heavily armored skeletons rush him. He pauses for a half-second to let the skeletons swing their swords toward his chest.
Tink.
The swords bounce off the Rhino's carapace without causing any damage.
Samuel's face contorts into a hideous grin.
"You should have RUN!"
His fists swing down like sledgehammers, flattening the armored skeletons as if their bones were made of wet paper. Over and over, Samuel stomps around the frontlines, taking no damage while beating the undead to death with their own extremities.
As the gunfire roars overhead, annihilating hundreds of undead every minute, Samuel's battle instincts kick in. He glances up the hill as, for a brief moment, the flow of undead slows to a crawl.
A gigantic hand, nearly a foot wide, reaches through the portal.
Samuel's heart trembles.
"By... by the Creator!"
A long-dead gate troll stoops down and steps through the warpgate. The monster's skeletal remains, more than twenty-five feet tall, barely fit through the Labyrinth's portal.
Samuel gnashes his teeth. "You want to play hardball, huh? Come, then! I'll turn you into bonemeal!"
.......................................
Several minutes earlier, inside the Core.
Ose, the Emperor of Infiltration, stands beside the lone excavated warpgate. Mountains of debris sit shoved off to the side, all of it from the collapsed ceiling nearly a day before. With nearly twenty hours having passed, Ose's hands appear only partially restored; severe fractures running across all of her fingers and much of her arms.
The lightning-demoness grimaces as she glances to her right, at Mephisto, the Duke of Mist. He hovers just off the ground, his ethereal body untouchable by physical objects.
"Alright. My hands are nowhere near fully-healed. However, we can't wait on me. I'll be leaving you in charge while I return to the Blood Pits."
Mephisto cackles quietly. "Kekeke... you mussstn't overexert yourssself, Ossse. Do not forget that it wasss I who nearly sssinglehandedly defeated the flessshbagsss. Thisss invasssion will be in quite good handsss..."
"Bael did some heavy lifting too," Ose retorts with a frown. "You've always been more eager for power than Bael and the others. I'll bet it irks you that I'm the Emperor and you're not, hmm?"
Mephisto scowls. "Kss. What of it to you, sssnake? Have you sssomething to sssay? I wasss Sssatan'sss protege. It was he and I who created the Labyrinth. Without me, you would never have had a chanccce to become an Emperor."
Ose's frown deepens. "Watch your tongue, necromancer. You're not as important as you think. I could have entered Heaven and stolen what we needed from the Lazarus Tower just as easily as you. For that matter, so could Belial."
"Pah!" Mephisto sneers, floating close to Ose's face. "What pretty wordsss, but in the end, it wasss I who completed the misssion. It wasss I who ssstole the power of sssoulsss from the angelsss. I reversssed our fortunesss and helped bring an end to the angel'sss wretched waysss. You, in turn, ssstole the Emperor posssition from under my nossse!"
The two demons eyeball each other with vicious glares, their faces mere inches from each other.
After a few moments, Ose relents. "Tch. You're the weakest Duke, Mephisto, and the stupidest. Making you an Emperor would be a waste of souls. Blame yourself for being a pathetic schemer. I wrapped the others around my finger and thus obtained the helm of demonic power."
Ose smiles. "You're just jealous you lacked the strength to take it for yourself."
Mephisto's eyes turn bloodthirsty. However, he doesn't immediately speak, nor does he lash out.
After several seconds...
"Ksss. You are a wretched woman. May maggotsss infessst your insssidesss, and may roachesss crawl out of your eyesss. You will regret usssurping me, one day."
Ose rolls her eyes. She turns to the warpgate's control system and sneers. "Keep dreaming, necromancer. I'm smarter than you, and all of the other demons. Now that I have my power, I'll never lose it."
Mephisto falls silent as the white-haired demoness motions with her hands, conjuring the elemental power of lightning to transfer a portion of her consciousness into the warpgate's controller.
As she does, Mephisto watches, his hate-filled gaze deepening.
Foolish woman. You've sealed your fate.
He stays quiet, but if looks could kill, his evil eyes would murder Ose a thousand times over.
Ose begins rapidly computing a hundred thousand spatial vectors, while her eyes rapidly jerk back and forth behind her closed eyelids. Her forehead knots up with concentration.
"Summon your Death Gates, Mephisto. I'm about to activate the portal."
Mephisto continues to glare at Ose for a moment before turning away to a decent-sized empty space some fifty feet from the warpgate. Not far away, near the destroyed great doors leading into the Core, many upper-ranked Lord and Baron-rank demons stand around muttering to one another. They keep their distance according to Ose's orders as Mephisto begins to motion with his hands.
An unearthly demonic language pours from Mephisto's mouth. His eyes transform into fiery orbs as he summons the power of Death Energy, coalescing it into two spiraling energy rifts hovering in midair. The blackened mana moves further and further away until both of them turn into shimmering, electrified clouds. The energetic clouds crackle with energy and begin emitting a high-pitched screeching noise, like nails on a chalkboard, but far louder and more drawn out. Mephisto ignores the noises, but the demons behind the cloud run away while covering their ears and shouting angrily.
"Weaklingsss..." Mephisto hisses. "Undead would not be ssso cowardly... truly, the living are inferior to the dead."
The plasma-like gas continues to churn unceasingly. Suddenly, it spirals around toward a dot in each cloud's center, as if getting sucked up by a vacuum cleaner.
Foom!
The center-points explode, summoning two portals as dark as the grave. They quickly shoot up to the ceiling and expand sideways, revealing forty-foot Death Gates, all capable of rapidly summoning undead creatures according to Mephisto's necromagic.
Immediately, ravenous-looking mummies and skeletons come pouring out. Ose flicks her gaze back just as the portal begins to activate. She jumps away, letting the warpgate's calculations run normally.
