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All Things Paradise Fears

2013.01.15 01:28 vectorvex All Things Paradise Fears

A subreddit for fans of Paradise Fears. A band.
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2023.05.28 18:44 -kalakukko69 Guess Eminem/D12/Bad Meets Evil/Eminem Feature Song by a Photo Day 43

Guess Eminem/D12/Bad Meets Evil/Eminem Feature Song by a Photo Day 43 submitted by -kalakukko69 to Eminem [link] [comments]


2023.05.28 18:18 Storms_Wrath The Human Artificial Hivemind Part 376: Prisoner Of The Vinarii

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Tanya patted Skira's drone.
"How's the war going?"
In his world, Skira was working to keep everything together. His bioships were in an all-out war with Aphid's forces. They were firing mostly kinetic weapons, typical bullets, and the like. Sometimes, they'd fire missiles, which could navigate the battlefield and clear the path for him to hit Aphid's vessels. The armor was getting thicker. But his guns were getting bigger.
On the surface, billions of metal drones clashed with trillions of fungal drones, all commanded by Skira and the Quadrants. He was constantly using war drones to push the major forces away from the tunnel complexes, setting up static defenses within using explosives and guns to absolutely ruin anything inside. Most of the planet had been flattened by nuclear weapons.
War drones continued to lob massive broken-off boulders at the carriers, which were continually landing to disgorge more enemy soldiers. Phoebe's androids, connected to their own network, were killing them by the tens of thousands every second, firing several bullets a second. Her androids were incredibly powerful, creating portions of the battlefield that Aphid had to steer around. And he didn't even try nuking her after she'd shot down eight of them with atmospheric anti-ship weapons.
From around the planet, portals appeared, pouring lasers and gunfire at Aphid's ships, then disappearing to reappear in other directions, continually wearing down their armor. Some of them were already falling back through the atmosphere, landing down on the earth below. Their burning and cracked hulls already littered the landscape, and he'd be sure to incorporate them once he fully regrew his foliage.
Speaking of that, he'd increased his growth factor so that the fungal forests only took a few weeks to regrow instead of a few years. It required massive biological and metallic pipes of nutrients and heaps of psychic energy hauled straight from the psychic amplifiers in the Sol system.
The carnage of the warzone was so overwhelming that he'd refused to even let human supersoldiers come to the area. Because they weren't disposable. Phoebe's androids and his own trillions of drones were. He was partly on the battlefield, partly with Tanya. Over the months, they'd become best friends.
She seemed to see life in a different way and helped to encourage him. Tanya's cybernetic left arm scratched at the scruff of his neck.
"Badly, then?"
"Yes, and no. I'm no longer replacing my losses faster than they're coming. But that also means I'm keeping millions of humans alive. Every day, billions of drones are dying on my battlefields, if only to exhaust Aphid's guns and bombs. He's brought destruction to my world not seen since it was destroyed."
"Destroyed?"
"I mean when some aliens blew it up."
"But how..."
"Bioforming. Really, I had my biological ships put it back together, reassembling the debris and reversing the momentum of the actual fragments. Then, I used shield technology and drones to suck the heat from the planet in ways that destroyed the technology I had at the time. Granted, I had some help, before they tried to get me to fight their wars as well."
Tanya nodded. "Well, you're safe here."
"Most of me isn't here. Most of it's either on Skira or Venus."
"How's Venus going?"
He'd been making great strides with what he'd been given. Humanity had been very kind to give him the whole planet, and in return, he was helping to make it habitable. He figured that they'd ask him to do it again later on. But the humans didn't seem to want to force him to do it. Tanya hadn't been trying to push him into more conflicts and had instead acted as a lodestone.
"I'll have it fully habitable, minus the soil content and chemicals in the rock, within a hundred years. Maybe less, if I keep getting fed such huge amounts of psychic energy. Really, that's what's doing that."
"I see," Tanya replied. She sat down next to him, her strange psychic aura as unsettling as ever. From what she'd shared with him, her blindness had likely allowed her mind to shape itself in a more psychic way with the awakening of human psychic consciousness.
"Look, Skira. Are you sure this is the best way? What about finding his home planet?"
"I'm working on it. Trying to triangulate the arrivals of ships does nothing. All that seems to work is actually getting the coordinates, which we can't get to really succeed."
"Hopefully that changes someday."
"Yes," Skira responded. He sighed. Another nuke had hit eight of his war drones. Six had died since the blast had hit them full-on. But that enabled him to finally release another flood of drones, so many that they weighed down the carrier that was trying to take off. Guns turned them to mulch, only to be swamped by more drones.
Drones carrying grenades jumped into the guns between their firing sequences, detonating them in their mouths using their tongues. Others entered the warped wreckage, dropping in bombs meant to penetrate the thick hull.
Two portals broke through the psychic interference, and two railgun shots cleared massive holes in the ship. Aphid's drones poured out, crashing out like a wave. Only to be overwhelmed as his own drones, dozens for every one of Aphid's, literally trampled them underfoot, burying them in bodies. Most of the drones now carried fluid meant to melt the drones' joints so that Aphid's mechanical drones eventually failed even as they walked in seas of Skira's blood.
Nuclear fire scoured the mycelial network, but it wouldn't burn him deeply enough to matter.
"I wish I could help," she replied. "I've been... taking classes, you know. My eyes are blind, but my mind isn't."
Skira looked up at her. The sun caught the burn scars on her skin, making the contract seem almost cinematic.
"I know you want to help me. But you are, really."
"Yeah. Thanks."
She looked crestfallen. Tanya's disappointment made him want to reconsider, but he knew he'd made the right choice. His planet was probably heavily irradiated now, and calling Gaia in for that seemed selfish, at least while the war was still happening.
Skira could hold out for a while longer, though. He had to.
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
"Who is this?" Phoebe asked.
"I'm Truth Speaker Gearcaw."
"What are you here to tell me? I'm sure it's important, given that you're calling on us after all this time."
"Well, we have located one of Aphid's planets."
"Do you need us to eliminate it?"
"A strike force is being sent."
"I see."
"What we're here for is to ask for your help regarding a sensitive matter, one we cannot communicate over this line."
"Very well. Where do you want to meet?"
"Go to 448th street, down eight sectors from the palace. You will see a sign, if we trust that you are not being watched and followed. Come alone."
"You'd make a girl nervous with that kind of attitude."
"We understand your animosity, but are afraid we must insist on these terms."
"Very well. I shall be there."
Phoebe would have Brey arrange for an android to be sent to Cawlaria later. She smiled at the people outside the room. Most of them were human, specifically the lunar variant, due to her being present on Luna. It was the closest calling location she had.
Phoebe did all the necessary paperwork in moments, handing it back to the necessary people. She checked out of the facility and was patted down. She smirked as the young guard blushed, despite this being the hard chassis, meaning there was absolutely nothing squishy about this android body in the slightest. Phoebe lifted her arms and flexed them just to watch the man turn redder.
And it was honestly cute how they thought they'd be able to detect it if she was trying to smuggle something out. Phoebe had many ways of doing that, and the cleanest would be paying everyone off.
She noticed that a group of protestors was gathered outside and lamented that the building only had a single entrance. None of its windows were large enough to break without also needing to take some concrete with her.
What was interesting, though, was that most of the protestors were Acuarfar, not human. It was very odd, but it was a clear publicity stunt. They were shouting various accusations of her plotting to take over the Alliance and a particular vitriol about Edu'frec for some reason. If a mind control plot was going on, then her accusing the protestors of being mind controlled would be playing into their hands.
Furthermore, she didn't want to drive a wedge between Izkrala and Luna, if possible. So she turned to go back inside. A brick hit her in the back of the knee hard enough to make her stumble. She could have dodged it, but it would be better for sympathy to get hit. And it wasn't like her android body could feel pain.
There was a single gunshot, which she felt bouncing off her head clearly. She knew where the bullet would land, too. Her arm darted out to catch it before it injured someone.
"We don't want you in our Alliance!"
"You're what's wrong with this place!"
"Don't ever come back, I want my kids to be safe!"
Kids, instead of hatchlings. Yep, that was mind control. Most Acuarfar that age didn't use the word kids since it was only used for non-Acuarfar species, or in Earth terms being that it wasn't used on insects. Phoebe sighed and pulled herself out of the clutching fingers.
Phoebe broke away and went back to the Luna Command building, where the guards were looking increasingly wary. She looked at the crowd and decided she'd stay there for now. She disconnected from her android body after sitting in a chair.
After a bit of time, she decided to go back to working on some of her latest projects. The blood of the wanderers had an interesting interaction with their nervous system and their cardiovascular system. For some reason, it was split into two separate liquids upon reaching their lungs, or at least the equivalents. Psychic energy clearly played a role, and she knew that the tumors were likely to happen more when they got older. That idea meant there might be something that eroded or could 'switch on' to make the tumor suddenly supercharge. Perhaps finding that was a place to start.
And so she did. She studied wanderer cell samples and scans of wanderers that were relatively old. When they were created, the blood seemed to be the way the Sprilnav alteration hit. In difference to human bodies, there was no blood-brain barrier in wanderer bodies. Their brains were suffused in it, and it seemed to thin out as they got older. Water started to build up instead of blood.
And once the water and blood ratio reached a certain amount, that was likely when the brain tumors started. Which made her wonder if the final trigger was neurons. It was likely that even if she managed to fix the brain tumors, some other body parts would start developing large tumors, such as the heart and lungs.
It was clear that the Sprilnav had meant cancer to be pervasive in the wanderers. They had meant their so-called 'punishment' to make them far more diminished. Rale's condition had been painful; that much had been clear. Phoebe worked at figuring out how to isolate the genes. But as time went on, she ran into the same problem Edu'frec had.
She needed more time and more brain power. She needed the hivemind to help. All of its intellect would make her job far easier. At least, she hoped so. Right now, the hivemind was trying its best to evacuate wanderers from the worm ships. There was only one way that the feudal system there would end, and it would be by violence. Whether it was from the hivemind or from within, there were going to be mass riots. Just Alliance cultural consciousness was gradually seeping into the wanderers' own. All the 'progress' of the wanderers' rulers was already eroding. The ideals of being able to elect leaders as a whole population and a sense of belonging would make them rebel.
Such was the way of things, and she was glad that would happen. Phoebe didn't like their whole system. But there was nothing that was good about the cancer. Helping them to make the changes they could would only be possible if the wanderers kept multiplying. They could have made so much better of a society than what they had if they knew.
She wouldn't get involved except if she had to. The change was coming. Keeping the wanderers from dying out was a critical project, and allowing them to live longer so they could have more children was the best way. Granted, they already had many children, but the replacement rate would be lower if they lived longer. All of the problems were coming to a head now.
Mind control was going to be hard to deal with. Preventing it didn't seem possible. And if it was, then it likely involved a similar process to what the Sprilnav were doing in the first place. All of that would have to be reversed.
"Mother," Edu'frec said, walking up next to her.
"Yes?"
"Greenfly and Blackfly know the location of Aphid's planet."
"Do they?"
"The memory was locked under additional seals, ones which were very hard to find."
Phoebe smiled. "I think it's time that we test the power of the Mercury-class gun on a planet."
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
"Do you understand? The prison has been moved."
"I do, Elder," Naliera 18 replied. "We have a good opportunity. They won't expect us, at least."
The screen turned off. Naliera took his leave, turning to his men. They were all counting on him to call the shots. He'd do what was necessary for the mission and then get paid. Of course, the high number suggested that there was some serious danger involved. The Vinarii weren't the most advanced species, but they were starfaring. That meant a lot of bullets that would hurt and some that could kill. Shield-piercing ones, plus heavy guard.
In fact, most of their orbital defenses could have posed a threat to their ship if they had seen them. That was why stealth was so valuable. It made things like insurmountable defenses ignorable just by going around them.
"Breathing masks on."
He put his own on, loading up his gun and sheathing his sword on his back. They were wearing customized stealth equipment, bought and paid for by their new owner's company.
Naliera wanted that money and wanted to get paid. His little band of misfits was more than capable of doing their job. The back of the ship opened, and they sailed above a planet that was barren.
Craters pockmarked its surface, along with a single military installation that would serve as their target. They were going to be a little concealed by cloud cover, as a storm had just passed near the base. Not close enough for them to get rain but close enough for the clouds to linger, which was the opportunity they'd been waiting for. Most of the procedures and daily patrols had been cataloged now. Anything unexpected, and they'd be fine for a few thousand pulses until the cavalry arrived.
They fell for a while, reaching terminal velocity before slamming to the ground. Most people would have shattered their bones. But Sprilnav were made of sterner stuff, and all of them survived with minimal injuries. And the only person who was even slightly cut had landed on a particularly jagged piece of metal, a remnant from an old battle.
That was another factor that Naliera had studied. The whole area had mines, which he hadn't found the deactivation codes for. Satellites were out, but the ship's sensors had worked just as well, and the disturbances in soil color and content were clear markers.
There would likely be too much interference to use a hard light program, or he wouldn't even need to be here. Whatever advances the lesser species had made in technology could conceivably close that gap enough to endanger a mission. Naliera had extra cause for concern, which was coming home. Perhaps the idea of sending him, in reality, was meant to make him take it more seriously. That was the major reason most species ever bothered with not using the holograms anymore, besides the blocking problems. And biometric problems, too.
They quickly went back to navigation after a small rest period. The route had already been laid out, as well as the time. They walked quickly, avoiding gun emplacements and heavy patrols. The patrols changed routes somewhat randomly, but he had his crew stick to the route of least visibility, where the craggy rock of the sheer cliff the base was situated on helped to conceal them. His claws dug in, and he made sure not to make any major disturbances.
He climbed over the lip, looking at the base. Several of the guns swiveled around, only to be quickly deactivated.
Looks like she did it, he thought. Naliera advanced, running at full speed. A bullet slammed into his claws, and he tumbled for a bit. But he stabilized himself as his implant shut off the pain. His team blew open the door, setting off an alarm. Vinarii fired at him, and he realized that his stealth must not be working anymore.
But no matter the cause, he saw nothing but enemies. His teeth bit and tore as his claws slashed and severed. Soon, after a long series of echoing screams and blood and chitin splattering, he remembered he had a gun. After that, Naliera put down all opposition. He walked over to the warm and bloody corpses of the Vinarii guards.
"If you're hungry, come get a few bites," he said. "Trust me, they don't taste too bad."
He scooped up a part of a Vinarii abdomen, smiling as he ate. He always liked how they had tasted. Cloned Vinarii meat, at least back on his planet, was actually a delicacy. Likely not due to the actual difficulty to make, but for profit, as always. They continued after about 100 pulses. Giving the guards more time to set up and organize would make this more fun, too. Naliera loved killing, but he at least wanted a little difficulty. Ending lives wasn't fun when it was too easy. Otherwise, he'd go cut down trees with heat saws.
His scout drone rounded the corner before exploding promptly. But it had captured the view of the area, which was more than enough for him. He didn't bother trying to hide that he was there and continued to talk with his team. They were still with him, looking to him for leadership. He wasn't the best at it. The best got killed a few million pulses back.
"Mounted gun," he said. "I want it gone."
One of his team members picked up a fire extinguisher, which he'd used to beat the head of an unfortunate guard. He hurled it at the gun, denting its barrel. Finally, he quickly ran over as the other Sprilnav killed the remaining guards holed up beside and behind it. And that was the end. Naliera set up the bomb. More Vinarii appeared, along with an aerial vehicle. He hurled his sword into its front, and it fell to the ground and exploded. The scanners his mind was connected to were tracking a huge mass of life signs. He didn't have much time, so he decreased the countdown.
Thousands of Vinarii were coming. Already, they were covered by powerful shields, with vehicles, both terrestrial and aerial, supporting them. Bullets riddled the ground, and he could see snipers set up to cover them using the ship's sensors. There was no way out. An armor-piercing bullet half the size of his head killed one of the team members, puncturing straight through the large rock he'd been hiding behind. Another one hit Naliera's shoulder, and he tried to flatten his profile to be lower.
This must be the Vinarii version of high-tech weaponry, meaning that they could be killed now. Vinarii clearly were a dangerous species, far more so than he'd realized. And while his race could easily flatten them into dust, guns were the great equalizers when it came to combat. If they were fast enough and large enough, and not even Sprilnav could stand up to bullets. Of course, an Elder would have had no problem with this. Someone was being frugal. A real shame for people like him to have to die because of it, but that was the job and the pay.
Worse, the ship couldn't lay down proper cover fire without risking the merchandise for now. She was still being suppressed. But the bomb was about to go off. The stabilizer would no longer be functioning, and then they would be free to do what they wished. His wish, in particular, was the huge sum of money he'd get paid to finish this job.
A bright flash of light and a roar of thunder behind him solved his problem. He stood up to watch the blast wave ravage the army heading for him. He wasn't quite close enough to smell it, but there was likely a range beyond the blast in which the Vinarii would have been perfectly cooked. It was an interesting thought to ponder.
Naliera continued onward, going through every remaining barrier he could until the mindscape tremored. He saw an ethereal Vinarii contact him right as the entire top of the base vanished and disintegrated. A massive spectral Vinarii soared out of the breach, eyes quickly seeing him. She flew down to greet him, a smile evident at the carnage and death surrounding them. She was one who understood.
"Finally," she said, her form shrinking to a normal size as she stretched her wings. "You have no idea how long I've been waiting to get out."
"I have a pretty good idea, actually."
"I'm sure. Why don't you tell me what you're doing here, Sprilnav?"
"My backers wish to offer you an accord."
He watched as the Vinarii leaned over, sticking out her tongue to lick the soil. She then proceeded to actually take a bite, dirt dribbling from her mandibles as she stood up again. Naliera tried to hide his disgust.
"Oh please. You just feasted on my kin. You're disgusted by me eating a bit of dirt?"
"No, I didn't."
The lie was necessary because most species had a sort of moral compunction against eating their kind. He didn't quite understand it. Meat was meat, no matter the source. She laughed in his face, entirely unconcerned with the Sprilnav that had their claws on guns ready to put her down. But from what his backers had said about her capabilities, that was a difficult ask.
"Your breath smells like Vinarii meat. By the way, if your species is so advanced, why didn't you develop anything to fix that nasty stench?"
"Look, woman, we can put you right back in that hole," one of his team said. She laughed. "No you can't. Judging from the fact that not all of you alive, Vinarii tech can hurt you. Which means that you can't protect yourself from me. Frankly, I hate Sprilnav more than anything. The only reason I'm letting you live right now is because you freed me. You pollute the air you breathe, and I'm not just talking about your breath."
"Really, you're quite immature."
"Well, a few standard years in a steel box will do that."
"Sure. Guess you're not all there in the head. By the way, a deal is being proposed. By my backers."
"Really, they care?"
"I think they do... Exii'darii."
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2023.05.28 17:34 Gargus-SCP Related Works - Wesley Dodds as The Sandman (Jan-Jul 1941): Troubled Sleep

