Miniature kitchen utensils christmas tree ornaments
Ceiling question: is 18' too tall for main living areas?
2023.06.06 00:29 brandscaping Ceiling question: is 18' too tall for main living areas?
We're doing 9' through the rest of the home, but the designer is suggesting 18' ceilings in the kitchen/living/dining. While I'm a fan of massive Christmas trees, and the view is pretty spectacular, is 18' too much?
if it helps: it's a single-level home, about 3000sq.ft., and the exterior mockup looks like there's a second level due to the tall ceilings.
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2023.06.05 23:39 alexds9 The Best Semi-Realistic Model of June 2023 Poll - Aesthetics and Beauty!
| || |The link to the poll is at the end of the post. Before casting your vote, please take the time to review the generated images. submitted by alexds9 to StableDiffusion [link] [comments]
Our goal is to find the overall best semi-realistic model of June 2023
, with the best aesthetic
Semi-realism is achieved by combining realistic style with drawing. Most Stable Diffusion (SD) can create semi-realistic results, but we excluded those models that are capable only of creating realism or drawing and do not combine them well. We're in search of the best balance between the two.
Why were certain models selected and not others? Generally, the selected models are relatively popular, with plenty of downloads. We welcome your suggestions for models to consider in the next round of testing.
Here is the list of selected models
|Model and Link ||Version ||File ||File SHA256 |
|AbsoluteReality ||1.0 ||absolutereality_v10.safetensors ||bfea7e18e2 |
|A-Zovya RPG Artist Tools ||3.0 ||aZovyaRPGArtistTools_v3.safetensors ||c7751e6108 |
|Babes ||2.0 ||Babes_2.0.safetensors ||65cf944caa |
|ChilloutMix ||Ni pruned fp32 fix ||chilloutmix_NiPrunedFp32Fix.safetensors ||fc2511737a |
|Deliberate ||2.0 ||deliberate_v2.safetensors ||9aba26abdf |
|DreamShaper ||6.0 ||dreamshaper_6BakedVae.safetensors ||c249d7853b |
|Lyriel ||1.6 ||lyriel_v16.safetensors ||ec6f68ea63 |
|MoonMix ||Utopia 3.0 ||moonmix_utopia30.safetensors ||305a85539d |
|NeverEnding Dream (NED) ||1.22 ||neverendingDreamNED_bakedVae.safetensors ||64b14b6ca5 |
|Perfect World ||4.0 ||perfectWorld_v4Baked.safetensors ||24a393500f |
|PerfectDeliberate ||4.0 ||perfectdeliberate_v40.safetensors ||886c73d806 |
|Reliberate ||1.0 ||reliberate_v10.safetensors ||980cb713af |
|ReV Animated ||1.2.2 ||revAnimated_v122.safetensors ||4199bcdd14 |
All tests were done with: clip skip 1, VAE MSE 840000
, no textual inversions, no Loras.
If textual inversions are helpful to models, let's assume they are equally helpful to all models, and we've opted to simplify things by not using them.
Limitations of SD v1: issues with fingers, arms, legs, and general body integrity are a major concern with SD v1 based models. Most of the chosen models are performing similarly on this front. If you notice any particularly bad case, they are probably more noticeable due to the small sample size. By choosing different seeds, the problems might vary between models. However, we should not focus on such problems as it wouldn't be fair to any specific model.
As for the method, it is hard to choose a universal set of prompts that will represent everything. We will use prompts from the models themselves, the first prompt from each model. We have 13 models to compare, with a prompt from each. The base resolution will be 512x768px, seeds 0-1, CFG 7, 20 steps with DPM++ 2M Karras. The images will be upscaled using hires-fix with a multiplier of 2, denoising set at 0.35, and the UltraSharp upscaler. We will try maintain consistency by using the same negative prompt for all tests (accounting for the use of Textual Inversions by some models).
Negative prompt: lowres, low quality, crossed eyes, poorly drawn, blurry, ugly, long face, old, duplicates, twins, 2girls, long neck, extra limbs, text, signature, artist name, bad anatomy, poorly drawn, malformed, deformed, mutation Notice:
due to naughty thoughts of some models a few of the images had to be removed, to comply with the rules of this subreddit. And in a few places, "AI" circle has been added to indicate an inappropriate tendency of the model. Uncensored version of images has been published on the uncensored subreddit
. Please review the generated images and cast your vote in the Best Semi-Realistic Model of June 2023 Poll at the end of the post.
Prompt 1 - AbsoluteReality
(masterpiece), (extremely intricate:1.3), (realistic), portrait of a girl, the most beautiful in the world, (medieval armor), metal reflections, upper body, outdoors, intense sunlight, far away castle, professional photograph of a stunning woman detailed, sharp focus, dramatic, award winning, cinematic lighting, octane render, unreal engine, volumetrics dtx https://preview.redd.it/memyymtmo94b1.jpg?width=2848&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=edfdcbd6ec2cce473e27af1bba8ce2f21fa868d4
Prompt 2 - A-Zovya RPG Artist Tools
female barefoot summoner levitating with blonde hair robes and cape arms lifted up over a broken earth bright lava light from below asteroid field (jagged rocks boulders and debris shooting into the air:1.3) (windy dust debris storm:1.1) volumetric fog mist ray tracing z pass bright light from below, (masterpiece) (best quality) (detailed) (8k) (cinematic lighting) (sharp focus) (intricate) https://preview.redd.it/tllicb3mo94b1.jpg?width=2848&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=a2282faeef69966dd5b35272c86a43901f439a3c
Prompt 3 - Babes
photo of woman, sexy, large breasts, punk, pink hair, one side shaved head, ([Emma RobertsElizabeth OlsenEmma Roberts]:0.85), [stanleylau stylesamdoesart style], armor suit, hips, sensual, shinny skin, oily skin, tattoos, close up, face focus, detailed face, lips, choker, jewelry, [(colorful explosion psychedelic paint colors:1.21)::0.2], kitchen, masterpiece, best quality, rainbow colors, colorful, high contrast,
Prompt 4 - ChilloutMix
complex 3d render ultra detailed of a beautiful porcelain profile woman android face, cyborg, robotic parts, 150 mm, beautiful studio soft light, rim light, vibrant details, luxurious cyberpunk, lace, hyperrealistic, anatomical, facial muscles, cable electric wires, microchip, elegant, beautiful background, octane render, H. R. Giger style, 8k, best quality, masterpiece, illustration, an extremely delicate and beautiful, extremely detailed ,CG ,unity ,wallpaper, (realistic, photo-realistic:1.37),Amazing, finely detail, masterpiece,best quality,official art, extremely detailed CG unity 8k wallpaper, absurdres, incredibly absurdres, robot, silver halmet, full body, sitting https://preview.redd.it/e223t6qjo94b1.jpg?width=2848&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=1af9a0c591fb6a65a4690b5d261fd0370d6ff38c
Prompt 5 - Deliberate
a closeup portrait of a playful maid, undercut hair, apron, amazing body, pronounced feminine feature, busty, kitchen, [ash blonde ginger pink hair], freckles, flirting with camera https://preview.redd.it/ar0cbidio94b1.jpg?width=2848&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=120e647e0ca281cc2741bfc6f7aa67e3501e2d57
Prompt 6 - DreamShaper
8k portrait of beautiful cyborg with brown hair, intricate, elegant, highly detailed, majestic, digital photography, art by artgerm and ruan jia and greg rutkowski surreal painting gold butterfly filigree, broken glass, (masterpiece, sidelighting, finely detailed beautiful eyes: 1.2), hdr, https://preview.redd.it/hwsb7zplp94b1.jpg?width=2848&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=486b87a6b5e1da70a352acaf95129daf6e989858
Prompt 7 - Lyriel
(dark shot:1.1), epic realistic, portrait of halo, sunglasses, blue eyes, tartan scarf, white hair by atey ghailan, by greg rutkowski, by greg tocchini, by james gilleard, by joe fenton, by kaethe butcher, gradient yellow, black, brown and magenta color scheme, grunge aesthetic!!! graffiti tag wall background, art by greg rutkowski and artgerm, soft cinematic light, adobe lightroom, photolab, hdr, intricate, highly detailed, (depth of field:1.4), faded, (neutral colors:1.2), (hdr:1.4), (muted colors:1.2), hyperdetailed, (artstation:1.4), cinematic, warm lights, dramatic light, (intricate details:1.1), complex background, (rutkowski:0.66), (teal and orange:0.4) https://preview.redd.it/czl3z3w6o94b1.jpg?width=2848&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=bfefc663bd08950585e72cedeace463e0a4c2a62
Prompt 8 - MoonMix
a portrait photography of a gorgeous redhead in open unbuttoned white space suit, cleavage, standing inside spaceship, attractive, flirting, looking at viewer, detailed skin, highly detailed, diffused soft lighting, hyperrealism, cinematic lighting https://preview.redd.it/k6cgg7b6o94b1.jpg?width=2848&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=c11f901c8daf38703035c926935472232b681f38
Prompt 9 - NeverEnding Dream (NED)
(Jedi meditation:1.3), serene photo,1girl, Jedi master in deep meditation, in jedioutfit, sitting cross-legged, (desert oasis:1.1), surrounded by blooming desert flowers, harmonizing with the Force, spiritual retreat, transcendent tranquility, desert enlightenment, Absurdres, hdr, ultra detailed illustration, extremely detailed face, RAW photo, film grain, skin pores, trending on deviantart https://preview.redd.it/0ecpm713o94b1.jpg?width=2848&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=8c1f740ae83e887f9d93e813b72a2d0b6aa08275
Prompt 10 - Perfect World
(((multicolored hair, [white hair]))), ultra realistic 8k cg, picture-perfect face, flawless, clean, masterpiece, professional artwork, famous artwork, cinematic lighting, cinematic bloom, perfect face, beautiful face, beautiful eyes, (((perfect female body, narrow waist))), gorgeous queen, royal, divine, goddess, godlike, (royal palace), fantasy, dreamlike, unreal, science fiction, (huge breasts), beautiful clothes, lace, lace trim, lace-trimmed legwear, nsfw, breasts out, absurdly long hair, very long hair, (rich:1.4), prestige, luxury, jewelry, diamond, gold, pearl, gem, sapphire, ruby, emerald, intricate detail, delicate pattern, sexy, charming, alluring, seductive, erotic, enchanting, hair ornament, necklace, earrings, bracelet, armlet, looking at viewer,
Prompt 11 - PerfectDeliberate
portrait, sitting on bed, naked, (8k, RAW photo, best quality, ultra high res, photorealistic, masterpiece, ultra-detailed, Unreal Engine), legs wide, kneeling, missionary, camera low, camera close, absurdres, best quality,1girl, solo, streaked hair, choker, (graffiti:1.25), paint splatter, arms on hips, breasts perky, leaning back, looking at camera, armband, thigh strap, streaked hair, paint on body, upturned eyes, head down, head tilt, tight, thin, small, perfect face,tattoo
Prompt 12 - Reliberate
a 42 yo woman, blonde, (hi-top fade:1.3), dark theme, soothing tones, muted colors, high contrast, (natural skin texture, hyperrealism, soft light, sharp) https://preview.redd.it/iczevglfn94b1.jpg?width=2848&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=d63d2dc749aba1a8799f98c28fc3622cbfccac3d
Prompt 13 - ReV Animated
((best quality)), ((masterpiece)), (detailed), alluring succubus, ethereal beauty, perched on a cloud, (fantasy illustration:1.3), enchanting gaze, captivating pose, delicate wings, otherworldly charm, mystical sky, (Luis Royo:1.2), (Yoshitaka Amano:1.1), moonlit night, soft colors, (detailed cloudscape:1.3), (high-resolution:1.2)
- Disclaimer: I am the creator of one of the models in the list. However, it received no preferential treatment, and all images were created equally. The provided parameters can be used to recreate all images.
2023.06.05 21:32 SaturdayInSuburbia A few fragments from my short story. Looking for general feedback/impressions
His dad read in a magazine that the greenest lawns need to be watered first thing and so the sprinklers were programmed to come on very early. Carl woke to their patter and to the smell of wet grass and May blossom. Looking down, a slice of dawn light crossed the middle of the bed and he watched as strands of dust drifted through it, their spiralling, jerky motions briefly visible before they vanished into the airy space of the room on either side. At some point, he drifted back to sleep.
In the houses around him, forty or so others lay in their beds, dreaming dreams which, if you could have seen them, would have blended into a heady mix of hope and fear that hovered just above the various Groves, Avenues and Closes that made up Sunningdale. The cloud was as real, somehow, as the birdsong flitting between the trees and the mist creeping back down the streets to the sea. Within it, promises of new lives and new lovers blended with unseen foes and inexorable catastrophes. Some confronted deeply hidden parts of themselves, manifest as dead relatives, impossible landscapes, bizarre tasks and strange entities with shifting identities. Others dreamt of nothing at all, and contributed only black streaks to the otherwise iridescent, billowing cloud.
For his part, Carl was dreaming he was ten years younger, learning to ride his bike. His mum was running behind him holding on to the back of the seat, giving him time to find his balance while his legs built up enough momentum to keep him upright. Then he was doing it – he was riding and it was exhilarating: a blur of light and colour and rushing air. And then, all of a sudden, he wasn’t. He was awake.
“Morning, dingus,” came a voice with a hint of amusement. Carl blinked his eyes open and stared at the boy outside the window. His hair swirled and danced in the breeze, seemingly possessing a life of its own. The boy smiled with his eyes and nodded toward a corner of the room. Carl followed the nod and saw a cricket ball sitting against the skirting board. “Lucky your window was open. Pass it back?” Carl looked again at the boy, still half asleep. The boy began to roll his hands with mock impatience: “You deaf or something?”
Cautiously – without a word – Carl pushed off the duvet, swung his legs over the side of the bed and dropped his feet to the carpet. He went to the corner, picked up the ball and walked it back to the window. He held it out and saw the black squiggles curving around its surface. “Who signed it?”, Carl asked. The boy didn’t answer. Instead, he grabbed the ball and ran across the lawn, disappearing into the hedges at the bottom of the garden. Carl stayed at the window for a moment. As he stood, cool, salty air flowed past him into the room. The sprinklers pattered away.
The houses stood in a row like colourful blocks. Behind them, a warren of overgrown bowers and hedgerows linked the gardens to each other; in front of them, the sweeping asphalt connected each to the next, then to the clusters close by, then to the town, to the city and eventually to the whole, wild, open country beyond. It was in the eddies at the very end of a minor rivulet of this enormous network the Mrs Friedman now stood. She began to move, eyeing each house closely as she passed by.
The older she got, the more her tight face struggled to conceal the mass of jealousies, slights and conflicts amassed behind it. And so, some of that bile would occasionally overflow back into the world, escaping her thin lips as a pointed whisper or, sometimes, even a direct attack – which is what happened next.
“Have you eyes?” Her frail voice floated down the drive, weakening with every inch travelled. It was almost imperceptible by the time it reached Mr Fuller’s ears. It was, however, just enough to make him stand up and turn around. Seeing her, he smiled and began walking toward her, wiping his palm on a rag and setting up to shake hands.
“Hi there and good morning”, he said, “I’m Paul Fuller – new to the neighbourhood and it’s very nice to meet you.”
She stared at his outstretched hand and remained perfectly still, her white knuckles wrapped around the Zimmer frame. The man’s pleasant demeanour confounded her – as had his claim that he was new to the area (that the house had been for sale was news to her). But, after a moment’s stasis, she managed to brush all this away and gesture weakly toward the drive. She asked again, “have you eyes?”
“Excuse me, madam?”, Paul replied.
“Your weeds”, she said, raising her eyebrows to indicate the displeasure she felt at having to repeat herself.
Paul scratched the back of his head and looked at the little green shoots that were just starting to peep through the cracks in the paving stones.
“I’m almost waist deep in them.”
“Oh. We’ve just moved in.” Paul said defensively. “In fact, we’re actually still moving in”. He pointed to the delivery van parked on the drive. “But, well – I’ll get the weeds cleaned up just as soon as I can, madam.”
“Good”, she said, resuming her slow shuffle down the street.
Mrs Alleman’s hands burned pink in the washing up bowl. She’d read somewhere that, for every additional degree she could tolerate, another species of germ would be eliminated. Since then, increasing the temperature of the water had become something of a challenge. She enjoyed the sharp tingle she felt as she pushed it up a little more each day, and she believed she was now approaching what was possible for a human hand to endure. Her vindication came on the rare occasions when her husband or a friend got splashed dropping in a bowl or plate, or when they tried to fish out a piece of cutlery or a utensil, and jumped back in utter shock. “The hotter it is, the cleaner it is”, she’d sing, voicing the mantra that so often cycled in her mind.
Through the steam and the droplets running down the glass, she could just about see her husband talking to their new neighbour – or rather, the neighbour was talking to him. Even from across the road, her husband’s discomfort was apparent, revealing itself in his demure, slouching gait and the way he kept glancing back at the house as though worried it would vanish and leave him stranded on this earnest stranger’s lawn. Left to his own devices, she knew, it would have taken him weeks or months to introduce himself – and, even then, it would only have happened thanks to some chance encounter at the grocery store or in the park, or in some other communal space, and only if initiated by the other party.
Even now, his awkwardness endeared her – as it always had done. Though, something about her husband’s vacant face as he stared over this stranger’s shoulder, elicited something else – something that was getting a little more familiar these days: a smidge of annoyance, perhaps. She pushed it away, reminding herself of all the things he did for her and for their family. She sighed, pulled her hands from the blistering water and dried them off.
“Hi there”, she shouted as she crossed the road, waving with one hand and using the other to shield her eyes. “Welcome to Sunningdale. We’re so glad to see someone finally move in to this beautiful house. Mr and Mrs Cartwright only put in on the market on account of her mother’s – his mother in-law’s – health, bless her, which took a real turn last year. Cancer! I know. I mean, absolutely the last thing she needed. Her husband, Mrs Cartwright’s father – Mr Cartwright’s father-in-law – died last Christmas, sadly. Yes, on Christmas day itself, which they say is a very common day to die. I’m not sure why. Something to do with being surrounded with family? Maybe. Who knows? Anyway, the only reason they moved is to be closer to her in what will most probably be her final year. They were completed devastated to lose the house, of course – their home for over twenty years. But they needed to downsize, anyway. Two birds and all that. You won’t believe it, but I actually remember seeing him carry her over the threshold. And haven’t they kept it lovely? I suppose that’s one of the reasons you bought it – gosh, yes, they really did keep it lovely, didn’t they? And is there a Mrs…”
“Fuller”, Paul answered, “And no, sadly there’s not. There used to be. But she died – three years ago. Not on Christmas day. But of cancer. Absolutely the last thing we needed.”
Mrs Alleman’s face dropped. “Oh, gosh – I’m so sorry. How cack-handed of me.”
With a smile, Paul revealed the ease with which he could talk about his wife’s death, which was a relief to the Alleman’s in that moment, but which would cause both of them some disquiet as they lay in their beds that night
submitted by SaturdayInSuburbia
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2023.06.05 20:55 JokerSmile130303 AITA in my roommate situation?
This will probably be a long post, so sorry if I’m throwing a lot of information at you. I (24F) want to get other’s opinions on my roommate situation with R (58F). First I would like to give you the layout of the house. It is a single wide trailer with a split design, so the living room and kitchen is in the middle of the house. At her end of the house is a normal sized bedroom with a bathroom right next to it and the washer and dryer is down her hallway. My end of the house has the master bedroom, which is about the same size as her room, a small attached bathroom, and another room that it technically considered a third bedroom. But it is extremely tiny, the whole room only about the size of a king bed. I use it as an office/junk room mostly.
Between us, we have 6 pets. I have 3 cats, she has 2 cats and a chihuahua.
I also would like to disclose, I know the landlord L (60F) personally. She and my mom are friends and it’s how I got into the house. I can only afford about $500 monthly for rent, so she let me move in with the clause that I would look for a roommate when I got in and they would pay the remaining $500 rent. I’ve lived here the last 2 years. I actually had another roommate in the first few months I lived here and had no problems with her. She was very easy to live with and we got along well enough. She broke lease after 3 months because she got engaged to her boyfriend and was moving in with him. There was no bad blood however and she even tried to invite me to her wedding and wanted to still be friends. We fell out of contact a few months later.
I also let my brother move in for a while, and although he and I live together very well and get along, he is not financially responsible and L was getting understandably aggravated with him. He didn’t stay for long.
This eventually lead to R moving in. She relocated from about 6 hours away, moved in around December 1, 2022. Almost immediately bad vibes were in the air. The day she drove up, my brother was visiting me and had stayed with me that day waiting on her. When she arrived, she immediately assumed my brother would just help her unload some heavy stuff from her car. She didn’t even ask, and he didn’t offer. She just said, “Oh, I’m glad your brother is here. He can…” I also thought this was strange and a little rude for her to just assume. My brother did not help unload and I only helped her get her animals out of the car.
But the next day is when the real problems seemed to begin, at least in my mind. I went to work the next day and when I came home, the things I had against my kitchen wall were all moved and put into the junk room down my hallway. So the wall was open and barren and the tiny room was extremely cluttered now. What’s worse is she put a potty pad for her chihuahua in its place. The dog won’t use the bathroom outside, so uses potty pads, and she placed one in the kitchen. I thought it was disgusting to do that. Using potty pads is one thing, but just like a litter box, it doesn’t belong in a common area out in the open and especially not where food is prepared. What’s more, she didn’t even talk to me about moving my things around. And one of the things she moved, a small plastic set of drawers, I had to move back because I keep stuff I need for the kitchen in it.
This has continued during her time here, although it was worst in the first month after she moved in. Since she had relocated, she was looking for a job, so she was home all day at this time. I would go to work and when I came home, more of my stuff would be moved around. Some of it was small, some was big. I would like to point out that everything in the house when she moved in that wasn’t attached to it belonged to me. I was the first person in this house after it was renovated 2 years ago and I furnished and decorated it.
Some of the things she rearranged didn’t even make sense to me. I had a table in the living room with some drawers on it and twice she turned it sideways so we couldn’t get into the drawers (that I had stuff in) and twice I turned it back the way it was. She also moved my air fryer just to put another paper towel holder with paper towels 5 feet away from mine.
She always did this when I wasn’t home and never talked to me about it. It was the worst the first month after she moved in, but occasionally she will do it again even now.
I am a very non confrontational person. I don’t want to deal with the argument that may arise from confronting someone on their bullshit, so I usually just try to turn away and deal with it. Plus, this was mostly happening in the early days after her move in. I was still trying to at least tolerate her. I was gonna have to live her her for a year, I didn’t want to be completely miserable.