"Alright, Mephisto!" Ose says, as she maintains a faint telepathic contact with the warpgate. "Assuming my agent is in position, he'll hold off reinforcements for the twenty seconds it takes to open the gate. Once it opens, you're in charge!"
Mephisto snorts. "Ksss. In charge. Yesss... I like the sssound of that."
Hardly any time goes by at all before the gateway to Tarus II stabilizes, popping open with the sound of a hundred exploding balloons.
Mephisto glances at Ose as she begins to retreat, then his undead. "Go, my minionsss! Make your massster proud! Rip the flessshbagsss limb from limb!"
Ose slips behind Mephisto's two Death Gates. She watches for a minute as countless undead pour into Tarus II, nodding with satisfaction.
"Good. Mephisto can weaken humanity with his undead. Fewer demon casualties, that way. He can probe their defenses and give me a report in a few days, once I get my damned hands healed."
As she walks away, Ose gently flexes her fingers, wincing as pain shoots up her arm.
"...fucking crocodile."
...
After Ose departs, Mephisto's eyes flutter from left to right. He uses his absolute control over his minions to see through their eyes, scouting out the weaknesses of the humans.
"Yesss... good. Go there. And you, do not throw your livesss away. Forget Ossse'sss ordersss. You are my preciousss children. I mussst sssave sssome ssstrength for ousssting Ossse when the time comesss... kekeke."
The Duke of Mist cackles nefariously to himself for several seconds. Once he stops, his eyes grow cold.
"Ksss. Duriel. Zamiel. Come."
From behind Mephisto, two Barons appear; the Battle Brothers. Zamiel, the smaller, but older brother, and Duriel, the taller, but younger one. They quickly walk over and bow their heads politely.
Duriel speaks first. "Boss! When do we get to go in?"
"Yeah," Zamiel grins. "When do we get'ta slice and dice, eh? I haven't gotten to unleash my full power since the last boost."
"Sssoon," Mephisto says, with a slow nod. "The Sssphinx is injured, ssstill. Hisss fairy wife livesss, and ssshe isss quite powerful. You mussstn't underessstimate her ssstrength."
"Fairy, shmairy," Duriel grunts. The big guy pounds his fist against Zamiel's. "Stupid little twig-girl won't mean nothing to us, boss. Now that Ose's outta the way, we can do our business in secret."
"Yesss, we can," Mephisto says, nodding slowly. He shoots a glance at the warpgate, checking to see if any humans have stymied the flow of his undead. "But we musst move quickly. Once Ossse returnsss, you may accidentally expossse your true ssstrength to her. Kekeke... Emperor Krissstoff would not like that, would he?"
The Battle Brothers lose their smarmy attitudes at the mention of one of the Labyrinth's many Hidden Emperors. They shift on their feet uneasily. "Boss..." Zamiel murmurs. "Kristoff gave us one hell of a boost, yeah... but don't you worry you're just playing into his hands?"
"All demonsss, humansss, and angelsss become putty in my palmsss onccce they die," Mephisto says, pride on his face. "Krissstoff may be the massster of blood, but when he inevitably diesss, hisss power will become mine. That is the beauty, you sssee, for I control the River Ssstyx."
Both Battle Brothers force themselves to grin. "Y-yeah, boss. I sure hope you're right."
Mephisto waves a bony finger at the brothers. "Prepare yourssselvesss. I will have you ssstrike when the time isss right. Ssstay clossse, and keep Bael occupied. He will only get in my way."
The Battle Brothers glance past Mephisto's Death Gates, past the completely shattered Great Doors of the Labyrinth, out to the outer hallway, where Bael sits around the corner, beyond where they can see.
Duriel sighs. "We'll try. Guy's a total downer, though. Won't shut up about purple dragons."
"Well, do what you mussst," Mephisto says, shooing them away.
After the Battle Brothers walk away, Mephisto aims his mind at the undead.
"Time to give thessse humansss a fright, kekeke!"
With a flurry of Mephisto's fingers, he activates his necromancy magic once again.
A giant, foot-wide hand emerges from one of his Death Gates...
submitted by Klokinator to HFY [link] [comments]


2020.07.10 14:09 Klokinator Cryopod Refresh 241: Invasion!

The chill of the night-time wind sweeps across Tarus II's surface. Strange, monstrous beasts hover in the sky, their pill-shaped bodies floating through the air without wings. These creatures, beasts which evolved on Tarus II, travel in packs, allowing vast numbers of sky-bound bugs to float into their open mouths. Known as cloud-beasts, they offer a hint of homeliness to the humans and monsters who've lived most of their lives on the beautiful blue world.
Not far away, in the Warpgate Encampment, hundreds of lights illuminate the area. Spotlights, flying drones with glowing bulbs, ground-mounted halogens, and all manner of other devices brighten up the pitch-black of the night, turning the walled camp into a fortress as bright as the day.
Two soldiers, decked out in fullbody T-REX's, stand next to the warpgate. Between them rests the gate's control pad, a soft white screen waiting for someone to login and input coordinates and calculations to another warpgate.
Both men hold a rifle in their grasp, resting against their chests. They shift back and forth on their feet to try and make the blood flow, and to eliminate the feeling of 'pins and needles' tingling in their toes.
"Hey, John," The soldier on the left says.
"What?" John replies, not even turning his head to look at the other soldier. "Need to shit again, Luke?"
"No! No, I'm good..." Luke mumbles. "I'm just, uh... bored."
"Sounds like a 'you' problem," John mutters. "It's a nice night out. Take in the air. Look at the stars."
Luke rolls his shoulders around to try and work out a kink in his neck. "Easy for you to say. We've been standing here for hours! You do that for fun every weekend."
"It's called 'meditation,'" John growls. "I like to get close to nature. Nothing weird about that."
"That's what you call it. The rest of us just want to know why you always disappear into the jungle and come back covered in mud. Got a lover inside a bog? Maybe a cute Medusa chick? What's the deal?"