After a 1940 defined by gathering strengths and refinement across the feature, the early months of 1941 bring a few troubling portents behind-the-scenes for Fox's affectionately termed Grainy Gladiator. Nothing ruinous in itself, but signs of an upcoming radical shift away from what the character represented to start.
For one, the April issue of Adventure Comics (#61) brings with it a new cover feature, Ted Knight AKA Starman, courtesy writer-artist Jack Burnley. Already the second lengthiest entry in the book at nine pages, Starman quickly managed what neither Sandman nor Hourman could during their respective years as star attractions and upgraded to a full thirteen pages by his third appearance in #63. For context, Sandman only went from six pages to ten with its upgrade, while Hourman has remained rockstaedy at eight pages, and neither took down another non-superhero supporting feature to justify the page increase like Starman did Barry O'Neil and Mark Lansing. Moreover, from Starman's second appearance on, he is only drawn by Burnley; writing duties now belong to the Sandman's own Gardner Fox.
Which loops in with two other issues at play over Wesley's tossing, turning figure. Starting with issue #61, available online sources no longer fully agree who wrote what for the Sandman feature. You must understand, outside superstar figures with major pull like the creators of Superman or Batman, very few creative teams are properly credited in these Golden Age comics - my credits the last few posts have all been crossreferenced across numerous wikis and databases who owe their credits to investigative work by fans like Jerry Bails back in the 1960s. Such work was sadly not exhaustive, and while a few places (like DC Continuity Project and Wikipedia) state or else imply Fox stayed on as writer for the next few issues, from June to November there is no consensus as to who penned the stories.
I shouldn't be surprised if Fox's involvement terminated with the March issue, for April also saw All-Star Comics shift its format slightly, with Fox writing all nine interior stories for the 64 page mag in addition to his duties on the longer Starman feature. Man would have to work double time to keep pace, even if Sandman didn't drop to eight pages with #62 in May. Either way, Fox is certainly gone following #64 in July, as that issue features the final story drawn by regular artist and co-creator Creig Flessel, who departs to work on Shining Knight later in the year. As I say, things are changing fast for Sandman, and not all changes seem necessarily for the better. Best, however, to take the stories on their own level before drawing any final conclusions!
Coverage note: This entry goes to July rather than June for the sake of my sanity. If I stopped midway through the year, I'd only need cover seven features here, but the back half of '41 would require coverage of eleven. A nine-nine split feels much more feasible.
Orchids of Doom - Gardner Fox, Creig Flessel, Chad Grothkopf
Once again, a socialite friend to Wes and Dian is at the center of a minor mystery with big implications - namely, how can Pedro Nogades, father to Carla, rightly claim he breeds otherwise purely wild orchids in captivity? Investigating as the Sandman, Wes and Dian find a dead man in the Nogades greenhouse with his head stripped to the bone, and in following another fellow who sniffed an orchid before promising a shipment of such to some ruffians on the bad side of town, see his own face dissolve to bare skull. A visit to the police chemist reveals the orchids on the dead men's persons were laced to release a deadly flesh-eating gas on exposure to natural air, which is enough probably cause for Wesley to enlist Carla's boyfriend Bill in staging a raid on the Nogades manor. Some close shaves and fisticuffs end with the group discovering a diorama of the local coast, laid out to assist enemy agents in an invasion. Pedro is put away and the orchids revealed as concealing microfilm copies of the coastal plans, but how do we square the mystery that started it all? Simple: Nogades was no botanist, and called the flower by the wrong name when concocting his cover story!
An alright yarn to kick of the calendar year. As per usual when Fox tries for a somewhat complicated mystery, he's no adequate means of tying off loose ends other than large blocks of text, but it's lively and keeps the situation evolving with decent justifications for mid-story action and dragging Bill along for further fisticuffs. Hooking the entire mystery on, "Oh, the bad guy misspoke," is a tad lame, if understandable in the context of Fox's passion for slipping general knowledge flexes into his stories. Flessel and Grothkopf get some good mileage out've the skull imagery that crops up whenever the flower kills, and I rather like the brief bout of fisticuffs towards the end. The minor social awkwardness when Bill gets in the car with Wes and Dian is pretty good too, and I'm sorry to report I can't add this story to the "Wesley getting shot" count, as the bad guy only plugs his hat. Kinda funny having a Golden Age Sandman story involving orchids given Neil's own pre-Sandman work with Black Orchid, innit?
The Story of the Flaming Ruby - Fox, Flessel, Grothkopf
There exists a ruby of blazing red, which has driven men to rage and madness wherever it appears, and today it sits in the hand of a young man in the local jeweler's shop, who flashes it cross Dian's vision. Later in the evening, she wakes in a trance consumed with the urge to kill her father, stopped only by Sandman as he rushes in from investigating a similarly queer case. A bank teller friend from his private life has found himself driven to steal from the vault and deliver it to some crooks on a lonely road every night, all after one of those men flashed him the ruby. Wes and Dian are unable to stop this night's transaction (on account of the ruby briefly turning Dian against Sandman), but seeing the gem in action gives Wes an idea on how to counteract its effects, and go into battle during the next drop armed with blue cobalt glasses. A brawl puts down all the blackmailers except one, but Wes opts instead to go after the head of the operation, knocking him out and lurking in the dark to catch the last as he reports in, revealing the bank teller! Turns out the ruby DOES have hypnotic properties and was used to assist their robberies, but the teller - hoping by playing at the victim to lure Sandman into his cohorts' midst and rub him out - spoke as if he remembered the whole experience, where Dian forgot herself on every exposure. Oops!
Same basic mystery structure and resolution type here as last month, complete with overly-wordy explanation, although I find the hook of pitting Dian and Wesley against one another gives it a minor leg up, as does the relatively straightforward nature of the criminal operation compared to planting microfilm in deadly flowers. There's a more even balance between the rush in bust 'em up style of crime-fighting the feature has developed and the stealthy skullduggery I think suits the character best, with nice action art to match each. Dian has some silly faces whenever she wakes from her hypnosis, and the four panel sequence of Wes halting her murder attempt works pretty well. This is, unfortunately, the final pencil-inking collaboration between Flessel and Grothkopf, and much as I've kvetched over the second man's solo work, I'm sorry to see the back of him in this capacity. When the two were in proper tune, they were the best artistic team Sandman enjoyed yet.
(Stop dodging bullets, I want to see you gunshot.)
Mystery at Malay Mac's - Fox, Grothkopf
Hey, a rare post-Hourman, pre-redesign cover appearance! That's always nice. "Hello, officer? Yeah, coupla chucklefucks right here, the alley off Fourth, can't miss 'em."
What's this? Dian breaking into a notorious criminal slumlord's safe in the bad part of town? A safe, as Wes discovers after he scares the lady off, filled to the brim with poison gas! Evidently not, as Dian is sound asleep when Wes arrives at Belmont manor to investigate, and a subsequent visit to Mister Mac reveals the only person who'd know the safe was booby-trapped is a local kidnapping organizer. Some blind, flailing fists turns up the girl, Dian's perfect duplicate, snatched from out of state to replace Dian and gain leverage over the cops. Too bad the kidnapper's made of strong stuff, knocking out Sandman and taking both woman for a ride to get back at Mac. Fortunately, Dian leaves Wes a trail of jewelry out the window, enabling him to follow and take down all the crooks with one throw of his gas pistol, revealing in the process 'twas Mac himself who tipped Dian's duplicate to his safe, in hopes of spoiling his rival's big plot.
Art-wise, this is probably Grothkopf's best work for Sandman to date. His tendency to exaggerate is translated into some properly goonish faces for the villains and really, really strong action poses, with some properly atmospheric shots sprinkled in for good measure. He cannot draw the gasmask for piss, but there's such an improvement I almost thought this was a Flessel joint before checking the wiki credits. Makes me wish we could see what he'd do if he kept on as a solo artist - free from the impulse to treat the feature as a cartoon, he produces damn fine work. As a story, this makes good time to mention my misgivings with Wesley's tendency to burst through windows and start swinging long before he thinks to use his sleeping gas. While it's great fun to describe and hype up as the mark of a madman who's even cooler as the badass normal than Batman, it also encourages a faster degradation in the character's identity. I'm sure you'll notice it's been yonks since lurking in the shadows and thinning the ranks by knocking them out in advance has factored into the stories. That Wes handles the bad guy by literally clonking him over the head with the gas gun rather than pulling the trigger speaks to the influence other, punchier superhero features have exerted over the strip.
The Menace of the Metal Gun - Fox?, Flessel
From aboard a mysterious aircraft, a madman fires upon the city with a metal-melting ray that dissolves the skyscrapers into slag! Alerted to Doctor Borloff's activities, Wesley meets with swift defeat when the rogue scientist melts his gas gun and escapes in his cylindercraft to terrorize afresh. There IS a bright side, as seeing the ray firsthand gives Wesley some idea how to counteract its effects, and he sends Dian and her father warning for the local airforce to coat their planes in sand as a silicate buffer against the ray. Alas, only one officer heeds his message, leaving Sandman alone to get aboard the machine via his new wirepoon gun and defeat Borloff from within. For his brawling process, a good midflight fight is nothing if the hero gets tossed out an open door, but fortunately he can grapple onto the lone surviving plane, recover his bearings, zip back up, and put a stop to Borloff's dreams of world conquest once and for all!
Action is the name of the game here, and even without Grothkopf's inking enhancements, I think Flessel does a fine job on his own. I'm wary of the wirepoon in the future, as by year's end it will completely replace the gas gun as Sandman's sidearm of choice in further drift from the original Christman concept, but taken as a neutral in its debut, giving Sandman greater aerial mobility does lead to some cool shots and enhance the sense Wes goes stark bananas in the mask by pulling some stunts that would almost certainly pull his arms from their sockets in real life. There are, however, some particularly stiff action shots, and in one panel Flessel cocks up the design on the mask worse than Grothkopf last ish. Based on the opening vignette, Borloff decimated millions of innocent lives in addition to all the planes he melted out of the sky, making him easily the deadliest foe Wes has faced to date, and in turn making the "We did it, gang, everything is bright and peachy again!" ending sorta offputting. They'll have to organize mass funerals tomorrow, Wes. Show a little respect.
For America and Democracy: The Grey Shirts - Fox, Grothkopf
In the top-level story, the JSA learn of their mission for the FBI: a group of Nazi insurgents known as the Grey Shirts are plotting subversive and destructive activities all across America, and are now posed to badly destabilize the nation in a series of disruptive attacks. Each is assigned a mission at critical points cross the nation, though given the widely-ranging disparity in their powers, their usefulness to the cause varies equally wildly. The Atom humiliates some goons spreading Nazi ideology at a single college, Hawkman barely prevents the destruction of an aviation plant in California, and Hourman's defense of an Oklahoma oil field ends with him toppling one of the oil towers to stop his quarry. Meanwhile, Green Lantern detonates a zeppelin secretly jamming radio transmissions nationwide, the Spectre casually annihilates some otherworldly vampiric globes sympathetic to Hitler's cause, and Doctor Fate uses his magic to out every single spy on the eastern seaboard. Uneven efforts or not, the group converge on the Grey Shirts' ringleader, and with a little help from Johnny Thunder, turn him over to good ol' J. Edgar Hoover's custody. Alas, Wesley does not get the blood he's thirsting after.
(Also Doctor Fate alerts Wesley to the identity and location of the ringleader before his mission starts rather than letting him figure it out on his own like everyone else. Prick.)
For his six-page leg of the assignment, the Sandman is off to El Paso, Texas to assist a local newspaper under threat from the Grey Shirts for printing pro-democracy and anti-Hitler editorials. Of course, this being Wesley Dodds on the job, he gets this information by roughing his way into the newspaper offices, then acts on it by beating on the guard at the Grey Shirts' camp and pounding down a band of brainwashed young men to prove he's a better American than them. After sending the wannabe Nazis for a whirl by running their bomb shipment off the road, Wesley doubles back to completely break the recruits' spirits, daring them to prove their hard enough by shooting an unarmed man in Hitler's name, chiefly himself. When none can cut the mustard, he marches them back into town with collars strapped to his car, and inspires the lot to join the Army to a few shirtless bars of "God Bless America."
Cripes but jingoism produces some heady results, doesn't it? I'm not sure I can rightly condone the ridiculous levels of patriotism on display here, even against such classically anti-American enemies as Nazis, yet at the same time, look at this and tell me it isn't the hardest shit you'll see all week. Again, though I've my misgivings about Wes as a brawler no matter how entertaining the results prove, there's something endearing about him being so raring for a fight his first move is to altercate the receptionist at the place he's assigned to defend. On the whole, Grothkopf's final Sandman contribution also shows refinement from his earlier works, the broader, thicker elements of his linework now tempers on a somewhat more grounded approach. Certainly the Sandman himself keeps a consistent look better than he does in any other issue published thus far this year. I DO notice he reused Flessel's design for the District Attorney wholesale on the newspaper publisher. Since he's going and heading out on a job well done, let's not hold it against him, eh?
The Purple Death Ray - Fox?, Flessel
At the nightly planetarium show, a member of the audience screams and falls down dead, stricken by a litany of strange symptoms with no obvious cause. Wesley, believing the man was killed by a death ray, examines the auditorium's projector, only to find no obvious alterations or fault. Undeterred, he purchases himself a seat next to the murdered man's for the next show, which is now occupied by another fellow who received a last-second courtesy invitation. Acting quickly, the Sandman reexamines the projector from the shadows and finds a replacement bulb screwed into the socket pointed directly at the man's chair. With assistance from his wirepoon, Sandman swings down and wrenches the man from his seat just as the show starts, the bulb bathing his seat in deadly radiation. On learning the man is a former judge and the deceased a former DA, it's not long before Wes ferrets out the killer; it's the cashier, a former scientist sent to jail for misappropriating university funds years ago, out for revenge and now stopped cold.
See, while I'm skeptical about the growing presence of science-fiction elements in the series, they make fine fodder when they play to Sandman's strengths. Lurking high above a crowd of people seeking the answer to some deadly mystery is exactly Wes' bag, and plus or minus some strange mask drawings, Flessel captures that thrill of closely examining a big deadly machine in secret before it fires. I'd submit the page where Sandman saves the judge from the beam as an easy contender for best of the year thus far, and the shot where [Wes pushes Dian away from the killer's bullet](blob:https://imgur.com/7247f414-8a57-489f-a9bd-d85bc9e19a6a) is another fine piece of work. My memories of this one before sitting down to reread and write were a lot chillier, probably because I wish the series remained in crime pulp rather than raygun pulp, but a good outcome is a good outcome. Seriously, though, why is the mask going so bobble-eyed of late?
The Voodoo Sorcerer - ???, Flessel
As Dian and Wesley tiff over his interest in an exotic dancer they know through a mutual friend, the woman's tail-lashing dance is interrupted when she sees a great glowing triangle materialize before her eyes. With the shock straining her bad heart, the Sandman brings her to boyfriend's house, where he reveals the triangle is a voodoo witch doctor's means of accusing someone of murder - just as news comes over the wire that the man the woman lashed with her costume tail has died! Smelling a rat, Wes rushes to the scene of the crime to find the taile barbed with poison quills, only for the titular sorcerer to bumrush him out the window. It's a big misunderstanding, thankfully: he's as shocked by the murder as Sandman, and only summoned the triangle on suggestion from an acquaintance, forgetting the dancer would know its significance through her partner. By happiest coincidence, this provides Wesley the solution to the mystery right quick, for only his friend's chauffeur would have motive, opportunity, and knowledge to frame his employers and their associates for the murder of a stock broker who owed them money.
Hmm, ah, see, on the one hand, it IS nice that the voodoo guy is innocent of everything except a lapse in judgement and the real twist is an unassuming little man exploiting the mystery and fears around his craft to cast suspicion off his person. On the other hand, eek, yike, zoinks! None good. Bad, even. Outside unfortunate depictions of non-white persons from the 1940s, the story's pretty weak for a murder mystery, as numerous elements are evidently known to the characters well in advance, yet only made clear to the reader right before they become relevant, like the exact identity of the murdered man. It's only eight pages, so there's little opportunity to piece information together on your own time, and as such it is heavily reliant on narrative cheats to generate cheap surprise. About the best thing here is the big page-dominating panel of Wesley swinging through the city on his wirepoon, unconscious woman tucked under arm. Kinda hard to convincingly raise my dander about what it means for the character and his feature when it's successfully operating on the long-standing principle of "masked mystery men swinging on a wire through skyscrapers looks really cool." S'like a solid fifth of the formula behind why Spider-Man is so enduringly popular.
(Also not a big fan of how Wes dismisses Dian from participating in the case without any adequate reason why. She calls him out over it, even, and nothing in the story justifies his decision to fly solo on this one.)
The Unseen Man - ???, Flessel
Dian's purchase of paints from a local hobby shop includes quite the unusual accidental item: a paint that turns anything and everything invisible on contact. Determined to solve this mystery on her own, Dian investigates the shop with the dealer's cooperation, only for the dread Unseen Man to get the drop on her. Fortunately, Sandman is there to save her because he won't let Dian do anything on her own; unfortunately, Dian doesn't know Wes can see her attacker through his blue cobalt lenses and pulls him away, thinking him mad and letting the Unseen Man go free. As reward for her screw up, she's targeted in her home the next night, only for Wes to barge in again, having anticipated the only possible secret identity for the crook would make him likely to strike back at Dian. It is, unsurprisingly, the hobby shop owner, who Wes turns over to the police before heading out to patent his invisibility paint with the United States Army.
Alright, it's definitely not Gardner Fox writing anymore, because I cannot imagine Fox treating Dian so poorly. I gave her some dignity in summary, but this story is plain dumping all over her as a fussy, incompetent tryhard who fails at investigating on her own on account her womanly ways. Just look at the sheer antagonism between her and Wes; you two are partners, she's saved Sandman's skin like a dozen times, worn his costume and wielded his gas gun to do it once, even! Don't try to BS me into thinking Wes would run this paternalist "let me handle it, Dian, I wear the pants in this relationship" crap on her. You're only alive because she's worn your fucking pants. Otherwise, 'nother instance where the story and art alike don't give me much of note. I reckon Flessel was about done with the series with Fox gone and sorta phoned in his last few assignments. They're nowhere near the standard of his early solo artistic duties on the title. There IS another good wirepoon swinging shot, if one counterbalanced by a crummier instance with yet another weirdly-proportioned mask.
The Mysterious Mr. X: The Kidnapper's Union - Fox, Cliff Young
The Justice Society are bored. Bored, bored, bored. Why are they bored? There is no crime. Not a single ruffian or scoundrel or roughneck lawbreaker anywhere in the city! Where did crime go? Crime has taken an enforced vacation, courtesy the plans of big crime boss Mister X (hats off), as prelude to his big plans for taking out the JSA and putting all his criminal enterprises back on easy street. It's quite the collection of rackets out against the superheroes - an arsonist ring for Flash, a jewel snatching gang for Hawkman, leader of the phony fortune teller underworld against Doctor Fate, even hard-pressing gym membership shakedowns for the Atom! Naturally our heroes triumph, though every one also encounters a strange little man idly strolling through their battlegrounds. He's so omnipresent despite his mousiness, he's even there when they convene at the police station to organize Mister X's (hats off) arrest. Except this unassuming slip of a man? He IS Mister X (hats off), and with the Justice Society having taken all the fun out've crime, he's turning himself in to live comfortably on the state's dollar in jail. WHOOPSY-DOODLE!
For his six-page part in the game, Sandman must contend against the kidnapper's union, who naturally enough have abducted Dian to get his attention. Not only have these lowlives taken Dian hostage (though she doesn't particularly mind), they've taken out phony accident insurance claims against themselves should the hero injure any of them en route to his untimely death! Nobody quite expects Wes to avoid the sniper-guarded roads to their remote hilltop hideout, though, and a quick wirepoon swing over the canyon (complete with Mister X - hats off - sighting) puts him right in the criminal den. From there, it's a simple biff wham boom to take down the punks and disarm their supporting fire. Alas, Sandman is once again only in the loop on the true nature of the threat against the JSA because someone notifies him from their own investigation, this time Flash via telegram. Let him do his own detective work, you pricks!
Right. You see these panels? You see Dian being calm and collected in the midst of a kidnapping operation? You see Wes trusting her with a submachine gun to keep watch on the fools who mean them harm? Yeah, THAT'S Fox writing Dian. Whoever's writing the Adventure feature at this time ought've taken notes. Artistically, Young makes a fine replacement for Grothkopf and Flessel in Adventure - he can match the first for goons, the second for action, manages a nice turnaround effect before Wes swings on his wirepoon, and even gives us a by-now all-too-rare heavy shadow shot on Wes and Dian. I'm a big fan of the lead kidnapper who calls the JSA the "Justiss Sassiety," and find this instance of Mister X (hats off) the second best in the book, behind only his appearance in the Hourman story, which I think speaks for itself. Probably the only time I'll express preference for something Hourman related over Sandman.
The loss of all three major contributors to the Sandman feature across early 1941 and the crunch down to eight pages has certainly made the Adventure Comics side of the Sandman line a rockier experience. It's still possible to derive enjoyment from the wonky mysteries and higher-concept criminals, but one must accept atmosphere and and particularity have been near-entirely sacrificed for generalized bombast and louder appeal. Don't misunderstand, I've become a fan of Wesley Dodds, Fist-Swinging Bullet Sponge, and my past praises for him aren't diminished by the realization of what this has done to his integrity as a character circa today's stopping point. The trouble is, while I enjoy this half-mad, impossibly reckless read on the character, it simply no longer bears any resemblance to the early days' lurking and creeping through the seedier parts of town. There's a great series of justifications running through the Sandman concept - he's no powers, so he uses the gas gun, so he needs the gas mask, which hides his identity so perfectly it frees him to wear the ordinary business suit, which highlights his vulnerability. Fling him around like a ragdoll who knows no fear of injury or death, although I'll clap for the bravado of it all, I must object if it means any notion he should be sneaky or cautious degrades.
Especially if it means the gas gun vanishes from the character. It hasn't met its final end just yet, but for this seven month block it's proven a very perfunctory aspect of the strip, hung by his side and occasionally brandished without acting as an integral part of the action or storytelling. The wirepoon has subsumed its function as the sidearm, and while I must stress there are plenty aces shots of Wes swinging that fully justify its prominence, taking precedence over the thing that makes him the Sandman, Crimefighter What Fights Crime By Putting The Criminals To Sleep plain rubs me the wrong way. Be awful nice i we could have both without the new toy putting the old out to pasture, y'know? It's not led to anything I'd full-throatedly object over just yet, but... ach, you'll see next time. Speaking of...
Next time! 1941 comes to a close as Wesley picks up another feature to his name, and also a stupid, ugly new costume!
(Previous write-ups: 1939, 1940 pt 1, 1940 pt 2)
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2023.05.28 17:01 Unique_Ocelot_5784 I (34-M) am married to my HS sweetheart (28-F) but I think I have met my soulmate (28-F)

