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Business Ideas – Personal Shopping Service
2023.03.31 17:49 minebookme Business Ideas – Personal Shopping Service
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A personal shopping service is a distinctive and expanding business concept that provides clients with personalized shopping experiences based on their individual styles, interests, and spending limits. With the growth of e-commerce and the rising desire for personalized services, launching a shopping service that is personal may provide a successful and fulfilling employment opportunity.
In this article, we will discuss business ideas for personal shopping services and the best personal shopping services.
Must-Know Facts About Providing Personal Shopping Services
Let’s look at some of the queries regarding personal shopping services.
What Industry Is Personal Shopping?
The retail and fashion industries include the service sector of personal shopping. Although they frequently work in shops or boutiques, personal shoppers can also freelance or offer their services online. The sector focuses on assisting people in locating and buying clothes and other items that are appropriate for their unique needs and preferences. Since consumers want more individualized and effective shopping experiences, the function of shoppers has grown in significance.
What Are Online Personal Shopping Services?
Online personal shopping services are digital platforms including virtual styling sessions, online shopping suggestions, subscriptions, personalized shopping portals, and wardrobe management programs that offer customers individualized buying recommendations. Online personal shopping services provide a simple and effective approach for customers to get tailored buying advice from the convenience of their own homes.
Building The Best Personal Shopping Services
If you are planning to build a business based on personal shopping services, your first priority should be building the best personal shopping services around your area. By doing this, you will never run out of clients and will have sufficient income to grow your business.
What Are Luxury Personal Shopping Services?
For clients looking for customized styling
and wardrobe guidance, access to luxury brands, VIP treatment, tickets to special events, private shopping experiences, and other concierge services, luxury personal shopping services provide exclusive, high-quality shopping opportunities. For customers seeking the best in upscale clothes and individualized care, they offer an upgraded and unique shopping experience. Now you know about luxury personal shopping services.
How To Start A Personal Shopping Service?
In order to launch a personal shopping service, you must conduct market research, create a business plan
, register your company, build a brand identity, build supplier connections, create a pricing strategy, market your service, deliver first-rate customer service, and continuously assess and improve your services. Hard work, devotion, and a readiness to change with the times are necessary for success.
How To Price Personal Shopping Services?
When deciding how much to charge for your personal shopping services, you should consider the following factors: the market, your experience, the amount of time and effort required, your expenses, and the value you bring to your customers. Provide a selection of different bundles, and be transparent about the prices. Price should be competitive, reasonable, and reflective of the quality of the product or service being offered.
How Much Do You Charge For Personal Shopping?
The cost of shopping services can be impacted by a variety of different aspects, such as the level of expertise of the shopper, the kind of service provided, and the total duration of the shopping trip. Rates for shoppers in the country often range anywhere from $120 to $200 per hour. It is essential to look around, compare the prices, and evaluate the services that various shoppers offer in order to pick the one that best meets your budget restrictions.
What Are The Services Of A Personal Shopper?
In order to assist clients in finding apparel and accessories that complement their individual tastes and needs, shoppers provide services like wardrobe inspection, personal styling, shopping assistance, special occasion styling, closet organizing, and personalized suggestions.
What Is The Objective Of A Personal Shopper?
A personal shopper’s objective
is to assist clients in finding accessories that reflect their sense of style, physical characteristics, and needs. They make an effort to comprehend the interests, budgets, and lifestyles of their clients in order to make specific recommendations that satisfy their particular needs. The objective is to ensure that the client feels and looks their finest in their new clothes and accessories while also making the shopping experience joyful and stress-free. In general, a personal shopper strives to offer a high caliber of service that is customized to each client’s requirements and tastes.
What Does A Personal Shopper For Women Do?
Based on the client’s unique style, body shape, spending limit, and preferences, a personal shopper for women offers customized shopping experiences. Services could include advising on current fashion trends, personal shopping on special occasions, shopping trips, personalized style, and online buying assistance. In general, a personal shopper for women provides unique shopping experiences that consider each client’s needs and interests.
How Do I Become A Freelance Personal Shopper?
These are some actions you may do if you’re considering working as a freelance personal shopper:
- Gaining expertise: Start by getting knowledge of the retail or fashion industries through school or job experience. You will gain the expertise and abilities necessary to be successful as a shopper as a result of this.
- Creating a portfolio: Make a portfolio of your work and include any experience or accomplishments that are pertinent. This will make your style and area of expertise clearer to prospective clients.
- Create a niche: Think about developing a niche, including styling for special occasions or assisting clients in creating capsule wardrobes. You’ll be able to stand out in a busy market with this.
- Create a network: Develop connections with customers, coworkers, and business associates. Utilize social media to interact with potential clients and display your work.
- Choose your prices: Establish your pricing approach based on your expertise, the services you provide, and local market prices.
- Promote yourself: To advertise your services and display your work, use online venues like social media and a personal website.
Planning ahead, working hard, and a dedication to offering top-notch client service are all necessary when starting a personal shopping business. A personal shopping service that provides customers with a distinctive and personalized shopping experience can grow into a successful and lucrative business with the appropriate strategy and commitment. I hope you have got a clear understanding of the business ideas of personal shopping services by reading this article.
2023.03.31 17:47 dblack246 [Spoilers Published] About that event below Storm's End.
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"The seeing, the true seeing, that is the heart of it." -Syrio Forel Arya V, AGOT.
If only it were this easy to see through a glamor.
In book one, George is kind enough to give a guide to how to read the story by way of Syrio Forel. Syrio tells us there will be deceptions ahead and we have to see through these deceptions.
"The cat was an ordinary cat, no more. The others expected a fabulous beast, so that is what they saw. How large it was, they said. It was no larger than any other cat, only fat from indolence, for the Sealord fed it from his own table. What curious small ears, they said. Its ears had been chewed away in kitten fights. And it was plainly a tomcat, yet the Sealord said 'her,' and that is what the others saw. Are you hearing?"
Arya thought about it. "You saw what was there."
"Just so." Id.
If you've read some of my musing here and wondered why I think Quentyn wasn't burned by a dragon
; Robb didn't name Jon heir
, or Mance did not go to Winterfell to save Arya
, it is because I am trying to spot whether George has taken an ordinary cat and convinced readers it is a fabulous beast. I think George has invited most readers to conclude they saw a fabulous beast below Storm's End in Davos II. I think instead of witnessing the birth of a shadow baby, we saw a well-executed, carefully crafted and expertly timed glamor. I am going to attempt to lay out why the event below Storm's End was a glamor.
If you haven't already skipped to the comments to tell me this is unhinged tinfoil, thank you for that. It is always nice when people consider the argument before responding. I fully expect some passionate pushback on this one. As we were told in "They Live", people can be somewhat resistant to a new perspective
. I do not mind if you disagree. Theories do not improve in echo chambers. I only ask that you consider the offerings and that your disagreement be polite and constructive.
So, a quick recap for those who have not poured over Davos II, ACOK in a while. Following the death of Renly in Catelyn IV, ACOK, (and we will get to that because that is really important) Stannis is camped outside of Storm's End demanding the castle and Edric Storm. Ser Courtnay Penrose refuses.
Ser Cortnay did not seem surprised. "Is it the justice of your cause you doubt, my lord, or the strength of your arm? Are you afraid I'll piss on your burning sword and put it out?"
"Do you take me for an utter fool, ser?" asked Stannis. "I have twenty thousand men. You are besieged by land and sea. Why would I choose single combat when my eventual victory is certain?" The king pointed a finger at him. "I give you fair warning. If you force me to take my castle by storm, you may expect no mercy. I will hang you for traitors, every one of you."
"As the gods will it. Bring on your storm, my lord—and recall, if you do, the name of this castle." Ser Cortnay gave a pull on his reins and rode back toward the gate.
Stannis then speaks with Davos about the matter with Melisandre present. Melisandre sees that Stannis trusts Davos.
Davos had come too far with Stannis to play coy now. "Last year they were Robert's men. A moon ago they were Renly's. This morning they are yours. Whose will they be on the morrow?"
And Stannis laughed. A sudden gust, rough and full of scorn. "I told you, Melisandre," he said to the red woman, "my Onion Knight tells me the truth."
"I see you know him well, Your Grace," the red woman said.
Stannis tells Davos of Melisandre's vision as well as the need to take the Castle.
Davos Seaworth felt the small hairs rising on the back of his neck. "My lord, I do not understand you."
"I do not require your understanding. Only your service. Ser Cortnay will be dead within the day. Melisandre has seen it in the flames of the future. His death and the manner of it. He will not die in knightly combat, needless to say." Stannis held out his cup, and Devan filled it again from the flagon. "Her flames do not lie. She saw Renly's doom as well. On Dragonstone she saw it, and told Selyse. Lord Velaryon and your friend Salladhor Saan would have had me sail against Joffrey, but Melisandre told me that if I went to Storm's End, I would win the best part of my brother's power, and she was right."
Davos offers some protest, but he does not refuse his king.
"I must have the boy, Davos. Must. Melisandre has seen that in the flames as well."
Davos groped for some other answer. "Storm's End holds no knight who can match Ser Guyard or Lord Caron, or any of a hundred others sworn to your service. This single combat . . . could it be that Ser Cortnay seeks for a way to yield with honor? Even if it means his own life?"
A troubled look crossed the king's face like a passing cloud. "More like he plans some treachery. There will be no combat of champions. Ser Cortnay was dead before he ever threw that glove. The flames do not lie, Davos."
Yet they require me to make them true, he thought. It had been a long time since Davos Seaworth felt so sad.
Keep in mind that Davos is required here. Put a pin in that for now we'll get back to that. Shortly thereafter, Davos sails then rows Melisandre beneath the walls of Storm's End. While they row there, they speak of other deaths Davos has connected to Melisandre.
"Yet you mean to kill a man tonight," he said. "As you killed Maester Cressen."
"Your maester poisoned himself. He meant to poison me, but I was protected by a greater power and he was not."
"And Renly Baratheon? Who was it who killed him?"
Her head turned. Beneath the shadow of the cowl, her eyes burned like pale red candle flames. "Not I."
"Liar." Davos was certain now.
Melisandre laughed again. "You are lost in darkness and confusion, Ser Davos."
So Davos has some interesting thoughts here. He thinks Melisandre came here to kill Penrose though she did not say this. He believes she killed Cressen and Renly though she denies it. Davos without any real evidence other than proximity, blames Melisandre for events. This is not an uncommon mistake. Story characters do this all the time and people reading the story do the same. This is human nature.
Mel claims she needs to be inside the walls of Storm's End.
Together they tied off the sail as the boat rocked beneath them. As Davos unshipped the oars and slid them into the choppy black water, he said, "Who rowed you to Renly?"
"There was no need," she said. "He was unprotected. But here . . . this Storm's End is an old place. There are spells woven into the stones. Dark walls that no shadow can pass—ancient, forgotten, yet still in place."
When they arrive beneath Storm's End...
"Have we passed within the walls?"
"Yes. Beneath. But we can go no farther. The portcullis goes all the way to the bottom. And the bars are too closely spaced for even a child to squeeze through."
There was no answer but a soft rustling. And then a light bloomed amidst the darkness.
Davos raised a hand to shield his eyes, and his breath caught in his throat. Melisandre had thrown back her cowl and shrugged out of the smothering robe. Beneath, she was naked, and huge with child. Swollen breasts hung heavy against her chest, and her belly bulged as if near to bursting. "Gods preserve us," he whispered, and heard her answering laugh, deep and throaty. Her eyes were hot coals, and the sweat that dappled her skin seemed to glow with a light of its own. Melisandre shone.
Panting, she squatted and spread her legs. Blood ran down her thighs, black as ink. Her cry might have been agony or ecstasy or both. And Davos saw the crown of the child's head push its way out of her. Two arms wriggled free, grasping, black fingers coiling around Melisandre's straining thighs, pushing, until the whole of the shadow slid out into the world and rose taller than Davos, tall as the tunnel, towering above the boat. He had only an instant to look at it before it was gone, twisting between the bars of the portcullis and racing across the surface of the water, but that instant was long enough.
He knew that shadow. As he knew the man who'd cast it.
And shortly after this event we learn Penrose died.
"Why no, I trust you implicitly." A bitter laugh echoed off the shuttered windows. "I trust you like one of my own blood, in truth. Now tell me how Cortnay Penrose died."
"It is said that he threw himself from a tower."
So there are several possible theories about how Penrose died. The first theory--and by far the most popular-- is that the shadow Davos saw threw Penrose over the walls. And yes, that is a theory because we do not see the shadow do anything and therefore we can't point to text to clearly state this shadow is real. A second theory--one I have not even seen Preston Jacobs offer--is the shadow Davos saw was nothing more than a glamor and Penrose was killed by some other act. I believe the second theory is the more likely of the two to be true. And I will offer why herein.
Why I think it was a glamor
So after seeing a shadow kill Renly in the Catelyn POV, and seeing Melisandre give birth to a shadow that entered Storm's End, and learning that Penrose was thrown over the walls I am going to argue that what Davos saw was a glamor?
Yes, I am.
Glamors are a major story plot point as are the varying levels of success characters have with spotting glamors. Characters and readers are given several clues on how to spot glamors and I think if we apply those lessons to what we see below Storm's End, we can make a strong argument that this was a glamor.
I am not here to convince you I got this right. The only purpose of this post is to share my thoughts and perhaps get a few of you to consider whether the fantastic beast the author offered you was actually something less spectacular. If after reading and considering, you are convinced the shadow beneath Storm's End was real, that is fine. You might even be right. It is just a theory I have that I offer for your consideration.
Melisandre and glamors
So any argument that the Storm's End event could be a glamor must start with a good understanding of what glamors are, how they operate and their limitations. After trying to define the elements of a glamor as presented to us in the text, I will see if that is consistent with what Davos sees below Storm's End.
As Syrio explained to Arya (and to us readers), a glamor gives the appearance of something present that is not really there. People with sharp eyes can see through glamors. This position is repeated to Arya (and the readers) by the Kindly Man.
"Mummers change their faces with artifice," the kindly man was saying, "and sorcerers use glamors, weaving light and shadow and desire to make illusions that trick the eye. These arts you shall learn, but what we do here goes deeper. Wise men can see through artifice, and glamors dissolve before sharp eyes" The Ugly Little Girl, ADWD.
Melisandre also acknowledges that glamors are a trick of the visual and they are not foolproof.
"The spell is made of shadow and suggestion. Men see what they expect to see. The bones are part of that." Was I wrong to spare this one? "If the glamor fails, they will kill you." Melisandre, ADWD.
Her line about men seeing what they expect to see is important. This does not just apply to story characters. I think it can be applied to readers as well. We will get back to this.
You'll recall before she showed the crowd at Dragonstone a glamored sword, she told them they would see a sword of fire.
Melisandre was robed all in scarlet satin and blood velvet, her eyes as red as the great ruby that glistened at her throat as if it too were afire. "In ancient books of Asshai it is written that there will come a day after a long summer when the stars bleed and the cold breath of darkness falls heavy on the world. In this dread hour a warrior shall draw from the fire a burning sword. And that sword shall be Lightbringer, the Red Sword of Heroes, and he who clasps it shall be Azor Ahai come again, and the darkness shall flee before him." She lifted her voice, so it carried out over the gathered host. "Azor Ahai, beloved of R'hllor! The Warrior of Light, the Son of Fire! Come forth, your sword awaits you! Come forth and take it into your hand!" [...]
"A sword of fire!" shouted Queen Selyse. Ser Axell Florent and the other queen's men took up the cry. "A sword of fire! It burns! It burns! A sword of fire!"
Melisandre lifted her hands above her head. "Behold! A sign was promised, and now a sign is seen! Behold Lightbringer! Azor Ahai has come again! All hail the Warrior of Light! All hail the Son of Fire!" Davos I, ACOK.
So we know when dealing with Melisandre, we should always question whether a glamor is in play because it is one of the tools in her bag and she is very good at using them to get what she wants. With that in mind, let's discuss the limitations of glamors.
We know glamors can dissolve before sharp eyes as Arya who was trained by Syrio to see through glamors demonstrates.
"Let us see." The priest lowered his cowl. Beneath he had no face; only a yellowed skull with a few scraps of skin still clinging to the cheeks, and a white worm wriggling from one empty eye socket. "Kiss me, child," he croaked, in a voice as dry and husky as a death rattle.
Does he think to scare me? Arya kissed him where his nose should be and plucked the grave worm from his eye to eat it, but it melted like a shadow in her hand.
The yellow skull was melting too, and the kindliest old man that she had ever seen was smiling down at her. "No one has ever tried to eat my worm before," he said. "Are you hungry, child?" Arya I, AFFC.
Also important to note is that because glamors only impact the visual sense, when other senses come to bear, you start to question what you see.
Davos knelt, and Stannis drew his longsword. Lightbringer, Melisandre had named it; the red sword of heroes, drawn from the fires where the seven gods were consumed. The room seemed to grow brighter as the blade slid from its scabbard. The steel had a glow to it; now orange, now yellow, now red. The air shimmered around it, and no jewel had ever sparkled so brilliantly. But when Stannis touched it to Davos's shoulder, it felt no different than any other longsword. "Ser Davos of House Seaworth," the king said, "are you my true and honest liege man, now and forever?" Davos IV, ASOS.