John lightly waves the tip of his gun toward the Horned Forest, to the east of the encampment. "The only woman I see over there is Mother Nature. Don't you think she's out of my league?"
Luke glances at John. He slugs the other soldier in his arm. "Hah! And here I thought you didn't have a sense of humor!"
"Of course I do," John mutters. "I just don't feel like fooling around, what with the warpgate behind us."
Luke turns his head slightly to glance at the two long, curved arms sticking out of the steel platform beneath his feet. They rise twenty feet into the air and curve their tips toward each other before stopping some two feet apart.
"Yeah... pretty ominous. You, uh... are you scared?"
John shrugs. "A little."
"Yeah..." Luke mutters, his voice a whisper. "Me too. Commander Hiro says the demons are going to open the portal, eventually. Do you think they can? We destroyed the Core, right?"
"Commander Hiro knows better than either of us clowns," John says. "She's our tech-goddess. She made these blasters, these suits, and all of our equipment. If she says the demons will come, then..."
Luke returns his attention forward, toward the bottom of the platform. Dozens of soldiers casually mill around, chatting with one another. Slings attach their guns to their chests, keeping them within arm's reach while also allowing them to free up their hands.
Not far away, a dozen newly-created sentry towers stand fifty-feet tall, their spotlights aimed at the warpgate. Three snipers sit within each nest, all of them chatting up a storm while they wait for instructions.
"Has... has Commander Hiro ever been wrong?" Luke asks, his voice trembling. "About anything. Has she ever made a wrong call?"
John turns his head slightly to look at Luke. His friend's legs tremble almost imperceptibly, a sign of the fear he's trying to contain.
"Not that I know of," John mutters. "There's always a first time for something, but I doubt today will be that case."
Luke's head lowers as he gazes at the ground. "Trillions of demons. Can we win?"
"I doubt it," John says, his voice containing an odd edge. "But then, you know me. I've always been a pessimist."
"Yeah, you sure have," Luke says, chuckling uneasily.
As John and Luke guard the gate, John tilts his head to the side to look at the clock on his HUD.
11:47 AM.
A look of sadness appears on his face, shrouded by his faceless helmet. He glances at Luke.
"Say, why don't you go and grab the next shift early? I think I can handle it here for a minute, by myself."
Luke blinks in surprise as he turns to his friend. "Huh? Early? But Commander Hiro said-"
"Come on, Luke! I'm sure you've gotta use the little Skippy, and so do I. Let the next guys take over a few minutes early. What will it hurt?"
"Well..." Luke says, his voice hesitant. "I don't think we should. I'd never want to make Commander Hiro angry. She's one of my favorite people."
John doesn't reply. He stares at his friend's helmet for several long moments before sighing. "Haa... alright. Suit yourself."
...At that moment, right when the clock strikes 11:50.
A sudden sizzling sound begins crackling from the air behind Luke. The younger man turns to look at the warpgate behind him in horror as sparks of electricity bolt toward its center, connecting from five different points.
"Holy-!"
Luke's jaw drops. He immediately looks at the control panel, as a giant red warning appears on it.
"Initiating warpgate connection. 0:20 Seconds remaining. Decouple? [Y/N]"
A big red button for disabling the connection appears. Without hesitation, Luke jerks his arm forward to press it, just like Commander Hiro ordered.
In that split second, his gaze flicks to John, as the older man takes aim with his heavy blaster.
"No!"
Too late, all Luke can do is cry out one word of alarm before John pulls the trigger.
BLAM!
A heavy bolter shot blasts from the gun's barrel and punches straight through Luke's T-REX armor, rips out his stomach, and flings him backward. An instant later, Luke hits the ground with a wet thwop.
John doesn't even blink.
"I gave you your chance."
His single gunshot, along with the warpgate's activation, grabs the attention of every soldier in camp. They quickly beeline for the portal, looking at it, Luke's body, and John's smoking gun. "John! What happened?!"
"Luke was a traitor," John replies. "He tried to stop me from disabling the warpgate."
The other soldier guffaws. "Luke?! He did? No, never mind that! Hurry up and disable the gate!"
John smiles. "Sure thing, pal."
BLAM! BLAM!
John's weapon fires two more rounds, ending that soldier's life and alerting the entire base. Seconds later, a hail of gunfire smashes into John, battering him to the side. The last thing he sees is the countdown on the warpgate's initiation cycle.
"Initiating warpgate connection. 0:03 Seconds remaining. Decouple? [Y/N]"
Haha... you're all... too... late...
John dies before he hits the ground.
By the time the soldiers start to leap up the steps to the warpgate, they arrive just in time to see the decoupling notice disappear.
"Warpgate coupling successful. Initiating rift sequence."
The nearest soldier grabs at the keypad and furiously presses all over it. His expression warps into horrified rage. "I... I can't turn it off! Where's the decoupling button? Why did it disappear?!"
A female voice speaks from the console, her tone mocking in nature.
"Stupid humans. I removed that option. This warpgate will never close again."
FWOOM!
The warpgate violently connects with the Labyrinth Core, making all the soldiers shout in unison.
"We've made contact! Move, move, MOVE!!"
At that moment, a massive horde of undead begins pouring through the warpgate like water through a sieve. The fleeing soldiers turn around and fire their guns in tandem, transforming the battlefield into a deafening cacophony of slaughter.
Armored skeletons, unarmored skeletons, zombies, mummies, undead gargoyles, liches, specters, and all manner of other hellish creatures rush down the soldiers nearest the warpgate. Their sturdy T-REX's provide them only momentary protection before the undead tear through the nanites like steak knives through styrofoam. The men and women nearest the gate scream in agony as their innards leave them, flying in wide arcs across the ground.
One female soldier cries out helplessly as a skeleton rams its fingers into her eyes, gouging her brains out before she can even raise her gun. She falls backward, lifeless, as the undead keeps charging forward recklessly, without regard for its life.