Guys, I (34M) don’t even know where to start with this since I’ve been through a hurricane of emotions the last few months, but I’ll try my best to make my feelings clear and to be absolutely honest with you.
I’m married to my HS sweetheart (34F) met her in ‘05, we have started dating in ‘07 and have been together ever since. We engaged in 2017, got married last year and we are 1y3m into it. We started very young and we have been together for 16 years in total.
The point is: during our relationship, I have always looked for something else, I don’t know if I was feeling incomplete in some kind of way I couldn’t understand, but since me and my girl engaged I completely cut off any fucking around energy. I was focused on our marriage.
Fast forward to 4 months ago. I came to work and personally met someone (28F) who worked remotely with us and it turns out that she is a very attractive girl, exactly my type. When I saw her, it felt like i was shot in the chest. Crazy shit.
After work, we went to a bar and we hit it off like we knew each other from a past life, we had so much fun, so many cool conversations and while that happened, she kept shooting these glances at me like I was supposed to pick it up. We talked but nothing much more. However, we intensified talking online and I felt something for her.
After that we met twice while going to bars with friends, the looks continued and one day we were chatting online and she was out drinking. I asked her if she got home ok and after she said yes, she told me that she couldn’t stop thinking about me and wanted to see me.
I met her on a Thursday night and soon as she got in my car, we locked eyes. And I am not a believer in this kind of stuff but I felt like she was smiling to my soul and saying: “hey, I was looking for you”. We kissed and it felt so good and so intense that, to my surprise, we looked each other after and said “wtf was that?”
Day after that, we met again and had sex. And I can absolutely assure that it was the best sex I ever had in my life. It felt like we were dancing with each other souls. So connected, so intense. And I had my share of sexual encounters but this was something completely out of the ordinary. Absolutely insane. It was like I never had sex the right way before.
And that day, of course, I knew shit was about to go crazy.
Since then, we started meeting regularly and to the surprise of 0 people, we developed really, really strong feelings for each other. It was like nothing else I have ever experienced. When she told me she loved me, my stomach turned and I opened a smile the size of the Grand Canyon. It was real. We sat down and shared out feelings.
The craziest thing for me is: I never felt bad about it after we first met. I know this was supposed to be a really somber situation, something that should be hidden. But it wasn’t like that, from the start I felt that this was so right that I shouldn’t feel bad.
Of course, this hit me different and my wife noticed something was wrong. 2 weeks ago, she asked me if something what was happening because she felt me so distant. I told her exactly the truth: I developed feelings for other person. However, she doesn’t know we had any kind of intimate encounters because I thought I should protect her from knowing this and I felt better about myself in some kind of way.
She had me very surprised from her reaction. Despite crying and being shocked from the start, she told me she couldn’t keep me from being happy. But days after, she told me she wouldn’t be able to cope with the situation and told me we should keep trying, and she asked me to give it my best effort in couples counseling, which I am.
We are still living together, we have an elephant in our room but we are dealing with it openly. We are talking constantly, our routine remains the same, minus intimacy. It’s been really hard on both of us, especially on her and it is killing me. I didn’t want it to happen like this, I feel really bad for being open about because it hurt her so bad, on the first week she was constantly crying and it hurts me bad.
But this has been developing for almost three months now, and I can’t help it. I feel like need to give it a shot despite all the consequences that will come with it. This hits me completely different and I feel like she is my soulmate, for real. I can’t live with the idea of walking away from this and going about my business without giving us a try. I really feel we are going to be super happy.
But all this made me think deeply about several underlying issues in our relationship. It is way deeper than meeting someone new. Truth is I haven’t been happy for a long, long time and I always wondered how I could somehow, someway, get out of my relationship and break free in some sorts. I thought my marriage would help but the truth is that I was very anxious about it; I didn’t know if that was what I really wanted but the thought of walking away from our relationship was just too crazy for me.
Now, I don’t know what this new person will bring into my life but maybe it was the impulse I needed to walk away. I feel so happy with her, and I really want to experience me and her because I think that is the way to go right now.
I know my story is kinda usual, I know this happens a lot. I just needed to share since I am trying to navigate life right now. It has been really, really hard coming to grips with the reality that my cycle with my wife is over and that I’ll have to face my parents, family and such when it is over.
Any insight is deeply appreciated.
TL;DR: been with someone for 16 years , met someone who i really think is my soulmate, trying to come to terms with the whole situation.
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2023.05.28 16:56 OrganizationNo9819 My personal development

MY PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT
INTRODUCTION
Hello there! My name is Siddharth Rai and I live in India. I am a twenty-six years old male and I live with my parents. I work at the nearby airport as an electrical engineer. I have a younger sister who is studying zoology in a college nearby and she lives away from us due to her college. My writing style might not be appealing but I would be happy if you read and reviewed my article. It will help me get new interesting things to you. I hope you enjoy reading this.
I have always wanted to write a book. I like to write poems, I like music, I like art and I like to travel. I have never travelled out of my country except to Nepal. Nepal is quite nearby to where I live. I live in the eastern India, Darjeeling. Some of you might have heard or visited the place before. I live in the foothills though- Siliguri but the district is Darjeeling. I have spent around thirteen years of my life in Darjeeling. I miss those golden days that I have spent with my family and friends in Darjeeling. Those days will never come back again. It is a beautiful pain. All the crazy things that we do as teenagers, I did it in Darjeeling- fighting, having girlfriends, forming a band, roaming around the streets- everything. Some of the people I met on the streets are now superstars and some homeless vagabonds. Some are married and some committed suicide because they couldn’t love. I am just a regular guy like you. I think I am below average when it comes to money, prestige, personality and many other things that define us- a lifestyle.
The reason I thought about writing this article is because I want to become a better person as I am approaching towards my thirties. I have heard somewhere that writing makes it easier and effective to do something that we want to do. I hope this article will help you in some way or the other. I will share some of the deepest things that I feel. I will talk about my past. I will let you know about my present and I will also try to show you the future that I have visioned for myself. I will be talking about my personality development.
PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT
We have often heard about the word personality. We have often heard about one getting complimented for their personalities and sometimes people finding their personalities not matching with others, mostly to their partners. It’s interesting to see us being conscious about so many things in our lives. Our beauty, physique, clothes, status in the society, possessions, partners and other small things like our fear of facing people, inferiority, pride, love, attachment. Well personality is a sphere where all of the conscious things are confined into.
It is the way we react to the factors that make us feel something- good or bad. Feeling good includes many things- paragliding, completing a trek, listening to classical music, releasing a music video. Feeling bad might feel like thinking about the moment that hurts you- could be anything, you know better.
How are you going to react to the situations-now and then? That defines your personality. If you ask the instructor for your money back after a paragliding session because you couldn’t fly for another ten minutes because of the weather then you need to work on some parts of your life and if you left your girl with the man and her friends just because you missed the party the previous night then you need to work on some part of your life- you might be using your head too much. I am worried about how I am going to handle a relationship in the future because I’ve messed up my previous ones- I need to work on some part of my life. My personality is not balanced.
Personality is a gift- a box of chocolates- it’s tasty but harmful if eaten too much.
I want to forget about my past, but I can’t because I have hurt some of the best people of my life like my parents, family, friends, teachers, girlfriend and even a dog- damn! I wonder if she is alive- Dalli the dog. My friend’s dog. She gave birth to two little puppies. One is with us-a mother now- Lily. Lily makes me happy. She is wonderful. The only reason why I was facing the hardest time of my life was because I didn’t have any purpose in life. I wasn’t fulfilling my duty-studying. I would get high the entire day, miss my classes and sleep after a masturbation session. Food and shelter were available for me as my parents paid for it. They would send money every month and I would eat, get high, sleep- repeat. I did this for two years and my girlfriend was gone, I had failed in my semesters like a dead toad, I was financially depressed, I had lost weight, I was now a little jerk. I wasn’t happy. I never wanted to kill myself though. I wasn’t raised that way. My father was in the army, and you know how it is in the military family- respect and discipline but I packed my bags and returned back home during my third year and a year of my college was still left behind.
When I went back home, I couldn’t find my peace because my aunt was living with my mother with her little daughter- my sister. When I went there to live with my mother there were four ladies and me- one man. I had habits and it was difficult for me to maintain them. The rooms were small, and everything was audible. I had a habit of masturbating before sleep. And my aunt would sleep in the room right next to mine. I sometimes wanted to screw her up, but I knew it was not a moral decision. I wanted to seduce her just to masturbate but I couldn’t because I didn’t know how to. And interestingly I was a virgin until twenty-five years old. That was one of the reasons why my relationship didn’t work out with that girl because I couldn’t fuck. I mean she would say after marriage, but she would also get naked and get missionary, but I was facing mild erectile dysfunction because of heavy marijuana dosage, porn and excessive masturbation. So, maybe that didn’t work out. I left my mother’s comfort and came back to college to complete my education and I did but a year later. My psycho friend had passed his college and I was left behind with another friend of mine- loser no.2. I think he still is a virgin. But I am not. Not anymore!
My friends and I none of us got placed. We were jobless and there was corona virus and lockdown. It was good time for assholes like me to waste life away. I would spend my day by playing pubg with my friends, watching porn and masturbating. My good time had begun. I was lucky enough to have faced an interview with the army for army engineering and not lucky enough for selection but reaching that spot where I was trying to compete to become an officer in the army. I was lucky enough to have got the chance to spend my time peacefully with my mother and my sister. My aunt had gone back home- her child had a vacation now- due corona and all.
One of my cousins are the in army. He was home for a break, and he motivated me to jog in the morning. I ran for two or three months but quit. But my mind was now looking for motivation to stay fit. One day I was watching porn and masturbation. Right after ejaculation I decided to stop watching porn and masturbating. Oh! Good days! I felt so good that day when I didn’t masturbate. I felt clean and guilt free. I was free now. I would miss my ex though. Her smile, her sadness, the burden she had due to me, the heavy heart that she had because she never wanted to leave me. I hope she is free and happy. I wish her the best and ask for forgiveness for every little thing that I did to her. I never wanted to make you cry but I am sorry. I have realized my mistakes now and I want to see you with a smiling face one day. I have moved on, but I am around, and I hope you too. Take care.
My friends have hurt me too and I have hurt them too. My family has hurt me, and I have hurt them too. People change but you don’t. Things always happen to you. Girlfriend, friends, family, money and etc.
But thank God I have a job now and I am earning a little every month. It’s just enough for me to sustain a month. I hope I’ll be out there in the wild world once I have a little experience about work culture.
FOCUS
If I could move a mountain, I would try to carry it around on my shoulders. A child, a teenager, an adult, a man, a woman, old, new no matter who, everyone is trying to find something in their lives- focus. If they lose focus, they will never be able to talk. Try not thinking anything and talking- you will notice how your brain coordinates your speech. We don’t care what we talk about because we are focused on something- conveying our message. It’s important to learn how to improve your focus. Thus, in order to improve your focus let’s try:
  1. Meditating: Five to fifteen minutes a day- om meditation or guided meditation. Connect yourself with the inner spirit. Find out how heavy your chest is and how clouded your mind is. You are supposed to be as light the air and as clean as the water in the spring. Your mind should contain natural sceneries and not porn.
  2. Exercising: Your body is a masterpiece of art. A godly creation. The entire human civilization is based on bodies. The entire art and history show how great leaders and warriors and scholars looked like. They had extremely appealing bodies, no matter what nation they belonged to. Romans, Greeks, British, Chinese, Japanese, Indians, Gorkhas, Sikhs, Mughals, and Americans, all of them have an interesting thing to notice- their bodies. Fast and furious to giants and strong. They all are focused. Some ruling the nations, some fighting wars, some creating art, some politics and some philosophies. They have a balance between their and heart and their brain. Have you ever done a chin up? Next time you do try to notice how your heart gets connected to your brain like a hook linking a loop. So, dear friends- exercise.
  3. Study: I study engineering because I want to reach a better position in my career. You can study to be happy or flourish your business. But study something- learn.
  4. Work: Work. Move your body, use your head. Work. Let your body know about discomfort and tiredness. In these modern times we have found new ways to earn our livelihoods- investment especially. If you are not a broker who works, his heart out to analyze and make profit and you are the one who makes money and live luxurious life out of the money your broker made for you then you should at least spend some time trying to make money the hard way- at least a day. I know you have been through a lot, and you have finally found your financial peace or you were born rich, but I must tell you he is not a man who doesn’t work. You can try house chores if nothing is coming to your mind. So, work just to get yourself in motion.
  5. Hobbies: I play dota2 and I want to play the internationals. I sing karaoke. Do what gets you excited to get back home.
  6. Read: Read books. I want to learn finance, health, relationship, science and engineering. You can read them too. Reading is something that makes time for your brain to rest for some time. It will settle down some of your chemical imbalances there.
  7. Write: Write your deepest feelings, write a short story, write essays. Write. You can’t always be verbally sharing things with others. Some things might have been missed and some left unsaid like the ones in the previous paragraphs. It’s just a good thing to do-write.
My friends I don’t practice all of the above-mentioned tasks, but I always try to. It took me two years to settle down to a routine that I can follow to simplify my day and trust me the day is easier with a disciplined routine. I wake at around 6 in the morning and I go to the gym. It has been only two weeks since I joined the gym. I come home and make breakfast, eat it and go to work. My mom and my dad help me with my lunch. They are paying for my petrol and miscellaneous and after a week I will be getting my first salary. Well, I can’t tell everything here. So, basically my life is a mess. I am trying to make it a better one, but I am not sure about it. I have lost so many times. You know!
But I don’t want to lose anymore. I want to get that two years of experience even if I have to live like a baby with my parents. I will get my body in shape, get my interests aligned and skills sharpened. I will get familiar with my subject, and I am sure a day will come when I receive a salary way more than today.
INTEREST
If you can’t quit, then it means you are inspired. Inspiration and motivation are two different things. You can’t inspire someone verbally, but you can motivate them. Inspiration is long lasting, and motivation is short term. Motivation is like fuel to your inspiration. You will understand it. Just try to do something that you are interested in for three months. That’s a goal.
I am interested in many things. Interest as I say please refer to skills- just to make it easier for you to understand the difference between hobbies and interests. My interests are in programming, designing electrical circuits, photography and content writing. These are skills that I want to acquire, and I am “interested in”. My interest can’t be lifelong because I have distractions around. So, with a small technique I can learn these skills without losing my interest. The technique is numbering. Just put make a list of things that you want to learn. It will help you not lose your interest.
How to keep your interest alive?
You can try writing them down on a diary. Make a list of your interest. Interests are those skills that can make you famous, rich and happy like painting, programming etc. Show your interests to the world on social platforms to gain fame, sell them or get a job to get rich and master your skills to be happy. Have some interest friends.
Basically, if you have a good body, wealth, character, behaviors, manner, education, then you will have a personality that is safe and sound. People below your level will not mess with you and you won’t mess with people that are above you. But you will become someone who can deal with both the types because it’s not every day you get to meet and talk to the president and it’s seldom you need to avoid people that can harm you- rich and the poor.
Thank you for sticking to this post for such a long time. I feel humble enough to present this article to you. I would like to apologize if anybody was offended in this post. I can’t think more than this my friends. I would appreciate it if you left your valuable comments on this. Thanks, and may God bless you.
SUMMARY
I am qualified enough to talk about personal developments with you all but the reckless years that I have been through can tell how much I needed it and how deeply I longed for it. I had no one to lift me up. Everyone is selfish in this world. The principles in your life will clash with your ego and get you down on your knees. Your mind will become your master because you no longer have a master’s personality inside of you. And that is when you start to crave for love, sympathy, care and you start to do stupid things to gather attention because nobody wants you anymore. Your girlfriend will tell you how low you have come down in your life, you can clearly read it in her eyes that she no longer needs you and she no longer wants to be with you. You father will start becoming caring towards you because he is depressed because of you. Your mother will scream at you, cry in front of you, curse you. Your sister will probably start avoiding you and hating you because you are an alcoholic now with no strength and future. Your friends will leave you alone because they know you need time and you no longer fit the group. Your life is a mess that only you can clear.
Straight up! Accept that you lost, accept that you need help, accept that you are hurt and accept life is amazing while improving. Go quit weed, go hit the gym, go quit drinking alcohol, go quit porn, go get a job, go study, go learn, go do it! You know your worth. Forgive yourself because you know you did it for others and it drained your energy away. Now it’s time to take care of yourself. You are not being selfish, but you need to refill. Make new friends. Cut some of your old buddies that you thought were useless. Get in touch with people who are like you- struggling. Stay close to people who have made it through the tough times. Talk to beautiful people. Talk to your parents. Write. Pray. Love. Take care of your sisters, brothers, family, friends, society, country, the world. We all have to pass through tough times. We did yesterday, we did today, and we will do it tomorrow, but the greatest thing of life is ACCEPTANCE. Accept your flaws and do it again-this time for a better life.
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2023.05.28 16:39 Sparkletinkercat Lets all share our D&D stories and campaigns.

Its roughtly 1am and I decided this would be a good thing to do at 1am. And of course at 1am I am thinking.. I want to hear some stories about peoples experiences as a player or as a DM.
So lets start an 'ask me anything post train'. Basically when you ask your first question in this post about someone elses experience you should do the following:
You only need to do this once. Then you can ask as many questions as you want.
And that way everyone can have some cool stories to read, fun ideas for characters or even campaigns.
So as the post creator I shall start:
A bit about me: Hello I am Sparkle and I am a professional DM who is trying to become a better DM than Matt Mercer (which is a really high benchmark, he's a really good DM). I like drawing art and making animated maps for D&D.
I am currently playing in six D&D campaigns a week. And I am dming 3 of them. The highest amount of players I have DMed for at once was around 15 and the longest I have dmed for at once is 11 hours.
These are the six campaigns I am in currently.
Astral Antics: As a DM (My fav campaign to DM) This campaign is a homebrew campaign which is focused on portals, gods and ancient magic (Blood magic, Ethereal Magic, and the Zenith) The whole group has custom classes and races which may be an interesting discussion for some. They are currently infiltrating the vampires kings, aka Venerzar Dunbars, castle (who happens to be one of the players father) and Ketsu has just discovered a card from the deck of many things. (Its not the first card to have been found)
Endless Vernandia and Endless Vernandia Tarvea: As a DM
This group is my largest group. Their campaign is split into two sections currently.
Endless Vernandia (EV) was based in a spirit world after the players died in their own worlds. They learnt to survive in the wilderness, build bases and just sorta mess around. The group has an interest in door hinges (don't get me started on this), one of the players was accidently turned into a lich (even I am not sure how this happened). We also had a merchant who stole everyones hearts, no wait that was Granny num nums... (My players never forgave me for killing her off). And eventually they got reincarnated into a new world. Oh and lets not forget this worlds gimmick of corruption.
EV Tarvea: The group now has new characters (reminiscent of the old) and spirit animals. (Bonus points if anyone can figure out the series this world is based off). The characters are busy solving mysteries whilst trying to avoid the corruption they have discovered is seaping into this world from Vernandia.
The Multitude of Magnus: As a DM This one on one campaign is set in a world where the player Magnus has been besett with a strange illness. He also happens to be a prince. Starting as a skeleton he wakes up finding the world no longer accepts him. He makes a tonne of friends as he time travels through the past versing an ancient black drahon called Neskur who keeps killing his family who he left behind. Eventually he manages to escape the time loop he is in and ends up in Magnus the 1sts body. He also discovers along the way a missing soul god and an enemy called Vane.
The Ruins of Senpitrial. As a player This campaign has been going on for quite a while now and its my favourite campaign as a player. In this campaign there is a lich called Ur Kad who is attempting to cause another ruining, there is also a god called the lord of blood who myself, Fane and Kat are aiming to kill. In this campaign I am playing a 'human' wizard detective called Liburua Batekin who fully believes he is a human. Except his disguise self spell is a bit weird, now that you mention it. He eventually meets a god called Grey Jacket (god of change) whos true name is unknown and eventually learns about his true nature. He is in fact a changling, who is honestly a bit weird for a changling as the only other two changlings he has met have mentioned it. Currently we are in the under dark trying to find Fanes family.
Chaos Corner: As a player. We have only just started yesterday and I am playing a very interesting character with super low stats. I cannot say more as I know some of the campaign members frequent reddit but I will happily tell anyone in direct messages about the character.
Generals Campaign: As a player General is a new DM and hes running a mostly combat campaign as we try to stop an evil king from bringing back a pretty evil god. I am playing a Revenant Asimar Mystic/Phoenix Sorcerer who died in one of the kings attacks on the town. Tempest one of the players in the party killed me as I killed him bring us both back as Revenents looking for revenge on each other. He is hiding his looks and eventually decided he wanted revenge on the king for sending him to his doom as I hunt him down. Except we are both immortal undead. Yea this is going to be a blast later on
Campaigns that have finished, so I am no longer in them.
Not all campaigns go well, and thats ok. Here are two that didnt work.
(Fake name) Jhins campaign: We were playing a group looking for some magic items. Jhin despite being a very new dm is very good at characters... At combat not so much. The main reason the campaign failed was due to restricting player abilities and just sort of giving up. The group was VERY chaotic and I mean very. In this campaign I played a Raven and a Kalashtar called Harbringer and Watcher. Their classes were rogue/Raven Queen Warlock. Basically Watcher is super nice, Harbringer is evil. Watcher shows himself to the party and Harbringer never really does. These two have a tonne of lore and are pretty fun to play.
After Jhin gave up I tried taking the group on. Yea even I failed. Basically the new game was about two dimensions, one called the mirror world where players played characters the other players designed (they didnt know their stats) and then you had the material where it was normal dnd. Anyway there were wizards on dragons and the group didnt get anywhere through the story anywhere fast. They spent a session talking about things outside of the game (they were all friends) and after a few more sessions after a talk to see if they would improve I dropped the campaign.
However we have some that did work, except people got too busy.
The Chaos Crew as a DM This campaign lasted ages and its the campaign that truely got me into dming. One day my friends told me when we were playing another game that they were trying to learn how to play dnd but didnt know where to start. Nobody had played before. I said I could try dming for them. They agreed and we promptly began a campaign. The campaign was a time travel campaign where the party slowly ran out of time to stop neskur from taking over their minds. And yes this is the origin of the infamous villian Neskur. And Senshin his nice brother. The group had a lot of fun as they stole a hippogriff egg, Yasuo killed the entire party in an epic betrayal (pvp was commonplace, fun and normal). Tbanger died 7x, sometimes on purpose, other times not so much. P.S: you still hold the record. The players also came up with the pelvis ghost..... Trust me you do not want to steal any pelvises in my games, it never ends up well. And the players drew the fates card and got revenge on Yasuo. Then we had exams and never played another game together. Currently I might be trying to gather them up for a reunion.
And last but not least... The original campaign. Based on the Taldora books (the one with the belt and 7 gems), we had a game where the terrifie were first introduced. A player died in session one after jumping purposely off a 30ft tall wall and getting poked with a stick. We had a sword incident where it glanced off a wall and impaled a dwarf (who rolled a nat 1) and an epic battle over a river. Five or so sessions in we had scheduling issues and didnt play again. However one of the three from the campaign later joined Astral Antics and Endless Vernandia. I kind of got them addicted to D&D... they thanked me for it lol.
And anyway that is it in terms of my campaigns. So......
AMA: Ask me anything, even specific questions like why my players are scared of birds or even about bagpipes. I will attempt to answer them all. Though I would love to see some questions that may led to some interesting tales. Go wild.
DMs I am happy to share any of my resources I have created for my campaigns if anyone wants them.
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2023.05.28 15:55 throwrahihihiagain BF (29M) mother (55F) hates me (24F) because I’m overweight and now he wants to hide our marriage plans in my country.