Those who do not rely on the visual aren't so easily fooled.
The king frowned. "Everyone else has seen the thing, why not a blind man?" His swordbelt and scabbard hung from a peg near the hearth. He took the belt down and drew the longsword out. Steel scraped against wood and leather, and radiance filled the solar; shimmering, shifting, a dance of gold and orange and red light, all the bright colors of fire.
"Tell me, Samwell." Maester Aemon touched his arm.
"It glows," said Sam, in a hushed voice. "As if it were on fire. There are no flames, but the steel is yellow and red and orange, all flashing and glimmering, like sunshine on water, but prettier. I wish you could see it, Maester." [...]
Maester Aemon was lost in thought as Sam helped him down the narrow turnpike stair. But as they were crossing the yard, he said, "I felt no heat. Did you, Sam?"
"Heat? From the sword?" He thought back. "The air around it was shimmering, the way it does above a hot brazier."
"Yet you felt no heat, did you? And the scabbard that held this sword, it is wood and leather, yes? I heard the sound when His Grace drew out the blade. Was the leather scorched, Sam? Did the wood seem burnt or blackened?"
"No," Sam admitted. "Not that I could see." Samwell V, ASOS.
Maester Aemon is telling us that a glamor can have no impact on the physical. There will be nothing to feel, it will leave no marks on the environment. It is strictly a thing of the visual. Which is why Mel insists Mance wear those bones.
Melisandre felt the warmth in the hollow of her throat as her ruby stirred at the closeness of its slave. "You have put aside your suit of bones," she observed.
"The clacking was like to drive me mad."
"The bones protect you," she reminded him. "The black brothers do not love you. Devan tells me that only yesterday you had words with some of them over supper." Melisandre, ADWD.
Every day I think how easy it would be to pry it out, and every day I don't. Must I wear the bloody bones as well?"
"The spell is made of shadow and suggestion. Men see what they expect to see. The bones are part of that." Was I wrong to spare this one? "If the glamor fails, they will kill you." Id.
The bones are important to the Rattleshirt glamor because everyone expects to hear the clacking of the bone armor. When things are different from what is expected, keen minds notice.
One time Arya woke in the dark, frightened for no reason she could name. Above, the Red Sword shared the sky with half a thousand stars. The night seemed oddly quiet to her, though she could hear Yoren's muttered snores, the crackle of the fire, even the muffled stirrings of the donkeys. Yet somehow it felt as though the world were holding its breath, and the silence made her shiver. She went back to sleep clutching Needle.
Come morning, when Praed did not awaken, Arya realized that it had been his coughing she had missed. Arya II, ACOK.
Mel wants Mance to wear the bones to keep people from looking closer. Jon almost noticed something was off with the fRattleshirt when they fought in the yard. But Jon has not been trained to see through glamors as George has tried to train we readers.
The point of all these citations is to make it clear that you can spot a glamor by looking for evidence beyond the visual. If the only proof a thing is present is that you see a thing, you might want to look closer especially if it involves a known glamor caster. George has consistently showed us via Aemon's questioning of Lightbringer and Arya's grabbing the worm, that physical impact matters. And this is also the approach he took with the Renly event.
The Renly Shadow
In my informal discussions on the subject, the response I get most often to the suggestion that the Storm's End shadow is glamor is "what killed Renly then?" This is an excellent question and one we must look at because I think the details of the Renly event really help us understand why the Storm's End event might just be a light show. Here is the relevant text from the Renly event.
"I beg you in the name of the Mother," Catelyn began when a sudden gust of wind flung open the door of the tent. She thought she glimpsed movement, but when she turned her head, it was only the king's shadow shifting against the silken walls. She heard Renly begin a jest, his shadow moving, lifting its sword, black on green, candles guttering, shivering, something was queer, wrong, and then she saw Renly's sword still in its scabbard, sheathed still, but the shadowsword . . .
"Cold," said Renly in a small puzzled voice, a heartbeat before the steel of his gorget parted like cheesecloth beneath the shadow of a blade that was not there. He had time to make a small thick gasp before the blood came gushing out of his throat. Catelyn IV, ACOK.
This was no glamor. We know this because in addition to Cat and Brienne seeing it, the shadow had a clear impact on the physical world. George writes that the shadow entered the tent with a parting of the tent door, then when it was near Renly he felt cold and finally we saw the shadow rip through a steel gorget and open Renly's throat.
We are also told Stannis has a telepathic link to the shadow that killed Renly.
For a long time the king did not speak. Then, very softly, he said, "I dream of it sometimes. Of Renly's dying. A green tent, candles, a woman screaming. And blood." Stannis looked down at his hands. "I was still abed when he died. Your Devan will tell you. He tried to wake me. Dawn was nigh and my lords were waiting, fretting. I should have been ahorse, armored. I knew Renly would attack at break of day. Devan says I thrashed and cried out, but what does it matter? It was a dream. I was in my tent when Renly died, and when I woke my hands were clean." Davos II, ACOK.
So I will say unequivocally that a real shadow assassin with the face of Stannis killed Renly. I am not arguing against that or denying that. However, this does not mean Melisandre birthed the shadow that killed Renly.
Melisandre kinda tells on herself in the next book.
"No." Perhaps he should have lied, and told her what she wanted to hear, but Davos was too accustomed to speaking truth. "You are the mother of darkness. I saw that under Storm's End, when you gave birth before my eyes."
"Is the brave Ser Onions so frightened of a passing shadow? Take heart, then. Shadows only live when given birth by light, and the king's fires burn so low I dare not draw off any more to make another son. It might well kill him." Melisandre moved closer. "With another man, though . . . a man whose flames still burn hot and high . . . if you truly wish to serve your king's cause, come to my chamber one night. I could give you pleasure such as you have never known, and with your life-fire I could make . . ."
". . . a horror." Davos retreated from her. "I want no part of you, my lady. Or your god. May the Seven protect me."
Melisandre drew of enough light to make at least one son from Stannis likely the one that killed Renly. She claims she can make more with another man, but if that is the case, why aren't there an army of them? There is no lack of men who would want to bed Melisandre either for pleasure or to serve the Red God. Why are there not more shadows? I think it is because she is not the one with the power; it's Stannis ( We will get to that part of the theory in a bit).
I know. You are like "What?! Obviously she did. She is a shadow binder from the West and we see her giving birth. We can put two and two together. We don't need to see it."
I am not suggesting any of you lack the ability to put two and two together. That would be rude and insulting and I am not fond of such discourse. I will however suggest that maybe what you think are two and two aren't two and two because even if the Renly tent shadow is a two, when you do a side-by-side with the Strom's end shadow... well that thing is too different to be a two.
The Renly tent shadow:
- is of normal size;
- opens a tent door;
- brings a feeling of cold;
- tears open steel;
- kills on site;
- looks like Stannis;
- seems to have a telepathic bond with Stannis; and
- We have no direct knowledge of where this thing came from.
The Storm's End shadow:
- Is notably larger;
- Slithers around gates;
- Gives Davos no feeling of cold;
- Isn't observed making any impact on the environment;
- Does not kill with a stab on site;
- Is directly summon by a glamor caster with a shock of blinding light after she reached into her robes where she tells us she keep special powders that make things appear greater than they are; and
- has the face of Stannis.
So yes, two plus two is four. But since that Renly tent shadow is way different from the Storm's End shadow, are we sure they are both twos? If the Storm's end event ain't a two, then our conclusion of four is flawed.
But if you think the shadow below Storm's end was real, just go and apply the basic glamor test that Maester Aemon gives us and find any physical evidence that the Storm's End shadow was there beyond the half blinded visuals of Davos. Why would George when writing the Storm's End event leave out all opportunities to demonstrate a single impact on the physical when he spent text space making that an issue with Lightbringer, Mance and the Renly event? Was it an oversight or a clue?
So what killed Penrose?
Penrose was tossed over the walls of Storm's End. I am not denying that. I also will not argue that he felt despair and decided to kill himself. He seems pretty confident when he meets with Stannis.
"As the gods will it. Bring on your storm, my lord—and recall, if you do, the name of this castle." Ser Cortnay gave a pull on his reins and rode back toward the gate. Davos II, ACOK.
Ser Cortnay does not sound all that worried about the Castle being stormed or a long siege. That castle can't be breached by an army of any size. And if the granaries are full which they should be after such a long and bountiful summer, he could hold up inside for years. So what killed him in one night if not the shadow assassin Davos saw?
My theory is a mutiny by someone already inside. And why a mutiny? "I give you fair warning. If you force me to take my castle by storm, you may expect no mercy. I will hang you for traitors, every one of you." -The Mannis.
Because it is Stannis outside the gates. And he is the man stubborn enough to sit there a decade if he needed to. And the moment the last starving man gives in, he'd take the castle and hang that last man. Everyone knows this about Stannis. Moreover, with Renly and Robert dead, Storm's End passes to him anyway. Robert gave it to Renly and Renly had no heir. Robert is dead. Stannis is the last living Baratheon so it is his by law. All it would take was one or two men inside the castle who decided they were not about to die for the whims of a castellan who wanted to withhold the castle from the rightful lord. Men generally don't want to die for no good purpose isn't that right Dagon Cod?
He is drunk, Reek realized. The ale is speaking. "Believe what you want. I have brought Lord Ramsay's message. Now I must return to him. We'll sup on wild boar and neeps, washed down with strong red wine. Those who come with me will be welcome at the feast. The rest of you will die within a day. The Lord of the Dreadfort will bring his knights up the causeway, whilst his son leads his own men down on you from the north. No quarter will be granted. The ones that die fighting will be the lucky ones. Those who live will be given to the bog devils."
"Enough," snarled Dagon Codd. "You think you can frighten ironborn with words? Begone. Run back to your master before I open your belly, pull your entrails out, and make you eat them."
He might have said more, but suddenly his eyes gaped wide. A throwing axe sprouted from the center of his forehead with a solid thunk. Codd's sword fell from his fingers. He jerked like a fish on a hook, then crashed face-first onto the table.
It was the one-armed man who'd flung the axe. As he rose to his feet he had another in his hand. "Who else wants to die?" he asked the other drinkers. "Speak up, I'll see you do." Thin red streams were spreading out across the stone from the pool of blood where Dagon Codd's head had come to rest. "Me, I mean to live, and that don't mean staying here to rot." Reek II, ADWD.
All it takes is one man who isn't willing to die and someone else can take charge and open the gates.
"Then hear me. Ser Cortnay's lieutenant is cousin to the Fossoways. Lord Meadows, a green boy of twenty. Should some ill chance strike down Penrose, command of Storm's End would pass to this stripling, and his cousins believe he would accept my terms and yield up the castle." Davos II, ACOK.
Garrison duty is usually left to green boys who lack the experience to go to war or grey beards who are long in service. The green boys do not want to die and the old men have served too long to know anything but obedience. Either could have turned on Penrose. That makes more sense than a shadow that finds Penrose in the huge castle then pushes Penrose over the walls rather than just stabbing him like the Renly shadow did. Why would the shadow throw him off the walls? There is no reason for Penrose to go up there. So the shadow would have to drag him up there. Nobody saw this or heard this? Anyway the point here is, there remains no evidence the shadow at Storm's End did anything.
If Mel can see the future as she claims, she may have seen the mutiny in her fires and simply positioned herself to take credit for something she had nothing to do with.
Why would Mel bother with such a ruse?
Since Melisandre was introduced in ACOK, only two people who Stannis respects and trusts have spoken against her. Cressen and Davos. Cressen is dead which leave Davos as the last person who could speak against her. Mel knows this.
Davos had come too far with Stannis to play coy now. "Last year they were Robert's men. A moon ago they were Renly's. This morning they are yours. Whose will they be on the morrow?"
And Stannis laughed. A sudden gust, rough and full of scorn. "I told you, Melisandre," he said to the red woman, "my Onion Knight tells me the truth."
"I see you know him well, Your Grace," the red woman said. Davos II, ACOK.
I theorize Mel wanted to get Davos alone to try and convince him or her power because if he was on her side, she would have less opposition. This could not be as simple as summoning Davos to her tent to witness the birth. For one, Davos would refuse anyone but Stannis.
The king gave a curt nod. "You will need a small boat. Not Black Betha. No one must know what you do."
Davos wanted to protest. He was a knight now, no longer a smuggler, and he had never been an assassin. Yet when he opened his mouth, the words would not come. This was Stannis, his just lord, to whom he owed all he was. And he had his sons to consider as well. Gods be good, what has she done to him? Id.
Also of note is Stannis saying no one must know. Stannis also tells Davos that Melisandre has already seen Penrose's death. She likely also told him what she needed to ensure this. She requested Davos and to be alone with him. The best way to do this was to get him involved in something only he could do. The Lightbringer show worked on the others, but Davos required something more intimate. So she got him alone and showed him a form he knows well and respects: a woman great with child. Davos has seven sons by his wife. He knows the power of the form of an expecting mother.
"Power resides where men believe it resides. No more and no less."
Davos believes in the power of seas, ships, sons and Stannis. All four of the pillars of his beliefs are exploited by Melisandre here. Speaking of exploiting the audience.
George set this up brilliantly
I think George enjoys tricking his readers. He often uses very careful and cryptic language when discussing plot elements, which is why I generally steer well clear of SSM. He does the same with his writing though. Here is how the set up for us to reach a bad conclusions works (I theorize).
George first introduces us to the idea of shadows assassins with the event in Renly's tent. We only see the shadow and the impact it has. We don't how it came to be and we are hungry for an answer. A few POV's later we are given an option for the solution. And in our understandable desire to have an answer, we take the first option without questioning it's validity. And in doing so, we do not consider other possibilities. The first offered answer might not be the correct one.
One of the things I learned from mu Quentyn discussions is when confronted with a challenge to the accustomed interpretation of the story, readers want to know what the narrative purpose of the challenge is. It is a fine and fair inquiry. I generally don't like to get into it because narrative purpose is a weathervane and each reader provides their own wind. Everyone approaches this story in a unique way and this is a wonderful thing. If we all had the same view, what would be the point of this subreddit and it's 800k members? So, I am not going to get into the subjective nature of what each of thinks is the correct narrative purpose. However, I think there are some objective elements we can discuss.
George put glamors in the story as a purposeful choice. He took the time to tell us about glamors, how to spot them, he has revealed some to us and left some for us to puzzle out on our own. George is writing a narrative full of misdirection and apparent contradictions. I think we should look out for them.
George has made Davos' guilt over his involvement in this an important plot point in the Davos POV.
She laughed. "Is it me you fear? Or what we do?"
"What you do. I'll have no part of it."
"Your hand raised the sail. Your hand holds the tiller." Davos II, ACOK.
Silent, Davos tended to his course. The shore was a snarl of rocks, so he was taking them well out across the bay. He would wait for the tide to turn before coming about. Storm's End dwindled behind them, but the red woman seemed unconcerned. "Are you a good man, Davos Seaworth?" she asked.
Would a good man be doing this? "I am a man," he said. "I am kind to my wife, but I have known other women. I have tried to be a father to my sons, to help make them a place in this world. Aye, I've broken laws, but I never felt evil until tonight. I would say my parts are mixed, m'lady. Good and bad." Id.
And George touches on this guilt again in ASOS.
Perhaps it was only wind blowing against the rock, or the sound of the sea on the shore, but for an instant Davos Seaworth heard her answer. "You called the fire," she whispered, her voice as faint as the sound of waves in a seashell, sad and soft. "You burned us . . . burned us . . . burrrrned usssssss."
"It was her!" Davos cried. "Mother, don't forsake us. It was her who burned you, the red woman, Melisandre, her!" He could see her; the heart-shaped face, the red eyes, the long coppery hair, her red gowns moving like flames as she walked, a swirl of silk and satin. She had come from Asshai in the east, she had come to Dragonstone and won Selsye and her queen's men for her alien god, and then the king, Stannis Baratheon himself. He had gone so far as to put the fiery heart on his banners, the fiery heart of R'hllor, Lord of Light and God of Flame and Shadow. At Melisandre's urging, he had dragged the Seven from their sept at Dragonstone and burned them before the castle gates, and later he had burned the godswood at Storm's End as well, even the heart tree, a huge white weirwood with a solemn face. Davos I, ASOS.
I found Davos I, ASOS one of the most powerful chapters he's written. Does this section of ASOS work unless Davos is struggling with his guilt and feeling complicit in all the death that has taken place? So even if you fine redditor do not see the sense in having Davos row Melisandre under Storm's End, George wanted him there and wanted him feeling guilt and conflict over it. And George used that conflict later.
Another narrative purpose for the Storm's End event being a glamor is that is could serve as a distraction from another plot George is not ready to reveal, such as Stannis having special abilities like we see in the Starks, Targaryens, and other wargs. Mel claims there is power in king's blood. Stannis does have king's blood. And Stannis is a distant relation to the Targaryens who also have special abilities related to there genetics. Some of that ability may be within Stannis and all Melisandre did was help unlock it while he slept.