Four dozen soldiers die in the blink of an eye. However, the other soldiers manage to hide behind erected concrete blockades, firing full-tilt into the neverending mob of rotted flesh and sinew.
"Reload!" One soldier at the frontlines barks. He jumps backward as another soldier takes his spot, spitting hot lead into the nearest half-dozen zombies. Despite the humans possessing energy weapons, plasma cannons, and other such advanced devices, they opt to use plain old bullets of varying sizes, instead. Thanks to the advanced designs of their weapons, the barrels never overheat, nor do the differing bullets ever jam in the firing cylinders.
However, with only finite ammunition, some of the soldiers sweat crazily as they watch thousands upon thousands of undead creatures pour from the warpgate.
...
Not far from the frontlines, Lieutenant Samuel activates his T-REX. A brilliant golden hue materializes over his body as the powerful Rhino armor takes shape, giving him two massive spikes on his shoulders, and one on his helmet. He flexes his arms and howls like a bear as he feels the strength inside the heavily reinforced suit.
"Get me some covering fire!" Samuel barks. "You over there, find Commander Hiro and notify her of the gate breach on the double! And you, get the Generals!"
Without waiting for a reply, Samuel begins dashing forward.
Slowly, at first.
The colossal, one-ton armor supports itself via the billions of nanites forming its surface. Samuel, still getting used to its immense bulk, takes one step forward.
Then another.
And another.
Slowly, he begins to build up speed.
Despite a quarter-mile separating the warpgate from the eastern edge of the encampment, Samuel's Rhino suit eventually begins moving with unstoppable force. He stomps forward at five miles an hour, then seven, and then ten...
Soon, the sounds of massive stomping noises startle many troopers as they see their designated Lieutenant storming toward them like an enraged bull.
Relief appears in their eyes.
"It's Lieutenant Samuel!"
"Make way!"
Miraculously, a path opens up before Samuel as he storms forward unwaveringly. His body becomes a bowling ball as he barrels past his fellow soldiers and careens into the mass of undead right before they break through the forward line.
BOOM!
Samuel swings both of his arms outward, away from his chest. The violent motion instantly crushes the heads of five skeletons and six zombies, flinging them into their nearby comrades and toppling the entire front line. The sheer might behind Samuel's Rhino exosuit turns him into an undead-steamroller.
Samuel raises his fists over his head just as two heavily armored skeletons rush him. He pauses for a half-second to let the skeletons swing their swords toward his chest.
Tink.
The swords bounce off the Rhino's carapace without causing any damage.
Samuel's face contorts into a hideous grin.
"You should have RUN!"
His fists swing down like sledgehammers, flattening the armored skeletons as if their bones were made of wet paper. Over and over, Samuel stomps around the frontlines, taking no damage while beating the undead to death with their own extremities.
As the gunfire roars overhead, annihilating hundreds of undead every minute, Samuel's battle instincts kick in. He glances up the hill as, for a brief moment, the flow of undead slows to a crawl.
A gigantic hand, nearly a foot wide, reaches through the portal.
Samuel's heart trembles.
"By... by the Creator!"
A long-dead gate troll stoops down and steps through the warpgate. The monster's skeletal remains, more than twenty-five feet tall, barely fit through the Labyrinth's portal.
Samuel gnashes his teeth. "You want to play hardball, huh? Come, then! I'll turn you into bonemeal!"
.......................................
Several minutes earlier, inside the Core.
Ose, the Emperor of Infiltration, stands beside the lone excavated warpgate. Mountains of debris sit shoved off to the side, all of it from the collapsed ceiling nearly a day before. With nearly twenty hours having passed, Ose's hands appear only partially restored; severe fractures running across all of her fingers and much of her arms.
The lightning-demoness grimaces as she glances to her right, at Mephisto, the Duke of Mist. He hovers just off the ground, his ethereal body untouchable by physical objects.
"Alright. My hands are nowhere near fully-healed. However, we can't wait on me. I'll be leaving you in charge while I return to the Blood Pits."
Mephisto cackles quietly. "Kekeke... you mussstn't overexert yourssself, Ossse. Do not forget that it wasss I who nearly sssinglehandedly defeated the flessshbagsss. Thisss invasssion will be in quite good handsss..."
"Bael did some heavy lifting too," Ose retorts with a frown. "You've always been more eager for power than Bael and the others. I'll bet it irks you that I'm the Emperor and you're not, hmm?"
Mephisto scowls. "Kss. What of it to you, sssnake? Have you sssomething to sssay? I wasss Sssatan'sss protege. It was he and I who created the Labyrinth. Without me, you would never have had a chanccce to become an Emperor."
Ose's frown deepens. "Watch your tongue, necromancer. You're not as important as you think. I could have entered Heaven and stolen what we needed from the Lazarus Tower just as easily as you. For that matter, so could Belial."
"Pah!" Mephisto sneers, floating close to Ose's face. "What pretty wordsss, but in the end, it wasss I who completed the misssion. It wasss I who ssstole the power of sssoulsss from the angelsss. I reversssed our fortunesss and helped bring an end to the angel'sss wretched waysss. You, in turn, ssstole the Emperor posssition from under my nossse!"
The two demons eyeball each other with vicious glares, their faces mere inches from each other.
After a few moments, Ose relents. "Tch. You're the weakest Duke, Mephisto, and the stupidest. Making you an Emperor would be a waste of souls. Blame yourself for being a pathetic schemer. I wrapped the others around my finger and thus obtained the helm of demonic power."
Ose smiles. "You're just jealous you lacked the strength to take it for yourself."
Mephisto's eyes turn bloodthirsty. However, he doesn't immediately speak, nor does he lash out.
After several seconds...
"Ksss. You are a wretched woman. May maggotsss infessst your insssidesss, and may roachesss crawl out of your eyesss. You will regret usssurping me, one day."