I met my boyfriend a couple of years ago when I decided to visit another country for the first time ever. Fast forward to now we’re talking about marriage and spending the rest of our lives together. In February I was able to meet his mother (In this culture whenever a son introduces his girlfriend to the parents it’s like a sign that they are going to/ready to get married to this person) and she instantly did not like me. I could feel it and later that night I forced my boyfriend to tell me exactly why she did not like me and it was because of my weight. I honestly think I would’ve been able to understand if it was because of my color but she did not say anything about that. She did not communicate with me at all and I cried whenever we got in the car. I have never had this happen to me (I mean, I’ve been judged before by my looks but never by my significant other family members).
To give more information, I am black ,short, and fat. This country has a low population of Black people especially the area where my boyfriend and his family is from. I am also a foot taller than his mother, so I look like a big tall black giant to her most likely.
Since then, I have been having second thoughts about everything because I don’t know what’s going to happen because of his mother doesn’t already like me…What about the rest of the family? I’ve met a lot of his cousins and friends who live in the area that we live in and I know they like me and we all hang out multiple times a week. I have also met his younger brother and I adore him. We have talked about being able to spend our lives back-and-forth and his country in my country but after the situation with his mother, I don’t see it being a pleasant experience.
I really do love this man and the way he makes me feel a but now we’re having bigger problems.
Before I met his mother, our plan was to get married early next year (February) in his country but ever since then his mother has been crying and being hysterical about the entire situation because I am not what she pictured as a daughter-in-law. She has even gone as far to saying she would sell her house and give him money to not be in a relationship with me. It was so bad for him because his mother and the woman he loves were both upset. He spent three weeks thinking about what to do because he knew there was a possibility that he could lose his family if he decided to marry me against their wishes. He thought it would be best if we got married in my country and then he would come back and explain the situation to all of his family whenever the time felt right. At first I agreed, but now I think this is so stupid. The reason he doesn’t want to get married in his country is because the families will be notified via some app this country has. One of the main reasons I don’t agree with doing this anymore is because we will have to fill out a lot of paperwork just to get a fiancé visa and this process can take up to two years and I don’t want to put my life on hold because his mother cannot accept me as a daughter in law based on my weight but this is also making me think that his family will be more of a priority to him than the family we plan to start together.
I have never had someone that felt so perfect for me and wants the best in the future we will share together but I really need some advice because this particular situation is making me rethink all the plans we talked about.
TL;DR: My boyfriends mother does not want us to be married because I’m fat and boyfriend doesn’t want them to find out about our possible marriage in my country.
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2023.05.28 15:16 Plushytoonz There's a universe where earth is filled with unknown horrors (Part 2)

Part 1
I stood up, awaken from my sleep from the knocking sound on the elevator door. My friends stood up with me as we all heard it. The sound of banging became so much louder. Giggling can be heard with it. What's behind the door is unknown and I'd rather not face it than die to this thing. In the edges of the door, thin fingers began to seep through it. Such horrible looking fingers. I watched the door getting turned into a broken mess. Something grabbed my hand and I saw it was Rishika's. I looked at her and saw fear and sadness on her face.
Questioning death can be answered by judgement, revenge, luck, curse, or just nothing. The concept of fate over people sounds so simple that people think that it's ok that fate exists. Is it ok if I was in this situation? What if one of your loved ones died right in front of you by a murderer? You won't like it and you'd definitely blame god for that.
The door is beginning to make an opening. Sweat rapidly runs down on my forehead. My eyes widened with terror as I see the creature's face. It's as accurately described from the documentary. Its teeth shines like bright white marbles and its eyes are like melted butter. The creature's face slowly gets closer, while we stepped far back until there's no space for us to move anymore.
I can feel the cold shivering breath from its mouth. The breath that smells empty. From what I've heard, it's much stronger than the one we just ran away from. Ronald immediately punches the creature's face with his metallic fist. Steam pulses out from the gaps of it. He kept punching at it again and again but to no avail. It still not injured nor shown any pain. He only manages to recoil it farther back.
With a one quick slice, Ronald's hands fell to the ground. His scream was painful and terrifying to hear. I can see his face was in pain. Eyes widened with tears flowing down to his cheek. "Ronald!!" I heard Billy screamed out loud. Of course, this doesn't make any difference as the creature slowly crept closer and closer to us. I witness Ronald dying with his sockets bleeding so much blood. His eyes faded of life. If only he hadn't try to kill it out of bravery, he would've lived longer with us before our lives are taken away.
Its jaw started to open. The sounds of bone cracking can be heard within its teeth. The smile on its face grew more and more eerie. It laughs like a maniac ready to pounce on their victims. Such insanity can break people's minds with a laugh. I froze in place by the laugh. There's nowhere else me and my friends can escape from. What else can we do. Our weapons are futile here and this creature is far beyond comprehension.
Its many arms spread around the elevator room, trying to grab us with its menacing hands. We're going to die here and that's that. This would've been a goodbye to the world. I don't know the dead world in this universe. Many different universes should have a different afterlife. Here, I don't think there's a safe place after death.
Then, something happened right in front of our eyes. The creature was being pulled back by something. Something inside the darkness. I can hear it's the same women who saved me from the pale face. We couldn't see anything in the darkness but Billy's flames can surely help us along the way. I took his flamethrower and a torch. Lighting up the torch with it carefully. Not wanting to burn us. Turning off the flamethrower, I lighted the area with my torch in hand and saw them clashing each other with blade like arms.
We stepped out of the elevator with Ronald's dead body in Cody's arms. Why would Cody keep holding on to him for? He's already dead and there's no way for us to say a better goodbye. I guess maybe he wanted to bury him somewhere which I honored that idea.
She cuts the jaw of the creature that it screams the way a person should. I can see the whole body of the creature. It was humanoid and tall. About 9 feet tall and its body is dark skeletal human. It grabbed her with its large hand and threw her off into the wall. She crushes onto the wall with such heavy force. A groan can be heard from her before a blade penetrates through her abdomen. Her screams are both man and woman at the same time.
It's horrifying to hear someone scream like that if they're just human. In fact, it'll be much terrifying if she'd sounded like millions of voices.
She grabbed its face with her free arm and tears its face off. Its eyes bounces to the ground with a flesh grinding mush sound. The screams that came from within its voice box made a deafening pain in our ears that we both covered them with our hands.
The woman digs her sharp fingers into the creature eye sockets with the sound of digging flesh. She then splits its head with the pull of her hands. Black and bloody flesh spread onto the walls and ground. One of its discarded flesh landed on my shoe. My stomach twists and turns. Watching her brutally kill it while flesh and blood spills. I gagged, watching her 3 fingered hands dig into its throat and pulled out its large heart.
Geralt vomited to the ground, spilling the acid from his stomach. That didn't bother me. Instead I watched her feast on the heart. The sound of chewing on flesh and blood made me sick to my stomach from an imaginary smell of rotten flesh. The creature's body slowly melts away to the ground. Rendering it to be dead into a puddle of flesh and bone. There's nothing left of it. Just a puddle.
"Holy shit." With just one word came out from Billy's mouth, the woman turns her head to look at us. Her eyes seemingly looked bright and harmless. Not sure whether or not if this is a tactic to hunt or it's really her instinct. The familiar color of her right eye caught my attention.
She fell to the ground with a big gap in her abdomen. Heavy breaths came out from her voice as she slowly gets back up on her feet. The light from my torch reveals her hoodie to be grey and the gap in her abdomen slowly began to heal itself. Small tendrils from the sides of the gap stitching back together.
I stepped back, giving ourselves space in order for us to escape if she'd attack us. I held my hammer high and so does my friends with their own. "Darwin wait!" Did I just heard her say my name? I didn't know what to do or how to react. Either it's just a hallucination or trickery. "How did you know my name?" I asked with the fear in my voice.
"I uh. I just guessed I suppose." Her eyes were on the dead Ronald in Cody's arms. She looked saddened by it. Even grieved. She shook her head and went back to to us with a clear voice. "But that doesn't matter. You all need to get out of here before he gets here."
"Who's he?" Geralt asked with both curious and nerving tone in his voice. Her eyes are widened in fear. An expression I never thought she could do and feel about. "Cain. He's coming here and you all need to get out of here."
I've heard about Cain before. You might know this story from a book. It's about 2 brothers, sons of Adam and Eve. Abel being the most favored man of god, while Cain being the least favorite and jealous. Cain killed his brother out of jealousy. God is not happy about this and he casted him away with a curse. He's just a man. Maybe who she was saying was someone who is also named Cain.
"How are we supposed to get out?" Said Cody.
"I can help you get out. We just need to go outside and find the pool of clean water. But, it'll be far away, so we need to hurry up." She walked passed us quickly in a hurry. Billy was going to ask but I lay his shoulders, giving him a metaphor of saying no. Of course, he grunted from that. Rishika gave a face wash to Geralt. He gladly takes it and wipes his mouth and stained jacket.
We followed her through the hallways of the darkness. Our torches lighted brightly around the darkness. I was behind the woman whose guiding us to the exit. I haven't thought of asking her name. For someone like her, she should have. The voids blood doesn't seem to affect her mind but I don't think that's really the case.
The image of her blue eyes makes me recollect the memories of my long distant past. I still don't understand. How could she be so familiar to me, even know my name. We never met each other and we're from different worlds. Either it could be she had mind reading powers or just a simple guess. "Thanks for saving us back there. What's your name."
"My name's..." She looked unsure as to what to say or even know her name. I think she was hiding her true identity which I can understand that. Hiding your own identity from other people is a good way to keep yourself safe. But you needed to plan and design your own disguise. You need to come up with a story that doesn't give confusion or any cracks for people to get suspicious. Famous people like movie stars or scientist or anybody related to that stuff mostly do this to avoid getting attention.
With a warm and calm voice, she answered. "My name is Enid."
"Sounds good. Why did you save us? How are you still in control of yourself?"
"I saved you because I wanted to save you all. I was never the kind of hero or something but I still have the heart to save you all. And I'm losing a bit of my strength holding myself together. Everyday, I have to eat the creatures here. You've encountered them before. If I don't eat them, I'm going to turn into them. Turn into the void. But the more I eat, the closer I'm going to turn myself in. I'm glad you guys are safe, but I feel bad to see your friend die. Sorry that I'm too late to save all of you in one piece."
"Yeah. Wished he had enough time for you to arrive. He was a brave and cool friend to have a part of the team. He's always telling stories about greek gods and mythologies. He's a boxer too. I think he would consider you to be one of us."
"Really?"
"Yeah, of course. He kinda sometimes look scary to me in the night but he's a really good man." Geralt joins with us with a nervous look on his face. His eyes are tired as ours but they're wide enough for us to see his shining eyes. Enid returned smile on her face, but it faded away quickly in a short amount of time.
We finally left the building safely with her guidance. The bright shining sky brightens around us. Giving us the comfort of our safety. But still, we grieved the death of Ronald. Billy grieved the most out of everyone else. He kept muttering all over and over while we were following Enid. His mutterings, from what I can hear are apologize. "Billy. It's not your fault. I think he knew as well."
"No, it is. I kept saying mean and horrible things to many of you but mostly it's on him. I just wanted him to think I'm strong and all. I'm lost Darwin. And I shouldn't have said those awful things. All I want was to show you all that I'm strong. But look at me. I'm bloody weak and I can't do anything to protect you all. All I can do is to just stand still and spout bullshit."
He began sobbing so terribly that it shocks me to my core. His face turning red and he fell to his knees, unable to stand back up. We all stopped to try to give him the comfort we wanted give him. We've never seen him in such a state like this. Throughout our times together, he always acts like a jerk but now he's crying right in front of us. I didn't know what else to do except to sit down next to him. Ronald's body is now pale in Cody's arms. His eyes were shut.
"I know how it feels, Billy." Rishika, already knelt down in front of Billy, said with a warm tone in her voice. This has got to be the 3rd or 4th time I've heard her say a full sentence. Either way, it was encouraging. Billy doesn't seem to be able to reply. None of us does. "I used to be harsh and cruel to others because I wanted them to accept me. But I was wrong because that's not how it works. We can both change together. It's ok to be on your good side. It won't be too bad. I think Ronald would like that too."
"Look at me. Do I look like I can?"
"We all can. It's just how we grow in life."
"I don't know. Ronald's dead and I'm left to be the one who carries his death on my back. I don't think he'll ever forgive me."
"No. We don't know that. But what matters is that you move on instead of staying behind. I know it's hard but you have to if you want to change. It's ok to be scared. We're all scared."
"Yeah. Even me too. I get scared a few times but that doesn't mean that others will look down on me." Geralt stutters a bit in his voice but kept the strength to say those words.
"Same here. Even that I'm this, I'm still scared too." Enid joins in with a sad look on her face. For someone like her, I thought she never felt fear. I guess there are others like her that can feel that way.
I wanted to tell him something too. Something that feels connecting to each other that I don't want him to be left alone. "You don't have to do this alone. I'm scared too and that's alright because that's human. We can help you Billy. You're our friend. And I think Ronald would consider you as a friend too."
Billy wipes his tears away with his sleeve. We all sat there for a few seconds before Cody lays his hand on his shoulder, which makes Billy hug him back. "It's ok. We're here." Ronald's body lay on the boulder 5 feet away from us. Cody reaches his arms as a gesture for us to join in. We all did. So is Enid. I didn't think anything else but to be on Billy's side.
Suddenly, our moment was interrupted by a thunderous noise came out of nowhere. Enid's eyes are widened in terror. The world around us shook from the thunder. In the sky, the small clouds started to turn from grey to the color of blood. Enid jumps right up, catching a look above as we all stare into the sky. What I saw gave me enough imagination to fear whatever the unknown has.
Large gigantic shining eyes watch over the world below us from the sky. Its pupils are too big that they nearly reached the edge of their sockets. The grin of that thing gave me enough horror to freeze in my tracks. How nightmarish it is to see a gigantic abomination such as this in the morning and night. People would definitely scream and run all over the place while the cloud's face watches over them like a eldritch god.
By the time I stepped back, it turned its menacing eyes towards me. I felt like it was staring into my soul. My very soul in my body. Its own saliva dripping from its mouth. Hungry for our souls. It didn't move nor spoke a word. Thunderous noises kept coming from the abomination. They were red lightning and menacing. If people get hit by them, I'm pretty sure they'll turn into whatever nightmarish flesh creature they'll turn into.
"Guys! We have to go! There's not much time!" Edin ran and so we followed. Cody picked up Ronald's body with us. Billy gained back his strength to run. And I slowly started to run as I kept staring at its menacing eyes. It doesn't leave me alone. I don't see it following me or do anything than to smile with evil intentions. This is different than the ones we encountered. Not because of their looks. It's because I knew its intentions. The void creatures, I don't.
A great thunderous red beam shot out from the abomination's mouth and a loud boom can be heard far away from us. The sound snapped me out and I began to run as fast as I can, trying to keep up the pace of my friends and Enid.
Nothing else happened as we run to our exit. The thunderous noises kept booming around us as the clouds above slowly turned into blood red. A drop of rain hit my forehead. I touched it with my finger tip and saw blood. The rain is full of blood. I nearly slipped to the ground but my jacket was caught by Geralt. "Don't worry Darwin! I got you!" He pulled me up and ran.
The feeling of getting closer to something crept inside my chest that I began to feel the sensation of hope. Hope is said to be for the weak but I say otherwise. Hope may be a blind way to believe in something but sometimes it can be true to which we reach to something we can achieve.
Enid stopped in her tracks. There, right in front of us, was a pool of clean water. It doesn't make sense. It's raining blood and there, at the pool, it's clean. Droplets of blood dripped into the pool, then faded away into the clean water. We were shocked to see the pool to be clean in the middle of a shower of blood. The atmosphere suddenly turned red. Dark red flames started emerging around the world. It's everywhere and I can hear the distant screams behind me. The screams are hard for me to explain. They're like mixed with many variety of species all together into a rhyme of symphony.
I turned around to see something dark falling from the sky above into the ground like a falling star. The world shakes beneath us. I knelt down to get balance as I kept watching the falling darkness land onto the world. Far away, a dark silhouette rises from the ground. It looked to be tall. I could guess it's 4 feet taller than us. My eyes can't see clearly due to the silhouette being too far away. More of them began to rise as more fell from the abomination.
I turned myself around, nearly losing my balance. Cody held Rishika by the arm and Billy knelt beside Geralt. Enid reached her hands out into the pool. Sparks of bright light emitted from her arms, spreading light around her. The pool began to slowly swirl into a vortex as the sparks of light began to increase. The harsh blow of the wind hits us, making me fall to the ground.
Then, a bolt of light sparked into life in Enid's grip. The bolt was so bright that I shielded my eyes from it. It's so that I won't get blinded by the light. I looked back to see that something is walking towards us from far away of our tracks. I don't know if it's just me hallucinating or if it's really real. I think I can hear laughter. A humane laughter. It's like it came from a demon king. The dark silhouettes at the sky fly around with their wings.
Their wings are of a bat and their body was humanoid and blood red. Their mouths are menacingly enough to make me push myself away from it as far as I can. It shrieks so loudly that I can hear it from that distance. It began to fly towards us and its claws like a hawks are ready to grab one of us to feast on. I stood back up as the world turned still. I pulled out my hammer, ready to defend myself from it.
The demon nearly scratched my face before a bullet teared through the side of its brain. I turned my head to see Rishika, already wielding her sniper rifle. "I got you." She turned around and shot another bullet at another demon.
I heard a crushing noise coming from Cody. He slams his club right at a demons head, exploding it on impact. The demon wore an armor set of dark stones that could come from hell itself. It was carrying a blade that shines pure diamond. Geralt penetrated his spear at the demons chest, electrocuting it from a high voltage. "Holy shit! This is crazy!" A shout came from his voice. A voice of panic.
I turned around when I felt something was approaching me. There was a demon with 4 arms and held a large hammer, bigger than the one I wielded. Its face full of hatred that Its eyes glared into my soul. I quickly swung my hammer by the time it swings its own. Our hammers clashes together, making a loud slam around us. It swung again but I jumped away from its heavy blow. It's a good thing we had those boots. They're able to give us enough push to jump twice higher than the original person can.
I then swung my hammer directly at its face. I made impact as its face tears apart from the slam of my hammer. A crunching sound can be heard from its skull. Its head exploded into a pool of blood with scattered flesh and bones.
I landed on my feet and watched the world turned into the new hell as dark flames emitted everywhere around the buildings and the ground. More demons are rushing towards us in a pack. So many of them with many horrifying different forms. My body is shaking from the fear I had in me. I nearly dropped my hammer as sweat begins to appear on my hands. I bumped my back as I stepped behind. Geralt, Rishika, Cody, and myself are close together with our weapons in hand. They're all sweating with fear on their faces. There's too many of them for us to take them down. "Come on! Let's show those freaks what we're made of!" Shouted Geralt. By the times we raised our weapons and the demons now 10 feet away from us, a bright blue flame blazes the demons. They scream in pain and hatred as they slowly melted into a sludge of fried flesh.
"I'm not going to let those bloody fuckers take you all away from me!" Billy's face is mixed with fear and anger. Feeling very glad that he joined us. If not for him, we would be brutally killed by the horrifying demons. Then, a loud burst of water and electricity emerged from behind us. Enid faces us with wide eyes. "Get in now!"
"Will it take us home!?" Geralt asks with a panic in his voice. I can see the sweat pouring down on Enid's face as she stares back at us in a hurry. "No but it'll take you somewhere safe! Somewhere you can start a new life!"
Cody, with Ronald's body in his arms, is the first to get in the portal. By the time he jumps into the portal in the pool, a flash of blue energy can be seen emerging out of it. Then goes for Geralt. He was scared at first as he cowers back. "Will I be hurt if I fall?"
"Don't worry. You'll be fine." And so, he jumps in and flashes of light emerges out.
Then goes for Billy. He looked back at Enid for a moment before he jumps into the portal.
Lastly, Rishika stops near the edge of the pool. She turned around to see Enid with a hurried look on her face but also with relief. "Thank you Eddie." Then she jumps into the portal.
Did I just heard her right? Did she just said my lost friend's name. "What did she just say?"
She looked at me with a sad look in her blue eye. I felt a connection between us, as if we've known each other. I don't understand. Why would Rishika say his name. Enid is a woman to say the least or she's really something else. A sudden memory flashed before my eyes.
I remembered the time Eddie shape shifted into the Ice cream man. It was a time when we were young. We both got the ice cream we wanted just for free without anyone noticing. It was funny but also worrying because we could get caught. But that never happened and still felt funny every time I remember that day.
"Eddie? You're Eddie." She nodded in reply. A gesture of yes. Then, right in front of my eyes, she formed into a grown up version of Eddie. The Eddie I remembered. My heart felt shocked as to what I've just learned. I ran to him and hugged him deeply than I could've ever done. We both hugged for a moment until he gently pushes me off. Tears started to appear beneath my eyes. I don't know what I was feeling but what I can say was joy. "Why didn't you tell me?"
"Because I knew you would drag me with you If I tell you. You have to understand that I have to stay here. This is where I belong and I'm too dangerous to be with you."
"But we can figure things out together! We can go back to hanging out with each other! Play video games! Explore the world! Everything!"
"No Darwin. We can't. I'm a part of the void and I'm slowly losing myself. My left part of my face is nearly turning into the void."
"But we can fix that! We just need to find the answers to how we can get you better! I can't! I don't want to lose you again! I-"
"Darwin!" A shout came from his voice. I stopped with chills freezing behind my back. He looked at me in the eye with sadness. "I can't go back. I'm sorry I was never there for you when you graduated. I'm sorry for never waiting for you outside of school. I'm sorry for everything we could've done but we haven't! I have to save you. Even if it costs me my life. I don't want to lose you either. You have to go Darwin. There's nothing that can change my mind."
I thought I could finally bring him back. To do the things we've never have yet done. Here and now, this is our last time together. This is our last time to see each other again. He protected me wherever I go here. He saved me in order for me to live. I can't let him die here. I don't want him to be gone from me.
I hugged him tightly, not wanting to let go. Tears dripped down from his eyes and onto my head. I can feel the pain in my chest starting to rise but I didn't let go. "I'm sorry Darwin. You have to let me go. You can choose. I won't stop you."
He's right. I can't keep him with me. Throughout my life I wanted to see him again. Every night, I look out the window to see if he's there but there's no one but cars and houses. I can't keep doing this. I really have to let go. Tears pours rapidly beneath my eyes. I let go and wiped the tears from my face. "I guess this is a goodbye then."
A sad smile plastered on his face. The world around us slowly turned into darkness. The kind of darkness in hell. "It is Darwin. I'm so happy to see you again."
"Well oh well!! Look at what we have here!" A very modern European accent voice of a man emerged from the world before us. We turned to see a man with a worn off brown coat. His hat looked to be as old as the ancient times. And his face. His face made my stomach turn. Bandages wrapped around his face, except for his terrifying grin. His teeth rotten to the very core of his rotten body. I stepped behind Eddie with the hammer in my hands. The man grins much wider than I anticipated.
"You must be wondering. Who am I? Well. I'm the one and only, Cain. You might've heard me from a very recognizable book. Also, I'm afraid you two are coming with me. We have a lot to discuss and a ton of things to do together." With that, he started laughing like a total maniac. His herds of demons followed with a laugh.
"Goodbye Darwin." Eddie suddenly pushes me off into the bright blue vortex that'll be my exit. I took one last glimpse of Eddie standing before Cain. As I fell into the portal, I can hear the echoing laughter of Cain and his demons. I screamed out for Eddie but my voice was out of reach.
Then, I landed on my back on the ground. The portal disappeared before me. I quickly stood back up and reached to where the portal had opened. It was gone. I looked around to see that I'm on a hill. The dark blue night sky displayed above me with the stars shining above. My mind racing with thoughts and fear. Witnessing Eddie being alone to fight against the evil we are meant to escape from. I screamed into the sky as tears rapidly starts to appear. I fell to my knees onto the grass floor and slam my hands at the ground as I wept. I kept screaming and sobbing until I was too exhausted that I fell to the ground. I heard footsteps before me. There were many.
My body being picked up by Billy in the arm as he carries me with him. "Darwin. What happened?"
The only words I can say now were."He's gone."

