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New Aniara fan fiction short story - The Lost Voices of Aniara: A Space Saga
2023.06.10 06:37 Imaginary-Zebra-3589 New Aniara fan fiction short story - The Lost Voices of Aniara: A Space Saga
The short story you are about to read was created/inspired/based on a variety of sources related to or about Aniara. Aniara rock opera (Seventh Wonder) - The Great Escape, the Aniara wikipedia page, the Aniara film, poem etc. So if you read something and it sounds familiar, it's probably because it comes from or is based on, one of those sources. I have also tried to incorporate some of the thoughts and ideas expressed here on aniara
, so some of you may see that reflected. I have not read everything that has to do with the Aniara universe, but I have found many of the resources listed on aniara
very helpful in creating this short story. Thank you for those. I have also included a couple alternate endings.
Also, this story belongs to everyone, so everyone should feel free to to fill in the blanks, add to, subtract, or change any part of the story, in anyway they see fit.
I dedicate this short story to all the fans of Aniara, this story is for you and of course the late Harry Martinson.
Like many people who watched the film 'Aniara', I was mesmerized/traumatized by it. It really had a profound effect on me. So much so that I decided to write this fan fiction short story. I am not a writer. The short story that you are about to read is my (very) amateurish tribute to the film. I apologize in advance for all of the grammaspelling and other errors. Despite the (many) flaws of this short work, I hope that you can see what I was attempting to do. Anyway without further or do, I present to you:
The Lost Voices of Aniara: A Space Saga WE CROWN THE SKIES WITH OUR TIARA, THE LIFE AND FATE OF ANIARA
The following represents the most complete (so far) chronicle of events that happened onboard the Aniara.
Year 18 - Song of Melancholy
- My name is Benjamin Jenkins, but everyone calls me "Benny", I am proud to announce that I am the new "Captain" of the mighty space "cruise ship" Aniara. Of course, my title could just as easily be the Admiral of Mars or the Conquer of the Universe, or some other ridiculous sounding grandiose title. Sometimes you must laugh in the face of despair otherwise you will go insane. It's all just for fun of course. I was given the title "Captain" by the crew because I was able to restore the communications transmitter. At least I think I was able to retore it? The lights show green for transmitting, so yeah I bet it works, and besides, all of this is being recorded for posterity and it will be placed in a time/memorial capsule. After that the capsule will be sent in the (general) direction of Mars/Home, where hopefully someone finds it. I'm also the Senior Maintenance Tech in charge of repairing/prolonging various ship systems, etc. There are now only a few remaining livable areas of the ship so it's not as much work as one might imagine. And to think 18 years ago, I was just an ordinary passenger, how far through the ranks I've come! As the "Captain" I will now recount the entire history of the Aniara, the various events, the everyday happenings, from the awe inspiring and amazing, to the boring and mundane, great triumphs and crushing defeats, all the feelings of happiness and joy that come with new life and all of the sorrows and despair that come from (too) many deaths and (too) many hardships. All of our great accomplishments, setbacks and everything in between will be laid bare before the entire universe to witness. Our love, our hate, our dreams, our wants and desires, disappointments, anger and fear but above all our HOPE. Our precious HOPE, the only thing we have left, which has kept us alive for so long. Our HOPE that this message will be received, that someone, somewhere will know our story and our struggle, our HOPE that Mars will be successfully terraformed into the paradise that we all know it can be and our HOPE that Earth will be restored to the paradise that it once was. It's all here, it's all being recorded for the future. I will start our saga from the very beginning of our trip all those years ago...
Hour 1 - Routine Voyage
- Well, this is it! Soon I and many others will make a new home on Mars... of course if we hadn't ruined the first one...
Week 3 - Without a Map/A Slight Detour
- Today the Captain made an announcement that there would be a slight detour in our trip. In order to avoid a collision with space debris, (which would have destroyed the ship) we had to veer off course. Some of the debris hit the nuclear reactor (a very rare event), which forced the crew to eject all of the ship's fuel. The Captain told everyone that we will be able to resume our trip to Mars once the ship passes a celestial body, which should (probably) happen in about two years. Everyone is (understandably) disgruntled by this unfortunate news. As for me I have no one waiting for me on Mars so it's not as bad.
Year 2 - Wait and See
- After several long months of trying out all of the various amusements and other distractions, I was starting to get bored, so I spoke with one of the senior crew members and asked if I could volunteer to do something, anything. Also a job would help keep my mind off our current situation.
Today, my request to work was approved and now I'm part of the crew. My job is to do general maintenance tasks around the ship. I also help take care of the algae, which are used to supply the ship with oxygen and food. It's not a very challenging task, in fact I find it very tedious, but the algae are crucial for the ship's survival, so it gives me a sense of purpose and on top of that I also earn extra points.
Eventually, because of my (part time) job in maintenance, I would come to know every nook and cranny of the Aniara. On one particular day I noticed a slight problem (Electrostatic Diffusion Impaction or EDI) with the ship's air filtration mechanism. I was quick to inform my supervisor about the issue and together we fixed it immediately. If I hadn't spotted the problem, it could have gotten much worse and that would have been catastrophic for the crew and passengers. Afterwards my supervisor bought me a shot of (rationed) Dutch brandy. Other than that, nothing of note has really happened. Everyone is basically in a holding pattern.
One last thing. I've heard a disturbing rumor that there is no celestial body for us to turn around at... If this is true then, that would mean... But for now all we can do now is wait and see...
Year 3 - The Yurg/The Passing of Mima
- A memorial was set up to honor the end of Mima. So much joy had she given us. On the wall among the thousands of drawings, pictures, and sad goodbye letters was a poem that went like this:
We sit and stare at all the marvels that she brings us.
Mima lead the way.
Shine your light!
Be the beacon of hope at night.
Perfect grace in the barren house of space.
Shine your light!
Blind us when reality bites.
We so need the magic she does.
Many rumors are going around about what happened to Mima. People say that the Mimarobe (MR) was the one that ended up causing Mima to die. As for me, personally, I don't believe it. The Mimarobe just didn't seem like the type. A few times after I got off from work, when I walked to the end of the long line of people waiting to see Mima, the Mimarobe would come out and say "Ok, everyone that's it that's enough for today, you have to leave now, sorry." My own personal opinion is that she was just trying to give Mima a break, so even though I was of course disappointed, I completely understood. Sometimes we all just need a break. Sometimes things just get to you and you start to feel overwhelmed. I understood the feeling. Mima was like us in that way. Anyway, Rightly or wrongly the Mimarobe was locked up in the ships brig, her and another woman, I think she was one of the pilots,
Isabella\, I think was her name but I might be wrong. Oh well, our lives must go on, much sadder of course, but that's life, I guess. *
***Isagel, the pilots name was Isagel, her and the Mimarobe would later become a couple.
Year 4 - The Cults
- Strange things have started happening. Various cults have sprung up all over the ship with bizarre and strange names. One of these (that I am a member of) is called the ゴールデンサンライト・フォーエバー・クラブ - Gōrudensanraito Fōeba Kurabu - which roughly means the Golden Sunlight Forever Club. Some of these phony cults are/were created as a disguise to have outrageous sex orgies. The cult that I am part of is one of these. (HELL YEAH!). The other cults are very boring, stare out the window and worship the stars or something like that, types. (Glad I'm not a member of those!).
Year 5 - The Calculation
- A few weeks ago I met someone special (Carmen) at one of the "worship" services. I've seen her before a few times, but this is the first time that we "connected" and it was amazing. I'm glad that she accepts my physical imperfections (burns scars). Now we are a couple and have left the cult.
Fantastic news! The Captain has announced that an Emergency Refuel Rescue Probe is on its way! The news of the rescue probe has had an electrifying effect on the crew and passengers. Everyone is so excited that no one even cares that we will have to wait just over a year for it to get to us. People are starting to clean and pick up trash again, and the sex clubs and other cults are starting to go away (in anticipation of a return to proper civilization). Now we have hope again! Thank GOD!
Year 6 - The Spear
- The rescue probe is almost here. (Only one week away!) I also have even more great news! My
fiancée is pregnant!, now I will be a Father just like I always wanted! I have spoken to Captain Chefone and he has agreed that he will marry us on the day that the Aniara turns around and heads (finally) back to Mars/our new HOME! Even though it will take us several more years to get back, it will have been worth it to me. I am grateful for the "slight detour" we had to endure, because it allowed me to meet the love of my life! Now with our precious child on the way, I am truly happy. PURE JOY - beyond all words...
Something is wrong... After an entire year of training and preparation, the crew has successfully grappled the refuel probe and brought it on board. Everyone expected that within a few days, (a week at most) that we would turn around, but it's been three weeks and nothing. Every day the passengers ask the crew what's going on? When will we turn around? and every day we get the same answer: "Soon, everything is going according to plan, just be patient." People are starting to doubt and lose hope. I even walked right up to Captain Chefone but he knew what I was going to ask and he brushed me aside very angrily saying "Not now, I'm busy!". Now I don't know what to think. One minute I have a future and the next nothing. How can this be? I don't understand! WHY?
Catastrophe! After work I went straight to my quarters to sleep, it had been an exhausting day. Just after I fell asleep, I was awakened by a rumbling. Then, over the speaker came the announcement: Return immediately to your cabins and fasten your seat belts! Since I was already in bed, and had no idea what was going on, I quickly fastened my belt. When it was all over [missing]
passengers and crew left. I was told that it happened because of something called "bow shock", which [missing]
kind of like a shock wave. The bow shock had badly damaged many systems. [missing]
so now I've been "promoted" to Senior Maintenance Tech. Repairs must [missing]
don't have any more spare parts for [missing]
so many are dead...
Today the Mimarobe completed her beam-screen project. So now when you look outside you can see beautiful waterfalls and green fields etc. I try not to look at it too much. For me its just too painful... Year 7 - The Fall of Heaven
- Today marks the one year anniversary of the arrival of the so-called "Emergency Refuel Rescue Probe". What a very official and grand sounding name for a giant stupid looking dart or as some call it "The Spear". I've even heard some people refer to it as the "Devil's Javelin", but whatever you call it, it's of no use to us. The Astronomer had once told me before she died "supposedly" from a heart attack, (rumors say she was murdered by the captain, I don't doubt it) that all the work and tests they had done on the probe were useless and that even the hardest drills were simply ground into dust without even making so much as a scratch on the probe. Despite a literal barrage of tests and every possible experiment known, even using our most advanced lasers, they had achieved NOTHING! That was the moment I realized that we would never make it home. I even visted "The Spear" once, it was years after all the experiments had ended. There was a time when the area was heavily guarded by the crew and only authorized personnel were allowed in. Of course when I went to see it nobody was around, nobody cared, everyone had given up on it long ago. I saw all of the black marks from what must have been hundreds, if not thousands of desperate attempts to get inside it, or just to figure out what the damn thing was supposed to be. On the floor all around it were small heaps of black and silver metalic dust, remnants of our strongest and hardest drills, remnants of our hope. Our best and brightest couldn't even figure out what it was made of, let alone figure out how to use it to take us home.
I beat my hands against it over and over and I cried out my pain and anger at it. "You were supposed to save us!" "You were supposed to take us home!" You Damn! stupid thing, help us! save us!" But of course it was all useless my cries went unanswered, all I did was injure my hands and hurt my soul, assuming I even have one. After that I (I'm ashamed to admit it)... in complete and total desperation... I got down on my hands and knees in front of it and begged it to save us. "Oh, great magic spear, please save us and I will do anything, anything..."
After I had exhausted and humiliated myself I got up and went back to my quarters broken and alone. All hope was lost before my visit with "the spear" and afterwords it didn't even exist, not even as a word, as though there had never even been such a thing or concept as "hope".
I had been struck by the spear, just like everyone else, head on. My now ex-fiancée and I have split up. Things just weren't the same after the procedure. I don't blame her at all for our break-up, after talking about it, we agreed that if there was now no chance for us to make it home then... what was the point? I went with her when she had the procedure done. But before we went I secretly met with the doctor who would perform the operation and told her what I wanted done after. She told me that I was sick... that it was "disgusting", and what did I plan on doing with "it". I told her that it shouldn't matter, none of this matters, then I pulled out an EFR (emergency food ration). EFRs could remain edible for an indefinite period of time. (In theory they could last for hundreds of years.) Here I said, "one now and one when I get what I want". The doctor was stunned, I knew what she was going to say and I interrupted her and said,"Unlike everyone else I saved my emergency rations." "I only have the two left (I was lying) so don't try to extort me for more." After years of eating only algae, EFRs were (almost) more valuable than oxygen. Of course the doctor agreed and I got what I wanted. It might sound crazy but I had a plan. Fate had taken my family away, but I was prepared to defy even the gods themselves. I was determined that I would have my FAMILY! No matter what! Nothing and no one, no force of nature, no power in all the universe would take that from me. NO! NEVER!
I asked me a question, no reply.
I dreamt me a life and live a lie.
Dream me a nightmare...
I traveled the stars but passed them by.
For trapped on Aniara, here was I.
...always been leaving.
Year 8 - [missing]
Year 9 - The Daily Grind
- I have now returned to reality. I have stopped all of the sick and sad mind games that I have being torturing myself with. I once created a "plan" to do the impossible, but no more, no more. Everyday now seems like an endless pointless, struggle. Sometimes [missing]
and hours. Some of my co-workers stopped [missing]
for now that's all any of us can do...
Year 10 - The Jubilee
- Tonight at the Light-Year Hall, those of us that are still left are going to "celebrate" the 10th anniversary of our 3 week voyage to Mars or as I like to call it the "never ending space adventure" Ha!
Captain Chefone gave the Mimarobe a medal for her creation of the beam-screen device. I sat in the front row and couldn't help but notice that one of the Captains wrists was bandaged, probably from another suicide attempt...
Year 11 - Hope Restored
- My ex-fiancée is dead. She commited suicide like so many others before. I was hard at work trying to revive the algae (they had been neglected for some time) when my assistant rushed in and told me the news. "They were about to send her body into space, you have to hurry if you want to see her". I immediately and literally dropped everything I was doing. The algae pack I had been working on fell and splashed on the floor as I ran out the door as fast as I could. As luck would have it, I made it just in time to see her, and I even had time to cut a lock of her hair. I then kissed her one last time and said "Goodbye my love... but, goodbye is not forever."
Then that was it, off she went into the empty, endless, void. She was gone I told myself, but not dead. I squeezed the lock of hair in my hand and vowed that I would bring her back to life, somehow, someway, I would make things right, we would live the life we were supposed to have. I would make it happen. It would happen. Suddenly, I felt a force deep inside me rushing to the surface. It had been years but I knew what it was, It had returned to me, a feeling of exuberation, of joy and the certainty of knowing that everything would be okay. I now resurrected my "plan" and now I had a reason to live again, I had a purpose, and now I had......HOPE! And this time I was determined that I would never lose hope again. NEVER!
Year 12 - Return of the Cults
- Some of the old cults have started making a come back... However this time they are no longer sex/fun cults, because after so many years of eating just algae, almost everyone has lost their sex drive/ability to reproduce... I think because the type algae on board was genetically modified to produce the maximum amount of oxygen possible, so it was never intended to be used as a permanent main source of nutrition. If we had access to more than just the one type, things might be different...
Year 13 - Foward, Foward into the cold empty night! We ride!
- Captain Chefone is dead. Suicide. I knew he had been on the brink the past few years so it's not much of a surprise. I would often hear him say to himself "We should have been home by now." Of course he was right, we should have, but instead here we are stuck on this eternal "voyage of the damned".
A week after Captain Chefone died, I found myself walking by his quarters. I had the sudden impulse to go inside. I don't know what it was (probably just morbid curiosity), but I think I just wanted to find some answers...
I was surprised to find that his quarters were just as much of a mess as mine. (And everyone else's.) I think because he was the Captain, I expected a lot more. (He was only human.) After looking around the room, I went over to his desk and inside I found the Aniara's Offical Ships Log, but the electronic notepad was damaged beyond repair (on purpose). However, underneath it was a small paper notebook. "Ah, I said out loud, now this should be interesting." When I opened the notebook I was immediately disappointed. Most of the pages were torn out and those few that remained had been harshly scribbled over.
On one of the few pages not missing or completely marked over was written this: Today, we almost lost the entire ship, were it not for my quick and decisive actions as Captain. [illegible]
an incredibly rare occurrence [illegible]
critically damaged our main nuclear reactor. [illegible
] only seconds [illegible]
forcing me to [illegible]
off course [illegible]
have power for some time. This evening I will break the news to the passengers in such a way that will cause the least amount of panic and at the same time not destroy their hope. If they knew the real situation, it would only cause unnecessary chaos. In this way, I will maintain order and keep the passengers safe. Fear and [illegible]
as Captain of Aniara [illegible]
that is now my primary job. [illegible]
now like a
Father and the passengers my
children. In many ways we are very lucky, [illegible]
this trip, Aniara's sister ship crashed into Jupiter heading towards the Orion belt colony. Everyone on onboard was killed.
On another page was written this: The rescue refuel probe is here. [illegible]
turned out to be [illegible]
not what I expected. I have [illegible]
for clarification, [illegible]
-----cation. Testing will continue. I still remain confident that [illegible]
the project called "[illegible]
---elin" can still be used in someway to turn the ship around and resume course.
The last two pages were so scribbled over that I could barely make out any words let alone a full sentence. I did however, notice what looked like the word "Devil" written over and over. Very strange. I left the Captain's quarters with more questions than answers...
Year 14 - [missing]
Year 15 - The Light Show Ends
- Today the projection device created by MR, (Everyone still calls her the 'Mimarobe' as a sign of respect.) had to be shut down to conserve power. The Mimarobe often expressed to me her regret at not being more forceful with Captain Chefone in explaining the problem with Mima. She told me that if she could back in time she would say to the Captain:
"Just imagine what it will be like if Mima isn't here... do you understand how hellish the situation will become? My life is dedicated to this program and I'M TELLING YOU, IT WILL BURN OUT AND DIE! Imagine if people can temporarily go back to earth by turning on a light switch, now imagine if the bulb blows up, and there's no replacement..." "I know how important Mima is and you don't get it!"
The beam-screen seemed like a great idea at the time to keep everyone's spirits up, but in many ways it may have done more harm than good. People lost their minds staring all the time at something they knew they would never have...
Year 16 - [missing]
Year 17 - [missing]
Year 18 - The Time/Memorial Capsule
- The Mimarobe was the one that came up with the idea for a time/memorial capsule. She (like all of us) has suffered greatly, but from time to time she would show a small spark of her old self. The idea, while slow to catch on, would eventually give those of us still left a renewed sense of purpose. (People now had a reason to get out of bed.) But, it was I who would take the idea and transform it into something greater. Our first attempt at creating the capsule was successful (it was little more than a metal box) but at the same time, as the Mimarobe pointed out it looked too much like a large coffin. I agreed. We could do better. We had to do better. But we had to be careful [missing]
effecting power systems. I asked the Mimarobe if she could sketch a better design. After two days the Mimarobe presented me with a new design, it was beautiful, but simple, yet elegant. Above the sketch was were the words, "Heart of Aniara." The name was perfect. We would fill the "Heart of Aniara", with our art and our poetry, with our hopes, dreams and wedding rings. We would pour into it our stories, our struggles, our trials and tribulations, we would fill it with the tear drops from our very souls.
The "Heart of Aniara" is almost complete. It has taken an entire [missing]
solid effort to build and everyone took turns polishing it, so now it shines like the golden sun. We also wrote [missing]
and painted two large red hearts on the sides. It [missing]
long and on the inside are different [missing]
created using metal partitions. [missing]
was instrumental in its consruction...
Year 19 - A Slight Delay
- Disaster! Several Power systems, including all emergency back up systems across the ship have begun failing for some unknown reason. [missing]
working around the clock to figure out what is wrong... I don't know how much longer we can hold on...
We finally found the [missing]
will work for the time being, but [missing]
restored power [missing]
will do for now...
Year 20 - The Heart of Aniara
- At last the time has come for our send off. Everything is ready. As the "Captain" of Aniara it is my great honor to commision this new vessel "Heart of Aniara". Behind me I heard someone whisper "vessel?". I continued, "It is my firm belief that the "Heart of Aniara" will make it back home to Mars and everyone will know our stories..."
A moment before send off, I told everyone to wait. Theres one more thing left. I then slid open a hatch on the side and told everyone that I hated to do this to them, but I was going to Mars with my family. The Mimarobe approached me with a half smile on her face and said in a very serious tone "Good Luck, Captain Benny", "tell everyone on Mars hi for us and that we wish we were there." I smiled and promised that I would. Then to my suprise all the others came up to me, with some shaking my hand and congratulating me, asking me to say hi to their family and friends as well. I then ducked down into the newly christened "Heart of Aniara." Then the hatch was sealed. A small rechargable electric candle that I brought with me, provided the only light. Knowing that we would be leaving in a moment I opened a small box, took Carmen (lock of ex-fiancée's hair) and Sarah Ann (small jar with dead fetus) and held them together in my left hand against my chest. I could feel my heart beating with a mixture of fear and excitement. I took out a small children's book with my right hand and began reading it from the beginning. It was my daughter's favorite. It was called "The Duck and the Noodle." "Daddy are we there yet?" I laughed as tears ran down my face and said "Yes, my little princess noodle were almost there."
The Memorial Capsule lauched into space with a loud whoosh...
(Mimarobe, MR) - When everyone had just got through waving goodbye and were getting ready to leave, the view screen turned on and with it a pre-recorded message from Captain Benny. "To celebrate this great day, I have arranged for you a "Grand Feast", then he paused. A few people exchanged questioning looks. Then the Captain spoke again. "You see", he said with a smile, "Unlike all of you, I saved my emergency rations. You will find them hidden inside the mattress in my quarters, enjoy!" "Also, you will find two bottles of wine, yes! real wine!" Before the video even finished several people had started shuffling as fast as the could to Captain Benny's quarters. The Captain wasn't lying, it appeared that he had indeed saved almost all of his emergency rations for some special occasion(s).
What a feast it was! To make it fair for everyone we took all of the rations and put them together to create a kind of giant stew. Each of us not only savored each precious spoonful, we cherished it as though it was a long lost loved one. It is not an exaggeration to say that each bite was chewed one hundred times or more and then held in the mouth for ten minutes or longer, swishing the pulpy liquid around and around. I even saw one person spit the food back into their bowl and then put it back into their mouth, over and over again. That seemed a little bit unusual to me, but everyone should enjoy their last real meal the way they want. As for the wine their was enough for everyone to have a shot glass filled to the brim. We talked about the "Great Feast" for months afterword...
Year 21 - [missing]
Year 22 - The Living Dead
- (Mimarobe, MR) We've had to abandon almost the entire ship to conserve power, but basically were still
alive... I still dream about Isagel and our son from time to time...
Year 23 - [missing]
Year 24 - The Sarcophagus
- A few remaining survivors, including the Mimarobe, sit cross-legged in a dimly lit room. One of the few survivors speaks in a rhapsodic manner about the divine power of sunlight on Earth.
The Aniara slowly descends into final darkness...