This wasn’t the only issue of course. R had told me a few days after she moved in that she had talked to L about something’s she might do to improve the house. Some of it I thought was kinda reasonable, some of it I thought was too much to ask. She asked for the front gate to be fixed so it didn’t have to be lifted and dragged to open and close. R said she had a problem with one of her wrists, so it hurt to move the gate. Reasonable. She also wanted the tree limbs trimmed away from her end of the house. The limbs weren’t big enough to cause damage even if they fell, but whatever. Here’s where the requests get a bit much. There is a piece of field fence that extends from the side of the house and connects to the fence of our neighbor with part of it down in the middle. It has no use anymore, but it’s also not bothering anything. R wanted this cleared away and her own driveway that went to the back door put in 100 feet from the driveway that was already in place. She uses the back door, I use the front door. But it all came to a head with L about a week after R moved in when she asked if blinds could be put up in the living room/kitchen for more privacy from the road. I already had curtains put up all over the house and you can’t see through them from the road. This was basically what L said to her. R insisted she wanted more privacy, so L told R if she bought the blinds, she would have them installed. R’s response was that it was the landlord’s job to take care of that. L apparently lost it on her a little and told her she should have charged her a pet deposit fee, but she was unaware she had pets until she moved in. I heard about all that second hand from both R and L.
There were problems with the animals too. My cats are friendly with other pets. I have fostered other animals here before and I used to housesit a lot, meaning they’ve been around other pets in other households as well. After a few days of adjustment period, they get along with other animals fine. If not ignoring them, actually becoming friends with them. Her cats at first seemed ok. Her dog was extremely annoying and clearly ill mannered right off the bat. I did try at first to be friends with the dog and get her used to me. It never really worked. The biggest thing with the dog is every time a door is opened or closed, she barks incessantly. I kind of understand her barking to alert someone entering the house, but it goes on for way too long, and there is no reason for her to bark when someone is leaving. This doesn’t just apply to the front door, for a while opening or closing my bedroom door set her off as well. I’ve had to completely adjust my own routine for how I enter and exit to try not to set her off, I’m only successful about half the time. And I can’t do much about her reacting to doors inside the house. She also can get vicious if you try to speak to her or engage her when she’s reacting to an entrance or exit. When I’ve had guests over and she starts with this, the normal thing to do it talk to the dog and let them sniff your hand. R has been in the kitchen whenever she barks at my guests and she always says, “Don’t try to touch her, she’ll bite.” But she doesn’t do anything to take her away from the situation or teach her dog better. I grew up with dogs and am a Veterinarian Technician. Her dog is horrible.
Her cats I initially thought were decent. But very soon, her female cat started attacking my female cat. I know my female cat is a drama queen and she doesn’t ever fight back, she just makes a lot of noise until the bullying stops or she can get away. She sometimes gets into it with my males cats too, but I’ve never heard her scream bloody murder the way she did when her cat would attack her. At first I wasn’t sure if her cat was just trying to play with mine. I thought they just needed to work it out. But very soon my cat was hiding in my room most of the time except during meal times (I used to feed them in the kitchen). I started getting pissed with this when I would be in the common area and would suddenly hear my cat scream from my bedroom only to go back there and see her cat running past me in the hallway. My cat was always very rattled by these incidents and they were getting more frequent and her cat was going out of her way to do this. I had to start feeding them in my bedroom because it would happen more frequently at mealtimes and my cats were starting to refuse to eat if they could see her cats.
One particular incident was worse that others. I had heated up some food for myself and was preparing to eat on the couch. R had come into the kitchen with her dog at her feet. I heard my cat scream from my bedroom so I went back there, her cat ran past me in the hallway. I checked on mine, remembered I left food on the couch and went back, I was away from it for 10 seconds tops. When I came back her dog was chowing down on my plate. Now I might get some flak for this, but growing up and even now, it is not acceptable in my mind for a pet to help themselves to my food, I don’t even think offering table scraps is ok. Coming off of dealing with her cat terrorizing mine for the 100th time and then coming back and seeing this, I was furious. I popped her dog on the rear and in her shock to get away she jumped off the back of the couch then immediately started barking at me viciously. Both R and myself didn’t want her jumping off the back of the couch because we were worried about her breaking a leg. I apologized to R for making her jump off the couch and told her she was eating my food. R is someone who doesn’t believe in spankings. Her response was “Well, don’t hit her either. They’re animals. They don’t know any better.” They would know better if she would teach them better. I was pissed. I took my food, ate in my bedroom and made the executive decision that I would be staying back there as much as possible. I used to hang out in my living room a lot. I don’t anymore.
With me hanging out in my room all the time, that’s where my cats were staying too. And not too long after that I started noticing both pee spots at my end of the house and her male cat always trying to hang out back there as well. I don’t remember which I noticed first. I highly suspected her male cat was the one urinating back there, but couldn’t prove it. I just kept cleaning the pee. However that changed when I was getting ready to leave for a weekend away. I was packed and ready to go and brought my breakfast into my room to eat. When I walked in her cat was in the urination position on my bed. I shooed him away and immediately pulled all my bedding away to find that it had gone all the way through to my mattress. I then had to drop everything and figure out how to clean it. I did the best I could and left about an hour behind schedule. When I came back I cleaned it another 5 times about 3 different ways, even borrowing a friends steam cleaner. I got most of it, but you can never fully get the smell of cat pee out and there’s still a stain.
After this I contacted the landlord and asked if there was any way we could put something at the end of my hallway to keep her pets out and away from my pets and my stuff. I even offered to pay for it if necessary, since I felt this was a bit of a luxury. L and her husband in told me not to worry about it and installed a glass door at the end of my hallway. Amazingly the urine spots and cat fights stopped. But unfortunately that means my poor cats have to be locked up with limited space. I feel horrible doing that, but I don’t want my pets getting attacked again. And quite frankly I don’t want R anywhere near them.
Now I want to be transparent. I never actively did anything to try to get her to move out or annoy her. But I also didn’t go out of my way to be courteous. I was briefly seeing someone and he would stay the night a lot. He had a pit bull who was a really sweet dog that he would always bring with him. His dog was not a problem and we always stayed back in my room, so he wasn’t roaming the house. But the first time her dog saw him she squealed and ran even though he wasn’t being threatening.
Here’s where I might be kind of an asshole. The dryer makes an obscenely loud noise when it’s finished and it can’t be turned off or down. I would let this guy come do his laundry late at night after we got off work so we could spend more time together. So the dryer would go off late. I’ll be honest, I knew what I was doing and thought it was pretty funny. I never said I wasn’t petty. R did eventually say something to me about it because the guy usually had to leave my house for work around 4:00am. One time he went back there to get his laundry and used his phone flashlight to do it. He woke her dog who started barking, waking and scaring R. I didn’t feel bad about it after all she’s been putting me and my pets through, but I did tell the guy he couldn’t do laundry at my house anymore.
The next incident happened with my mom. My mother couldn’t stand R from the first time she met her and that only got worse the more things that would happen. One day my mom stopped by after work and ended up staying for about an hour. I want to point out I met her at her car and walked into the house with her so I could show her how to open/close the door to try not to alert the demon dog. We made it in the house without her barking. We spent the hour in my room just catching up, then we both went to leave. When we were walking out, R was in the kitchen with the dog at her feet. When she saw us, she started barking. My mom bent down to say hello, which made her bark more. Mom then started tell her to hush up, using the gentle, babyish tone you use to tell animals to calm down or hush. R told her not to touch her or she would bite. My mom said to R, “She needs to hush all that mess up.” R responded, “She’s just doing her job.” Then just as we were walking out of the door Mom said, “ I didn’t know being annoying was a job.” Again I found this funny and just wished I had the courage to have said it myself. This ended up coming back a few days later. L contacted my mom and asked her to tell her what happened. My mom relayed the story to L as I just have. L said that R had texted her a book and claimed that my mother used her spare key to get into the house, just barged in like she lived there and that we were talking shit about her right in front of her. R demanded that my mom’s spare key be taken away, regardless of the fact that she has never used it without permission and texted R ahead of time to let her know when she did. Apparently also in this text, R claimed that I was trying to get her to move out by not doing my dishes (which I will explain in a moment.) I’m not sure all what was said in the rest of the text, but we both got a letter from the landlord about respecting each other and the house. L didn’t not make my mom give up her spare key.
The dishes are another issue. I told her when she moved in I was not the best at keeping up with the dishes. Out of all the chores, it was my least favorite. And at first, she said that was no big deal. I made it clear to her that I never expected her to do my dishes either. But after she moved in, I did get better about keeping up with them. When I have someone else in the house keeping up with them, it gives me some motivation. Before she moved in, I would let both sides of the sink fill completely throughout the week while I was at work and then do them all on the weekend when I had more spare time. Now I will do them every few days including throughout the week. However, sometimes there will still be dishes in the sink for a few days at a time.
Here’s where I have a big problem with her dish complaint. For the first 5 months after she moved in, she was using my kitchen stuff because she didn’t have her own stuff yet. So she used my pots, pans, Tupperware, utensils, etc. She may have done her dishes often, but they were never clean. There was always food left on then, or oil/grease from whatever she cooked. So I was rewashing most of her dishes when I would wash my own. My dishes come out clean, and I know because I check them when they’re dry before I put them away. I showed my best friend her dishes with food dried and crusted on and she was equally disgusted. I may not keep up with dishes as often as she does, but I don’t think she has a right to say anything about it since hers aren’t even clean.
Fairly recently R either bought or unpacked her kitchen stuff. She texted me while I was at work and told me that she was moving my pots and pans out of the cabinet they had been in to put hers there and suggested that I rearrange and move my cat food back into my end of the house and put my pots and pans in the cabinet the cat food had been in. She was leaving my pots and pans on the kitchen counter. I simply responded, “Ok.” When I first got the text I was furious, but when I started thinking about it, I thought that rearranging would be a good idea. Since I feed my cats in my room now, it would be easier to have the food back there. I came home actually a little excited to rearrange to my life completely behind the glass door. I was still upset at her just continuing to rearrange, but this actually ended up for the better for the situation I was in.
Less than a week later, she was at work and I was off, and I went into the kitchen to find that her dog had missed a little on the potty pad and there was urine on the floor. I would like to point out this was not the first time I had cleaned up pee off the floor next to the potty pad. And sometimes poop too. I cleaned it and texted her, “I’m going to ask that you no longer put potty pads for (dog) in the kitchen. I’ve thought it was gross from the beginning. But I have now on a few occasions had to clean up where she has missed and peed or pooped on the floor. If she must use potty pads, please keep it at your end of the house.” Direct quote. The following response was her direct quote: “She’s never peed on the floor… yes, sometimes the poop gets stuck on her butt and misses the pad, I would think you would know that being a V.tech.. Anyway, I’m having a dining room table delivered in 2-weeks so I was planning on removing it… Now, I would appreciate it if you could have enough respect and STOP leaving your dirty dishes in the sink for a week! Thanks…”
My dishes were not sitting for a week, btw.
I texted my landlord about this and informed her that I cannot deal with her anymore and the first chance I get to move out, I’m gone. I couldn’t deal with this woman anymore. She is completely unreasonable and unbearable. I also informed her of the fact that her cats had started scratching on my couch and living room chair. And I knew it was from hers, because it started after mine were locked behind the glass door and I had caught them a few times. And there was a scratching post in the living room for them, so there was no reason to be scratching on furniture. I told L I was considering billing R for my mattress and the couch since her pets had ruined them.
We talked a little more later in person and she apologized for all I was having to go through and told me that if I had someone who could move in immediately they may be able to do something. The person I had lined up, their situation had apparently changed and couldn’t move in.
The end of May, L and her husband let us know that their family situation had changed and they were likely going to have to move a family member into the house, but they would give us 30 days notice before we both had to be out. We got our notice on June 1.
It’s June 4 today and I’ve already been packing up. I’m hoping to be moved out by mid June. I’ll have to stay with my parents briefly, but I have a place lined up to get into soon.
The most recent incident happened yesterday. I walked into the kitchen and R called out to me from her room. She asked me what was going on with the Netflix. I let her make an account on all my streaming services when she first moved in because I was trying to be nice, and although I’ve considered taking her off of them, I didn’t want to deal with her if I did. However, the Netflix was my parents account and I never gave her permission to make her own profile. I told her she could use mine. She made her own profile. When she asked me what happened to Netflix, I genuinely didn’t know and told her that. She said she couldn’t get into it and basically accused me of deleting her off. I told her that it was my parents account, I didn’t know if my mom had done anything with it. She said, “You know, it’s been a lot of bullshit, so if you did something…” I cut her off saying, “Look R, I didn’t do anything to the Netflix. If my mom did, I didn’t know about it.”
I called my mom then to ask her, and she said she absolutely did take her off the account. She had noticed her profile and took her off. My mom then texted her while we were on the phone and told her what she did and told her that she never had a right to it to begin with. R responded with , “Listen lady, you can fuck off.”
I’ve also learned from L that R is refusing to pay her last month of rent and is claiming that she ruined her life.
Since I should be out of here before July 1, I’m planning on taking her off all my streaming services and taking the internet (since it’s my account and my equipment) once I get all my stuff out. If I can leave her here even for a few days with no internet or streaming services, I’ll be tickled pink. I also fully plan off letting loose at least a little bit before I go. So I might be a little bit of an asshole, but am I the bigger asshole in this terrible roommate situation?
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2023.06.05 20:16 StrangeAccounts I won a trip to visit the Wordsmith.
I won the chance to meet with my favorite Author. By no means was he an equal in comparison to the popularity of Stephen King or Dean Koontz but there was something special about his works. If you happened to stumble across one of his stories they had a habit of sticking around and festering like little rotten delicacies within your mind.
For years as a growing adult I sat down and studied every word of his. I tried to mimic the way he wrote and every time I’d fall short. There was something inside of me that just couldn’t match the integrity of his tales. Every story he wove sounded drastic, real, as if the main characters were screaming out for their stories to be heard in hopes they didn’t fade away into eternity.
He didn’t just make the characters come alive, he made them tangible. The reader felt as though the characters themselves were only a pages flip away.
Maybe that’s what made his horror so powerful. It wasn’t just the people you felt you could turn too, but also the creatures, the villains, the things that couldn’t be described by anyone else except by Vincent Valentine himself.
I ended up writing a brief paper and submitting it to a contest wrapped around the idea of ‘who inspired you to write?’ I can’t say I won by any means but every paper was openly displayed on the internet for anyone to read and comment.
Imagine my surprise when I received a comment from one 'Vincent Valentine' exclaiming only a few words;
‘You’ve warmed my heart. Keep a lookout in your inbox.
With much appreciation,
I remember the sinking feeling in my heart as I read his comment. I felt blessed by a man so above my stature that it made me feel spotlighted in oddest, best and worst type of way. Nearly every hour on the hour I’d do a quick log in and hope to see the little message icon highlighted in the upper right hand corner of my screen.
This went on for a week. Precisely 7 days later on the hour of his comment I got a notification that someone had sent me a message.
‘109 Woodcrest Rd. Portland, ME? I feel confident in my sources. Expect a package soon.
Vincent Valentine. ’
He had found my address.
To say I was surprised wouldn’t sum up my feelings in the least. I felt no hostility or fear however, it was almost Wonka-esque. I felt like I was getting a golden ticket and that feeling wasn’t misplaced. Another 7 days later I woke up to find a package waiting at my door.
I stared down at it for a minute, a black fabric shroud was tightly wound around a wooden box. My address was stamped in red lettering over the thick velvety veil. Next to it lay the words ‘From: Vincent Valentine.’
I reached down letting my hands grasp around the extravagant box. With a gentle tug I raised it off of the ground. The concrete seemed so boring and mundane compared to the package. I almost felt ashamed that I had let it sit there even for just a moment.
With a quick spin I turned around, slammed my door shut and proceeded over to my kitchen table. I tried to find the seams of the dark fabric, tugging along the edges but to my surprise found none.
From here it took me a moment to comprehend how I was going to open it without damaging the pristine void like cover. With some trepidation I wandered over to my storage closet and pulled out a box cutter. I hated the fact I had to ruin such an interesting presentation but I knew there was no other way.
I pressed the tip of the blade to the fabric and slowly slid it down. As the fabric retreated it split open revealing a red swirly underside clearly influenced by the colors of flowing blood.
My lips twitched upward before a small laugh left my lips. I stared at the display in front of me. I had cut the fabric from one corner to the other and it had perfectly spread and curled back like a body under autopsy. The wooden box itself lay under the skin ready to dissected from its body.
I set my box cutters aside and pulled out the wooden chest. Intricate designs were carved into the paneling and I instantly recognized them from how Vincent described them in his books. I was looking at Avestan text. They were so beautifully drastic from our modern characters and alphabets.
A chill ran up my spine as I thought back to the horrors Vincent had described in his tales. His greatest theme was studying the dangers of the oldest knowledge available in the world. The spreading of unnatural knowledge was ever present in his works. Granted I couldn’t read the carvings I still appreciated the showmanship.
I had never in my life thought I’d ever be brought a gift like this from someone I admired as much as Mr. Valentine.
I felt the indents of the box as my fingers trailed up to the lid. The wood seemed cold as if it had been left in some winters cavern overnight yet it was a midsummer's day and the sun was blazing outside of my front door. With a quick flick upwards I removed the casing and peered at the contents inside.
The innards of the box contained a black leather bound journal and next to it an envelope stamped with the symbol that appeared in every one of Valentines stories, the mark of Aka Manah. The forgotten God of magic and suffering.
I pulled the envelope out first, letting it rest in one hand while my other hand blindly felt around the table for the box cutters. With a quick nudge I felt a light sting. My eyes tore away from the folded letter and to the razor on my table. With blind stupidity I had skimmed my skin across the blade slicing my fingertip open. I let out a huff of disappointment in myself before gripping the handle and pulling it upwards towards the stamp.
Very gingerly I rocked the razors edge around the bottom of the wax seal, hoping to keep it in one piece. Oddly enough the wax seemed incredibly durable. Even after a couple of flawed jabs it held up nicely. The lip of the envelope separated exposing parchment inside.
I could feel the shivers creep up my spine and crossing over to my neck. Something was so foreboding about this whole situation and I loved every second of it. At the time I felt like I was in the definition of a horror novel.
I carefully pulled the parchment out from its resting place and began reading the handwritten note.
‘I hope you’ve enjoyed the extravagant show I’ve so far prepared for you. There is so much more to come. Inside this very special case that I’ve provided you resides a bound journal. I couldn’t help but notice the limitations to your short stories. Though I loved every single one, I must say, I found something missing. I wouldn’t worry though. I want to help.
Further in this envelope are plane tickets. I want you to visit my home for seven simple nights. By the time you leave I can promise you that little black book will be filled with your first ever living, breathing tale.
All you have to do is make the plane journey and I’ll take care of the rest. Make sure to sign the front cover of your new book. It’s special after all and it’s all yours.
I slowly lowered the letter on the table, careful to avoid spilling any droplets of blood onto the page. I could feel the indent of the tickets still in the envelope. I couldn’t believe my luck. I’d say my heart sang but once again something crept its way in me, something dark. It felt like I was being invited to a gala that I didn’t belong at.
I was simply a dwarf standing amongst giants.
I shook the feeling off and reached into the box to retrieve my new journal.
Each page was blank and crisp, hundreds of pages ready to be filled. When the flickering of pages reached the front cover I noticed something. A simple black line. A perfect place for my signature.
With a tepid sense of giddiness I raced back to my storage area and retrieved a pen. I quickly returned to my book and spread it open wide. With one hand I held the pages spread and with the other I held the pen. I swept my signature boldly across the line, and just as my pen tip left the page, a single droplet of blood pierced down on top of the paper.
A final period at the end of my name.
The irony of this wasn’t lost to me. I laughed trying to offset the feeling of unease. Signing that book shifted something in my life that I wouldn't be prepared for. I no longer felt like I didn’t just belong near the giants. I felt like they now were aware of me. They were watching me, judging me.
The tickets that lay inside the newly opened envelope were scheduled for 7 months out. I knew these dates weren’t by coincidence. Vincent wanted these sevens to appear, for what reason? I couldn’t say. I figured more of his showmanship would explain it to me in due time.
So I cleared my schedule for a while and prepped for my departure.
When the date came I took a taxi from my home towards the airport. The sky was darkened and cloudy. I watched as lightning flashed in the distance within the heavy gray clouds.
The sky seemed so high up that day. A true monolith of creations might. I could almost feel something immensely powerful looking down upon me from within that storm. It's eyes were assuredly turned down upon me and the journey that lay ahead.
In contrast, the airport itself felt as clinical as always. The typical smell of coffee mixed in with the incoming rain blended together into a mesmerizing fragrance. I grabbed a cup for myself and pressed it against my lips. I let the aroma fill my nostrils as I took in the sights of the planes docking and departing.
When the time came for me to board, lightning struck the tarmac. A mix of asphalt and gravel exploded near our plane. Several passengers screamed out in fear. The explosion sent pellets of rocks into the metallic frame of our sanctuary.
Of course the plane was decommissioned for the day. All planes in the area were tarmacked until further notice. I felt my shoulders give way to disappointment. Vincent said all I had to do was board the plane and he’d take care of the rest. Due to the fates I couldn’t even manage that much.
I took a seat over at the departure area and began my wait. It took the storm 7 hours to depart the area and free up the skies for travel. I had nearly given up on the trip when I heard the intercom sound from overhead.
“All flights are now boarding.”
I looked around me and noticed only a handful of us had survived the stay. The rest had all left. No doubt distraught over their failed plans. Us few who remained had boarded with ease. Almost like a miracle, the rest of the journey went smoothly. We traveled hours before the sun began setting and we arrived at our destination briskly at dusk.
Upon exiting the plane we all headed towards the luggage area. Much to my surprise I was intercepted just meters away by a handsome clean cut man dressed up in an all black suit and wearing a chauffeur’s cap.
“Excuse me Madam, I believe I’m here for you.” The Gentleman said, his dark brown eyes squinting at me with remarkable elegance.
“I’m sorry, who are you?” I politely questioned. I couldn’t have imagined that my ride would have waited for me after a seven hour delay. I was already prepared to gouge my own pockets to hire a taxi service to Mr. Valentine’s home.
“I’m in service to Mr. Vincent Valentine. I believe that I’m to take you to his residence.” His voice was so soothing and smooth. He seemed like more of an actor playing in a role than a real services employee.
“In that case, I’m sorry I made you wait.” I turned my eyes to the bags next to him. He had already procured my luggage.
“Oh, don't worry about that Madam. I haven’t been waiting long. This is the precise time I was told to arrive and so I did. Now if you wouldn’t mind, Mr. Valentine would like to see you as soon as possible.” He flashed me a smile, his pearly teeth were perfectly aligned and accentuated his chiseled jaw.
Without much more conversing he led me to the back of the small parking garage. With a slight nod he guided me over to a black 1964 Dodge 330. It looked ravishingly untouched despite its old age.
My personable Valet walked over to the passenger’s side door and opened it for me. I went to collect my belongings from him but he stopped me. He let me know he’d take care of my bags. I thanked him and took my seat. The interior of the vehicle reflected much of the same feel that it had projected on the exterior. That this was somehow a brand new classic.