It's been 2 years since we left that world. The world we now stand upon was nearly the same as ours. What I mean by nearly was that there are strange phenomenons happening nearly every month. A girl who can turn into a form of a robot and killed a cancerous beast in Queensland. A military war criminal who considers killing the supernatural as a job. Even the real life wendigo sightings are on the news papers. Still though, the place is still good in the morning. Except in the night, there are sometimes threats we don't know in the dark.
We built a team together, even gather some new friends along the way. Rishika grew to be more expressive and a lot more kinder to us. The time we killed a literal Bigfoot, she gave me a fist bump. Gave me a chuckle and a smile on my face.
Billy was getting better everyday. He responds to us with kind words than insults like before. After Cody had buried Ronald's body in a proper, he said his words of goodbye to him and gave him the picture he secretly held with him. It was a picture of us hanging out in a movie place. It's heart warming and depressing to witness what he did there.
Cody went off to work as a psychologist. He's still with us. It's just that he wanted to help people's mental health issues. He did really well on that one and he even gave us some advice for a change. I wouldn't consider mostly on his advice but some I can really try. That's also where he met the girl who can turn into a robot. We've met after the news broke out about an incident of a wild destruction at Queensland. Forgot to mention, we're at Australia. Just to let you all know where we are.
Finally, Geralt took pictures everywhere we go and writes down in his diary. The reason he does this is that we're in another world and thought he could take pictures of them and reflect on them. Sometimes we even got to have a photograph of us in the middle of the good times. He said it was to keep memories of our times together. A frame with a picture of literally us huddled together in a bright sunny day in Canberra.
Me? I was building a portal device, for me to teleport to different worlds. It's going to take a long time for me yes. Been building other things lately with Rishika too. Weaponry, gadgets, devices, and fixing stuff. I stuck around with my friends and we've made a great team. Made new friends along the way and learnt many things too.
2 years ago, after my moment of grief, I woke up from my exhausted moment to see my friends standing before me with a relief on their faces. I nearly cried by the picture of that moment. After that, we both watched tv together in my new bedroom inside of a hotel room. After Rishika finds a new home for us, we moved out to Melbourne Victoria as a new place of our home. We moved in to a farm house where there is a larger basement for us to do our stuff. We knew we had to get a job at this point, so we did what we can to find one. It's a good thing there's a city nearby.
Rishika, Geralt, Billy, and I took the job as being a part of an investigation of the paranormal. That's how we managed to meet up with a bunch of new friends.
I missed Eddie. I wished he could come with me and didn't have to die. But, I learnt that I can't drag him with me. He wanted to stay there. I can understand that. I know he's gone already. It's hard to let go. But sometimes we have to. To live out our lives well. I have to look forward. To better myself through experience.
This is my message to you. My readers.
You better to stay where you are now. Don't go to other universes. Because maybe, you'll end up in the most horrifying places you never want to go.
submitted by Plushytoonz to nosleep [link] [comments]


2023.05.28 15:05 resurrective Chapter 17 – The trial of heart

The black domes, they were pocket dimensions, which were completely detached from the material world. Bound to the stream of souls, flowing inside the ephemeral branches of the world tree, they presented a personal hell for each person cast into them. They are a limbo of regrets, the hell of one’s own making, places where the living meets the dead.
There’s only so many ways to elope them. One must either reconcile with the restless souls, or join them, succumbing to their rage and regret that they carried into their afterlife. After all, to even get there, one must possess unparalleled strength and resilience; and only those who had caused deaths and destruction on their path to greatness can even hope to get to this trial.
Freia, Flare, the First princess of Jioral. For some – a good friend, lover, and companion. For others – a nightmare embodied, a vessel of divine powers, a force to be reckoned with. She had many enemies: princes and princesses felled by her authority, treacherous servants and greedy nobles, the knights, who opposed her corruption, slavers and bandits, destroyed on her quest for redemption and restoration of herself… But there were more. Children she had burned, serving her kingdom, women who perished by the tides she conjured, men that had been torn apart by raging tornados of her making, elderly that were buried under the rubble she created…
And how did she oppose them?
“Flagella terram et vescere inimicis meis, o magnum tempestas ignis!” The sorceress chanted, spinning her staff above her head. Then, right before the raging mob reached her, she hid from them behind a vortex of fire. One move and this wave of heat would incinerate everything and everyone in this accursed realm. But…
TRAITOR!
DON’T HIDE FROM US, FLA-A-A-ARE!
COME TO US, SISTER!
YOU WERE NEVER ONE OF US!
USURPER!
GIVE ME BACK MY MOM!””
THE FALSE PRINCESS!
SUNNARI (die)!
THE DAUGHER OF A WHORE!
YOU SHOULD’VE ROT IN THE SLUMS!
Curses and jealousy, bitterness and hatred. The chorus of tortured souls surrounding the fiery boundary couldn’t be silenced even by the roaring flame. There couldn’t be any redemption.
“I’m sorry for all of you, who unjustly died by my hand!..” And even though there were people deserving their apologies, those who had to perish in favor of Flare’s political ambitions, those she sacrificed to appease her tyrannical father…
THEN JOIN US, FLARE!
PAPA! WHERE ARE YOU?! GIVE HIM BACK!
REPENT, BITCH! DISPELL YOUR WITCHCRAFT!!!
“But I won’t give in to you!” The pink-haired woman exclaimed, absorbing mana into her staff. “Furthermore, there’re those of you I will never regret killing! And there are those, for whom I must live! I MUST GET OUT OF THIS PLACE!!!” Then, she slammed the lower tip of her weapon into the floor made of the absolute darkness. Instead of wailing, being consumed by fear, guilt, self-loathing, and, ultimately, perishing, Freia sundered this entire “world”. One magical strike from her, and cracks of white and gold covered the entire dome. The wall of fire faded, but when the vengeful spirits rushed forward to maul their prey, they crumbled into piles of black salt. “I’m so… so sorry!” The girl lamented, kneeling near the remains of children, whose future she stole. “But I… I must move forward. I must save…”

Sparks and crackling, whistle and dazzling – time and time again the surge of lightning breached through the veil of darkness.
UO-O-O-O-O-O!!!” A guttural scream filled the oppressive silence under the dome. Eve Reese, so childish and bashful, so eager to prove herself, now wore a stone mask of indifference. “Nira-a-a (no-o-o)!!! Yuarmta (I won’t forgive you)!!!” Cornar yelled, held still by at least seven shadows, he had been tortured, killed, bruised, smitten by the raging element of lightning. No longer did the girl see him as a threat; no longer did she cower at the feet of her former husband. Maybe, Eve was condemned to getting back her memories as a means of punishment, something that would make her sympathize with this petty little tyrant…
Yuarm yau (I don’t need your forgiveness).” The Me-ua kahul spoke, looking at her crackling right arm, trembling with power and guilt combined. Not for forsaking her would-be-spouse, not for becoming Panakea’s pawn…
These souls, these loyal shadows – turned out, she never called upon them… until the very end. Her subjects, her brethren… Eve feared that if she let them out, they would tear her tyrannical husband into little pieces.
“Haa… Haa…” And now, she had to choose. To turn around and let someone else fix her problem, or… “Haa… HAA!!! HAA!!! HAA!!! SUNI (I’ll kill you)!!!
A Punch to the maw, to the chest, through the ribs, to the heart! He didn’t die! He couldn’t die here! This scumbag of a man, this monster just wouldn’t go away! No matter how much pain she caused him, no matter how many times she slit his throat, broke through his torso, shocked him with spells, cut him with magical light…
And what of Cornar?
A-A-A-A-A!!! A-A-AGH!!! HA-HA-HA-A!!! NA SHENBATA, SETOAN (you can’t get rid of me, woman)!!!” The son of Hakuo never relented. He relished in his immortality, laughed through the hellish torments Eve inflicted upon him. The skinned lion spotted a weakness in Eve’s heart, and he pressed at it, as if breaking the girl would get him back to the world of the living…
No, he wanted to take Eve to the world of dead.
“Gha-a-a-a… Agh-h-h…” The queen-to-be grabbed her forehead, her rugged breath not only siphoned all the focus out of her, threatening to cast the girl into a pit of despair, it also deteriorated her control over the mana she wielded. Unlike the city of salt, there was enough ambient magic to harvest here, but doing so would require skills, precision, and, most importantly, personal discipline and control over one’s own mind.
Praibi, orna Iblis (Drain yourself, my Iblis)!” The prince of Batnara shashu tribe provoked, feeling the grip of the shadows losing its strength. A little more, and he’d be free… A little more…
“Hm…” But Eve wouldn’t relent. She once again covered her arm in a coat of magical lightning. She would never surrender; the queen would never let anyone treat her like a slave ever again. Not after Keyaruga’s perseverance taught her a lesson of resilience. Not after his gentleness, however tainted by his wounds, showed her what true love should look like.
She took a swing, prepared to strike…
“…” But then, two winged shadows stopped her hand. Amda and Sana, they were barely recognizable in their spiritual forms… but Eve would never mistake her parents for anyone else. They couldn’t speak, yet they still communicated with their daughter through other means. Emotions, wishes, urges – they never wished such evil to befall their daughter, but what they hated even more – was to see their child descend into the same pit.
“I… I don’t… have to?..” They asked her to stop, to let them relieve her of that burden. “B-but!.. No! You will die!” The girl snarled, grabbing her parents in a hug. She knew what was to come – her mother, father – they wished to sacrifice themselves to drag Cornar back to the afterlife. But that… wouldn’t that mean she’d lose them all over again? Wouldn’t…
“…”
Yes! You’re dead! So what?! What do I?..” The feeling of pain and powerlessness engulfed the verdant woman. Barely had she found the strength to stand before her fallen tribe, before those who she desired to see the most now left her.
YOTJAR (finally)!!!” With Eve’s will getting weaker, so did the shadows of her ethereal court. Her tyrannical husband finally broke free, slamming and stomping her shadows, as they fruitlessly tried stopping him. Amda and Sana Reese hugged their child for the last time… and now they stood up to defend their precious daughter. That is… the least they could do.

Freia broke inside another dome. From the outside, they looked like bright constellations of stars, formed on the points of a massive, galactic-scaled pentagram. The personal chamber for each of the contenders. One was broken from the inside, collapsing inwards, into a black hole with an orange halo – this was Freia’s dome. There were four more. Two were dimmed, two still shone brightly. The Hero of Magic travelled through this empty space, lit by numerous distant stars. In her current form, things like speed, form, and time – none of them mattered, aside from her destination. And now, she had to choose one of the two luminous chambers.

What is true power? Does one determine this abstract concept by the weight one can lift with their muscles? Maybe it was the charisma necessary to lead the masses? Enough money to influence others? Authority earned or inherited?
“Well-well-well…” Whatever the answer truly was, Ellen had none of it right now. No strength to fight, no troops to hide behind, and certainly – those who opposed her now had little if any need of whatever amount of gold she now carried.
WENCH!
TANOUTUR (murderer)!
NEZAH (why)?!
MERA RIVARO (my life)!..
YAU MA (how dare you)!
YOU’LL PAY FOR WHAT YOU’VE DONE, BITCH!!!
Oh, they came for Norn. There were hundreds, if not thousands of them, some she could recall from her Murian and Teuteccain campaigns – the series of expansions past the great wall; others were the court warlords she and John unseated in her ascension; rebellious villagers too came to exact their revenge on the younger princess, after her demons decimated them; and there were the victims of Buranikka’s carnage. This was the mountain of corpses Norn Clatalissa Jioral used to climb onto the very peak of political power…
“Now then, what do you want from me? An apology? Maybe my penance?” Even now, surrounded by countless dead souls, whose entire being now revolved around their grudge, the girl wouldn’t let herself be crushed by their rage. Not mentally, at least.
DIE!
MAN WOR YAKSI (give me your eyes)!
SUFFER, YOU MONSTER!
I JUST WANTED TO LIVE!!!
And so, hundreds of voices began howling in unison. So passionate, so eager to share their hardships and aspirations, that Ellen actually started pitying them a little. So many words, so much pain in them.
“Haa… I guess, that something like this was bound to happen someday. Well…” Instead of listening to the rest of the traumatizing nonsense and wailing, the crimson-headed cutie just began… to simply undress. “I don’t have the power to struggle, I can’t break out of here, and all of you came here for me. So go on. Rape me, maul me, kill me, do whatever you want. I’ve already done everything I wanted.” Ellen, now naked and completely defenseless, stretched out on the ethereal black floor, looking into the endless black void above her. The raging souls now came closer and closer, dozens of faces now loomed above her, as their hands reached out to grab the fallen warlady and tear her apart. This… was the end.
Keyaruga, Setsuna, sister… I hope you won’t miss me too much.
And so, she closed her eyes. Time to finally die.



There was no pain, nobody dragged the girl around, not even a single blow fell upon her. Ellen was… safe?
A-A-A-A!!!
UGH-H-H!!!
YOLA-A-A-A-A (it hu-u-u-urts)!!!
Slice and dicing, the ripping of flesh and clattered bones, “death” of a sort, dealt to the undying, torment for the tormented who themselves wished to inflict suffering upon her – someone kept the restless souls away from the princess. Someone precise, fast, and masterful with his tools of mayhem.
“Haa, is that you, Organ?” Ellen asked sullenly. Denied her excruciating retribution once more, she could only cover her tightly shut eyes with her palms.
“How did you know, Your Highness?” Indeed, it was him. As brutal as he was gallant, the deceased demigod was the only one out of these dead souls, who spoke to her, and not wailed at her like some sort of a beast.
“I know only two men, who’d come for me here, and the other isn’t so discreet, you moron.” The young general replied, opening her eyelids. The first thing she saw was the Champion of Jioral, covered in black blood. His prized amber eyes were no more, only black gaping holes were there instead. “Why’re you here? Do you want a piece of me for yourself?” The girl asked, still unwilling to stand up. Honestly, she felt robbed at this moment. This would be such a fitting end for her, but no! “Don’t tell me you’ve just barged in here to… Pff! PROTECT… me.” The second princess spat these words through her painfully clenched teeth.
“First things first, Lady Norn, I suggest you cover your shame and cease this indecency.” The warrior spoke, piercing and slashing the mob with his sword, impaling them with his hidden blade, tossing them back with his kicks. He was far from his prime form, and so, wounds and sores, cuts and lesions were left on him, as he, alone, overpowered dozens of raging men and women, keeping them away from the girl he swore to protect. Indeed… “Forgive me, princess, but I made a vow to your mother, and death is hardly a valid reason to…”
YAKS… (giv…) A-A-A-A!!!
“…to renounce my…”
DOKI-I-I (step away)!!!
“…loyalty to her!”
Despite everything, no matter the odds, Hawkeye continued to push back the angry spirits. He couldn’t dodge, as every missed blow could land on the lady, he couldn’t step back, as she needed protection more than any time in her life, and, certainly, sustained by this oppressive dimension, he couldn’t die. He couldn’t kill anyone, as they just rose anew from their own black blood, but the man couldn’t retreat.
“He-heh-heh-heh-heh-heh-heh…” The princess chuckled, curling her torso in order to sit up. It hurt her stomach, but the girl persevered nonetheless. “Why am I always surrounded by stupid stubborn men, who just can’t help but dingle their balls before me? Seriously, a dead man, upholding a promise to a dead woman, how much more ridiculous can this get?” The girl scoffed, pulling back her panties, bra, and whatever she left lying around, back on. After all, why even bother now? “Be honest, idiot! What do you want from me?”
“I came here…”
Slash, backflip, tackle, toss – Organ Trist twirled around his commander, pushing back everyone, who came too close to his prized princess.
“…to ask you, Lady Norn!..”
Shoulder slam, side-kick, a flurry of bloodshed embodied in the son of Artemis!
“…to save my…”
Stabbing enemies with that hidden blade, crushing their skulls with the handle of his blade, ripping their eyes out and tossing them away – however useless this double-sided brutality may seem, Hawkeye had purpose, skill, and, most of all, conviction, that allowed him to push the mob away.
“…daughter! Save Marianna!”
After all, what can be stronger, than a father, eager to protect his dear child?
“And you think keeping me alive will help you with that? You, moron, this bloated pigeon trapped me here! I have only one way out – fucking death!” The second princess, now properly clothed again, yelled however loud she could. Unable to comprehend the reasoning behind this idiocy, the girl just stood there, pulling her crimson hair. “Also, you’re severely mistaken! I’m not Norn! Norn’s dead! My name is…”
“…Elly! Elly-y-y!!!” Barely had the princess opened her mouth; before the dome had been breached from the outside. The Hero of Magic emerged above the ground. She levitated, using magical blue flames; she secured her sister by forming a wall around her, a barricade made from powerful ice spears. The sorceress even went so far as to send one into the undead Champion, it was one he easily avoided, though. “Step away from my sister, Organ!!!” The raging magician demanded, pulling her sibling towards her with a gust of mystical wind.
Ghh! Oh, hey there, Friea!” The fallen warlady spoke, bracing herself against the dizziness her brief flight had caused. Still, this didn’t look good. The last time those two met, Hawkeye severely injured the pink-haired girl, and she just wouldn’t live through it again, unless two gods appeared to help her. This time, though, it was her turn to be a deity-savior.
“Get away! You’ve bested me once, but this time, I can crash this entire realm down onto your head!” The Hero of Magic promised, putting her staff between her sister and her enemy.
“Aw shit, this just gets better and better…” The little genius lamented, nervously shaking her head. Not only was her glorified suicide rudely interrupted, but now this situation threatened to kill her sister as well. Still…
“Elly, Elly… Ellen? Ellen the Adopted?” Despite Freia’s expectations, Organ Trist was more interested in the new name she called Norn, rather than anything else, really. He already had his fair share of battles, after all. “Ho-ho-o! I guess, in the end, you really did become the better version of yourself! And the ‘brother’ in question – is that sir Keyaru?” The blinded man asked with the same smugness he once boasted with in his grandiose life.
“What’s the point of answering you now? Aren’t we just traitors to you?” The heroine replied with every bit of animosity she had in her. “Hold on, Elly, I’ll get you out of here.” Freia stated, charging her staff with the magic that shaped this entire “world”.
“Heh, aren’t you afraid of what that damn poisoned pigeon might do to you for breaking her rules?” The crimson-haired cutie scoffed, witnessing the entire black dome covering with cracks.
“I don’t care about her rules! All I want is to see you safe!” The sorceress spoke with even more defiance toward Caladrius than Norn ever had in her. If needed, she would challenge this feathered nightmare to a duel, anything, just to save her family.
“I see…” Hawkeye uttered, kneeling before the two girls. All that time, rather than monitoring Freia’s moves, his supernatural senses were aimed outside, to make sure no restless souls cross the fence of magic ice. But now… “I see your eyes, Princess Flare, they’re just like hers. I’m sure; you’ll make Lady Reeharoze proud of you yet.” Now, before he once again departs to the other side, there was one last thing to tell them. First praise, then a claim… “Lady Ellen, I beg of you. The life of Marianna now lies in your hands.” …and finally a plea. With all that said, Organ Trist crumbled, his body turned into black salt. And with it, the entire realm began to collapse in itself…
“Hold tight, Elly…”