Ose rolls her eyes. She turns to the warpgate's control system and sneers. "Keep dreaming, necromancer. I'm smarter than you, and all of the other demons. Now that I have my power, I'll never lose it."
Mephisto falls silent as the white-haired demoness motions with her hands, conjuring the elemental power of lightning to transfer a portion of her consciousness into the warpgate's controller.
As she does, Mephisto watches, his hate-filled gaze deepening.
Foolish woman. You've sealed your fate.
He stays quiet, but if looks could kill, his evil eyes would murder Ose a thousand times over.
Ose begins rapidly computing a hundred thousand spatial vectors, while her eyes rapidly jerk back and forth behind her closed eyelids. Her forehead knots up with concentration.
"Summon your Death Gates, Mephisto. I'm about to activate the portal."
Mephisto continues to glare at Ose for a moment before turning away to a decent-sized empty space some fifty feet from the warpgate. Not far away, near the destroyed great doors leading into the Core, many upper-ranked Lord and Baron-rank demons stand around muttering to one another. They keep their distance according to Ose's orders as Mephisto begins to motion with his hands.
An unearthly demonic language pours from Mephisto's mouth. His eyes transform into fiery orbs as he summons the power of Death Energy, coalescing it into two spiraling energy rifts hovering in midair. The blackened mana moves further and further away until both of them turn into shimmering, electrified clouds. The energetic clouds crackle with energy and begin emitting a high-pitched screeching noise, like nails on a chalkboard, but far louder and more drawn out. Mephisto ignores the noises, but the demons behind the cloud run away while covering their ears and shouting angrily.
"Weaklingsss..." Mephisto hisses. "Undead would not be ssso cowardly... truly, the living are inferior to the dead."
The plasma-like gas continues to churn unceasingly. Suddenly, it spirals around toward a dot in each cloud's center, as if getting sucked up by a vacuum cleaner.
Foom!
The center-points explode, summoning two portals as dark as the grave. They quickly shoot up to the ceiling and expand sideways, revealing forty-foot Death Gates, all capable of rapidly summoning undead creatures according to Mephisto's necromagic.
Immediately, ravenous-looking mummies and skeletons come pouring out. Ose flicks her gaze back just as the portal begins to activate. She jumps away, letting the warpgate's calculations run normally.
"Alright, Mephisto!" Ose says, as she maintains a faint telepathic contact with the warpgate. "Assuming my agent is in position, he'll hold off reinforcements for the twenty seconds it takes to open the gate. Once it opens, you're in charge!"
Mephisto snorts. "Ksss. In charge. Yesss... I like the sssound of that."
Hardly any time goes by at all before the gateway to Tarus II stabilizes, popping open with the sound of a hundred exploding balloons.
Mephisto glances at Ose as she begins to retreat, then his undead. "Go, my minionsss! Make your massster proud! Rip the flessshbagsss limb from limb!"
Ose slips behind Mephisto's two Death Gates. She watches for a minute as countless undead pour into Tarus II, nodding with satisfaction.
"Good. Mephisto can weaken humanity with his undead. Fewer demon casualties, that way. He can probe their defenses and give me a report in a few days, once I get my damned hands healed."
As she walks away, Ose gently flexes her fingers, wincing as pain shoots up her arm.
"...fucking crocodile."
...
After Ose departs, Mephisto's eyes flutter from left to right. He uses his absolute control over his minions to see through their eyes, scouting out the weaknesses of the humans.
"Yesss... good. Go there. And you, do not throw your livesss away. Forget Ossse'sss ordersss. You are my preciousss children. I mussst sssave sssome ssstrength for ousssting Ossse when the time comesss... kekeke."
The Duke of Mist cackles nefariously to himself for several seconds. Once he stops, his eyes grow cold.
"Ksss. Duriel. Zamiel. Come."
From behind Mephisto, two Barons appear; the Battle Brothers. Zamiel, the smaller, but older brother, and Duriel, the taller, but younger one. They quickly walk over and bow their heads politely.
Duriel speaks first. "Boss! When do we get to go in?"
"Yeah," Zamiel grins. "When do we get'ta slice and dice, eh? I haven't gotten to unleash my full power since the last boost."
"Sssoon," Mephisto says, with a slow nod. "The Sssphinx is injured, ssstill. Hisss fairy wife livesss, and ssshe isss quite powerful. You mussstn't underessstimate her ssstrength."
"Fairy, shmairy," Duriel grunts. The big guy pounds his fist against Zamiel's. "Stupid little twig-girl won't mean nothing to us, boss. Now that Ose's outta the way, we can do our business in secret."
"Yesss, we can," Mephisto says, nodding slowly. He shoots a glance at the warpgate, checking to see if any humans have stymied the flow of his undead. "But we musst move quickly. Once Ossse returnsss, you may accidentally expossse your true ssstrength to her. Kekeke... Emperor Krissstoff would not like that, would he?"
The Battle Brothers lose their smarmy attitudes at the mention of one of the Labyrinth's many Hidden Emperors. They shift on their feet uneasily. "Boss..." Zamiel murmurs. "Kristoff gave us one hell of a boost, yeah... but don't you worry you're just playing into his hands?"
"All demonsss, humansss, and angelsss become putty in my palmsss onccce they die," Mephisto says, pride on his face. "Krissstoff may be the massster of blood, but when he inevitably diesss, hisss power will become mine. That is the beauty, you sssee, for I control the River Ssstyx."
Both Battle Brothers force themselves to grin. "Y-yeah, boss. I sure hope you're right."
Mephisto waves a bony finger at the brothers. "Prepare yourssselvesss. I will have you ssstrike when the time isss right. Ssstay clossse, and keep Bael occupied. He will only get in my way."