A person with latent powers they are unable to unlock consciously is something George has written about in his other works. George borrows heavily from his other works elsewhere in ASOIAF. One more thing, George's favorite science fiction film is Forbidden Planet
. In this movie, one of the characters is able to summon telekinetic a manifestation of his id while he sleeps to kill his rivals. It may be that George had Stannis do exactly that. In Conclusion
Even if you conclude the Storm's End event was not a glamor (it is fine if you do. I might be wrong), I think it is wise to at least question the event because if it was a glamor below Storm's end, then this opens a number of new possibilities for the story. I think this story is deserving of applying the lesson at Syrio Forel offered. "Opening your eyes is all that is needing. The heart lies and the head plays tricks with us, but the eyes see true. Look with your eyes. Hear with your ears. Taste with your mouth. Smell with your nose. Feel with your skin. Then comes the thinking, afterward, and in that way knowing the truth." Arya V, AGOT.
When we apply senses other than the visual to the event below Storm's End and then really think about it from the perspective of touch, sound and smell, are we still sure that our eyes alone told us the truth?
But what say ye fine Redditors? Is the event below Storm's End worthy of closer inspection? Is the choice by George to exclude any physical evidence of the shadow a clue to this being a glamor from a known glamor caster? As always, polite disagreement and constructive feedback are always welcome. TL;DR: The commonly accepted position on the event below Storm's End in Davos II, ACOK may be incorrect. There are a number of inconsistencies between the shadow that killed Renly and the one that Davos sees below Storm's End. These inconsistencies should not be dismissed. It is highly possible that the event below Storm's End was a glamor cast by a known glamor caster.
2023.03.31 17:43 lostintheworld2023 Can you share a little about what your therapy sessions look like for those with mental compulsions? Are they talk therapy mixed with ERP?
I’m trying to wrap my head around how I feel with my current therapist of about a year.
She specializes in ROCD, which I suffer from. However, we’ve mainly only done CBT and talk therapy - which sometimes triggers me more than anything. It leads me down an obsessive spiral AFTER our sessions.
For example; at my last session, I told her about a concern I had about my relationship, and I told her I was feeling calm about it the idea of breaking up. She said that this was a sign that it’s a “real” concern and not an “ocd” concern. She then told me about her experience with a similar thing and how she regretted marrying her husband for it.
I’ve since worried about regretting marrying my boyfriend too, and it’s become a full blown obsessive compulsive cycle.
This is the second time she said something that severely triggered me. The first time, she called my boyfriend’s behaviours “dick” behaviour, which I disagree with. I brought it up with her and she said it was her mama bear qualities coming out. I appreciate that she cares for me, I just hope that she’s coming from an objective perspective.
I’m not sure if I’m in denial and am running away from the truth, or if I’m valid in wanting to find a new therapist because I feel betrayed.
For context, partner has anxiety with long road trips and sometimes misses important events because of his inability to attend. As we all can appreciate, anxiety can make us moody, and she was referring to my boyfriend’s moodiness as “dick” behaviour. I now worry that she dislikes my partner and her bias will negatively affect my perspective.
I want to work on making this work with my boyfriend and shifting my perspective - not worrying about regretting my decision.
I don’t know!!! Help.
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2023.03.31 17:43 SkyScoutGaming Voicemail and iCloud.
I have to complain about few things. I have been with t-mobile for about 6 years. I have never had any issues. Recently ported over two other lines from visible by verizon. Since visible was cheap i could use it as my work phone. The experience I had at one of the stores was horrible, I have never had a deposit on any phone. The sales rep first went into my account, never asked for my ID or asked me what phones i wanted. Just went to the back, grabbed two phones and told me to sign. I told him those were not the phones i wanted. When i told him which phones i wanted he told me “we don’t have those in stock” i stated “is there a way we can order the phone”. He responded with “ I guess.” From there he he asked for my id to upgrade my mom’s phone since they did have it in stock. He stated “to pick out any accessories that they were included in the price he told me” He didn’t know i used to work as a store manager at Sprint 3 years ago. I told him i didn’t want any. He stated that it didn’t matter that i could select any accessory. I didn’t like how he was speaking to me. I was so close to just canceling everything, but my mom already had the phone in her hand and i was like ok.. I’ll just finish this transaction. And move on. Well I added another phone and upgraded another line on my account at a different tmobile store that is like 200feet away. This experience was so much better. They went into detail about how much my bill will increase, set proper expectations, very nice.
The main issue arose when I ported over one line over. one ported over very well. No issue what so ever. Mine has been having issues since i ported over. The phone ported “successfully” (from tombile website) but I was not able to use my phone. It would go in and out of service. I called in that morning because the sales repo told me it would take 24-48 hours. I already felt weird about this, because usually when ports get canceled from another service provider it may take like 1 hour and usually everything works fine.. I’ve never had issues like this before. Well the sim card had a temporary number. The service would go in and out, of service. I messaged t-mobile and they told me to wait for the following day. I felt as if when i woke up it was going to be the same issue. Well.. I was right, same issue in the morning. I then called and they had to send me to 2 higher ups. Who reached out to porting and removed the sim, added the sim, like 4 times. They finally got the sim to work with my number, but 2 issues arose from this. One is that i can’t get short codes, and the other is that voicemail is not working. I got locked out of my apple id because I couldn’t get the short code apple is currently submitting a ticket for it to get it unlocked. My banking information isn’t working because it has to send me a code so i don’t have access to my banking info. Apple asked me to make another apple id but it won’t work because the short code won’t send either in messages or calls. The other issue is t-mobile submitted a ticket for the voicemail issue.. I turned on and off my phone. Called 123 but it says there is no mailbox. I dailed * then added my cell phone but it states “number is invalid.” I’m really tired of dealing with this since Sunday. Do yall have any idea on what I can do?
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2023.03.31 17:43 Born_Ad7045 Parsing "what doesn't feel right" from "this is dysphoria inducing/embarrassing"
Im still questioning right now but to be honest I'm pretty sure I'm trans. That thought has more or less stayed with me the whole time and the more time passes the more I settle on "I definitely am" at the end of the day, self doubt aside. I want to be a woman, and the idea of being cis, of being a man for the rest of my life is anxiety-inducing.
One piece of advice I got was to try out affirming stuff: shaving legs, putting on makeup, etc. The trouble is that while some of this stuff has been quite euphoric, especially early on, some of it feels bad, or has started feeling bad.
Like I started seeing a therapist about gender issues, and they refer to me with she/her pronouns. I want to learn to love these, and when I think of being referred to with them (or they're used on me online) it feels great...but IRL they feel very embarassing and I feel guilt for being called that.
Same for nail polish: initially loved it and couldn't get enough of it. Now it just makes my hands feel massive. I feel like an effeminate man and I fucking hate it. I feel seen. I've actually taken that stuff off because of how upsetting it was, seeing it day to day.
Crossdressing is great as long as it hides masculine curves and/or don't look too much at myself or my face. As soon as I start feeling like a man in a dress I just want to fucking ball up and cry. I tend to wear a skirt and loose shirt when working at my desk and try not to pay attention to the rest of my body.
All of these things are things I want to like. But I feel like some sort of weird cross-breed when doing them and they're just a reminder of how much of a man I am and I feel ridiculous. I'm worried that this is not just dysphoria flaring up and that it's all just a sign that this is wrong and I should abandon any hope of transition and it's killing me inside. Like I know I shouldn't be worrying about that but I keep getting the "not trans enough/fake trans" thoughts and it's killing me inside.
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to MtF [link] [comments]
2023.03.31 17:39 Frame_Late Interloper V
The greatest tragedy of war is that for some people the war never ends.
- Nebojsa Knezevic, head of psychiatry for Pallas Medical Institute, 2142
Silijima hopped into the truck, next to Sargen. The massive Gojid's head nearly reached the roof of the vehicle forcing him to crouch ever so slightly. He was an even more imposing figure up close, his muscles bulging and his scars held taut against his skin. He seemed preoccupied, as if her presence made him uncomfortable when they were close. His claws gripped the steering wheel, lightly scraping the carbon material. He seemed to be in his late thirties to early forties, and a distinguished Gojid at that save for the eye and the prosthetic arm. Most would consider him quite handsome if it wasn't for the damage he had received, and even then she was sure some women would find a prosthetic like that doubly enticing.
Senek sat in the back, leaning his head back and yawning. He seemed exhausted, most likely from being on duty for the last good knows how many weeks. He kept an eye on Sargen, but it wasn't a distrustful one, more like he was concerned for Sargen's wellbeing. It was hilarious to Silijima, to think that Sargen warranted concern, but she didn't know him or his past so she wouldn't judge; sometimes the strongest people held the greatest burdens.
"So, where to next? Do we have any other stops to make?" Silijima asked, breaking the uncomfortable silence.
"No, not unless you want to stop," replied Sargen.
Behind them, Senek grumbled. "We need to head back to the Collective and finish for the day; I'm fucking exhausted."
Sargen started the truck and turned around. "Then go home, Senek; you've done your work for the day. I'll show Silijima a bit of the station before I deliver the goods and introduce Silijima to the captains."
Senek didn't seem convinced. "They won't be happy that Sujek and I bailed halfway through the delivery."
Sargen snorted. "Ayaz and Igor won't give a damn as long as the delivery gets delivered. Take a tram and go home and see your mate and kids; you looked harrowed."
Silijima was inclined to agree. Before today, she didn't know if it was possible for a reptile to have bags under its eyes, but Senek surely did. He looked like shit, although Silijima would never voice that out loud.
Senek hissed but didn't argue, opening the door and leaving the back of the truck with a grunt. Silijima saw him walk down the street towards a tram stop in the distance, where one was unloading all sorts of people heading to shop at Zapadnyy tsentral'nyy rynok,
as well as those ready finished with their shopping trips. Eventually, Senek disappeared into the crowd of humans, arxur, and the occasional venlil, harchin and gojid.
"So," Sargen started with an apprehensive sigh, "My name's Sargen, as you've probably been told. I'm sure Senek and Sujek have already told you all about me."
Silijima chuckled nervously. "Not much, actually. I've been wondering where you got that arm from; it seems very high tech. I've only seen prosthetics like that on high ranking military personnel in the federation."
The question only seemed to make Sargen even more tense. "I lost my real arm in battle. They replaced it with this." He flexed the arm, the prosthetic was agile and precise in its movements. "It's near identical to the real thing utility-wise, although the look of it took some time to get used to."
Silijima nodded absentmindedly, admiring both the arm and his physical build. Sargen must've been through hell and back to be so torn up.
"Are you ex-military? You have the hardware to be."
Sargen frowned lightly. "You could say that. But that's enough about me." Then Sargen put a soft smile on his face, a fake one, as if he was trying to hide his true feelings. "I was told you served in the navy; what was that like?"
Silijima didn't push for more information. "I was a Master Technical Coordinator for the Unwavering Credence.
I kept the Guns and the hull functioning along with crews of grunt welders, and I pieced the ship back together after battles.
Sargen whistled, impressed by her rank. "You were pretty high up on the totem pole on that ship. Why'd you leave?"
Silijima scoffed. "The lies, the brutality, and the stress. I came to Skhamar looking for answers after losing faith in the state I defended for over a decade. Now that I know the truth, I realize that I hated every second of it, although I do miss it in a way. Once you get out, well, nothing seems right. For the first few months, I couldn't stand being off duty. I still miss that safety of knowing I was on a military vessel; at least we could defend ourselves. Back on Nishtal, I felt so… exposed, since I wasn't allowed to carry a firearm on my person anymore."
Sargen chuckled. "I know how you feel. I couldn't sleep right after I… left: I kept expecting an attack at all hours. Sometimes I'd wake up in a panic, clutching my ion pistol and ready to kill, only to realize it was just the sound of some puny asteroid bouncing off the outer shell of the station or a ship taking off."
Silijima snorted. "I remember nearly having a heart attack from the fireworks they set off for unification day. My parents didn't understand, or maybe they couldn't, but I don't celebrate that day anymore. It sounds too similar to Arxur hybrid charges slamming against the hull of a ship."
Silijima chuckled at first, but the laughter quickly died as reality set in. Her service in the navy had messed her up in more ways than one, but she couldn't imagine not living that life; she wouldn't know what to do with herself otherwise. She hated it, but she was better for it.
"So… What is there to do on this station? I'm pretty new to all of this freedom. What is there to do?"
"That's the good thing about this job; you get a good week or so in between missions to relax," Sargen smiled bitterly, but it was still a happy smile, "Me and the rest of the crew have so much to show you."
Silijima's heart skipped a beat at his statement. "Senek didn't seem too excited to show me anything."
"Senek's just tired; in fact he's always tired. He worked two missions in a row, same as Sujek, and they're probably going to push for another one," Sargen stated, "although I bet both Ayaz and Igor will send them both home and tell them to spend some time just relaxing for once since those two practically kill themselves working." He chuckled before continuing, "But as for things to do, well, there's a lot: Theaters, Restaurants, Museums, a full-sized futbol
stadium, and even a few more exotic things the humans brought over. Humans are kind of the cultural heart of the entire Commonwealth; The big Arxur houses might be the dominant economic forces besides the coalitions, but the Humans really brought a heart and soul to what would otherwise be a pretty dull and barren place."
Silijima thought about that for a moment. She had seen sporting events before; Nishtal had plenty of ballastier stadiums to choose from, where Krakotl would work as a flock to move a floating ball from one end to the other. There were also games of airborne agility and such, so she wasn't too interested in sports.
But the idea of a theater intrigued her. Nishtal didn't have many theaters: the Krakotl didn't like being cooped up in a dark place for too long, since their instincts were to nest under the open sky instead of burrow underground. Mix that with a lack of any big theater culture and you git a species that vastly preferred doing
. Sports and music were far more popular with the Krakotl, their ability to fly and vast vocal ranges helping them flourish in alternative mediums of entertainment.
"How are the theaters here? I've never really gone to one before."
Sargen eyed her with disbelief. "Neither did I before I came here. They're pretty great, with lots of cheap snacks and reclining seats. There aren't any 'new' movies yet since there's no real movie industry here on Skhamar yet, but they play a lot of older human movies. A few months ago I went with Timothy, Sarah, and their daughter Maggie to go see The Tale of the Princess Kaguya.
The art style was pretty mind-blowing, to say the least."
"The art style?"
"Animation. It's considered a proper medium of theater in human culture. There are a plethora of what humans call 'the animated classics': movies that have achieved universal human acclaim due to their outstanding quality. If I'm not mistaken, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
is one of them."
Human art seemed so fascinating to her; the Federation was so cut and dry with what they considered art that anything that pushed the envelope was ridiculed and even reviled, often only gaining traction in underground groups that appreciated the bizarre and the condemned. To hear of artistic styles having entire mediums dedicated to them was astounding to her.
"That sounds incredible! What other movies have you seen?"
"Well, I've been itching to see Star Wars,
but it's a long trilogy that's best watched at home. There's also a relatively new western by comparison called The Cursed
that's being shown this week, so we can go see that. I've heard nothing but good things about it."
Silijima didn't know what a 'western' was, but if it was anything like how Sargen describes their animated movies, she was sure a human western couldn't be bad.
Silijima casually read the synopsis for the movie they would be watching on her holophone. The year is 1886: Aging civil war veteran turned outlaw Thomas 'Death-Singer' Lawrence ekes out a humble living amongst the Ojibwa Indians of what is now modern-day Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan, hoping to live out his final years of his life with his beloved wife, son and adopted tribe in peace. But when a bitter ex-Confederate, Klan member, and son of a wealthy plantation owner Shaw Cunningham and his gang of killers massacre the tribe for supporting the Union during the war, his entire world is torn from him. Now, all that's left after the carnage is himself and a teenager named Nanabush, the fatherless black sheep of the tribe. Now, with nothing but vengeance burning in his heart, Thomas once again takes up the mantle of 'Death-Singer', and along with his newly adopted ward Nanabush, he travels south to reform his old gang of thieves and outlaws, 'The Cursed', in a last-ditch effort to gain the ultimate revenge and both kill Shaw Cunningham and ruin his family fortune. The curse must be passed on, and there couldn't be a more worthy recipient…
sounded interesting. Silijima didn't understand much of the context, but a revenge plot wasn't a common theme in Federation media, or federation art at all for that matter, so it seemed like a great place to start. Besides, it wasn't like it was real, so if it was overly violent then she could just finish the movie and never watch it again.
But first, there were snacks to buy. Silijima didn't know why Sargen insisted on buying snacks, but he stated that they 'improved the movie experience', or whatever that meant. Either way, he practically dragged Silijima up to a counter operated by a bored human, preparing to order a whole slew of snacks for the both of them.
"I'll get two medium boxes of Çäkçäk
style popcorn, a large bag of Korivka,
and two large bottles of… Give me a moment." Sargen turned to her. "What do you want to drink?"
Silinima browsed the menu nervously, not knowing what to choose. "Uhhh, I guess I'll try some Baikal?
Is it good?"
Sargen shrugged. "It's pretty good, a bit different than most colas." Then he turned back to the snack vendor. "And two large bottles of Baikal."