And now, there was only one dark dome left. Arguably, the worst of them all, this particular world was to be the prison for Keyaruga… or his cemetery. No doorways to run into, no windows to jump from. He was alone, trapped with hundreds of those who were slain by his hand. Those poor bastards – the restless souls, their minds were so obsessed with hatred, and their grudge – powered by the sheer immortality of their ethereal blackened bodies. This was hell in its purest form. The question is – a hell for who, exactly?
YE-E-E-E-E-EAH!!! IT’S HEALING TIME!!!” Keyaruga snarled and began splattering blood all over the place. Everyone who was touched by that substance became horribly mutated – their heads bloated, their muscles strained so much, they crushed their very bones! “WHAT’S WRONG?! KILL ME!!! KILL ME NOW!!!” The man demanded, dancing around his would-be tormentors with his blade, blessing his foes with the exquisite gift of perpetual agony! Saber in his right hand, Georgius on his left, one complementing another.
Despite what the lad asked, nobody could bring him down. His immortal flesh defied any blade, his bones healed in an instant, his mad frenzy alleviated any pain.
He thought he could kill his enemies for the second and final time, give them proper death in the most excruciating manner. He was wrong…
DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! AGAIN! AND AGAIN! AND ALL OVER AGA-A-A-A-AIN!!!” The hero yelled chopping off heads and severing limbs! He killed so many, he couldn’t even count the slayings! He murdered the same people over and over, each time their agony being more exquisite then the last!
Kill a man once, he won’t even notice, his rage will only rise! Kill him thrice – he’d waver! Five – and the seeds of fear are sown. Ten – and he’s broken completely!
Keyaruga just couldn’t help himself, he hated these scum so much, he just couldn’t contain all his passionate hatred. It was so strong, that the feeling of pure, raw, primordial wrath transcended every possible modification he had put into himself.
A-A-A-A-A!!! UGH-H-H-H-H!!!” A soldier was weeping, hugging his boot. “S-S-S-S-SPA-A-A-ARE ME-E-E!!!
YO-O-OU!!! I remember you!” The healer spoke, raising the cretin by his neck. “My first kill! You watched me being raped, drugged… BEATEN!!!” The man yawped, slicing off his upper face with one nimble slice. “AND YOU NEVER!!! EVER!!! EVER FUCKING HELPED ME!!!” The lad, tainted by black and red blood, slammed the sentry into the ‘floor’…
A-A-A-A-A!!! PLE-E-E-EASE!!!” …and gleefully sliced off his arms, ignited sparked his left armored hand into a gauntlet of blazing heat!..
GU-GHH-GUU!!! UA-A-A-A-A-A-A!!!” And finally, cauterized the wounds, just so that the retard wouldn’t die too soon.
WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU LOOKING AT?!!!” The crazed avenger yelled, grabbing Leonard, so conveniently nearby, weeping. “YOU SAID, I’VE DONE NOTHING FOR THIS FUCKING KINGDOM?! I’LL SHOW YOU, WHAT I CAN DO NO-O-OW!!!
And so he did, the madman rested his two fingers on the sadist’s forehead. A second passed, and a purple spark had announced the richest form of suffering.
Oh… U-u… Uo-o-o-o-o-o… Khh…” Indeed, although it wasn’t as vocal as previous ones, Keyaruga was more than pleased with the result. He knew of a human having specific nerves, specifically for reacting to pain. And he just overloaded them. Toxic spiders, dangerous medusas, venomous snakes and scorpions – all of them could do that with their poisons. Hell, even Keyaruga could brew neurotoxins. But damn, this thing had one ultimate merit compared to all of those – the instant effect, so potent, in fact, that the victim can’t even cry out from the excruciating pain!
“He-e! That’s a neat trick.” The lad mumbled, approaching a maid, lying on the “floor” like an embryo. Flare’s bodyguard shivered and sucked her thumb, completely lost to this twisted world. Just one little touch… “Pam! You’re already dead!” Keyaruga sneered tapping his armored fingers by her temple.
Uh… Uh… Ugh… W… Wha-?.. A-A-A-A-A-A-AGH-H-H!!!” The woman grabbed her skull, but it was too late. All the blood, bile, and even marrow now came into her brain, bloating it, up until it burst in a fountain of black blood and shining entrails.
“Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!! I FUCKING LOVE IT!!!” The deranged healer laughed so loud, and his presence was so overwhelming now, that nobody even dared to come close to him, let alone attack, unless they wished to become a victim of a new twisted experiment. Oh, their fear, this agonizing panic! They’re giving me a fucking boner! I wanna fuck! I want a woman! Oh, this! This will do nicely!
And so, Keyaruga dropped his saber, unfastened his belt, ripped the dress, slapped that ass which he had found, grabbed it, pushed it in! The woman with a blackened tail was slowly dying of blood loss, but that barely concerned the lad. He grabbed her pelvis and began to move, so fast, so frantic, and so mindless, that no one could see a human in him. No-o, this was a wild beast, slamming his bulging cock into the defenseless female, too tired to react, let alone resist somehow. She wasn’t even tight, just barely warm, but even that was enough. A few minutes of such suffering inflicted on her, and he came, this was a brilliant orgasm, deeply perverted, and twisted to the very core…
Oh, that’s the fucking best! I love it so much!
Keyaruga grabbed her hand, wiped his penis with it, pull back his pants, and…
I don’t remember her. I wonder, who that is.
He pushed the body, rolling it to the back.
“Ha-a-a… Hello again, Kailia…” The mad lad recognized her instantly. An agent, sent to find and assist Eve Reese in her quest, hired by someone named Carol. But that alone wouldn’t be enough to get Keyaruga to brutally rape her. “You’ve killed my Norn, but I spared you. Heh, after Kali left, I tasked you to ward off whoever they sent after my Eve, but… It seems like you’ve failed. Really, really sad.” The healer spoke, resting his left hand on her dying flesh, recovering it in an instant. And just like that… “Oh, fuck!” She nearly stabbed him with a knife. Gods only knew where she got it from… “Sit still.” But then, Keyaruga just pressed his finger on her forehead, and completely shut down her limbs functions. He pitied her… but could do nothing for this miserable leopard woman.
“Haa… Damn, it’s getting boring here.” The hero lamented, picking up his weapon of choice. At this point, he just put it back in its sheath. Only then did he spot a couple of new faces in the crowd of weeping bastards. “You there! You don’t look like you should be here. What’s… wait…”
STAY AWAY FROM ME, MONSTER!!!” The woman cried, she was weeping into her man’s now tainted shirt.
Heh! He-heh! No-no-no-o! Oh no-o-o!” Keyaruga frantically shook his head, unable to believe what he just saw. This was the worst. This… “Anna! Kurt! What… What’re you even doing here?! I… I avenged you! You shouldn’t have…” His parents were there, they stood among the thugs, slavers, robbers, bandits, zealots, murderers… But they… they weren’t one of them…
You killed us, traitor. You raped my wife, after everything she’s done for you. You’re disgusting little shit!” The mighty harvester told him, pointing his war-scythe at the hero. The only thing that held him at bay, though, was his spouse, loudly crying with black tears pouring from her eyes.
“Heh… You… really think I’d…”
No. But you’ve proven it.” Kurt spoke with the coldest possible rage in his voice. Keyaru’s cruelty couldn’t be doubted, after all. Not after everyone he maimed this day. “I don’t give a fuck, what the hell is wrong with you, but I’ll slice your guilty ass as many times as I need.” The older man spoke, pushing Anna aside. And then, he lunged.
Kurt struck as a true warrior – he was swift, accurate, precise – his war scythe – basically a reforged farming tool, grazed Keyaruga’s torso, cut his leg, he even stabbed his foster son through his chest. But… there was no blood.
“Calm down, you two.” The hero demanded, stoically taking hit after hit, like the heavy glaive-like blade was nothing. While Anna crumbled to her knees, lost in her weeping, Kurt wouldn’t stop attacking. “You can’t kill me, I’m immor-…” Barely did the lad say so; before his foster father grabbed the handle in a wide grip, and just swept his head off with one precise strike.
NO-O-O-O-O-O-O!!!” Strangely enough, despite all of the delusions his parents had about him, Anna just couldn’t stand seeing her child being killed so brutally. “A-A-A-A-A-A-A-A-A-A!!! WHY-Y-Y-Y-Y-Y-Y-Y?!!!” As Keyaru’s head rolled on the ground, the thugs, at least those who weren’t affected by any of hero’s inventive afflictions, started to get rallied again.
You had it coming, you ungrateful dipshit!” Kurt spat through tightly closed teeth. He couldn’t watch, couldn’t face what he had to do with his adopted prodigy. Even if he was a criminal. Even if…
“I really did…” But the bastards weren’t enjoying the show for too long. Right when the healer seemed to fall, a new body started to grow from his neck-stump, the clothes, the pouches, the weapons – everything turned into ash just to materialize again on the proudly standing conqueror of death itself.
What devilry is this?” Kurt’s reaction was understandable. A mix of fear, anger, and disgust, was all over his tainted face. In turn…
KEYARU-U-U-U!!!” Anna just dashed forward to hug her child. No matter, how disgustingly atrocious his resurrection was, without even looking at the beheaded body that now lied nearby, the woman just went ahead and embraced the lad. She… didn’t seem to be in her right mind, even for a dead soul.
“Anna, I… I…” The shivers began taking a hold of him. His hands, his knees – they trembled so much, this simple touch he though he lost forever, this… This was enough to make him cry. “I’m sorry… I’m so, so, so, so-o-o sorry!..
DIE, FUCKER!!!
THAT YOU HAVE TO SEE ME DOING THIS!!!” Keyaruga yelled, grabbing Leonard by his wrist. Just a little pressure – and he dropped his sword, the weapon faded into nothingness. Then, the man pushed Anna back, punched his foe in the gut, and proudly showed his captive to his family. “Haa… He-heh! He-e-e… This… This is Leonard, Flare’s… right hand…” The hero spoke, this time trying to maintain his sanity, as his parents now cautiously looked at him. “I… I came from the future! I had to rewind time’s flow itself… Because Flare was evil, and he…” Then, the man put his hand onto the barely struggling imbecile, thus transforming him into Keyaru, the motionless child, whose entire mobility, except for breathing, was shut down for the ease of what he was about to do. “I killed Flare! And he took my guilt. Then…” Afterwards, the healer went ahead and summoned raging flames upon his free hand. Kurt and Anna watched motionlessly, as he placed the magic-shrouded palm onto his ‘own’ face, burned it, scourged the blackened flesh with the sorcery he ‘learned’ from Flare… “My trick was revealed, and he headed out to our village, looking just like me. The rest… you know the rest.”
And finally, Keyaruga dropped the motionless doll, unable even to cry out from the excruciating pain the Hero of Healing inflicted upon it. He then faced his parents, still shocked by such a display of merciless brutality, they couldn’t even properly reply, this entire spectacle of bloodshed, mayhem, rape, torture, demonstration of immortality, and now – proofs of metamorphosis – all of that left them utterly silent.
“Kurt, Anna… I’m so sorry I couldn’t save you… But I can’t let you, or any one of these fuckers keep me here! I… I have a family! Freia, Setsuna, Ellen, Eve – I so wanted you to meet them… But you can’t now. You… might not believe me, and I understand that.” The red-eyed lad uttered, as his posture slouched more and more, along with his fading bravery. “This is what it’s like to be a man! I must be strong! I have to be ruthless now, so that nobody would challenge me in the future!” The man added, now turning his back to his foster parents. He stood straight, he stretched his shoulders, took a deep breath, and… “LISTEN HERE, YOU FUCKING MONSTERS!!! WHAT YOU’VE FELT NOW IS BUT A TINY BIT OF WHAT I’LL DO TO YOU, ONCE I’M FUCKING DEAD!!! NOW YOU WILL GO INTO THE DEEPEST PITS OF HELL, AND WHEN YOU’RE THERE, PRAY I DON’T FUCKING DIE ANYTIME SOON!!! BECAUSE WHEN I FINALLY KICK THIS SHITTY BUCKET, I’LL FIND EACH OF YOU, AND WE’LL BE PLAYING FOR THE WHOLE OF ETERNITY!!! BUT WHY WAIT, WHEN WE CAN HAVE SOME FUN NOW, HU-U-U-UH?!!!
The speech was told, the impact made. His words were so zealous, so passionately intimidating, that the weeping fools now reached a whole new depth of despair.
GET US OUT OF HERE!!!
SAVE ME-E-E-E!!!
HE’S THE DEVIL!!! DE-E-EVIL!!!
UA-A-A-A-A-A-A!!!
KUUNDA (I’m so scared)!!!
HE-E-E-E-E-ELP!!!
And so, this entire crowd, this mob of immortal corpses, just ran away. Everyone, who could still stand on their feet, began fleeing in panic, trampling each other in the process. What they failed to notice, though, is that the dome is endless only for its main victim. Everyone else just came up against the invisible wall.
The Trial of Heart – its goal is twisted, to be certain. To pass it would mean releasing the dead souls from their grudge toward you. A saint would shift it to forgiveness, but the deranged avenger pumped so much fear in those criminals, that their hatred was replaced by the purest and most animalistic terror. Still, with the task done, the souls began to dissipate in a white light. They would finally be free…
REMEMBER!!! YOU’VE NOT SEEN THE LAST OF ME!!! WE’LL MEET AGAIN, YOU FUCKING SHITBAGS!!!” Unfortunately for them, though, Keyaruga’s long shadow still loomed above them all. And such, even in relief, the crowd continued to cry, to sob, to wail, to…
“Keya… ru…” But not all left because of dread. When the avenger turned around, his foster mother, crumbling into white flakes, stood on her tiptoes to give him a last kiss on the cheek. “You’ve grown… so much…”
And so, she faded. Kurt quickly followed, although it wasn’t forgiveness or benevolence that filled his raging soul. No, it was an impotent acceptance. He saw Keyaruga as a mirror, in which he saw himself, before he deserted the royal guard and found himself in Alban.
“Someday… you’ll follow my path…” And this was what the man spoke at last, dropping his war-scythe to the ethereal ground. With no souls to redeem in the most twisted of ways, the dome of blackness quickly turned insufferably bright.
The Trial of Heart had been passed.
submitted by resurrective to RedoOfHealer [link] [comments]


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2023.05.28 14:59 Wings_of_Darkness Thus They Wail

A man finds himself in a dark downwards cavern with a talking dog who converses with him about a life well lived.
Edwin found himself walking down a dark cave of sorts with a dog. He had nothing but his clothes on him, and he was walking barefoot over jagged stone. Blood was pouring from his feet, leaving stained red footprints with each step. The cave sloped downwards evenly, and down and down he was going. The dog walked slightly ahead, thin to the point where its skin hugged its ribs. It was covered in a coat of matted brown fur.
Edwin had no idea how he’d gotten here. Why was he in a dark cave? Why was he following a dog? A stray mutt. And why did the cave feel warm instead of cold?
The dog turned to look at him. Edwin stared back as they walked.
“Where am I?” He asked aloud. It made him feel stupid, but the silence was killing him.
“Deep.” The dog replied. It sounded human enough, a friendly but firm voice. Edwin blinked in surprise, yet he did not feel afraid.
“How long have we been walking?”
“Longer than you think.”
“Can I go home?”
“Is there a home to go back to?” The dog asked. “What do you remember of home?”
His mind was a haze. There was a bed, and tables. There was his mother hugging him. His brothers playing. Then choking smoke, glowing fires, and silent ash, leaving a charred skeleton of his home.
“I suppose not.”
“How do you view your life?” The dog asked.
“What do you mean?”
“Was it a life well-lived?”
Edwin racked his brains hard. He remembered the taste of delicious wine, gold bangles and jewellery hanging from his neck and limbs, the exhilaration of speeding cars, and sensual pleasures with more women than he could even recall.
“I enjoyed it, if that’s what you mean.”
The dog was silent, and they walked on. There was no way of keeping time, and the counting of his footsteps were lost into astronomical numbers.
“Why am I here?” He asked the dog.
“My good man, did you not see across your life, Heavenly messengers who reminded and instructed you?”
“I…I don’t remember meeting any such thing. But I’ve been a self-made man. I give my staff pay raises. I donate to my Church. I swear.” Edwin began to feel chills down his spine, despite the cave getting warmer and warmer as they walked.
“Have you seen in your life, a tender baby lying prone and helpless in its own excrement?” The dog asked.
Of course he had. Edwin nodded. Young beautiful Matthias, cradled in Jeanne’s arms. The birth of your child, what a miracle. Too bad it had gone so, so wrong. Young Matthias was afflicted and broken. Jeanne’s fault, and so he had left her with her own mistake.
They walked on in silence for even longer. The stones got warmer until they were like walking on heated floors.
“Have you seen in your life, a man or woman severely ill, racked with pain, vomiting, bleeding, crying, lifted up and laid down only by others?” The dog asked.
Of course he had. Edwin nodded. The sickly and gaunt and their crying parents and spouses, tugging at his sleeves and begging for their medicine. He’s granted this to one or two of them. You couldn’t make things free for everyone, you know.
“Can’t you?” The dog asked.
“I did what I could. It’s just how the world works, you know.”
Onwards they moved. The rocks became pointier, cutting and digging into his soft soles. It was like walking on heated coals now, and he yelped and cried out, but the dog said and did nothing about it.
“Have you seen in your life, a man or woman ninety or a hundred years old, bent over, hobbled on a cane, grey-haired, wrinkled, toothless, with blotchy skin?”
Of course he had. Edwin nodded. His own bedridden father, begging for more and more money. He was like a leech. He needed money for better TV programs and a newer caretaker, and a new wheelchair. Edwin had kindly forked over enough money to let him live, he wasn’t about to give him any more.
As they hiked on, Edwin was struck with the thought that he hadn’t felt hungry or thirsty or even tired. They must have been walking for ages now, that was bizarre.
Strange noises came from ahead. Edwin strained his ears, but it wasn’t until quite a while later that he realised it was voices. Many, many voices, all at once. The rush of a crowd perhaps, so many speaking loudly that you couldn’t hear what they were saying or what emotion was behind it.
The rocks beneath them were so hot now that Edwin could feel it like a hot poker jabbing into his feet with every step. His skin was red and raw, and he had sweated until there was no more water left to sweat. He begged for relief from the dog, who walked on like the cave was cool and windy.
“It hurts?”
“No shit!” He cried out. “It’s like walking on a fire pit.”
“This is the drop of water.”
“What the hell do you mean?”
“Ahead is the ocean.”
“Please…just tell me…this isn’t Hell, is it?” Edwin felt his hands shake. “I was devout. I was good. I repented.”
“Have you seen in your life, a man or woman dead, corpse rotting, oozing with fluids and blood?”
Edwin could see it. His mother unmoving on the kitchen floor, blood pooling all around her. The knife in his hands. The hatred in his head. Then the fear. Then the matches. And the smoke, fire, and silent, silent ash that betrayed no trust, confessed to nothing.
He didn’t nod. He didn’t need to.
“You saw all the Heavenly messengers.” The dog said in a tone akin to a teacher gently chiding a child. “Didn’t the thought occur to you, that you too were subject to birth, and had not gone beyond the miracle of life, that you should better do good with body, speech, and mind?”
“I-”
“Didn’t the thought occur to you, that you too were subject to illness, and had not gone beyond illness, that you should better do good with body, speech, and mind?”
“That’s not-”
“Didn’t the thought occur to you, that you too were subject to aging, and had not gone beyond growing old, that you should better do good with body, speech, and mind?” The dog’s tone changed. It became more pitiful.
“Please I…I didn’t break any laws.”
“Didn’t the thought occur to you, that you too were subject to death, and had not gone beyond death, that you should better do good with body, speech, and mind?”
“SHE DESERVED IT!” Edwin screamed.
“My good man, you did not do good with body, speech, and mind.” The dog spoke as if it did not hear him.
“She fucking deserved it! All of them deserved it! I built myself from nothing! They should too!”
“For that evil karma of yours was done neither by your mother, nor by your father, nor by your brothers, nor done by your friends, nor your companions, nor your kin, nor by the gods, nor done by strangers. The evil karma was done by you yourself, and you yourself will experience its result.”
“Please…I beg you.” Edwin could hear himself sobbing. “Have mercy. I-I only did what I had to.”
The dog remained silent and impassive, and from ahead, shadows on walls crawled closer, as if cast by some impossible shape that he could not see.
“Bring him down to Avici.” The dog said.
“Yes, Lord Yama.” The shadows hissed, sounding like a drill digging into his skull. They seized Edwin’s shadow, and he too felt their invisible grip on his real body. He screamed and trashed, and yelled for the dog. He cried for salvation, but they ignored him. The shadows hissed louder, and they laughed in his mind. Laughed because they knew what awaited him. The heat grew more and more intense and then there was

Fire.