Note: Years 25 through 5,981,406 are missing.
Year 5,981,407 - Lyra Constellation
- The Aniara, derelict, frozen and devoid of human life - reaches the Lyra constellation and approaches a planet as verdant and welcoming as Earth was formerly. It quickly passes by continuing on into the endless void of space...
Date Unknown - The Warm Embrace
- Ages come, Ages gone, Aniara soon embraced, engulfed by warmth and shine, newest born crimson light, Aniara far from home, aflame, not even ashes remain.
Epilogue: Year 100 - The Triumph of Hope
- Despite the faliure of many valiant rescue attempts, including all attempts at communication, we remain confident that those onboard the Aniara knew that they were not forgotten. It is difficult to imagine (the speaker momentarily shuttered), the impossible challenges they endured. The story of their lives will remain in the collective hearts of humanity for all time. It is our hope that we will do right by them, now and in the future. We vow to never repeat the mistakes of the past... and that is why today, on the one hundredth anniversary since the Aniara was lost, we reach across time and space to bring their souls back home, home to this sacred place... We hereby consecrate this new park as the "Aniara Memorial Park and Museum Complex." As you walk through these doors, one of the first things you will notice is the "Heart of Aniara" on display. Along the walls are the names and pictures of the passengers and crew, their artwork, poetry, and most importantly, the stories of their lives, their hopes, dreams and wedding rings... Aniara Memorial Plaque
: We ourselves are the sorrow, we are also the joy, everything human is rooted in humanity, and no human being can escape humanity, not her hatred and her self-degradation, nor the joy she spreads, nor the love she forms.
Date [redacted] - Project "Devil's Javelin"
- Status report #[redacted]
- As of today's date we are aware of a total of four "spear-like objects" [redacted]
and has contextualized that there are many more as yet discovered. Because of [redacted]
we now know they are made of [redacted]
and probably come from [redacted
] the first was found on Earth 86 years ago, at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. The second one was discovered by the crew of the Aniara [redacted]
years ago. The third was found here on Mars, near [redacted]
and moved to its present secure location. The fourth and newest one was found when [redacted]
the far side of the Moon. [redacted]
buried inside the [redacted]
impact crater. We have yet to discover the purpose of these "spear-like objects."
to prevent another type of incident. [redacted]
have been able to gain access to the inside of the one here on Mars. [redacted]
only after [redacted]
and the entire team. [redacted]
using the most advanced technology and research methods. Dr. [redacted]
which is impossible and should not exist. However, we must now come to grips with the horror that this new revelation about humanity has [redacted]
general public must never find out... THE END?
Alternate ending 1 Year 5,981,407 - The Sarcophagus World Destroyer
- As the ship Aniara descended towards the lush and green planet, the crew rejoiced. Or at least they would have if they hadn't all been dead. After thousands of millennia wandering through space, they had found a planet that was almost identical to Earth.
The planet's gravity was very strong, and the ship had become trapped in the planet's gravitational pull and started hurtling towards the surface.
The Aniara crashed into the planet with a deafening roar, causing massive destruction and sending out shockwaves that rippled across the surface.
As the dust settled, it became clear that the landing had been catastrophic. Plant and animal life had been completely obliterated, and the once green planet was now a barren wasteland. Soon not a single living thing was left to witness the horror and the devastation that had been caused.
Another beautiful, thriving, planet, a blue and green jewel, once teeming with life has been turned into a lifeless barren wasteland...
Alternate ending 2 Year 5,981,407 - The Second Chance Sarcophagus
- As the ship Aniara descended towards the lush and green planet, the crew rejoiced. Or at least they would have if they hadn't all been dead. After thousands of millennia wandering through space, they had found a planet that was almost identical to Earth.
The planet's gravity was very strong, and the ship had become trapped in the planet's gravitational pull and started hurtling towards the surface.
One one-trillionth of a second after the Aniara crashed into the planet the mysterious spear-like probe on board finally awakened. A God-Like Power. In that one one-trillionth of a second the Aniara was scanned by the powerful probe and the events and lives of the crew had become known to it. At the same time, both the ship and the planet were saved by a force field of immense power. The ship was now resting safely on the surface of the lush, green planet. The probe had determined that the primitive life forms on board were worthy of a second chance at life and it was able to resurrect the entire crew and all the passengers from microscopic DNA that had been left. The Aniara was perfectly restored and even the Mima had been brought back. The crew and passengers awoke to find themselves in a veritable Garden of Eden, a paradise. Maybe this time things would go better and the mistakes from the past would not be repeated...
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2023.06.10 06:34 Critical_Oil_6001 I was curious about a local legend. Now, what was supposed to be a week-long trip might turn into my eternal nightmare.
I just hope that people see this post, that they might start spreading the news before it’s too late. Something big is coming, something ancient, something older than any of us could have ever imagined. It might be too late. I don’t know what will become of me, of the people I love that I might never see again, by the time you are reading this. But I implore you to listen and take this story seriously, because it could save your life. Or not. I don’t know yet how deep this goes. If it’s true, if what I think is true…God help us. Nothing can save us now.
I’ll start at the beginning, because you need to understand how long this has been happening, and the implications of what is possible now that it’s getting worse. Over winter break, I went to visit my friend from high school, Jackson, in Vermont. He goes to Bennington College, studies Social Sciences with a minor in Linguistics. Smart guy. He used to write my papers for me in English class, and I would pay him back in six packs. That’s always how it was: him, studious and put together, and me itching to get outside. I was constantly on the move, biking through the forests behind my house, trail-running, building a treehouse for my little brothers, you name it. I wanted to get my hands dirty, get into nature. I guess that’s why I opted out of college, and went for camp counselor positions and summer gigs until I secured a conservation job with a park near home. Nature is important to me, and I want to do my part as the generation that has a responsibility to heal the world.
The outside was what called me to Bennington, aside from the fact that I missed my best buddy. I don’t remember when it was first brought to my attention, but I became aware of murmurings of Bennington’s rocky past online about a few months before I was set to visit Jackson. Being an experienced outdoorsman, I wasn’t afraid; on the contrary, I was rather excited to get out there and prove my worth to Jackson and his college buddies, who were far less athletic than I am. Looking back, I’m kicking myself for being so cocky. I can’t believe I ever thought of my best friend in that way.
From what I could see on the internet, Bennington College’s history was a long and often sinister one. There were videos about people vanishing into thin air: a girl wearing a red parka went for a hike alone and was never found, an experienced man leading an outdoor expedition disappeared in the woods, a woman fell into a stream, doubled back to the campsite to change her clothes, but never made it to the site, a man on a bus disappeared from the vehicle at a stop but left all of his luggage, a teenage boy was waiting in his mother’s truck and when she came back, he was mysteriously gone…I wish I could say these stories deterred me from poking my head somewhere where it didn’t belong.
Instead, I only grew more curious. What was going on in this so-called “Bennington Triangle?” I was in a unique position to investigate this phenomenon for myself. Many people hear about strange occurrences and the intrigue piques their interest, but they never have the chance to see it for themselves. But I could. I knew I could hold my own out in the wilderness—it was literally my job! Besides, I was a strong, slightly stubborn young man, built steadily, and I could protect myself well. What could possibly happen to me out in those woods, much less to a group of young college-aged men? The people who went missing most likely made one fatal mistake that cost them their lives, or maybe it was all just a big coincidence. Either way, I was about to find out for myself.
It was halfway through December when I left to meet up with Jackson. I got there on the last day of classes, and Jackson told me he would be busy until later in the day. I assumed he was cramming for a final, and I told him it was no big deal, I would meet up with him and maybe meet some of his buddies later. Besides, I had some plans of my own.
The most famous missing persons case in Bennington went cold, and is still unsolved to this day. The case is a tragic one, and I didn’t want to be insensitive by going around asking for information or throwing around names. Everything I needed, I found online. Paula Welden was the name of the girl in the red parka that went missing. Allegedly, she left campus one day to go on a hike by herself. She left the campus around 3pm and hitchhiked to an entrance to the Long Trail, a trail that runs for almost 300 miles from Massachusetts all the way to the Canadian Border. She wasn’t dressed to be outside for long, but as the story goes, she never made it back from the trail.
There was one sighting of her, however, that particularly interested me. A man reported that he had seen her running around, rather erratically, in the bottom of a gravel pit near the entrance to campus, and I wanted to see if there was anything left of the pit. Because I’m experienced with many different kinds of natural phenomena, I initially wondered if there wasn’t a natural explanation for her distressed behavior. I thought maybe there might be an insect nest or an infestation of small animals at the bottom of the pit that she might have disturbed, so I decided to check it out in my free time.
After the RA checked me in and I tossed my luggage into Jackson’s dorm, I packed a small backpack with essentials: water, sunscreen, energy bars, mini first aid kit, some rope, a utility tool, a flashlight, and a lightweight jacket. Then I headed out towards the pit.
The first thing I noticed was how much smaller the pit seemed. According to the eyewitness description of the incident, Paula was running up and down the side of a deep gravel pit, but what lay in front of me now was something much more shallow. I walked down into the center of what was left of the pit, but I could easily see over the edges. The small, dark fragments of rock crunched and ground together under my hiking boots, and the slowly sinking midday sun bounced off of the remnants of white snow around me. It was an unusually sunny day for winter, and the snow was, curiously, letting up for my visit. But the good luck for me ran out here—there seemed to be nothing to investigate at this location. My hopes of finding any evidence of insect or pest infestation that could have disturbed the girl were dashed, maybe buried several feet underground.
I lingered awhile, kicking at the bits of gravel in the small pit. I watched the small rocks scatter over the rest of the gravel, hitting up against the edge of the pit and rolling back down a few inches. I turned to go, but stopped. Maybe it was a trick of my eye, the sun reflecting harshly off of the snow and glinting in my sunglasses, causing me to not see clearly. I walked to the edge of the pit and kicked some more gravel at the side. The small rocks skipped across the uneven surface of the gravel pile, and scattered up the edge of the pit, farther than gravity should allow them to travel. I kicked more, and it happened again. My heart started beating faster.
I crouched down and picked up a small stone. I rolled it gently across the gravel, softly enough that it started to slow when it reached the incline of the side of the pit. I watched, astounded, as the rock slowly rolled uphill about a foot before coming to a stop. I gave a shout of excitement and jumped to my feet.
As I stood up straight I nearly fell back down. In an instant, my hearing seemed to go and I felt an overwhelming sense of claustrophobia. I spun around, thinking someone must be behind me, messing with me, but the sensation of closeness stayed pressing at my back. I spun around again, searching for an explanation. My head was fuzzy. I heard my footsteps, overwhelmingly loud, and I couldn’t hear anything else, almost as if my range of hearing was limited to my immediate surroundings. Like I was trapped in the pit. As soon as those words flashed through my head, the claustrophobia overwhelmed me, pushing up against the very air around my body. The silence built up inside my ears until all I could hear was my muffled footsteps, my desperate breathing, and the blood rushing faster and faster through my body.
I lunged for the edge, clambering up the side as fast as I could. Instantly upon passing over the edge the sounds of the late afternoon bore down on my ears. I stumbled and covered my ears, the chirping of the birds and rustling leaves almost too loud for me to bear.
It’s not that I was scared. Obviously, I was a little shaken up. As I hastened back towards Jackson’s dorm, I tried to rationalize what had just happened to me. Maybe I hadn’t drank enough water and I simply became dizzy. Maybe it was altitude sickness. Maybe a strange bug had bitten me and I temporarily lost my bearings. Nothing quite made sense. I tried to push it from my mind and focus on having a good first day, because soon I would be meeting Jackson’s college buddies.
When I got back to the dorm, Jackson was waiting for me. Fresh from the shower, his hair was damp and he was putting on a clean t-shirt. Pulling me into a hug, he expressed his excitement over my visit, asked me about my flight, what I thought about the campus—all the preliminary niceties. Internally, I breathed a sigh of relief. Even if he noticed, he didn’t pry and try to ask me about my slightly shaking hands, my pale face, or the vague disconnectedness with which I answered his questions.
That night eased my worries slightly. I ended up meeting Jackson’s group of friends and, together, we ventured into downtown Bennington. We hit a few bars and chilled at some of the many breweries in town. Live music, good company, and many, many beers did wonders on my nerves. By the end of the night, I had completely forgotten all about my encounter in the gravel pit. Jackson’s friends were nice guys, and I was too busy feeling proud about my best friend coming out of his shell in college. When he left, I had my doubts, but it was crystal clear that Jackson was really coming into himself at this school.
The festivities continued for the next few days: the guys were stoked to be done with their final exams and excited to connect with Jackson’s old friend, so we spent our time drinking and hanging out, bumping music and generally having a blast. It was almost enough for me to forget about one of the very reasons I was excited to be in Bennington in the first place.
It’s been a few days since that incident. I had even almost started to feel better about the whole thing. Maybe it was a mistake to poke around in old history, and maybe I should just focus on living my own life and fulfilling my own passions, working to heal nature as best as I can. But now Jackson and his friends want to go on a hike, and I’m starting to feel that same claustrophobia creeping back in. What the hell is out there, and why do I feel like I shouldn’t be messing with it?
Jackson chose the hike, not me. It was like him; he was the researcher, he was the one who looked at details, so he suggested we hike on the Long Trail. It intersected with the Appalachian Trail, and maybe I wasn’t paying attention when Jackson explained this to me, because it didn’t raise any alarms about the missing persons cases. Paula Welden went missing on the Long Trail, sure—but she wasn’t with a group of capable college guys like I was.
We packed some backpacks, crushed a beer or two for celebratory sakes, and set off on the trail. I let myself feel excited as we stomped through the trees, Jackson and his friends decked out in their matching red Bennington shirts from graduation. The hike was long. It was tedious. I don’t know when I first started noticing the weird aspects around us until about an hour in. The others didn’t pay any mind to these things, but I saw them: leaves drifting in the air with no breeze, snowflakes trapped in patches of sunlight, floating but unmoving, and that tree. It was a towering douglas fir, half-dead and reaching for the afternoon sun with bare branches. Each time I looked over my shoulder to check for hikers behind us or glanced ahead to see what awaited us, it was there. At first I assumed my eyes were playing tricks on me. After all, we had been hiking for a few hours.
Only when we stopped for a breather and Jackson pointed at a nearby stream did the weird things become too much for me. We were hiking on an incline, and we were exhausted, but when Jackson knelt beside this stream, it was flowing uphill. By then I was a little panicked. I freaked out, telling them that we needed to head back. Who cares if we hadn’t reached the halfway point yet? Was there even a halfway point? It felt like we had been walking for miles!
One of Jackson’s buddies opened up a map of the trail on his phone, and it was blank. He had service and bars, but the map was just…gone. Shocked with sudden fear, we immediately turned and headed back down the path. The sky darkened within minutes of us retracing our steps. Somehow, night was falling, despite us beginning the hike only a few hours prior. I tried to point it out, pulling Jackson aside when we slowed our pace to pass around a bottle of water. But Jackson was terrified and unfocused, and when I asked him what was wrong, we realized that one member of our five-person group was missing. How had we not noticed?
So, we made a U-turn and headed back up the mountain. Twenty minutes later, we found his torn university shirt. I turned the red fabric over in my hands, panicked and bewildered. When I looked up to scan our surroundings, I saw that same Douglas fir directly to my left. I was shocked, and the rest of the group must have noticed. We looked at each other and saw the panic rising on our faces. What the hell was happening?
I only had one goal at this point: we had to get down the mountain to call for help.
We decided to do our best to follow the trail on the way we came up, but only once daylight broke; it was difficult to make out the trail in the dark cover of the night, so I insisted it would be too dangerous. Someone could fall and get seriously injured, we could all get separated in the dark, or worse. So we did our best to hunker down and build a makeshift shelter to wait out the night, but it wasn’t easy. I can only describe the sounds we heard as otherworldly. Despite the lack of animals in the woods, nature seemed to be alive around us. The clicking of bugs kept me wide awake, but the noises were louder and deeper than I had ever heard. The baying of giant wolves, so close I imagined them coming up directly behind us. The snuffling of something in the underbrush, but from a cavernous creature larger than any moose could ever be.
Where had these animals been in the daytime? Why did it feel like they were surrounding us now?
I don’t know how I ever fell asleep, but when I awoke in the morning, the sun was beating down on us. From the sheen of sweat on my forehead to the dreadful pit in my stomach, I could tell something was horribly wrong.
When I scrambled to my feet and glanced around the area, I realized that only Jackson and I remained at our site. It was us, the clothes on our backs, and the demure amount of leftover supplies in our pockets: keys, gum wrappers, half-eaten power bars, and anything else that was ultimately unhelpful. We had been stranded on the forest floor, us against nature, as if something had swooped in from above and whisked Jackson’s friends under the pitch-black cover of the night.
I frantically took in our surroundings, peering into the bushes and pushing through thorny shrubbery. There were no tracks, no drag marks. Not even broken branches. I told Jackson we had to get out of there, and fast. I knew we needed to find the closest trailhead and book it down the mountain. Jackson ran so fast he nearly chipped a tooth on a steep hill. He was trying to keep up with me since I was faster by a long shot. All that sports stuff in high school paid off in the moment, so I almost felt bad leaving him in the dust. I called back over my shoulder to him every minute or so, making sure he was there.
He stuck with me for the most part. His t-shirt got torn by overhanging branches at one point, leaving a nasty scrape almost as red as the decimated fabric. I found myself struggling to remember if he was wearing that shirt to begin with, back when we started.
Then I decided I was losing it. It was like a fight against nature, Jackson and me against the blaring sun and sloping trail. Eventually, Jackson starts glaring menacingly at the passing scenery, cursing loudly and deliriously at everything surrounding us.
When we stumbled upon a trail marker, we barely had enough energy to celebrate. While we caught our breath, I tried to calm Jackson down. Something told me that cursing out Mother Nature wasn’t the best idea right now. Whatever was sicking the elements on us wouldn’t appreciate the nasty things he was saying about them. But he was terrified, and nothing I said could slap any reason into him. I had to lead us to safety, get us out of here.
Suddenly, I heard a sound in the distance. But unlike everything else we had heard so far, this one was man made. Jackson heard it too, and started yelling about a helicopter. He made a break off to the left, towards the sound, and I bolted after him. Somehow, he burst out into a tiny clearing.
Ripping off his red Bennington shirt, he started calling out and waving it in the air like a rescue flag. He jumped and shouted, but as the helicopter got closer, the unbelievable happened. The clearing started shrinking, tree branches reaching from either side to close the gap and obscure us from the view of the pilot. Jackson screamed in fury, cursing the forest like never before.
Then the chopper must have been lowering down towards the treelike because the wind picked up, blowing in circles around us like the blades were inches from our heads, faster and faster, more violent by the second.
The brush beneath our feet blew up in the air along with the topsoil and dead leaves, obscuring our vision. We could hear each other gasping for breath, trying to keep the debris out of our eyes and coughing. I flung my arms out into the space around me, calling for my best friend and reaching out for his hands. But then I felt something shift. The decaying leaves around me smelled stronger. The wind became more vicious. The earth trembled beneath my feet, and I thought I felt something looming above me, breathing down my neck but also looking straight into my unseeing eyes.
Then it clicked. Jackson's red shirt, the gravel pit, Paula's erratic behavior, the other missing hikers...something was picking these people off, luring them deeper into the woods where they were sure to never be seen again. Did the color red cause whatever it was to literally see red, like a sick, twisted joke? Like a giant bull in front of a matador? What kind of creature could it be? Such a stealthy hunter, a commanding presence that made man tremble at the sensation of its mere aura...I couldn't even think about it without snapping my mind.
Before the flurry of leaves and moist earth settled back onto the ground, I knew Jackson was gone. I knew the chopper hadn’t seen us and that I was on my own now. I tried not to panic as I felt like every hidden eye in the forest was staring me down, sizing me up. I took off blindly, but where to, I didn’t know. After what seemed like hours of desperately sprinting, I saw a pile of rocks in the distance. Shelter, I thought, and decided to rest there for a minute to get my wits back about me.
Then I had an idea. With what little juice I had in my phone and whatever cell service luck would afford me, I knew I had to send out a warning. For some reason, I didn’t think about myself. I didn’t think about dying, disappearing, or whatever had happened to my friends. If the nature around me would be the thing to end my life, so be it. I had decided to dedicate my life to nature long ago: to save it from my fellow man, to preserve its beauty, and to keep it out of the wrong hands, the people that wanted to use its power for evil and to bring about the harm of those around them. I know it sounds ridiculous to be thinking about when my life was at stake, but I knew it was what I needed to do.
From my makeshift hiding spot in the rocks, I began furiously typing my story with what little battery I had left on my phone. When my hands started cramping, I used the voice option. I didn’t care. I just had to get my story out there.
For an hour , I’d been trying to put it all down in words. I couldn't believe my luck, that my battery hadn’t run out yet.
I had almost gone to the end when I felt the same creeping silence begin to close in on me. It was as if the forest was falling silent around me, and that silence was racing in on all sides, but it was different from when I was in the gravel pit. There was more to the sensation this time, not just the sinking, breathless feeling and the loss of hearing.
Somewhere deep within the forest, but at the same time, only miles away, I heard an awful rumbling sound, something I’ve never heard before. Nothing like the helicopter, not even the giant animals I was convinced I had heard in the night. I can't even think of a word to describe it, but it filled me with a frantic kind of dread that I’ve never felt before. I feel it in the ground. My entire body wants to run as fast as I can, but it’s like I’m glued to the ground. I taste metal in my mouth like maybe I bit my cheek or the dirt from the wind or I bit on a rock, I spit and I can’t get it out. I’m going to open an app and copy and paste it so people can know while I still can type I’m shaking so hard they have to know.
And the smell I’m smelling it’s like fruit that’s gone ripe, but it keeps getting more ripe, a sickly sweetness that keeps building mixed with the smell of the richest earth imaginable.
This is happening now, I’m smelling this now and It’s it’s like I’m trapped under the shadow of some thing bigger something that’s taking the shadow away from the trees and I can’t see the shadow of the trees anymore and the ground around me is trembling. It’s like I can hear the trees calling out to whatever it is, that’s walking towards me or flying I can’t tell, everything is stretching and growing out towards me. No behind me above me something is coming. I’m I feel better right I feel better than I have in days or however long I’ve been out here I’m not thirsty anymore. I’m not hungry anymore. I feel fuller stronger smarter. My mind is overloading. I’m thinking of 1 million things like I don’t know if I can speak anymore it’s like, it’s like I’m fruit like I’m a ripening on the vine and this giant wings beating above me and the smell is too much I
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2023.06.10 06:13 Zagaroth [No Need For a Core?] - CH 094: Boing!
Next >> Mordecai was simply giving into temptation with this second boss. He had wanted to save it for later development, but he also wanted to play with this idea now. And he felt that it would be a nice surprise. So for the first time Mordecai turned his attention towards the technically hostile organisms occupying a part of the dungeon.
“Wait, really? You’re going there? Ewww.” Came Kazue’s mental voice when she realized where his focus was shifting. Mordecai smiled at her response, but kept his attention on his search. He was being picky in a way, but he didn’t want to create something completely mindless. His small constructs might have very simple minds, but they did have minds.