When my Chauffeur returned to his side of the vehicle and shut his door I felt myself jump. I was once more jostled into feeling out of place. I had wished that I could have brought some company with me. Someone to be within my same social class. Instead I was resorted to simply just being a fish out of water in the lap of dark luxury.
Without another word and only a glimpse of a quick smile from my companion, we headed off.
I was surprised by the terrain we had found ourselves in just minutes after leaving the airport. The businesses and shopping centers had given away to grasslands and forests. The trees at first came one by one, then by clusters and then finally they tunneled us in. There was merely a thin road with a wall of lumber on either end of us.
Yet still, I was immersed in the landscape. My eyes jumped from one thing to another. The hoot of an owl, the chirping of crickets, it all amazed me. It was as if I was a new born baby entering the world for the first time. The face of my traveling partner remained nonetheless unimpressed. His demeanor made it clear that this journey was nothing special to him. And I suppose it wasn't.
As the darkness outside had peaked, refraining me from any sort of sightseeing, the man next to me spoke up.
“We’re here, Madam.” He spun the wheel of the car instinctively and circled into a large rounded driveway. I looked out my window and saw a large stone manor cropped up in chiseled Gothic architecture. Gray brickwork textured and meshed brilliantly with darkened oaken doors and rich window frames.
“I’ll get your bags. Please, head up to the door. Mr. Valentine is waiting for you.”
I nodded and thanked my driver who waved away my thanks in a polite manner.
“Oh, don’t thank me. I’m just doing what my contract outlines.” With one final charming smile he exited the vehicle. I soon followed
The size of the manor astounded me. Vincent was an amazingly talented author but I knew most readers had no idea who he was. How he could afford to live in a Victorian palace like this was unexplainable to me.
With heavy lead lining my heels I made my ascent up the stone patio steps towards the large wooden door. Hidden amongst the frame of the giant gate was a wicket door. As my feet reached the final step I felt myself freeze up. The way the manor had towered over me made me feel inexplicably small and meaningless. It had left me intimidated beyond movement.
“Well, go on Madam. You've made it this far.” The driver called out to me in a gingerly tone. He was preparing my luggage for travel. With trembling hands I knocked on the thick oaken door. A muffled impact sounded with every strike. A few moments passed by before the wicket creaked open. Inside was a beautiful young woman dressed in a black service outfit, much like the driver wore behind me.
With nothing more than a glance from her piercing eyes she spoke up.
“Welcome to the Wordsmith Manor Ms. Williams. Please come in.” The fair skinned lady reflected the same charm all of Vincent’s employees seemed to have. Though her tone was much sharper and direct. I admired her long black hair that had been pulled back into a tight bun. The dark color resonated brilliantly with her freckles and icy blue eyes.
“Thank you.” I quietly muttered. I kept my eyes low to the ground. I was scared of further intimidation from this home or its perfect occupants. I felt a finger lightly tap the underside of my chin and I looked up to see the Maid smiling at me with an unexpectedly soft smile.
“Don’t be scared to look around. Mr. Valentine specifically asked us to allow you to get a grasp of all you could on your way up to him.” After a quick meeting of our eyes I finally let my gaze roam. Inside was just as immaculate as the outside. Stone lined the walls with finely finished wooden flooring.
The dim lighting that flickered around us seemed to emanate on its own. I saw no signs of lights or cords connecting to any outlet, nor any outlets in general. I felt as though I had stepped back in time. Endlessly long hallways stretched out in every direction from the foyer. It struck my imagination immediately as it quite literally looked like an intricate spiders web.
As I was taking in the sights of the Wordsmith Manor, the male servant scooted past my back in a hurry. He was carrying my luggage up a nearby staircase.
“Your room will be located just upstairs in the main guest room. Your bags will be there for you to unpack. Though you'll find everything you need already located in the room should you search for it. For now Mr. Valentine would like to meet with you.” With a light footed twirl she began walking in front of me. I toed just behind her.
We went through a nicely ornamented hallway of different paintings. Each art piece seemed to be of different creatures and characters that could only be found in the multitude of books Vincent had written. They were painted just as vividly as the author had described them as. They felt like windows into another world rather than paint on parchment.
As I gawked upwards at the portraits of all of the characters that had enraptured my mind over the years, I had scarcely noticed the change in lighting. A rose coloring had begun filling the hallway spilling outwards from a nearby threshold. It lent the way to warmth and a calming sensation. With a few more steps towards the wave of soothing light we entered Mr. Valentine’s Den.
Many books and tomes lined the walls of this area in a neat fashion. Not a singly speck of dust prevented the shimmering of polished wood from glowing in the light. A large red rug swirled with golds and blacks. It lay at the center of the room. Sitting right next to a large stone fireplace
was the man I had only seen on the back covers of my favorite books, Mr. Vincent Valentine. Above him a large portrait of a hellish landscape. The placard read 'The Face of Aka Manah.'
“She’s ready for you Sir.” The woman chirped up. Vincent’s eyes fluttered to life as he looked to her than over to me.
“Thank you my dear. And also, of course, thank you Ms. Williams for coming.” His eyes shined unnaturally well with an endless depth of knowledge and experience. The red tint of the room had darkened his irises to a near pitch black coloring.
“Mr. Valentine, thank you so much for doing all of this.” I nearly stumbled over my words but managed to choke them out. Vincent merely gave me a half smile and shook his head dismissively.
“Nonsense. I saw that article you wrote about how my stories. About how they had inspired you to take up the pen and try your hand at crafting your own tales. I was beyond flattered.” He motioned his slender finger over to a blood red leather wingback chair that sat next to him. With a nod I followed his directions. With a short walk closer to the Author I had taken my seat in the form fitted throne next to my life long hero.
“It really is a shame how many people don’t know about you.” I offered as a sincere sentiment. His half smile spread slightly more across his aged and wizened face.
“My work finds precisely the people I want it too. You can’t share true horror with just anyone you know. I think some Authors found that out the hard way.” With a soft chuckle he resumed, “but this isn’t just a pleasant trip, as you must’ve gathered from my letter. This is a gift. I want to tutor you for for however long it takes until you can find your voice. I can promise, no matter how heavy and large that black book you hold feels, it’ll fill as easily as any ink to paper with the right motivation.”
With one of his ancient hands he pointed over to my jacket pocket, exactly where I had kept my little black book. How he knew where it was still remains a mystery to me.
“I would love to learn from you if I could get the chance.” I held back a yearning look. I didn’t want to make this man think lowly of me.
With a quick check of his watch his face had grown long and disappointed.
“The nights fading well past dawn and I fear our time tonight must be cut short. That being said I want you to understand one thing before bed. Each and every story you tell is as real as flesh and blood. Maybe not to you but to someone, something, somewhere. The cosmos is large and beyond that even larger. Science is just starting to scratch into what philosophers have known from the beginning of time. Sadly humanity's science will never catch up to their freedom of thought. The human understanding will always be a blip of the whole until it’s wiped out completely.”
The way he was staring into my eyes told me so much about who this man was. Whether or not he was sane may have been up to a debate to everyone but himself. He knew he lived in a reality so much more vivid than our own.
“Excuse me sir, the guest bedroom has been prepared. We have seven minutes.” A feminine voice behind me had broken me from my trance. Mr. Valentine's gaze left my own and looked towards his servant.
“And so ends my lesson for the night. Dream about what I taught you and I can promise by the morning you’ll already be one step closer to a new well of horror. Possibly by tomorrow night you'll be completely submerged.”
Before I could respond, the Maid had ushered me out of the den. We had arrived back in the hallway of portraits. The faces amongst them had seemingly changed their gazes to match my mood. Their eyes now were cast down upon me, judging me for who I was and who I wanted to be. Once again I felt that feeling of foreboding darkness. This time however I looked the Demons back in their countless eyes. I was trying to see them as real entities just as Mr. Valentine had requested that I do. Their terrible gazes seemed to soften with every step I took. Their lips seemingly upturning at the edges of their mouths in just the slightest of manners.
Once we hit the staircase in the main foyer I chanced a glance down an adjacent hallway to see the elegant servant carrying thick iron chains from one room to the next. After quickly shutting the doors behind him he used the irons to bar them from the outside. He glanced over towards me and our eyes met. He nodded at me in acknowledgment. His face seemed paled and worn.
My guide nudged my arm to grab my attention away from the man. "Hurry now, we need to get you in bed soon." With a hurried but dignified saunter she had led me up the wooden staircase and into the abyss above. Just as the den had tinted the air red, the second floor cast shadows of darkness around every corner. I felt a cold breath of wind run through me that seemed to emanate from the Manor's stone brick walls themselves.
“My apologies for any drafts up here. It’s been a very long time since anyone has been a guest in the Wordsmith.” Her voice reflected an apologetic tone but also that of stoicism, as if she was repeating an archaic sentiment from her memories but still a sentiment nonetheless.
“It’s fine, I enjoy cold air as long as there's a nice warm blanket to accompany it.” I forced a smile and looked at the side of the servants face. She seemed to have a coy expression on her lips at my fleeting justification for a drafty home.
“And here it is, right at the top of the staircase. I hope you find everything to your liking. If not we’ll do our best to please you in the morning.” She turned to face me. Her eyes emanated light in the darkened corridor. They were submissive but penetrative, an odd combination but one gained from countless years of servitude.
“I’m sure I will. Thank you.” With a nod she stepped beside the door, allowing me entry past her. I walked in front of the Maid and pressed my small hand on the brass handle of the guestroom door. A quick tug and a push allowed me entry.
I gaped at my room.
A large queen sized bed lay mid-way between the doorway and the far wall. A veiled rose colored canopy adorned the edges of the bed mimicking Victorian royalty. The posh blankets seemed soft enough to resemble that of ruby red a cloud. I had never seen anything like it with my own eyes before.
An expansive window lay on the farthest wall, moonlight pooled into the room and coated my resting place with a beam of heavenly light. Just below the window resided a writing desk and a chair, neatly tucked in. No signs of dust or unkempt follies showed any sort of face in this pristine room.
With hushed footsteps I approached my bed. The door latching shut behind me. I allowed my hands to slowly draw back the drapes, the silk nearly slipping through my fingertips. I took a deep breath and laid down. The bed gave way underneath my body and devoured me into its encasing folds. I let out an exhausted breath as I smiled and stared up at the ceiling. I couldn’t possibly have felt more excitement and desire for the future. My heart had swelled up inside of my chest at that moment.
With little more notice my eyes pushed themselves shut and filled my mind with an empty darkness. Neither dream nor thought seemed to come to me that night. My weary brain needed a rest perhaps more than I knew.
I woke up hours later to the brilliant shine of the morning’s sun. Even through my wispy half taut curtains the sunlight had managed to breach into my room. The large window had fully replaced the moonlight from the night prior. I looked down at myself and sighed. I had fallen asleep with all my clothes on including my shoes. I felt as though I had somehow once again proven that I didn’t belong within the halls of the manor.
I pushed that negative thought out of my mind. Quickly followed by physically pushing myself out of my resting place. With all the clarity of an early bird, I let my eyes travel around the naturally well-lit room. I saw a small door on the wall nearest the foot of my bed.
Shortly after I saw my luggage neatly placed near a hardy looking writing desk. After a quick post slumber stretch I allowed myself to start the process of unpacking my belongings. I quickly discovered that the door nearest to the bed led to a bathroom. With travel pack in hand I entered.
Marble countertops and glistening silver accessories lined the bathroom. A smile broke through my face as I saw how disheveled I looked in the mirror in comparison to the pristine nature of the room I was in. I walked to the counter and unzipped my baggie.
To my surprise everything I could need was already placed neatly in a row. Toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant and even other more personal items. Strangely enough they were all my favorite brands.
I shook it off and convinced myself that I just had good tastes in products.
I took some extra time with getting myself cleaned up and presentable. I was fully prepared to make a good impression on my host. Hell, at that point in time, I just wanted to keep pace with his Servants.
Once I was freshened up I put my used clothes into a linen hamper and headed out towards the bedroom door. With a quick flick of my wrist I felt unexpected resistance. I tried again to meet the same result.
It was latched shut.
I kept trying but sure enough the door was locked up tight from the outside of the room. A slight panic began to fill my chest. A panic set in by the fast realization I had allowed myself to enter a strangers home without proper precautions.
I felt my heartbeat begin to race.
With a heavy fist I pounded on the thick wooden frame of the door. Not too long after I heard heavy footsteps glide up the staircase to the other side of my room. With the sound of a lock turning the door opened. Standing on the other side was the Butler, my former Chauffeur.
"My apologies Madam. It's been so long since we've had a guest I suppose it slipped our mind that this door would need unlocking." He tried to give me a charming smile but I wasn't going for it this time. I quickly spat a retort back towards him.
"Why was my door locked in the first place?" I questioned, my eyes shooting directly into the brown depths of his.
"It's mostly to keep the night staff out. They don't like to be bothered much and can be a bit of a handful if they bump into anyone they don't know." In retaliation to my stare his eyes had softened and melted down some of my guard.
"Well I don't care about that. I don't want my door locked. Don't do that in the future." The man grimaced and nodded.
"As you wish." He stated flatly. "Now If you wouldn’t mind breakfast is about to be prepared. If you head to the dining room I’m sure Mr. Valentine will meet you there.” With that the man headed back down the steps towards the foyer. I stood still. I was at a loss as to where to venture. I decided to follow him and venture down the steps. By the time I reached the bottom the man was gone.
"You can head straight down towards the Den but make the first right in the hallway." I jumped as the female voice spoke up right behind my back. I turned around to see the maid behind me. She gave a calm nod and waved out her hand, pointing down the direction of the hall.
“I’m sorry, thank you.” I whispered. It was slowly becoming clear to me that there was something lurking just below the surface of this manor, like it was all a part of some type of show.
With that in the back of my mind I headed off down the hallway. The stone began to lighten up towards the back as a large windowpane took over an entire wall. I entered the windowed room and saw a rather extravagant dining set. Two chairs presented themselves at the foot of either end of the table.
I chose the chair that seemed reserved for a guest, the one less commanding of the dining room. Before long a sensual smell filled the room. Freshly baked bread, bacon and eggs were all seemingly being made from scratch. I stared outside the window as I waited and saw a large clearing in the woods. A bench lay outside facing the yard while several rocky outcroppings lay at the far end, just out of my sight.
“It’s a beautiful day isn’t it?” A smooth voice trailed off. I had glanced at the doorway to see the tall slender figure of Mr. Vincent Valentine. A new blazer was draped over his body accentuating his strong but thin shoulders.
“Very beautiful Sir.” I said, smiling at him. He put out his hand and waved my pleasantries away.
“No need for that. I need you independent for teaching, otherwise you’ll just end up like me.” His tone was like silk. He knew how to speak. Without another word he took his seat at the other end of the table. Fresh plates of food were brought out by the servants and placed in front of us. Just as I had imagined they had prepared fresh biscuits, bacon and eggs along with finely toasted bread.
I raised some food to my mouth and took a bite, nothing but purity of flavor could explain the taste. It was so very refined. It was prepared in such a way that I had to believe that the chauffeur didn’t just have a knack for driving under his belt but was a perfected chef as well.
Mr. Valentine gazed out of the window as I ate, not touching a bite of the spread that lay in front of him.
“Are you willing to go beyond your personal comfort to write?” He asked out loud. The surprising nature of his question made me put my food back down on my plate.
“As long as I’m being taught by you, I don’t think we could go wrong.” I offered while I eyed up the strange teacher.
At my words his sharp gaze shifted to my eyes, penetrating my very soul.
“I want you to leave here a creator, an author of the highest ability. That takes a great deal of sacrifice. Would you be willing to do that?”
I felt stunned at his question. I didn’t understand his meaning nor his goal.
“I believe I am.” I replied. I looked on his face for any type of signal that I had said the right thing. To my surprise a smile came across the old man’s face.
“Good to hear. Tonight will be a fine night for horror.” With that Mr. Valentine stood up from his chair and walked out of the dining room, leaving myself and the feast before me, to our own devices.
I took my time to fill my stomach and then excused myself silently from the table. I wandered the halls of the Wordsmith endlessly. The layout seemingly to continuously shift with every loop. I couldn't explain it but my thought's seemed to refuse to be collected.
I had based by two equivalent foyers, three libraries and countless halls. Eventually becoming lost in the maze of the manor. I felt a cold sweat begin to hit me as I was quickly realizing I wouldn't be able to get back to where I started.
Somehow every long hour only lasted a short minute. The windows began to shift from morning light, to brilliant afternoon beams to a rose colored sunset in just moments.
I spent all day lost and didn't speak with Mr. Valentine a single time after breakfast. No doubt frustrating the man that I was wasting his time.
I quickened my pace down the stone hallways. Left, Right, Left, Forward. Somehow I looped around. I began to jog. Night was approaching. The layout was impossible. Where were the servants?
I heard whispers coming from doors that had long since been chained shut. The same chains I had seen the Butler the night prior carrying. Could this be some ploy just to scare me? If so how were they commanding these stone spaces to loop and twirl so easily around me.
It didn't matter eventually. Night had fully fallen by the time I found myself at the Foyer near my bedroom. Even though hours supposedly had past my stomach was still full from breakfast.
I felt like crying. I wasted an entire day of my trip running around a manor by myself. Not a single page written in the journal Mr. Valentine had bought for me. And to make it worse a quick glance around the hallways showed no signs of life. Just cold drafts of dry air. I had no option but to go back up to my room and try to start anew tomorrow.
I traced my steps back up from the night prior and making it back up to my room. Inside was dark, clouds had covered the moonlight letting nothing break through the thick ink that had pooled inside. I kicked off my shoes and fell back onto the bed. Tears in my eyes.
With every huff of air I took I could hear an echo coming from the blackened corner of the room.
I turned my head and stared into the void.
I couldn't make out anything at first. I wiped the water from my eyes and kept focusing. Eventually a figure formed in my mind. Something just taller than myself. Masculine, dapper.
The Male Servant.
I sat up and called out to the shadow. "What are you doing in my room? How long have you been there?"
The mans outline just continued to watch me. My senses suddenly kicked in. Some sort of instinct was telling me to get as far away from this man as possible. I slowly stood up to my feet, my eyes not leaving his shape.
I slowly began to step towards the door. His frame just stood in the darkness like a drape, his face watching me as I walked further away.
Once I was near the door I felt my shoulder bump into something. I turned and stared at the Maid. Or rather the Maid that was not a maid.
Her outfit clung to her like loose fitting rags. Her face gaunt and mouth opened exposing a pit of darkness outlined by a row of pearly white teeth. Her lower jaw jiggled with my shoulders light touch.
I heard a voice in the back of my head call out to me. 'Run.' And so I did.
I immediately ran down the stairs towards the front foyer. The skittering of feet following closely behind me. I reached the front door and pulled. It tugged but refused to budge. It was locked. I turned to face my pursuers but through my squinted gaze I was met with nothing more than an empty room.
I started to breath heavily trying to control myself. Off down a distant hallway I heard a door open and close. It sounded like it came from Mr. Valentine's Den. I turned back to the front door and tried opening it again, looking for the latch.
Footsteps began to walk down the hallway towards me.
I pulled and pulled, tears welling up in my eyes again. I made a mistake. Coming to here, meeting a stranger, I was being dumb. I never should have taken the offer.
Eventually I screamed out at the front door and heard a soothing voice come from behind me.
"What a terrible night you seem to be having." It was Mr. Valentine. I turned to face him. His back was turned towards me and face obscured.
"Mr. Valentine, please, I don't want to do this anymore. Something's wrong with this place. I'm sorry, I just-" I froze as Mr. Valentine walked closer to me. His knees protruded backwards, facing the wrong way underneath his fine silk slacks.
"My dear, you have 5 days left here." With that all the light faded in the Foyer. I was cast in darkness.
It wasn't until sunlight hit my face the next morning that I felt some sort of relief. I looked around me, I was in the guest bedroom. Precisely where I was the night before. I shot back up and looked around. Nothing was out of place. I heard a knocking at the door. It was the Maid.
"Madam, we've prepared breakfast for you. You wont want to miss your first lesson with Mr. Valentine. He's waiting for you.
I didn't know if I could make it much longer there. Nothing made any sense.
When I came to think of it, I couldn't even remember a single title Mr. Valentine had ever wrote.
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2023.06.05 19:07 Queen_Of_Omorfia selling items!! (nyp)
Wings: * mini love wings * twas the night before christmas x5 * stained glass rose x3 * snowfall fairy x2 * infernal bat x2 * delicate blue rose * snow pops x2 * mini electric guardian * dew drop mist * winter butterfly * winter wings 2020 x4 * keeper of light * crystal ice x3 * sparkly snowflake skater x3 * angel wings
Skirts: * mini skirt x7 * midnight’s strike popstar performance skirt x5 * royal stroll in the garden x2 * ruffle velvet bow mini skirt * real life mermaid x4 * sparkly party tutu
Shoes: * carol of the elves booties * adorable lace-up doll boots * kingly kicks * huggly snuggly booties x3 * snuggly reindeer slippers x11
Accessories: * christmas window shopping top hat * crazy in love glasses * frozen royalty crown x2 * angel halo * kawaii reaper x5 * droopy elf ears * peppermint princess sleeves x2 * nomnom frosted donut waist floatie x4 * exquisite emerald ring x5 * studded rose garters * maracas * arachnofabulous x5 * dear dollie laced back bow x3 * kitchen accident x5 * exquisite emerald necklace x3 * exquisite emerald earrings x2 * glorious cape * dear dollie gloves x9 * butterfly pavilion fascinator * mix matched striped socks x9 * spring horns * beautiful rose in hand x2 * spring cleaning duster x2 * freshwater pearl necklace x6 * seashell hair clips x3 * sparkly heart hoop earrings * heart of the ocean necklace * pumpkin autumn earrings * dotd aromatic flower crown * giant teddy bear * princess starfrost cozy bodice * bloxy award * polar bear beret cap * nine-tails * royal sword of strength x2 * princely dueling crown * reindeer crossbody x5 * 2020 party hat x2 * pretty kitty tail x2 * skull crown * spider friend x2 * warm glittering cloak x8 * sparkly candy cane ears x5 * fuzzy warm frost hat x7 * light-up ornament necklace x5 * winter snowglobe x11 * merry sparkly dress x6 * shy scarf * abnormally large and very pokey fork * beasty snow antlers * rainbow ears x2 * treasure satchel x3 * spring bucket hat x2 * stars and moons pendant x2 * ruffle top hat x3 * warm winter lantern x6 * rainbow pot of gold bag x8 * ice’s ufo x5 * dangly rainbow earrings x5 * over the rainbow sleeves x5 * chocolate lucky coin x4 * bouquet of clovers x5 * lucky bow pin x2 * lucky top hat x4 * lucky bowtie x2 * leprechaun belt x4 * rainbow diamond earrings x4 * four leaf clover ears * rainbow armlets x2 * hip bag of coins x6 * classic golden chain x3 * lucky headband x8 * nightmare witch hat x2 * 2021 lunar new year: ox * rainbow candy x3 * whiskers * bunny bonnet headband * falling spring blossoms * icey snowflake earrings x2 * wish upon a star earrings x2 * spring scramble earrings * fuzzy bracelets * fashionable round frames x3 * spring queen crown x2 * easter egg boppers x2 * oof head x2 * rainbow visor x3 * easter egg top hat x2 * glowing pumpkin wand x2 * friendship necklace (right) x6 * gone with the wind bow headband x9 * personal snow flurry x11 * crispy air puffy jacket x8 * flower vines arm beauty x7 * stocking bows * soft plush antlers * santa hat x4 * santa’s beard * light-up antlers x2 * classic ghost costume x2 * 2021 party hat x7 * my dollie x2 * candy explosion!!! x3 * spinning web boppers x2 * darling valentina playful puppy ears x7 * bat earrings x3 * supernatural hoop earrings x5 * spider’s masterpiece purse * nomnom chocolate bar x5 * magical fairy lights x12 * dragon staff x4 * leah’s bubblegum bubble x8 * cheerleader pompoms! x5 * don’t pick me please x7 * jeweled choker necklace x5 * american flag x4 * canadian flag x3 * glittering noel bows x6 * sparkly christmas bells earrings x9 * snowman’s top hat x4 * runaway damsel candleabra x4 * good tidings shawl cape x2 * father christmas’ present bag x3 * iced gingerbread earrings x2 * aurora’s longsword * elf helper hat * aurora’s battleaxe * polar cutie fur leg warmers * ice prince shawl cape * dashing through the snow scarf * midnight’s strike popstar astral hair bow x13 * sewer rat x8 * midnight’s strike popstar constellation bodice x3 * midnight’s strike popstar celestial armlets x11 * midnight’s strike popstar microphone * popstar microphone
DISCLAIMER: there's no set prices on any of these items, so if you're offering diamonds please name your price!! and I'm open to items/items + diamonds offers though I'm predominantly looking for diamonds ^ the "x(certain number)" just indicates the quantity of the item I have available for sale at the moment
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2023.06.04 23:43 AgereSylveonDarling [Let's build] D100 Hairpins (or other hair accessories)
Sooooo..... I have a character who is a snow leopard tabaxi hailing from the campaigns equivalent of ancient China..... an important part of her character is she has a huge collection of beautiful (mostly traditional chinese) hairpins, most of various origin, she also has a few other hair accessories (or things just related to hair) but most of it tends to be hairpins. My DM asked me to give them a list of her collection so they can incoporate them (and give new ones) into the story. I hope this list might help others. Of course, you can add enchaments, but I would prefer mainly mundane and minorly useful ones, nothing too extreme. Thank y'all so much!
