Diana jean lovejoy sentence

[Thank You] Whatdoya call south TX in a heatwave? Corpus Crispy. Which runs faster, hot or cold? Hot - easy to catch a cold. What do the sun & bread have in common? Both rise in the yeast. When it's hot, it's best to wear 2 different deodorants – one under each armpit. But that’s just our 2 scents.

2023.06.10 03:29 queenofthescreen [Thank You] Whatdoya call south TX in a heatwave? Corpus Crispy. Which runs faster, hot or cold? Hot - easy to catch a cold. What do the sun & bread have in common? Both rise in the yeast. When it's hot, it's best to wear 2 different deodorants – one under each armpit. But that’s just our 2 scents.

Sweeties from sweeties:
PART 1 There's a word limit? LOL!!!!
u/_pickupthepieces x 8 Thank you so much for sending me the artsy cool card from the Buffalo art shop with the hip NY vibes - it’s sooooo NY & so you, my cool NY pal! It’s that cool card that I should prominently display somewhere (on my chest?!?) when I have a need to look & be cool hahaha! I also love the colorful stickers you sent! Most of all, thank you for indulging me & my wacky whims & addressing the envelope to “SUGAR” OMG OMG OMG I was giddy with joy that you did that!!!! I can’t even tell you how big the smile on my face was when I opened the mail box to see a card addressed to “SUGAR” in the fanciest, prettiest pink calligraphy!!!! In huge font!!! I have no idea why you sending a card all the way from NY addressed to “Sugar” made me feel so warm & fuzzy & naughty & like I had a super cool secret (wait - maybe a secret desire to be a sexy, sassy stripper?!? I dunno) but it sure did, sweetcakes! I actually turned around to see if any strangers were looking at me and the dopey smile on my face. To top it all off, you affixed…WHAT?!?!?! A Strawberry Shortcake sticker?!?!? She was my best friend growing up!!!!! I was so happy!!!! Thank you! Thank you for making me smile like a fruitcake. I’m so gonna laminate this envelope!!! Thank you also for the super pretty floral/3 animal/3 belated holiday cards you sent (which I can’t describe in detail/photograph right now because I don’t have them with me). They brought me so much joy! And thank you also for the generous assortment of card goodies to pass on!! Hahaha I hope I don’t accidentally send one back to you!! The Hilary Clinton card - hilarious & awesome. I can’t wait to meet Hilary’s greatest fan on this sub to send her on! Wishing you a sweet spring in NY!
u/notinmywheelhouse Thank you for the pretty plaid 1965 Marimekko postcard! Plaid is so timeless. And to answer your question about the reference to royalty in my street address, I was honestly embarrassed that I never before thought about the origin of his name! You taught me a valuable lesson - I’m not inquisitive enough hahaha! That’s so very important. I’m really grateful you inspired me to pause & wonder about the little things in life. As I researched your question, the only thing I could conclude is that the Google search engine is both heaven & hell. Because there are a billion hits & your question will require further research hahaha! As a southerner, I was so envious that you wrote to me from a state with such gorgeous weather! It was so cute the way you bragged about the weather hahaha! But I’m happy for you, friend. Although it also saddens me that you will never feel the beauty & magic of living in a state that gets so hot, the mascara melts & runs off your face. And then you run errands all day long without looking into a mirror - and not one stranger bats a melting-mascara-free eyelash to tell you that you look like an uglier, scarier, more demented version of that creepy clown from Stephen King’s It. Wishing you the breeziest, most beautiful weather today & always!
u/AlfredTheButt-ler Thank you so much for the fun Bandera Natural History Museum postcard featuring the neat-o dinosaur fossils exhibit! It so appeals to the nerd in me! I was super excited to learn 2 new factoids: 1) that the triceratops on the card “was an actual prop in the movie Night at the Museum” (I’m nuts for film facts!!!!) 2) that Bandera, Texas is known as “The Cowboy Capital of the World”. Just the word “Bandera” emits cool cowboy vibes!! Thank you so much for thinking of me. Hope you have an adventurous summer! BTW I sent you a card but I have no idea why it was returned to me as undeliverable. As soon as I’m able to catch up with thank yous, I’ll message you to confirm your address. Thanks again!! =)
u/Pumpkin-Spice-Witch How cuuuute are you if this Easter bunny card is this crazy cute?!? Thank you! The smiling flowers & easter eggs brightened my day so much! Loved your pun with the wish that my “day is eggs-xtra special and sweet”, the creative way in which you affixed the glittery butterfly embellishment (what a neat card-crafting tip to jazz up a card!!!), & the sweet stickers! Happy summer to you!!!