Most of the auras he encountered were far too weak to even consider, despite the size of some of the creatures. There was a certain amount of strength developed from the mind; physical vitality alone could create large amounts of spirit but it took a mind and will to focus it and make it strong.
Of the auras that had a little something more to them, most of them tasted of little other than basic hunger. Those were not what he wanted. No, what he wanted was … there. It wasn’t much, not yet, but there was the slightest hint of curiosity, of hunger turned beyond physical satiation. That would do quite nicely. He could make an offer to a creature like that, a promise to help fulfill this new sensation. He didn’t offer safety or food, he offered stimulation and experience.
There was a sense of confusion at first, and Mordecai couldn’t be happier. If it could be confused, it could learn. The primitive proto-mind briefly stilled, then hesitantly reached back towards the connection to accept. Mordecai’s sense of the creature sharpened and solidified as it became one of his inhabitants, and he mentally grasped it to draw it to the boss room where his avatar awaited, and he opened his eyes to examine what was to become his newest boss.
A gelatinous mass of fluorescent colors shimmered in front of him. If the child-sized ooze didn’t glow slightly, he’d have considered it iridescent instead with the way its colors flowed and shifted. The surface of the creature had a texture that was constantly changing between smooth and crinkled, with occasional bits briefly becoming solid. And floating in the very center was a nearly invisible tiny sphere of crystal. “Oh, you are beautiful.” He murmured to it as he walked around and examined it. “You have the best integration of living crystal and slime I’ve seen yet. I would like to see something.” He stepped up close to it and raised his hand over its surface. “Just a quick poke. Relax and let your reflexes happen, I won’t hurt you and you can’t do any real harm to me.”
Once it acknowledged him, Mordecai used his middle finger to jab at it swiftly. The surface gave slightly before rapidly hardening against the impact and it reflexively built pressure behind that point, then as his finger retreated and the surface tension released the pressure behind that part of the surface automatically flung acid-coated shards of crystal at his hand.
Mordecai spun to the side to avoid most of it, but a few flecks still hit him. They did more damage to his sleeve than to his flesh, but a normal person wouldn’t have taken it quite so well. “Oh, I am going to be happy with you little one. I think we need to start with a name however, and then move on to enhancing you. What do you think of Klastoria?” It pulsed with a pleased-looking flash of color, and Mordecai smiled. “Then it is a pleasure to meet you Klastoria. I am Mordecai.”
“And I’m Kazue!” Announced his wife as she manifested her avatar. “Oh goddess, you are too cute Klastoria!” She practically danced in place as she squeed over the slime. “Mordecai, I want to hug her so badly! How did you find something so cute in that place?”
“Heh, I don’t recommend that just yet love, she needs to learn a bit of restraint first.” Wait a moment. “Um? Her?” He’d initially followed the gender identification before he realized what Kazue had said.
“Yep! Someone this shiny and cute has got to be a girl!” The little kitsune said, and Mordecai couldn’t help but shake his head with a smile.
“I think Zushi might have something to say about boys not being allowed to be cute.”
“Nah, he’s fluffy-cute, that’s different. Klastoria is shiny-cute and pretty like a girl.”
Mordecai decided to translate that into ‘I want her to be a girl’ more than being any sort of rule Kazue was truly serious about. He’d attribute it to youthful whim if it weren’t for the fact that he was pretty certain that a hundred years from now she’d be inclined to do the same sort of thing. He had met her mother after all. “Not a good idea just yet love. Your avatar isn’t acid resistant, and your clothes certainly aren’t.”
While they’d been talking, the little bits of crystal and acid that had hit the ground had melted together and flowed back to rejoin Klastoria. “And I have a spell that can help with that, but let me finish getting Klastoria ready first, alright?”
“Fine fine, hurry up, I want to hug her!”
It was hard to not laugh at Kazue’s eagerness as he turned his attention back to their newest boss-to-be. “Alright, looks like Kazue has decided you are going to be a girl. If you ever decide that’s not right for you, let us know. Now, we want to make you stronger and smarter, though the smarter might be a little slower to come.” Klastoria wouldn’t be able to fully understand what they were saying yet, but she would be able to remember.
He mentally grasped the available boss node and began feeding it the concept of the crystal core in the center gradually growing in size and its paths becoming smaller and more intricate. “We are going to want you to become much bigger …” he paused as a new idea came to him. “Oh wait, how dense can your crystal get?” He had already noticed that the fluid had been compressed when it turned into crystal. Oh, that should work.
“But you won’t always have to be that big. No, with a little enhancement, we can help you compact yourself into a completely crystal form. Yes, that’s going to be your focus, complete mastery of your form and the transition between fluid and solid states.” He had been thinking of focusing more on the acid attacks of a slime-type monster, enhanced with ranged attacks and crystal shards, along with Klastoria being better armored than a typical ooze-type, but this would be, hmm, not necessarily ‘better’ from an absolute sense, but more custom and unique.
Mordecai connected the boss node to Klastoria as he continued to feed in his concepts and took several steps back, motioning for Kazue to do the same. It took a moment for anything to change as all the mana began funneling in, but then Klastoria began to grow rapidly. In just a couple of minutes she grew into a sphere about 15 feet in diameter, jiggling excitedly at all the changes happening. Knowledge came as well as power and mass, and as soon as the connection was finalized she began experimenting.
The huge blob suddenly shrank, transforming into a hard, sharp-edged cube of crystal only about 5 feet across. Mordecai blinked as he ran the math, then double-checked what was happening. It took only a second to realize she’d evolved the concept into a limited version of Shape Change, allowing her to displace a portion of her mass the way many other shape-changing creatures could. But not all of it, she was still nine times as dense in this form, which was a rather intense compression. It put her somewhere in between iron and lead.
It also seemed uncomfortable based off of the emotions from Klastoria, who then began moving through a rapid series of other form-changing experiments. Most of them were manipulating her ability to shift between fluid and solid phases at will with nearly unlimited amounts of discreteness, but she was also able to shift and recall any amount of mass she needed to within her ranges.
She could form long limbs able to swing as freely as any tentacle, but could instantly harden her surface and/or interior to act like exo- or endo-skeletons, and her limbs could have any sort of surface she desired, creating almost any shape of blade or point. The hydraulic pressure that powered her limbs and gave her the ability to fire projectiles of crystallized acid also combined with her size-changing abilities to allow her to leap, and even spin or slightly course-correct by altering her density in one or more spots mid-air.
Climbing was easy too. Any sort of tree-like structure could just be grabbed and used to haul her body up, but she could also flow up walls and crawl along the ceiling by letting her body flow into the tiniest imperfections and then harden into crystal to obtain a surface-wide grip. Mordecai even created a smooth glass surface for her to try on, and Klastoria was able to figure out how to flatten her body enough that simply air pressure could hold her onto it, though she was a bit slower this way.
She couldn’t go perfectly flat though, that sphere of crystal that was the seat of her very self could not be altered. But the ability to change her form so freely gave her lots of options that she was going to be experimenting with for days. Mordecai did point out one new thing for her to try later: With her abilities, there is no reason she shouldn’t be able to drop from almost any height. In her larger form she could increase her internal pressure to just high enough to create a collapsing cushion, while if she made herself a dense, sharp cone she could fall straight into the ground or another object and force it to take the shock of her impact, the rigidity and hardness of her body keeping her from being damaged.
Kazue slid up beside him and asked in an ever-so-sweet voice. “Are you two done playing yet?”
Mordecai chuckled, then swept her into his arms to give her a lingering kiss. “Alright love, you can go hug the squishy slime. She’s learned great control now and should be able to be just soft and pliable enough.” Which honestly would be another great exercise for Klastoria, but he made sure not to mention that thought out loud.
“Yes!” Kazue flung herself at Klastoria with reckless abandon and was quick to explore other play options as the slime could also be anything from a soft cushion to sink into, to a bouncy spring to jump high in the air. Mordecai amused himself by sending some images of what Kazue was doing to Moriko, and the half-elf’s envy was tangible across their link. He doubted she would be initially quite as carefree as Kazue about it, but he didn’t doubt she would enjoy herself.
While his wife played, Mordecai set about double-checking the level and inhabitants, making sure everything tied together and worked smoothly. It would take a few days to get everyone into their routines and roles, and weeks of practice to become well-trained for this mix of terrain and style, but it would be well worth the effort.
The final step was to sweep through again and set limiters. The creatures could simply feel his intent and hold back where needed, but all the more trap-like organisms needed to have a second layer of mana woven over them to reign them in. Things were less sticky, hit softer, and were easier to break. But in exchange, he was able to apply a soft layer of vitality absorption that would increase the fatigue of dealing with the various dangers, roughly approximating how they might feel after dealing with the trap’s full strength.
It increased his overall costs for growing them by about 50%, and if he’d been trying to make them more deadly the expenditure would have failed.
Mordecai snorted. Intent indeed. He’d not thought to layer things like this, he’d grown up just knowing what his limits were on how strong he could make something based on where in his dungeon it was. He’d never tried making something strong, and then ‘waste’ mana by placing a restriction on it. A restriction he could release as needed, but his sincere intent was to only do so if he felt it was needed.
Well, that would cost them a few days at least until they had enough to push down and start the sixth floor, but that was okay. He wanted to work over some ideas with Kazue first anyway. The organization of the first five floors was fine, but despite the theming, the layout was a touch repetitive, and they were deep enough already to make brute forcing a ‘second’ entrance infeasible for most.
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2023.06.10 06:09 HaykakanTxa Daily News Report: 6/9/2023
Reading time: 8 minutes, 1721 words
Azerbaijan opens fire on the vehicle transporting Armenian servicemen. the Armenian side has no losses
Azerbaijani units opened fire on the vehicle transporting servicemen of the Armenian Armed Forces in the direction of Kakhakn. The Armenian side has no losses.
Azerbaijani forces violate ceasefire, target tractor in Artsakh Azerbaijan violated the ceasefire on the eastern and northern direction of the line of contact using small arms, Artsakh’s Defense Ministry reports. No casualties are reported from the Armenian side.
Toivo Klaar, Jeyhun Bayramov discuss the process of normalization of Armenian-Azerbaijani relations EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus, Toivo Klaar, met with Azerbaijan's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jeyhun Bayramov, in Baku. The meeting discussed the settlement of Armenian-Azerbaijani relations, the current state of negotiations with the participation of international partners, including the European Union.
Putin proposes to consider the introduction of common standards of education in EAEU and CIS countries Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed to think about introducing common principles and standards of education in EAEU and CIS countries. Putin: "We just need to build on the foundations of our education system, but look forward"
For the first time, an Armenian candidate will take part in the elections of the Luxembourg communal council An Armenian candidate will take part in the elections of the Luxembourg council to be held on June 11. Tatev Manukyan was nominated by "Fokus" party. More than 50 percent of people living in Luxembourg are not citizens of the country.
Suspect in attempted kidnapping of Pashinyan’s son found guilty, judge orders suspended sentence Gayane Hakobyan is suspected of attempting to kidnap Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s son. The mother of an Armenian soldier killed in the Second Nagorno Karabakh War was found guilty and given a 4-year suspended sentence. She was released from pre-trial detention.
No one questions Armenia’s sovereignty – Russian Deputy PM on results of trilateral task force meeting on unblocking Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexey Overchuk has commented on the results of the trilateral session on regional connections unblocking. Overchuk emphasized that Armenia’s sovereignty is not being questioned by anyone. The Russian Deputy PM said that all parties want a speedy launch.
Pashinyan, Putin to meet in Sochi – TASS Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. Putin will also meet other CIS and EEU leaders who are in Sochi for the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council meeting.
Resolution condemning blockade of Artsakh introduced in U.S. Senate Senators Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) introduced a bipartisan Senate resolution condemning Azerbaijan for its blockade of the Lachin Corridor. The resolution was also introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr.
Situation in the zone of responsibility of Russian peacekeepers remains tense, Pashinyan tells Putin Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi. Putin and PM discuss bilateral issues and regional issues. They also discussed the situation in Nagorno Karabakh, in the zone of responsibility of the Russian peacekeepers, which continues to be tense.
Canceled meeting in Washington and new EU centers in Armenia EU Mission to Armenia plans to open new operations centers in Armenia. Pashinyan: "No one questions Armenia's sovereignty"
Armenia ex-PM: Fantastic opportunities amid Russian sanctions Ex-Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan believes the risk of pressure on Armenia from the West has existed and continues to exist. However, he claims, the situation has created fantastic opportunities for Armenia. Turkey, Kazakhstan, Georgia, the United Arab Emirates and Armenia are helping Russia bypass all the sanctions, U.S. official says.
Armenia can become unique regional hub of electrical energy – Pashinyan at Eurasian Congress Armenia can become a regional hub of electrical energy, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said at the Eurasian Congress in Sochi. He noted the ‘impressive” economic growth of Armenia. Armenia's exports grew 77,7% in 2022, while exports to EEU countries tripled.
Monthly non-oil export from Iran to Armenia up 144% The value of Iran’s non-oil export to Armenia increased by 144 percent in the first month of the current Iranian calendar year (March 21-April 20) Iran exported commodities worth $478 million to Armenia, while the figure was $294 million the previous year. Liquefied natural gas, iron and steel rods, bitumen, light oils and related products, unalloyed iron.
Departure of Russians may cause 5-10% drop in Armenia’s GDP – analyst Russian nationals arrived in Armenia after Russia launched a war against Ukraine in February 2022. Alexei Kuznetsov, head of the Centre for Country Analysis at the Eurasian Development Bank (EDB) said the departure of Russian nationals may result in 5-10% decline in Armenia’s GDP.
Armenian Prime Minister urges caution on ethical consequences of ‘extremely attractive’ future of AI Nikol Pashinyan has described the future of artificial intelligence to be “extremely attractive” but warned that the ethical consequences must be taken into account. The Armenian PM said that AI is developing rapidly and it could transform many areas of life. He cited experts as saying that AI will become more individualized and integrated into society.
Armenian Speaker of Parliament calls for int’l pressure to prevent further aggression by Azerbaijan Alen Simonyan presented the post-war situation and detailed issues regarding the complex situation in the region. He said Armenia is following developments taking place in the UK Parliament and the activities of all those parliamentarians who demonstrated the level of perception of the situation in our region after the 2020 war.
Russia is becoming hostage to Turkey and Azerbaijan Georgi Derluguian, Professor of Historical Sociology at New York University Abu Dhabi, sits down with CivilNet Editor-in-Chief Karen Harutyunyan to talk about recent developments in Armenia’s wider geopolitical region and their repercussions in the South Caucasus.
Armenia’s TUMO Labs makes it to the final of 2023 ETF Green Skills Award Armenia's TUMO Labs has made it to the final of the 2023 ETF Green Skills Award. The European Training Foundation unveiled the ten finalists on Thursday. The award recognizes initiatives at the forefront of driving the transition towards a sustainable and green future.
Armenia-Azerbaijan discussed at Turkey’s first post-election Security Council meeting Armenia-Azerbaijan relations were among the items on agenda in the first post-election meeting of the Turkish Security Council. Turkey discussed the crises in Syria, Kosovo and Sudan, the Russian-Ukrainian conflict and Syrian refugees.
Ajax officially contact FC Krasnodar for Armenian midfielder Eduard Spertsyan Eduard Spertsyan scored 14 times and provided the same number of assists in 40 games for FK Krasnodar this season. The estimated transfer fee is nine million euros, according to a source.
Armenian Ambassador briefs OAS Secretary General on security situation in the region Armenia’s Ambassador to the US Lilit Makunts met with Luis Almagro, Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) The Ambassador briefed Mr. Almagra on the security situation in Armenia and in
Catholicos of All Armenians wishes speedy recovery to Pope Francis His Holiness Karekin II wishes Pope Francis a speedy recovery. Pope Francis underwent abdominal surgery earlier this week without complications. The 86-year-old is expected to stay in hospital for several days to recover.
Explainer: Jerusalem’s Armenians rally against ‘fraudulent’ land deal A quarter of Jerusalem’s Armenian Quarter has been built on a plot to build a luxury hotel. The land deal has been in dispute for nearly a century. The deal is expected to last until the end of the decade, when it comes to an end.
Young Armenian chess players win Youth Championship medals Robert Piliposyan won gold at the World U16 Rapid Chess Championship. Tyhran Ambartsumianm snatched bronze medal at World U12 Rapid Chess championship. Aleks Sahakyan and Mariam Khachatryan are also among the prize winners.
EU envoy travels to Baku after Yerevan Designated EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the Crisis in Georgia Toivo Klaar has traveled to Baku after visiting Armenia. The two discussed the implementation of the agreements reached in Brussels and Chişinău.
Pan-Armenian Games participation bids quadrupled for 2023 The 8th Pan-Armenian Games is scheduled to take place in August. The opening ceremony will be held in Gyumri, Armenia. The number of participants in the games has quadrupled in recent years. Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Khachatryan commended the games as an important component of Armenia’s public life.
15 medical patients were transferred from Artsakh to Armenia 15 medical patients transferred from Artsakh to Armenia today, June 9. 16 medical patients, who were referred to Armenia for treatment within the framework of the state order, returned to Artsakh with their companions. 11 children are in neonatal and resuscitation department in the medical unit. 9 patients are in the intensive care unit, 2 of them in an extremely serious condition.
Aram I: Karabakh right to self-determination can’t become subject of negotiation Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, His Holiness Aram I has said Artsakh's right to self-determination cannot become a subject of negotiation. “According to the international law peoples have the right for self-determination".
Putin gives timeline for deployment of nukes to Belarus Vladimir Putin says deployment of Russian nuclear weapons in Belarus will begin as soon as adaptation work at the relevant storage facilities is completed, around the first week of July. Putin announced that Russia would place its tactical weapons in. Belarus in response to UK’s decision to provide Kiev with depleted uranium munitions.
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Armenian Wounded Heroes
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2023.06.10 05:33 Turing45 Prostate Problems
There are many inconsistencies about my upbringing. I was born in the late 60's, and was labeled by my parents as a "Difficult child". I have been regaled with tales about how I was always soo angry, destroying cribs, banging my head and generally being challenging. I also had some medical issues that I never really got straight answers for, such as why I supposedly had leg and hip problems that had me walking late.
I was always a "Tomboy" refusing to wear dresses, aggressive and always getting mistaken for a boy, to the point my parents bought me a t-shirt to wear that said,"Im a girl", which they found hysterical.
Fast forward a decade or so and I am hyper-sexual, aggressive and literally living on the edge of self destruction. I have to shave a couple of times a day to keep from looking like Sasquatch, and I just dont know how to be. Im engaging in high risk behaviors and then end up pregnant. I was confused and very sick the entire time, developed Toxemia and nearly died. Having her ripped me terribly and dislocated both hips and broke my tailbone. We did not bond and she ended up being adopted by my parents. The doctor at the time advised me to seek "Further evaluation" for all my issues, but as I was a broke, on state insurance, college kid, nothing was done.
Life went on and as I aged, and had other kids, I suffered the same issues(but did end up raising my other children), and then spend over a decade on disability. When I was in my 40's I moved to a very progressive area and made friends who were in the LGBTQ community and they told me to investigate if I was "Trans". I met with a doctor, had evaluations and began what was transition for me. I stopped shaving and in less than a month I had more body hair that most men, and a start on a full beard. I was almost not given testosterone because my normal levels were over 600. I had excess breast tissue removed, and considered having bottom surgery, but was concerned about incontinence and loss of sensation.
Ive identified as a gay man for over a decade now and I have passed fully for almost the entire decade. I had begun having what I thought was a UTI, and after treatment was unsuccessful, my boyfriend insisted I see my doctor because he said I had all the symptoms of "Prostatitus". I pooh poohed him because I didnt think I could have a prostate as I assumed I was just trans. He insisted he felt a prostate when we were intimate, so I went to the doctor and let him check.
Yeah...I have a prostate and its currently enlarged and now im on a medication for it. I confronted my mom over the phone about it and what may have been done to me as an infant and all she said was, "The effects of Agent Orange on families have been really extensive and created a lot of challenges". Then she went on rambling about my sibling, (normal), so I figured I wasnt going to get anymore information. I was told when I was younger that I had been "Indeterminate" and that my birth certificate had to be "Corrected". Apparently, I was surgically altered so they could raise me female. Adding to all the confusion for me was that I was told years ago I couldn't be intersex because,"All intersex are sterile."
Im glad there is soo much more information and opportunity out there for the younger generation to be able to figure themselves out. I cannot tell you how many decades went by where I hated myself and wanted to die to ease the pain and confusion. Finding out I have a prostate(even if its currently problematic), was a freeing type of vindication, though I mourn for my lost cock(had almost no growth on what was left), and all the lost opportunities along the way.
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2023.06.10 05:32 eddieEXTRA Natural Gas Rates are through the roof!
Today I saved a cremation center in Oakland, CA 40% ($508k over 5 years) by pitting local energy suppliers against each other in a bidding war. They were paying nearly $40k per month! Cremation is one of the highest consumers of natural gas, you take care of humanities loved ones, and deserve better rates—which is why I want to help you.
Here’s what do:
- I don’t work for an energy company, so I’m unbiased when selecting who will get you the best rate.
- Once a bill is entered into our reverse auction system, the bigging frenzy takes a week to find out your savings and nothing changes to your bill except a new lower rate.
- Deregulation law is your right (Google if you're in a state with deregulated energy)—so if you don’t have a competitive and stable rate, you’re losing money daily.
- There won’t be any hidden fees or rate spikes during your agreement—all that’s required is a bill, I will never ask for personal or payment info.
This is a free service and I’m not selling anything—I just want to make sure you’re getting a competitive rate on your natural gas. With that said, I’d really appreciate the chance to talk to you. If interested reach out to me at 215-292-5875 or email me [[email protected]
Have a great weekend! :)
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2023.06.10 05:25 my_dad_is_an_ad Summary of some current issues with Barbarian class
There's a lot of conversations about which classes are powerful, tiers, etc. This isn't about that. These are a few personal observations about where the design of the class seems to contradict itself, or provides few/no options to players. These could probably be improved. 7 reasons weapon swapping is in a bad place
Some problems with basic skills
- In its basic form, it provides no inherent value. There is no incentive to swap weapons.
- Ideally, each attack uses the player's most powerful weapon. Some skills have weapon type restrictions (bludgeoning/slashing).
- There are no aspects interacting with this system directly (e.g. "1h slashing also counts as bludgeoning").
- Building around weapon swapping (Walking Arsenal) requires very stable gear (high level), you can't really rely on multiple weapons being similar in power when you frequently change them.
- This system works against weapon expertise since we can only have one weapon expertise enabled, which can only apply to one weapon.
- Further, almost all builds can only fit 2 direct damage skills into their build, as barb relies heavily on self-buffs to survive and deal damage. Swapping requires at least 3, with one of the 3 allowing the opposite type of the other two (slashing vs. bludgeoning).
- Finally, the only basic skill which is in a good place is Lunging Strike, since barbs have such a high demand for mobility (melee), and low availability of mobility (long cooldowns without large investment).