The bored human sighed, obviously just ready for his shift to end, and prepared the food for the two of them. Sargen prepared his credit chip and handed it to the worker when he returned, paying for everything.
"You don't have to, Sargen, I can pay for myself."
Sargen chuckled. "Maybe, but I'm the one who's taking you out. Just let me take care of it."
The human returned with the popcorn, which was two buckets of strange yellow… things that had a slight glowing orange sheen, along with a large bag of candies and two massive bottles of soda, which were also huge. Sargen somehow deftly balanced all the snacks in their arms as they made their way to the movie room they were assigned to without even a grunt and gave her a soft grin. Despite his obvious optimism, he seemed tense, as if she reminded him of something.
Sargen hurried down the hall, his large stride making it difficult for Silijima to keep up with him, but she managed. He avoided her gaze, his eyes focusing on absolutely anything else. There it was again, the strange behavior. It was as if she was some kind of phantom to him, but he couldn't point out her existence without seeming crazy.
They made their way into a door on the side that led down a dark hall with dim lights lining the floor. It opened up to a massive screen showing adverts for products before the movie began.
"Where would you like to sit? I'm partial to the back; you get better seats and a better view."
Silijima shrugged her feathered shoulders. "Wherever you think is best; I have no clue."
Sargen chuckled, but led her up toe stairs to the upper row of seats. They made it there, sitting down near the center, and Sargen handed Silijima her popcorn and baikal. Silijime pecked at the popcorn hesitantly, but found that she loved it! The sweet, nutty and floral flavors of the coating reminded her of the Vagra
nectar from Nishtal when peddlers would sell organic jars of it during the summer months, and it paired wonderfully with the salty-sweet crunch of the 'corn' itself. The baikal was another thing entirely; the sweet-spicy and pine flavors of the cola tasted like nothing she had ever experienced like fruit and spices boiled in bitter tree sap and carbonated, but palatable. By the time the movie had started, a third of her popcorn was gone, causing Sargen to chuckle.
The lights dimmed, causing Silijima to panic for a bit, but Sargen's hand reached out and grabbed her shoulder, calming her. He was there
, and he was big
; nothing could hurt such a giant, right?
Then, the movie began to play. The sound of some kind of delicate stringed instrument being strummed softly alongside the croaking and chirping of amphibians and insects on a warm summer night. The sounds of the wildlife stopped suddenly for a moment, as did the instrument when a small gang of about a dozen humans riding strange, four-legged creatures reminiscent of suleans without horns advanced towards a gathering of flickering lights in the distance; probably a village. Their gallops were thunderous and destructive, nothing like the sound of a stampede. It was the sound of unwavering strength.
The men wore sackcloth hoods with holes cut out for their eyes and ropes around their necks. In their hands were primitive revolving handguns. They wore a myriad of different clothes; some wore gray army uniforms, while others wore khakis, union shirts and suspenders. They laughed and bickered as they spurred their steeds onward, obviously ready to commit some unspeakable atrocity…
Silijima has two panic attacks during the movie. Sargen was there, able to quell them by offering his support. He seemed to know
what it was like to have one because he reached out and held her when she began to hyperventilate and raise her hackles. He didn't speak, but he made himself known. He was there
, and that was enough.
At least the movie ended with a triumph: Thomas Lawrence got his revenge, even if he died in the end. His adopted ward, Nanabush, took up the mantle of Death-Singer,
using it to defend the weak. It was a tightly wrapped story that should've been happy, but the memories of war still scarred Silijima; the sounds of the gunshots reminded her of the blasts of flechette cannons, and the blood on Lawrence's knife…
She still felt the phantom pain in her wing and body from being run through by an Arxur skimming blade. She had survived, of course, but the near-death experience had permanently changed her. She couldn't stand being around knives too long unless she was actually on the battlefield, and even then it caused her distress. Luckily, she never needed to be around too many sharp objects, being an engineer, but she had her… moments. She was able to quell her attacks, her panic and anxiety being quelled by the far more substantial fear of what she would be subjected to if her true state of mind were to be found out.
If the Federation found out you acted out of the norm, they'd spend weeks forcing you through the most agonizing 'therapies' before stuffing you full of pills and sending you home, never to be the same person again. She had seen the effects of these treatments; her former colleagues practically turned into zombies, their brains melted from the drugs. They lived off of government stipends, unable to truly contribute to the workforce, but the Federation seemed to consider this an acceptable tradeoff, the politicians being praised for lowering the rate of self-termination by any means necessary. In reality, it just created a state-funded drug epidemic.
Part of Silijima did want answers, but she realized her true motive for coming to Skhamar was to escape; she was so scared of staying home on Nishtal because every little thing could set her off. And if she were to have a serious enough outburst…
No, she wouldn't become what many of her former prey-in-arms had; a babbling mess of drugs and trauma. She was strong
; she could do
this. She wouldn't let her trauma overcome her.
"Are you okay, Silijima?" Sargent asked her, shaking her shoulder lightly. They were in the truck, riding to the Corsair collective where Ayaz and Igor had docked their cruiser. He seemed far more tired than before like she was exhausting to be around. She didn't doubt it; having predator disease was already exhausting enough for Silijima alone.
"I shouldn't have recommended that movie, it was too violent. Maybe something animated would've been better," said Sargent. "I was hoping that your experiences as a navy engineer would've been less traumatic than the average foot soldier, and I was wrong."
Silijima turned to him, emboldened. "It wasn't your fault, Sagren; I agreed to watch it. Besides, it might've opened up a few wounds, but it was still an excellent movie. And the popcorn and baikal were wonderful as well. And besides, it was a good movie, triggers notwithstanding."
Sargen smiled a little, although he was still feeling guilty. "I'm glad you liked it. But we should get to the collective; Ayaz and Igor will be happy to become acquainted with you."
Silijima nodded before turning back to the window, watching as the city raced by. The spires of the station-city rose hundreds of stories into the air, hover-tram systems connecting entire levels of platforms that connected to the taller towers. It made sense that the station would focus on the height of buildings; the width was a rare commodity on space stations due to the cost of adding extra floor-level infrastructure, so extremely tall spires interconnected by platforms and hover-tram systems that stretched for kilometers made sense. Everything was brightly lit: massive glowing LED signs depicting everything from clinics and dispensaries to shops and eateries were plastered across the buildings, along with almost lifelike and three-dimensional digital billboards depicting a wide array of advertisements and entertainment. It was the very definition of an urban jungle, sprawl and all, with tens of millions of individuals living their daily lives unimpeded.
"The station's pretty cool, huh? It's technically one of the larger cities in the galaxy, with a population of around twenty-five million inhabitants of all races."
That number was impressive for a city, but not for a nation. "But how many planets does Skhamar control? Fifty-five million is nothing compared to the five hundred billion sentients in the Federation alone."
Sargen nodded. "Yeah, that's true. Antheia and Calaïs are pretty sparsely populated at the moment, maybe a few million each, and the planet
of Skhamar itself has about ten million. That means this place doesn't really have the manpower to keep up with the Federation or the Dominion in terms of fleet size. We still beat them in engagements though."
Silijima didn't believe that. "But how? The Federation outnumbers you guys a hundred to one!"
Sargen snorted, eyes focused on the road as he pulled into the parking lot of a ginormous building. "If there's one thing that I learned after only two years of living on Skhamar is that the Federation's school of naval doctrine is laughably bad. They solely rely on the force of numbers and firepower to overwhelm their enemies before they can strike back. This would normally work on smaller fleet engagements against lesser foes, but the humans don't play fair. They hide in gas clouds, and in asteroid fields. They launch silent torpedoes, drone strikes, and shells filled with toxic gas before initiating boarding actions to cause widespread panic in enemy fleets. Skhamar's newly minted traditions of piracy have led to a whole new level of Naval military thinking, one where the entire sector is an ever-changing battlefield and anything's fair game."
"But wouldn't they get discovered? How hasn't the Federation just listed down Skhamar's tactics for admirals to memorize and quantify in fleet engagements?"
"You're demanding too much from a Federation full of scared herbivores, and you're forgetting who runs that Federation. The Kolshians and the Farsul vehemently believe that thinking like a predator makes you a predator and that anything that resembles predatory behavior should be scrubbed away. To them, the 'herd' is the entire reason for their existence, and to stray from that is to become food." Sargen shook his head, obviously bemused by their rigid mindset. "In reality, predators have been chipping away at herds for thousands of years. To think that any herd is impervious is just stupid."
Silijima knew the former, and she had suspected the latter for a long time. "But herds need to adapt to survive, right? I bet you that was the reasoning behind the gene-modding and culture erasure at the hands of the Kolshians and the Farsul."
Sargen rolled his eyes like he had heard it all before. "It shocks me that you weren't thrown into an institution, with how perceptive you are. I'm telling you, the Kolshians and the Farsul couldn't care less about the other species in the Federation. All they care about is controlling and leading that herd they've stitched together with lies. To them, adaptability is only good when it benefits their narratives and power structures."
It made a sickening sort of sense, and it was completely believable now that the treachery of the Kolshians and the Farsul had come to light. The Kolshians and the Farsul being afraid of any change that challenged their ideals was a cancer on the Federation, and one that Silijima was sure would eat away at it until it was nothing more than a corpse. "I'm glad I left, you know, not being afraid of being locked up for having predator disease. I just hope that isn't a thing here."
"It isn't, believe me, or I would've been incarcerated a long time ago." Sargen replied, "Now let's go; I think we've wasted enough of Ayaz and Igor's time."
With that, Sargen stepped out of the truck, slamming the door and taking a deep breath of the blatantly recycled air. Silijima followed, leaving the truck and stepping out into a small, empty parking lot, which seemed strange for such a large and important building. The building itself was less of a spire and more short and squat but also very wide, with glass walls similar to those of the urban business centers on Nishtal. There was an entrance of glass doors in the front of the building, along with a massive sigil above them made out of what seemed to be platinum. There was a sword with wings skillfully engraved on it, along with the words Qui militat præter me, frater meus erit
surrounding the edges. Her translator struggled to translate it due to the age of the language and her translator's lack of exposure to the esoteric language, but it came out as something similar to He who fights beside me shall be my brother.
An interesting term, but certainly more unique than the Federation Navy's slogan, Defend the Herd
Sargen grabbed her feathered shoulder and steered her away from the truck just as something hovered down and clamped its magnetic claws onto it. A massive, black-colored hover-drone the size of an eighteen-wheeler buzzed as it deftly floated around the two of them, one giant crimson eye with an LED dot acting as an almost animated pupil darting between the two of them. Then it lifted away, making beeping noises as it carried the truck in tow towards a large tower several hundred stories tall in the distance made from a monotonous gray material. "What in sweet Ina's name?" Silijima said under her breath, causing Sargen to chuckle.
"Moth Drones; they’re very useful things. There's not enough space on the station to have traditional parking lots, so Sarn Robotics found a pretty neat solution: massive drones come and pick up vehicles and transport them to large parking towers like the one it's flying to right now. Then, when we come back, I can just call back for my car, maybe wait a minute or so, and have my car returned to me. It's pretty awesome, and something you wouldn't find in a million years in the Federation."
That was true; the citizens would be spooked by so many flying objects. She could just imagine the number of stampedes such a creation would cause.
"Wait, what about the food and ammo?" She asked, curious as to why he'd leave it there."
"Oh, don't worry about that: that tower specifically has an automated storage system. All of our goods will be sent to our ship in the next few hours sorted, packed up, and sealed up in space-grade storage containers"
"Huh, that's pretty incredible," she replied.
"Yeah, it is. Like them or not, these predators seem to think of everything. I guess their minds just work differently; nothing wrong with that."
They walked through the doors as they conversed, and a massive lobby greeted them. Over two dozen secretaries of multiple races greeted countless individuals, many of them armed. Most of them were humans and Arxur, although she spotted a few Harchens and Gojids in the mix. The sound of phones ringing and computer keyboards being typed on resonated through the building with an echo. The entire lobby was beautifully decorated, with corners filled with fine gold-trimmed mahogany furniture and intricately woven carpets covering the marble floor. Sargen guided her up to the lobby and towards a young human wan with blonde hair. He greeted her with a smile, causing her to smile back. The snarl made Silijima's blood rush, but it was far less noticeable now, more like the feeling of adrenaline than pure fear.
"Hey, Csilla, how are you?"
The woman, apparently named Csilla, seemed to brighten up in Sargen's presence. "Oh, you know, just swamped as usual. Igor is waiting for you at dock thirteen, just take the tram down." Then her eyes swiveled in there sockets towards Silijima, causing her to flinch slightly. "And who is this? I didn't know a Krakotl was joining your crew."
"I'm Silijima," Silijima croaked, "I'm the new Engineer."
"Aww, isn't she just precious? It's been a pleasure to see you both, but I have to get back to work; we've got too many customers even with two dozen secretaries."
And with that, they were off. Sargen led her up multiple flights of stairs, passing different office levels before reaching floor seven, which was the connection to the Dok-stantsiya Vest-Enda
. There were at least two dozen fully sized trans on multiple levels, with signs detailing over a hundred docks available to travel to. It was truly ginormous, more insane than any public transit system she had seen all packed into one place, but also a testament to the engineering of the station.
They boarded a packed train filled mainly with humans, although there were Arxur, Gojids and Harchen there sprinkled throughout. They rode for a few minutes, before reaching an open-space area sealed with active magnetic field shielding, keeping gravity and a working atmosphere within its borders while simultaneously allowing ships to pass through. There were hundreds of ships, both big and small, docked within the Corsair Coalition's docks, and some of them were exceptionally huge. They ranged from gigantic, rust-red lengths of bulbous metal covered in cannons to sleek, flat warships packed with rocket pods and covered with graffiti of snarling, gaping maws and bloodied talons. Eventually, they reached a point where their tram stopped, and they descended. Just a few dozen meters away was a younger human, maybe in his late twenties or early thirties, an old human woman who couldn't have been younger than seventy, and an Arxur practically made out of cybernetics, his body glowing with energy. The latter seemed to be organizing and directing a small number of droids, which were loading sealed containers into the fuselage of the large, rust-red battle cruiser with the word Iconoclast
printed in bold letters on the side. The man saw us and approached, a wide smile on his face.
He was huge for a human, about six and a half feet, and had a long, bushy beard with a handlebar mustache, a short military buzz cut with a bit of hair left a little taller near the middle like a short mohawk, and a pair of black camo pants and a white t-shirt that showed the outline of his muscles underneath. He was practically a bear of a human, with arms the size of bridge cables and a neck thicker than your average gas pipe.
Despite all of that, he was obviously friendly, a wide snarl on his face. "Sargen! Dobriy den
, how are you?" Even through the translator, his accent was thick and exotic.
Sargen scratched his head with his claws, obviously a little nervous. "I'm doing great, Igor, listen, this is-"
"Ah, yes, Silijima! Senek called me on his way home to explain their situation. It is a pleasure to meet you, my dear!"
Igor took her wing and shook it vigorously, having to bend down to do so. Having and snarling predator lean down on her in such a way, regardless of their intentions, sent shivers down her spine, but she kept it together. She would not
break down in front of her new boss.
"T-the pleasure is all mine, Sir."
Igor didn't seem to notice how intimidating he was, but luckily a distraction appeared. Tarlim arrived just in time, carrying several crates of birch water and plums on his shoulders like they were nothing. The old woman seemed to spot him, because she hobbled over to help, only for Tarlim to prevent her from doing so. "No, Babushka,
I can handle it."
"Nonsense," she said sternly, her accent even thicker than Igor's, "I can carry some, boy; your Babushka is not helpless."
Tarlim simply ignored her, carrying the crates over to the droids, with both Tarlim and the Arxur snickering at Babushka's pestering.
"Tarlim, what do you bring? Did I order something and forget again?"
Tarlim chuckled merely at that. "No, Babushka, Sujek ordered some Birch Water and Plums for you."
Babushka softened up at that, placing a hand over her heart like the delivery of birch water was an emotional matter. "Oh Tarlim, I thank you." She hobbled over and practically buried herself in his fur, hugging him as hard as an old woman could.
"Thank Sujek, I'm just the delivery boy."
Babushka snorted. "Hah, I know better. You probably dared him to do something for it."
Tarlim blushed at that. "Well maybe, but he demanded the plums as extra, so make sure you give him a big hug and plenty of food as well."
Babushka seemed to brighten up at that. "Come in, Tarlim; we are having a feast, to celebrate a great victory! No meat in the borscht
, just for you!"
"Tarlim seemed very apprehensive towards the idea of eating anything that was even near the meat, but apparently he couldn't resist the old woman. "For you, Babushka, anything for you."
Igor snickered. "They are like a circus, no? Come, we are having a feast, and you shall partake."
Silijima wanted to leave, as the whole situation had escalated very quickly, but Sargen placed a hand on her shoulder. "There is no denying an invitation to a feast; it is a grave insult to do so."
Silijima just sighed and prepared herself for the horrors that awaited her.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- It's finally here; THE NEXT CHAPTER OF INTERLOPER! Somebody pop open a bottle of champaign. I want to thank u/Acceptable_Egg5560 for the support and u/Bushbacon69 for the wonderful fanart. If you want an AI generated picture, just let me know. That's become my new method of conveying what I'm creating to the world since I can't draw for shit. The Next chapters for Chains made from Hope and The Apostate should be out this week, along with a new short called The Life Shaper.