u/RoxanneBarton Thank you for the London Tower Bridge postcard that had me jonesing for tea & scones! I dig your affinity for the city’s “art, history, food scene, & overall cultural vibe”!! You so nicely articulated my own views of London!!! My maternal uncle lives there so when I was a kid, I took my first international trip there so it holds a special place in my heart. It was then that I fell in love with Tesco mild cheddar cheese, all things tea/royalty, & the cartoon “Postman Pat” - OMG now that I’m obsessed with snail mail through RAoC, I’m so excited at the thought of checking out the show as an adult!!! I hope you had a wonderful time & that you have lots of new adventures coming your way!
u/MaeveTheBrave x 4 Thank you for the most darling, delicious, delicate ice cream cone cut-out birthday card!!!! It’s soooooo very precious!!! You were so very generous with your envelope of fun - you made my birthday so festive & fabulous! Love it all - the coloring card, cute little memo sheets/stickers, scrapbooking ephemera, & all your warm wishes! You sent me an absolute surprise party in the mail & it lifted my spirits so much! Thank you for making my day so special. Thank you for the surprise “Cheerup Sleepy Jean” postcard. Loved hearing about your volunteer work with the Vermont City Marathon - I love that you perform community service! I’m also excited that you’re aspiring to run in the marathon - I dream of being at your level someday! Wow! Wishing you lots of endorphins as you run! Thank you for the Blue Neptune postcard & inspiring me with your work in astrophotography - this is so cool & so wow! I had never even heard of “astrophotography” before - you are reminding me to admire the skies & all the glory beyond what I can see. Wishing you lots of luck & joy as you work with post-processing software & continue to capture celestial charm!
u/postaltherapy x 3 Thank you for being THIS amazingly adorable. How many times a day are you told that you are sooooo adorable?!? I just wanna pinch your cheeks, you heartbreakingly adorable cutie!!!! With one glimpse of your cuuuute handwriting on the daisy card, without even having read a word, I instantly caught a glimpse of your heart. THANK YOU! And then when I read your “note of thanks”, I was in awe of how you thanked me - so very sincerely- for being a part of RAoC & for sending happy mail to others even though I haven’t even sent you anything yet hahaha! That is just adorable. YOU are adorable. I so appreciated your kind flair congrats, the extra special mini congrats cards, & the love with which you sent it all. Obsessed with the bright, beautiful pineapple washi tape you used to decorate the envelope!!!! Wishing you so much postal paradise, my sweet friend!
u/terrabranfordstrife Thank you for the super sweet handmade Easter card featuring the sleepy bunny and…the super creative easter egg charm embellishment that you tied to the card!!!! So so cool & creative - I love learning ways to elevate the card game so thank you for teaching me! I’ve purchased charms in the past (on sale at craft stores) not knowing what I would do with them but you gave me such a fun tip! The other sleepy bunny on the back is just adorable with his sweet smile. Loved your bright yellow washi tape & the pretty pink ink you used to send me your kind wishes! Hope you have a wonderful summer!
u/TheGeekAndTheBeast THANK you so much for all the hearty hugs, positivity, & love you sent with your comforting card & warm sentiments. You really helped ease emotional issues with your kindness, compassion, & assurance that “it is okay to feel lost & overwhelmed”. That is such a zen thought, my friend. I’m inspired by your willingness to just embrace life as it is, no matter the state of being. Thank you also for the cute space bookmark, mini memo coloring sheet (I loooove to color!!!) & fun book-themed stickers that so appeal to the book-nerd in me! Wishing you all the serenity & love you sent my way!
u/DianaPenPal x 2 Thank you so much for the super elegant birthday card!!!! I LOVE the 3-D chocolate cake slice embellishment with the tiny fork sticking out of it…soooo incredibly indulgent!!!! The mini birthday party hat/b-day sign embellishments inside are sooo cute too. And your beautiful creative writing using the word “birthday” to inspire me was such a treat:
Be the best you can be Imagine what you can do Remember who you are There’s nobody like you Honor your past Dwell on your heart All you need is love Your birthday is a great place to start
So much hope & love in your words - they mean so much to me, thank you!!!! The mini mail-themed envelope of stickers & memos is adorable too, thank you! Thank you so much for the surprise flair congrats card with the bright sticker goodies (love the pink bus sticker - pink anything makes me smile)! It was so kind of you to think of me - the pleasure of meeting you has been mine! Thank you for your constant generosity to us all - you amaze me with your sweet, unending offers! Wishing you a sweet & sunny summer!
submitted by queenofthescreen to RandomActsofCards [link] [comments]