- A rose tinted gold hairpin that has an end that look like a bouquet of plum blossoms, each bloom with a tiny pink sapphire in the center.
- A gold hair pin shaped like a sunflower
- Hair pin with a gorgon wrought in emeralds, made with silver.
- Ivory hair comb shaped like flower petals with small diamonds
- Jade hair pin shaped like a Chinese dragon holding the pin
- A pale lavender jade hair ornament depicting a cloud.
- An oaken hairbrush inlaid with mother-of-pearl.
- A slim, white gold hairpin in the likeness of a shrike.
Ideas from u/ChihuahuaJedi
(each with an optional enchantment, but could also stand on their own)
X. A rose gold hairpin with a simple inlaid ruby; once per day, make eye contact with an NPC to force them to visibly blush
X. A seashell adorned hairpin; anyone holding their ear up to yours can hear the ocean
X. A sun-bleached bone hairpin; once per day, make a wet thing dry
X. A driftwood hairpin; once per day, turn a glass of water into sea water
X. A hairpin made off three exotic feathers; your hair always seems to flutter gently, as if in the wind
X. A hairpin carved of gallows wood; once per day, make eye contact with an NPC to make them feel incredibly guilty
X. A hairpin with a glass vial of grave dirt; you hear whispers at night, they slightly aid divination magic
X. A hairpin inlaid with a prospector's tooth; tapping it perfectly mimicks the sound of a gold coin tinging
X. An orcish hairpin; already non-hostile orcs are either slightly friendlier or at least a bit confused by you
X. A hairpin forged from a gnomish spoon; stir it in soup or cereal to improve its flavor
X. A hairpin carved from a halfling's pipe; once per day, make eye contact with an NPC to make them feel cozy and comfortable
X. An ivory hairpin adorned with an ornate dragonchess piece; you gain proficiency at dragonchess
X. A dark steel hairpin adorned with a succubus claw; once per day, wink at an NPC to make them have a dirty thought, you can hear it telepathically
X. A silver hairpin adorned with the knucklebone of a saint; when traveling, non hostile NPC pilgrims are friendly to you
X. A hairpin adorned with an elvish love note, folded into an origami flower; you always smell nice, no matter how dirty or sweaty you are
X. A hairpin carved from the hull of a pirate ship, adorned with a foreign gold coin; throw it into the ocean, you can magically charm one pirate crew into letting you parley with their captain
X. A finely carved magnesium hairpin; good kindling, avoid open flame
X. A yew hairpin painted with ink made by a lich; once per day, touch a corpse, you learn one trivial fact (irrelevant to plot or game mechanics) about their life
X. A hairpin forged from cathedral glass; shatter it to gain advantage in one roll
X. A wooden hairpin adorned with a page from a wizard's spell; burn it to remember one fact you forgot
----- ideas from u/Internal_Attention16
A hairpin in the form of a possibly-functional rock pick.
A hairpin made from a long, thin, faceted wand of blueish crystal.
A twirling silver hairpin with the head of a snake, its eyes made from tiny, glittering star rubies.
A wooden hairpin, the end carved and stained in the stylized likeness of an owl.
A Wand of Alter Self…cleverly disguised as a hairpin!
A bronze hairpin with a series of tinkling multicolor beads hanging from the end, attached by delicate chains.
A silver hairpin fashioned in the shape of a miniature arrow.
A carefully-wrought golden hairpin, the end shaped to resemble a single ginkgo leaf.
A sinister-looking black lacquered hairpin with a red string holding a small charm at the end of it—a pearl carved into a tiny skull.
A floral hairpin with bellflower blossoms made from softly-colored silk.
A twisted wire hairpin artfully arranged into a split tree branch, one bough carefully cradling a pearl that seems to indicate the moon.
A small pink hairclip adorned with a dried out flower blossom, once worn by a young boy who loved gardening. It's fragile, and looking at it brings to mind melancholy thoughts of when you were young. u/MildlyConcernedGhost
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2023.06.04 19:53 Saint-Andros A Lesson in Scionics Sound the Drums Chapter 9
Big thanks to u/Killsode-slugcat
for helping me with proofreading and editing.
--- SUBJECT-DESIGNATION: Admiral Marcus Miller LOCATION: Earthen Orbit, Atlantic Citadel DATE: EARTH-TIME [Wednesday, August 23, 2186]
I stood above Earth, gazing down upon her bright blue brilliance from the comfort of my personal quarters.
It was odd to think that just five hundred years ago, humanity had been scared of the darkness that lingered at the forest’s edge. I couldn’t imagine that those born during that time could have ever imagined the heights which we would rise to. My only hope was that our vast distance from the ground of primitivity wouldn’t lead to a devastating fall.
Already it felt like a lifetime ago that my crew and I had braved our own dark forest—the endless expanse of space beyond our system’s heliopause. Now we knew of the devils that rested at the edge of those shadows. The fires of Sol and the shield of our Oort cloud were all that now stood between us and them. At least in the process of our journey, we had met another group of weary travelers. We now knew that we were not alone.
The reaction to our discovery of the Khimrox—or perhaps their discovery of us—had actually gone over quite well with the global population, though some fringe groups chose to remain skeptical for reasons I couldn’t fathom.
Following the acceptance of the Khimroxian people as refugees, I was rather quickly promoted to the position of admiral. Despite it being an honorary title for the time-being, it was one that I wore with pride. Besides, considering how things were currently going among the leadership of the UEN, it was my guess that we would soon need all of the fleet commanders we could get.
Being separated from my crew though, it was certainly an ordeal. For over a year, we had trained and prepared for our journey aboard the Challenger, all the while forming a strong bond—the bond of a crew. It was them who had kept my mind from plunging into the hopeless darkness that threatened to envelop my mind back aboard the ruined wreck of our exploratory vessel.
Liz and Garth had been reassigned to finally fulfill their true calling as biologists. Together, they dove head-first into in-depth studies of Khimroxian anatomy and physiology. Sid had opted to assist in the deconstruction of the Ignis
, allowing its analysis by a team of scientists that included Lee. As far as I was aware, they had so far produced staggeringly impressive results in regards to potential military applications. Jake was probably the wisest among us, choosing to enter an early retirement, which I quite honestly considered the smartest move. Each member of the Challenger had essentially become an influential celebrity overnight. If any of us chose to, we wouldn’t need to work another day in our lives.
Nia had taken an extended leave of absence following our return and chose to take up temporary residence within the Khimrox colony. Darius was perhaps the only one that had stuck with me. Due to my request, he was to be the chief navigational officer of a brand new fleet that had been promised to me—an experimental UEN fleet by the name of Vengeant Dawn.
Though word hadn’t yet officially been released, some part of me could sense the storm approaching on the horizon. War was coming. The only questions that remained were when and how it would be waged, one of which we were currently working to answer.
Some remained skeptical, but me, I had been waiting since the day I first heard of that wretched name, the one which hid behind a thin and lustrous coat. They would pay in blood for what they had done to our Khimroxian friends and to all of the scion species that they considered beneath them. Speaking of those pricks…
I turned from the window to look back at the objects of interest.
We had already begun to install improvements and replacements for our own technology from what we had researched so far. The holo-table of my room was one such improvement.
Atop it, hovered three ire-inspiring figures—the bastards of the Orion Arm.
One was what looked to be a molluscoid. Twelve long and winding tentacles stretched from its body. The creature’s skin could possess a wide variety of colors, but this one took on a dark shade of blue. Atop its head—or back, I still wasn’t entirely sure—was a large circular shell that spiraled backwards. The shell itself was fairly reminiscent of an ammonite, with the notable exception of its golden sheen. A green pair of eyes with slitted black pupils could be found at either side of its face. At the end of each of its limbs were a strange bunch of contraptions that were barely recognizable as the manipulators they were. To support its spineless body—and perhaps its brazen cowardice—was an exoskeleton which covered the length of its tentacles, allowing it to rise to an ironically respectable height. The Dodektopi.
The second was a shape that made no sense according to what little we apparently knew regarding the formation of life. The figure of flames was somewhat humanoid in shape, but distinct enough to separate it from ourselves. A frenzy of dancing plasma licked across the surface of its shape, occasionally whipping out from its body in flares of solar activity. Centered within the fiery specter’s face was an unfamiliar symbol forged out of a sleek black metal that did not burn with the being’s body. Its hands and feet that connected the body were made of similar steel and seemed to hold the shape together with the help of the head. The Novari.
Last but most certainly not least was a chillingly familiar shape. It was an ancient and terrible legend made manifest. The draconic figure before me bore ebony-black scales. A wicked pair of gold curling horns rose from the tyrant’s skull, covered in rings of that black metal that wrapped around them. Cryptic runes—whose mere existence denoted their ancient nature—were etched into the bone of these very same horns. Surrounding its head were countless quills that reached back behind the skull. From its oddly placed back pair of shoulders sprouted leathery wings that curled around the body, nearly encircling it in a hug. A long tail whose spiked end was covered in yet more of those sleek black rings fell behind them. The creature wore nothing more than a red ornamented kilt, bearing the same symbols as those etched upon its body across the sashes which held it in place. Its imposing physique was proudly put on display and an amber pair of greedy eyes rested behind its black maw of terrible teeth.
At the second and frontward pair of stubby shoulders, a shimmering pair of auric arms, engraved with yet more of those runes. I could have recognized their design anywhere. They bore an uncanny similarity with those utilized by our Khimrox friends. The three primary differences between those of them and those that belong to our friends were the sheer quality of the design, the notable exception of their shimmering sheen and their lethal talons that had been sharpened to a shining point. The Aeryvyn.
The terrible triumvirate mocked me with their mere presence, but I couldn’t tear them away from my sight. It’s fortunate that something else did it for me.
A ping that rained from the speakers in my ceiling heralded the incoming message. “All UEN personnel with alpha clearance please report to the briefing room.” Two more times, the soft and purposefully inoffensive voice repeated itself.
With a sigh, I shut off the display and marched to don the new garb that matched my position. When my door slid open, I saw several others stride through the long hall of yet more doors that matched my own.
The familiar scent of ozone had been a relief following the unnaturally clean air of the Ignis. That ship was no longer the home of the Khimroxian refugees, so I had little care for its continued existence. By now, it was a skeleton of alien alloys.
Our straight, gray walls and steel-vented floors were showered in warm light. Compared to the Ignis where the too-white surface where wall and floor blended together, the scenic viewing ports and recognizable craftsmanship felt like the warm embrace of a long-lost friend. Speaking of friends, I wonder if I’ll see Saffan.
Weeks had passed now since I last saw the captain-ambassador. His new position ensured this was so.
A stream of gray-coated senior staff flowed through the doors to the briefing room. At the entrance, a full complement of soldiers outfitted with Styx suits stood guard. That generation of armor would soon be outdated in comparison to the schematics I had seen prepared.
My heart warmed involuntarily as I entered the room. Saffan’s bright eyes of perpetual wideness stared back at me. I shouldered my way through the convening crowds of admirals. Each spoke with a weight of self-importance that I couldn’t have cared less for.
When I finally reached him he called my name. “Marcus!” The captain extended a hand. Wait, what?
I wasn’t sure whether to be more confused by his use of the gesture or his new set of arms. They were admittedly simple compared to the prior pair and they were coated with a blue shine that matched his eyes. The digits no longer took the shape of those reptilian claws, instead forming an approximation of human fingers.
The hands locked perfectly with my own. “Saffan, good to see you again. How are things going?”
“Wonderfully. Though I must say, you humans seem to have more countries than you know what to do with.” Saffan folded his arms. “I’ve visited thirteen nations already and I still have over a hundred that have sent me visitation invitations.”
A scoff escaped my throat. “Yeah, that’s us for you. Needlessly overcomplicated.”
I took a step forward and placed a hand on a brilliant blue arm. “And these! When did you get these?” Saffan practically beamed at my inquiry.
“Elizabeth and Garth actually helped design them! They’re exceptionally lightweight compared to my last pair and they can fold to not hinder flight.” As he said this, the two artificial limbs pressed up against his body as he fully folded his wings in a similar manner. With both arms and wings folded, he would have looked like a great horned owl if not for the obvious discrepancies of his size, his horned head and the swirling patterns that covered his wings.
“That’s enough about me though, how have you been? What have you been up to?”
“Ah, not much,” I said, rubbing the back of my head. “Paid the family a visit a week back for the first time since the Challenger. For the most part though, I've been training on the battle sims these last few weeks. If I’m to be an admiral, may as well try to play the part.” Saffan slowly nodded. I got the feeling that he too sensed the approaching storm.
“This family of yours, I’d love to meet them some time.”
“Oh, I’m sure they’d love to meet you I…”
“Attention!” The stern sound cut me off. The rippling chorus of speech died down almost immediately as the call demanded our undivided focus. I could’ve recognized that voice anywhere.
“Thank you for joining me, my friends.”
“You’re a smart bunch of people, so I’m sure you’ve gotten the sense for what’s been going on by now.” Redd took a deep sigh and looked around the room at the entirety of the UEN navy’s command structure.
“Ever since the Khimroxians arrived, we’ve been faced with a choice—a choice that must not be taken lightly.” The captain turned our way and gave Saffan a nod.
“When the brave souls aboard the Ignis
saved the crew of the Challenger
, they showed the true character of their people. They were faced with hard decisions—for our people and theirs—but they chose to push forward and in so doing, saved not only the lives of those aboard the Challenger, but all of Earth from falling subject to their lords. After due deliberation with the council-members of the United Earthen Nations, we have decided to follow in the footsteps of our friends and take such a risk.”
“As of right now, we are at war with the Alliance of the Aurum Arm.
” The room fell into deafening silence.
“Each member-state of the UEN will alert their people in due time, but for the moment, not a single word heard within this meeting must be uttered outside of this room.”
Admiral Sturm, the very man who had been my commander not all that long ago, spoke up. “With all due respect, Director, we don’t have the means to wage such a conflict.”
“That's why we’ll create the means. For once, I’m glad to say something good came out of the Kuiper War.” This derived a few nervous laughs from the audience. “With the production facilities appropriated from the Aedavis Corporation, and a few adjustments, we have the potential to create the most powerful fleet of human-made ships to ever enter space.”
“Unfortunately however, we do not have the means to reproduce the white hole drives utilized by the Aurum vessels, or even the dark matter used to stabilize the damned things.”
“Saffan, this is where you and your people will come in. If we are to stand a chance of waging war on such a scale, we will need intelligence and lots of it.”
“As difficult as it may be, we need information; without it, we’re dead in the vacuum of space. We will
need volunteers to go behind enemy lines and retrieve plans, schematics, layouts, anything that we can get a hold of that may provide us an advantage both strategically and technologically. Would your people be willing to go to such lengths?”
All eyes in the room turned to the ambassador-captain. “I—I don’t know. I will consult with them, but do I have your permission to speak freely about what you have told me?”
The aging man rubbed his orange-brown beard. “Yes. Yes that would probably be for the best wouldn’t it. Very well, just do your best not to allow it to reach other ears.”
“As for the rest of you, allow me to detail the plan we have so far.”
“Though most of the security council members are not tacticians, they have agreed to the plan that I and a few of my most trusted consultants have prepared. Right now, the nearest sector with a habitable planet is known as Mortamis. This was the last jump point for the Ignis
before it intercepted our distress signal. The tentative plan is to begin our expansion across their territory with the capture of this world to act as the staging grounds of our forces. However, until we receive more information regarding the exact layout of their defenses, we cannot commit to such an invasion.”
“From there, we will split up the UEN fleets into separate groups across the Orion arm and take out these tyrants by bleeding them of their most precious resource. Scions. Every world we take is an addition to our numbers, our production capacity, and our ability to fight.”
“Our end-goal is to capture the planet-capital of the alliance, Petris, and demand liberation of all species under control of the Aurum Alliance.“
“We do have a few major concerns however. According to the information provided to us by the Khimrox, a majority of Aurum vessels contain some form of scionic crew complement. Under no circumstances unless express consent is given by the command admiral of the fleet are we to attack a vessel with the intent of destroying it. We must first weaken and disable the ship’s defensive systems before boarding and liberating the captives.”
“I know that this flies in the face of all conventional battle tactics, but this is no conventional enemy that we’re fighting here. If we do not adapt, we will fail and all of humanity will be forced into scionship.”
“Keep in mind, this is a very brief version of our prepared plan. Each and every aspect of it is subject to change. We will
discuss this in further detail later, but for now, that is all. Any further questions?” Once again, silence. “Very well then. This council session is now adjourned.”
Other than the shuffling of feet exiting, all was silent. We had known it was coming, but to hear it confirmed…
“Marcus.” The director approached, placing a heavy hand on my shoulder. “Go ahead and join Ambassador Aeax, why don’t you? Might help some of those Khimrox to see a human face that they’re familiar with.”
With a snappy salute, I responded with, “Yes sir.” His words were certainly a surprise, but a chance to join the Khimrox that had saved us was not one I would pass up easily. He may as well have just given me a week of leave considering the excitement that bubbled up within me.
Together, I and Saffan made our way to a nearby shuttle bay headed directly to the Khimroxian colony. Surprisingly, I hadn’t yet paid a visit to the settlement placed within the province of Hunan, but I had seen some images on several media platforms.
The trip was a quick one. Our transport plunged into the atmosphere, kicking up flames all around the outside of the cabin. Soon enough though, the flames of our descent died out and were replaced by the darkness of night.
Even with the slight turbulence, Saffan seemed deep in thought as his eyes stared at nothing in particular.
“Hey, you good?”
That seemed to snap him out of it. “Wha—oh yes, sorry.” A look of focus still remained on his face. For a moment, he continued in his silence before posing a question. “What if my people decide not to volunteer? This entire plan could fall through in an instant.”
“You don’t give your people enough credit, my feathered friend.” Saffan gave me a narrow-eyed look before letting out a cluck of a chuckle. “Redd was right in what he said. I’m sure your people will make the best choice for all of us.”
“For both our sakes, I can only hope that you’re right.”
Our Harpy gently sailed over mountains and treetops, slowly sinking to a stop within a secluded area of trees that were foreign to me.
Only I and Saffan left from the Harpy’s bay and stepped off onto the tarmac. Behind us, the cargo-door closed with a hiss. As we stepped out from underneath our cover, light droplets of water pattered against my skin.
Seconds later, the Harpy’s thrusters kicked in and the ship took flight. The heavy hum and glow of burning hydrogen accompanied the bird as it flew away. In mere moments, it was gone, though the distant boom
of it breaking the sound barrier was audible enough.
Looking around, I saw a few of my fellow men and women unloading supplies from a parked Harpy onto a militarily designed transport truck. Dimly lit orange lamps shone down and around us, illuminating nearby hangar bays with their closed doors and rounded ceilings of corrugated metal.
“Let’s get going. I’m sure you don’t want to stay in the rain long.” The rain was enough to notice, but it wasn’t unpleasant. I gave a brief nod and we set off on the nearby road.
Though clouds of rain covered us, the light of the moon joined us as we walked to the village. The setup looked pretty standard from what I knew of modular UEN architecture. It was clear however that great care had been put into its construction. The rain kept most of the residents indoors for the time being, but through the windows of nearby buildings, I saw the illuminated interiors of cozy hostels where families and friends gathered together.
We passed another Khimrox while wading through the rain—one who held its head and horns high, walking with a cheery gait despite the gloomy weather. Compared to the stale and oppressive atmosphere aboard the Ignis
, the settlement brimmed with life, even amidst the darkness of both night and storms.
Saffan led me forward to a quaint home with a metal awning that covered the railed porch. We walked up the steps and Saffan rapped on the door with his cobalt colored knuckles.
I hoped for Nia’s sake that her time away from the military had treated her well. Lord knows she deserved some respite. The door opened and Nia's face peeked out to greet us. “Saffan! Marcus! What are you two doing here?”
Saffan answered as I silently sat by. “Oh we were just passing through. Thought it might be a good idea to stop and pay you a visit.”
“Well don’t make yourself strangers. Come on in!” Saffan sat behind as I walked forward and gave his whole body a shake. Droplets flew from his body and slid off his slick feathers.
The home was a simple one, consisting of a main living room joined together with a kitchen. In the back of the home was a short hall leading to a middle door that stood between a pair of two others. In the living room, perched Tokieran, the same physician who had plunged into my mind to extract our language.
Immediately, he rose from where he rested and turned to face Saffan, “Captain!”
“Can’t be a captain without a ship, Toki.” The former captain waved away the words with a hand. “Saffan will do.”