- Everyone uses lunging strike because the class does not function without its mobility
- Frenzy's attack speed buff is so short it can't actually be used as an off-skill for the buff. Since lucky hit is normalized to the increased speed, it actually doesn't even really benefit much from its own attack speed mechanic, instead making it a basic skill which requires time to ramp, which is very strange.
- Bash is designed around stuns, which has extremely low/no impact on gameplay. Stun is a defensive mechanic, and it generally only affects a small number of enemies at once, for a very short time (or merely increases the boss's stagger). Investing is a waste outside of (maybe) equal level PvP, or some kind of exotic stun-support build for extremely specialized groups of players.
A small proposal from me, would be to consider making all basic skills 'lunge' like lunging strike, and rework lunging strike somehow. Some problems with core skills
Some problems with other utility skills in defensive, brawling, and weapon mastery categories
- The class seems designed so that it should only use one core skill. That's fine, but some of the core skills don't stand up to different types of content well.
- Rend has a very small and difficult to target AoE; when surrounded by enemies, it's often the case that name locking (skills centering their targeting not where you click on PC, but on the nearest enemy to your cursor) cause the skill to miss or be inaccurate. If skills centered their targeting on your cursor instead of an enemy near your cursor, it would probably be a lot better for players on PC.
- Upheaval seems like it's mostly useful in the overworld or for some large groups of small enemies. Maybe it needs to be improved for when you use it to hit just one enemy.
- Double swing is surprisingly small range, and requires dual wield (two weapons). Finding two good weapons is a lot harder than finding one good two-hander. The benefits it provides are all either relatively insignificant, or easier to achieve elsewhere due to the conditions placed on them.
Rupture, and weapon mastery tier in general
- We get ~3 slots for utility skills. This is because lunging strike, a core skill, and an ultimate skill are more or less required. Shouts and defensives dominate this part of the bar, because we must generate resources, and survive, and mostly, shouts provide those things.
- Too much of iron skin's power is provided by aspects, making it a worse choice than e.g. challenging shout. Also, Temerity is such a strong unique that iron skin is an unjustifiable investment.
- Ground stomp is an aoe stun. Stuns generally aren't very useful outside of equal-level PvP. The aspects related to ground stomp provide additional damage for it, but unfortunately they're the variety of aspect which changes based on the item power of the item it was taken from. This makes it more difficult to rely on as a primary source of power. The walking arsenal aspect for it is interesting, but a very hard sell with a 30 second timer. Even rank ~13 ground stomp is relatively unimpressive, and again mostly useless against bosses.
- Kick is almost good with power kick, except it still doesn't count as a core skill, so it doesn't synergize with any of your keystones, and it locks out your fury for spending on cores. Also, even with those downsides, it still has two charges and a big cooldown. Even without going power kick, the button isn't worth pressing - generally knockbacks are counterproductive to Barb (and other class's) damage. We prefer vacuum. Knockdown is effectively stun, so it's not worth much in PvE. Maybe this skill is okay in equal-level PvP.
- I think many people want Leap to be good. With lunging strike, the mobility is mostly redundant/unnecessary. If we didn't have lunging strike, the cooldown would be too long on Leap to make it work, really, without a ton of investment. It seems weird to need to invest a lot just to be able to engage your enemies. Some of the aspects read okay for it, but ultimately the dps and utility on this skill are not useful. With the right investment, it's good for resource generation. That seems like the best reason to run it today, which has nothing to do with what makes leap, well, leap.
- Charge is problematic for all the reasons leap and ground stomp are problematic. Honestly, if all three of these skills vacuumed at the end (end of charge, end of leap, before or after ground stomp), they would be wildly more usable. Similarly, if the earthquake aspects related to them could be applied to items without worrying about what item power the aspect came from, it would be a lot more usable. Maybe at level 100 fully investing in these mechanics could work, but it seems unlikely given how they behave today.
- Steel grasp, even with the unique, doesn't really fulfill the expectations set by its description. I don't see much of a reason to use it outside of pvp.
Rupture is ineffective because there is no way to scale bleed duration; any moment that could be used to apply rupture could be used to stack more bleeds, and the maximum bleed duration is 5 seconds; all of them tick at the same time. There's no reason to use it unless you're invested in either the explosion or a 4 second attack speed buff. If the buff were longer based on number of bleeds, it might be worth it. If we could scale bleed duration, it would definitely be worth it. It's also weird that the class has an extra skill for removing bleeds. It seems very odd. It's also a bit weird to not see a bludgeoning weapon based skill in the weapon mastery tier which applies daze and vulnerable or something. Like some kind of armor crush. Keystone passives
- The walking arsenal keystone..I really don't know what's going on with that design direction but it needs a rework, badly.
- Unconstrained...again, this one feels a bit uncreative. Why do we care if berserking is longer? Our build will either apply it consistently, so duration doesn't matter, or it won't. It's trivial to get nearly 100% uptime on berserking if you want it, and it's honestly not even that great to begin with.
- Gushing Wounds bleed keystone requires crit and crit damage investment, which seems fine, but is only achievable in later tiers of gear; would be nice if this was more effective earlier on
- Unbridled Rage is the bread and butter for most players. It works because of how generic it is - you always have to have a core skill, and it turns up the damage and resource costs. It's boring, but effective. One major problem is that because this keystone exists and is strong, any build which doesn't rely on a core skill for damage is immediately a bit of a joke. E.g. even if you wanted to use all brawling skills, you'd have a hard time getting much value out of any of the existing keystone passives.
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2023.06.10 05:21 TheDarkstarChimaera Thief in the June 27 Balance Patch
I'm Iskarel. I maintain the PvE Thief builds and guides on Snow Crows With a PvE perspective
, I'm going to run through the changes, discuss their impact, and talk about current meta builds and how they're impacted.
Want the build-by-build cliff notes? Skip to the bottom, search for "tl;dr"
I know this is a lot. Think of it as a reference document.
A LOT has changed. The builds aren't unrecognizable but the texture has changed almost across the board.
Flanking is Dead (for most endgame bosse)
To make them more reliable in endgame PvE content, all effects that benefit when the player strikes from the flank or from behind now always apply their benefits when striking defiant foes.
Not all players know that "flanking" or "from behind or the sides" just means—don't be in front of the target.
Ever used a build with Thief runes? Just don't stand directly in front of the target.
What fewer players will know is that there's a small set of skills that actually need you to be ~180-degrees behind your target.
- Thief Backstab (deals double damage from behind)
- Thief Sword Stealth Attack (only dazes from behind)
- Ranger Greatsword Hilt (dazes from the front, stuns from behind. This basically doesn't matter in PvE)
- Mesmer Downstate phantasm (deals more damage if the phantasm hits from behind. Hey it's like a Thief!)
Which way does Keep Construct face when it descends back to the arena after the orb-rift-push phase?
Which way does Sabetha face during her Flame Wall?
I'm not going to answer these questions because the answers don't matter anymore! This skill expression is now gone.
Just backstab from any angle.
Ah but "defiant foes"? What isn't
Can you backstab Primordus in the Harvest Temple strike if your group stays on the left vs right side, when looking from the center towards the dragon?
You would have to be on the right side. The left is the dragon's face.
Which way does Conjured Amalgamate face?
When approaching CA's platform, it is facing to your right. This also applies to the hands. Stand on the left side of the platform, and "above" the hands (closer to the portal leading away from this encounter).
Which way do the hands on Adina face?
2 o'clock (north), 5 o'clock (northwest), 7 o'clock (south), 10 o'clock (southeast)
No, I don't know why.
Just use your rifle and pierce two hands with Spotter's Shot + Death's Judgment! That's better than remembering these facing positions.
These are non-defiant "prop" type enemies. Also included here is Drakkar, the Octovine, and Tequatl. IIRC.
BTW Drakkar is made up 17 prop pieces, and you can only cast Deadeye's Mark on one of them. Don't play Deadeye here, you're trolling yourself. :D
Acrobatics Mental Gymnastics
Yeah this ain't it, chief. This is still a defensive and mobility-oriented traitline.
The damage modifier in Endless Stamina can't compete with Deadly Arts or Critical Strikes, even when combined with the Power in Swinder's Equilibrium.
The other stuff is maybe interesting for solo open world champions but Shadow Arts is already quite capable at that, and Condition Thief has a lot more toys to work with when solo compared to Power.
It's something but this traitline still feels ironically directionless.
Improvisational Theater of War
Improvisation: This trait now reduces the cooldowns of all utility skills by a certain percentage when you steal, instead of recharging a random skill.
Previously: this trait would randomly reset one of your utility skills, with a cooldown on the effect. If it chose a skill already on cooldown, it would have no effect. It could not reset the cooldown of an un-triggered but prepared Preparation.
Interesting! We can now use this trait predictably, resetting the cooldown of all our utility skills. On the surface that's good because it means we'll always get value out of the reset...unless our skill uses are staggered. More on that later.
Mag Bomb Delenda Est.
Currently this skill's damage-per-cast-time is roughly double that of Daredevil Staff 2, Weakening Charge. Notably, the cast time is short because it pulses damage.
The coefficient we have on the wiki, drawn from the Game's API, is 4.10. ANet lists a 1.50 (per hit, so 4.50 total) nerfed to 0.70. So... Uh...
Let's say Throw Magnetic Bomb's damage is nerfed to 50% of its current damage. Or there about.
So next patch, one Throw Magnetic Bomb is close to the damage of one Staff 2, but the damage comes out over time (during our Assassin Signet burst) and the cast animation is faster than Staff 2.
But is it worth losing Executioner?
Probably not. Executioner is approximately 9.52% damage on a fight that spends 50% of its time above 50% target HP and 50% of time below (due to Ferocious Strikes).
That's a lot of damage to be made up by another use of a stolen skill!
Daredevil's Bound to be Good
Bound: Increased power coefficient from 1.75 to 3.5
This ratchets up the damage of our dodge so that it beats the damage-per-cast-time of Punishing Strikes (skill 1 part C) and Staff 5, while still losing to Staff Strike and Staff Bash (skill 1 parts A/B), Staff 2, and Fist Flurry/Palm Strike.
This damage increase is valuable because
- (A) it makes dodging better for damage, on top of the damage modifiers provided by Havoc Specialist and Bounding Dodger
- (B) if we get excess endurance from our helpful allies, burning it off to maintain our modifiers hurts our DPS less on the future patch.
Auto chain go brrrr
Staff Strike, Staff Bash: Increased power coefficient.
... Uh oh.
This increase the DPS of the first and second part of the chain well beyond the last hit.
The optimal DPS rotation now involves interrupting the chain after the 2nd hit.
That's not easy to do on most professions, which have a limited number of viable interrupts, but we're Thief, baby!
Staff Strike, Staff Bash, Weakening Charge. Repeat. Throw in a Fist Flurry. Save your Palm Strike. Yeah. This sort of thing.
Calculations done by REMagic42 ( training-accident-36
) show the following
A not insignificant DPS increase provided by this (unintended?) balance predicament.
You could just not do this. That's up to you. The build is getting buffed by ~4,000 DPS next patch but it still has all the old problems. Don't know those? Read here
Let's Get Physical (Lights out, follow the noise)
Various Physical Skill cooldown reductions
These are neat and strictly a positive.
Left, a great player who provides benchmarks for Power and Condition Daredevil, already tested Condition Daredevil with cooldown-traited Impairing Daggers and found them simply worse in group content vs Devourer Venom. You can read more on his benchmark
So the Impairing Daggers cooldown reduction (CDR) doesn't matter to us.
A cooldown reduction for Channeled Vigor would've been cool!
This skill basically gives you a get-out-of-jail-free dodge if you're ever scared that burning all your dodges for Havoc Specialist will leave you vulnerable. You can get a dodge with Withdraw on a shorter cooldown but that travels backwards from your facing direction which can be scary.
This skill is also very useful for maintaining Lotus Training uptime when playing Condition Daredevil. If you can't keep hitting the boss with your auto-attack chain and F1 Steal, you will run out of endurance and lose your condition damage buff. Use Channeled Vigor to maintain buff uptime when you can't hit the boss. (This tip comes from Left!)
Impact Strike is still worse defiance-bar to cooldown ratio vs Basilisk Venom, but any improvement is nice. This skill is good when you can't guarantee all hits of Basilisk Venom will hit your target, or when you need to CC more frequently than Basilisk's cooldown allows.
Death-onate Plasma and "Boon Thief"
Farewell, Boon Thief. Without Quickness, we can no longer role-compress all those shiny boons in Plasma into a Quickness Build.
I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume that the damage of Detonate Plasma will not be worth its cast time purely from a DPS perspective, especially on a Condition Build, but you might still get some boon uptime from Daredevils on fights like Matthias and Twin Largos' Kenut.
You can now permanently sunset your Celestial/Ritualist gear for Boon Thief. Will you use it for Alacrity Specter later? I don't now, I don't know how much Alacrity is given by that trait. We'll talk more later. :)
Also Icebrood Saga exists
These really don't matter. Unstable Reagent is maybe a DPS increase, I don't have a log with it for cast time.
This is NOT Unstable Artifact BTW. That skill is still worth using for both Power and Condition DPS.
Cursed Artifact is like throw-Plaguelands, and an Ethereal field at that. It's free real estate on the Condition Build.
Time in a Bottle is squad-wide alacrity AND quickness. Take that, Chronomancer! It's only found in Cold War and randomly in EoD strikes. :)
Deadeye Stolen Skill splash support
Stolen Skills now grant their beneficial effects around the caster.
These are mostly "splash" uptimes of boons, but you can also get superspeed and a modest heal. Neat! Deadeye providing a token amount of squad value beyond its DPS and CC output.
Deadeye Malicious Intent buff
Malicious Intent: Increased Malice gain from 1 to 2 in PvE only
This is actually big!
Firstly, this increases the damage dealt by the lower difficulty Be Quick or Be Killed Dagger Deadeye rotation
(if you've ever heard someone described Dagger Deadeye as 5111151115111, that's this).
1 more Malice pip after each Mark and Stealth attack boost the damage modifier of Malicious Backstab. I don't have a quick estimate for this increase yet.
Secondly, this is wonderful for the Dagger-Dagger Maleficent Seven rotation.
All Power Dagger skills (Heartseeker, Dancing Dagger, Cloak & Dagger) are single-damage packet skills (with the exception of Dancing Dagger when bounced from your main target, to another enemy, and back to your main target). This means they have only one chance to score a crit, and thus only one chance to earn 2 Malice instead of 1.
Power Thief derives 15% critical chance from Critical Strikes' Keen Observer trait, which demands the player stay above 75% HP. You won't have 100% uptime of this trait in many raid fights, especially if your healer is slacking. If the current Dagger Deadeye benchmark was performed at 75% player HP, without drastically altering gear to accommodate for the missing critical chance, the benchmark could lose up to 12,000 DPS!, dropping it nearly into support territory.
This Malicious Intent buff gives you a safety cushion for one of those Initiative skills to score a non-crit, making the rotation more robust in endgame encounters. It does NOT reduce the minimum number of Initiative skills needed to reach maximum Malice: that is still 3 with Malicious Intent and 4 without. It does reduce the maximum needed by 1 skill, which is also great!
Quickly Fire For Effect
This trait no longer requires a target to grant boons to allies.
Er, it doesn't require one right now. Specifically, if you Mark a target, you can use your F2 and gain boons even if your stolen skill is obstructed by terrain. If you have your enemy targeted while outside 1,500 range you will get an out of range
error that stops you from casting F2, but simply untargeting the enemy will let you use the skill to get boons. If you are obstructed or out of range, you don't hit the target.
I assume what this means is that if you do NOT have a marked target, you can cast a cantrip to get a new F2. That's cool and rather handy for the new Quickness build.
Shadow Flare isn't real, it can't hurt you
Shadow Flare: Reduced cooldown from 30 to 20 seconds. This skill only damages once instead of pulsing. Activate the flip-over Shadow Swap to trigger another damage instance from your original location.
Deadeye dumbed down. Navigating self-reveal with pulsing damage skills on DPS Deadeye has been a hallmark of modern builds for several years—Shadow Flare for Power, Thousand Needles for Condition.
That problem is now eliminated for Power. You don't need to know the timing, you don't need to know where to throw Shadow Flare. Just Do your backstab, cast Shadow Flare for one damage packet, cast it again, go for another Backstab. No fuss, no skill expression, no frustration, no learning curve.
I don't like this change, I understand why other people like this change. I think it's dumb to change this. If you don't like self-reveal, consider not playing the class that uses Stealth and Revealed for its DPS output.
Fun in the Chamber
One in the Chamber: This trait now also increase the damage of F2 Stolen Skills in addition to its previous effects
In case anyone is unfamiliar with Deadeye—it doesn't have access to any core Stolen Skills. No Mag Bombs here!
This is a nice perk. The important thing is that this trait gives us an extra F2 charge every time we use a Stolen Skill...That's for Quickness.
This trait is also valuable to Condition Deadeye builds (particularly since there's a 4/9 chance they get a stolen skill that applies damaging conditions!) and to Power Pistol-Pistol Deadeye. See more of that here
Binding Shadow, my beloved
Binding Shadow - Reduced cooldown from 30 to20 seconds in PvE.
Cool! I love—
This skill now immobilizes marked targets instead of knocking them down
Oh. Uhhh it already immobilized them. I assume it immobilizes them more? That sucks, this was an amazing breakbar skill, particular on Condition Deadeye where it applied several poison stacks (natively, and via Panic Strike with Immobilize) and gave an extra F2 charge from One in the Chamber.
It's lower cooldown on boonstrip which is neat? Matches No Pain No Gain time in Fractals, I suppose.
Just use a Power Mesmer, they passively breathe boonstrip.
Quickness Deadeye builds
Three options! Oops! All cantrips
This option will spam out cantrip like nobody's business to meet the voracious demand of Might uptime.
Fire For Effect grants 8 stacks of Might for 12 seconds. The with-Alacrity cooldown of Cantrips are: 16 (Binding Shadow, Shadow Flare), 20 seconds (Malicious Restoration heal), 25 seconds (Mercy, Shadow Gust). When using Mercy, the cooldown of F1 is effectively the cooldown of Mercy, plus minimally the cast time of the F2, plus the cast time of F1 again.
So some of our Might is locked behind 25+ seconds. Building for 100% Might Duration would be devastating for our DPS output. We could cover 100% Might uptime with a single trio of F2 casts anyway—Binding Shadow, Malicious Restoration, Shadow Flare—but that would not take tactical advantage of the natural Deadeye's Mark cooldown.
Instead, we'll cover Quickness with two sets of F2 casts, staggered across the duration of our Might stacks. Left has an old benchmark demonstrating this technique.
So that's our 24-might upkeep option. It's not pretty, and it's Cantrip spam. ANet said we wouldn't have this in the game anymore.
Well, what if we don't have to generate Might?
Then we have two options: 3 cantrips with no Improvisation
This option will maintain a burst of 24 might as we apply quickness, or we can space out the stolen skills to maintain at least 8 stacks indefinitely. Sounds pretty good! Improvisation
We'll probably still be using Shadow Flare because it's just good damage, and Improvisation selects for builds that use active utility skills, not passive signets. We might even be able to use Malicious Intent instead of One in the Chamber for this build, earning us more damage on Malicious Backstab.
So we have options.
Quickness Deadeye weapon options (We don't have those! )
Maleficent Seven is the only equalizer at work that allows bad weapons to do somewhat okay, and without that, we're back to shopping with the to the usual harsh restriction of "the best single skill out of all these weapons crushes the validity of all other options".
Stealth attacks? Naw, just spam F2s without Malice.
"Filler" initiative skills used to build up to an Initiative reset at max Malice? Nope, don't care, whatever has the best initiative-to-damage ratio is what we're running.
Thief Dagger is about matched with Thief sword for auto attack damage but Dagger is home to the centralizing Cloak & Dagger → Backstab combo. This does huge damage from any direction—flanking is gone!
Sword, by contrast, suffers a DPS loss when using any dual wield skill, Headshot, or Black Powder. The only DPS gain skills are Cloak & Dagger (but the stealth attack for sword is BARELY worth using, you could actually just cast Cloak & Dagger twice in a row and do just as well), and Sword 2...without using the return-to shadowstep. Meaning Sword 2 has a 15-second cooldown. Just to do slightly more than the auto-attack.
Need CC? Pack an off-hand pistol and fill time with auto-attacks, they're very good.
What about Pistol?
It's just weaker.
It sucks really bad against single targets.
Rifle? This is the sniper spec!
It sucks if you don't have Maleficent Seven for infinite Initiative and either stealth utility skills or Silent Scope to unlock Death's Judgment.
Specter, rant about single-target/ally-target support
Ally-targeted scepter skills now also grant a lesser effect to additional allies in a radius around the target.
I don't know why ANet is so obsessed with single target support for PvE Specter, but they'll learn its untenable eventually. They've been gradually walking back the single target focus ever since release, and we are now about 15 months past Specter's official release and coming up on 2 years since it's beta.
Ally-targeting is clunky.
Single-target support is nonviable. We have encounters that apply arena damage to all players, and each player in the squad can take damage from the same AoE and it's the healer's job to keep the whole team up.
A "lesser effect". Reduced duration? Great, what's the point of that? You might as well just make it all the reduced duration.
Does "splashed" Shadow Sap not even grant protection to the other allies? Great, we won't use it. Hopefully
this will just be something like reduced Barrier or Healing, and the Boons are intact, but it's already been confirmed by the new member of the design team, Trig, on a Twitch Stream (Mighty Teapot's?) that Endless Night will not give Quickness to "splashed" allies.
Maybe this skill shouldn't give quickness at all. Why is the design team not skill splitting? What are they afraid of?
The Dark Side of Scepter Splash
If you paid attention to Specter during its beta testing, you might be aware of a very weird build that used Endless Night
(Scepter Pistol dual wield beam skill that granted quickness and 7-packets of Barrier to 3 allies, if you could pierce through the allies).
This rotation was initially theorycrafted by Left when Specter was first showed off. I did some early proof-of-concept on the build, then Left took it over and improved it to around 51,000 DPS.
That's a lot of damage!
Watch that video briefly, and notice how I swap between the enemy and my allies, applying one skill to the target then the Endless Night beam to my allies.
When Specter applies barrier to an ally, they receive a stack of Rotwallow Venom, which applies a short-duration stack of torment to a single enemy just like normal venoms.
Each cast of Endless Night back then was 21 applications of Rotwallow Venom, with more Torment duration than we have now.
ANet killed that build back during beta by making the beam target a single enemy, nerfing the quickness application, nerfing Rotwallow Venom duration, nerfing Specter's Torment damage modifier, nerfing Consume Shadows to require charging up.... The list goes on.
Why do I bring this up?
Scepter Autos on Allies
Currently the scepter auto chain applies 54 seconds of Torment (in the form of multiple stacks). If the scepter auto chain can instead apply barrier to 3 allies, then this balloons to 72 seconds without Strength of Shadows, or 108 seconds with Strength of Shadows.
The auto-attack chain will be twice as strong when targeting allies, vs targeting the enemy.
Endless Night is not worth using against an enemy target, but it might be worth using on allies. This rotation won't have room for auto attacks, so I'm not pinning any hopes to this.