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2023.03.31 17:34 resurrective Chapter 22 – Come to me, Georgius
So much for a heartwarming reunion, so much for peace. When Keyaruga finally thought about having a moment of rest, Panakea showed up. When he thought nothing would happen for at least a day, he met with his love. And now, it was a red sunset that casted its crimson shadow over Buranikka. On omen of evil, an omen of change.
“Despite everything, she still… remembers me. Remembers us. Norn never forgets, no matter what. The only problem, though, is that she won’t accept me now. She may look like a cute little girl, but she’s also a fully competent warlord, with which we’re on different sides.” The man spoke, standing at the door to the corridor. He carried the white sphere, the one and only thing that could make a breakthrough from the current state. “Only a battle will judge us.” The healer admitted, glancing at the bed. Freia sat there, combing Eve’s hair. Setsuna, in turn, listened while in a handstand.
“Uh-hu-u-uh!” The she-wolf muttered, doing a cartwheel to stand upright. “We will win.” She assured him, sitting on the edge of the bed. Honestly, her smile and words were everything Keyaruga needed not to give in to his angst. The gray-haired girl accepted his pain, and now crawled to Freia to heal the magician with her touch. At least a little bit.
“Certainly.” Keyaruga responded optimistically. He had to. Otherwise, his whole redo would be for nothing. And if having the best strategist in Jioral on Margurth’s side still wasn’t bad enough, he’d end up shackled in Norn’s residence for sure.
No doubt, she’s already prepared a chastity cage for me. Brrr, no way I’m signing up for that.
“Freia, are you alright?” The hero asked, approaching the sorceress. He couldn’t leave yet, even though Tidir had already provided Keyaruga with an isolated room in the attic.
“You shouldn’t worry about me.” The pink-haired girl spoke phlegmatically. She allowed Setsuna to massage her back and shoulders, but inside her soul there was still a skirmish ongoing. She thought of each self-accusation, countered it with numerous excuses, just to realize there was no coming back and fixing what was already done. “Move forward, Keyaru. This thing must become your new weapon. Take it, claim it, and… save my sister. She must’ve been counting on you.” The princess stated, still focused on the black-winged maiden before her. So much evil was caused by her, so many torments had Keyaru suffered. And yet, he forgave her, loud and clear. Now only one thing stood between the girl and her inner peace. Something, only she could attain throughout the long self-reflection. “This orb should’ve been yours from the very beginning.”
“I see. Eve, do you have something to say?” The man deliberately wondered, looking at the queen-to-be, who retained her silence up to that point.
“Hmm… No. Dealing with princesses is your thing. Sorry, I can’t help you with that.” The kokuyoku scion responded, giving the lad a brief look. She thought he was just a calculating cutthroat, someone who’s whole interest resided in violence and sex. Now, that she saw his worries, his inner side, she couldn’t help but find him slightly attractive. Especially after how he stood against Hawkeye. Only… “So… Are you really immortal?”
“I am, birdie. I am.” The Hero of Healing grinned a little. He formed an endearing smile, warm and bright. Alas, underneath it there was only cold. After all, Blade almost killed him, and she was way beneath Organ Trist’s mastery. “Take care, girls. I’ll be back soon.”
“Uh-huh. Setsuna’s waiting.”
Thanks. That’s all I need to hear.
“Go in, nura (brother).” The blue-feathered deity uttered, closing the door behind the red-haired man. And so, the man found himself in a dark cramped room, filled with nothing but ages-old dust and stains. He sat behind a small table, looking at the perfectly round object of divine origins. No one could enter without the host’s permission, so Keyaruga was safe from outer distractions.
Brother, huh? You don’t sound too happy saying that, Tidir.
“Ha-a-a…” The man exhaled, rubbed his forehead, and then touched the orb with his right hand. The brand had resonated, bizarre white light erupted from it. Up until now, that was a hard object of unknown properties. Now, the healer knew – the white sphere was actually a solidified chunk of godly energy. After a new hero poured his ambitions into the raw armament’s form, it was ready to morph into whatever its new owner deems fit.
But what would it be? Josephine, for example, wished for a shining gilded sword that would allow her to murder her jailers right after she got it from Flare’s hands. It was bright and decorated, it embodied every wish and aspiration the broken girl kept inside her tormented soul. But despite Ragnarok’s golden, inlayed look, it was crude and unbalanced. But even worse, it was ultimately a crutch for a powerless girl. A lesson – do not wish for something you can get taken away from you.
In Bullet’s case, it was Taslam, the massive magic-spitting cannon. Although not without decorative incrustations of its own, the silver armament was not the primary weapon for the veteran of reconnaissance. After all, the massive black man was not ‘born’ a hero. This was the title he got through research, a few shady deals and the assassination of the previous Hero of Cannon. One could think a weapon of such scale wouldn’t be a spy’s choice. They would be wrong, especially when Bullet draws Taslam’s true form – a small pistol he could hide in his sleeve. A second lesson – do not wish for something to brag with, practicality is always preferable to showing off.
And finally, there was Flare. Her armament was represented by Vanargand, an unbreakable staff, allegedly made from the mythical world tree itself. Its twisted, chaotic, branches around a cold blue orb represented the princess’ dominative nature, but in terms of functionality, it was tuned to amplify all possible elements of her bottomless magic pool, whereas a regular magic staff only worked with one, like her current mystical tool boosted nothing but fire. The last lesson was to have something that amplifies your own innate strength, but is not limited by its primary function.
Keyaruga would only get one chance in his entire life. That’s why he carried the orb with his right hand covered with a green glove. No need to hide the mark from Blade, but still, better safe than sorry.
“I wish I could’ve given it more thought.” The lad lamented, pondering on his promise to Norn. And Hawkeye. The last Champion of Jioral stood between him and the princess. An all-seeing demigod needed to go away. “What I wish… is a tool of vengeance. A means of strength. Something that’d amplify my healing powers. And… a guarantee of true immortality. If I die, my girls would be sad. If I die, what was the point of the redo? If I die… how can I complete my vengeance?”
He lied to Eve. Keyaruga was far from true immortality, and they both knew it. Even after all the body modifications, he still remained a human. Someone, who can get knocked out and murdered with ease, but what’s even more critical, his pain threshold was high, but not limitless. One couldn’t forget about Bloodbringer and her sinister living weapon, after all.
I can kill people with one touch. But can I do it through a full plate armor? Can I heal myself while unconscious? Can I exceed the range of an extended arm? No. No! I have to overcome this! Weapons are tools of murder, and I already have plenty. Think, pray, desire your perfect form. Something for a Hero of Healing.
And so, a clear form started to form inside of Keyaruga’s mind. His passion resonated with the wild streams of primordial hue, the energy took form, and finally, the orb began to form a will of its own.
“THOUGH HATH DESIRETH ME, HERO?” A mighty voice resonated throughout the premise. It belonged to a mighty aged man, although much too distorted to confuse it with a real person.
“Yes, I do! Give me your everything!” The lad exclaimed, feeling winds of magic carve inside his very soul. A thrilling power was only rivaled by the man’s force of will.
“DOTH THOUGH DESIRETH TO SAVE THE WORLD?” The spirit inquired. A question was ritualistically asked to each and every hero. Problem is, all of them had pretty different ideas about how, why, and to what extent the world must be preserved. But to be sure…
“Of course I do! I love this world! I made it! I want to live in it, to have all the fun and happiness! I want to preserve those I love and crush those I hate completely! I want to claim my prize! So… how can I not wish to save this wretched world?”
“ALLOWETH ME TO LEND THY MY STRENGTH.” With that said, the wraith began merging itself to the man. Raw energy began mixing with the healer’s own mana, the hero’s mark resonating with the artifact during the process.
“Good! Now listen to my wish! I want to pierce my foes at range, to be immortal! And I want to be safe! Now take my desired form!”
And so, the chaotic winds began taking form. A Vortex of magical might began swirling around the man’s left arm, as he raised the cracked sphere to the ceiling. What lacked substance began taking mass; what lacked direction, was given focus; what had no form, took the shape of a gruesome gauntlet of pink and blue. It was alive, it had an eye, and it was more, much more than just a piece of armor.
“MY NAME THOU NEVER SHOULD FORGET, GEORGIUS – THOU CALL ME THAT!”
“Forget? How can I? Georgius, my holy armor, my property!” The lad spoke, staring at his gauntlet with clenched teeth, while the divine armament bound itself to the man’s muscles, nerves, and veins. Georgius was much more than just an indestructible chunk of metal, although even that offered much in terms of practicality. No, it was a net, a living spell that now dwelled inside the man’s body and soul.
Keyaruga understood Georgius, and vice-versa. They were both now inseparable entities, one complementing the other. First things first…
“Let’s check its primary feature.” The lad muttered, grabbing a poisoned knife from his right gauntlet. A swing, a stab, and the blade pierced his left biceps. Naturally, right? But the sheet of poisoned metal was pushed out by the extracorporeal power, and no trace of the wound remained. Georgius even mended the fabric of Keyaruga’s shirt.
“Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-a! With that, I’m not gonna die!” The healer scoffed, rolling his armored fingers. The gauntlet didn’t confine his movements; it didn’t even make his hand sweat. The armament wouldn’t even require any attention paid to it, as Georgius safely absorbed the ambient mana and filtered it for its master’s safe usage. It would keep the man alive no matter what.
One would think that it was enough for just some testing of the artifact’s ability to enhance healing and defense, that its offensive capabilities were impossible to probe in an attic, where even a mouse wouldn’t dare to show up. Well, that would be wrong, as the red-eyed lad had already unsheathed his alloyed saber and rested his elbow on the table.
“Ha-ha-a!” Then, he started cutting. Slamming the light curved sword against the powerful limb was a wasted effort, much more so with the gruesome eye keeping track for each and every wound, but Keyaruga proceeded. “MORE-E-E-E!!! DE-E-E-EPER!!! PHA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!” The gargling laugh mixed with slicing and squashing of meat and cleaving of bones above his own elbow resonated with the utmost excitement in the hero’s brain. Strike after strike, he deliberately mutilated his own body just to see what would happen if one manages to cut off his left arm, to lacerate his veins and tendrils. Blood ruptured just to stop in a moment. Wounds reopened right after fading in green mist. And finally, after a whole minute of zealous self-torture, Keyaruga cast away his saber, grabbed his left hand, and ripped it off altogether. All while guffawing murderously. “HA-HA-HA-HA! WHAT WILL YOU DO NOW, GEORGIUS?!!!”
The answer didn’t take long, as right in front of the healer’s eyes, the gauntlet on the severed hand turned into purple dust, along with leather bracers, dangling bloodied cloth and a few throwing needles. All of it returned to where it was supposed to be – on a fresh new left arm. It even was so kind as to erase the crimson stains from all over the man’s body. This kindness didn’t extend to what dripped on his boots from the dismembered arm, though.
“I’m starting to fall in love with you, Georgius!” Keyaruga sneered, unhinged by his own ambiguous commentary. He remained with an extra limb. Of course he used it for more experimentation.
Let’s leave it here, two steps away, and…
The man extended his left arm, focused his will, and called upon his magic. A second and the flesh of the severed arm wriggled in convulsions. Another and it returned to normal… Well, with every bone and tendril mercilessly ruined. Georgius gave the lad so much needed distance, even if it was limited by a bare meter, but no control whatsoever. He would never heal someone with that in his right mind. Holding the arm directly, though, was a completely different story. The touch gave the lad the utmost will over his patients, or victims. But more than anything, all the pain and fear were barred from his psyche. Alas, that wouldn’t allow for copying skills, but nobody forbade the lad from using his right arm. And even if he wanted to use the left one, just a single thought made Georgius completely and utterly disappear. It was still there; ready to come back in an instant.
Fuck, it’s so awesome; I’m getting so hard right now!
“…and then I had him poisoned, thrown into the dungeon. I beat him, had him raped, drugged, tortured…
And while Keyaruga enjoyed his new toy, Setsuna was far, far away from having any sort of fun. She listened to Freia, heeded her every word, every description, and every little notion. The two of them sat on the bed, and the she-wolf was furious. It was a rare occasion to see her frown, let alone openly grinding her teeth. Eve had retreated to her room just in time to spare herself from hearing and seeing the worst.
“…after all of that, I really did deserve the fire rod between my legs,” the princess admonished, unable to raise her head. Freia was desperate, but she couldn’t hide the truth any longer. Not after Hawkeye crushed her spirit just by referencing her sins. “What I didn’t deserve, though, is his lov-!”
That was it, Setsuna’s patience had run out, and she grabbed the sorceress by the throat. With the power of both hands, the huntress easily overpowered the magician, she could end her simply by squeezing a little harder, or scratching her carotid artery a little too deep.
“GHHHH!!!” The she-wolf growled, consumed by rage. All those nightmares, all those traumas – it was her fault, she did it to him, she…
She didn’t even struggle.
“…you… YOU!!!” The huntress’ grip had weakened, she couldn’t go on like that, her hands slipped, but the fury didn’t go anywhere.
“Kha-kha-kha-a… A-a-a… Haa… Kha…” Freia’s face was morbidly red, her breath was rugged, and even her eyes looked like they would pop out of their sockets every second now. “Kha-a… Se… tty…” But even in that sorry state, the girl never raised a hand against her friend. One swing, and the huntress would be burned by flames, scourged by a lightning, her brain would pop out on the edge of a sharp flying icicle… And yet, despite all of those possibilities, the heroine insisted on calling her possible murderer… by a friendly pet name.
“GRRR! What?!” She roared, still unsure what to do with the pink-haired girl. She was a part of their family, their pack… And someone they would be better off without. Right? Alas, whether that was true or not, Freia herself shared that ridiculous thought.
“Before you kill me… Promise me one thing.” The princess all but demanded. Her voice was faint, but there was power, a true regal authority in it. “Promise, you’d never leave him! Keyaruga… I don’t think he believes anyone can love him! Promise me you’ll take care of Evy and Norn! They have nothing to do with it! Promise…”
“No.” But Setsuna refused.
Keyaruga returned. He pushed the door open and entered the room. His fervor wasn’t that high ever since the lad successfully broken the chain Flare put him on, ever since he burned the vile arrogant witch from the inside.
“Freia! Setsuna! Let’s fuck!” The hero yelled, as his eyes rolled all over the place. There was passion, there was zeal, and, most importantly…
“Haa… Set… ty!..” …his feelings were shared here, two naked girls, with one clearly dominating the other. The huntress held the sorceress from the back, Setsuna played with Freia’s nipple, she twitched her puffy vulva, teased her erect clitoris. All the while the huntress kept gently and caringly biting the princess’ ear. “Keya… ruga…” The caster helplessly pleaded, reaching for the towering man, but the she-wolf’s grip was just too strong.
“You start with Freia.” Setsuna proclaimed, patting her prey’s puffy lips.
“That’s a bold thing to hear from you.” Keyaruga sneered, all while getting rid of his equipment. What was just a normal arousal grew into a burning passion, as his raging erection urged him to drop the trousers as fast as possible. “Still, who am I to refuse a lady?”
And so, the lad jumped into the bed in all of his naked glory. His rod was on fire, his heart’s pounding resonated all the way to his temples, and his sex drive became unstoppable at that point.
“You’re gorgeous, Freia.” Keyaruga said, caressing the girl’s sweaty cheek. While he was gone, Setsuna made sure Freia was hot and wet; this was her tribute to the leader of their small pack. “I wanna fuck you silly.” The lad whispered heatedly, claiming his shivering bounty. She was moist, she was panting, and most importantly – the sorceress was in mad love.
“A-A-A-H!” Barely did the huntress let go of her, before the girl got on top of her man. She leant on his chest and lowered her hips, letting the hard penis pierce her dripping vagina. “You’re… mine now.” The princess declared, accepting the lad’s meaty stick all the way to the twitching balls.
“Well-well, care to explain what’s happened? Anybody?” The healer wondered with a mischievous grin on his face. He never missed a chance to get a firm grip on Freia’s bouncing ass; and neither did he deny himself from leaving a bunch of hickeys on her neck.
Nobody cared for conversation anymore. One was too busy moaning, while bouncing on the man’s rod, another was muffledly panting, all while pleasing herself. Setsuna dared not intervene, but neither would she miss a chance to follow Eve’s example.
Freia embraced Keyaruga, rubbing her sweaty body against his torso. Strangely enough, the girl deliberately avoided looking him in the eyes. She even turned her back to the man. And while her trained spine and round buttcheeks did look enticing, just having a beauty riding his dick wasn’t really enough to the hero.
“Hey, Freia…” Keyaruga spoke, lifting himself in a sitting position. That way, he could once again embrace his lovely princess. “You don’t have to fuck me out of guilt, you know.” The healer admonished, bending the girl in to take her doggy-style.