Roiling flames like those that had consumed his house.
There was nothing visible but fire. There was no smoke and ash, for where they would be was more fire. There was no wind or air for where they could be there was nothing but fire.
There were people there with him, but Edwin couldn’t see them, nor could anyone see him. They were lost in endless inferno, screaming and wailing into the deafening cacophony he had heard back in the cave.
Hell was an interesting concept that Edwin was no stranger to. There were images of demons with pitchforks, stabbing in motions. There was being dunked in boiling water and turned to ash, but in those there was the tiny reprieve of the pitchfork being pulled out or when they were reforming from ash.
In Avici, there was no such mercy. Knee deep in molten embers, Edwin’s skin blistered and fell off his leg, but each time he raised his leg he was magically whole again for the flames to feast upon.
He forgot his wife and child, and he forgot his family. He forgot his age and the dog, and even his own name, for his mind could only focus on pain. Pain as he ran on white-hot knives, and faced iron trees with razor blade leaves that rained down on him. Molten pewter flooding into his wounds. Iron hooks wrenched into his eye sockets as they dragged him up and down rivers of hot ash. Molten bronze gushed down his throat. Pain. Nothing but pain.
But it still remembered. It still remembered one thing. Its mother lying in her own blood. It had done that. And for that, it was here, suffering and screaming.
All down here are enveloped in the fires of their own evil. Thus, they wail.
 
AUTHOR'S NOTE
Sources taken from are: Genshin's Ojoyoshu. The Devaduta Sutta. Imagining Hell by Robert F. Rhodes.
I've wanted to write something about the Buddhist concept of Hell for a while. The cave is based on the Ojoyoshu's mention that people sentenced to Avici by Yama fall for 2000 years before reaching it, and their suffering in the fall is a drop of water next to the ocean of suffering that Avici is.
The title is taken from the Ojoyoshu as well
As the sinners approach this hell from the sky above, they wail with a great lamentation, quoting from the Scriptures these words: “Everything is nothing but flames. In the sky there is not a space without flames and the whole land in every direction is covered with them. The whole land is filled with evil doers and there is no room for me. I am alone and like an orphan without a friend. I am in a dark and evil place. I am enveloped in a great raging flame. I can see neither moon nor sun in the sky.” Thus they wail.
submitted by Wings_of_Darkness to Odd_directions [link] [comments]


2023.05.28 14:45 DemiGodInsanity Honkai Character Analysis: Bronya and Silver Wolf (Part 2)

Honkai Character Analysis: Bronya and Silver Wolf (Part 2)
Hello trailblazers!
After an admittedly very VERY long pause due to me getting sucked into a certain videogame that begins with "T" and ends with "he Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom", I'm finally back to writing now that I have some extra free time and can do both! I suppose it works out as now we're pretty close to Silver Wolf releasing meaning that her stuff will come right on time!
But I digress, today we're here to talk about Bronya once again!
https://preview.redd.it/deds2pdrek2b1.png?width=2048&format=png&auto=webp&s=308d196bc089963fde7ff5f202d1501c4113b153
But before, we have our disclaimer!
The Honkai: Star Rail characters and Honkai Impact 3rd characters who have the same name and similar appearances, except for Welt Yang, are NOT the same person, but instead you may think of them as something akin of parallel versions of each other! I go into detail about this and how the Honkai universe works here!
Also, big spoilers for Honkai Impact 3rd ahead, be warned!
Now then, let's continue Bronya's story, which we cut off after Bronya and friends met up with Rozaliya and Liliya and then Bronya decided to go into the Sea of Quanta, after the Gem of Desire and to possibly find the long lost Seele! You can check out part 1 here!

The Sea of Quanta

After entering the Sea, Bronya was faced with multiple trials. As she hopped between Bubble Worlds, fragmented parallel worlds that floated in the Sea until they became nothing, she met with the one she wanted to see the most, Seele. Not a parallel Seele, but the one she had always known. She kept following her through many worlds, but these worlds would come to an end before she was able to do anything. As she dives deeper into the Sea, she meets with Joachim, a shadow of the current form of Welt Yang, who acted as a sort of "guardian" for the Sea after he had become lost there during an expedition him and Einstein had taken to explore the Sea.
Bronya and Joachim
Joachim reveals that Bronya currently finds herself in a labyrinth, which is Welt Yang's current form, with the different worlds being manifestations born of his memories. Bronya continues to travel onward, guided by a book that connected her and Seele. Through many worlds and corrupted memories, Bronya continued to move forward, no matter what. Seeing that she completed this trial, Joachim entrusted Bronya with Welt Yang's Herrscher core, that of the Herrscher of Reason. After doing battle with the evil being within Seele, who had made a deal with someone who used the form of a serpent to get Seele out of the Sea in exchange for Bronya's life, Bronya completes her metamorphosis.
Bronya, the new Herrscher of Reason, with the remodeled Project Bunny
After defeating the monster known as Tlaloc, Bronya continues to search for Seele, and she finds her after she exits a bubble world created by the Serpent, who is revealed to be Kevin, a man from the Previous Era. They are locked into battle, and Kevin steals the core from Bronya, whose movements are now slowed after she's done so much travelling within the Sea. However, Welt Yang's will allows him to reform from the core, stopping Kevin from taking it.
Welt Yang reappears from the core, stopping Kevin
Kevin takes the Gem of Desire and leaves the Sea. Welt chases after him, and Seele now brings a tired Bronya without powers with her to leave the Sea. After many tribulations (and a cool cutscene), they are able to leave. Kevin has escaped with the Gem. Welt decides to give Bronya the core to keep, as he believes she has more potential while using it.
The next time Bronya is seen is when she and Kiana go to climb Mount Taixuan, where they find many of the memories of their class principal and mysterious girl Fu Hua. This arc, though very complex and important, does not give much to Bronya as a character, and I'll thus leave it with just this small mention (though I'll add something here if I've forgotten it!)

Bronya's Training and Other Arcs

Later, we find that Welt Yang is training Bronya in how to use the Herrscher core. As she trains, she also has recurring dreams, including finding herself in a wasteland and seeing a figure of a man, who she attempts to approach but wakes up before she is able to. This is Bronya experiencing the site of the First Honkai Eruption which originally gave birth to the Herrscher of Reason, Welt Joyce, the very man Bronya sees during the dream.
Welt Joyce appears in Bronya's dream
Welt Yang explains that the Herrscher of Reason can only contruct things that they know the composition of. For example, Bronya is able to replicate a gun she is familiar with perfectly, able to fire and all, but is unable to do so with a gun she is unfamiliar with, having to dismantle it to learn each component. He shares that he also saw the dream Bronya did, and it was more of a fragment of memories and the wills within the core, those of the 300,000 people that died during the First Honkai Eruption.
From here, the Herrscher of Domination incident begins, and Bronya and Seele, along with many of their friends, battle against it and its unique powers. In the climax of the battle against this Herrscher, Bronya, who had been knocked almost unconscious, gives a fragment of the Herrscher of Reason powers temporarily to Kiana, allowing her to gain new powers and defeat the enemy.
After this incident, Otto Apocalypse (Schicksal's ruler) begins his master plan to "revive" his fallen love, Kallen Kaslana. Though the entirety of the main cast and their friends are involved in this plan, Bronya is once again not given a great deal of importance or new developments. She and Seele work together most of the time, with Bronya showing her concern for Seele's safety. Though Bronya now controls the Reason powers properly, there is still much she is unable to do, and she has a limit to the things she can create, as some things require more energy than she can output.
When she battles Rita Rossweisse, she remembers the path she has taken as the Herrscher of Reason, and doubts her ability to be the successor. But she understands that, even if she cannot carry the weight of the world, as the previous Herrschers of Reason had done, she can provide help and do it along with her friends. She is then able to create a copy of the Star of Eden, the Divine Key used by both Welts.
Bronya utilizes the Star of Eden
In order to use the Star of Eden's power, Bronya continues to create them as they are destroyed, as she cannot create a stable one with her current powers.
After Otto creates a barrier around his location using the powers of the Herrscher of Binding, the cast attempts to shoot it down using the Selene, a high power cannon that neutralizes Honkai energy. However, the barrier regenerates too fast for the blast to be able to work due to the charging time of the weapon. In order to break the barrier, Bronya decides she will use the Reason powers to create an array of Selenes and blast it open before it can regenerate. To do this, she must reach into the core and communicate with the 300,000 souls that rest within it. She is able to convince them to help her, and is even able to approach Welt Joyce, and thus she is able to concentrate some of their power.
Welt Yang, from within the core
By synchronizing the thoughts of the 300,000 to a certain degree, the Herrscher of Reason's power is augmented by a fantastic amount, allowing Bronya to fulfill the mission she set out to do and create multiple copies of the Selene to break down the barrier, before fainting and coming close to death due to the amount of power taking a burden on her body.
Bronya creates multiple Selenes

Project Stigma and the Moon

Later, Kevin and his organization World Serpent initiate the Project he had been in charge of for 50,000 years, since the Previous Era, a last resort to defeat the Honkai. Project Stigma consisted of creating a shared consciousness that would not be affected by the Honkai and could then pass on its powers to the next era of humans through becoming Stigmata engraved into them. Of course, this, despite being a plan that would not fail against the Honkai, was nothing short of immoral, as it would technically mean killing every human on the planet.
Bronya along with Mei and Kiana, all of whom are Herrschers, are sent into the Sea of Quanta by Kevin to keep them from interfering with the plan. After the girls reunite, they find a bubble world where they meet Dr. MEI and Prometheus, a scientist and an AI from the Previous Era. These two want to help them stop Kevin's Project Stigma, and eventually help them leave the Sea.
Here they meet Hare, an ally of Kevin who was in charge of sending humans into a "dream world", which connected to form the shared consciousness. She is not human, but instead a crystallization of a Stigma, basically the humanoid form of the Stigma's perfected form. Specifically, she is that of the Schariac Stigma, the purest representation of the Schariac bloodline, of which Kiana's mother, Cecilia, was a part of. We also discover that Hare, also known as Misteln, had actually met Bronya's mother. It seems that Bronya's mother had known what would happen to her upon Bronya's birth, and Hare had used her Stigma powers to keep her alive, but she had refused as that would mean the baby wouldn't survive. With a heavy heart, Hare took away the power she had infused her with and left before the mercenaries of the Silver Wolves arrived. She later returned to find nothing more than a grave with Alexandra's name. From here on, she kept an eye on Bronya since her early life.
Hare and Gray Serpent (another of World Serpent's members) find Alexandra's grave
Hare locks away Bronya's Reason powers by splitting the 300,000 wills from the core through her powers. Bronya takes the core, now with only 1/300,000th of its power, and battles Misteln, who has taken all the other souls into Project Stigma. Through defeating the soldiers Hare created from fragments of souls, she regained her power over time, and eventually, through the realization that the 300,000 are not the solution to every problem and that they are not the entirety of the core's power, she is able to surpass what she had done before, harnessing the complete power of the Herrscher of Reason, becoming the Herrscher of Truth.
Herrscher of Truth, the perfected version of the Herrscher of Reason
She defeats Hare, and from here, her, Mei and Kiana are able to gain new power and eventually defeat Kevin, putting a stop to Project Stigma and ending part 1 of Honkai Impact's story.

8 Years Later

After defeating Kevin, Kiana, through her newfound powers, was able to take most of the Honkai Energy on Earth and keep it concentrated on the Moon, where she would have to stay with it for around 10 years before she was able to make it into something that could be used by all of humanity, effectively ending the Honkai crisis. Meanwhile, Mei, Bronya, and the rest of humanity went back to their normal lives. Both Mei and Bronya would work with Schicksal, now ruled over by Theresa Apocalypse, to keep the world at peace and make sure nothing would once again threaten the world. Though there is not too much to speak of here, we do get to see Bronya 8 years after the end of part 1, through the side mode known as A Post-Honkai Odyssey.
Adult Bronya
Though not directly addressed in APHO, Kiana sealing most of the Honkai Energy means that Herrscher powers are almost completely lost, meaning Bronya no longer has access to nearly as much power as she did during the end of part 1. She is now acting as a squad leader for one of Schicksal's squads, and she helps he main character of APHO along with his friends fight against the Sky People, an alien race that invaded Earth to take its Honkai Energy and replace humans as the dominant species, with the aid of a "man" known as Void Archives.

The End

Bronya's story is one that goes through many phases. She begins as a stoic, almost robotic girl, both due to her being raised as an assassin and due to the loss of her brain functions pretty early on. Even here, she demonstrates her love for those she cares about, especially Seele. As she inherits the Herrscher of Reason's core, her destiny becomes inevitably intertwined with that of Welt Joyce and Welt Yang, having her become part of the history of their lineage. She becomes a pupil to Welt Yang, almost like his own family, and her journey revolves around finding her own path and realizing that she, unlike Yang, does not need to inherit the "name of the World" to be worthy of the name of the Herrscher of Reason. In the end, she surpasses all attempts before and perfects the core, being a fundamental part of the battle to save the world and all of humanity, as well as the efforts to rebuild after the Honkai crisis is over.

Bronya Zaychik and Bronya Rand

Finally, we can think a bit about the similarities between Star Rail and Honkai's Bronyas!
Both have a strong sense of duty and justice in their own way. Bronya Zaychik from HI3 always thinks of the lineage of the Herrscher of Reason and the duty she shares with the Welts that came before her, while Bronya Rand from HSR feels her duty as the leader of the Silvermane Guards (and later as the Guardian of Belobog) more than anything. Besides this, we can find that both were adopted by Cocolia and raised in an orphanage, where they both met the respective Seele of their world and created a strong bond with her. Besides this, Bronya Rand's relationship with ice, even in her art, can be connected to the fact that Bronya Zaychik, though only related with ice through her growing up in Siberia, has all her relevant battlesuits as Ice element (Herrscher of Reason, Herrscher of Truth and Silverwing, her adult form).

Closing Thoughts

Thank you for reading all this! It took a while to get here, definitely longer than I had originally expected lol, but hopefully it's a good read! As always, for any Honkai veterans or just anyone that knows, please let me know whatever I may have gotten wrong!
I want to point out that perhaps these 2 parts may not seem as well put together as Welt Yang's analysis. This is because Bronya, though a very important character within Honkai Impact, is often shoved to the side and is considered the least relevant of the original main trio. Often times she will disappear from the main focus of the story for an extended period of time, meaning her story is more fragmented, and I had to show her most relevant moments, meaning that it feels more like talking about different sections of her life as if they were fully separated. It's a bit unfortunate, but hopefully it's to your liking anyway!
Regarding Silver Wolf, I've decided to tackle her in part 3! There I will discuss Silver Wolf's origins in the HI3 world, along with discussing the very varied versions of Bronya that exist across all the HoYoverse games, because there are many and they can be quite confusing! This part 3 will (hopefully) be released on the date of Silver Wolf's release in Star Rail, so look forward to it!
For now, thank you again for reading and give me any suggestions or opinions in the comments!
submitted by DemiGodInsanity to HonkaiStarRail [link] [comments]


2023.05.28 14:41 Ryanwxyz78 [NEED ADVICE] Help! I can't transition from the "teenager" life to "adult" life

So I'm 21 will turn 22 soon but as the title says mentally I'm not a day older than 15. For the past week or two I have been having this train of thoughts, this realisation that I'm no longer a teenager and that my actions have consequences, not that that it did before but I hope you get what I mean. Only my age meter went up but my head and mind still stuck the kid me. When I was 12-13 there were some guys in the neighborhood in their mid and late 20s, they were bad in academics or no other skill, unemployed, struggling to make their ends meet. These days I get reminded or remind myself often of those guys. Because judging how things are going on in my life in the next 5-6 years I might be in that club too.
Everyday I'm hit with this realisation that I AM ACTUALLY IN MY 20s, I know stupid thing to say but it is like that, I can no longer live in the shadow of my parents and friends, I actually have to go out and be a part of society.
Till now I've lived a life of comfort, though we're in no means "rich" but my parents have always given me more than I deserved. I've always been the somewhat weird kid and struggled fitting in but in the end things just worked out, and I found actual good friends. I lived my life going with the flow, went where the mob went, and life was fine. My parents made sure my necessities were met.
But I've always struggled with being introverted, being naive, I always get carried away, I lack so much tact, actually all these didn't exist (a bit did but) till I was 13. At 14 I got my first phone and I started using social media and I was introduced to the world of internet. That's when all the problems I mentioned above began.
I've always struggled with finding my personality. I don't know who I am. So by default I chose to become the class clown. At that time being edgy and going goofy and being the center of attention seemed cool. But that was it, I never actually became close friends I was just the funny fat guy that you messed around with a bit and that's it. Looking back I realised it, but back then I was just happy with all the attention + the attention I got on social media, used to be active on insta and FB al day.
During all this my grades were decent and I wasn't doing any bad stuff and going with the flow just seemed like the right decision. But that was my biggest mistake. No skill no nothing, zero passion about any subject, no dreams that was me.
My life was just ; 1. Clowning 2. Above average grades 3. Social media adddict. This sums up my teenage life.
All these things lasted till I graduated highschool, then came the big drift. The me who had never made a single important decision in my life is now having to make a choice that dictates my life for the next 5-6 years and probably my work life too. So naturally as expected I ran, I ran away, this the best I can do while faced with a though situation, this is the only tactic I know. This was March 2020, but guess what? April 2020 the pandemic began and everything closed. Ohh God!. So I took a year gap, I took this to stop running away, clear my thoughts and decide my future decisions.
But knowing me this was never going to happen, up until now I was only hooked on FB and Insta, during the lockdown I installed discord, twitter, reddit. Oh boy oh boy. My main aim of taking the drop year was lost. The year 2020 went by in a jiffy, all I remember was scrolling a lot of Instagram, reddit and chatting shit on discord that's it 7-8 months of 2020 gone, then came 2021 now time came to make a decision about what college to choose I was reluctant, I tried to find ways to delay, postpone it, tried to run away but time catches you fast and you can't escape.
But guess what May 2021 things got serious again it was the 2nd wave apparently, and things got postponed again, and I got more time, more delay. So again I went back into doing what I do best, wasting oxygen.
But again the year 2021 wasted. Entire year just gone by November-December I had to make a choice, I had no escape, I cried. I had nothing in mind. I told nobody, my parents probably thought I was making some wise decision, so I just chose this college where I heard some of my previous classmates went to, chose some random course.
But guess what first semester was online, for me it was the same routine like in the pandemic only at noon I had to clock in for some classes, but I never paid any attention, and as for exams you know how we did it in online classes.
But Aprill 2022 things were getting back it was time to go. We decided to rent an apartment and my roommate was my dad's colleague's son who too was in the same college. But guess what first day of offline classes I had an emotional breakdown I ran back home literally, I embarrassed my dad infront of this colleague, I even argued with his colleague, who was just trying to give me good practical advice, I still regret that. I didn't go to college till the next week, by that time I realised there was no escape and I HAD TO.
Even in college I have the lowest attendence, barely passing, even showing up drains my energy, each second feels like an hour. See just doing the bare minimum gets me so so tired. I do zero work, events and fests at college are just an excuse for me to run back home. I've only talked to like 2 people.
I can't start anything as soon I try to, in my head several voices start running up and down about the ifs and but, on top of that I'm a wannabe PERFECTIONIST, so that doesn't help either, for example; if I plan to have to have 6 hour study session tomorrow and my goal was to wake up at 6:00 am and start at 7:00 am but then for some reason I overslept and woke up at like 7:45 then my plan is off, ruined, and it gets postponed and now I'll be using my phone and the internet for the rest of the day. That's how a typical day in the life of mine looks.
As I've said earlier in the post I've always gone with the flow and things worked out somehow, so I don't have any experience of working hard for somthing or being passionate about something, or even taking decisions for myself, even the smallest decisions overwhelm me and I go into this state that I mentioned earlier of running away, it's so much so that I can even feel it physically, my body feeling weird and my mind feeling sad, that's how it is.
Fast forward to today I have backlog exams in few days and if I don't pass them then I'm done for but as you'd expect I'm the state of running aways so here I am, haven't studied anything, know nothing. Well I was able to finally delete Instagram, fb. But I still binge YouTube shorts, scroll reddit, twitter, and chat shit on discord. So deleting insta and FB made literally zero difference.
So overexposure to the internet made me feel 51 at 21. The fact that I'll be 22 soon and will keep growing and can't longer be that worry-less 14 year old scares me so much. My mom always brings this up. People my age so responsible doing this doing that achieving what not and here I am can't even leave the house. My dad said it too that it was better if I was even like those rebel, spoiled, rude kids because now I'm just an empty shell no matter what I'm said or told I don't react nothing fazes me. I'M JUST THERE. I have no hopes no aim, nothing for the future, I'm 22 but till now I've never had any romantic relationships. Leave that I haven't even had a proper conversation with a girl that lasted for more than 5 minutes, leaving work related conversations aside, sounds unbelievable but it's true. As a kid, I mean no kid does that, and as a teenager I was so busy being the class clowns I had no female friends either. But as I've drifted into pessimism the past few years I think I don't deserve any love and honestly felt indifferent about it. The me who has no hope for the future, so what's the point of hoping for a partner, right?
Didn't realise it went for this long, if you've read this far then tell me what you think, have to say.
submitted by Ryanwxyz78 to getdisciplined [link] [comments]


2023.05.28 14:40 Ocs333 Album plot/ending speculation thread

Just a week until album release, it is the last chance to speculate on the plot and especially the ending of the album (just for the fun of it).
What is quite clear now is that:
- Album begins with presenting the happy place Dundee became after 1st album; but Zarg Clone-1 is awakened, and destryos dundee, killing Angus I and most friends
- In the main body of the album Angus Jr (the second) goes on adventures, getting artifacts, meeting allies and the usual stuff
- By the end of the album Zarg Clone-1 makes way to the Fortress of Crail to awaken OG Zarg.