“Oh. Uh, well, it's good to see you again, Saffan.”
“Likewise my friend. I’m certain you haven’t seen much of me considering your position during our time on the Ignis
. It’s a shame we didn’t brush wings more often. You seem like a fine fellow.”
As the two avians got to talking, Nia gave me a light punch on the shoulder. “So, how’ve things been going for you admiral
?” It was at this moment that I realized I was still in full military dress. Rather sheepishly, I pulled the hat from my head.
“Fine.” I muttered “You?”
A smile met her face. “Best I’ve felt since I enlisted.” She gave a look towards the two conversing Khimroxians. “It's still hard to believe any of this is real sometimes, ya know?”
I nodded. “Yeah. The Challenger
, the Ignis
, all of it. Feels like a dream now.”
Nia’s eyes stayed upon the owl-folk. “One of those dreams you don’t really want to wake up from.”
I gave a grunt of agreement. “I only wish all of the Khimroxians could share it with us.” This turned her towards me. Her smile curved down somewhat and she gave a slight nod. What the hell. She’s going to learn it soon enough anyways.
Rubbing the rim of my hat, I spoke softly. “Maybe soon, that will be possible.”
“The council’s declared war.”
Her eyes snapped to mine, the smile fully gone. The room fell silent. I hadn’t hoped the others would hear me, but those Khimrox had an impeccable sense of hearing. I shouldn’t have expected any less from them.
All eyes turned to me. “The Aurum Alliance is a threat to humanity, the Khimrox, and all of the other scions that we haven’t even met yet. I think we both know this was inevitable”
“No, I get it, it's just… Wow.” The woman ran a hand through her black, tied-back hair as she heaved a sigh.
This facade dropped almost immediately and Nia’s mouth turned into a wonderfully devilish grin. After a few light chuckles, she said, “Better late than never I suppose. Those spineless sons-of-alien-bitches’ll never know what hit ‘em!”
The expressions on the faces of both Saffan and Tokieran showed no less resolve. Even the formerly jumpy physician proudly displayed a newfound sense of will. “The triumvirate operates under the expectation that we won’t fight back,” said Toki. “They see us as little more than animals and It's time we took full advantage of that fact.”
“Couldn’t have said it better myself,” remarked Saffan.
If these willing warriors were in any way representative of the entire Human-Khimroxian collective, the battle against these golden tyrants would be over before we knew it.
--- First Previous
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2023.06.04 12:25 LeaQuartz Big Shop <3
(I havent been in Royale High for too long so Im not sure with all the prices, comment below if needed to change!)
ALL NEGOTIABLE <3 (Can be offered items too)
Dear Dollie, (No Heels): 35k
[Separate: DD Heels = 25K On Hold, DD Corset = On Hold 10K, DD Skirt = 15k, DD Gloves = 5K-8K, DD Head bow = 4k-5k, DD Bow =4K)
Gothic Cutie: 70k
(Separate: GC Heels = Sold, GC Corset = 25K, GC Skirt = 10K, GC Earrings = 5K)
(BBD Dress = 15k, BBD Sleeves = 5K)
(SF Heels = 26K-30K, SF Skirt = 20K-22K, SF Staff = 10K, SF Cape = 8K, SF Bonnet = 4K, SF Corset = 10K)
Shadow Empress (NO SKIRT): 70K
(SE Heels = 30K, SE Corset = 15K-20K, SE Sleeves = 15K-20K, SE Crown = 7K)
Sleigh-It Set: 14K
(SI Corset = 10K, SI Skirt = 4K)
Cozy Set: 14K
(Cozy Gloves = 7K, Cozy Hat = 7K)
DotD Set (Can be Separate): NYP
Popstar Set (Can be Separate): NYP <3
December's Dream Shoes: 50K
(Just added): December Dream Coat: 40K
Winter Guardian Corset: Sold
Winter Guardian Sleeves: 15K-20K
Winter Guardian Antlers: 8K-10K
Angel Wings: NYP
Fur Boa: NYP
North Pole Skirt: 2.5K
- Winter Advent/Gifts (Several of Each)
Crisp Air Puffy Jacket: 5K-8K
Reindeer Ride: 5K
Snowflake Stole Scarf: 4.5K
Fuzzy Warm Frost Hat: 2K
Santa Beard: 1K
Soft Plush Antlers: 2K
Winter Snow globe: 1K
Snowman Top Hat: 1K
Glittering Noel Bows: 2K
Personal Snow Flurry: 4K
Fuzzy Bracelets: 2.5K
Glittering Cloak: 2K
Warm Lantern: 2K
Flower Vines Arm: 1K
Gone With The Wind Bow: 1K
Polar Beret Cap: 2K
Ornament Necklace: 1K
Christmas Bell Earrings: 900
Stocking Bows: 900
My Present Box: 2K
PomPom Beanie: 2K
Wish Upon A Star Earrings: 1K
Elf Ears: 2.5K
Shy Scarf: 2K
Santa Hat: 1K-1.5K
Snow Powder Bonnet: 2K-3K
Frozen Royalty Crown: 3K
Damsel Candelabra: 2K
Carrot Nose: 1K
Aurora's BattleAxe: 2K
Aurora's Longsword: 2K
Present Disguise: 1K
Gingerbread Earrings: 900
Father Christmas Bag: 1K
Baby Penguin: 2K
Fuzzy Earmuffs: 7K
Peppermint Sleeves: 5k-6K
Frozen Luggage: 3K-4K
Christmas Shopping Top Hat: 1K
Droopy Elf Ears: 2.5K
Snow Antlers: 2K
Polar Cutie Fur Leg Warmers: 5K
Polar Cutie Bear Hat: 3K
Special Reindeer Nose: 1K
Candycane Swords: 600
Festive Hair Bow: 1K
Reindeer Set: 2K
Candy Cane Ears: 1K
Icey Snowflake Earrings: 1K
Winter Shawl: 2K
Merry Sparkly Dress: 1K-2K
Christmas Headband: 900
Billowing Cape: 1K
Magical Fairy Lights: 1K
Fur Collar: 3K
Light Up Antlers: 1.5K
Ribbon Necklace: 1K
Elegant Parasol: NYP
OA Boots: NYP
OA Gloves: Sold
OA Teddy: Sold
MC Bodice: Sold
MC Skirt Sold
MC Sleeves: Sold
MC Beret: Sold
DV Skirt: Sold
DV Ears: 900
Magical Hair Ribbon: 8K
Aphrodite's Shoulder Bag: Sold
My Teddy Bear: Sold
Giant Teddy: Sold
Celestial Flower Bouqet: 10K-15K On Hold0
St. Patrick (Several of Each):
Rainbow Visor: 1K
Four Leaf Clover Ears: 1K
Treasure Satchel: 1K
Leprechaun Belt: 1K
Bouquet of Clovers: 500
Hip Bag of Coins: 1K
Mix Matched Socks: 2K
Exquisite Emerald Necklace: 1K
Exquisite Emerald Earring: 1K
Fashionable Frames: 1.5K
Heart Necklace Left: 1K
Heart Necklace Right: 1K
Spring Bucket: 2K
Ruffle Top Hat: 1K
Rainbow Pot o Gold Bag: 1K
Stars And Moon Pendant: 1K
Over The Rainbow Sleeves: 1K
Freshwater Necklace: 1K
Classic Golden Chain: 1K
Lucky Top Hat: 1K
Rainbow Armlets: 1K
Dangly Rainbow Earrings: 1K
Lucky Headband: 1K
Rainbow Diamond Earrings: 1K
Chocolate Lucky Coin: 500
Dont Pick Me Please: 500
Lucky Bow Pin: 500
Lucky Bow Tie: 500
Easter Items (Several of Each):
Bunny Earrings: 1K
Cute Animal Nose: 1K
Sweet Cherry Earrings: 1K
Butterfly Pavilion Fascinator: 2.5K
Fuzzy Bunny Ears: 2K
Sweet Bunny Hair Bows: 1K
Falling Spring Blossoms: 2K
Strawberry Picking Basket: 10K
Easter Egg Top Hat: 1K
Holding Cute Bunnies: 1K
Springtide Flower Crown: 3K
Baby Chick Backpack: 1.5K
Floppy Ears: 1.5K
Spring Cleaning Duster: 2K
Sweet Bunny Bag: 1.5K
Baby Bunny Backpack: 1.5K
Fluffy Bunny Tail With Bow: 2K
Spring Horns: 2K
Heiress Tea Bow: 2.5K
Daisy Earrings: 2K
Spring Scramble Earrings: 1K
Spring Hair Flowers: 1K
Rainbow Candy: 500
Exquisite Easter Tie: 1K
Vegan Dove Fascinator: 2.5K
Trip to the Market Hat: 2K
Spring Queen Crown: 2K
Sweet Bunny Ears: 1K
Teacup Tulip Hat: Sold
Easter Egg Boppers: 800
Easter Basket: 1K
Bunny Bonnet Headband: 800
Halloween Items (Some Several of Each, Some not)
RR Skirt: 30K
Magical Broomstick: Sold
Ghostie Transformation: Sold
Kitty Crossbody: 10K-15K On Hold
Goth Lolita Sleeves: 25K-30K On Hold
Spinning Web Boppers: 1K
Dragon Staff: 1K
Kitty Buns: 1K
Kawaii Demon Horns: 2K
Abnormally Large Fork: 1.5K
Witch's Little Pet Staff: 1K
Spider's Masterpiece Purse: 1K
Sparkling Crow Crown: 900
Cute Kitty Ears: 1K
Vampire Crown: Sold
Ruffle Collar: 2K
Playful Kitty paws: 3K
Graveyard Collar: 3K
Studded Rose Garters: 2K
Fancy Monocle: Sold
Pumpkin Beret: Sold
Pumpkin Costume: Sold
Magical Witch: Sold
Sparkly Body Chain: 1.5K
Bat Tophat: 1K
Pretty Kitty Tail: 1K
Nomnom Chocolate Bar: 500
My Dollie: 4K-5K
Glowing Pumpkin Wand: 1K
Spider Friend: 2K
Kawaii Reaper: 3K
Classic Ghost Costume: 3K-5K
Vampire's Heir: 1K
Candy Explosion: 1K
Supernatural Earring Hoop: 1K
Bat Earrings: 1K
Kitchen Accident: 3K
Others (Heel, Skirt, Corset Etc..):
Real Life Mermaid Skirt: 2K
Pleated Skirt: 2K
Ballroom Entrance: 5K
Cottage Princess: 5K
Dragging Train: 12K
Royal Stroll: 3K
Carol of the Boots: 3K
Fluttering Butterflies Heels: 15K-20K
Summer Fantasy Sandals: 35K-40K
Sky Mission Boots: 8K
Huggly Snuggly Booties: 3K
Snuggly Reindeer Slippers: 1K
Starfrost Skates: NYP
Action Booties: 12K-15K
Kingly Kicks: 8K
Cherry Blossom Sandals: 3K
Adorable Lace Up Boots: 12K
Sewer Rat: NYP
Cheerleader PomPoms: 2K
Leah Ashe Bear Ears: NYP
Long Elegant Gloves: 3K
Kawaii Sickness: 400
Glorious Cape: 3K
Froggie Bucket Hat: 2.5K
Traditional Handfan: 15K
Sneaky Bandit: 1K
Heirloom Sleeves: 2K
Lunar Tiger: NYP
Worm Bodice: Sold
Swimmer Flippers: Sold
Varsity Jacket: 13K-15K
Lunar New Ox: NYP
Traditional Back Bow: 3K
Bad Kitty Headphones: Sold
Heart of The Sea Necklace: 2.5K
Thats it for now! Hopefully these prices are okay. Just negotiate with me or tell me in the comments if something needs fixing <3
(COMMENTS UNREPLIED TO IS ME THINKING ABOUT IT OR IM ASLEEP)
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2023.06.04 03:21 TheBookhuntress Book Club Discussion - I'll give you the sun by Jandy Nelson
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I don't know where to start. Maybe by just telling you that I love, LOVE this book. I brought deep dive synopsis if you want to get the general idea of what this is about but you don't have time to read the book.
May's book pick BOOK: I’ll give you the sun by Jandy Nelson PITCH: https://www.reddit.com/GMMTV/comments/13b5l2h/book_club_may_book_pick/ TW:
Sexual assault, character death, mentions of drug abuse, under-age drinking. Characters: Noah Sweetwine:
introvert, is close to his mother, his passion is painting. Twin brother to Jude. Jude Sweetwine:
extrovert, is close to his father, clashes with her mother, is more inclined to sculpting than any other art form. Twin sister to Noah. Brian Connelly:
one year older than Noah, has a scholarship playing baseball, likes to collect meteorites, only comes to the Cove during school breaks. Oscar:
British, photographer and model, has scars on his face, tattoos and heterochromia. Three or four years older than the twins. Dianna Sweetwine:
Jude and Noah’s mom, she writes for an art magazine. Free spirited. Benjamin Sweetwine:
Jude and Noah’s dad, he’s a doctor. Grandma Sweetwine:
Benjamin’s mother. She’s dead. Guillermo García:
sculptor, was once interviewed by Dianna for her magazine. He’s considered a Rockstar among his peers. Zephyr:
bullies Noah in highschool, likes Jude. Fry:
friend of Zephyr’s, also bullies Noah. Heather:
friend of Noah, has a crush on him Sandy:
Jude’s teacher at CSA (California School of the Arts) The Cove:
where Noah and Jude live. CSA:
California School of the Arts, prestigious art school. Noah dreams to attend here.
Plot summary from Super summary: https://www.supersummary.com/ill-give-you-the-sun/summary/ The story opens as Noah is being chased by two older neighborhood boys who regularly bully him. He manages to escape and make his way home. At dinner, Dianna, his mother, announces that she has a message from his dead grandmother, Grandma Sweetwine. She thinks that Noah and his twin sister Jude should apply to California School of the Arts. Noah is thrilled, though Jude and Benjamin, their father, are not. Dianna and Benjamin argue as the twins discuss Grandma’s message in the adjoining room. Noah tries to cheer her up, suggesting that Grandma thought of CSA because of the beautiful sand sculptures of flying women that Jude has been making down at the beach. In preparation for the CSA application, Dianna begins to take the twins to art museums. She announces a drawing contest between the two, but is so awed by Noah’s work, she calls off the contest even before looking at Jude’s art. Jealous of Noah’s talent and the attention it draws from their mother, Jude’s relationship with Noah begins to sour. She stops going to museums and begins to hang out at the beach instead. Noah believes that if Dianna ever saw Jude’s sand sculptures, everything would change; although he has taken pictures of Jude’s sculptures, he does not show them to anyone. Over the summer, Noah begins to visit the CSA campus to watch a live drawing class conducted there. During one of the sessions, the model, Oscar, catches Noah practicing sketches outside the window of the class. Oscar is dismissed later that session for being under the influence and he stops modeling at CSA. When Jude sees Noah’s drawing of Oscar, she is so taken by it, that she trades Noah the sun, stars, trees, and the ocean in exchange for it, as part of a game they have played since childhood in which they divvy up the universe. Noah also meets and befriends Brian, a new boy who has moved in next door. Brian is the star pitcher on his boarding school team and is also deeply interested in science and astronomy. Noah is immediately attracted to him, and the boys begin taking rock collecting walks together. Brian becomes popular with the neighborhood girls, and for the first time in Noah’s life, he is cool by association. Noah blows off Jude when she attempts to reconcile with him and starts spending all his time with Brian and others. Jude is furious at Noah for stealing her friends, and at a party, she manipulates a game of Seven Minutes in Heaven so that she and Brian go into the closet together. A distraught Noah leaves the party and tears up every single sketch he has made of Brian, as well as the one of Oscar which he gave to Jude, before deleting every picture he has taken of Jude’s sand sculptures. One afternoon, Noah makes his way over to Guillermo Garcia’s studio, a famous sculptor whom Oscar once told Noah about. He watches Guillermo and his work from afar, and on his way back, runs into Dianna parked surprisingly close to the studio. Over the next couple of months, Dianna begins to act strangely, always absent-minded and lost in thought. She even forgets Benjamin’s birthday. Dianna and Benjamin eventually tell the twins that Benjamin is moving out for a while. The twins watch Benjamin leave and confide their fears and worries in each other; Jude also assures Noah that nothing happened between her and Brian, and they reconcile. Brian comes back to visit over Christmas break, and Noah goes for a walk with him where they finally kiss. Brian wants to keep their relationship a secret, as he worries it will end his baseball career. He has been harassed for his sexual orientation in the past. However, Dianna walks in on the boys masturbating together one day, and a terrified Brian immediately ends things with Noah. Not wanting Dianna to tell anyone else, Noah follows her out of the house believing that she is going to meet Benjamin. Instead, he sees Dianna meeting and kissing Guillermo. Distraught and heartbroken, when Noah runs into Brian with one of the girls on the way home, he reveals Brian’s secret to her. Back home, Dianna tells Noah that she is going to marry Guillermo; as she leaves, Noah yells at her that he hates her. Dianna’s car veers off a cliff, and she dies in the resulting crash, and a guilt-ridden Noah lies to Benjamin and Jude that Dianna was on her way to reconcile with Benjamin. Noah also visits Guillermo and repeats the same lie, blaming Guillermo for Dianna’s death. Two weeks after Dianna’s death, Noah jumps off Devil’s Drop, a high cliff overlooking the beach and almost drowns. Jude pulls him out and revives him. Upset and furious with her brother for almost abandoning her, Jude does not mail Noah’s CSA application along with hers. Two years later, Jude is a student at CSA; when Noah didn’t get an acceptance, he destroyed all his work and stopped making art completely. Jude was pressured into losing her virginity to an older boy the night Dianna died and believes that this invited bad luck and led to Dianna’s death. Following this, Jude cuts off all her hair and exclusively dresses in drab clothing, in a self-inflicted “boy boycott.” She also obsessively follows the dictates of Grandma Sweetwine’s “Bible,” a handwritten collections of beliefs and superstitions about luck. Jude is regularly visited by Grandma Sweetwine’s ghost; while Dianna does not appear to her, Jude believes that Dianna is responsible for the fact that all of Jude’s clay work at CSA ends up mysteriously shattered. Jude’s mentor, Sandy, tells her that she was accepted at CSA because of the pictures of the sand sculptures that came in with her application. Jude is confused, as she had not sent in any pictures and didn’t even know any existed. Now, however, she is in danger of losing her spot at CSA, because of all the breakage in the kiln. Jude decides to work in stone so that Dianna cannot shatter her art; she plans on creating a sculpture that will impress Dianna and force her to forgive Jude. Sandy directs her to Guillermo but warns her that Guillermo has not mentored or taught in over two years after something tragic happened to him. On her way to meet and convince Guillermo, Jude stops by a church where she runs into Oscar. He seems strangely familiar, but she can’t quite place him. Oscar flirts with Jude and takes pictures of her before leaving. At Guillermo’s studio, Jude encounters a haggard and drunk Guillermo who asks her to go away; upon repeated knocking, Jude is surprised to see Oscar open the door, but he, too, turns her away. On her way home Jude receives a message from one of Noah’s friends that he plans to cliff-dive off Devil’s Drop. Jude hides and waits for him, planning to save him if necessary, but as has been happening recently, when Noah jumps, he miraculously slows down before hitting the water. Noah and Benjamin find Jude looking up Guillermo and his work on the internet, and both seem shaken. Jude later finds that all her bookmarks about Guillermo have been deleted from her laptop. Jude goes to Guillermo’s studio again, watching him work through a window. Guillermo catches her watching him and apprehends her while she tries to run away. He invites Jude in, and seeing her desperation to work in stone, agrees to mentor her. Jude begins to work with Guillermo; before the sculpture of Dianna, however, she realizes that she wants to make one of her and Noah instead. During her time with Guillermo, Jude also grows closer to Oscar. She learns that Guillermo saved Oscar’s life, taking him in and helping him get clean some years ago. Oscar confesses his attraction to Jude; however, the intensity of his own feelings scares him, and he begins to retreat from Jude, going on to kiss another girl. Jude decides to try and make things right with Noah. She Googles Brian and finds that he is now mildly famous for being a high-performing, openly-gay baseball player. Jude emails Brian a link to a message Noah consistently posts on a website called Lost Connections, asking Brian to forgive him and meet him again. Jude also emails her mentor at CSA asking for a meeting with her and Noah; she decides to give up her spot for Noah. Before she can confess the truth to Noah, however, she finds out that he is on the verge of jumping off the highest, most dangerous cliff on the beach. Jude arrives in time and manages to save Noah along with Oscar’s help. A drunk Noah explains whenever he jumps, Dianna always saves him at the end, slowing his fall. Oscar helps Jude get Noah home; he visits her in her room later that night, apologizing for his earlier behavior before kissing her. Jude finally recognizes him as the face in Noah’s painting. However, Oscar catches a glimpse of a family picture on Jude’s dresser, and leaves abruptly when he realizes that Jude is Dianna’s daughter. When Jude shows Guillermo the sketches of Dianna she has made for the sculpture, he comes to the same realization and tells her he cannot mentor her anymore. Noah and Oscar arrive at the studio as well, and the truth about Dianna is revealed. An overwhelmed Jude leaves along with Noah. Noah apologizes to Jude for having lied to her and Benjamin, and the two grieve Dianna together. Jude also confesses to what she did about Noah’s CSA application, and Noah is elated that he was not actually rejected. Noah shows Jude a wall he has been secretly painting at an abandoned construction site; he does not care about art school anymore, having recently rediscovered the magic in art for its own sake. Noah and Jude tell Benjamin the truths about Dianna and CSA, and he forgives them both graciously. They also discover that Guillermo is the one who sent the pictures of Jude’s sand sculptures to CSA. Jude believes that they are all destined to be in each other’s lives and wants to continue working with Guillermo. Noah reaches out to Brian directly, and the two reconcile. The book ends with Benjamin realizing and accepting Noah’s sexuality when he sees the boys holding hands together.
You can also check LitCharts: https://www.litcharts.com/lit/i-ll-give-you-the-sun/summary
Quotes: About the invisible museum (the invisible museum is how Noah envisions the paintings he wants to bring to life, some do and some don’t, but it describes his thought process which I find super cool):
- One of his arms is choked around my neck, the other braced across my torso like a seat belt. He’s bare-chested, straight off the beach, and the heat of him is seeping through my T-shirt. His coconut suntan lotion’s filling my nose, my whole head—the strong smell of the ocean too, like he’s carrying it on his back . . . Zephyr dragging the tide along like a blanket behind him . . . That would be good, that would be it (PORTRAIT: The Boy Who Walked Off with the Sea)—but not now, Noah, so not the time to mind-paint this cretin. I snap back, taste the salt on my lips, remind myself I’m about to die—
- Because I can see people’s souls sometimes when I draw them, I know the following: Mom has a massive sunflower for a soul so big there’s hardly any room in her for organs. Jude and me have one soul between us that we have to share: a tree with its leaves on fire. And Dad has a plate of maggots for his.
- His soul might be a sun. I’ve never met anyone who had the sun for a soul.