“I don- AHH!!!” There was no place for excuses. No moment of reflection, nothing but a primal lust and desire. Freia was his trophy, while he and Norn had a long story behind them? As if it mattered at all right now. “A-A-H!!! KEYARUGA!!!” She yelled, as the lad ravaged her. Gripping onto the bedsheets, the sorceress could do nothing but drown in pleasure. “A-A-A-A-A-A-A-H!!!” She was on the verge, orgasm after orgasm; she was led, or rather dragged, to the highest peak of ecstasy.
A wave of pure joy had covered Freia from her head down to her toes, she trembled, drooled, she even got a small puddle underneath her butt. These five minutes were so intense, she couldn’t think, couldn’t breathe properly. And yet…
“Get up. Master’s not finished.” Setsuna demanded, crawling near the girl. And indeed, Keyaruga’s penis was still far from ejaculating.
“She’s right. You and I have a lo-o-o-ot to do!” The hero uttered, grabbing Freia’s butt.
It’s been… how much time? Twenty? Thirty minutes? An hour? Even more? It was hard to tell after countless orgasms the two enjoyed together. Freia looked more like a dirty rag, than anything else. Her pink hair was all messy; she was sticky with sweat and reeked of semen, leaking right from her loose vagina. But even so, she clung to the Hero of Healing, who didn’t really seem any better, napping with a string of saliva drooling from his mouth.
Only Setsuna remained awake. She didn’t take any part in their love, other than masturbating right beside them. There was an undisputed reason for such a behavior. Specifically, Freia had told her everything; down to the most gruesome detail of how she abused the drug-addicted boy she now called master. The sorceress had expected retribution, a swift and brutal death by the ice claws, knowing she could leave her beloved man for Norn.
But, well, what kind of keeper would Setsuna be if she didn’t direct that lunacy into a fine night for two broken souls? The huntress would get her turn her turn the next day. Now, though, she covered Keyaruga and Freia with a blanket and lied beside him.
Silently, the she-wolf took the lad’s hand and pressed it against her breast. After all, it was kindness and warmth that kept his nightmares at bay.
submitted by resurrective
to RedoOfHealer [link] [comments]
2023.03.31 17:32 asjonesy99 Universal credit and Help-to-Buy ISA/general savings
Graduated last summer, unemployed (not for the lack of trying).
Unfortunately I’m about to max out my graduate overdraft. I was in it before I had graduated but with outwards expenditures such as my phone bill and a broadband bill from uni (which I was essentially extorted into signing) which have increased much higher year on year than expected and allowing myself to have a life once a month, it’s about to be maxed out.
I can’t claim jobseekers as I’ve never worked before and I’m struggling to even get “unskilled” work.
I don’t think it’s my CV as I’ve managed to get interviews for professional positions, rather some brainstorming with friends has led me to believe it’s an age thing as due to multiple health issues I was 2 years behind the general timeline of education from the end of GCSEs to my degree. Something to do with 23 year olds requiring the national living wage and the costs of training me/knowing I’d be looking for something else not being worth taking me on? Anecdotal evidence from people who worked seasonal jobs that everyone my age was let go at the end of their short term contracts etc. Anyway, besides the point.
I’ve been looking into the possibility of signing up to universal credit as a means to stay afloat whilst I continue trying to find employment.
I do however have one major reservation: the £16000 savings limit.
I don’t have £16000 saved in straight cash, but I believe that through a combination of bonds and a help-to-buy ISA that my parents set up in my name, there’s a chance that these total over £16000.
I have found conflicting news on whether the help to buy ISA affects universal credit claims, articles from last year state that Johnson was looking to it irrelevant to a UC application, though knowing everything that happened last year, God knows if that has come to fruition - I haven’t found any concrete yes or no answer.
Ideally I’d like to avoid having to pay any penalties on withdrawing money from savings but who knows. Any ideas?
submitted by asjonesy99
to UKPersonalFinance [link] [comments]
2023.03.31 17:31 MN1314 Putting in Notice on Monday, but Boss went on Vacation?
I got offered an amazing new job opportunity that I can’t turn down. I will be signing the paperwork by Monday and planning to put in my two weeks’ notice on Monday. However, I just found out that my boss went on vacation today and will be gone all next week….She never said anything to me about going out of town so I had no idea. I feel sick thinking about sending her an email while she’s on vacation with my resignation instead of meeting in person. What should I do? Should I still put my notice in Monday through email or see if I can push back my start date at my new job another week?
submitted by MN1314
to careerguidance [link] [comments]
2023.03.31 17:26 InternationalDare863 Mirror sign help
We are planning on using a mirror for our welcome sign. My concern is that mirrors can be hard to read and my wedding is outdoors. I know the easiest solution would be a sign but I just love this mirror. I’ve been researching ideas to make it easier to read but the only idea I can find is to make the mirror antique looking (takes away from the mirror effect). Does anyone have any other suggestions? Any help is appreciated :)
submitted by InternationalDare863
to weddingplanning [link] [comments]
2023.03.31 17:21 throwrajdhsvs My [26M] girlfriend [27F] doesn't want to help out lately.
We dated for 3 years now and things at the beginning were great! We support our goals and the intimacy was fantastic. We moved into a house together with the idea that we would both have jobs.
However, 4 months ago, she was fired from her job as she ran into creative issues with her supervisor. I encouraged her to look for other job but she kept saying this was a sign that she wasn't meant to work. As a result, she would only lay around the house and wouldn't do much else. I tried encouraging her and her parents tried to help but she won't do much.
How else do I help her?
submitted by throwrajdhsvs
to relationship_advice [link] [comments]
2023.03.31 17:17 k12academics American School
| || |Is American School accredited? submitted by k12academics to k12academics [link] [comments]
American School is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools (MSA-CESS), Accreditation International (Ai) and the National Council for Private School Accreditation (NCPSA). American School is also recognized as a non-public secondary school by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). Visit our accreditation
page for more information. How old do I have to be to enroll?
There is no minimum or maximum age to enroll. Students planning to enroll in middle school courses must have an enrollment application or notarized letter signed by a parent or guarantor stating they are ready to begin sixth grade courses. Students planning to enroll in high school courses must have an enrollment application or notarized letter signed by a parent or guarantor before enrolling in ninth grade courses. How soon after I enroll can I start my courses?
Enrollment applications are not processed immediately and students do not receive instant access to their courses. Typically enrollment applications take 2-3 business days to process and students should receive course materials within approximately one week of enrolling. Will I get credit for the work that I have completed at another high school?
American School accept most credits from other accredited schools. The exceptions are religion, physical education, band, choir, driver’s education and ROTC. To begin the transcript evaluation process, please have an official transcript sent to our Registrar’s Office by [email](mailto:[email protected]
) or through postal mail to 2200 East 170th Street, Lansing, IL 60438. There is a $25 transcript evaluation fee that will count toward your tuition should you choose to enroll with American School. Does American School accept homeschooling credit?
If you have been home schooled or attended a non-accredited school, you may be eligible to establish up to 5 units of credit by successfully passing (with a grade of 75% or better) comprehensive examinations offered by American School. There is a $50 non-refundable fee for each comprehensive examination, and you must be enrolled for at least 10 units of credit from American School to be eligible to take comprehensive examinations. Please note that the American School does not provide review materials for comprehensive examinations. We do not send comprehensive examinations to students who have already received American School materials for the subject(s), nor to students whose sibling(s) or family members have received American School materials for that subject. Students enrolled in supervised or tutorial programs are not eligible to receive comprehensive examinations. Contact our [Principal’s Office](mailto:[email protected]
) for more information or if you wish to take these comprehensive examinations. How does American School work?
For most paper-based courses, students are sent a textbook and study guide. The textbook is often produced by a major textbook publisher, but some are custom-published exclusively for American School. The study guide contains unit discussions, self-check tests and the unit examinations which the students will complete and send to the School for grading. For other print-based courses, students are sent a textbook and examination booklet. In these courses, the textbook contains unit discussions and self-check tests, and the examination booklet contains the unit examinations which the students will complete and send to American School for grading. Students may start working the moment they receive their study materials in the mail, and they work entirely at their own pace throughout the duration of their program. Please note that policies and procedures for our online courses are slightly different. Refer to our Online Learning
page for more information. Does American School offer GED courses?
No. What is American School’s academic integrity policy (honor system)?
American School students are expected to follow the honor system. Under the honor system, it is permissible to benefit from the exchange of ideas with other students, friends or family members and to use your textbook, study guide and other resources while you work on your courses and complete your exams, but any work on examinations is expected to be your own thoughts and ideas. Your examinations must show what you have learned. You may not represent someone else’s work as your own. If you do not adhere to the honor system, you should expect disciplinary action, which may include retaking an examination or dropping a subject for another. Repeated violations may result in your dismissal from American School or an invalidation of any examination grades. All materials printed by American School are copyrighted. Supplying copies of questions and answers to other people is a violation of federal laws forbidding infringement of copyright and may be prosecuted thereunder. Therefore, you may not provide answers on examinations to other people, whether they are students of American School or not. What is American School’s grading scale?
For students in the General High School program and the College Preparatory program, our grading scale is: A: 93-100 B: 85-92 C: 76-84 D: 65-75 Partial: Below 65 I: Incomplete Who is considered a full-time student?
To achieve full-time enrollment status, a student must complete at least 5 Carnegie units of credit a year and have submitted work consistently during at least nine months of the year. If achieved, American School will verify a student’s full-time enrollment status for federal and state programs, medical insurance, child support agencies, Social Security Administration, and/or any other program requiring such verification, if requested. If a student has fallen below this standard, the student must submit work consistently for three consecutive months before American School will verify full-time enrollment status. What are the graduation requirements?
American School offers two high school diploma programs – the General High School Program and the College Preparatory Program. In each program the student is required to complete 20 units of credit. At least 5 credits must be completed with American School to receive our diploma. Specific graduation requirements are listed on high school diploma program enrollment applications. How long do I have to complete my course(s)?
In general, students in either of our diploma programs have 4 years to complete their entire 20-unit program. Students in our Independent Study program or who take individual courses for enrichment have 1 year from the date of enrollment to complete their paper-based courses, 6 months from the date of enrollment to complete a half-unit online course and 1 year from the date of enrollment to complete a full-unit online course. Regardless of your program, you can work at your own pace and may be able to finish in less than the maximum completion time. Can I go to college with an American School diploma?
Many American School graduates go on to college after completing our college preparatory course. They are usually admitted – as are students from any high school – on the basis of their scores on tests such as the SAT or the ACT and their grades with American School. Some states, such as New York, however, have public universities which will not accept students holding a distance education diploma, and these public universities will require such students to take the GED, TASC or another high school equivalency exam to gain admission. We suggest that you review the admissions standards with the college of your choice prior to enrolling and contact our Guidance Department if you have questions or need further assistance. you are interested in attending an accredited online college or university, please visit www.accreditedonlinecolleges.org
for a list of accredited online colleges and universities. May credits earned for American School courses be used for NCAA initial eligibility to participate in college sports?
At this time, American School courses may not be used to meet the NCAA core course requirements for initial eligibility for Division I or Division II sports or for NJCAA and NAIA purposes. This decision was not based on the content of our courses but, rather, on issues involving course structure and interaction with students in “nontraditional” courses. American School believes students should have the ability to work at their own pace, while the NCAA prefers students take courses which are teacher-driven and stick to a more strict schedule. You should not apply to take our courses if you plan on playing sports for a school affiliated with the organizations listed above. What is American School’s position on the Common Core State Standards Initiative?
American School, a not for profit distance learning institution utilizing the home study method, is dedicated to providing quality secondary instruction at a reasonable cost to those students who are seeking an alternative means of completing their high school education. We fulfill our mission, in part, informed by the Common Core State Standards Initiative, but we are not bound by those standards. Common Core State Standards are simply learning goals and are not a curriculum. They do not dictate instructional methodologies or paper-based or online materials used within subjects. Rather, Common Core State Standards establish clear and measurable goals for what students should know, understand and be able to accomplish at the end of a course or grade. American School reaffirms its commitment to allowing students to study at their own pace and to utilize, as they see fit, the paper-based or online study materials given to them so that they may reach or exceed any goal that is placed before them. After I enroll can I transfer from one high school program to another?
Students may make one transfer between high school programs at no additional charge unless they need to add additional units to meet the specific requirements of the program into which they are transferring. That is, a student in the General High School program may transfer into the College Preparatory High School program or vice versa with no charge for making the transfer itself. For any subsequent transfer between the two programs, there is a charge of $50 to help cover our administrative costs in changing a student’s program. Can I take more subjects than I am required to take for graduation?
Students may add additional units to their program of study beyond what they are required to take for graduation at the prevailing rate for taking individual subjects with the School. What if I just want to take individual subjects with American School?
Students may enroll in individual subjects for credit recovery or enrichment. Can I enroll in American School if I reside outside the United States?
American School welcomes students from outside the United States. International students who have taken high school courses overseas and wish to transfer high school credit to us should have their transcripts evaluated by NACES
and have the evaluations sent to us. All American School students outside the United States must take online courses only unless they have a shipping address within the United States. This is due to the rising cost of shipping and delays in customs. What is American School’s cancellation or refund policy?
American School’s cancellation or refund policy is clearly stated on every enrollment application. https://www.k12academics.com/national-directories/online-school/american-school
2023.03.31 17:16 Born_Ad7045 Parsing "what doesn't feels right" from "what triggers dysphoria"/"what's embarrassing"
I'm still questioning right now (2 months in!), but to be honest I'm pretty sure I'm trans. That thought has more or less stayed with me the whole time and the more time passes the more I settle on "I definitely am" at the end of the day, self doubt aside. I want to be a woman, and the idea of being cis, of being a man for the rest of my life is anxiety-inducing.
One piece of advice I got was to try out affirming stuff: shaving legs, putting on makeup, etc. The trouble is that while some of this stuff has been quite euphoric, especially early on, some of it feels bad, or has started feeling bad.
Like I started seeing a therapist about gender issues, and they refer to me with she/her pronouns. I want to learn to love these, and when I think of being referred to with them (or they're used on me online) it feels great...but IRL they feel very embarassing and I feel guilt for being called that.
Same for nail polish: initially loved it and couldn't get enough of it. Now it just makes my hands feel massive. I feel like an effeminate man and I fucking hate it. I feel seen. I've actually taken that stuff off because of how upsetting it was, seeing it day to day.
Crossdressing is great as long as it hides masculine curves and/or don't look too much at myself or my face. As soon as I start feeling like a man in a dress I just want to fucking ball up and cry. I tend to wear a skirt and loose shirt when working at my desk and try not to pay attention to the rest of my body.
All of these things are things I want to like. But I feel like some sort of weird cross-breed when doing them and they're just a reminder of how much of a man I am and I feel ridiculous. I'm worried that this is not just dysphoria flaring up and that it's all just a sign that this is wrong and I should abandon any hope of transition and it's killing me inside.
submitted by Born_Ad7045
to asktransgender [link] [comments]
2023.03.31 17:14 louied91 7 Stocks in The News This Week: HALB, AXXA, CNNA, BLLB, TOC.CN, PUMA.V, RDAR
Article Link: https://thestreetreports.com/7-stocks-in-the-news-this-week-halb-axxa-cnna-bllb-toc-cn-puma-v-rda
Over the course of the month there have been a number of stocks that have garnered the attention of investors and hence, ended up with hefty gains in the process. As the month comes to a close, it may be a good idea for investors to consider taking a quick look at some of the stocks which managed to make those moves. This article is going to provide you with a look into seven stocks that may be worth looking into at this point in time. Halberd Corporation (OTCMKTS:HALB)
– Halberd Corporation announced yesterday that it had signed an agreement with Mississippi State University (MSU) to begin pre-clinical models beginning April 10, 2023, to measure the effects its nasal spray will have on mitigating Traumatic Brain Injury. HALB’s stock hit a low in March of $0.012, has rebounded, and is up 29.16% since then. Exxe Group Inc (OTCMKTS:AXXA)
– Yesterday, Exxe Group Inc saw its stock go on a strong run and end the day with gains of as much as 17.65%. On Wednesday, the company announced that it signed a letter of intent with a United Kingdom-based technology company to build a fully automated algorithmic trading system at scale. The transaction is expected to be closed in April this year. Cann American Corp (OTCMKTS:CNNA)
– Cann American Corp was another company that was on the radars of investors yesterday and its stock ended up with gains of 17.65%. Last week it had been announced by the company that it had roped in Adam Scherr to be the brand ambassador of Cann American and also of Prodigy Stem Cell, a company that it acquired recently. Bell Buckle Holdings Inc (OTCMKTS:BLLB)
– Throughout March, Bell Buckle Holdings Inc saw its stock clock gains of as much as 50% and yesterday the company made another major announcement. It announced that its fully owned subsidiary unit Jump Start Sports had completed the sale of the 4th and 5th franchise territories. The latest deal will help the company in expanding further in the state of Ohio. Tocvan Ventures Corp (OTCMKTS:TCVNF) (TOC.CN)
– Tocvan Ventures Corp has been in focus this month and its stock has recorded gains of 60% so far this month. Back on Wednesday, the company had come up with an update for its first bulk sample from the Pilar Gold-Silver Project in Sonora, Mexico. The company announced that more than 1200 tons of materials had been stockpiled. Puma Exploration Inc (OTCMKTS:PUMXF) (PUMA.V)
– Puma Exploration Inc reported yesterday that there was 12.03 g/t gold over 1.50 m at the short HQ holes that had been drilled at Lynx Gold Zone last fall. It should be noted that the drilling of the holes had been done as part of an expanded metallurgical test that had been announced back on November 15, 2022. RAADR Inc (OTCMKTS:RDAR)
– RAADR Inc, which provides a free app for controlling cyber-bullying and cyber-harassment got a major boost this week. Last week the governor of Utah signed two bills designed to protect children from the harmful effects of social media. It was a boost for the company and RAADR lauded the move.
submitted by louied91
to TheStreetReports [link] [comments]
2023.03.31 17:04 LemoLuke My eldest son has been diagnosed as autisic, my younger son is currently being diagnosed, and I've been told that I'm very likely autistic based on my behaviors and mannerisms. This past couple of years has been a lot to process.