The Battle Brothers glance past Mephisto's Death Gates, past the completely shattered Great Doors of the Labyrinth, out to the outer hallway, where Bael sits around the corner, beyond where they can see.
Duriel sighs. "We'll try. Guy's a total downer, though. Won't shut up about purple dragons."
"Well, do what you mussst," Mephisto says, shooing them away.
After the Battle Brothers walk away, Mephisto aims his mind at the undead.
"Time to give thessse humansss a fright, kekeke!"
With a flurry of Mephisto's fingers, he activates his necromancy magic once again.
A giant, foot-wide hand emerges from one of his Death Gates...
.......................................
FOR RETURNING READERS FROM CLASSIC: Please use spoiler tags when commenting on anything that might ruin the story for new readers, especially if that information is based on your knowledge of Classic!
This is what a spoiler looks like! Click it to reveal the text!
owo?
>!This is what a spoiler looks like! Click it to reveal the text!!< 
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2020.07.10 13:46 no_not_luke [SPOILERS IN TITLE AND POST] The true moment Aang masters the Avatar State, cont'd. If you haven't read this post's predecessor, click the link for a thoughtful analysis of the energybending scene and how it relates to Aang's journey with the Avatar State. This post is about the evidence.

Introductory post: https://www.reddit.com/TheLastAirbendecomments/honi3o/spoilers_in_title_and_post_are_you_still_iffy_on/
So, you want proof. You read through my first post and thought there was enough information to be interesting, but not enough to persuade you. Yeah, the concept is alright, but is it convincing? Not yet?
Well, let me tell ya. My first post - scratch that, essay - was practically a tl;dr.
Strap in, or get ready to come back later, because this is it: my magnum opus. My biggest, and hopefully best, contribution to the ATLA fandom is contained within the remainder of this post. It's a long one, but I think you'll find my arguments interesting enough to warrant the read even if you end up disagreeing. And if that's the case, I can't wait to hear your evidence against this in the comments! There will be some repetition in this post of points I laid out in the last one, but it's kept to a minimum and serves to paint the entire picture.
Let's start with a refresher. This is the exact moment I posit Aang masters the Avatar State:
Most of the images like these, in this post and the last, are taken from the official “Avatar: The Last Airbender” YouTube channel - specifically their video of the uncut final battle.
Prior to this scene, Aang has taken a beating from Ozai in a cat-and-mouse battle, but the tide suddenly turns when a rocky protrusion lands a lucky hit on Aang's scar and unblocks his Thought Chakra, sending Aang into a previous-lives-fueled rage. "It's right here, silly!" some of you might be saying to me in your heads; "His chakra is opened and he enters the Avatar State!"
But I'd ask you to take a step back. I have to be precise in my terminology: for the purposes of this write-up, unblocking the chakra will be separate from opening the chakra. Chakras are naturally unblocked, and if they're blocked, they must be unblocked before they can be opened. Opening the chakras is the technique Aang learned from Guru Pathik, and opening each chakra is how he masters the Avatar State, which is the step beyond entering it involuntarily. Azula prevented him not just from mastering the Avatar State, but accessing it at all; this is the effect of a blocked chakra, whereas an unblocked chakra lets Aang enter the State in dangerous or emotionally intense situations without control over it.
I hope that didn't sound too pretentious; it's just that I need to be clear about what I'm talking about. Still with me? Great!
It's true that the rock jab does send Aang into the Avatar State, but this is the same defensive version we've seen in all appearances of the Avatar State, bar one (that instance being in "The Crossroads of Destiny"; this episode will be popping up again soon). Guru Pathik tells Aang that when he has opened all the chakras, "[Aang] will have complete control and awareness of all [his] actions [in the Avatar State]", yet it's easy to see that Aang does not have control of his actions in this fight:
So if he doesn't master the Avatar State right then, that means the only other time he could have mastered it was at the end of "The Crossroads of Destiny," right? He was opening his seventh chakra!
Indeed he was. The distinction here is that the process was never completed. Here's what I've got for that argument:
If you've agreed with me - or if I've convinced you of my assertions - up to this point (or even in my last post; in that case, yay!), then that means that you think he didn't finish opening his chakras and that he never mastered the Avatar State prior to or including the rock jab. You already know when I think he mastered the Avatar State, but I'm going to have to walk you through a fair bit of pre-explanation explanation before we get to the meat of it. Then, I promise, the answer to the debate will be made as self-evident as it ever will be.
  1. This is the big one - it's why this specific list is numbered, as opposed to the others, which were bulleted. If I don't get you on my side for this one, then my explanation for Aang's moment of mastery won't hold weight, and we'll just have to go back to trying to decide which of the two aforementioned moments was the one where Aang got control over the Avatar State. OK; you ready? Guru Pathik had perfect knowledge of all the chakras, and his words can be trusted infallibly...except for everything to do with the seventh chakra. To be more specific: everything he says regarding the seventh chakra in particular, beginning with what it is blocked by (earthly attachment) and all the teachings that follow that statement, is born from misinformation. He's right about what it deals with - pure cosmic energy - and that it needs to be opened in order to master the Avatar State, but that's about it. The next couple points elaborate on where the misinformation comes from.
  2. Aang speaks with Avatar Yangchen in "Sozin's Comet, Part 2: The Old Masters," where she tells him that "the Avatar can never [detach themselves from the world], because [their] sole duty is to the world." How, then, has any Avatar in the past mastered the Avatar State through the methods Guru Pathik employs? Avatar Yangchen herself is seen having mastered the State in a vision in Book 2's "The Avatar State"! We have two conflicting opinions: Guru Pathik says detachment is necessary to master the Avatar State, but Yangchen says detachment is impossible for the Avatar. Which one is right? I'm going to go with the person who successfully mastered the Avatar State.