No, the optimal damage rotation will probably be Twilight combo, Siphon, and Shroud skills on the enemy, then filling time with Scepter skills on allies. We will probably spend less time in Shroud because those autos are just so cracked...
Second Opinion, moving away from Consume Shadows
Ever since beta all forms of Specter have run Consume Shadows—Alacrity, DPS, Heal. This is because Consume Shadows can apply barrier to allies, giving them Rotwallow venom. The other adept traits are purely defensive, so they're not used by the DPS and Alacrity builds...and Consume Shadows is an extremely potent healing tool. So potent, it's been nerfed repeatedly!
Charged time reduced from instant to 4 seconds, maximum shroud cut by more than 50%, conversion ratio reduced from 100 to 50%
Second Opinion will grant bonus Condition Damage, more with a Scepter. This should be, at minimum, +80/+80, which will beat the ~800 DPS provided by perfect Rotwallow Venom application from Consume Shadows.
If your allies are too injured and Consume Shadows only heals them overflowing into Barrier, you won't give them Rotwallow.
Traversing Dusk no longer gives Alacrity
This is just a heal trait now. That's just what it does.
Shadestep is the new Alacrity trait
Oh. Uh. I'll keep it quick.
- This reduces our gameplay from 2 separate rotations with their own quirks and different Shroud lengths, to 1—the DPS rotation.
How do you give alacrity? Just go into shroud and push buttons.
How do you do DPS? Just go into shroud and push buttons.
Alacrity Specter's Well cooldowns were inaccessible inside Shadow Shroud because we inherited a shroud, not just a kit like Druid's Celestial Avatar or Holosmith's Photon Forge.
Druid Spirits off cooldown while in CA? Don't care, you can push em.
Specter wells off cooldown while in Shadow Shroud? You might be gaining DPS from shroud skills, or healing from Consume Shadows, but you're losing Alacrity uptime. Is that tradeoff worth it?
Doesn't matter anymore. Just do the benchmark DPS rotation.
You're too slow? Then your alacrity uptime will suffer. You need to be on pace with going in and out of shroud, just like the DPS rotation. Difference is, if you're bad at this, it's going to frustrate other people.
This is not the hardest rotation in game to optimize and you of course have the option to make it easier with Ritualist gear (which you should do anyway if you plan to still run Consume Shadows, will be a two-fold personal DPS loss).
\2. Ever been kicked out of Shroud by incoming damage in a raid/strike/open world meta? No more Alacrity uptime for you. Better refill your Shadow Force quickly—and Larcenous Torment generates Shadow Force FAR more slowly than Traversing Dusk
Fun fact: Traversing Dusk's 1% Shadow Force per ally in your shadowstep scales indefinitely, not just up to 5 players. That gives you colossal Shadow Force generation in crowded metas and even raids. Want to use your Siphon on ally? No you don't, that's valuable Shadow Force generation you need to maintain tempo for Alacrity.
Again, you can wear Ritualist gear to soften this loss.
Want to have the utility of Well of Bounty? Well, previously that utility was tied to your Alacrity uptime, your DPS uptime (lingering outside shroud for Well of Bounty was a loss), and your healing output (Traversing Dusk, and maintaining tempo in/out of Shadow Shroud for Consume Shadows).
Now you can take Well of Bounty and have it on demand, at a DPS loss.
Previously you could have just take advantage of the long Stability duration to cast this well early, or delay it slightly to cover the mechanic.
How much DPS will ANet allow this build to have?
We don't know. And now it's DPS is very closely tied to the DPS build because they're doing nearly the exact same thing.
This has never happened to Firebrand, trust me.
tl;dr It's dangerous to read all that up there! Skip to here!
Unchanged by Impairing Daggers cooldown reduction
Buffed to ~38.6 if you do the old rotation.
Buffed to 40.2 if you do the new degenerate 1a 1b 2 1a 1b 2 rotation that interrupts our auto chain.
Still screwed by all the usual stuff.
Mag Bomb damage normalized. Cool. Still amazing utility on that skill.
Dead. Deadeye killed it.
Power Dagger Deadeye
Much easier to play. Splashes some cute boons onto its subgroup, at random. Have to see if Shadow Flare is still worth using. Hopefully, right?
Power Rifle Deadeye
Silent Scope uses Shadow Flare, I hope that's still worth using.
No need to flank with Premeditation Rifle is nice. Swapping Impact to an Accuracy sigil (or not doing that, and losing crit chance) was ~1,200 DPS loss, so that's avoided. I don't mind losing flanking here that much because Flanking wasn't make-or-break adrenaline pumping like dagger. It was just a boring loss.
I hope you like pushing 5 and 1 a whole lot because that's almost all this is. Also pushing cantrips for F2 charges to provide quickness.
It will play okay, but pretttttttttty similar to utility-spam builds that people hate, with the added bonus of casting TWO skills for every application of quickness.
You can tune this to your liking BUT
IF YOU DON'T KNOW HOW MANY WAYS THIS GAME'S ENEMIES CAN APPLY REVEALED TO YOU THEN YOU'RE IN FOR A TREAT WHEN YOU PICK UP QUICKNESS DEADEYE NEXT PATCH :D
It won't really prevent you from applying quickness but it will tank your DPS and fracture your soul.
One of us. One of us!
This is getting no changes, by the way. It'd be a huge amount of effort from the studio's programmers for one elite spec, for one profession, largely in one game mode (instanced PvE), with a small player base.
Probably just not happening. Not a question of "want to", it's a question of resource management AND doing this right.
Remember stealth-tanking Old Lion's Court? Because they didn't apply Revealed, then they only applied Revealed once and Deadeye just Shadow Melded out of it?
Buffed by Second Opinion, dubiously buffed by targeting allies with the auto chain.
You can still run Consume Shadows for team healing/barrier.
I don't know. Presumably the shroud skills will allow us to provide at least 50% uptime with a non-degenerate rotation (one that doesn't have us spending all our time in shroud). Said degenerate rotation is naturally policed by the fact our shroud absorbs incoming damage.
Will it run Consume Shadows? Not for optimal damage anymore.
Alac Share Specter
Just change your grandmaster from Strength of Shadows to Shadestep and do the normal rotation. Should do at least 50% uptime, unless Alac specter is just nonviable and can't maintain Alacrity.
submitted by TheDarkstarChimaera
to Guildwars2 [link] [comments]
2023.06.10 04:56 normanblowup Have CC debt, an inherited IRA, a disabled partner, and low income. Where should I go from here?
Buckle up, this is a complicated one. No excuses as to how I got here besides inheriting a large sum of money as a child, never being taught how any of it worked, and assuming I knew a lot of shit that I didn't. I'm in a tough spot and could use some advice on where to go from here.
I currently have an inherited IRA account worth a little over 60k. It used to be more, but that is neither here nor there. I am currently withdrawing $2k per month, along with extra from time to time for emergencies such as car repairs, etc.
I also am currently a little under $45k in credit card debt.
As far as income (aside from the IRA), I am self-employed. I have always been self-employed and have no real qualifications for a "real" job. I worked for my mom from the age of "illegal child labor" until I was 21. I am now 30 and have run various small businesses with varying degrees of success since I was 18-19. I make about $500-$1,000/month on Etsy (which used to be 3x but has dipped in the last several months), about $500/month doing freelance transcription, and another $500/month selling baked goods at a farmer's market. I am also about to get new roommates who will be paying me $800/month.
I own my home, and still owe about $210k. My mortgage is $1,500/month. We have a ton of equity - last I spoke to my realtor, we could get about $500k for our home, but can't afford to/don't want to move currently.
My husband is disabled and can't work a 'normal' job. He does freelance transcription from home, but really only makes enough to pay his own personal bills (phone, medications, etc.) If we didn't have such good health insurance (we pay $108/month for a $900+/month plan because of tax credits), we would be screwed, as he is on a few medications that would be outrageously expensive. Our insurance makes them all $10.
My currently monthly expenses, minus credit card bills, is just under $3k/month. My immediate thought is to just cash out the rest of the IRA, pay off my debts, and be done with it. However, even with the new roommates, I'm not quite making enough to get by without that monthly withdrawal.
I could get some government assistance (food stamps, disability for my husband, etc.), but my taxes last year shows I made nearly six figures. In reality, I withdrew that amount from my IRA. It's difficult to show income otherwise due to being self-employed, so I'm not sure I can "technically" qualify for anything. I'm located in Oregon, if anyone happens to know how any of that may work.
Any advice from here would be majorly appreciated. Clearly, I need a better source of income (or govt assistance), but I am unsure how to proceed with the debts vs. IRA.
submitted by normanblowup
to personalfinance [link] [comments]
2023.06.10 04:35 Alive_Dog6469 I have had it…
Hey guys, I need some serious advice or insights, while I may not be the most appropriate person to make this post, I would seriously love some cracks on the problem at hand.
So, I am a 18(M) with two parents (….eh) 40(M) and 36(F) going through a serious bump in their relationship. So, dad confronted my mom about a week ago, because she’s been secretly texting a guy she met at work (known him for 1.5 months). I don’t know what they’ve been doing, but it did caught her attention. Dad, seriously emotional, is giving me the verdict of deciding whether or not they should get a divorce (???). While I don’t know how to feel about this, this past week has been a living hell, and it’s taking a toll on my mentally and emotionally. My dad told her to stop seeing this ‘guy’ but she never listens, and while out, I assume she’s with him? I advised them both to get some serious marriage counselling, but I don’t know when that’ll happen.
So for one, I have them bickering about this ‘affair’, without even considering the effect it would have on my little sister (5 of age). My dad, (who, for some fucking reason), assumes I would have a clear cut solution to this problem??? And kind of leverages me to confront my mom, or secretly tell him, what time she gets home or how late she is. And he’s become a bit self-centred too, which isn’t making this any better.
My trust and respect for ‘my mom’ has absolutely dissolved, and the same thing is happening with dad. I don’t want to be a part of this anymore. I don’t know what to do. Focusing both on work and this has become exhausting in ten folds. What’s worse is our family dynamic has been toxic from the get go. With a dad with very little understanding his shouting, stubbornness and emotional manipulation has on us. And mom too apathetic to care about what she’s doing right now. It’s like toxic resonance, the proportion of dad’s shitty behaviour is reflecting on my mom’s shitty actions. If anything… I really don’t want my little kid sibling to have a ruined childhood, I want to show her what a healthy bond between family looks like… but it’s impossible.
But… I suppose this was eventually gonna happen. I have tried being understanding on both sides, but I just get shit thrown at me anytime. I tried staying neutral as possible, but my mind is slowly melting. My bottled emotions is slowly burning a hole in my mind. I have no one to talk to, no close friends. I’m just lost.
Secretive, non-compliance or dishonesty. I am starting to not care anymore, they can get a divorce or if she goes off with the other guy, I just want to be left out of this mess.
TL;DR: Mom has been seeing a guy, or texting him for nearly 2 months now. Dad found out, he’s confronting her every time, involving me to his decisions. They won’t listen either.
submitted by Alive_Dog6469
to family [link] [comments]
2023.06.10 04:28 Weekly-Following-739 First post
I have been diagnosed with bulimia 2 years ago and since then I have been ,,treated’’ just because until recently I stopped taking a shit ton of benzos to stop me from purging in any way possible.
Long story short I had 2 psychosis because of my eating disorder so I nearly died a few times from it, it was hell especially after my first one because I was under heavy treatment and couldn’t exhaust myself by running 10+ km per day and I couldn’t keep my bodyfat extremely low which caused more self hate and I started purging by throwing up.
Even when I was diagnosed and was in hospital I felt like they didn’t care about it so it made me hate myself even more and purge in hospital too and I felt like their attitude about it was judgemental so it made me do it more.
I am male so it’s taboo for me to speak out about this to my friends or family so I always felt alone in this. Recently I started to get temptations again especially because I have gained weight from my heavy benzos treatment so when I can’t keep my 500kcal diet it feels like I am 2 years back in time.
If anyone could give me some advice or could talk to me for a lil bit it will be much appreciated! Thank you!
submitted by Weekly-Following-739
to bulimia [link] [comments]
2023.06.10 04:22 venusk1tty Diaphragm + Withdrawal + FAM, effective?
I will briefly say that I became pregnant on the copper IUD and am not interested in trying it again. Hormonal birth control doesn't agree with me at all and isn't an option - I'm also in a long term relationship.
We have been using condoms + withdrawal for nearly a year, but I'm looking into other options as I've just noticed my libido dropping so much (I just find I don't self lubricate as much when using condoms - we use lube but the chaffing is just a mood kill for both of us sometimes).
I've been looking into a diaphragm and am absolutely not interested in having him ejaculate in me, so this would be in conjuction with withdrawal and possibly FAM (use condoms during fertile window - which unfortunately is when I want to have sex the most lol).
Has anyone tried these methods in combination or have anything to say about diaphragms?
Please don't recommend hormonal options, I'd rather have no sex than be on hormonal BC again.
submitted by venusk1tty
to birthcontrol [link] [comments]
2023.06.10 04:20 Littleshepherdboy House Under Contract.. Neighbors Could Be Biggest Headache
We’re selling our home in Utah. We’ve put a lot of love and care into the property. One of the projects we tackled was replacing our fencing in the front and side yard, but difficulty with the neighbor is worrying us. Should we be concerned?
September 2021 We spoke with our older neighbors about a desire to replace the dilapidated chainlink fence between our homes and installing a new 3’ cedar fence in its place. We included that we would pay for all labor and materials. The neighbors happily agreed it would beautify both properties and mentioned how they were grateful to see someone in the neighborhood doing work to improve their home and even mentioned how it would increase their property value too. After walking away from the conversation confident that all parties were in agreement, we purchased the fencing materials, had it delivered, and began work on the fence. The old chainlink fence was removed and new cedar fence was installed just inside our property line along the same path of the old chainlink, we did this to ensure the fence would be wholly built on our property. As the chainlink was being removed, we noticed the neighbors gutters extended out from the roof then came down to the property line and attached to our fence with strong binding materials (some large heavy duty zip ties and tightly wrapped metal wire) and were in such disrepair that the gutters collapsed under their own weight without the support of our fence. We set the broken gutter pieces aside and reassembled the remaining gutter to ensure water would still flow safely away from their foundation into the yard.
March, 2022 A family tragedy struck the neighbors. We made a large meal and I delivered it to them. I knocked on the door, the wife greeted and thanked me, grabbed the food, and took it to the kitchen. The husband came to the door, berated me, threatened to sue me, and threatened to have the fence torn down once he had the property lines assessed. This is the first time we had heard something negative from them about the fence. The husband listed his reasons for why the fence is a bad idea and should be torn down. His reasons include: - The fence is too short and homeless people will jump over it and break into his house. (We live in a quiet, safe suburban neighborhood) - His dog will run away. (Despite them leaving their front gate wide open day and night for years.. their dog has never run away) - It’s ugly. (It’s not)
To add some (potentially?) helpful context.. He had a stroke around the time we originally spoke to them about the fence. He has had significant issues with other neighbors too, like getting into pissing matches with the neighbor on the other side because they worked for rival trucking companies.
Mid 2022 We notice they raised their gutters up again, without repair, and the gutter opening is directly over the fence. Each time it rains it pours onto the fence and yard. We are mostly fine with that because it doesn’t rain very much where we live. Still unsightly and a little passive-aggressive.
May 2023 Our home is for sale and under contract. The buyer’s inspector comes and the buyer wonders why the neighbors' gutters are aimed at our yard. They are interested in having the situation remedied before closing. So, I reached out to the wife on Facebook (only way we’ve contacted them aside from knocking on their door) and asked if we could purchase new gutter material and install it on their current gutter set-up to have water drain directly down to property line instead of into our yard and near our foundation. Wife said to ask husband.
June 2023 I went to neighbor to ask the same question, but in person. Wife was not home. Husband answered and immediately verbally threatened me, threatened to sue, and have the fence torn down. I immediately left his property and tried to calmly speak with him from the sidewalk, but I couldn’t get a word out as he called me all sorts of colorful names.
I will be the first to say we have not always loved our neighbors as ourselves. We have tried to reconcile with the neighbors, but the husband refused to speak with us or acknowledge any conversations we’ve had with his wife.
We don’t have much documentation of the fence before it was demolished. We really didn’t think the relationship with our neighbors would become so sour so we didn’t think to document everything in detail.
We are familiar with some laws and regulations concerning water (like the Common Enemy Rule) and property boundaries (like Boundary by Acquiescence), but could this situation potentially affect the new buyer? What could be done to ensure our new buyers are legally protected from the neighbor?
Any other legal advice to ensure all of our bases are covered?
Thank you in advance.
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2023.06.10 04:12 shadowfax888 Trt thermoregulation and outdoor work in florida heat
Have a serious question here.. as the past summers have been increasingly brutal I am seriously worried that I should not have started trt in March. My work requires me to survey undeveloped land in florida sometimes for long periods of time with no refuge or A/C. It also requires me to remain out there sometimes. This has been hard enough in past summers as with the increasing humidity it is near impossible to cool your body temp down (its not as simple as drinking more water). It was crazy dangerous prior and I was barely hanging on.. had a few close calls with heat exhaustion and recovery is long.
Enter now I have decided to start TRT. My thermoregulation is instantly orders of magnitude worse not to mention heart rate profuse sweating. Kind of worried I will hit a few 10+ac surveys too hard this summer and end up overheating faster than normally expected.. which if you've been in the state before your ability to determine its onset becomes compromised itself with the delirium and all. The work is tortuous most of the time so I have had to hard wire myself mentally to ignore pain or normal body signals any normal person would listen to. Im quite good at it.. but it is self destructive.Otherwise Id go back to the truck in the ac and never get the work done..
So any advice? Would 8 hour days in mostly full exposure to Florida summer humidity on trt increase my already prior heightened chance of heat stroke/death? It has been very difficult prior but I'm sweating now more than I ever have in like less than 1 minute outside exposure just walking to my truck. Forget hiking, hacking, or doing leg ups out there. I was looking forward to the gains and medical benefit but I'm thinking most people work in an office or something on TRT and I completely didn't expect this problem to be so pronounced with this concern.
Am I just having some uncommon bad side effect? Anyone in florida able to really stress there bodies outside on trt? I read cialis can help with blood pressure issues but idk if that helps this near gaurenteed sweating/cool down problem on trt. Does this improve over time? I started 3 months ago..
Thank you for any and all comments/suggestions.. if this is just how it is I may have to stop unfortunately. I should have prefaced this just in case someone suggests getting a new job.. this work is my life, yes it sucks and is damaging to me at times but I believe strongly in its necessity and more importantly to dedicated focused people doing it thoroughly enough. Maybe in another life or another reality this would be a simple solution but not in the cards for me.
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2023.06.10 04:10 TV5Fun This Book is Full of Spiders and Zoey Ashe Punches the Future in the Dick both annoyed me in very similar ways.
I have been a big fan of David Wong/Jason Pargin since getting addicted to Cracked a decade or so ago, and have absolutely loved the absurdist black comedy cosmic horror of his JDATE book series. After reading through If This Book Exists, You're in the Wrong Universe for a third time, I finally decided to seek out more of his writing and give that other universe of his a try, returning to Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits, which I started to read years ago and gave up on. This time I listened to the audiobook, which I highly recommend and is very engaging. While Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits takes its time getting moving, once it does, it is a major page-turner that got me staying up late a couple of nights in a row to finish it. That very much got me wanting to read the next book, Zoey Ashe Punches the Future in the Dick, and besides the first 10 chapters or so being heavily loaded with exposition for readers who hadn't read the previous book, it was also very entertaining. However I noticed a few similarities to things which I had not liked about This Book is Full of Spiders, which I consider to be the weakest entry in the JDATE quadrilogy partly for these reasons, and I want to hear other people's thoughts on it. I will save the major spoilers for the marked section at the end at try to keep my initial discussion as general as possible, minor spoilers for both books follow.
Both This Book is Full of Spiders and Zoey Punches the Future in the Dick have a major chunk of their story hinge on a mistaken belief on the part of the protagonist. A mistake that it is entirely consistent with their character to make, but which to the reader should be obviously wrong (at least it was to me both times). The could be dramatic irony, buy the way it is framed makes it seem like we the reader are also supposed to buy into this belief, as it is treated as a constant source of tension, when really I was just rolling my eyes and wondering how long it was going to take them to figure this out so we could get on with the most important parts of the plot. Both times, when the truth is finally discovered, it is treated like a big reveal, when both times I was thinking "yeah, no shit, can we move on now?" Instead of driving the plot, these both feel like contrived detours that could have been excised entirely with very little lost. This to me is worse in Zoey Ashe Punches the Future in the Dick, because while David is alone in This Book is Full of Spiders and so doesn't have anyone to be the voice of reason for him, Zoey is surrounded by supposedly very smart and level-headed people and no one even suggests the very obvious alternative explanation in the face of her leaping to conclusions.
Beyond that, there's also the fact that both books are noticeably light on the fantastical elements, having most of their plot hinge on a single major fantastical event near the beginning of the story and the rest of the plot being mostly people's panicked reactions to it, they even both have pretty much exactly the same fantastical event as their inciting incident, which just irked me more. Jason Pargin seems to have learned from this experience, as I thought both What the Hell did I Just Read and If This Book Exists, You're in the Wrong Universe flowed much better and did not have any similar detours, so I am hoping he follows a similar pattern for Zoey Ashe. What the Hell did I Just Read is easily my favorite of the JDATE series, and so I am eagerly anticipating Zoey Is Too Drunk for This Dystopia and hoping the third time will be the charm for this series as well.
If any of you are wondering WTF I am talking about and do not mind major spoilers for both books, a detailed discussion follows:
Both This Book is Full of Spiders and Zoey Punches the Future in the Dick end their first act with a zombie attack. In both cases, this attack causes people to mobilize considerable force against a perceived zombie threat, when really what we just saw was the worst that threat was capable of and they are pretty much powerless after that, with all the action that follows being driven by people's response to what they think is a threat causing far more damage than the threat itself, to the point where the entire plot feels like a shaggy dog story and the whole world would have been much better off if our protagonists had just stayed at home and watched TV.
This Book is Full of Spiders contrives to involve David in the action going on in Undisclosed after he has left by having him think Amy is already there. It does this by having Amy send him a picture she just took of his burning house surrounded by fire trucks and ambulances. A scene which, 24 hours after this fire had occurred, would certainly not have still looked like that, and which we literally just saw replayed on the TV a minute before he got this picture. From this, David immediately jumps to the conclusion that Amy must have just taken this picture of his house and so must be right there in Undisclosed. This conclusion of course makes absolutely no sense, and it takes fully a quarter of the book for David to learn the much more obvious truth that Amy had in fact taken a picture of the very news broadcast about the previous day's events that David had just seen and had in fact been elsewhere in that very shop where he saw it, only a few aisles away. This is perfectly good characterization for David, who has a tendency to jump to conclusions and assume the worst, and has a particular blind spot when it comes to Amy, who he can be extremely protective of. It is very annoying to read though, with David's constant fretting over what might be happening to Amy succeeding in raising absolutely no tension and just feeling like it's wasting a lot of space when we would just like to get on with something that actually matters.