I really need to vent a little and I don't know where else to do this.
A few years ago, shortly before Covid, my eldest son, (who was 6 at the time) signed up for Beavers along with his cousin, who is also his best friend. My eldest is not particually social and we hoped that it would help him make some new friends. I had always been very socially awkward growing up, and didn't have many friends and I didn't want the same for him. However, after a few weeks, his scout leader took me aside and asked if there was anything about him they needed to be aware of. I had no idea what he was talking about, and he sheepishly asked if my son was autistic, as he was apparently showing signs of it (the scout leader had been trained to help with neurodivergent children). We'd never even considered it, and we asked his teachers the next day, who said they hadn't noticed anything. The scout leader continued to give him extra attention though, letting him know in advance exactly what activities they were doing that day, warning him if certain activities were going to be loud, and giving him space when he just wanted to run back and forth, etc.
Shortly after, the school noticed patterns in his behaviour, raised a concern and formally begain the diagnosis process.
About a year later, the scout leader phoned us to talk about my son, and during the call, dropped the bombshell that he had seen some of the same signs in me, and suspected that I was also autistic. This had never crossed my mind. I knew I had always had 'quirks', and struggled socially, but the only thing I had ever been diagnosed with was OCD.
Last year, my son recieved his formal diagnosis, and around the same time, the school raised red flags about my younger son, and this year, he also began the formal diagnosis process (although, we now recognise his immense love for dinosaurs and wildlife as his special interest, and his contant, long-winded explanations of prehistoric creatures as infodumping). My wife took a 6-week online autism course to help with my sons, as well as liasing with my son's school appointed specialist, and now my wife is also convinced that I am autistic. After learning about autism via my sons, I am also convinced and now have to decide if I want to try and get a formal diagnosis.
It's pretty overwhelming. I'm 40 now and it has made me reassess my entire life. All the issues I have had throughout my life, which I chalked up to just being 'awkward'. The fact I have always found it incredibly difficult to connect with people. People often considering me rude or antisocial because I avoid eye contact and don't enjoy smalltalk or general conversation or social gatherings unless I'm with people I feel really comfortable with, prefering to sit quietly out of the way. Struggling to take my children to birthday parties because I constantly feel the need to find somewhere quiet to sit because all of the lights and noise and activity overwhelms me. I find it difficult or near-impossible to watch certain TV shows and movies because I suffer from unbearable second-hand embarrassment from cringe humor, or get painfully uncomfortable seeing people being mean, angry, or upset with each other, to the point I have to leave the room, or cover my ears and look away until the scene ends. I often find myself alone in the kitchen pacing back and forth, or making random arm or hand movements whenever I am stressed, anxoius, or excited. I have always found it difficult to read social cues and subtle hints which makes communication difficult. The fact that I consider myself a 'personality magpie', constantly taking traits, quotes, and mannerisms from other people (often from TV/movies) and using it to create a sort of Frankenstein personality, to the point that I'm not even sure if I have a real personality of my own. The other day, I read a meme on this subreddit
, talking about the idea that you have to spend time constantly rehersing making a phone call to customer service before you can even lift the phone. For some reason, that one little thing hit so deep that I spent the next 10 minutes crying. If someone or something unexpectedly changes my day-to-day routine or environment, it can trigger unease and anxiety in me that can last for days. All social interactions feel like they deplete my emotional and mental batteries. I can't stand text/messenger conversations because the idea of not knowing exactly when someone will reply gives me anxiety.
Right now, things just feel very lost and I don't know how to deal with everything. I'm sorry for the long vent, it's just that writing this out is a much therapy for me as anything else.
submitted by LemoLuke
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2023.03.31 17:02 HowtoSavetheHumans Warriors Guild
So the next guild we will discuss is the Warriors Guild. Warriors are basically the athletes in our society and they have many outlets already, but humans, even in the pursuit of peace, should never lose our warrior spirit. Chief sitting bull once said, “Warriors are not what you think of as warriors. The warrior is not someone who fights, for no one has the right to take another life. The warrior, for us, is the one who sacrifices himself for the good of others. His task is to take care of the elderly, the defenseless, those who cannot provide for themselves, and above all, the children, the future of humanity.” Warriors have protected those they love for millenia. As we evolve to find peace in humanity, our warriors should be strong, but live by a code of cherishing life above all things. I've heard this quote with slightly different wording and attributed to many sources, including the Shaolin monks, and it is often called the 5-fold path of the warrior, “Avoid before contain, contain before strike, strike before maim, maim before kill, for all life is precious and none should be wasted. Many great warriors have reiterated the fact that to avoid a fight is the first potential victory you can attain in a fight. So how do we practice and express our humanity's warrior spirit in a healthy way? With a Warriors Guild. The Warrior's Guild will be a place where people can dress up in full padded gear and battle each other for exercise and a chance to practice their techniques in somewhat padded rooms. It would work like a gym membership, and people could bring their own padded armor and weapons or use what the Guild has on-hand. Sportsmanship and treating one another with respect will be of the utmost importance at the Warriors Guild, something the Warriors should take with them everywhere they go. Once padded up, Guild members would fight in rounds. There will be divisions for trained martial artists vs the untrained, as well as striking vs grappling and a division mixing the two. People can battle those of similar size and/or gender, or take on bigger opponents if they want. Anyone who calls the fight over will be respected and those who do not stop immediately will face consequences. This could also be a place for people to settle disputes in a fun and hopefully injury-free way. There will of course have to be liability waivers signed that relinquish almost all liability of the Guild, like all the Guilds, but I think people would really enjoy it. The Guild in Vegas and places where gambling is legal could even allow betting on the fights according to who will quit or get exhausted first. Buddies could battle buddies, employees could challenge bosses, and family members could settle petty arguments. I had these ideas for quite sometime, and thought it fun to open a couple of them, one called Valhalla and one called The Jungle. I think calling it the Warriors Guild would be just fine though if we incorporate into the Guild System. For anyone interested in making this idea an reality can contact me at [[email protected]
). Good deed of the week: go out this week and do something sporty. It could be as complicated as playing a sport or jumping rope. Go ride a bike or go for a jog, but do something that requires you to use your body in a way that promotes physical strength, stamina, and agility. Then say to yourself, “Save the Humans.” For extra credit do a few things sporty this week.
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2023.03.31 17:01 Niquann473 Career Mode Ideas That The Community Will Love
These are some feature, improvement and general idea we will love to see in My player, manager and create a Club career mode. (reuploaded from EA Answer HQ )
- Realist transfers, there is something in the game that makes big club sell top young stars to mid-term team, in one of my save Leverkusen had gravenberch, Ansu fati and rodrygo and Vardy and Immobile always end up at City or Real Madrid and it’s just unrealistic to see. It makes big clubs drop positions within 3 to 4 seasons. And when playing my career where I started at league 2 and worked my way up and players in the same league don't want to move cause the league is not competitive enough. Signing should take some days before you can use them.
- Cutscenes; Locker room cutscenes before, during and after a game can add more life to save, cutscenes when the manager now signs and is getting introduced to the staff and players, more signing of players and sell of players, ending of career cutscene for players and managers, more matchday cutscenes
- Co-op career mode Just let us play a career mode with all our friends in the same league managing different teams. It exists in FM, so the scheduling issues are obviously workable. It exists in Madden so clearly, it’s not an EA thing. IMO would be the single biggest change to Career Mode in FIFA history and shake up the mode so much.
- Create a club; Add sponsor on the kits even if it just EA SPORTS, Make GK kit customizable not only color, edit physical appearances on players, edit board objectives every start of the season or every 2 or 3 seasons in.
- Cosmetics: Is it possible that we can have all past and present football boots, and balls?
- Stats: these should not be reset every season and should be added to a total, can be view when scouting someone to see how they perform in the last season
- Potential system: I understand when someone get old, they lose attribute but if I have a 30-year-old striker scoring 25+ goal in LaLiga he should not be going down -4, and it goes for young players also, have a work around so when a young star ST have 30 games and 5 goal, he goes down in over by -2 at the season end
- Sponsor, Where the club receives money per game for completing objectives. Same as with the board objective the sponsor has their own and if we complete it, we get a boost in moral and funds, Like in previous FIFA
- UEFA FFP; Limit the number of wages a club has to spend based on the income generated as a form of control with the new introduction of sponsors and funds request. If A club doesn't follow, give them a penalty such as a fine or a transfer ban for 2 or 3 transfer windows.
- Request funds: This is an option that can be enable at the start of a new career, they request an amount and in return have to complete an objective failure to complete said objective can result in starting with a lower transfer budget, getting sack
- Coaching staff: In addition to adding a development plan on a player you can have the ability to hire and fire a coaching staff team. Have say 6 coaching staff slots? Multiple different types of coaches, varying from GK coach to FW coaches and maybe even have Special coaches like a Set-piece coach and a Fitness coach. For example, 5⭐ goalkeeper coach might max out the growth arrow to GK Reflex and have a chance to pass down 'Saves with Feet' trait to your keepers who don't have the trait. Whereas a 1⭐-goalkeeper coach would lower GK Kicking, give a slight increase to GK Positioning and have a chance to pass down a negative trait such as 'Cautious with Crosses' or 'Injury Prone' trait. (Reddit user u/Lurker-dono)
- Arrange Friendlies; You can arrange friendlies and testimonials for charity or honoring a player who are retiring. (This can be a sponsor objective)
- Trophy Cabinet: This is where you can view a team’s lifetime trophy, your managers lifetime trophy (real or created) and individual players trophy counts, The pro club’s trophy cabinet is a good start.
- Stadium Customization: Where you can custom and upgrade non authentic stadium in the game and with is include new features like custom banner, tifo, pyrotechnics, these are already in FUT and you can transfer it to career mode, with this manager could allocate parts of their budget to improving facilities such as stands (which will affect the fan capacity), this adds variety to stadiums
- Kits & Crest; We should be able to add the sponsor to them and be able to customize the GK kits, or make a more interactive kit designer, the crests that are currently in the game is boring transferring those from volta or give us a crest designer; or modify existing one (shape, color, object)
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2023.03.31 17:00 mouselipz What to do about our 5 UFAs
Open for discussion, my ideas being:
- Engvall is just a rental, let him walk
- Sign Fasching
- Sign Parise (probably just one more year but he deserves a pay increase)
- Let Mayfield walk, possibly plan to play Wotherspoon, but we probably need to look for a less expensive option than Mayfield who's a rightie
- Try to sign Varlamov to something more team friendly and without committing for too long, such as 2-years for 7-mil
Does this leave us enough wiggle room for other necessary acquisitions via trade? We would need a top-9 forward to replace Engvall
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2023.03.31 17:00 louisedub After my [38 F] husband [38 M] of 3 years got fired, he's been short-tempered and mean, and I'm tired of it
I'm not sure how to resolve/improve my marriage, following my (38 F) husband's job loss (38 M). We've been married 3 years, together for 5. Before, he was a thoughtful, caring husband with some anxiety. Last year, we welcomed our first child (10 months). A month after I gave birth, husband was fired from a job he'd held for 10 years. It shocked him and made him angry. Since then, he's been grouchy, irritable, mean. He mostly takes it out on me. He picks a fight and attacks me for the smallest things.
Husband has been out of work for 9 months now.
With his bad moods, I've tried to be supportive and kind and give him grace because I feel bad that he got fired. He's not like this all the time, and the frequency of his eruptions has gone down over the past few months. However, I also have boundaries, and I do not appreciate him belittling or yelling at me. So I told him this. On multiple occasions, but also yesterday.
For example, he asked me to buy him a dresser. So, I ordered a dresser and supervised the delivery. The delivery guys accidentally broke a dresser leg. They were honest, apologized, and noted that on the form and submitted a repair request. I told them I understood accidents happen and looked forward to the repair. When I told my husband, he yelled at me on and off for 3 days. He thought I should've been meanemore aggressive to them. He told me to call my credit card company and tell them it was a fraudulent charge. I told him I couldn't because that would be lying--I did buy the dresser. He went off. (So you're refusing to fix this?! What is your problem?!) He yelled at me and spent the next 3 weeks sending the store nasty emails.
Before that, I asked him to handle getting the crib ready. I had already purchased it, it was ready for pick-up at the store, and I just needed him to handle getting it and assembling. Honestly, I thought he might enjoyed this dad-rite-of-passage. He hired a handyman with a truck to pick-up and assemble. That worked fine. But afterwards, my husband complained that he had to spend his time meeting the handyman, and that from now on he wasn't going to meet any handymen/delivery people/etc. He said, "meeting contractors is bad for my mental health." And, just because I'm unemployed, doesn't mean I have time for this stuff. I said, Okay. And now I take time off work to meet all repairmen/etc. (hence the dresser delivery in the last paragraph!)
Meanwhile, I had to go back to work full-time 6 weeks after having baby girl. I take care of her throughout the night when she wakes, I watch her from 6/7 am when she wakes - 9 am, and 5pm-8pm, and on weekends. The nanny watches her from 9-5pm. Husband pitches in about 3 hours a day on Saturday and Sunday. (But did not watch her at all for the first 6 months). I work really hard to be a good mom and be good at my job and keep this family happy and healthy. It's like instead of living with a nice husband that I appreciate and can rely on, I have this grouchy porcupine that I have to watch out for. It's exhausting for me to try to manage his moods on top of everything else. I feel like I'm shouldering too much.
Husband has been going to therapy, but IDK if it's helping. Or maybe I'm just impatient for it to work faster? I've suggested couples therapy, but he's not interested in that. I also suggested that if he got a new job, one he's happier in, he might feel better. He did not appreciate that advice. I think he's in a rut.
Yesterday, we had a big fight. I woke up upon hearing the baby, greeted her, and started playing sweetly with Baby Girl. Everything was lovely. Until husband woke up. He immediately started attacking me for scheduling a happy hour after work since he wanted us to go to dinner at his parents' house that night. But I had texted him the day before and asked if he could watch the baby so I could go to this HH, and he said Yes. Also, I scheduled the HH in the first place b/c husband asked me to. He thinks one of my former colleagues could have some job leads for him. I offered to meet my husband for dinner after my HH or cancel the HH, but he said I never should've scheduled it in the first place. He continued to belittle me. He said I obviously didn't know how to work a calendar, I didn't like his parents, I couldn't be trusted (none of these are true).
I'd had enough. I told my husband, You are being a ____ (bad word). You didn't used to be like this. But you've been like this ever since you lost your job. You are grumpy, rude. You yell at me. You pick fights over nothing. You're not reasonable, and it's too much for me to deal with. This is not what I signed up for. Stop it. You need to either make yourself happy, or figure out a way to be kind while you're unhappy. If you want me to go to couples therapy with you, I will. But you need to fix your behavior. He told me I was name-calling and that I was the rude one. Now we're not talking. I think he believes he did nothing wrong and is waiting for me to apologize. I want him to take what I said seriously and change his behavior.
Any ideas on how to repair the marriage? I'm at a loss.
tl;dr: Husband got fired 9 months ago, and since then he's grumpy, rude and picks fights. I empathize, but I need him to be nice to me (and others).
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2023.03.31 16:55 splotchy_boi the translation of the Yuri character file.
If you found this note in a small wooden box with a heart on it, then *congratulations!* You are probably the first person to read this. I didn’t really plan on sharing this with anybody, but for some reason I think it’s exciting that somebody out there, a complete stranger, will come across this note and read my story. Someone I will never meet, sharing such a personal bond with me. I’m fascinated that either one of us could die - even as soon as tomorrow - with the other being completely clueless to the fact. To you, my entire life is within this note, and so I will live for as long as your memory can carry me. Writing this, I’m wondering if that makes you feel fascinated or violated. It’s so exciting.
I’m sorry if my story is a bit disorganized, but I’d like to get it down while it’s still fresh on my mind. First, I’ll tell you a little bit about myself. I’m a first-year college girl and have led, by most standards, a pretty unspectacular life up to this point. I grew up in an upper-middle class school district with decent teachers. I did track in middle school and some of high school, and I’ve had two boyfriends. Now, I’m studying for a career in occupational therapy, because I feel the field is undervalued and provides tremendous help to people.