  3. This is not the only aspect of the seventh chakra about which Guru Pathik is mistaken. After Aang chooses Katara over his chakra at the Eastern Air Temple, Guru Pathik tells him, "By choosing attachment, you have locked the chakra! If you leave now, you won't be able to go into the Avatar state at all!" yet this is proven false multiple times. If he's misinformed in one way about how this chakra affects the Avatar State, it's more than possible he's wrong in another way.
  4. I think that the seventh chakra is distinct from the other chakras in that it functions slightly differently for the Avatar than it does for the rest of the world. I think Guru Pathik was correct when he said the chakra "deals with pure cosmic energy", but since the Avatar's relationship to the world and universe is fundamentally different from others' relationship to the universe, the chakra connecting them should be different too. Opening it would necessitate the Avatar go through a different process than what most other people face. I think my explanation in the first post for how an Avatar opens the last chakra (love for the world and its inhabitants>desire for Avatar State) had sufficient detail; there's not much else to it.
  5. Entire centuries have passed since the Avatar was an airbender (prior to Aang). That's a very long time for detailed information, like the opening of chakras, to remain intact without continuously putting that information to use. Since airbenders were likely achieving enlightenment continuously throughout the period between Air-vatars, the process for airbenders opening the seventh chakra remained well within the Nomads' wealth of knowledge. The information for how an Avatar opens their last chakra, though, was lost to time through disuse over multiple centuries.
  6. This is sort of 4.5, but whereas the chakras exist for everyone else so that they can become enlightened - Yangchen states, "Many great and wise Air Nomads have detached themselves and achieved spiritual enlightenment..." - Avatars aren't chasing spiritual enlightenment; instead, they're chasing mastery over the Avatar State. I'm not sure we can equate spiritual enlightenment for an Avatar to the Avatar State. I mean, maybe we can, but since this is quite subjective, it's last in line as far as evidence goes.
Wow, that's...an absurd amount of set-up. But in spite of all the words in the way, we made it! Time to walk through the energybending scene, and how Aang truly takes control of the Avatar State.
Where we begin: Aang has just rejected the defensive Avatar State after nearly killing a helpless Ozai. He has drawn a line in the sand; he will never sacrifice the morality that's gotten him to this moment, even if it's the surest way to victory. I think Guru Pathik would be proud of this decision: before he begins his spiritual mentoring, he tells Aang, "You must gain balance within yourself before you can bring balance to the world." The world still needs the Avatar to lead them to harmony after Ozai's defeat, but a damaged, unsure, reeling, unbalanced Aang would never find the strength to restore balance to the nations. His guilt would make him feel unworthy, and he'd be questioning every code to which he held himself while simultaneously trying to establish a better code for the world to live by. I think his decision to spare Ozai was indeed mostly done out of selfishness, but deep down in his psyche, also incredibly wise.
It also means that his identity as the Avatar has been forever altered: yes, all Avatars are autonomous, but they're somewhat of a product of their predecessors. Aang has refused to be that product, and while this refusal only deals with a single aspect of the role of the Avatar, it's a pivotal one. From this point until he can control the State, he can't depend on the wisdom of those that came before him any longer, and for the first time in his life, he is...alone. He will not enter the Avatar State again until he commands it, because his past lives are irreconcilable with Aang's beliefs. Every decision made for the rest of this fight can come from only him, and the first decision he makes is taking the risk of energybending.
Despite the glowing eyes, he isn't in the Avatar State. First of all, the glowing mouth would be new, and second of all, his other tattoos aren't aglow.
Then, the glow of energy spreads throughout both of their bodies. They are radiant, and their conflict outshines the comet. Even with his spirit being turned inside out, though, he remains outside of the Avatar State.
His eyes glow, but not his tattoos. The glowing eyes are a product of energybending and not the Avatar State; after all, Ozai isn't an Avatar!
You can compare these shots: though the reflections on his arms look like his arrow tattoos, they're not in the same place. Aang is doing this all on his own.
The Lion-Turtle's words float over the contest of wills: "To bend another's energy, your own spirit must be unbendable, or you will be corrupted and destroyed." Before our eyes, Ozai's spirit begins to overtake Aang's, because Ozai is singleminded in his hatred and confident of his destiny. Aang's spirit must not be unbendable yet, because it's yielding to the Fire Lord. But what makes a spirit unbendable? Let's return the words of the Lion-Turtle who passed on knowledge of this technique to Aang: "The true mind can weather all the lies and illusions without being lost. The true heart can tough the poison of hatred without being harmed."
What does this mean, and what does it mean to Aang? Is his heart true? Is his mind? Let's start with the mind:
If Aang's mind has yet to become "true", that means Aang is still suffering under some illusion(s) and/or lie(s) in this moment. What could that be? Well, there are multiple layers to Aang's "true mind". On a surface level, he is still working out how to open his last chakra. Up until the night before the comet, Aang believed that he had to sacrifice his earthly attachments to open the chakra. In talking to Yangchen, though, he discovered that this wasn't the case. In the same conversation, he tells her, "But the monks taught me that I had to detach myself from the world so my spirit could be free!" He's struggling to accept the truth of Yangchen's words because it contradicts everything he learned about spirituality from the monks and about the chakras from Guru Pathik. This is an illusion under which he's still suffering.
But that's not all. On a deeper level, Aang has been told ever since coming out of the iceberg that the only way to defeat the Fire Lord is to become more powerful than him. For almost a year, Aang's path has been to develop skills and techniques in order to hit Ozai harder than Ozai can hit him. This subject is reminiscent of the thematic analysis of power in my first post, so I won't repeat it all here. Essentially, as soon as Aang energybends on Ozai, he realizes 1) that the power either of them wields has lost all significance, and 2) that without lethal force, power alone was never going to bring balance.
Now, what about Aang's heart? Is it "true"?