Zoey Punches the Future in the Dick does something very similar by having Zoey believe her cat has been kidnapped and is being held for ransom based on the ironclad evidence of his collar having fallen off and him not running up to greet her after they have spent much of the day filling up the courtyard with holograms, which Stench Machine has been established as being absolutely terrified of. Maybe this is just me, having had several cats for many years and spent more than a few days frantically searching for a lost cat and coming up empty only to have him casually wander up to me a few hours later asking for pets, but it saw it coming a mile away that the cat was just hiding somewhere attending to cat business in her giant mansion and would come back in his own time. Again, it is entirely consistent with Zoey's character and the stress she had been under that she would go into a panic and miss the obvious explanation here, but why do none of The Suits around her even suggest this as an explanation? They have a thermal scanner that they can apparently use to identify any cats in a giant crowd of people. Did no one even think to run it over the mansion before flying off on a rescue mission? They check all of the anti-Zoey online forums, which would normally be buzzing about something like this, and there is not a peep about it. The fact that no one even suggests this just makes it all the more blaringly obvious that this must be the explanation, and again we seem to be expected to go along with this rescue that takes up about a quarter of the book only to have Carlton call and say the cat just showed up asking for food some hours later. It just makes this whole section of the book feel pointless, and everyone else in Zoey's crew thinking that they have a ticking clock to watching some internet trolls eat her cat on a livestream and Zoey's constant imaginings of what they might be doing to Stench Machine at that very moment don't feel like anything more than time wasting.
It's not helped by Zoey's total lack of self-awareness while all this is going on and The Suits being either unable or unwilling to call her on her obvious hypocrisy. She literally kidnapped someones kid because she thought he had her cat, and even after she realizes she was mistaken, she shows absolutely no interest whatsoever in his wellbeing until after she finds out that Stench Machine is fine. Even then, she seems only grudgingly willing to consider anyone's feelings other than her own and still seems ready to use this kid as a bargaining chip even though it has been made clear that she had absolutely no evidence of him being involved in any wrongdoing and needs to force him to reveal the whole organ-harvesting operation before she's finally ready to release him as her hostage. Will doesn't want her to release him even then, but he's Will, and we kind of expect that of him. Zoey is the one who's supposed to be better than that. Or for that matter, no one seems to have even considered that Dirk Vikerness might have been acting alone when the only evidence they have linking Titus Chobb to any of this is Dirk's involvement. How many innocent security guards were killed or maimed when Echo and Wu come to break her out after she's captured by Dirk? Zoey doesn't seem to spare a thought to them or their families. It is not until the very end that Zoey even seems to think of Titus as a human being and not just a faceless villain, and even then, after everything is wrapped up, Zoey never really seems to reckon with the amount of suffering her relentless self-centeredness caused in the preceding days. It's nice that she realizes she has plenty of admirers and that the trolls were only a small, vocal minority, but she still doesn't come out looking as good as the story wants us to think she does
Okay, rant over. What do you guys think? Were you surprised by these twists or did you see this coming? As I said, I think Jason Pargin has learned from his mistakes, so I am sure the next Zoey Ashe book will be better. Overall, I still enjoyed Zoey Punches the Future in the Dick, just not all of it as much as usual.
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2023.06.10 04:09 UncleCeiling Writing on the Wall, Chapter 16
First Chapter Here
Previous Chapter Here
My other story, Going Native Here
Hey look, a chapter released in a somewhat reasonable timeframe! As always, thank you for reading and let me know what you think!
Faye hadn’t noticed right away that Meechie missed her regular stop. The pair had been standing in relative silence, Faye’s thoughts drifting off to debate whether or not she would go to the next movie night at the Library, and it was several stops before she realized that she hadn’t said goodbye to the Rakiri. It was in a bit of a brain fog that Faye half-turned, figuring she should hurry and say it now before Meechie got too far away, but instead she jerked her head to find the brown-furred woman staring directly at her.
“I am still here,” Meechie said quietly, a small smile causing the fur on her cheeks to bristle.
“You are,” Faye agreed. “I thought I missed seeing you off.”
“I am accompanying you to the library,” the young woman declared. Faye tried not to read too much into vocal cues, especially when she had little-to-no experience with the species in question, but there still seemed to be something nervous in Meechie’s voice. Nervous and pleading.
“I don’t need a bodyguard,” Faye said cautiously. “And I definitely don’t need someone making a decision like that for me.”
That seemed to strike a nerve. Meechie slunk back as if hit, causing some grumbles from the other passengers. The Rakiri took a moment to smooth out the fur on her face with one hand before replying.
“I did not express myself well. I wished to visit a library after work, and as you work at one I thought it would be nice to travel alongside you.” Meechie’s eyes lowered. “I should not have presumed.”
As if on cue, the bus slowed to its next stop and Meechie moved to leave. It would put the furry young woman at a corporate business park near absolutely nothing of interest. Faye shot out a hand and grabbed Meechie by the shoulder. The Rakiri froze mid-step as if turned to stone.
“Don’t!” She tugged gently and Meechie shifted back to Faye’s side. “No need to run off. Sorry. I shouldn’t have jumped to conclusions.”
“I…” Meechie seemed to be glancing everywhere except at Faye. “It’s alright?”
God damn was this poor girl shy. “Yes, you can ride to the library with me. I just wish you had mentioned it earlier; we don’t have a lot of time to talk shop now.” Faye considered Meechie again, clothes that looked brand new and not a speck of grease to be seen. “Is that why you got all dressed up?”
Meechie nodded, still keeping her eyes somewhere to the left of Faye’s face. “I normally go straight home, but it wouldn’t do to soil any of the books.”
“The books and I both appreciate it.” That earned Faye a smile, at least. “What are you looking for? I didn’t take you for much of a reader.”
“I like adventure stories,” Meechie replied.
“Hmm…” Faye tapped a fingertip to her lips as she thought. “Historical? Big battles?”
“The fighting isn’t what’s important.” Meechie stopped, eyes drawn to the motion of Faye’s finger, and she self-consciously brought her hands back down to her sides. “It is more about the people the hero meets on his travels.”
The pronoun threw Faye for a bit of a loop; she was so used to hearing the feminine form used as the general that it stood out. It only took a moment for her to understand. Faye grinned.
stories?” She asked the question in a faux whisper, slightly teasing, and Meechie immediately went wide-eyed. Her freshly-cleaned fur puffed up in what could only be panic. Faye reached over and gave Meechie a couple quick pats on the shoulder before leaning in.
“Don’t worry, your secret is safe with me.”
“...should have what you’re looking for. I’m going to be upstairs at Archives, but the help desk can find what you’re looking for if you get lost. And remember, no judgment.”
Mahnti glanced across the lobby more out of instinct than anything else. Hearing Faye’s voice simply drew his attention, especially considering he didn’t think her shift had started yet. His eyes quickly picked her out as Faye turned away from the entrance and towards the hall that led towards the employee lounge. He also took note of who she had been talking to.
Rakiri weren’t uncommon in University City, but the way this one stood in place, staring at Faye’s back with an unnerving intensity, was setting off alarms all down Mahnti’s rather sizeable spine. He began to make his way on an intercept course towards Faye, trying to imprint the furry girl’s look into his memory just in case. Brand new clothing, still showing the creases of packaging. Not quite the right fit for the woman’s frame, and she moved like she was profoundly uncomfortable in them. Dark brown fur that seemed to puff up as she stared at Faye, then flattened as she noticed Mahnti watching her.
The Senthe flared his hood slightly, emphasizing his size instinctively as he narrowed his eyes. The Rakiri stared at him unblinking for a moment, then turned and wandered off towards the main stacks. It only took another moment for him to catch up to Faye.
“Who was that?”
Faye jerked slightly, then stopped and turned with a small smile decorating her lips. “Good morning to you too.”
“Yeah, yeah, good morning and all that. Was that your bus Rakiri?”
Faye nodded, the smile fading as she picked up on Mahnti’s unease. “Yeah. Why, do you know her?”
“No, nothing like that.” Mahnti sighed. He didn’t want to cause problems, but he also had some serious bad vibes going. “She was just standing there staring at you. It was pretty creepy.”
“Yeah, I’ve noticed her doing that a lot. I think it might be a Rakiri thing? Meechie seems to have latched on for whatever reason.” Faye shrugged. “I don’t think she has any friends.”
“I’m not surprised if that’s her way of making them. She seriously looked like she was about to attack you or something.”
“Doesn’t know anybody, trying to figure out how to socialize with people…” Faye shrugged again, adding a lopsided smile. “I can relate. She seems harmless enough, even helped protect me the other day.”
Mahnti slumped a little. “I suppose. I just… be careful, okay? I don’t want to have to frame another dent in a wall.”
He also didn’t want to have to worry about Faye bleeding out in some dark corner somewhere. She could outrun a Shil, but a Rakiri with ill intentions would be a far more dangerous proposition.
“After what happened before, I’m not taking chances.” Faye patted the side of her purse conspiratorially and Mahnti could see the outline of a cylinder. It seemed to be a fair bit larger than the grinshaw spray he carried in a vest pocket, but that could have just been a trick of the bag it was in. Regardless, he felt a little better knowing she had something. It wasn’t until he saw the fear she was tucking down behind her smile that he suddenly realized just how vulnerable Faye must feel.
She was smaller and weaker than a Shil’vati, easy to pick out of a crowd and easier to pick on, and with the way she dressed and styled herself Faye really was priming the pump for trouble. A random attack at her place of work had nearly killed her and, less than a week later, here she was trying to take it in stride. All while knowing that the chance of it happening again was approaching certainty.
“Come on,” Mahnti said quietly. He took one of Faye’s hands and pulled her deeper into the hallway, away from prying eyes and towards the break room. He almost told her that she was safe here, but that was a lie. Nowhere was safe if you stood out, and he knew that better than anyone.
Ib’aest Jamia, chronic layabout and day manager at the Jamia Library, hoped he didn’t look too guilty when Faye’s face poked through his office doorway and interrupted the scandal rag he was reading on his pad. He slipped his pad face-down into his desk drawer in a single smooth motion and slapped on his second-best friendly but not flirtatious smile.
“Hey Ibby.” Faye seemed suddenly nervous herself, glancing around the room as if to ensure that it was just him in his office. “Can I talk to you for a minute?”
“Is it work related?” Faye shook her head in the negative. “Then of course! Come on in and shut the door.”
Faye followed his lead, latching the door and stepping gracefully to the chair he indicated on the other side of his desk. It was odd, watching the way she moved. Too graceful for most women he knew, but still nervous. Faye sometimes seemed to approach the world as if everything was made of glass. Or perhaps that she was.
Ibby looked the girl up and down, trying for a “kind older friend” vibe. The Human was dressed simply in one of the outfits she seemed to have a knack for throwing together. He knew he had seen at least some of it before, the tights and the skirt at least, but the overall effect was new to him. She struck such an odd balance, clearly a woman but throwing off such a distractingly masculine vibe. In this one person Ibby had a real empirical example of the strange dichotomy that made Humanity so interesting. That said, there was really only one reason for a young woman to ask to speak to an older man in private. At least, only one he figured Faye would be up for.
Faye blinked at Ibby, confused for a moment. “Kind of, yeah. I guess you could call it that.”
Ibby ran through the list in his head. Mahnti was the obvious first choice, but the way that pair seemed to be getting along he didn’t think there would be any trouble he’d have to intervene with. Besides, the Senthe had said they weren’t doing the perpendicular poke. At least not yet. Faye also knew Tevor, but Ibby had yet to see anyone aside from Sade who could pull that poor kid out of his shell. Maybe Iora over in Digital Media. Did Faye even know Iora?
“Have you ever been to any fancy dress parties?”
Ibby’s racing mind slammed into a drift, changed gears, and nearly ran headlong into the answer. “You’re going on a date with that reporter!”
“It’s NOT a date. I have gone to great lengths to make that clear to both of us.” Faye’s voice was firm. The girl was apparently a better liar than Ibby thought. “He invited me out to go see a play being performed in English at a fancy theater.” Faye pulled out her pad and showed Ibby a copy of the playbill.
“Ooh, the Icosahedral Garden. That’s a great venue.” Ibby considered. “I assume he’s dragging you out to dinner first?”
“I guess? I didn’t really think that far ahead. I just realized that I have no idea what’s culturally acceptable to wear to an event like this.” Faye blushed prettily. “I don’t want to show up in a ball gown and have it turn out to be more of a spikes and corpse paint thing.”
“Nevermind. Just making a joke.” Faye shrugged, eyes drooping as her expression soured. “It seems like I make a scene no matter where I go. It would be nice to blend in for a change.”
Fat chance of that, Ibby thought. Still, he could be of some help. “What would you say to another shopping excursion? I wouldn’t mind helping you out.”
Faye nodded, relief washing over her. “I would appreciate that. I have an errand to run tonight and plans for tomorrow, but how about the day after? I’m free all day and that will still give me plenty of time before the show.”
“It’s a…” Don’t say date, you idiot. Poor girl is nervous enough as it is. “..plan. Truth be told, it’ll be nice to show you the sights properly. Most of your new friends seem to be more of the indoor sort.”
Faye snorted back a laugh. “Ain’t that the truth.”
Faye tilted her head to one side just to give her eyeroll a running start. The sign hanging above the shop door was written in a rounded style made to emulate the shape of English letters despite being Shil’vati script. Through the window she could see an assortment of Human snacks, assorted tchotchkes that somehow made her feel victimized on behalf of every race and culture involved, and an embarrassingly large amount of soft-core pornography.
"Chad Nova’s Human Emporium" was probably the single cringiest store that Faye had ever seen, and she distinctly remembered hanging out at the mall back when you could get jeans with pockets big enough to hold a CD player. It didn’t help that, while Faye was standing in the mall concourse staring at the store, the clerk inside was staring right back. That girl seemed to consider blinking an afterthought.
After a moment to square her shoulders and pat the side pocket on her purse reassuringly, Faye entered the store. It was a riot of mismatched goods, poorly made display swords and replica firearms tucked alongside “authentic” Polynesian nose flutes and decks of playing cards. After accidentally locking eyes with what she was fairly certain was an Abraham Lincoln body pillow, she decided to simply accept that this was what her species boiled down to.
“Can I help you, miss?” The voice was high and cracked around the edges. Faye turned to look at the clerk, a Shil’vati girl barely out of school with a face still lightly dusted with acne. The girl seemed to be about ten seconds from exploding in excitement.
“Actually, yeah. I was wondering if you do special orders.” Faye pulled out her pad and started tapping at the screen. “I brought some sundries when I moved out here and I don't know what I’m going to do when I run out.”
“Moved, like from Earth?” Make it five seconds.
“Yes, and to answer your next question, yes, I’m a Human. Nobody decided to bleach a Helkam or anything like that.”
Four… three… two…
The Shil girl turned away and ran to the back of the store, sliding to a stop in front of a rather tacky looking beaded curtain hanging next to an “Employees Only” sign. She shoved her head through the beads.
Faye took a moment to collect herself. She glanced around, cataloging the strange array of goods. There were some things that clearly fell into similar themes, like the large snack section or the graphic novels (emphasis on graphic), but much of the place was simply a cacophony of crap. She noticed a stuffed doll of the Statue of Liberty fallen over into a container of brightly colored, thumb-sized plastic crucifixes. All the little Jesuses seemed to be staring in mute, cross-eyed horror at the plushie green giant.
“Oh! It’s you!”
Faye turned away from the plastic Jesusai and saw that the young Shil’vati clerk was now accompanied by another woman. Definitely not old enough to be the clerk’s biological mom, but with how things tended to go with Shil families and how long lifespans could get it wasn’t the most surprising. If the clerk was a Human seventeen, she’d put this new one at twenty three or twenty four.
“Yeah, it’s me,” Faye replied to the stranger with a shrug.
“We saw you on the news, but…” the young woman trailed off, her black and gold eyes focused on the still-fading bruises on Faye’s face.
“Lost a fight,” she said curtly. Anything to move this along. “Some friends of mine recommended this place to get Human snacks, and I figured if you’re getting regular imports you might be able to get me some other stuff.”
“..Ah. Oh! Yes!” The woman blinked, then looked at her daughter. “Can you go grab my order book?” Turning back to Faye, she continued, “What sort of things did you need? We have quite a collection here.”
“You certainly do.” Faye tried to focus on the woman, but her eyes kept getting drawn off to the side. An anime-style wall scroll of a mostly-naked, hugely muscled brown-skinned man was staring at her, and she couldn’t place who it was supposed to be. Bob Sapp maybe?
“Mostly I was thinking about makeup, maybe some comfort food. Stuff you probably don’t stock but I can’t afford to import on my own.”
The young woman nodded, her dark hair bouncing. “I’m sure we can work something out. You’re lucky; most Human stores are part of a chain, but we’re independent. We’re not confined to ordering from just one catalog.”
As if she was just waiting for her cue, the Shil kid arrived and plopped an oversized binder into her mom’s open arms. She placed it on a table and flipped it open with a thump.
It was like someone tried to print the Internet. The woman quickly fingered her way through hard-copy recreations of digital storefronts while Faye groaned inwardly. She liked paper more than most but this just seemed so awkward. An alien luddite.
“My brother-in-law’s cousin-in-law works on Earth at one of those new superconductor factories. They ship a lot of materials here, so I was able to negotiate a good deal to take up their extra mass allotment for cheap.” The woman stopped on a page, then pointed. “Something like this?”
Faye leaned over the book and looked. It was the digital storefront of one of those corner store and pharmacy chains that sells makeup on top of everything else. Not exactly top of the line, but better than the dollar store.
“Perfect.” Faye started noting individual things she’d like and the woman dutifully started marking things down on a scrap of paper. The big items on Faye’s shopping list were more foundation and concealer, but she picked out some blush, lipstick, and eyeliner pencils too; she was leery about trusting Shil makeup in general. It was hard enough to find brands that didn’t make her skin break out into an oily mess without getting alien biochemistry involved.
“We can order whatever you like, but the fewer stores you have to pick from the better. I would hate for our buyer to get pissy because she has to run too many errands on the hot guy planet.” The clerk paused for an eye roll. “Also, keep in mind that these prices aren’t what you’ll pay; there will be an additional convenience fee.”
Faye nodded. “Of course. What are you thinking?”
“Hmm…” The woman looked Faye up and down in a way that suddenly made her feel a lot smaller and more vulnerable. While this stranger wasn’t particularly tall for a Shil, that still made for a five or six inch height difference. “You are pretty cute…”
“Dad said no more cute discounts!” Faye’s attention was drawn to the younger girl, who had been watching the whole exchange from a few steps back. The darkening purple blush on her face matched Faye’s own red one.
“You’re no fun!” The Shil mock glared at her (step?)daughter, then turned back to Faye. “Seriously, though, as long as the mass and volume are small the cost to get this sort of thing here isn’t too bad. Say twenty percent. It'll be more if you want anything big or our buyer has to go to a specialty store, but we can do that too. It will still be a lot cheaper than trying to import anything yourself.”
“Twenty percent isn’t bad.” It was a great deal, honestly. Faye doubted they’d be doing much more than breaking even on her little orders. She closed her eyes for a second, clearing her mind. She could feel the spray canister in her bag, pressing against the inside of her arm. Its presence was reassuring. “Can I add an absolutely no flirting policy to our agreement?”
The woman nodded, suddenly looking abashed. “Sorry, I forgot Human women aren’t normally into other girls. I didn’t mean to upset you.”
Whether or not Faye was into girls was irrelevant, but she wasn’t about to get into an argument about it. Instead, she turned a few pages back and forth, adding a few more odds and ends to the list that she hadn’t been able to find in University City. Much of the list consisted of condiments and seasonings that might help make the Shil instant meals Faye had been purchasing a little more palatable.
By the time they were done, Faye had an order totaling a couple hundred credits and a promise that she would have her goods in three to four weeks. Before she left she made a point of stocking up on junk food and picked up a few English-language graphic novels that looked interesting. She rounded out the visit with a couple decks of playing cards. Tomorrow was game night, after all. She should be at least somewhat prepared.
This is a fanfic that takes place in the “Between Worlds” universe (aka Sexy Space Babes), created and owned by u/BlueFishcake
. No ownership of the settings or core concepts is expressed or implied by myself.
This is for fun. Can’t you just have fun?
submitted by UncleCeiling
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2023.06.10 04:05 One_Ad6427 My Promise to Myself ((TW - ED, SH, BODY IMAGE))
I woke up yesterday and told myself I’m disgusting and need to stop eating because I am morbidly obese. I stopped eating until 1:00 that afternoon, when I finally came out of my room to use the bathroom after 5 hours of laying in my bed, trying to distract myself from grabbing my blades from their “hiding” spot. I walked into the kitchen, had a conversation with my mother, then when she left to go back to work (she came home briefly because her workplace is super near by), I zoned out and ate, and ate, and ate. I then went to my grandma’s house that night and weighed myself. I was at a new high in weight. I wanted to break down crying but I stopped and told myself that I need to make a change. I hate myself. Through and through. I hate the way I look, the way my body is, the way I speak, my entire personality, all of it. I want to be myself in the most healthy way. I am not a horrible person. I help my parents everyday. I’m even giving up a day of my week each week to watch my 3 year old sister so my grandma can get a break from her. I know I might sound narcissistic right now, and I’m sorry for that. Sorry I’m getting off topic.. I woke up today and the same thing happened (no eating to binging). I got home from my grandmas and sat on the couch, feeling myself slowly sink into the depression that encased me last summer. Then something happened. When I got up to go grab a snack, something I do often to distract myself from cutting, I kept walking after some thought, and went into the room of my house with exercise equipment (a weight bench and a treadmill). I then walked on the treadmill for an hour, listening to a “Dark History” podcast on Spotify. I walked 2 miles! I am making a promise to myself. I was not having fun while working out, but the feeling afterward, when you know you accomplished something, anything, is, for lack of a better term, exhilarating. My promise is to not cut, for at least a month. Each time I feel like I wanna cut, I have to walk on the treadmill for an hour. I am also going to change my eating patterns. I want to be healthy. I want it so badly. So, this is a promise to myself to not only stop bad habits, but to create new, self-fulfilling, ones. Sorry this was so long, I’m just really proud of myself right now 😊.
Tl;dr: I am going to exercise instead of cutting for a month.
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2023.06.10 04:00 Sp1derTarantula honestly im so tired of skin picking but i cant stop
ive been skin picking for nearly my entire life but it was pretty bad when i was young, but i stopped because i was getting bullied for always having scabs. i would excessively pick at my lips though, which still counts, but it was way less than what i was doing before. but now that ive been really stressed lately, ive started at it again and its ruining my life. i cant stop picking at my face, which is a new spot because now i have acne (being a teenager), and my forehead is pretty openly exposed despite having bangs.i constantly pick at any scab i get or try to make new ones. its ruined my confidence and i dont like going out anymore because of how i look. ive gotten multiple comments so far and its just been destroying me man. im on antidepressants so i think it may be causing me to do it more but without the meds i cant function a normal life. im too scared to bring up the skin picking to my therapist or psychiatrist because i fear ill have to stay in therapy longer to fix it and getting a diagnosis for anything can be expensive. just so tired, stressed, and really self conscious of myself :/
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2023.06.10 03:59 Calypthea Accidentally a Dungeon Chp. 26
Without that horrendous bat flapping around and causing a mess for me, I'm now able to focus all of my efforts on bringing down the blinded bear colossus. It is unfortunate that I lost too many owls in the aerial battle, and that Alexa is too exhausted to help out herself, as that means I won't have any reinforcements available from them coming to Jackie’s aid any time soon. That being said, I know just the fish who might be able to make an early return in their stead.