I’m giving you this background because there’s this strange misconception that if you want to kill someone then you’re either sick in the head or you have anger management issues. But, it’s very apparent that I don’t fall into either of those categories. It’s true that most murder cases are in a domestic setting where someone loses control of their anger or something. But the thing is that those people kill under provocation, whether by a singular outburst or by a slow-burning series of misfortunes. Those people kill because in that brief moment, they want a specific someone, for a specific reason, to be hurt or killed.
What I’m talking about is wanting to kill someone for no specific reason, maybe just to see what it’s like. Do you ever get that? I wouldn’t know how others feel, because it’s not something I ever talked about. But I’ve been curious about what it’s like to kill someone ever since I was a child. Not killing anyone in particular, just a random person. It’s always just fascinated me that if I put my mind to it, I can approach anyone, and in five minutes they would be completely gone from this Earth.
But I’ve never done so for a couple of reasons. First of all, for most of my life it was logistically impossible for me to do it without getting caught. I only got my driver’s license a couple years ago, and even then, the preparations would take too much time, definitely stirring suspicion. It was only once I started college that I realized this was no longer an obstacle.
Another reason is that I was afraid of causing harm to too many people. You might laugh reading that, at how hypocritical it sounds. But, let me explain: Why should I feel bad about killing someone if they’re too dead to care? Who would I be feeling bad for? Contrarily, it’s the grief of the living that I’d rather not be responsible for. Because of this, I knew it would take a good deal of research before finding a suitable person to kill, and I’ve never had the means to do so - again, until I started college.
And now, having just experienced it, I’d say it was pretty satisfying in the end. Something I would try again? Probably not, since my curiosity has already been satisfied. It really wouldn’t be the same a second time.
But anyway, if by any chance you’re also curious to kill someone, then you’re welcome to take notes. :)
I started a hobby of people-watching soon after I entered college. People-watching is interesting to me because it’s taking one of the infinite extras in your life and turning them into a main character - without them knowing, of course. It’s so easy to forget that every single one of the hundreds of strangers you pass every day has a life story as deep and complex as your own. One thing I noticed about people-watching, and wanting to kill someone, is that you are in more constant awareness of this. When I find a person to observe, their story slowly becomes more clear to me over time, gaps being filled - it really is amazing.
I usually went to grocery stores on weekends and looked around in people’s shopping carts. If I saw something that interested me, I decided to observe the person for a little bit. Of course, since my goal was to find someone to kill, I ruled out anyone who had children or a partner with them. Wedding rings were another tell-tale sign.
So maybe once a weekend, I would find someone who fit my criteria, at which point I would follow them home and note their address. From there, it became incredibly easy to investigate a little bit more; most people have normal work hours, meaning I could spend afternoons going through their mail or looking around in their house. I repeated this with several people (and had one close call), but for varying reasons I didn’t really feel satisfied enough with them to kill any of them.
I started getting a bit impatient and thought that I might just settle for killing the man named Devon, even though I didn’t really want to kill someone wealthy. But then, I came across someone new - someone who just, felt perfect. The feeling only strengthened as I investigated her further, and I knew that she would be the one for me to kill.
A young-looking woman I met at the grocery store, as per usual. She was doing some light shopping with a basket. Her hair was wavy and dark brown, sitting inelegantly on her slumped shoulders and surrounding her tired-looking face. Her bare fingers told me she might be single, but beyond that, my gut was almost certain of it. This woman just seemed so…plain, really. I guess I felt a greater acuity for the personal lives of strangers ever since I started my people-watching. But the way she carried herself, I just got the feeling that if she suddenly died, nobody would be around to miss her. Of course, I still wanted to investigate her a bit.
I followed my usual routine of checking out her place during her work hours. I learned immediately from her mail that her name is Linda Watson. Linda lived in a quiet apartment complex, her mailbox easily accessible right outside her door. Instead of quickly shuffling through it, I decided I could take her mail back to my dorm and return it before she was finished with work (she only lived about 15 minutes from me). I did some research and learned how to open and reseal the envelopes without damaging them, which took some technique along with a hair dryer, rubbing alcohol, and Q-tips.
This made it easy for me to learn a little more about her. Linda was a 33-year-old woman who worked for a small accounting firm - I’d rather not name the place outright. Her birthday was December 11th which, coincidentally, was approaching in a couple weeks. I also managed to find a bank statement that gave me a nice look into how she’s been spending her past month. It was at this point I realized that my assessment of Linda Watson as an extremely plain woman was pretty spot-on, because there was absolutely nothing interesting on the list. A trip to Old Navy, a bunch of Starbucks, something about $40 from Amazon - no restaurants, no movies, nothing that would really imply she was spending any time socializing. That aside, I also found a cooking magazine, so I guess she was into cooking.
Apartments are harder to break into than suburban homes, because there are fewer doors and windows. Every time I got Linda’s mail, I would check the front door and the windows in the back, but they were always locked. This was a bit frustrating because I was really interested in getting into her house. So, I came up with a sort of plan that I thought would be fun, even if it didn’t work.
Last Saturday, I visited Linda Watson’s apartment complex as I would on weekdays. The difference is that this time, I wanted her to be home. I thought it would be interesting to have a conversation with her. If I got lucky, I could take advantage of the situation to discreetly unlock a window from the inside. So, I walked up to her door wearing nothing warmer than a light sweatshirt, and knocked. The adrenaline rush was crazy. I was afraid I might screw something up.
The door opened, and in front of me stood Linda Watson, exactly as I remembered her from the grocery store. It was at that moment, making eye contact for the first time, that I realized I was running the risk of beginning to care about this person. As selfish as it is, I couldn’t kill a person I cared about, even if it’s a 33-year-old woman standing in a doorway with a slightly perplexed look on her face, giving me a reserved “Hello.”
Arms crossed from the cold, I shyly returned Linda’s greeting. I explained that I was walking my dog near the woodsy area behind the back of her apartment, and that he had gotten away. I had been looking for my dog for an hour and was wondering if Linda may have seen him roaming about. Of course, Linda sympathetically apologized for the situation and that she couldn’t be of use to me, but that she would keep an eye out. I wore a defeated expression in response, apologizing in return for troubling her.
It somehow went exactly as I had hoped - Linda invited me inside to warm up a bit with some coffee. I outwardly hesitated before accepting her offer, although on the inside I wanted to jump through the door and hug her for cooperating so well. And that’s how Linda Watson ended up with a 19-year-old girl next to her on the couch - who knows if it was just a nice gesture or if she really has no better way to spend her Saturdays than talking to some kid she just met (who happens to be interested in killing her).
Linda soon learned that my name is Maria (it’s not) and that I attend the nearby community college (I don’t). I was a little bit nervous that she would ask me too many questions because I didn’t have many answers prepared. I was able to steer the conversation toward her, and she was pretty happy to talk. I asked what she does, and she told me that she works for the accounting firm I already knew about, communicating with outside clients and keeping records. I told her I was pretty nervous about growing up. She told me to enjoy college and to make lots of friends because there’s less opportunity once you start working.
When I asked if she was married or anything, she laughed. Of course I knew she wasn’t married, but I wanted to hear more about her love life. She said that she doesn’t currently have a boyfriend (I guess she’s at least had boyfriends, but who knows how long ago). When I asked her about kids, she said she doesn’t want them until she gets a better job. On top of that, she told me that her family has a history of some genetic diseases such as arthritis and depression, which she is afraid to give to her kids.
It’s funny that she mentioned that because when I asked to use her bathroom, I noticed a tube of prescription pills on the sink. It was labelled duloxetine, which I looked up later and discovered that it is in fact an antidepressant. I had a joking thought that maybe by killing her I’d be doing her a favor, but quickly decided I was a terrible person for coming up with that.
The rest of the visit was pretty dull. We talked about food and some other mundane stuff before I eventually made an excuse to leave. I didn’t get the chance to unlock a window or anything like that, but I didn’t really feel the need to go through her apartment anymore. As early as the drive back to my dorm, I was already thinking about how I would best like to kill Linda Watson.
The choice was between effectiveness and fun. I decided to go with fun, because it would be way more satisfying to kind of dissect her as I killed her, rather than just getting it done and calling it a day. Fast-forward one week to December 13th - today, actually. Linda Watson turned 34 two days ago. I made a fun little wager with myself where if Linda was spending her birthday weekend alone, I would pay her a visit and kill her. If she was out or had company, I would stop by next week or something instead.
So this morning, I drove over to Lowe’s and bought an axe. Again, I expect you’re laughing, but that’s also kind of the point. An axe is so kind of cliche and a “movies” thing that I actually thought it would be the most fun. Swinging it at someone and everything, it’s a really entertaining image. They actually had a bunch of different axes, so I picked one that had a good weight but was still light enough for me to swing quickly.
The drive after getting the axe was when the adrenaline really picked up. All that kept going through my mind on the way over was “Wow, I’m really doing this.” Not in a bad way, just like a surprised this is real life sort of thing. I also got this strange rush of recollections of the time I spent with Linda. It was like my life was flashing before my eyes, except it was just the rather mundane hour I spent with Linda - like snippets of our conversations, the sound of her laugh, her facial expressions and stuff.
I also wondered to myself what the crazy serial killers would be feeling at a time like this - schizophrenic delusions? Sexual buildup? I have no idea, but what I felt was kind of like ridiculously alert and numb in the senses at the same time, however that’s possible.
Before getting out of the car, I had the sense to stuff the axe into my backpack to look a little less ridiculous walking across the parking lot. The handle was sticking out, but that didn’t really matter. At that point my heart was pounding so hard I could feel my throat throbbing. I tried controlling my breath, but it’s really hard to not breathe fast when your heart is pounding like that.
I reached Linda Watson’s door and quietly put my ear to it after setting down my backpack. I heard a voice that wasn’t hers - company? No, it was just the TV, mixed with her occasional tapping footsteps behind the door. I actually kept my ear there for a really freaking long time, because I wanted to make absolutely sure nobody was over. Probably 10 minutes of that and a lot of reassuring myself convinced me.
I quietly opened my backpack zipper and held the axe in my hands. My fiercely shaking hands. What the hell was this kind of reaction that my body was making? I told my body to shut up, that it’s no big deal, but of course it wouldn’t listen. It was actually bizarre how much my hands were shaking. It must be the adrenaline buildup. I rolled my eyes at myself and got my hand to rest on the doorknob. If it’s locked, I’ll knock, it’ll be basically the same. I took a deep breath and forced my muscles into action.
I swiftly turned the doorknob. Not locked. In one movement, I opened up the door and slipped inside. Linda Watson, just a few steps away into the kitchen. I see - she was in the middle of cooking. She immediately jumped and turned around, startled. I expected that. Quickly, I let go of the doorknob and adjusted the axe into both hands. In the following split second, I realized that she would probably start to make a lot of noise. Looking back, I’m an idiot for not considering that. Just as Linda’s mouth opened to speak - maybe even started speaking - I forcefully swung my axe into the side of her head.
But, my axe was facing backwards. I hit her with the blunt end of the blade. I actually did this on purpose, because in that split second I somehow decided that it would be the way to keep her noise to a minimum. It actually worked. I felt barely any resistance in the swing as I collided with her head, knocking it clean aside. Linda’s half-formed syllable came out as a kind of weird grunt - a noisy exhalation is probably the best I could describe it. That happened at the same time as her head smacked into the cabinet from the force, and she fell backwards without any ability to keep her balance. I didn’t hesitate at all to keep swinging at her while she was half lying down on the ground, this time my axe facing the right way. I didn’t really know where to swing, so I kind of just started hacking at her collarbone area and chest. It didn’t feel like the axe was going too deep, but there was a nice “thunk” sort of sound every time the axe embedded into her. I even felt the soft sinking sensation ripple into my hands, like the axe was a kind of physical extension of my sense of touch.
On a whim, I swung once at her throat, but most of the swing actually missed and I hit the floor by accident, causing a loud, dull whack to resonate through the apartment. I didn’t have time to think about it. I swung again with better aim and got a more centered hit, feeling the bone or cartilage or whatever is in there, so I must have split it open. Right after that, I decided to swing at her face, and I got this diagonal cut along her nose and mouth, which felt pretty good so I did it once more.
I finally briefly stopped to survey the damage. Linda was bleeding ridiculously. The blood was kind of coming out in waves, in sync with her beating heart, probably. It was pooling all around her and riding along the cracks between the tiles. Her light blue shirt was all torn up and stained dark, kind of mixed with a fleshy mess around her chest. It was all just glistening red. Her face wasn’t much better, covered in dripping red at this point, and her lip was kind of hanging off, revealing red-stained teeth in a really weird way, like a zombie or something.
Linda wasn’t dead, though. Her limbs were kind of weakly, aimlessly trying to move while she was stuck on her back. More than anything, she reminded me of a bug that you crush but it still pitifully moves its legs around before it dies completely. That’s basically what she was doing. But I didn’t know how long it would take for her to die, or what kind of condition she was in. I ended up grabbing a big knife that was on the counter that she was using to cut up meat. Trying to step around the blood, I reached down and carved into the upper half of her neck, trying to sort of saw it from the left side to the right. It was a little awkward because the area was so soft and squished around the knife as I was cutting. But the sensation was completely different from the axe. It actually felt like I was cutting a tough piece of raw meat (which I guess technically, I was).
The blood started pouring out, and I hoped that I severed the most major arteries in there. It must have worked, because after a moment Linda’s limb movements kind of just had the strength drained from them, soon resting still on the floor. I took a few seconds to catch my breath. No time to stick around and think about the experience. I shook the knife blade through a dirty pan in the sink to clean off the blood, then threw the knife into my backpack. I did the same with the axe. I also took her laptop that was sitting on the counter. It had some recipe open for veal and mushrooms. I didn’t really take the laptop to use it, since I have a perfectly good one myself that I got for college. I just wanted to look through it for fun.
I finally went outside and closed the door behind me. I got some blood on my sweater and jeans. But funnily enough, I actually anticipated that so I wore dark colors.
The drive back to my dorm was just a constant replaying of the experience in my head. I guess that’s still kind of happening even now, actually. But it felt pretty nice. Linda Watson is dead. I kind of let the weight of that sink in. The sensation of having completely removed a human life from existence. It’s crazy. I don’t know how else to describe it.
Anyway, I threw the axe and knife into a dumpster on campus, which I think is picked up every Monday, so they’ll be gone by then. My roommate goes home on the weekends, so I have the dorm to myself today. It gave me the chance to go through Linda’s website history. I was right in thinking that’s where her deepest secrets would lie.
There was actually a lot of dirty stuff, like the names of websites for porn videos and stories and things like that. Same with her searches. A lot of the websites were boring, like cooking websites and recipes, and game websites like Bejeweled and stuff. I eventually got to the “one week ago” section of her history, and it gave me a chill.
There were a whole bunch of searches like “methods of suicide”, “how to tie a noose”, “dangerous household chemicals”, “carbon monoxide poisoning” - like a lot of them. She was probably ready to write a book on suicide after all the research she did. So I guess Linda was contemplating suicide. I wonder if it was influenced by her depression.
The irony is actually striking. Maybe Linda was going to die anyway. Or maybe she couldn’t find the courage to do it. If that were the case, I almost literally gave her a birthday present by killing her. That’s actually really comical in a messed-up way, and it leaves a weird taste in my mouth. The part I don’t get is that I didn’t see any of those searches up until the “one week ago” section, nothing more recent than that.
I ended up throwing the laptop in the dumpster with the other stuff. It’s been a few hours since then, so I’ve had some time to calmly think about everything. Like I said, it was pretty satisfying and I’m glad I finally got around to it. I feel like I can finally cross it off my bucket list, or like I’m tying loose ends with myself. This is probably the first and last time I’ll write the name Linda Watson - it’s back to living a normal college life, except I might do some people-watching every now and then because it’s definitely fun and interesting.
But I’ll always wonder how many people there are like me. I’m sure there has to be a lot, because there is just nothing strange about it to me, being curious about killing someone. Sadly, it’s something that people can’t exactly just talk about, so I guess I’ll never know. I’m sure that anyone would just lie about it even if you asked them. But you can’t help but wonder if that person in the grocery store, who stares at you as you pass by, might be considering what it would be like to kill you. If I could, I would tell them all about it, so they could decide for themselves. But who knows, maybe I got lucky, and that person is you. I actually really, really hope so.
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2023.03.31 16:53 The_quenchiest16 Meeting Matthew lillard tomorrow! What questions should I ask about the movie?
I’m having Matt and Kellen Goff sign their character pages in encyclopedia. I’m so excited but also nervous and am not sure what to ask during my few minutes with them 😭 ideas?
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2023.03.31 16:53 FullCrisisMode Any graphics people got ideas for cheap signs?
I want to put signs in my town and specifically on Lauren Boebert's street corner as she is one of my neighbors.
I believe in the forced transition from capitalism using a workers takeover and I believe health care should be the first to be removed from employer and health insurance company rule. I'm ready to begin the process by connecting people who are off the internet. Everywhere I go people are talking about the failures. It's time to grab onto this sentiment.
I'm not good at graphics but I know we can get things going. Send me a chat if you're interested in helping me get the word out. The US is over. It's already done so let's not wait to get things going again.
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