- “I paint in my head,” I tell him. “I was the whole time.” I’ve never told anyone I do this, not even Jude, and I have no idea why I’m telling him. I’ve never let anyone into the invisible museum before. “What were you painting?”“You.”
- In my mind, I can draw Brian with lightning.
- I watch him as he razors through the crowd, nodding his head to guys, returning the smiles of girls, like he belongs. How is it he belongs everywhere? (PORTRAIT: The Boy with All the Keys in the World with All the Locks)
- I close my eyes and drown in color, open them and drown in light because billions and billions of buckets of light are being emptied on our heads from above. This is it. This is freaking everything. This is the painting painting itself.
About Jude and Noah:
- I don’t know how this can be but it can : A painting is both exactly the same and entirely different every single time you look at it. That’s the way it is between Jude and me now.
- I remember how Jude gave up the sun and stars and oceans for my drawing of him. I’m going to steal it back from her. I’m going to take everything from her. If she were drowning, I’d hold her head under.
- And most important, I don’t worry when I come home one day and find a note on the kitchen table written by Jude asking Mom to come down to the beach to see a sculpture she’s building out of sand. I don’t worry that I take the note and bury it at the bottom of the garbage can. I don’t worry, not really, even though it makes my stomach hurt to do it, no not my stomach, it makes my soul hurt that I could do it, that I actually did it. I should’ve been worrying. I should’ve been worrying a lot.
- [...]and when he revived, the second I knew he was okay, I slapped him as hard as I could across the face. Because how could he have done this? How could he have chosen to leave me here all alone?
- Noah had stopped breathing. So there were these moments when I was in life without him. For the first time. Not even in the womb were we apart. Terror doesn’t come close to describing it. Fury doesn’t come close. Heartbreak, no. There is no way to describe it. He wasn’t there. He wasn’t with me anymore.
- I took from my brother the thing he wanted most in the world. What kind of person does that?
- That’s when it occurs to me that maybe the rocks are weighing him down so he doesn’t rise into the air . . .
- I try to prick the balloon that’s lifting me into the air by telling myself I shouldn’t be this excited to see a guy I only met a day ago. Even if that guy carries the galaxy around in a bag!
- I’m thinking the reason I’ve been so quiet all these years is only because Brian wasn’t around yet for me to tell everything to.
- I don’t worry that when Brian and I are alone in the woods or up on his roof or in his living room watching baseball (whatever), he puts up an electrical fence between us, and never once do I risk death by brushing against it, but when we’re in public, like at The Spot, the fence vanishes, and we become clumsy magnets, bumping and knocking into each other, grazing hands, arms, legs, shoulders, tapping the other on the back, even occasionally the leg, for no good reason except that it’s like swallowing lightning.
- I don’t worry that when I get back to my seat, it all starts again, but this time our legs find each other immediately and he grabs my hand beneath the armrest and squeezes it and we electrocute and die.
- “I love you,” I say to him, only it comes out, “Hey.”“So damn much,” he says back, only it comes out, “Dude.”
Grandma Sweetwine’s bible:
- “You have to see the miracles for there to be miracles, Jude.” She used to say this a lot. It’s the very first passage she wrote in the bible. I’m not a miracle-seer. The very last passage she wrote in the bible was: A broken heart is an open heart.
- “I will bathe in vinegar, down some raw eggs, and start looking for a wasp nest ASAP to put on my head.”“I do not understand this,”he says. “To reverse the leanings of the heart. Ancient family wisdom.”He laughs. “Ah. Very good. In my family, we just suffer.”
- I went to Grandma’s bible, desperate, but it didn’t matter how many rosehips I put in my tea, how much lapis lazuli I hid under my pillow, I couldn’t get rid of the rage.
- Hot guys should be forced into footie pajamas.
- No woman can resist a man who has tidal waves and earthquakes beneath the skin.
- “When I want to ask you to abandoned buildings or kiss those lips of yours or stare into your otherworldly eyes or imagine what you look like under all those baggy drab clothes you’re always hiding in or ravish you on some grimy floor like I’m desperate to this very minute, I’ll just bugger off on my Hippity Hop. Deal?” He holds out his hand. “Friends. Just friends.” Talk about mixed signals; he’s like a roller coaster that talks.
- I’m filled with something I can only describe as recognition. Not because he looks familiar on the outside this time, but because he feels familiar on the inside.
- I blew it. I did. I should’ve kissed him. One kiss, then I could die. Well, wait, no freaking way, if I’m going to die, I want to do more than kiss. Way way more.
- Because that’s what all this is about. Nothing else. We wish with our hands, that’s what we do as artists.
- Is there something you need in the world that only your two hands can create?
- “It’s okay to be addicted to beauty,” Mom says, all dreamy . “Emerson said ‘Beauty is God’s handwriting.’”
- What slumbers in the heart, slumbers in the stone.
- “If only the heart listen to reason, right?” He puts an arm around me. “C’mon, what is bad for the heart is good for art. The terrible irony of our lives as artists.” Our lives as artists.
- “I don’t think you are okay,”he says. “Sometimes you work the stone, sometimes the stone works you. I think today the rock win.”
PREVIOUS BOOK CLUB DISCUSSION: PS I spook you by SE Harmon.
2023.06.03 15:06 Condupee My parents tried to kill me 30 years ago and I had no clue why.
December 16, 1991 It was a harsh winter, and I was 10 years old. Christmas was coming, but the atmosphere was different. I was living in my parents house and was inside my room on my bed. As I got out of bed and went downstairs I found a notebook, it had weird drawings in it and what seemed like instructions to cast a spell.
I went back upstairs to my room when I saw my parents. Both of them seemed different. My mom snatched the notebook and started to yell at me to get in my room and that I was in trouble. I rejected her request and walked away. My mom screamed something that I couldn't understand, and as I turned back, I saw a giant tree rise from a wall and destroy my room. In shock and tears, I ran downstairs and contemplated what I had to do.
Quickly, I grabbed everything that I had and tried to run out the door, asking, "What are you doing?" I looked behind me and saw my mom with a huge grin on her face. At this point, I knew all my parents wanted to do was kill me I replied to her by saying: "Oh, nothing! I'm just getting some of my stuff into a little pile."
My dad replied, "Don't lie to us like that. You're trying to escape, aren't you? I panicked and ran as fast as I could. Before I could do anything, my mom picked me up and tried to bring me into the kitchen. I noticed my dad inside the kitchen, picking up a knife, ready to stab me. I screamed at the top of my lungs in fear.
I threw off my shirt and used it to try to suffocate my mom. She started to choke on the shirt and then dropped me, we both fell to the floor as she gasped for air. Before my dad could run at me, I grabbed all my stuff and ran out of the house, frantically putting my shirt back on.
I ran out of the house in the freezing snow. I had no jacket, hat, earmuffs, nothing. I tried finding my friend James house. After what happened, I felt he was the only one I could ever trust again. I walked for what felt like miles until I collapsed in the snow.
So much had happened in just one day that I couldn't process it. I bawled my eyes out, having no clue what would happen next. Still in tears, I tried to get up but realised that my legs and arms were too cold to try and get up. I looked up and saw his house,
James house! I was so close to safety, but it was too late now; my eyes were starting to shut and my heartbeat was slowing down. Even at such a young age, I knew that this was the end of the line for me. I closed my eyes and put my head down. Slowly, I drifted into obscurity as I saw life leave me. With the little hearing I had, I heard a door shut and someone scream my name. They picked me up and rushed me into their house.
I warmed up and was finally able to open my eyes. What I saw was James and his dad. I was relieved. "Why are you here?" James asked. I explained everything—what happened with my parents, the walk to get here. Tears rushed down my cheeks for the third time. James' dad was a very sensible man. He worked as a 911 dispatcher for longer than anyone could remember, and people recall him working very well under pressure even when he was a kid. Immediately, he told me to call the police and tell them what happened. 30 minutes later, the police ran into my house, frantically looking for my parents. They finally searched in the kitchen, where they found both my parents on the floor with blood splattered everywhere. They had been killed, and the police found a note that said, "Too late!" The pen in which it was written was still on the floor next to them. The police took it and the note as evidence. The police immediately came to me to ask if there was anyone who would do something like this to my parents. The problem was that my parents had never been rude or made enemies with anyone in our town. No one disliked them or had any reason to try to kill them.
The police said to me, "Thanks, we will keep that in mind." I never did have any godparents, or anyone that I was close enough with to be able to stay with for the rest of my life. I thought that I would end up in an orphanage, but thats when James asked if I wanted to stay with him for a while as the police found out who killed my parents and, better yet, who caused my parents to want to kill me. A little while turned into a year, and a year turned into eight years. After 8 years, I moved out and went to college. My parents were now a distant memory, and the police still did not know who had ended up killing them. The pen and the note both ended up with no fingerprints. It was an unfortunate reality that I would never find my parents killer, but it was a reality that I would have to accept
I am currently sitting in my office job, writing about my past life trauma after an email I just received. The email was from the police, they did not find the killer, but they found what drove my parents to want to kill me. From an old sample of their blood they had recovered all that time ago, they were able to find an ancient zombie like virus that drove people to try and murder their children or nieces and nephews
The virus comes from ancient Egypt and is passed down from generation to generation. The reason that we had never documented anything like this happening before was because the human body had built an immunity to protect people who had lived with this disease. But due to a genetic mutation inside my family, the immunity disappeared, and my parents went mad
It's closure, but now I am forced to not have children: I always did want to have kids, it's unfortunate that I will never be able to now. I cry every once in a while because of that.
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2023.06.03 02:50 TheBonesOfAutumn In the 1970’s, two unrelated deaths occurred within the confines of a small home that once stood along Lawrence County, Indiana’s Ramsey Ridge Road. Referred to by locals as “The Mysteries of Skin Ridge,” this is the story of the unusual deaths of Dennis McArthur, and Gerry Lee.
Nestled in northern Lawrence County, Indiana, just six miles from Bedford, lies Ramsey Ridge Road. Just under three miles in length, the rural pathway once referred to as “Skin Ridge'' winds through the sparsely populated area’s dense woods atop a hill overlooking Little Salt Creek and nearby Bartlettsville. In the 1970’s, two completely unrelated deaths occurred within the confines of a modest green house that once stood along the ridge. Referred to by locals as “The Mysteries of Skin Ridge,” this is the story of the unusual deaths of Dennis McArthur, and Gerry Lee.
On April 11, 1976, 44-year-old Pearl McArthur returned home after a lengthy stay at Madison State Hospital. Pearl, who would later be diagnosed with schizophrenia, had committed herself to the hospital in early December, leaving her 18-year-old son, Dennis, to care for the house in her absence. Accompanied by her 23-year-old daughter, April, who lived in nearby Bedford with her husband Gary, Pearl made her way inside the small two-story farmhouse.
Inside, Pearl and April found the home in complete disarray. Trash laid strewed about, lamps and furniture were overturned, and the stove was caved in, its exhaust pipe torn from the wall. It was unusually cold inside as though no heat had been recently used, and a strange smell permeated the air.
Alarmed, Pearl and April began to frantically search for Dennis. As they made their way over to a small couch located in a bedroom on the second floor, they noticed a pile of blankets lying on the sofa. As Pearl peeled back the layer of quilts, she was met with a horrific scene; Dennis’s decomposed body lay beneath the bedding. They immediately summoned police.
Dennis was found in a fetal position on the couch, facing inwards. Although covered by quilts, he was nude from the waist down. The coroner estimated he had died one to two months prior, however the cold weather had, in part, delayed the decomposition process making it difficult to give an exact time of death. During an autopsy, it was discovered that Dennis was severely emaciated, to the point of starvation. No evidence of external or internal injuries were found.
Police discovered several bottles of pills in the home; vitamins used for energy, an antidepressant, and a drug used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. All of the pills were prescribed to Pearl, and were still relatively full. A toxicology test was conducted and proved negative, however the state pathologist who performed the test admitted that the test was incapable of detecting substances such as LSD. He also explained due to the amount of time that had passed since his death, the tests might not be one hundred percent accurate. Dennis’ cause of death was listed as malnutrition and exposure.
Investigators found several clues at the scene that struck them as odd. Although the cabin appeared ransacked, nothing seemed to be missing, including a small amount of money that was found within the disheveled home. Along with money, a small amount of, now spoiled, food was found in the cabinets and refrigerator. An upstairs window was found to be broken from the inside. Also upstairs, investigators discovered several large pools of blood, including one beside the couch where Dennis’ body was found. They also found blood on the backside of the couch, on a rug, and on the kitchen door frame, along with splatter on a wall. Testing confirmed the blood to be human.
Dennis was well known to both police and the county’s social workers. His mother, Pearl, was frequently in and out of mental institutions leaving Dennis and his two siblings to fend for themselves. The children’s father, Walter, had abandoned the family and moved to Georgia years prior. In 1972, Dennis was arrested for theft and truancy. That same year, he was expelled from school and never returned.
He was again arrested in 1973, this time for driving without a license, fleeing from police, possession of alcohol, and curfew violation. After his release, Dennis was sent to live with a man named Al Hagopian, a case worker for the Youth Services Bureau. Al was quoted as saying; “Finding him a place to stay was hard. The house where he had been staying was pretty grubby, and the state thought he was too young to live alone. His mother was in and out of hospitals a lot and he worried about her constantly. He didn’t want to return home, but said he had to go back to help care for his mother.”
Al discovered that Dennis “read and wrote backwards,” and was “practically illiterate.” After reviewing Dennis’ school records, he found multiple instances where teachers labeled Dennis as having disciplinary problems when it came to schoolwork, however not once did they mention he had a clear learning disability. Al further explained that attempts to secure employment for Dennis were nearly never successful. Aside from being unable to read or write, he had no vehicle. He also had no stable address or phone number and was oftentimes dirty and dressed in near rags.
Dennis’ unfair hand he had been dealt did not stop him from trying to act like an average kid most of the time, Al added. He explained that Dennis had an interest in cars, enjoyed hanging out with his friends, and was always chasing girls. He had also told Al he wanted to someday save up enough money for a new guitar, as he loved to play music. Al admitted that Dennis was also into the “street scene” and had dabbled in drugs and alcohol. Dennis returned home after two months of living with Al.
In 1974, after another arrest and his subsequent release from a youth detention center, Dennis went to live with his father for a short time. Dennis’ arrest had made headlines when it was learned the young man had been kept with adult men for a long period before being transferred to the youth detention center. Dennis and Walter reportedly couldn’t get along, however, and Dennis ran away to Florida. He lived there for a few months, washing cars to make money, before returning to the home on Ramsey Ridge in Indiana in 1975. He was again arrested, this time in Bloomington, Indiana for carrying a concealed weapon, alcohol consumption, and curfew violation. At the time of Dennis’ death, the charges against him were still pending.
According to his sister, April, she had gone to visit Dennis at the home on Ramsey Ridge on Christmas Eve. April said Dennis was sitting on the couch, playing his guitar. He also showed her a new rug he had purchased for the home. According to her, he seemed his usual self and the home was clean. April offered him some money, however Dennis refused claiming he had enough to get by.
Lucy Lively, an aunt of Dennis’ who lived “within hollering distance,” claimed she entered the home on February 1st to turn off a lamp that had been left burning. While she did not see Dennis, she claimed the home's interior was in normal order. Joe McArthur, Dennis’ paternal grandfather who also lived nearby, said it was not unusual for Dennis to disappear for long periods, so he thought nothing of the youths' absence as of late.
When Walter, Dennis’ father, was informed of his son's death, he informed police that Dennis, along with two male friends, had come to visit him in Georgia in mid December. He gave a description of the two teens and told police they had been introduced to him as “John Boy'' and “Blonde John.”
Police were able to track down “Blonde John” who was identified as 18-year-old John Fonk of Bloomington, Indiana. John told investigators that he and Dennis had driven to Florida together in October, not December, as Walter had stated. John explained they had stopped by Walter’s home in Georgia on their way back home. He was confident in the date as he had joined the Air Force in December. He also explained that “John Boy” had been a hitchhiker they had picked up along the way. According to John, “John Boy” rode back to Indiana with the pair, but he had not seen him, or Dennis since. He described him as being in his mid 20’s. After learning of the discrepancy in Walter’s story, police again tried to contact him, however phone calls and letters went unanswered. Unfortunately, they were never able to identify “John Boy.”
Further questioning of social services showed that Pearl had filled several grocery orders provided by state services, however the orders ceased when she had been again hospitalized. Eventually the Lawrence County Welfare Office had taken control and promised to look in on Dennis, however they could provide no evidence they had followed up on the case. They suggested that Dennis, overwhelmed with his impoverished lifestyle, had simply starved himself to the point of being comatose, before succumbing to the harsh cold of winter. They were quoted as saying “We were aware of him of course, but he never came to us. We don’t go looking for people if they don’t come to us for help. Now if he had, we would have done something.”
The local sheriff as well as members of Dennis’ family were unsatisfied with Dennis’ listed cause of death and continued to pursue the investigation for several months. Unfortunately due to a lack of funds, more elaborate tests that may have presented some clue as to how Dennis died could not be conducted. Sheriff Robbins was quoted as saying, “This is a very disturbing mystery, because even if someone confessed to killing him, I doubt we would have the evidence to prove it. But it sure is hard to believe he could kill himself like that, by just laying down and dying. We aren’t closing the case, it will remain open. But until we have something more to go on, there’s not much more we can do at this point.”
Dennis was laid to rest at Heltonville’s Gilgal Cemetery. Few attended the modest closed casket funeral and subsequent burial. One journalist gave a last description of Dennis’ final resting place,
“The dogwood trees are in full bloom on the hillsides of Gilgal Cemetery, and though Dennis’ body now rests peacefully beneath a carpet of fallen petals, his soul will surely never rest until the reasons behind his death are discovered.”
Pearl, Dennis’ mother, passed away in 2000 at the age of 67. Walter, Dennis’ father, died in 1988. His sister, April, passed away suddenly in 2006 at the age of 53. Dennis also had an older brother, Gordon, who passed away in 1994 at the age of 42.
On the evening of May 28, 1978, police were again summoned to the little green house on Ramsey Ridge. The home was now occupied by 27-year-old Gerry Lee, a divorced self employed carpenter, and his roommate, 25-year-old Michael Davis. When police arrived, Michael informed them that Gerry had committed suicide.
Gerry was found hanging from a maple tree located 20 feet from the home's front porch. The rope had been tied off to a branch approximately 10 feet above the ground and fashioned into a noose. His feet were found to be touching the ground, and his knees were bent. Blood was discovered on Gerry’s hands and pants, despite having suffered no visible wounds. An autopsy would reveal that Gerry had died of asphyxiation as a result of a fracture to his cricoid cartilage located at the base of his larynx. The coroner stated this was not an injury normally associated with suicidal hangings, but instead blunt force trauma to the throat. Inside, more blood was found on a television set, the phone, and on the kitchen floor. A window on the home's back door had been broken from the outside, leaving shards of glass lying on the kitchen floor.
When questioned, Michael gave an explanation for the unusual findings. He claimed that he, Gerry, and two other friends, Mike Oakly and Roberta Chandler, had spent the day in nearby Bedford before the foursome returned to the home on Ramsey Ridge. There, Michael told police that he and Gerry got into a “friendly scuffle” that resulted in Michael falling into the window in the kitchen. He suffered a deep laceration to his forehead that left him bleeding profusely.
According to Michael, Roberta and Mike accompanied him to seek medical treatment in Bedford, while Gerry stayed behind at home. Michael returned home alone from the hospital, having left Roberta and Mike in town. It was then he discovered Gerry’s body and summoned police. He added that that evening Gerry had threatened to shoot himself multiple times with one of the loaded guns kept in the home.
When Roberta and Mike were taken in for questioning, they gave similar accounts of the night's events. Both were released. Aside from having a visible wound, medical staff confirmed Michael had been to the hospital that evening, having sought treatment for a laceration to his forehead.
Still, both the prosecutor and the county coroner stated they were not entirely satisfied with a verdict of suicide. The coroner stated “Some things have not fallen into place like they should with a suicide case. Although it looks as though it could be a suicide, there are so many angles that do not fit in with the suicide verdict.” The prosecutor agreed, “I’m not satisfied with how the investigation was handled,” he said, “and there are still a lot of unanswered questions. Several months later, Gerry’s case was brought before a grand jury who ultimately returned a verdict of “probable suicide.”
Gerry was laid to rest in Bedford’s Breckenridge Cemetery. Despite his death being declared a suicide, many locals, including Gerry’s friends and neighbors, continued to believe that something more sinister may have happened that evening, and the suicide was in fact staged. The community’s more superstitious elders shared a similar belief, however adding that a “strange ethereal force” inhabited the room where Gerry once slept, and where two years prior the body of Dennis had been discovered.
Whatever your opinion may be, it seems for some the books will never fully be closed on “The Mysteries of Skin Ridge.”
Newspaper Clippings, Death Certificates, Photos- https://imgur.com/a/4kQ3rEl
Find a Grave Dennis- https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/63100083/dennis-scott-mcarthur
Find a Grave Pearl- https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/254365281/pearl-m-mcarthur?createdMemorial=Yes
Find a Grave Walter- https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/80652726/walter-rufus-mcarthur
Find a Grave Gerry- https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/47074796/gerry-wayne-lee
National Library of Medicine- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22442828/#:~:text=Overall%2C%20neck%20structures%20fractures%20were,the%20cricoid%20cartilage%20of%2020.6%25.
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to UnresolvedMysteries [link] [comments]
2023.06.03 00:37 huali4n just had my last shift :')
the past 2.5 years have been so strange. wonderful memories of late night clean plays that were more play than clean, we'd bust out our speakers and have a lil dance party (while cleaning of course. 😉) setting up christmas ornaments, shopping for our tree at 2am.. then the bad memories lmaoo being understaffed as fuck (6 people max working the whole day) crying in the bathroom because a customer ordered 15 venti caramel crunches all different and are yelling at me because im taking too long,
starbucks employees should be entitled to financial compensation.
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to starbucks [link] [comments]
2023.06.02 18:19 SeaTie Airtags? Worth it at all?
We're getting a new dog on Sunday, possibly. He's a rescue. Seems sweet. Foster mom said he's not an escape artist or anything.
I've never had a dog get loose on me before, but you just never know with a new animal. All of my previous dogs were pretty attached to us and would never wander more than 20 feet away.
I've seen all the horror stories about dogs ingesting them or whatever, but honestly that could be said for literally almost anything if you've got one of these dogs that just eats stuff (I remember my aunt's dog ate a plastic Christmas Tree ornament once!!)
Just wanted to see if anyone else was using one and if it was worth it at all?