Since they’ve been resting since the start of the battle, Selene and Hecate have been able to recuperate a bit of their mana pools already. Considering that I’m near 100% confident that it doesn’t matter how much the big bear regenerates if it can’t breathe, plus the fact that it doesn’t take too much mana just to hold some water in place, there’s not much reason to keep them benched much longer. Somehow though, I doubt it’s going to be quite that easy to take the bear colossus down. So why don’t we improve the chances of success a bit with all of this free manna I find myself currently swimming in?
Thanks to the sheer quantity of invaders Deepholm is swarming me in, I’ve got more mana to make use of than ever before, and I’d be a fool not to put it to good use. The steep requirement of having to pay 4 times the mana as any of my other scions to upgrade them is hardly an issue at this moment, so I begin the process of pouring my power into my fish. All the while, I keep an eye trained on the battle at hand, waiting for whatever it is the bear will try next. Deepholm scions don’t just meekly turn over and accept their defeat after all.
While I’m only halfway through providing upgrades to my fish scions, my caution is proven entirely warranted as the bear scion bellows its frustration and rage at the top of its lungs. Unable to proceed along a straight path due to Jackie’s constant interference, the colossus hunkers down for a moment in my lake and covers its head with its paws. Then, as soon as its eyes have had a chance to regenerate once more, it peeks out and gets a lock on my location before Jackie inevitably puts more arrows through the freshly grown eyes. This time it hardly pays the attack any mind, reaching down to its flank with those huge claws and ripping free a sizable chunk of its own flesh. With a great heave, the bear scion sent the chunk sailing through the air where it crashed with a meaty splat against the trunk of my tree.
First of all, …gross. Secondly, that bear has surprisingly good aim to be able to nail the part of my tree trunk that is perfectly in line with where my core is. Lastly, heh-heh, I’m in danger. Unable to use its sight, and no longer able to rely on the bat scion for its sonic guidance, the bear has resorted to using smell to guide its way. And what better trail to follow with one’s strong sense of smell than the stench of one’s own blood and viscera? Without a moment of hesitation, the bear scion is back on its feet, and charging forward once more.
This time, there’s truly nothing we can do to stop its advance, the bear’s nose is too big to fully destroy the bear’s sense of smell, even with Jackie’s arrows desperately blasting pieces off of it. With a tremor that I can feel throughout the entire island, the bear scion slams headfirst into the high cliffs, which only serves to daze the beast for but a moment before it starts awkwardly clambering upwards. I curse vehemently, at this rate the colossus will reach my tree before I’m done with upgrading the twins. I can cut it short and make the current upgrade the last one, but it will still take a minute or so for the twins to become accustomed to their strengthened bodies.
It doesn’t take long for the bear’s claws to scramble against the top of the cliffs, digging in for extra purchase, shortly followed thereafter by the beast’s snarling and arrow-riddled cranium. The twins have only just finished absorbing the mana from the latest upgrade, they’re not going to make it in time. It is at that moment that my saviors made their gallant entry into the fray. Cutting a swathe through the remaining army of normal invaders charged not any of my scions, but the brave surviving members of my defensive forces. Having abandoned their defensive chokepoint in the entrance cave, a combined throng of brawler bunnies and leopards led the way as my froglings and flechette-pines provided cover fire. Beside me, I can feel the consternation roll off of Giorno as he tries to keep some semblance of organization in place amidst an attack that he had most certainly not ordered.
Though our tactics have done a great deal in leveling the playing field in the battle between denizens, there are still a lot of enemies left to deal with, and this attack will only open us up to many more unnecessary casualties. Underneath his annoyed countenance however, I do detect a hint of pride in their reckless attempts to buy me more time. An attempt that certainly pays its dividends.
With a series of tremendous leaps, the brawler bunnies and leopard forces bound up to the limbs of the bear scion and begin hacking away at it with sharp claws and stone swords. They scale up the beast, slashing at every joint and every digit along the way. The colossus roars in pain and slips from the cliffside as the tendons in each limb are systematically severed time and time again. But this moment of victory comes at far too steep a cost.
When the bear scion crashes back into the lake, its sheer mass flattens dozens of my brave denizens at a time. From there it thrashes about, crushing some more of my stalwart defenders and sending others flying through the air. Not wasting the opportunity, my denizens lead the enemy scion over to the remnants of the invader army, where both sides become equally devastated by the beast’s angry flailing. I try to call my denizens back, telling them to retreat, that they’d done enough already. When that failed, I resorted to using some of my mana to make it a direct order. Retreat already! The twins are on the way, swimming around the south side of the island as we speak. There’s no need for any more of you to die!
I can feel the mana drain away as the orders take hold, but then I got a unanimous response back through Alexa’s network. Every single one of them started the retreat and then volunteered themselves to be a rearguard to help cover the escape. Even though technically they were following through with my order, not a single denizen so much as turned around or took a single step backward. They were loopholing me! Those damnable, brave, fools were refusing to leave until my scions could arrive. Who the heck taught you bastards to test the limits of the rules and look for ways to bend them in your favor anyhow!?
It took less than a minute for my twins to arrive. But it took even less time for the bear colossus to finish with its rampage. Now the only living combatants faced each other over a lake stained to the same red as the bear scion’s eyes. As a healer, Selene has seen more than her fair share of nasty injuries, as well as plenty of corpses from my previous encounters with Deepholm’s invaders. But even still, all that experience could not have prepared her for the sight of the slaughter before her. All the violent thrashing had thoroughly frothed the water of the lake, but rather than help hide the bodies below with the white foam it only served to accentuate them by clinging to whatever pieces remained above water.
It left my poor fish heartbroken. Disgust and despair raged inside her alongside a powerful wave of guilt at not recovering fast enough to be able to come to their aid in time. I know, sweetie, I know. But those denizens out there? They bought us enough time to stop any more atrocities from happening. They bet everything on you two and Jackie, and now it’s time to make sure we don’t waste a single death. All that anguish and sorrow you’re feeling? I need you to use it. Use it to hone a blade in your heart to turn against those who spread such senseless violence. It’s time to take up the second half of the saint’s job and smite down that walking calamity of a bear. And you’re not alone, Hecate is right beside you along with Jackie, and together, I know you all can do this.
Pep talk done, Hecate gives her sister a loving nuzzle under her chin before turning her hate-filled eyes to the bear scion as well. She isn’t taking kindly to all the desolation wrought by the colossus either, and is especially pissed by how upset it is making her kind-hearted twin. The white crescent moon mark on her forehead glows faintly in response to her roiling emotions, while after a few deep breaths, Selene’s black crescent moon mark does the same, her eyes now steeled in vindictive determination.
As one, they lifted a massive ball of water into the air and slammed it into the bear scion’s face, completely covering it in a matter of seconds. Meanwhile, I begin the process of funneling mana into Jackie for her own upgrades. The beast hasn’t shown any magical capacity besides its regeneration, but who knows? Maybe it has something up its sleeve that would save it from the same fate as its companion. Better safe than sorry in this case, no?
Evidently, I was correct to prepare for the backup plan, because rather than struggle against the water bubble encasing its face, the bear colossus calmly slurped the water down. The vast amounts of suction overwhelmed the amount of mana the twins could use to keep the water in place, and so it simply disappeared down the beast’s gullet with a taunting smile that seemed to say, “Thanks for the refreshing drink, I was feeling rather parched”. Not a smidge of magic was used, or needed, to easily trounce my hopes of drowning our problems away. What stood before us surely could not be described as anything but the epitome of relentless brute force, a fact which has now been hammered home rather insultingly by the defeat of my plans through lung power of all things.
With a challenging roar, the bear plowed forward while ignoring the twin’s follow up attacks. Right, plan B it is then. If we can’t suffocate him, then we’ll just have to overwhelm his regeneration with more damage than it can keep up with! In but a moment the bear scion has slammed into my cliffside and begins scaling it once more. This time, Selene and Hecate are there to stop it from making any meaningful progress, their watery slashes biting deep into flesh and disabling limbs long enough for the next attack to land. Where Hecate’s attacks strike necrosis quickly follows, seeping into the flesh until the entire mass falls off to be replaced by newly regenerated meat. Meanwhile, Selen’s strikes shine with the radiant power of her light mana, her slices digging deep through muscles, tendons, and all the way to the bones beneath.
Together they manage to keep the colossus pinned in place to the craggy wall of my island, allowing Jackie all the time she needs to hop around and unleash a torrent of her aether arrows. Rather than strike into the beast herself however, I have her shoot the cliffs themselves where she then sprouts much more massive vines than usual to grasp at the enemy scion and bind it in place. I know that the twins will run out of mana long before I can bleed this invader dry in a battle of attrition, so instead my goal here is to line Jackie up for one big shot to put an end to this colossus once and for all.
Bounding up to the top of the cliff, right over the massive head of the bear, Jackie grows the limbs of her bow out further than even its longbow form, one side planting itself firmly into the stone. With a mighty heave, she stands upon the bow’s limbs and pushes down with all the strength in her legs while hoisting up on the drawstring with her arms. A ballista-sized arrow grows into place, aimed straight down to the skull of the beast below. Through this, Jackie channels the full force of her wind aether. With my hand on her back, I speak softly to into her mind through the bond we share.
“The bigger they are, the harder they fall. Let’s do this Jackie, together!”
Through my hand I channel even more mana into Jackie than before, really packing it into her as fast as the upgrades can handle. 2 more, then 5, then 10. The power swirls around her like a maelstrom that would have left anybody else gritting their teeth to ride out the storm. But not my Jackie. As much as I pushed the mana into her, she matched me by pulling it into her control right away, weaving it into her aether flawlessly. Around the arrow tip the air began to swirl, faster and faster, like a drill turned up to turbo speeds.
This obviously did not go unnoticed by the bear scion, but it was too late for the behemoth to avoid its fate. Bound up tightly in Jackie’s vines while Selen and Hecate kept its prodigious strength locked away through their continuous onslaught. Their mana has already depleted dangerously low once again, but their combined efforts have bought us all the opportunity we need. All the enemy can do is flounder uselessly in its restraints, glaring balefully at Jackie and its impending doom.
With a boom the arrow disappears from Jackie’s bow, boring a path straight through the entire length of the bear scion and continuing deep into the ground beneath it. Jackei’s wind arrow had accelerated freely without any resistance, twisting the air in front of it out of the way and turning the space in front into a devastating drill. Meanwhile, just behind the shaft, the collapse of the resulting vacuum pushed the arrow along even faster than any projectile has ever flown before in this world.
The twisting motion of the air and the shockwaves from the collapsing vacuum bubble didn’t just serve to speed up the arrow however. Like a delayed reaction after the arrow had already sped through, I watched as a spray of blood exploded from the bear’s body, accompanied by the splash of water beneath its feet. I watched as the beast’s jaw was ripped away to hang loosely by a strip of flesh on the right side of its head. From there the arrow had traveled down into the beast’s shoulder and blazed a path all the way through its chest cavity, the aftershocks ripping the bear’s body apart and leaving its left side barely attached anymore. It looked as if some giant had cleaved its axe down the bear’s side, all the way from the shoulders to the hips.
The scion had managed to avoid an instantly fatal blow by twisting its head as far to the side as possible, but that proved to only postpone the inevitable at this point. With that much damage to the internal organs, it couldn’t hope to recover in time. We’d done it, we’d won!
Joyfully, I turned to Giorno, ready to send some mana down to Kelvin next, but what I saw froze me in my tracks. This whole battle, Giorno had been his usual calm and composed self, issuing orders and cooly commanding our forces. But now, he was trembling with a visual amount of fear, his skin blanched of all color. Thoroughly spooked, I racked my brain for anything I might have missed, but I got my answer sooner than expected.
“Kill it, kill it now! We don’t have any time, finish it before it's too late! It’s going to do something to the bear!”
Dutifully, Jackie and the twins ready their next attacks to hasten the bear scion’s demise, but something Giorno said stuck out to me. Wait, the bear is the subject of his sentence, not the object for some reason. But…, that would have to mean…
With wide eyes, I come to a dreadful realization, I never got a mana notification for the bat scion. No, no! No WAY that bastard survived, right? Feeling the sneaking march of dread closing in on my throat, I check the spot where the bat scion had crashed into my island. There it lay, wings in tatters and its chest caved in from impacting the ground, lying in a pool of its own blood. By all accounts, it appears to be dead. But that’s when I notice something off. The pool of blood is moving.
Right before my eyes, I watch as little bubbles capture air inside, and then get mixed in the blood as it slowly circulates out of the lethal wounds and then back into the bat’s body. It must have kept conscious through the crash and is now using its blood magic to just barely keep itself alive. Would that be all the bat was up to, I would have breathed a sigh of relief. But no, all around the crash were scattered splotches of fresh blood, drawn out into a foreboding set of interlocking symbols when viewed from above. The bat was casting something, using its own life as fuel. With a weak wheeze in place of a laugh, the bat scion spoke for one final time.
“Glory be to the Mountainlord. Blood Arts: Sacrifice.”
Accompanied by the ding of a new notification, I watched in horror as all the blood was forcibly wrested from the bat scion’s fresh corpse, instantly mummifying it into a dried-out husk. Then that mass of brackish liquid moved faster than it had any right to, thin tendrils shooting out from the main body quickly dragging the blob to the edge of the island. Before any of my scions could react, it had already latched onto the dying bear’s head and begun pouring itself forcibly through every orifice it could reach.
Writhing in agony at the black-red liquid shoving itself down its throat, nostrils, and eye sockets, my scions lashed into the bear’s body with as much strength as they could, but to no avail. The wounds would begin closing before their attacks could even finish, and from the bear’s torso sprouted several bloody tentacles which wrapped themselves around the dangling left side, pulling it back into place with a wet squelch. The newfound regeneration didn’t, perhaps couldn’t, stop there however. All over the colossus’s body something churned beneath its hide.
Every single muscle in the behemoth’s body squirmed as it doubled, then tripled in size, in some places rupturing the skin as it struggles to contain the roiling mass of flesh. Muscle fibers sprung from the fur like weeds sprouting out of fertile ground, twitching and flailing about looking for something to connect to, until the beast’s entire form was nothing but a bulging mass of undulating flesh vaguely shaped like a bear. From the monstrosities head, the repaired jaw split open far wider than anything still attached to the skull to allow, revealing row after row of sharp fangs growing into place all the way down its throat.
With an unearthly screech, the monstrosity easily tore itself free of the vines and took a swipe at Jackie with its misshapen foreleg. Nobody must have told Deepholm that inflating your musculature so much is a direct reduction in flexibility however, because the blow was slow and cumbersome, allowing Jackie to easily vault backwards out of reach. But Deepholm didn’t need to care about such silly things like flexibility, or the limits of a physical body, as halfway through the swing a series of cracks could be heard as the bear monstrosity’s muscles broke every single bone in its arm, causing it to suddenly stretch out on just the muscles and ligaments, increasing in speed as the limb turned into an impromptu flesh whip tipped with giant claws.
Caught completely by surprise, Jackie could only try to form a hasty shield of roots with her life aether, but the abomination’s claws sundered it with ease, cleaving through her bow, then her arm, and finally raking across her torso. My girl hit the ground, hard, and didn’t get back up. Meanwhile, the twins were still desperately flinging any kind of attack they could think at the bear horror, all to no avail. This affront to nature had such strong regeneration now that nothing in their repertoire could hope to leave any lasting damage.
With thundering steps, the abomination practically oozed up onto my island, all four legs standing firmly upon my territory for the first time. A few steps brought it close enough to brush up against my trunk, and then it sunk its claws deep into the bark and tore a ginormous chunk of wood free. As easily as tearing apart cardboard, Deepholm’s monstrosity began to dig its way deeper and deeper towards my sanctum, and inevitable destruction. From beside my core, a loud snap rang out as the inspector’s white-knuckle grip finally crushed the handle of her kanabo.
“Damn it all, I can’t just sit here at let this happen! I have to–”
Whatever she was about to say was cut off as she took her first step forward, weapon raised with the intent to join the fray. Instantly she was beset by floating swords made of light on all sides, not even given enough time to swear before they all plunged into her body. With a gasp Lydia fell to the floor, covered in wounds. She’d managed to use her ki to shift the trajectory of enough blades away from her vital organs, but she was still grievously wounded and wouldn’t be doing any fighting any time soon.
In what felt like no time at all, the fleshy abomination had reached the final bit of wood separating me from the outside world. With a psychic scream of determination, Leonardo charged forth, combining his life and kinetic affinities to try and brace that final barrier, but his efforts were carelessly brushed aside as the bear’s claws crashed through anyways, collapsing a pile of splinted timber down upon my peaceful crafter. From above and behind, Alexa had joined the twins in trying to drag the enemy scion back, but with barely a sliver of mana left between the three of them, they were little more than flies buzzing uselessly through the air to it.
Fully exposed to the outside world for the first time since my birth into this world, I was now face to face with the monstrosity as it raised its claws for one final strike. But oddly, all the fear and terror that had frozen me still before was utterly absent. I couldn’t even focus on the looming mountain of death in front of me, nor on the panicked shrieks of my scions as they struggled to the last. Rather, my gaze fell upon the prone form of the very first scion I had designated. My strongest defender, and the most earnest girl you would ever meet. With my focus beside her, I could tell that my brave girl was just barely hanging onto life, but she wouldn’t last long at this rate. Every shaky breath was accompanied by a wave of anguish washing over the bond.
Even without a proper physical form, I knelt beside her and gathered her up into one final embrace. I’m so sorry Jackie. The UI might call you guys scions, but truthfully you have all been a family to me, right from the start. I never had one, back in my previous life, so I know I must have messed up so many times, in so many ways. But even still, I had a blast getting to know each and every one of you, wishing for each day to stretch into infinity so I could enjoy our time together forevermore. But I’ve failed you, I’ve failed you all. I’m sorry I couldn’t give you a life full of happier days, and I hope whatever comes in the next life, you can forgive me.
“You’ve been the best daughter I could have ever asked for. I love you.”
Everything hurts. My ears won’t stop ringing, and everything around me is moving in super slow motion. Through blurry eyes, I can see my arm lying just out of reach, still clutching my bow tightly, well, half of it anyways. Further away, I can see the blurry shape of the gross thing from Deepholm tearing its way through Mama’s tree. The twins and Alexa were swooping around behind it, but there was no stopping the beast anymore. Pain throbbed through my chest, my heart heavy as it slowly pumped my blood out onto the ground.
I’d failed, again. Right when it mattered most. Some huntress I’d turned out to be. Sure I was able to handle the regular invaders, but against every enemy that ever posed a serious threat, I’d been beaten every time. When I first lost to Miss Lydia, it hadn’t been so bad. Mama told me to learn from it and grow stronger for next time. I’d been useless too against those water birds on the first day. So I trained, and then I trained and I trained and I trained some more. Till the calluses on my paws were bleeding, I practiced every day.
For some reason Mama didn’t like that though, so she forced me to take breaks pretty regularly after that. At first, it felt like she didn’t have faith that my efforts would help with anything, but that feeling faded pretty quickly. She’d always have a bowl of those red fruits she calls strawberries ready for me by her core. Then when I would get settled in beside her and begin munching on the sweet fruit, she would tell me unbelievable stories about the world she remembers from her past life.
Apparently, her old world had jackalopes too, or at least stories of them. Mama says they supposedly had lightning in their veins they could move so fast. Lightning! The big flashes in the sky that make the air go boom. That stuff! The jackalopes from Mama’s world must be really amazing if they could do that. Nervously, I asked her a bit more about it, feeling rather inadequate by comparison, but she ended up talking too much about how technically lightning is in every living creature, but just really really small amounts of it? And something even more confusing about something called eel-ektons that makes it charge based on if they’re in a good mood or not?
Mama does that a lot, going off on tangents about difficult subjects for a long period of time, but even though I couldn’t understand most of it, it is nice just to sit back and listen to her speak. Eventually, she would always notice her rambling, and swap to asking me questions instead. I felt really proud when she asked me so much about my experience training with ki, and later on aether as well. She’d always thank me for my hard work, and for helping her figure out how things work in this world. It made me happy to think that Mama needed me, and that all my efforts were slowly paying off.
And it really felt like I had been improving too! I’d wrangled all the rowdy brawlers into line, and chased off that group of novices. But then that big flying scion came and knocked me out of the fight before I could even tell it was coming. Kelvin was barely a few days old and he had to handle that nasty bat all on his own! And despite all the work I put into developing my aether, I then lost to Miss Lydia again right after that. It felt like I was stuck in place, running as hard as I could but never getting anywhere with it. I did my best to hide it from Mama since she’s so perceptive, but it really hurt.
And now, even after all the faith and strength Mama poured into me, I’d still managed to let her and everybody else down. They’re all going to die, because of me. I’m not sure which is worse at this point, the pain from my injuries or the pain from my failures washing over me. I watched through bleary eyes as the gross bear tore open the deepest part of the tree, and revealed Mama’s core for all the world to see. It’d been a few weeks since our last break together, so when I saw the soft green glow of Mama’s core, it stirred up a weird mix of relief and regret in my heart. I’d missed that comforting glow, but also the only reason I could see it now is because I’d doomed it to oblivion.
Grief filled me up to the brim, and all I could do is wordlessly apologize over and over again.
To my surprise, however, I could feel her presence nearby, and that comforting warmth brushed aside my apologies to fill our bond with light instead. I don’t get it, why is she here? Why is she focusing on me, when the enemy is literally right in front of her core, staring her down? Why is she wasting her time on me when I can barely even move anymore?! And even if I could, we both know I would just let her down some more. So why, why does it feel like I’m back by her side, listening to her tell stories at length, feeling so comfy and secure?
Go on, go! Leave already and focus on someone else, maybe they have a chance to save you, to fix things. Haven’t I failed you enough? I, I can’t do anything but disappoint you. I…I can’t be like the jackalopes from your stories Mama. I’m not good enough for that. I’m sorry.
Despite shoving my weakness, my numerous defeats and doubts to the front and finally showing Mama everything I’d tried to keep hidden from her through the bond, absolutely nothing changed. If anything, the feeling of closeness only increased and that warm feeling wrapped me up even tighter, never wavering for a moment. For a moment, the ringing in my head subsided, but my eyes must still be playing tricks because I thought I could see a bunch of golden sparkles floating in the air around me, forming the vague outline of a person with her arms wrapped around me. The next words came through confidently and clearly, and finally put a name to the feeling I always felt when Mama’s attention was on me.
“I love you.”