2023.06.09 18:49 CP4-Throwaway REVISED: Reasons why _ borns are definitely Generation _ By Life Stages: Analysis (Series #1: Reasons why 1968 borns are definitely Generation X)

REVISED: Reasons why _ borns are definitely Generation _ By Life Stages: Analysis (Series #1: Reasons why 1968 borns are definitely Generation X)
Here's the original: https://www.reddit.com/generationology/comments/n6jh3n/reasons_why_borns_are_definitely_generation_by/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=ios_app&utm_name=iossmf

Reasons why 1968 borns are definitely Generation X

Life stages (these are not objective life stages but just what's going to be used for this analysis):
0-4 = Unconscious child
4-10 = Conscious child
10-18 = Adolescent (child by legality)
18-34 = Young adult
34-50 = Average adult
50-65 = Middle-aged adult
65+ = Old adult/elderly (not needed since this cohort will not reach that stage until 2033)

Life Stage #1: Unconscious child = c. 1968-1972

They were born years after the demographic baby boom, during the countercultural era of 1968, the biggest year in a long time. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated, there was a civil unrest, and Ronald Milhouse Nixon was elected as the 37th president of the United States. Their unconscious childhood years were in the late '60s and early '70s, during the peak of the countercultural movement with events like the civil unrest, Woodstock '69, Apollo 11, Kent State shooting, the draft being abolished, Title IX, and finally Watergate, which was around the time they started becoming conscious. They were probably theoffspring of a hippie as well. Baby Boomers were typically the hippies themselves rather than the babies of hippies. Generation X were the babies of hippies.
Age 0 - 1968/1969
Age 1 - 1969/1970
Age 2 - 1970/1971
Age 3 - 1971/1972
Age 4 - 1972
Life stage #2: Conscious child = c. 1972-1978

They were a conscious child throughout the 1970's, both numerical and cultural. Their first memory might have occurred around the time of Watergate, give or take. They were children during a time when television and entertainment was barely focused on the children and protecting them but predominantly adult-centered. They still had some great cartoons in their own right and some were educational, but IMHO, it was the dark ages for kid culture. They experienced a lot of events during that time, whether they remember it or not, during their elementary school years. Events such as the Vietnam War ending, Title IX, the Roe v. Wade case, the deaths of Bruce Lee and Elvis Presley, Nixon's resignation, the oil crisis, 1976 election, NYC power outage of summer '77, the launches of Apple and Atari 2600, as well as the birth of many popular movie/TV series we know today like Jaws, Saturday Night Live, Star Wars, and many others. Baby Boomers were barely children in the 1970's so experiencing most/all of these milestones as a child sounds exclusively Generation X.
Age 4 - 1972/1973
Age 5 - 1973/1974
Age 6 - 1974/1975
Age 7 - 1975/1976
Age 8 - 1976/1977
Age 9 - 1977/1978
Age 10 - 1978
Life stage #3: Adolescent = c. 1978-1986