In my very first draft of this post, I thought, "Clearly Aang's heart is true: it just faced its most intense trial - deciding to kill Ozai, or spare him - and it braved it in an awesome display of resolve by shutting down the Avatar State! It can definitely play its part as the "true heart" against Ozai's hatred." As I considered what Aang would need to do to open his last chakra, though, the thought of his struggle with letting Katara go became paramount. And I realized that, no, Aang's heart isn't true, not so long as he tries to carve the interpersonal love out of it. A true heart will feel any and every emotion, despite what its owner tries to will it into feeling. Aang has denied his romantic feelings every time they prevented him from mastering the Avatar State (or so he thinks), but guess what else Aang has denied by this point? The Avatar State. Aang has decided he'll fight the rest of this fight without the Avatar State, and once he realizes that means his feelings for Katara don't need to be restrained any longer, they come flooding through to awaken his true heart.
Where Aang was vulnerable...
https://preview.redd.it/5q3z6elqbz951.png?width=1920&format=png&auto=webp&s=28d01da2a38448a30aae289f5a5b13e1b0997039
...he's now unbendable.



Also: TATTOOS! TATTOOS ARE GLOWING! AVATAR STATE IS A-GO! I REPEAT, AVATAR STATE IS A-GO!
Aang enters the Avatar State. He does so without the need to defend himself or in an emotional outburst like every other time the State has been activated. Coincidentally (but actually not), it happened at the same exact second when his true mind and true heart conquered Ozai. How are these forces connected?
Here's some icing on the cake:
Look familiar?
Wow! Well...wait. Sure, the shafts are similar, but are these beams really the same?
True, they're not identical. But I'm going to treat it as a case of artistic license; they're identical enough for me!
The same beam that appeared when Aang enters the Avatar State for the first time returns to signal the moment Aang masters the Avatar State. A light show for Aang's first (defensive) Avatar State, and a light show for Aang's first self-induced Avatar State. As a certain science-fantasy icon would say, "It's like poetry. It rhymes."
The conclusion of our recreation of this scene is the fully-realized Avatar Aang, victorious.
https://preview.redd.it/76fr9kd5kz951.png?width=1920&format=png&auto=webp&s=1097eb2c3a55854a6469d26c6baad3a7d43b9079
I don't know about you, but for me, reading all this meaning into this episode (while it may be a bit excessive) really elevates the final scenes. Going back to watch the fight while projecting this inner journey onto Aang just makes the finale even more special. If you'd like to end your reading here, I'll bid you good-bye, and I'd like you to know that I'm immeasurably grateful that you've read through two unbelievably oversized posts. You deserve a seat next to Bosco at the Earth King's next party.
If you're thinking about all the possible ways I'm wrong, though...so am I. This theory isn't 100% waterproof...but I'd call it 95% if we make the right concessions. Let's get into the detractors.
\"His arrow is glowing! I thought he shouldn't be in the Avatar State yet!\"
To this, I say that 1) it's not glowing as brightly as it does in the Avatar State, so it might just be an artistic decision. Then again, that's not consistent with the other image where the blue glow covers his whole body and his other arrows, because the other arrows aren't white to contrast with the blue. Here's what I think is happening. Let's review the sixth chakra real quick: deals with insight, blocked by illusion. Located where? The forehead. There's also a precedent for some of Aang's tattoos to glow while others don't. Here's something from this very episode:
Forehead and eyes? Check. Hand? Nope.
Nor is this the only time: another that comes to mind is when Aang's hand alone glows at the end of "The Swamp". What I think is happening in the first image is that Aang is in the process of untangling the illusions he's been fed, and with his spirit being turned "inside out" (that's the second time I'm using this phrase because I've heard that's how one of the creators described this scene), that process manifests in the form of a slight glow where the chakra is located. It's not related to the Avatar State, and it's not Aang "re-opening" the sixth chakra. It's just that the forehead is where, symbolically, illusions are undone. You might argue that, since the fifth chakra is blocked by lies, his throat should also be glowing. But while teaching Aang, Guru Pathik immediately clarifies what blocks the fifth chakra by saying, "The lies we tell ourselves." Aang isn't being dishonest with himself, therefore no throat glow.
This brings me to the very last topic of this post, which discusses the biggest threat to this theory.
All my ideas came from one quick little detail that I happened to notice: Aang's tattoos glowing after beating Ozai in energybending, and not before. But what if that...all of this...was just an...accident?
As much as we like to pretend ATLA is perfect (and it nearly is), it isn't quite, and the animation can reflect that. Here are some times that the Avatar State was represented incorrectly:
Aang's arrow isn't glowing.
The back of his head doesn't glow, yet the next shot shows his head arrow tattoo all alight.
From the very episode which birthed this theory: Aang's eyes are white, but not glowing. Only noticed this one on my fiftieth watch of this scene as I was formulating my ideas.
So if these mistakes are possible, who's to say the moment that forms the foundation of my theory isn't a mistake itself? Well, to be honest...I think there's a good chance it is. The Avatar State looks cool; why wouldn't Aang be in the Avatar State as, or after, he energybends? In my heart, I don't really think it was the writers' intention that the seventh chakra has a different way for Avatars to unlock it, and I think Cosmic Aang showed Aang the chained Katara because he was supposed to let her go. This is where the three other percentage points get knocked off of the airtight-ness of my ideas.
Despite this, I still side with my theory. I think that the fact that there's this much room for interpretation (mostly because of the inconsistencies that were left in the original story) gives my theory the space it needs to exist and thrive. It actually sews up more inconsistencies in the story than it creates! 95% airtight is still better than 92% airtight, which is the number I'd give the show's presentation of this battle and the journey o the Avatar State. That's why I still want to spread these ideas, in spite of my doubts. I want fans to be able to have this matter settled. Maybe most fans don't care, but it's a good bet that the ones that are reading this do :)
With that, I'll leave you with a picture of our Avatar demonstrating his mastery of the Avatar State. No matter how he got here, he proved he's the Avatar the war owes its end to.
The End.
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