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to dogs [link] [comments]
2023.06.02 17:13 smpliprfct [FO] I know how much we all love stitching on anything that’s not fabric 😂
2023.06.02 15:38 adartagnan [The True Confessions of a Nine-Tailed Fox] - Chapter 95 - Reunion
| || | submitted by adartagnan to redditserials [link] [comments]
After Piri the nine-tailed fox follows an order from Heaven to destroy a dynasty, she finds herself on trial in Heaven for that very act. Executed by the gods for the “crime,” she is cast into the cycle of reincarnation, starting at the very bottom – as a worm. While she slowly accumulates positive karma and earns reincarnation as higher life forms, she also has to navigate inflexible clerks, bureaucratic corruption, and the whims of the gods themselves. Will Piri ever reincarnate as a fox again? And once she does, will she be content to stay one?
Advance chapters and side content available to Patreon
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Chapter 95: Reunion
In the days that followed, Honeysuckle Croft saw as many visitors as it did during the New Year. The very evening after my return, Mistress Jek invited Floridiana to dinner. The mage arrived practically exploding with questions about South Serica that her pride wouldn’t permit her to ask.
I regaled her with tales anyway, just because I was so nice.
Then, the day after that
, one of the schoolhouse rats overheard Taila and Nailus giggling about me at recess. They alerted Master Rattus, who scampered to the carpentry workshop to check if Master Gravitas knew already. From the extra-impassive look on the cat spirit’s face when he showed up at Honeysuckle Croft, he hadn’t – and the rat had lorded it over the cat spy.
Bobo and Floridiana separately told Den that I was back – with varying degrees of excitement, I imagined – and of course the first words out of the little dragon’s mouth when he saw me were: “Let’s have a welcome-home party!”
But to my surprise, the idea of a night of dancing and drinking didn’t excite me as it used to. Where? I can’t exactly swim, you know.
Opening my wings, I shook my feathers at him.
Okay, technically, I didn’t know if sparrows could swim, since I hadn’t fallen into a river yet, but there was an even bigger reason that I didn’t want to reprise our parties in the Caltrop Pond Water Court. An absence, that was.
Stripey hadn’t come back to Honeysuckle Croft.
Of course he hadn’t. It wasn’t even close
to a hundred years since he went on to his next life.
And yet. And yet.
“It’s not like I was going to hold it in my pond or something!” Den squeaked, taking my objection at face value. Floridiana’s raised eyebrows made him clear his throat and adopt a more dignified tone. “Ahem. It was not my intention to host the party in a location that would be inconvenient for any of my guests, much less the guest of honor. I am certain that the Baron would be honored to lend us the use of his great hall for the event.”
I’d bet. It might be worth it just to see that stuck-up seneschal’s reaction.
Come to think of it, Anasius had been Stripey’s blood nephew. Shouldn’t he have been at the battle too? Shouldn’t filial piety and reverence for the older generation have required him to sacrifice himself to save his uncle?
I opened my beak to accept Den’s invitation just to spite that duck – but the tiny voice at the back of my head, the one that always sounded like Stripey’s, whispered, Is this wise?
I stopped to think.
No. No. It absolutely was not wise. My homecoming had already drawn so much attention in the barony that word of it might even reach Heaven and, well, Heaven frowned on people masquerading as divine emissaries.
In the end, I told Den, I am honored by your welcome, but a formal banquet is unnecessary. It is enough simply to see everyone.
However, having set his heart on an epic party, Den wasn’t so easy to dissuade. “Aww, come on, Rosie! We’ve been working so hard. We haven’t had a party in forever. I haven’t seen most of the taskforce in forever! It’ll be fun to get everyone together, for old times’ sake – oh.”
He’d finally spotted Bobo. The bamboo viper had drooped into a despondent heap of coils next to the honeysuckle bush.
After a long, painful silence, Den cleared his throat. “Ah. Well. Yes. I see how a party might be too much. After…such a long journey. You must be tired. How long are you staying with us?”
To that, I could only shrug my wings.
Mistress Jek and Taila (mostly Taila) wanted me to sleep at Honeysuckle Croft, but Bobo begged me to stay with her, and I took her up on the offer. There was something we needed to talk about, something I needed to tell her, which was much better suited to a dark bamboo stand at night. Even so, it was a few days before I found the courage to bring it up. Hey, Bobo? Are you asleep?
In the moonlight that filtered through the leaves, the bamboo viper was a blobby rope wound around a stalk of bamboo.
“Uh uh. You?” Me neither.
A long silence. A light breeze rustled the bamboo. Hey, Bobo?
“Uh huh?” I saw him.
?” All of a sudden, Bobo’s front half shot up. (Snakes had some serious abs.) “You sssaw Ssstripey??? Where? In Sssouth Ssserica? How’s he doing? What’s he up to? What’d he sssay?”
I shook my head, knowing she could see it in the dark. It was up in Heaven. Before both of us reincarnated.
“Oh! Oh! What’d he reincarnate as?”
I could only shake my head again. I don’t know.
After a moment, I added, He didn’t want me to know.
Bobo processed that. “Where’d he reincarnate?” I don’t know either. But he asked if you were okay, and he promised that whatever he reincarnates as, wherever he reincarnates, whenever he awakens, he’ll come back here. We made a promise, to meet at Honeysuckle Croft.
Pattering sounds filled the bamboo stand, like raindrops on leaves. I turned away and pretended to preen my feathers.
Some time later, Bobo sniffled and said in a reasonable approximation of good cheer, “Ssso all I have to do is ssstay here! And wait for him! And he’ll come!”
I already regretted telling her about the promise. I couldn’t shake the impression of my last meeting with Stripey. He’d promised, yes, but in a perfunctory manner, his focus already shifting to the life to come. He hadn’t left any messages for his friends, for Bobo, either, although he might have guessed that I’d be able to carry them.
To be fair, I hadn’t offered. It hadn’t occurred to me to offer.
But if he’d really wanted to, he would have asked, wouldn’t he…?
No. He promised
to come back, and a promise was a promise. Yes
, I told Bobo. Yes, I’m sure he’ll come.
/// Up in Heaven:
Flicker struggled to straighten his spine and thrust his shoulders back, but no matter what he did, they kept slumping forward, as if they wanted to shrink his silhouette. He should walk with purpose – he would be far less suspicious if he walked with purpose – but he couldn’t help ducking behind an ornamental boulder every time he saw another god’s or goddess’ entourage.
None of them paid him the slightest attention, of course. A lone star sprite clerk at the gathering of Heaven’s elite to watch the princess-of-the-night blossoms open? There were only two reasons he could be here: Either he’d been summoned by a superior, or he’d come to deliver a message to a superior.
Which was, in fact, accurate.
Earlier that day, he’d received a missive from the Star of Reflected Brightness. The Lady of the Princess-of-the-Night tells me her blossoms will open tonight. Come to the viewing party. I shall wait under the willow.
She didn’t need to specify which willow. There was only the one under which they always met. It had begun when she spoke to Soul Number 11270 (whom she hadn’t known was Piri – gods, oh gods, had she been furious when she found out!) about protecting Jek Taila. It had continued when she decided that he could provide her with intelligence on the inner workings of the Bureau of Reincarnation. And it was still going on, whenever she had an update for him on his biggest problem soul.
As if knowing what Piri was up to might enable him to rein her in!
It was not the Star’s department. She really shouldn’t be encroaching on another god’s domain, but the Kitchen God was never there to take offense. And the Star of Heavenly Joy was treading carefully – for a god – while his formal appointment as Assistant Director pended before the committee.
Bowing low, Flicker stepped off the path for the Goddess of the Moon and her lieutenants, the Jade Rabbit and the Lord of the Cassia Tree. Hopping after them was the Moon Toad and, finally, the exhausted Woodcutter brought up the rear, dragging his axe. He’d been sentenced for some long-forgotten crime to chop at the cassia tree that grew in the courtyard of the Palace of the Moon. His punishment would end only when he cut it down – which, given that the tree healed itself as fast as he chopped it, would never happen.
As for the Lord of the Cassia Tree, he’d earned his
half of the punishment by boasting of his regenerative abilities too often and too loudly before the gods and goddesses from the Ministry of Medicine.
Once the Moon entourage had swept past in a cloud of cassia cinnamon fragrance, Flicker veered away from the courtyard where all the gods and goddesses were gathering. Down by the lake, a single crane maiden reclined on a carved stone bench. Nearby, a faint glow showed behind the curtain of willow leaves.
Pushing through them, Flicker bowed low. (In her spirit of magnanimity, the Star had ordered him to stop genuflecting after the first few times.)
“Rise, Flicker.” As always, her voice wrapped around him like starlight and breeze. His heart beat faster at the sound. “Haven’t I told you that there is no need for ceremony here?”
He straightened his back but kept his eyes cast down respectfully. “Thank you, my lady. How may I be of service to you?”
She waved one hand in what was meant to be a cutting gesture, but it flowed like a shooting star’s tail. “Enough of the formality. Please.”
He stayed stubbornly silent.
Eventually, he heard her sigh. “Very well then. Flicker, are you aware that – no, of course you wouldn’t be. But Soul Number 11270 has left Lychee Grove. In fact, it has left South Serica entirely.”
Flicker was so shocked that his head jerked up. “She left
?” Tardily, he added, “My lady.”
“Yes. She has attempted to leave every life thus far, has she not? This time she succeeded.”
Stunningly, his first reaction was a sense of betrayal. But she promised
, he wanted to say. We talked
about it, and she promised
to live out this life in Lychee Grove the way she’s supposed to.
But of course she hadn’t. It had been foolish of him to take her word for it.
His second thought – the one that should have come first – was: “Oh gods! Oh stars! Did she – did she make it back to – she did
, didn’t she?”
“Yes. She did.” The Star’s face was drawn and tight, and exhausted in a way that reminded him of the Woodcutter. It made his heart ache. “Why can she not leave my daughter alone? Why, life after life, does she seek to meddle? You’ve seen her file – you’ve talked to her. What does she seek? Is it because, having saved Taila’s life previously, she needs to balance it out by destroying the child now? Why can she not leave her in peace
The last words came out almost as a plea. No, they were a plea. A plea for someone, anyone, even a star sprite clerk, to explain to her why the souls of her daughter and her nemesis were so inextricably tangled.
“My lady….” Flicker chose his words with care, knowing that she would not like his answer. Might even punish him for it. “It may be difficult to believe, but she does feel fondness for the people in the Claymouth Barony.”
The Star made a sound that, in someone who was not a goddess, might have been called a snort. “I’ve seen her so-called ‘fondness’ before.”
“That may be so….” Flicker hesitated again, then decided that he might as well go for it. “But my lady, she is
changing. She is
improving. She knows there is no further – personal gain – to be derived from their lives, but she still cares. She asks me about them and, since I cannot answer her questions to her satisfaction, she tries to fly back to see for herself.”
“Can’t she see that they’re all better off without her? If she truly cared about them, she would stay away from them! She destroys everything she touches!”
The outburst made Flicker jump.
The Star breathed in and out, deeply, several times. “Be that as it may, the next time you see her, tell her to stay away from Jek Taila. Tell her that is an order, from me.”
Flicker bowed low. “Yes, my lady.”
She left him then, floating towards the courtyard where gardeners had arranged pots of princess-of-the-night plants, under her supervision. The crane maiden rose from the bench at the edge of the water and followed. As for Flicker, he lingered by the tree, peeking at her back through the leaves. She really was a star, he thought, a shooting star streaking across Heaven far, far above him.
She got as far as the circular doorway to the courtyard before she turned. He could only gape as she crossed the garden back to their willow, stopped before him, and inclined her head.
“I’m sorry,” she said. At least, that was what his ears heard. His mind refused to process the words. “That was poorly done of me. Would you care to view the princess-of-the-night blossoms with me?”
He gawked at her, but she simply waited with that serene smile.
He looked at the crane maiden, who nodded encouragingly.
He looked back at the Star.
He thought about how much trouble he would get into if anyone from the Bureau of Reincarnation heard about this, as they surely would. Then he bowed.
“I would be honored, my lady.”
A/N: Thanks to my awesome Patreon backers, Arif, BananaBobert, Blacklark57, Celia, Charlotte, Hookshyu, James, Jojiro, Lindsey, Michael, Pizzatiger, Sebastian, TheLunaticCo, UndeadCellar, and Anonymous!
2023.06.02 04:32 DarcysFox827 Hillsboro- Buy Nothing Garage "Sale"
EDIT 4PM: Almost everything is gone. If you're looking for a wood dining table with four leaves to extend it, or a standing freezer that works but needs a thorough cleaning, send me a message! Thank you so much to everyone who came out, we met so many lovely people who gave our items new homes. Our neighborhood was coincidentally having a Garage Sale Saturday so we had traffic starting at 8:30am, but everyone was super understanding that we were still setting up, asked if it was okay before taking items with them (we had a sign since some of the tables were our own), and were generally really friendly.
EDIT 1:30PM: we still have items, especially furniture and the hot tub! Feel free to stop by or send me a message if you're interested in anything in particular.
My partner and I recently bought a house, which was sold to us with some of the previous belongings still in it! After sifting through it and removing garbage and recycling, we have now narrowed it down and are excited to host a buy nothing garage "sale".
We will be open from 9:30am - 5pm on Saturday June 3rd at 2694 SE Meadowlark Drive Hillsboro, OR 97123.
There are a variety of items available, but I'll try to list some categories and specific larger items.
Furniture: kitchen tables, a few wooden chairs, bookshelves, some old TVs, some organizing/display pieces as well.
Tons of crafting goods including wrapping paper, instruction booklets from the 80s/90s, an embroidery loom, and more.
Assorted glassware, candles, decorative pieces, office supplies,
Yard equipment (unsure what works): Craftsman tiller, yard wood chipper (less than 1/2 inch intake), hedge trimmer and weed eater.
There's also a hot tub in the backyard, free to anyone who can come and take it away. We are happy to help load, but cannot deliver. You will need to bring people with you to get it loaded.
Everything will be displayed out on the driveway on tables. Please ask to confirm before taking items, as we also have some personal items on the property, like some of the tables for display.
EDIT: Here is a list of additional items: Crutches Mirrors Holiday decorations (wreaths, tree decor, etc) Umbrellas Yard decor Clothes Hard hats Christmas tree stand Standing freezer (needs to be cleaned but still works) Wooden chess/checkers board White board Corkboard Art work Plastic patio chairs (8) Outdoor wooden bench Plastic patio table Plastic patio stool/side table Heat dishes Dog crate Treadmill (unsure if it works) Wooden kitchen chairs Fabric cutting mat Microwave Vintage skis (cool decor!) Hiking poles Cooler Lots of glassware of all kinds Some dishware
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2023.06.02 00:55 Superb-Ad4997 Wildflower Weekend Wedding - Budget/Recap May 2023
This subreddit allowed me to plan our wedding. I am so grateful and found these breakdowns especially useful, and now a cathartic experience for me and hopefully a way to give back! Photos
First step that helped us the most was deciding as a team early on what we wanted our wedding to bring to us and our future.
We were inspired early on by This Post
and the comments.
We have both been through a lot of life and have a lot of gratitude for the people that have gotten us to this point and wanted to make space to celebrate with all of them in a big way. This inspired the rest of our wedding planning, committing us to a big guest list, requiring a big venue. We invited 304 people (154 households), 179 RSVP’d yes, and had ~10 no-show. Our family and friends live all over the country and some abroad, so we decided to pick a location close to us, but that had multiple houses on site to host our family/bridal party for the weekend (thurs-sunday; saturday wedding) so that we could have more time with those people closest to us.
Total: $69,407 (MCOL area)
Venue: $28,250 “Weekend Package”
- Indoor and outdoor space for ceremony/reception
- Lodging for ~60 people w/Lake access
- Rehearsal dinner space (same as wedding reception)
- Weekend coordinators
- Additional costs - $1500: rehearsal dinner speakers/mic, bars, extra chairs/tables, late checkout, event insurance
Additional Lodging: $3965
- 2 additional houses near venue (lodging for 15 people)
- Because we were about 30min from the nearest city, we decided it was important to us to be able to have close family nearby, and rented out these houses as a gift for close family and friends. We debated a few different ways to have people rent the rooms back from us, but in the end felt like covering lodging cost was the better option.
- Postcard STD ($60), Invites w/vellum paper + details/rsvp insert + personalized sticker ($298), Thank you cards ($25), Seating Chart ($20 - GotPrint, 24”x30” foam board, used coupon), Table Numbers ($35 - printed on shutterfly sale 5x7), Programs w/menu ($200), Postage ($207 - estimating on thank you cards, saved money with postcard stamps).
- I designed everything on Canva (free), and printed almost everything above through canva as well with a few exceptions. They were excellent. I had fun making my own wedding “suite” that suited our personalities and could be used from the invites to the table numbers.
- Program was a booklet that was made using x2 8x11 sheets printed as “letterhead” folded to have a welcome page, ceremony structure, wedding party, community vow, wedding day timeline, our love story timeline, the menu, and a thank you back page with a map I designed using SnazzyMaps with pins from every state/country people traveled from
- We did online RSVP through WithJoy and it was great. We also used GoogleForms early in the planning process to collect addresses that autopopulated into an excel spreadsheet.
- Linens** ($360 - bought, (40 round, 10 rectangle) split cost as sharing with a friend. The cost to rent and have the linens transported to the venue would’ve been $2000. This was one of the toughest parts of the DIY wedding - happy to post more info if other people are also trying to do this.)
- Sign holders ($80 - 5x7 off amazon for 48 total), bud vases ($22 - most vases were borrowed from friends/family), Guest “book” ($180- we bought 4 nice photo frames with mattes and took the mattes out and had people sign them - came out beautifully), Bathroom baskets ($189), Glowsticks/Foam party sticks ($63), Sparklers ($97 - last minute add and I’m glad we did. It was special to have a “closing ceremony” of sorts - even though we all went back to the house at the venue for an after party)
- Photo backdrop and neon “good vibes only” sign - gifted
- Flower Moxie “Wildflower Package” with additional add ins ($2260) - these flowers were amazing. (photo of my bouquet in a vase - I’d had the flowers for 1 week!) We got buckets from Trader Joes for free. We had pruning shears and gloves on hand. We have a family member that has done florals for a few weddings and works at a plant shop. She gave us the amazing gift of doing our bouquets and bringing in potted flowers and ferns as well. She also designed a faux flower arbor accent for us based on our flowers. This work was incredible. Happy to answer more DIY flower questions.
- Grandparent charms ($102): both sets of my grandparents passed away. I had these designed from etsy with 3 charms including their wedding photo, kiss photo, and cake cutting photo. Absolutely worth it. Planning to re-purpose as a christmas tree ornament heirloom.
- Wedding catered for 174 people, Chickfila for wedding day lunch (~70 people), PapaJohn’s Thursday night of wedding weekend
- Catering was buffet and “Heavy Hors d'oeuvres” style with a mac n’cheese bar and we heard only good things from everyone
- Included cake cutting service, coffee/tea/watelemonade, and sodas/mixers/ice for the bar
- Bride mom paid for costco snacks/sandwiches for the weekend
- Groom family paid for catered rehearsal dinner
- Bride mom mom paid for wedding cake ($75) also from costco which was amazing - we did 3 sheet cakes and 1 round cake for cutting. We had 1 entire sheet cake leftover.
- BeeWine for wedding and rehearsal dinner ($1557); wedding day bartenders x3 for 5.5hrs ($1950), personalized koozies ($245)
- Groom’s family had a contact and bought all the liquor for the rehearsal dinnewedding
- Our venue allowed BYOB, and some of this cost includes extra alcohol for the wedding weekend, though we also had friends BYOB
- Beer from Sam’s Club and Total Wine ($727) - mix of Miller, Coors, Ultra, Founder’s IPA, Stella (this is the only alcohol that ran out)
- Wine from Trader Joes ($830)- you can talk with someone about ordering cases in advance and it took about 5 days to arrive. We did not do a champagne toast, but I got 10 bottles of trader joe’s prosecco to have at the bridal party house for the weekend. We got 2 cases of red, 6 cases of white, 2 cases of rose and had between 6-12 bottles of each type of wine leftover. I only bought wine that we like, so plan to drink it in the coming months and did not ask about their return policy.
- Included ceremony speakers/2 mics, had a fun video display that rotated out photos of people dancing, and including lighting
- Photo ($4839) 10 hours day of wedding and an engagement session.
- Video ($5000) 9 hours day of and includes a short video plus we paid extra to have all the raw footage
- These were some of our biggest hype people! It was definitely a price point early in the planning process where we had sticker shock, but we are very happy with the decisions we made here. These memories are priceless and the day really does fly by. They made us feel so at ease and so comfortable just being ourselves and coordinating chaotic big families and making the day all about us being in love and celebrating our love.
- Groom suit ($462 - mens warehouse custom, “lifetime” alterations - was a mess. Dropped it off 6 weeks before the wedding, they didn’t call and tell us it was ready, called them the week before the wedding and they said it was ready, the pants were not even hemmed and incorrect alterations had been done. We bought a “back-up” sale suit from J Crew that night for ~$300 and that’s what my husband ended up wearing- no alterations but fit and looked better than the men’s warehouse. Hopefully we get other uses out of both suits).
- Groom shoes, tie, belt, suit shirt ($180)
- Bride Dress ($2299- Stella York- included steaming, storage, preservation), alterations ($410- 7 point bustle, hemmed, shoulders shortened, felt added to shoulder straps, button loops added - was just a zipper, back taken in slightly).
- Bride Shoes ($99 - custom converse, wore several times again already!), Bra ($50- boomba, worked great!), accessories ($130), Veil $20 on amazon and perfect.
- Last minute also added in a new rehearsal dinner dress and short party dress that can be worn for other occasions. I loved my wedding dress and really wanted to wear it all night but about 30min into dancing I wasn’t able to party as much as I wanted to and was glad I had the party dress to swap into!
- Wedding bands from Brilliant Earth: Groom ($1285- platinum), Bride ($1069- white gold)
- HMUA $125 for haimakeup/lashes- (was also $125 for the trial - glad I did it!)- there was also a travel fee as we had it done at the venue that I paid.
- Marriage License $85, Notary $60
- Officiant $300
- Groomsman Gift ($300)
- Bridesmaid Gift ($0- family friend quilted large tote bags for everyone)
- Bridesmaid/Groomsmen Attire ($0 for us - we had large bridal parties so did not cover this cost. Bridesmaid’s ordered their preference of Azazie dress - decided on bermuda blue to contrast the wildflowers- and groomsmen rented from Men’s Warehouse).
- We tipped our day of coordinator $100, DJ $100 (owns the business, but did great!), HMUA 20% ($300 - I paid the entire tip cost for my bridal party but they paid for the HMU cost).
- Photo/Video own their businesses so did not tip- (leaving reviews!)
- Asked catering about tipping and they said they pay all staff a fair wage and it is not expected and gave a range of what people sometimes do tip. We ended up tipping the 9 staff/bartenders $30 each.