…Why? When I’ve already let you down so many times, when you’re about to die because of me…why spend your last moments on this worthless rabbit who couldn’t save anything? The bond held no answers for me, only that same persistent warmth, refusing to relent for so much as a moment. Over in the tree, the bear monster had raised its claw into the air, readying the final strike that would take Mama away for good. A few tears slipped free from my eyes and dropped down to join the blood at my feet. Belatedly, I realized that at some point I must have stood up, but that doesn’t really matter right now.
In fact, standing there, basking in the feeling of being wrapped up in Mama’s love, it felt like a lot of things didn’t matter. My doubts, my fear of not being good enough, and the pain of being proven right. It all felt like wisps of smoke being carried away on the wind. They scattered against the constant reinforcement pouring out from the bond, powerless before it. She’d seen all of my shortcomings, witnessed every downfall, and yet this was always her response. Yellow sparks crackled through my fur, and larger arcs of energy began to flicker back and forth between the branches of the antlers on my head.
Slowly, all the world began to fall away. The ground beneath my feet, the stench of death hanging upon the wind, even the tree itself, along with the slow-motion bear scion bringing its claws down for the kill. There was just me, and there in the distance, the light of Mama’s core, calling me home like a beacon. Under her light, I remembered the simple truth that Mama has always seen and understood so much more than me, guiding me as best she could and celebrating both my success and failures alongside me. For this moment in time, all those complicated and difficult subjects stopped being important. All those times spent hoping I could measure up to the lofty heights she spoke about seemed a silly waste of time. All I had to do was stop trying to become something else. Maybe, just maybe, I was already everything that Mama could see in me, and I just hadn’t realized it yet.
I crouch down low to the ground, those strange sparks increasing in intensity, coiling inside of me like a power I never knew I had. My ears and paws were starting to char black from all the energy flowing through me, but I didn’t feel a thing. After all, none of that mattered. With a mighty leap, I left the feeling of solid earth behind. Wait for me just a little longer, ok Mama? I’m coming to your side.
Flesh charred into shattered lumps of charcoal.
Bones fragmented and caved under the tremendous forces at play.
Jackie never got to experience the joy where in this, her latest challenge to a race between herself and the sound carried along through the air, the wind finally lost.
Neither did she get to see how, for the first time in its life, the bear scion’s body was lifted fully up off of the ground and flung to the side like gravity had suddenly reversed its direction.
But perhaps..., someday, there would come a time when she’s relaxing with a bowl of those delectable strawberries once more, and she’ll get to listen to Mama’s voice as she regales her with another one of her wild stories. A story where one little rabbit made all the difference in the world, and through her actions did save the day. Now wouldn’t that be nice?
Here it is, the big one! I've had this chapter in mind since before I even started writing this story. In fact, it's what made me say fuck it, I'm gonna try writing it out and see what happens. Sorry again for the long delay on this chapter, I didn't want to split it into anything smaller, so it ended up pretty long. Also, yay! First scion PoV, just like you guys wanted right? xD
I hope you enjoyed reading this part, and I'll see you all again next time for the final conclusion to the Deepholm Arc.
submitted by Calypthea
to HFY [link] [comments]
2023.06.10 03:58 Gnorgis Heyy trannerss!! ! how do i cope with being a yucky hon? 🤔
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i mean yeah sure i can take hrt, learn make up, find a way to dress myself that’ll draw less attention to my less flattering features but none of these things will make me look like a woman. i haven’t deluded myself into thinking i’m some giga neanderthal blimblarhon but i still have no chance to look like something resembling a woman. I’ll be a twinkhon at best and i don’t care how many times you’ll spout shit like “ethereal twinkhon beauty”. i don’t want any of that okay. all i want is to be a regular ass girl but i will never ever have that. I was aware of these feelings when i was like 16. I could have definitely done something like starting to look into DIY back then. But i didn't, i chose to wait and let my body further masculinize. It’s funny, i never did anything back then because i didn’t look like as much of an ugly man yet but that should have been my motivator. i needed to do something before it was too late. and now it is too late and i’ll just have to cope with my stupid fucking man face somehow. I despise seeing myself like this. i care far too much about my appearance, it’s way past a healthy point i think. i put my value on how much i feel like i’ll be able to pass, which is something that will only end in disappointment. submitted by Gnorgis to 4trancirclejerk [link] [comments]
But as a kid, I never really cared about my outward appearance at all, I had always been indifferent. And that was a character trait I always took great pride in. Getting all worked up over your looks was something I just didn’t understand. And to this very day I still don’t get it tbh. It just all feels so pointless. Like what’s really the point in transitioning. I mean sure I hate my body and would like to look more feminine same with the way people perceive me. But at the end of the day all of it just feels so trivial. They’re all just superficial problems that shouldn’t matter, but to me they’re the most impotrant thing in the world, to the point I'd even want to kill myself over them. Always when people try to support trans people they frame transition as this necessity. Cis people deal with body image issues all the time and get cosmetic surgery to deal with that yet that is never treated with that same weight. It is never seen as an actual necessity, just cosmetics. Am I really all that different? Is my desire to pass as female really all that different from a short guy wanting to be taller? And if they’re not, am I just overreacting? Would I be able to just suck it up and end these feelings? I know it is generally seen as bad and inhumane but something like trans conversion therapy seems genuenty tempting if it would work. Not because I think being trans is inherently bad but more because it would be a huge weight off my shoulders. I could just be a man and be over with all of this bullshit. no surgeries, no hormones. A change in style maybe and that would be it. Why can’t it be just be that? But no, that’s not enough. I can’t settle for that. Even though I know any more than that would probably not work out well for me. I can’t help myself. That desire won’t go away. I don’t just want to be a feminine man. No, I want to be a woman like some fucking dumbass.
Why do I like it when people call me she. I don’t know, it just makes me happy and I feel stupid for making it let me feel that way. Pronouns are just some stupid words you use to refer to people. The fact that mine are different should have no negative effect on me. They say nothing about my value as a human. He is not like some insult but sometimes it still feels like one. When seeing it through a lens of self identification words like “man” and “woman” have nearly zero meaning. What makes you a man? you say you are one so you are one. Is that actually any better than using them as a substitute for biological sex? I guess it makes people feel better about themselves and that’s good but why is that? It’s literally just some meaningless words you prescribe to yourself cause you felt like it.
But even when I’m not worrying about pointless semantics I still don’t think I can ever actually be a girl, no matter what I try. i feel incredibly cringe using this word unironically but i am legit so fucking "malebrained". Such a large portion of my life I have lived as a guy. All these experiences have slowly shaped my personality. This is something that can never be changed. I can’t change my personality and memories, this is simply who I am. And I am a man, through and through. This is how I was raised to be. Sure, I want to be a “real” woman, I’d love that even. But I don’t think that's ever going to happen. Because that “girl” I want to transition to doesn’t exist. The way I speak, the way I act. It’s all so painfully mannish and I hate it. No matter what I do, my social presence will forever remain male. And that feeling just sucks. I am a man and it hurts, I hate my body, i hate my voice, I hate the way i act, I hate it all. But at least I can mitigate the pain a little by daydreaming of a future where everything will be better. A future where I'm the girl I always wanted to be and I'll finally be happy with myself. But that also never really lasts. Then those looming fears start slowly creeping in. What if, despite all the hormones and surgeries, I'll still look in the mirror and see a man staring back at me. Will it have all been for nothing? Every day I will be reminded of what I'll never be. I'll be reminded that I did try to make my dream real and that I failed. And that delusion of a future where everything will turn out alright will be lost. At least right now it’s still somewhat ambiguous if I will pass or not. Like yeah I have gotten a lot manlier if you compare me to how i used to look but I’m still pretty short I feel and I still have some more soft features than other guys my age. Maybe I'll pass flawlessly and even be fetishized by some lovely chasers. Maybe I'll pass as a woman but I'll just be an ugly bitch.
But deep down I’ll always know that that’s just wishful thinking. That protruding brow ridge, My deep voice, my midface, the fact that i'm built like a rectangle and lets not forget my actual personality. I’ll never pass with all of that holding me back. Sure I won't be a gorillahon or anything but I'll still just look uncanny and gross. And I don't really know what to do about this. At least I can still cling to that sliver of hope that I won't look like a total disaster. But the fact that I rely on that hope to keep me from completely breaking down also scares me. I don't want to lose that hope. I can find comfort in imagining everything will just turn out alright. But if I lose that. How will I cope with that? A world where I’ll always look like a man sounds like actual hell and such a reality isn’t even so far fetched. And then I'm reminded of what all of this is essentially about. All this melodramatic whining and self pity just because I don't look a certain way. It's pathetic.
2023.06.10 03:57 BelleHades I was about to breathe my worldbuilding project's magic system into our IRL universe when it was cruelly interrupted by the symbol of everything I hate about my life
My recollection of the dream starts at some party, where I enter a bathroom occupied by a dozen guys, and as soon as a girl walks in, they all start sitting on the long counter. They start telling me she's a bad influence because she's a cheater. I didnt mind that so I left the party to get something I thought would help me with her, and ended up on the east coast of Florida, and there's a highway going down all along the coast, ending at a deity's sanctum on the southern tip. The highway to the sanctum is a recurring location in my dreams; the deity is usually a Goddess, sometimes a nature Goddess, sometimes Death herself. I went to the beach next to the highway and found a clear crystal, and I immediately wanted to do some magic, so I headed down to the sanctum. My mom happened to be in the area, so I met with her and told her about the sanctum, since Mom is a witch and I thought she would like it, so we headed down.
For some reason, the highway went through some large rooms hosting a fancy rich people event and dinner, so we went through there discreetly. I ended up disrupting it when I saw to my right a door that I thought also held a dimensional portal and tried to go through the portal, only find out it had been removed during the renovation for the party, and replaced with a garbage chute. I dropped the clear crystal I found into it and tried to retrieve it, but it was in wet sewage so I gave up, and exited back onto the highway to resume the trip to the Sanctum.
In this dream it was the nature goddess' abode, but it was also being visited by other people as if the dream was an online MMO. It was there that mom took it over and revealed she had been cheating on Dad and tried to kill me once I confronted her. When trying to get her to realize common sense turned futile, I evacuated and headed back up the highway heading north at first, but I split to the west following a boarded trail to find another dimensional portal. Eventually the terrain dropped and I realize I'm holding a leash to a small dog, so we ran down the board bridge, but hit a dead end when we saw it had been partially collapsed. We tried to balance on it but the dog fell into the water below and I went in after it to take it to safety. Mom was still looking for me so I teleported out west. (The fate of the dog is unknown). I ended up in another recurring dream location in Wyoming, where a highway turns south in a mountain town to head to Denver. The place was triggering me due to memories of visits in past dreams, and I saw no dimensional portals, but I knew there was one in Los Angeles, so I teleported there.
I ended up in a house somewhere, and there was a door to a basement. Opening it revealed a stairway down to a corridor with spiders and spider webs. The dimensional portal was at the end of it, in front of another door. I realize a couple guys are with me, and when I get to the bottom of the stairs, I see the spiders and realize my shorts were down, so I pulled them back up before a spider could crawl up there. We go through the portal into another universe and open the door, which leads to a furnace room and some stairs headind down. One set going to the right, with 5 steps, and then to the left some split level stairs. We followed them and the next door opened into an office room. A living skeleton was in the left corner on the other end of the room, with a few more guys, next to an archway leading to an arcade room. The living skeleton turned out to be a woman wearing a magic necro mask. It tended to corrupt the wearer with promises of power, so it couldn't be worn for long. Before the girl took it off, she breathed a dark flag into existence for keepsakes. Once she took it off, she reverted to her normal human self. I wanted to wear it next because I wanted to create something for myself.
I put it on, and I transformed into a necroid. At first I wanted to create a "plutonium fusion bomb," a magically enchanted thermonuclear device from my sci fi world building project that can create a star. Then I couldn't truly decide on what I wanted to do, and the people around me kept telling me I needed to take it off soon or it would permanently bind to me and corrupt me. I also kept trying to get comfortable with the gloves the mask made for me. At one point I considered dabbling in necromancy (what the mask was originally meant for by its unknown creators). At last I thought of something I really wanted to do: Come to the IRL universe and breathe a real magic system into our universe. The guys around me immediately disagreed, saying that it would be taken advantage of by the wrong people. I immediately began running out the office/arcade to head back up the stairs to the dimensional portal back to our universe, to breathe my sci fi universe's magic system into our universe, and the people started running after me to rip the mask off my head. I held my hand on my head to prevent them from taking it off, and I had just almost made it to the door when they succeeded.
I screamed "Damn you fcking dream characters!" I mouthed it in real life but it didnt wake me up. I ran after them and jumped over the ledge over the bottom stairs, catching them by surprise and I wrestled the mask away and put it back on. As I ran back up the split level stairs, I decided I had enough of these guys so I breathed a living skeletal marine with an AR-15 to gun down the other people so I could make it back to the IRL universe with the mask to give it the magic system I always wanted. The skeletal marine had fired several rounds and I was about to breathe a second one into existence when my phone began ringing and woke me up.
I am hard of hearing, but had to leave it on cuz I was expecting a call from my life coach but he never came. Instead the call was from my mentally disabled baby brother, a figure in my life who seems to represent everything I hate about my life. Because reasons. I rejected the call, took off my hearing aid, and tried to go back to sleep. But I was too infuriated by the turn of events to fall back asleep so now I'm posting here, mainly to vent.
Naturally it wouldnt have made our IRL universe magical IRL, but that would have been a great feeling/placebo to wake up to. But this turn of events only serves to reinforce my utter hopelessness ive developed lately. Which is funny, i guess, since feeling hopeless about reality and how shitty all my dreams have become the past few decades was on my mind when I fell asleep.
While succeeding in my crusade in my dream may have waken me up feeling hope and feeling good about it, I have been thinking lately that hope only serves to prolong suffering. Like that one scene from that one movie, where the guy says "Dont do that. Dont give me hope."
Sorry for rambling lol
submitted by BelleHades
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2023.06.10 03:33 Sufficient_Suspect81 FFXIV's Dark Knight for DnD 5E
Hello Reddit! My name is Celvira (I don't post terribly often and haven't bothered to try and change my default username), and I am here today to present my conversion of FFXIV's Dark Knight (with 3 subclasses) to DnD 5E for those interested in trying out a new version of SilentSoren's take on the job. Speaking of SilentSoren, this edit couldn't have been possible without them, as I liberally borrow elements (sometimes word for word!) of their hard work, so hand your player commedations to them instead of me. Link below! https://www.gmbinder.com/share/-NVVewO2clZpEO5Sxi1u
Disclaimer - My DnD group is wrapping up a campaign at the moment, and I haven't gotten around to properly playtesting this class. I tried my best to make the job fun, engaging and balanced, but it is entirely possible that I may have missed the mark in some areas, so please let me know of any outstanding outliers!
My original intent for Dark Knight was a hybrid-spellcaster that functions more or less as an offensive 5E Paladin. Meaning, intead of bolstering ally's with aura effects and direct healing, my take on Dark Knight utilizes self-sustain and Temp HP abilities to aggressively hold the frontline in combat and shield their allies with barriers. Additionally, even if FFXIV's Dark Knight doesn't utilize the concept outside of pvp, I wanted to include the theme of HP-sacrifice to fuel certain abilities, which is inspired by traditional Dark Knight gameplay. Several abilities will require the Dark Knight to expend hit points or hit dice, which hopefully gives it a nice risk/reward playstyle without feeling like a liability. And lastly, I used the One DnD Paladin as a reference for this homebrew. I know most classes have gaps in their class table, but I appreciated that One DnD is allowing more classes to have features or ASI's at every level, which makes progression feel much more sastisfying.
If anyone is curious about why I made certain changes to SilentSoren's work (which can be viewed here - https://www.gmbinder.com/share/-LsDqsNbupzeLhkTIcPv
), I've listed a few of my reasonings and thought processes below. So without any further delay, let's begin! Class Features Dark Arts.
This feature is likely the one to cause the most headaches from a balancing standpoint. Similar to SilentSoren's Well of Darkness
feature, my Dark Knight uses a point system to activate not just abilities, but spells. This change means Dark Knight doesn't rely on spell slots to cast spells, but rather the spending of Dark Arts points (1 point equals a 1st level spell, 2 points for a 2nd level spell, and so on). This could, at higher levels, potentially be used to cast a decent amount of 5th level spells, but I tried to take steps in mitigating this by limiting how many Dark Arts points my Dark Knight can have at once (SilentSoren's DRK has 20 points at max level, my DRK has only 10 at max level).
Also, my version of Dark Knight can, with the exception of 1 of the subclasses, only cast spells at their lowest level. This was a second measure to avoid Dark Knight abusing their lack of spell slots to frequently cast higher level spells. Darkside.
I took SilentSoren's concept, but twisted into Dark Knight's version of the Barbarians Rage
feature. Being able to leech hit points from enemies is Dark Knight's primary means of survival at lower levels, which isn't as powerful as resistance to physical damage that Barabarians get from their Rage. Due to this, I felt Darkside having a flat 1 min duration felt right from a balancing standpoint. Being able to crit on 19-20 was less for damage purposes (though it definitely helps!), but to give Dark Knight a higher chance to trigger more healing from their attacks. Blood Price.
This is my equivalent to SilentSoren's Burning Blood feature. Honestly, mine is inferior in every way, even without factoring in the hit point loss mechanic. Burning Blood is an insanely
powerful ability, especially since it requires only a mere bonus action to activate. However, I felt it was too strong, and allows SilentSoren's Dark Knight to aggressively and carelessly throw out spells/spell-likes with little sacrifice from the player. I believe Blood Price is more balanced overall, even if it sees little play at early levels. Stalwart Soul.
Ribbon feature similar to Paladins Divine Health feature. Being immune to fear effects is nice, but certainly nothing terribly special. Oblation.
A copy of SilentSoren's The Blackest Night feature. I felt Dark Knight having to wait until level 7 to get a support ability was a bit too long of a wait, so I reduced it to level 5. Additionally, I changed it from a bonus action to a reaction to allow more flexibility in its use, and due to my Dark Knight having significantly less Dark Arts/Well of Darkness points to draw from, which I felt was enough to justify the alteration. Shadowskin.
Mostly a thematic addition, as plenty of races have Darkvision and a feature granting resistance to a damage type isn't as uncommon as you might initially think. Just a cool way to give Dark Knight some iconic, edgy flavor. Reprisal.
Another potential balance concern due altering the action economy by allowing more reaction attacks. Thematically, Dark Knight was introduced as the parry tank, and gave the job bonuses to parrying attacks. For those who weren't around during Heavensward, the role ability Reprisal was a Dark Knight exclusive oGCD that could only be used immediately after parrying an attack. I loved this concept for Dark Knight, and absolutely wanted to include it for my edition of the job.
Mechanically, this was my answer to SilentSoren's Dirty Fighter feature. However, depending on your DM, Attacks of Opportunity could be very, very, rare to see, as some DM's like to "dance" around players with their monsters to specifically avoid triggering them. To get more mileage, I changed the triggering condition from an AoO to a missed hit, and reduced the stun condition from a failed to prone. Since you could stack damage to guarantee a stun using SilentSoren's feature, you could potentially gimmick a DM's encounter, so I felt prone was more fair overall. Please let me know if this skews the action economy too much! Blackblood.
Bloodspiller is basically my answer to Paladins Divine Smite feature, and leans heavily into the HP sacrifice theme Dark Knight is known for. I was hesitant to add this at first, but I felt it was simply to thematic not to add. Initially, I toyed with a 1d10 damage bonus, but felt expending a resource and 10 hit points to potentially roll a 1, on top of disadvantage on attacks directed at you, could lead to very frustrating moments. At the end of the day, I felt a flat 10 bonus to melee weapon damage was fair considering the resource/defensive costs required to activate. Basically, Paladins can nova better than Dark Knight with their smites (especially since you can choose to expend it on a crit), but Dark Knight can achieve higher sustained damage using Blackblood.
Quietus is more or less a direct copy of Ranger's Whirlwind Attack, which can be buffed at the cost of additional HP.
The Blackest Night is an upgraded Oblation that borrows concepts from the Shadow of Moil
spell. Due to its spell-like nature, it requires Concentration to maintain, and will realistically have a maximum duration of 3-5 rounds, which I felt didn't devalue Shadow of Moil terribly much. Also, the damage against enemies (again, borrowed from Moil) was more or less a way to include the "Dark Arts" feature from FFXIV without getting overly complicated. Mired Empathy.
Borrowed from one of SilentSoren's earlier Dark Knight drafts. Essentially a ribbon feature, its there to give some flavorful, edgy out of combat utility. Dark Mind.
The same of SilentSoren's version, but with the ability to remove the charmed condition with a resource. Unexciting, but strong. Improved Shadowskin.
To be honest, I'm still struggling with this one. I wanted a thematic way to represent your Dark Knight being affected by the darkness they wield, which has warped and twisted their body in some way. After all, utilizing darkness should
have some repercussions. But being a high-level feature, it has some potent positives (inspired by the undead) to offset a small, negative penalty.
Poison immunity isn't terribly special, the Con ASI was borrowed from Barbarian, and the hit point recovery was inspired by the regeneration feature of several undead creatures. Salted Earth.
Another earlier concept of SilentSoren that could be removed with little impact if it proves too troublesome. Circle of Death is a 6th level spell with a huge radius, but its damage isn't terribly impressive, so I felt giving Dark Knight essentially a free blast spell once per rest would lean into its offensive, unholy nature vs the Paladins beneficent Aura Improvements at level 18. Living Dead.
Again, borrowed from an earlier SilentSoren draft for Dark Knight. A level 20 feature should feel powerful, and I feel both my and SilentSoren's abilities are potent in their own way. Mine lasts longer with a higher upfront resource cost, but can only be utilizied once per rest. SilentSoren's can be used to nearly indefinitely avoid death, though requires an upkeep of resources. I think SilentSoren's Living Dead is ultimately the stronger of the two, but I felt it was a tad too dominant considering how many Well of Darkness points their Dark Knight can draw from. Also, I believe my Living Dead is a bit more accurate to the FFXIV version, as its a powerful, long CD invuln that you can rely on to avoid death, but only sparingly - I don't believe it should be a feature that can be spammed so easily, but I digress.
Phew, that took a bit longer than I thought it would! I just wanted to present my reasonings for my changes, additions, and alterations I made to the Dark Knight job, and I certainly don't want my version to replace the existing one. This was purely a passion project, as I deeply love Dark Knight as a class - its lore, questline, and gameplay mesh so well with my interests, that I immediately fell in love all its spiky, edgy goodness. I even have a Dark Knight tattoo IRL to showcase my obsessive fanaticism.
For my parting words, I hope I crafted a well-balanced class, did the job justice, and made SilentSoren proud of my shameless copying/borrowing. Please feel free to use this in your games if you wish, and don't be afraid to share feedback, both good and bad! Subclass Features
Coming soon, maybe? If there is interest, I'll explain my thought and inspirations, but I don't believe it is necessary at the current moment. xp
submitted by Sufficient_Suspect81
to UnearthedArcana [link] [comments]