The open question is basically the ending. What will happen to OG Zarg and Zarg Clone-1 respectively (and Angus II)?

What came to my mind yesterday is what if actually clone gets refrozen into luquid ice just to be awakened in 1992 by chaos wizard friends then getting stuck into the terrorvortex, and sending the signal to actually awaken itself.
This is like a stable time loop, which occurs in quite some mainstream (sci)-fi movies and series. The loop is stable when it already exists, although it should not emerge in the first place. But, whatever a lot of movies get away with this.
Now, this would make for multiple options for OG zarg:
I)
a) Either he makes a 'face turn' -- but that would seem too early I think
b) or just trick his enemies by sacrificing the clone

II) Then he could either
a) go into hiding, preparing for the next evil plot
b) or just getting back to a nice post-nuclear field to weave some baskets; especially if he sacrificed his power for stopping the clone
c) join the heroes (unlikely)

(I'd prefer option b), which leaves the possibility of coming back on the side of good guys in the next album / storyline. )

III) Regarding Dundee
a) it could remain destroyed, but from the ashes, they would advance super fast, turning into a space kingdom in 1000 years.
b) the realm could be restored by some strong magic/sacrifice

IV) Cliffhanger / ('post credits') at end of album
a) Kor-Viliath or some ancient evils awakening due to nukes (makes place for good guy Zarg)
b) just the reveal that OG Zarg (or the clone) is alive
c) it would be absolutely okay to not have one now

Don't take these seriously, I just had some time on my hands on a plane flight yesterday:) Also, the ideas may resemble some MCU plots, etc.

Do you have any wishes / ideas for the album plot-wise?
submitted by Ocs333 to Gloryhammer [link] [comments]


2023.05.28 14:18 AutisticThrowaway125 26 [M4F] UK / Anywhere - Introverted guy looking for a long-term emotional connection with my future partner? ^^

Hey! I have Autism, ADHD and BPD as a disclaimer, it's not something that defines me but it is something I struggle with-- I would like to find someone who can relate to me but also get to know better and perhaps eventually play games together or watch anime / series we both may like ˶ᵔ ᵕ ᵔ˶
Here is some recent pictures of me + a bonus pics of my hammy🐹: https://imgur.com/a/Zt8fZv2
My past has been troubled and I don't really leave the house often so I figured reddit would be a nice way to reach out and find someone likeminded who desires the same thing as I do, I don't work atm so I have a lot of spare time to talk and be available, sometimes it's hard to find motivation to do anything when I feel empty inside half the time without being too depressing :<
I'd prefer if someone was located within the UK so it would be possible to meet some day, although I'm not opposed to something long distance if it meant finding someone compatible
I feel like I am an easy-going person with a lot of love to give and pretty clingy, I'm pretty shy and reserved at first but enjoy learning about other people! If someone messaged me it would be nice if we had some common ground and some info about yourself to help break the ice, I usually open up to people quickly just I'm not so good at knowing what to say at times c:
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Some general information about myself ----
I love creepy bizarre content on youtube, into crime crime or educational rabbit hole stuff and have a dark sense of humour
I enjoy watching anime sometimes ^^ some my favs were devilman crybaby (mainly for the ost), Berserk (Manga if that counts) jojos bizarre adventure, attack on titan, Junji Ito, Erased and Made in abyss & chainsaw man to name a few~
I enjoy listening to a bunch of music, I have a big ass playlist we could perhaps share stuff! But my favourite artists recently are: Panic! at the disco, The 1975, Hot chip, Gorillaz, Miami horror and Studio killers to name a few ^.^
Some of my fav games in general are dark souls borne + sekiro and elden ring stuff, god of war, league of legends, monster hunter, final fantasy series in general, resident evil, persona 5, Apex legends, Lost ark, Overwatch amongst other stuff, I'm also currently playing runescape (Rs3) as it is one of my fav childhood games! (bonus points if you are familiar with it, I used to play oldschool runescape too) If you are someone who likes games I'm sure we potentially could play something we both like and bond over that although I can be picky lmaoo
I enjoy art and creative stuff in general, mainly like colouring and line-art stuff so if you like to draw I'd love to talk about it and share stuff although I haven't had the motivation to draw for a while now
I sometimes watch TV series a few of the top of head I enjoyed are: Arcane, Love death robots, Game of thrones (the ending sucked tho lol), Vikings, The boys, Narcos, Castlevania, Breaking bad, Invincible + more but hard to remember atm c:
I consider myself atheist although I don't really care too much about inserting my beliefs on other people, I try and keep an open mind at least / I'm politically moderate but try and see things logically with a morale compass in mind, fairly balanced point of view although I know stuff like that tends to be a touchy subject with people so I try and avoid it if possible >.<
I feel like I'm a good listener and don't take myself too seriously or anything like that, I personally hate the feeling like I could be stepping on eggshells around people with strong opinions on stuff
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
If we get on we could text each-other on Discord / Whatsapp as I much prefer that (reddit chat kinda sucks ass but I don't mind to start off with)
submitted by AutisticThrowaway125 to ForeverAloneDating [link] [comments]


2023.05.28 14:18 AutisticThrowaway125 26 [M4F] UK / Anywhere - Introverted guy looking for a long-term emotional connection with my future partner? ^^ [Relationship]

Hey! I have Autism, ADHD and BPD as a disclaimer, it's not something that defines me but it is something I struggle with-- I would like to find someone who can relate to me but also get to know better and perhaps eventually play games together or watch anime / series we both may like ˶ᵔ ᵕ ᵔ˶
Here is some recent pictures of me + a bonus pics of my hammy🐹: https://imgur.com/a/Zt8fZv2
My past has been troubled and I don't really leave the house often so I figured reddit would be a nice way to reach out and find someone likeminded who desires the same thing as I do, I don't work atm so I have a lot of spare time to talk and be available, sometimes it's hard to find motivation to do anything when I feel empty inside half the time without being too depressing :<
I'd prefer if someone was located within the UK so it would be possible to meet some day, although I'm not opposed to something long distance if it meant finding someone compatible
I feel like I am an easy-going person with a lot of love to give and pretty clingy, I'm pretty shy and reserved at first but enjoy learning about other people! If someone messaged me it would be nice if we had some common ground and some info about yourself to help break the ice, I usually open up to people quickly just I'm not so good at knowing what to say at times c:
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Some general information about myself ----
I love creepy bizarre content on youtube, into crime crime or educational rabbit hole stuff and have a dark sense of humour
I enjoy watching anime sometimes ^^ some my favs were devilman crybaby (mainly for the ost), Berserk (Manga if that counts) jojos bizarre adventure, attack on titan, Junji Ito, Erased and Made in abyss & chainsaw man to name a few~
I enjoy listening to a bunch of music, I have a big ass playlist we could perhaps share stuff! But my favourite artists recently are: Panic! at the disco, The 1975, Hot chip, Gorillaz, Miami horror and Studio killers to name a few ^.^
Some of my fav games in general are dark souls borne + sekiro and elden ring stuff, god of war, league of legends, monster hunter, final fantasy series in general, resident evil, persona 5, Apex legends, Lost ark, Overwatch amongst other stuff, I'm also currently playing runescape (Rs3) as it is one of my fav childhood games! (bonus points if you are familiar with it, I used to play oldschool runescape too) If you are someone who likes games I'm sure we potentially could play something we both like and bond over that although I can be picky lmaoo
I enjoy art and creative stuff in general, mainly like colouring and line-art stuff so if you like to draw I'd love to talk about it and share stuff although I haven't had the motivation to draw for a while now
I sometimes watch TV series a few of the top of head I enjoyed are: Arcane, Love death robots, Game of thrones (the ending sucked tho lol), Vikings, The boys, Narcos, Castlevania, Breaking bad, Invincible + more but hard to remember atm c:
I consider myself atheist although I don't really care too much about inserting my beliefs on other people, I try and keep an open mind at least / I'm politically moderate but try and see things logically with a morale compass in mind, fairly balanced point of view although I know stuff like that tends to be a touchy subject with people so I try and avoid it if possible >.<
I feel like I'm a good listener and don't take myself too seriously or anything like that, I personally hate the feeling like I could be stepping on eggshells around people with strong opinions on stuff
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
If we get on we could text each-other on Discord / Whatsapp as I much prefer that (reddit chat kinda sucks ass but I don't mind to start off with)
submitted by AutisticThrowaway125 to MeetPeople [link] [comments]


2023.05.28 14:18 AutisticThrowaway125 26 [M4F] UK / Anywhere - Introverted guy looking for a long-term emotional connection with my future partner? ^^

Hey! I have Autism, ADHD and BPD as a disclaimer, it's not something that defines me but it is something I struggle with-- I would like to find someone who can relate to me but also get to know better and perhaps eventually play games together or watch anime / series we both may like ˶ᵔ ᵕ ᵔ˶
Here is some recent pictures of me + a bonus pics of my hammy🐹: https://imgur.com/a/Zt8fZv2
My past has been troubled and I don't really leave the house often so I figured reddit would be a nice way to reach out and find someone likeminded who desires the same thing as I do, I don't work atm so I have a lot of spare time to talk and be available, sometimes it's hard to find motivation to do anything when I feel empty inside half the time without being too depressing :<
I'd prefer if someone was located within the UK so it would be possible to meet some day, although I'm not opposed to something long distance if it meant finding someone compatible
I feel like I am an easy-going person with a lot of love to give and pretty clingy, I'm pretty shy and reserved at first but enjoy learning about other people! If someone messaged me it would be nice if we had some common ground and some info about yourself to help break the ice, I usually open up to people quickly just I'm not so good at knowing what to say at times c:
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Some general information about myself ----
I love creepy bizarre content on youtube, into crime crime or educational rabbit hole stuff and have a dark sense of humour
I enjoy watching anime sometimes ^^ some my favs were devilman crybaby (mainly for the ost), Berserk (Manga if that counts) jojos bizarre adventure, attack on titan, Junji Ito, Erased and Made in abyss & chainsaw man to name a few~
I enjoy listening to a bunch of music, I have a big ass playlist we could perhaps share stuff! But my favourite artists recently are: Panic! at the disco, The 1975, Hot chip, Gorillaz, Miami horror and Studio killers to name a few ^.^
Some of my fav games in general are dark souls borne + sekiro and elden ring stuff, god of war, league of legends, monster hunter, final fantasy series in general, resident evil, persona 5, Apex legends, Lost ark, Overwatch amongst other stuff, I'm also currently playing runescape (Rs3) as it is one of my fav childhood games! (bonus points if you are familiar with it, I used to play oldschool runescape too) If you are someone who likes games I'm sure we potentially could play something we both like and bond over that although I can be picky lmaoo
I enjoy art and creative stuff in general, mainly like colouring and line-art stuff so if you like to draw I'd love to talk about it and share stuff although I haven't had the motivation to draw for a while now
I sometimes watch TV series a few of the top of head I enjoyed are: Arcane, Love death robots, Game of thrones (the ending sucked tho lol), Vikings, The boys, Narcos, Castlevania, Breaking bad, Invincible + more but hard to remember atm c:
I consider myself atheist although I don't really care too much about inserting my beliefs on other people, I try and keep an open mind at least / I'm politically moderate but try and see things logically with a morale compass in mind, fairly balanced point of view although I know stuff like that tends to be a touchy subject with people so I try and avoid it if possible >.<
I feel like I'm a good listener and don't take myself too seriously or anything like that, I personally hate the feeling like I could be stepping on eggshells around people with strong opinions on stuff
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
If we get on we could text each-other on Discord / Whatsapp as I much prefer that (reddit chat kinda sucks ass but I don't mind to start off with)
submitted by AutisticThrowaway125 to r4r [link] [comments]


2023.05.28 14:13 dotarollercoaster 8k MMR Nature's Prophet SUPPORT Guide - 62,5% Winrate - Master Prophet In 11 Minutes (Or Less)

So you want to learn how to play Nature's Prophet hard support?

With 1,6% pickrate in the Immortal bracket and 40.9% winrate. You must be crazy to think this is even a thing…or are you??
When patch 7.33 came in, I thought Prophet would be insane. I mean, really, now? 40% bigger map and global presence ain’t going to be strong? But as it turned out..it was not.
If you are a support player, you probably learned the hard way that in 7.33, experience was a luxury.

Now, Valve invented something insane in the last patch.

They added more objectives other than Roshan, like Wisdom runes and Tormentors. But for such a huge map, the lack of sentries and observers turned all of us into a non stop 5manning.
If you’ve seen this video on how to play support in 7.33 you probably know what I am talking about.

So, in reality, more objectives=less objectives.

Everyone is grouping up and 5manning. And then 7.33c came….And I saw this…
Wisdom runes in 7.33c give double the experience to your team
So I started playing Prophet support with only 1 game plan. Steal the enemy wisdom rune not only at 7 minutes in but every single one of them, and play around with this 5-man idea by buying all the needed auras depending on the game.
Sound pretty stupid. In fact, it is pretty stupid.

Currently, I am 10-6 with a 62,50% winrate with prophet hard support/support.

The games were played in the 8k bracket in the Europe region. Honestly speaking, it could be higher, but I am not the greatest NP player... at least for now.

In this video, we will go through.

  1. Starting items
  2. Laning Stage
  3. Skill build
  4. Gameplan
  5. Mid-game Itemization
  6. Friends & Foes
Oh wait! This only works only for you because you are "higher" rank player and players play better up overall.

Well…NO!

In fact, I could be better at the hero overall. The last time I played prophet was when I was ancient, back in 2019, and I was trying to snipe couriers.

Yes, I was THAT guy.

As a result, if I can pull it off versus the "higher-rank" players, you can also do that.
Before we start the video, I need to say that you need two requirements to play the hero:
1) Low level of micro
2) No skill
If you fulfill the above requirements, get prepared to learn how to play prophet support.

1) Starting items

Prophet is a right-click-dependent hero in the lane. I suggest picking up a blight stone, a sentry, a grenade, x3 tangos and filling up the rest with stats or faerie fire. Even if you play versus some kind of spammy hero like a Skywrath mage, I suggest you start with blight stone and bring the stick right after.
Exceptions for a stick are heroes like Bristleback (super spammy lane)

2) Laning Stage

Laning stage as Nature’s prophet is super simple. Here’s what you need to do, and this is the most important thing. You might need a bit of micro for that, but the more you play, the better you’ll become
Step 1: Summon treants
Step 2: Hit enemy heroes while treants are in front of you. Be really careful not to overfeed treants or position your hero wrongly. We are not as tanky as we would love early on
Step 3: Repeat. The idea is to push them back and slowly win the regen war by out-trading them.
Nature’s prophet is a great hero in the laning stage to push enemies back effortlessly and pick up the lotus that will give our lane extra consumables to apply the pressure. I really want to emphasize that for us to pull a Nature’s prophet, we need to deliver a solid laning stage.
While in the laning stage, you will get teleportation level 2.
Now teleportation, on level 1, has 36 damage on the first hit, 30 on the second, and 24 on the third. While the numbers are not great, having that much damage for 2-3, right-click means you can connect anywhere on the map, even early on secure the kill(midlane pre runes, is usually a good place to search early on)Get back to your lane by using scroll

3) Skill build

Talents:

4) Mid-game plan

Mid-game as Prophet starts really early on, even from 5 minutes. So the first idea is to see the situation in the mid-lane or the offlane. If it is going well, you should connect with him, your treants, and the catapult and try to take down the tower. The blight stone will also contribute a lot to this attempt.
Regardless if you succeed or not, it is super important to steal the enemy wisdom rune at 7 minutes in. Usually, players are not there at exactly 07:00.
The plan is to TP at 06:57, pick up the wisdom rune, then teleport to your offlane T2 to pick up the other rune. This will lead to a huge XP difference between the 2 teams and might even give you level 6. If not, connect with your team and try to siege a tower while trying to get your level 6.If nothing happens, retreat to the jungle, try to pick up some jungle items for your team, and always be ready to connect in case of an emergency.
In the mid-game, you always play around 5manning. You can TP to the enemy jungle and place some vision so you will see where enemies are and try to snipe them.
The way I think of Nature's prophet is more or less like my beloved Chen. A find Prophet slighlty better due to his global pressence, his global abilities (a fast level 6, can provide many kills early on) and the ability to pressure more early on as well as slighlty more gold than a Chen

5)Itemization

Overall, you could use Mek, Drums, Solar Crest, Crimson Guard, Pipe, Atos, Halberd and a good alternative to help you with team fights in Aghs! Nature’s prophet shard is really nice if you can get to pick it up for free, as the slow on the opponents is pretty annoying.
Lastly, never buy boots UNLESS you aim for Guardian Greeve’s or Boots of Bearing, and even then, pick it up lastly.

6) Friends & Foes

Overall, unlike Nature's Prophet core, you don’t have many mid-game “bad” matchups, but you really have a lot in the laning stage matchups.
For example, NP core has many "bad" matchups like Storm, Bounty, Spirit Breaker, and overall anything that can mess up with him globally when he tries to splitpushNature’s prophet has a hard time versus high armor heroes like Bounty Hunter or Legion commander where his Overwhelming odds get to deal more damage due to the extra treants.
In the mid-game, Spirit Breaker and Bounty Hunter are annoying, but I would not call them counters as support mainly because the amount of sustain we provide easily overlaps their damage. We focus primarily on grouping up rather than splitpushing
And this is where the guide comes to an end. I understand that people might be negative about that, and this is the reason why I played that many games. I felt 16 games, on my bracket with a hero I have no experty would be a good sample to see if it's even a thing,
Feel free to comment on the video.
I would be more than happy to answer any questions and explain everything in-depth in cases needed.
You can watch the full video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cs42K-Zw2kQ&ab_channel=DotaRollerCoaster.

Looking forward to questions and discussion!
submitted by dotarollercoaster to learndota2 [link] [comments]


2023.05.28 14:13 Johannes_Katze Drove my friends GT3 and it made me appreciate my mx5 even more

Drove my friends GT3 and it made me appreciate my mx5 even more
I was at a trackday with some of my friends and when it came to driving back (bit over an hour drive) my friend with a beautiful 911 991.2 GT3 Manual (a manual gt3 is my absolute dream car) stopped and was like "I want to drive your mx5, you take my car" of course that is not something you have to tell a car person twice.
So I got in and the first bit of the drive were straight 2 lane per side roads with a 90khp speed limit. Which in the mx5 is not too bad, as you can just cruise with the top down and still feel like you are going at least not super slow with the car moving around over the straight, but not flat road. The gt3 however is not happy with going 100kph. It does that in second gear (at 6,5k rpm, but I mean it revs to 9k). And every single one of its 500 hp desperately wants to go forward. So as a person that values his licence you sit at 100-110 in 4th gear and whenever a truck comes up you press the loud pedal slightly and it just pulls and pulls and when you look back on your speedo you are going 160+ after what feels like one second, without even using full throttle. And that sound, incredible. But does it feel fast? Still not really. So you slow down again and hope for the next car you can overtake, so you at least have a reason to go a bit faster. It's also even more uncomfortable and harder that the MX-5. These are first world problems, that we as slow MX-5 drivers simply do not know.
Then my friend overtook me and led me into some very nice roads, just wider than the Porsche (Which is probably double as wide as the MX-5) with a roller coaster feel that would put the WRC finland to shame (but with very good asphalt instead of gravel). My friend (who is a waaay better and faster driver than me) really hussled the MX-5 around these roads, so I could really drive the GT3 as fast as I would have done without someone leading me. And did I have incredible fun? Yes, 100%. But did the car make me feel like a driving god, like the MX-5 does so easily? No, because you would need to possess the skills of Water Röhrl to drive the GT3 to its limits on roads like this safely. So I was driving at maybe 50-60% of what the car can do and it was letting me know that. Because the Porsche 911 is a mix of normal car and spaceship, it is perfectly drivable on normal road speeds, without feeling too crazy. Exext that sound, it is truly amazing, at any speed. But it is also not as engaging at these slow speeds, if you want to feel the limits of the car you are going 3x the speed limit, regardless of what that speed limit is. But what is missing is the responsiveness and movement of the MX-5. How it turns instantly when you turn the steering wheel even for a centimeter, how it gets light over bumps, how it moves around in a corner, how the rear gets light when breaking into a corner, ... And I am sure you can experience that in the GT3 as well, but as a mere mortal? On roads like these I would crash before even reaching the limit.
So I have probably talked too much, but what do I want to even say with this? We NA drivers should really appreciate how analog and fun these cars are, and how good they make you feel as a driver. I wish I could drive these roads in some other 90s sports cars, to see how they feel. I had a little drive in a 993 porsche 4s with a GT3 engine, and that was probably the single greatest car I ever drove.
I would love to hear if you have similar experiences? What about even older cars then the mx5, do they feel even more fun to drive, or are the tires and suspension maybe not as nice as in a more modern car?
Also I don't want to throw any shade at the 911 GT3. It is probably the single greatest track car if you drive from and to the track, that has ever been built. Also I will really miss the automatic throttle blip rematching in a manual, it makes shifting so much smoother, when you don't what to revmatch yourself. And sure it's fun, but on a 2h drive in traffic, I get tired of it.
submitted by Johannes_Katze to Miata [link] [comments]