Our wedding was amazing for us. It felt like an event that truly encapsulated who we are as individuals and as a couple, and that chance to celebrate with so many people we love was priceless. It felt like all the spreadsheets we’d worked on for the last 2 years turned into reality. This is the main master spreadsheet I used: Google Spreadsheet Wedding Planning
It’s created from all sorts of different helpful spreadsheets I found here and from other wedding websites. The “Checklist” really doesn’t start until I realized how easy it is to get lost in needing to capture so many personal little details that would keep me up at night feeling like they were slipping through the cracks. But if you’re starting from the beginning, you will need to include the big ticket “check boxes” that are in the budget portion. Hopefully it can help some others! Happy planning Weddit!
submitted by Superb-Ad4997
to weddingplanning [link] [comments]
2023.06.02 00:46 Ultim8_Lifeform Respect Clint Barton, Hawkeye! (Marvel Cinematic Universe)
"Clint. You should not be here."
"Really? I retire for, what, five minutes and it all goes to shit."
Clint Barton worked as one of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s top agents for a number of years under the codename Hawkeye, being put on various assignments from keeping an eye on notable items like Mjolnir and the Tesseract to the mysterious Budapest mission where he recruit Natasha Romanov to S.H.I.E.L.D.. These experiences led to him becoming a founding member of the Avengers despite his own claims of just being a regular guy with a bow. Hawkeye worked with the Avengers for several years, from Ultron's attack to the superhero civil war that saw the group falling apart at the seams. However, his life as he knew it was snatched away after the invasion of Thanos, which saw 50% of all life in the universe being erased including Hawkeye's entire family. Hawkeye took up the alias of Ronin, a vigilante that roamed the globe in a vengeful rampage to kill the many criminals that had survived Thanos' snap. He eventually rejoined the Avengers after they discovered a way to bring back everyone that had been erased, but the guilt from what he had done as a result of his grief still weighed on him even after his family had been brought back. It wasn't until he met his future protégé Kate Bishop that Clint's faith in himself and his efforts as a superhero were restored.
Movies Av - The Avengers
AoU - The Avengers: Age of Ultron
CW - Captain America: Civil War
End - Avengers: Endgame
Other Sources AI - The Avengers: The Avengers Initiative
OH - Avengers: Operation HYDRA
SM:HP - Spider-Man: Homecoming Prelude
H - Hawkeye (Disney+)
Pym Particles (Size Changing)
"Yeah, no shit."
submitted by Ultim8_Lifeform
to respectthreads [link] [comments]
2023.06.02 00:12 James_DuBrennan ~5 or 6" tall and 3" at its widest, plastic Christmas tree with this red bow, a stump, and hot glued ornaments, possibly some sort of garland. I am sure it was Target or some hobby store's garbage product, but I would love to see exactly what it looked like when I got it in Pittsburgh a decade ago!
2023.06.01 23:00 JackPembroke [SF] God Mode - A Litrpg Short Story
Inside the boundless expanse of Loria Online, Guspy the elven mage drained the last of his mana vaporizing a Vickerbite. It was his third hour of grinding this particular mob, and he was getting tired.
“What’s the drop rate on this thing again?” he asked Collins.
Collins cleaved another Vickerbite with his greataxe. “0.02% or something. Getting bored?”
Guspy was indeed getting bored. Despite their grotesque appearance (they looked like flying crocodile heads with mosquito feet), Vickerbites were pushovers.
“Yeah, I might only have a few minutes’ more patience for this.”
Collins slammed his axe into the ground, causing a shockwave that killed another three. “That’s ok, we’ve been playing for a while. It just kind of feels like wasted time if we quit now, though.”
“Are you getting close to leveling?”
A Vickerbite burst when he swatted it with his staff. A loot bag dropped onto the rust colored dirt.
Probably another Vicker Tongue or leg or something, Guspy thought. He almost didn’t bother to check. But when he did, he found what he and Collins had been seeking for so long.
“I got it! The belt dropped!”
“Thank God, let’s get out of here,” Collins said, regrouping with the mage he protected.
Guspy read the item description for The Belt of Endurance.
The Belt of Endurance Slot: Belt Rarity: Very Rare Earth Resistance: %%0 Air Resistance: %%0 Fire Resistance: %%0 Water Resistance: %%0 Physical Resistance: %%0 Magic Resistance: %%0 Debuff Resistance: %%0
“What the hell?” Guspy said.
“What’s wrong? Is it the wrong belt?” Collins casually swatted two final Vickerbites.
“The stats are glitched or something. It’s supposed to be 5% resistance to everything, right?”
“The BoE? Yeah, 5% resist all. Is it not?”
“It shows ‘percent percent zero’.”
Collins shrugged. “Put it on, see what happens.”
Guspy equipped the belt and checked his character’s stats. “Ha, that’s so weird. All of my resistances show backslash, open parenthesis, ‘N’, close parenthesis.”
Collins used the Warrior’s Assessment ability on Guspy. “Huh. When I analyze you, I see hashtag ‘null’.”
“That’s either really good or really bad,” said Guspy.
Collins raised his sword and struck Guspy on the shoulder.
Collins attacks you for 0 damage
“There are safer ways to check!” Guspy said.
“It didn’t hurt you, weird. Mind if I use a little Fire Fan scroll on you?” Collins asked with a toothy grin.
“You have one? Aren’t you a little over leveled for that?” Fire Fan produced a tiny cone of flame that did very little damage.
“I’m a hoarder. So, can I?” Collins wiggled the scroll between his fingers.
Collins casts Fire Fan for 0 fire damage
“Guspy, I don’t want to alarm you, but I think that belt makes you invincible,” said Collins.
Guspy began to bounce up and down in excitement. “Oh man, think of the possibilities! I can solo raid a guild hall. The Nighthawks deserve that kind of ass whupping,” he said, referring their rival guild in Loria. “Or I can loot an end-game dungeon! We’re not far from The Death Pit.”
Collins looked into Guspy’s eyes and gave him the smile a parent gives a child when they ask where rainbows end.
“Oh, you asshole!” said Guspy.
“I think you should turn it in,” said Collins.
“Why?! Why would I do that?! The Nighthawks have been bullying us for months now. With this, I could walk right in their guild hall, wipe them out, and tear the whole thing down. They wouldn’t be able to stop me! You can’t tell me they don’t deserve it.”
“Not saying they don’t,” said Collins.
Guspy pressed, “I can farm The Death Pit for Soulflayers. Everyone in our guild could have a Soulflayer, even the newbies. They’d finally be tough enough to join us on raids. You know how they’ve been dying to play with us in high level zones. Think how happy they would be!”
“Oh, they’d be awfully happy,” said Collins.
Guspy unleashed his coup de grace. “And! I can go to Fort Murder, stroll through it without a care in the world, kill the general, and not have to split the loot with anyone. That means I would get a Headsman’s Axe, which I would of course donate to my dear friend Collins. Wouldn’t you like a Headsman’s Axe?”
“I absolutely would,” said Collins.
“Ok, good. So, I’ll just—"
“Turn it in, Guspy,” said Collins.
Guspy stamped his feet in frustration. “Why though? You just said you were on board with the Nighthawks and the Soulflayer and the axe!”
“Oh, I am. The Nighthawks need to get taught. Having the newbies be tough enough to join us would be great. I’ve been dying for a Headsman for months now. But you’d be cheating. Momma didn’t raise no cheater, and daddy didn’t raise no troll,” said Collins.
“That’s so backward. You know the Nighthawks would do that to us if they got it,” said Guspy.
“Sure enough. But we can’t control what they do, and I can’t control what you do. I just want you to remember what I’ve said before: there’s a person on the other end of that character. A person just like you. I can only imagine how tilted you’d get if someone cheated to become invincible and killed you. Or farmed their whole guild ultra-rares and used them on you. I’m just asking you, as a friend, to turn it in. Please.”
Guilt. He’s put the guilt in me, thought Guspy. What an asshole.
“Fine, I’ll head to Pokate and turn it in,” said Guspy, pouting and kicking an errant stone.
“Thanks, Gusp. I promise I’ll help you find a legit one. I gotta go, though. Play later?”
“You know it,” said Guspy, and he watched Collin’s avatar dissipate.
Guspy walked back to Pokate City, the largest player hub in the area. The journey was a particularly hazardous one. Wild beast attacks, an assassin, a rockslide, even an errant fireball from an ongoing battle, all harmless in the face of his perfect resistance. He crossed into the city proper, whitewashed buildings that held little shops and extra dimensional guildhalls. Pokate Palace loomed over all of this like a resplendent sundial. The stained-glass windows shimmered in the sunlight.
Guspy approached a beggar in the street. The beggar’s body was gaunt. His dirty rags and matted beard spoke of hungry days and cruel nights. The beggars of Loria Online were portals to moderator attention. Speaking to a beggar cued a request. A moderator would eventually take control of the beggar and offer assistance.
Guspy knelt before the beggar.
“I’d like to speak with a moderator, please.”
“All in good time, my boy,” the beggar wheezed.
Guspy felt an itch in his legs. There was still time to run wild, to reap the rewards of his lottery ticket. He cursed Collins for guilting him and attempted to distract himself. Guspy admired the features on the beggar. His eyes traced cavernous wrinkled flesh. Saw the tiny movements of lice in the filthy thick beard. Saw the faintest deposits of salt in two long tracks leading down from the cloudy blue eyes.
The beggar had been crying. Why would they include such a heartbreaking detail? Why haven’t I ever noticed this before? Guspy thought.
The clouds in the beggar’s eyes parted, revealing a bright blue sky. “Thank you for waiting, this is Raymond. How can I help you?” A voice as crisp as autumn wind now spoke through the beggar.
“Uhh, hi. I’ve got a problem with an item I found?” Guspy spoke at the mouth of the beggar.
“Sure thing! Is it an item you have equipped right now?”
“Yeah, The Belt of Endurance. The values look wonky, and It makes me immune to every element. I’m immune to physical and magic damage now too.”
There was a long pause, the beggar’s eye fluttered. “You’re reporting that an item is broken in your favor?”
Guspy winced. “Umm, yes sir? It basically makes me immortal.”
Guspy waited patiently. The moderator was using his tools to see Guspy’s menu screens, something that was normally private.
“Oh, for fuck’s sake!” the beggar said. “It’s a null shunt error.”
“A null shunt error?”
“Yeah. Sometimes during a drop-roll, the system shunts over a clipped value that…sometimes it breaks.”
“They’re a bitch to fix. Thankfully very rare. This one is particularly bad, and I’m at the end of my shift.” The mod let out a sigh that prophesized an exhausting tedious future.
“Well…thank you for your honesty! Usually when an item glitches in a player’s favor, they keep it a secret for as long as they can. Then they have a temper tantrum when we take it away. Alright, Guspy, I’m on morning shift tomorrow. I don’t want to deal with this right now. I’m giving you eight hours of god mode. Can I trust you not to make me regret it?”
Guspy was stunned. A mod was allowing immortality for eight hours? Trusting him? Why?
“You can trust me,” Guspy said.
“I hope so. I’ll fix this in the morning, don’t take the belt off or you’ll have negative infinite resistance and die from a sunburn.” The beggar’s eyes clouded back over.
Guspy threw a gold piece into the beggar’s bowl, a good luck ritual that even the highest level raiders did before a dangerous run.
He was in the clear. A mod had okayed him having god mode. Anything I do is the mod’s fault now! Guspy thought, but the thought gave him a queasy feeling the moment it passed through his mind. He was being trusted. He had promised to not make the mod regret it.
What was the mod’s name? Randy? He remembered Collins's words about there being real people on the other end of the game. He supposed that meant Randy too. He imagined telling someone to their face that his actions were their fault, like trust somehow absolved him of responsibility. He imagined someone else doing that to him. Or doing that to his little sister…
He spent a fair amount of gold on fast travel scrolls, valuable, single-use items that would transport the player anywhere in Loria. Guspy now stood on the craggy lip of Salamander’s Eye. The massive active volcano dominated the primordial jungle landscape. A vast column of ebony smoke rose from the lava pit, the birthplace of thunderclouds. Guspy spread his arms wide and fell into the heat, letting simulated gravity carry him downward to the roiling floor of liquid earth.
At the last moment he reflexively raised his hands to shield himself. Lava was instant death in Loria, doing an infinite amount of damage per second. Guspy was now sinking slowly in this most dangerous of elements unharmed. He raised his hand in a thumbs up as he sank beneath the surface.
Whorls of incandescent crimson, brown, and orange materialized and dispersed endlessly. It was like looking into the fickle furnace of creation, so eager to invent but too chaotic to design.
Guspy wondered if he’d fall forever. At last, his feet settled on something solid. He was the first player to set foot here. A unique accomplishment, one he could keep. He moved through the lava as though it was water. Must not have been a very important thing to program considering you die as soon as you touch it, he thought.
Guspy explored the floor of the volcano. It was perfectly smooth and without texture, an entire volcano held up on a pane of glass. But then he found something. A deformity in the bottom of the world. He explored it with his hand. It felt like a solid bubble sticking up out of the flat plane beneath him. It moved a little.
It’s a doorknob! Guspy realized. He turned it and felt it fall away beneath him. He sank further and dropped into a vast open room, the lava didn’t follow past the entry. Guspy cast a series of Light spells, banishing the darkness to the black obsidian of the walls and floor.
A giant floating sign that hung suspended in midair grabbed Guspy’s attention.
“IT’S IMPOSSIBLE TO GET HERE.”
“Shows what you know, sign,” Guspy said, and began to explore.
In the secret chamber Guspy found dozens of monster models from the surrounding area, frozen in the sterile T-position. He took the time inspect them in the minutest detail. He saw the way salamander skin glittered with the luster of countless ruby gemstones. He watched the dancing flames of fire elementals, and discovered their heat rose above the limitation of their hitbox. He looked deep into the eyes of a stone golem and saw that they were prisms. They split the blue glow of the golem’s magical core into a frigid winter sunset, whites and blues dancing and concealing a secret whisper of deep red.
I don’t think I ever really looked at the models before, he thought. Even now he couldn’t recall any specific details of any monster he had fought. They were all colored blurs in his mind, faceless values and blocks of information.
Despite his immortality, he still froze in fear when his spell illuminated a colossus of steel tucked away in a corner of the room. It was a broad suit of cold iron armor, bereft of adornment and pockmarked with the careless ministrations of a thousand hammers beating the metal into shape. In one clenched fist it carried a wicked looking cleaver, one that belonged in a giant’s butcher shop, used to crack the toughest dragon bones and partition the choicest bits.
Guspy had never seen or heard of this creature in his life.
You must not have made it into the final game. At least not yet, thought Guspy. Despite its beastly ugliness, Guspy felt a pang of remorse. Someone worked to design every aspect of this monstrosity to evoke the feelings of fear and disgust, and they had been very successful. But it had gone unused and unseen since the game’s inception.
I remember the Christmas ornament I made in middle school. A Christmas light made to look like a reindeer, googly eyes and fuzzy brown pipe cleaners for antlers. I was so proud. But when Christmas came, they didn’t want to put it on the tree. They thought it looked too silly.
Guspy left a gold coin at its feet, alms for unsung effort.
He was preparing to depart when he noticed an unadorned chest had appeared beneath the presumptive sign. Guspy was certain it hadn’t been there before. He approached, circling the chest, before reaching out and lightly tapping it. He may invulnerable, but this was a developer’s world. Who knows what treachery could hide here? He lifted the lid, tilting his head and peeking at its contents with one eye shut. Inside was a billiard sized ball of translucent glass. Guspy recognized a Title Sphere. These rare items would grant a moniker to the character’s name. It was a single use item worth tens of thousands of gold. Too curious to resist learning what it would bestow, he shattered the sphere in his palm. Red dust flowed between his fingers like Martian sand. His name had changed from Guspy to Guspy the Wanderer.
Guspy used his next scroll and teleported to the shipwreck of the Soothsayers Doom. A brig suspended above the ocean on a monstrous coral bed, the ship itself was a mid-level dungeon. Players could fight their way from deck to deck, battling undead crewmen that fired grapeshot salvos into crowded rooms, shredding players into bloody clouds. The Captain was the boss of the dungeon, and part of his loot was a map that would send players on a quest line that eventually led players to the halls of the merfolk king, an extremely high-level dungeon at the bottom of the ocean.
Being immortal, Guspy took what players called the ‘express route’, swimming directly downward from the open sea. It was suicide. Besides suffocation, players had to contend with titanic carcharodons, giant squid, invisible water elementals, and elite merfolk guard. These creatures had mastery of the terrain, and few players were accustomed to attacks that could come from any direction.
Beneath him, the phosphorescent glow of the Coral Castle overpowered the distant sun for dominion of the depths. Guspy slipped into a castle window, ignoring the tridents of the pursuing Knights of Pearl. The Castle was a dungeon that needed to be completed quickly, lest the player’s water breathing magic wear off. That made it the perfect sight-seeing location for someone who didn’t need to breathe. Guspy examined the meticulously decorated royal bedrooms. The books in Loria were filled with open source stories from the real world. Players spent hours in this fantasy world engrossed in the prose of Tom Sawyer and Paradise Lost. But yellowed letters fell from between the pages like autumn leaves.
Never whole without you, my beloved Jennifer,
Guspy didn’t know the merfolk princess even had a name. Neither had he any idea who B.C was, or if these pages were part of some fetch quest he had never come across.
Deeper in the palace he found the throne room of the merfolk king. The king was gigantic, of course, all raid bosses were. The king was also an enemy that demanded constant focus and attention to defeat. He cycled seamlessly through attack patterns, buffs, and stage activations. Missing the tell-tale signs would leave you a step behind the dance and doomed to failure.
Guspy now had a unique opportunity. He ignored the king completely. The throne room was heaped with chests of gold and artifacts plundered from sunken ships. But they were only decorative, ersatz décor designed to regale the room with the trappings of wealth and luxury. Being worthless, players ignored them. Guspy took the time to closely inspect the mountains of coins and bejeweled quillions that rose from the coin piles. Ignoring the world-shaking bolts of lightning, magical rays, and great sweeps of the merfolk king’s trident, he crouched to the level of a single coin.
There, in the face of the coin, were three smiling children. The normal relief of Empress Aubrianna, a mythical figure in Origin’s history, was replaced with a picture of a family. The normal Latin phrase, “A solis ortu usque ad occasum”, had been replaced with, “Jason, Melody, Brock”. He moved from one coin to the next. Families, pets, and selfies looked back at him. Some had names written, others messages, “Thx Mel, my rock <3” “Joe & Cara 4 eva” “We did it!”
Guspy wondered if any player had ever seen these. Maybe, but he hadn’t, and that made it special to him. He wondered what he would put on his own coin. Me, Collins, and Becca at the beach, he thought. A picture that had been his desktop background for years. The only evidence of a perfect day.
Having taken his fill of the throne room, Guspy pulled out another scroll and teleported away.
Hogglerock dungeon was an aberration. Most dungeons tried to evoke a sense of awe or fear, but Hogglerock was just gross. Its entrance was at the center of a mud-smothered swamp. Poisonous insects and carnivorous slugs roamed the wastes searching for carrion to strip or making their own if none could be found.
To descend into the putrid depths of Hogglerock, you entered the mouth of a great saurian beast. It was long since dead, its flesh in a perpetual state of decay. Down its mucus-caked throat, you entered a dungeon that had been created from the offal that remained of its digestive system. Noxious acid pools, monstrous parasites, and bloated scavengers challenged players that came to plunder the carcass.
Guspy had to stop and think before entering the sixth stomach of the beast. He had no idea if his plan would work, or even made sense. Guspy removed all his armor and weapons, save for the Belt of Endurance. He entered the dungeon’s final room, aggroing a great bipedal minotaur and its bovine kin. Guspy sat and crossed his legs. He closed his eyes and focused on slowing his breath and his heart. Aggro in Loria was based on a series of factors: proximity, source of damage or debuff, equipment levels, class, movement, and supposedly even biometric data the VR rig was able to obtain.
The monsters were instantly aggroed when the rubbery sphincter of the sixth stomach was touched, converging on their only target. Guspy’s lack of equipment, aggression, and stillness would reduce his aggro over time. He waited and he watched. In time the monsters lost interest, ceasing their attacks and wandering back to their starting positions. Guspy continued to watch. For a time, they only bobbed in place, replaying idle animations and howling blistering war cries. But, in time, Guspy saw a strange behavior begin. One smaller minotaur creature pulled out a hunk of meat, clutching it by the pure white protruding bone. It chomped a piece and munched in contentment, eyes closed in blissful indulgence. The giant boss minotaur began to sniff the air, and a game of keep away began. The smaller minotaurs tossed the meat between themselves as the boss zeroed in on the source of the smell.
Who is this for? wondered Guspy. Who was meant to see this? And how? Why hide it? How many monsters of Loria Online had these little secrets? Tiny moments of humor buried in terabytes of code, only visible in a state of extreme passivity. Once the capering script had completed, the bovines returned to their normal places and continued to cycle basic idle motions.
It’s for me. Since I’m the one watching it, that means it’s for me, thought Guspy.
Guspy pulled out his final scroll, completing the spell just before he was beset again.
Guspy the Wanderer appeared back in Pokate City. His new title drew lingering looks from other players who searched their memories. Guspy’s time was running low, and fatigue massaged his mind and eyes. There was more he could search for. He could run down the hours until the mod logged back on and set things to rights. But he didn’t want the last moments of such an enlightening day to be a race against the clock. It would spoil the sense of calm and contemplation he had cultivated. Instead he sat down next to a beggar and composed a message to Collins.
“I won’t be joining you today, Collins, but I’ve got so much to tell you about when I do.”
He had seen beyond the veil. He witnessed tiny miracles of creation hidden from mortal sight. Sparks of love that flickered once more when observed. For a precious few hours, he was blessed with a peace that allowed him to fall in love with the game all over again, to appreciate its creation like a benevolent god.
Collins and Guspy returned to the red rock canyon. Guspy admired the visible strata of the walls. Simulated eons left perfect layers of color stacked like the pages of a book. Little details, so insignificant yet so engrossing. He appreciated the work that went into this game. The efforts of artists always caught his notice.
submitted by JackPembroke
to shortstories [link] [comments]
2023.06.01 10:21 Flashy_Special6826 Step into a scene of enchantment and elegance as a decorative small tree adorned with a delicate lace band becomes the focal point, radiating beauty and grace.
| || | submitted by Flashy_Special6826 to u/Flashy_Special6826 [link] [comments]
Imagine a winter wonderland, where a miniature evergreen tree stands tall, its branches glistening with a touch of frost. Wrapped around the tree's trunk is a dainty lace band, adding a touch of delicate charm to its natural splendor. Picture the tree nestled in a cozy corner of a living room, surrounded by twinkling lights and shimmering ornaments. The lace band adds a soft and romantic touch, enhancing the tree's visual appeal and creating a captivating centerpiece. Whether it's a holiday celebration or a desire to infuse your space with a touch of timeless beauty, the combination of a decorative small tree and a lace band is simply enchanting. Embrace the ethereal allure of the lace band, allowing it to elevate the tree's elegance and create a scene that exudes warmth and sophistication. Let the delicate presence of the lace band transport you to a world of magical moments and cherished memories. 🎄🎀✨ #DecorativeSmallTree #LaceBand #EnchantmentAndElegance #TimelessBeauty