Their adolescence started at the peak of disco and New Wave was rising up as well as during the Jonestown massacre which killed roughly 900 people. This was probably the first historic event that they watched on television where they understood the impact of what was going on unlike the previous events. Same with the death of Harvey Milk. The Walkman was also introduced during their adolescence. Other events happened during their adolescence such as the election of Margaret Thatcher who would be Prime Minister of Great Britain for the entirety of the 1980's (1979-1990), the trail/sentence of Ted Bundy, Iran hostage crisis, disappearance of many kids (which would influence the national and social change of America in later years), the 1980 election and Reagan election, early 80's recession, the video game crash of 1983 and the release of the NES, the reelection of Reagan, the debut of WrestleMania, and finally the Challenger explosion and Chernobyl, which occurred by their senior year of high school in 1986. They were heavily influenced by the emergence of hip-hop in the late '70s-early '80s and were adolescents during its earlier underground EMC stage. Their adolescence was defined by the first wave of MTV in the '80s (when MTV was actually good) as well as being the perfect age for many "coming of age" films (mostly from John Hughes) such as Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Sixteen Candles, the Breakfast Club, Ferris Beuler's Day Off, Pretty in Pink, and many others that came out during the early-mid '80s. Their adolescence was heavily defined by the Reagan administration (although their early adolescence was when Carter was still in office, Reagan had a dominant effect on them). New Wave, hip hop, glam metal, heavy metal, pop music, and many other genres defined their adolescence. They had the best of Michael Jackson as well. This is pretty stereotypically Gen X.
Age 10 - 1978/1979
Age 11 - 1979/1980
Age 12 - 1980/1981
Age 13 - 1981/1982
Age 14 - 1982/1983
Age 15 - 1983/1984
Age 16 - 1984/1985
Age 17 - 1985/1986
Age 18 - 1986
Life stage #4: Young adulthood = c. 1986-2002

Their young adulthood had a huge change, spanning from the mid '80s to the early '00s. In their 18-24 young adult years, they were at the forefront of the "classic" Golden Age of Hip Hop (c. 1986-1992) which included the likes of NWA, Eric B and Rakim (a 1968 cohort), LL Cool J (another 1968 cohort), and many other legendary artists/rap groups that changed the rap industry forever. Besides that, they were also young adults during gangsta rap (the '90s version of the Golden Age of Hip Hop), hair metal, grunge, post-grunge, R&B, boy bands, teen pop, bubblegum pop, Nu Metal, minivan rock, electrodance, pop punk, and many other genres of music. They would be within the core age group for F.R.I.E.N.D.S., at least by experience (the cast members and characters were a bunch of young adults in their mid-late 20's and early 30's going through life together). They witnessed a lot of great comedies in their young adult years during the '90s. Aside from that, they were hit hard by not only the 1987 stock market crash as college students but also the early '90s recession as college graduates and found it hard to obtain a job, thus older people called them "slackers". They witnessed many historical events during their young adulthood such as the Fall of the Berlin Wall and the USSR collapse, ending the Cold War, the Rodney King beatings/LA riots, 1992 election, WTC bombing, OKC bombing (caused by a fellow 1968 cohort, Timothy McVeigh), the deaths of Kurt Cobain, 2Pac, Biggie Smalls, and Princess Diana, the OJ Simpson trial case, the Columbine shooting, the Y2K scare, the Dot Com bubble burst, the 2000 election, the turn of the millennium, and finally 9/11. They were starting to have families in the '90s as well, since most of their kids would be born within roughly 1995 and 2005, give or take. They were probably affected by the Dot Com Bubble burst as early 30-somethings as well. The 9/11 attacks were basically the last major event of their young adulthood. Boomers were already in their average adulthood by that point, and the oldest were already hitting midlife. Generation X were young adults.
Age 18 - 1986/1987
Age 19 - 1987/1988
Age 20 - 1988/1989
Age 21 - 1989/1990
Age 22 - 1990/1991
Age 23 - 1991/1992
Age 24 - 1992/1993
Age 25 - 1993/1994
Age 26 - 1994/1995
Age 27 - 1995/1996
Age 28 - 1996/1997
Age 29 - 1997/1998
Age 30 - 1998/1999
Age 31 - 1999/2000
Age 32 - 2000/2001
Age 33 - 2001/2002
Age 34 - 2002
Life stage #5: Average adulthood = c. 2002-2018

Their regular adult years (mid 30s to 40s) began shortly after 9/11. Their core prominence on pop culture was behind them since they already left a huge mark, but now they are starting to drive and control what is the pop culture of our era. Their generation started to become the main adult generation by the 2000s and 2010s (the 2020s as well). Most of the people their ages should definitely be starting and raising families by now if they haven't already. They were impacted by huge events such as the establishment of Homeland security, the Iraq War, the rise of social media, Hurricane Katrina, the advent and rise of smartphones, the Great Recession (when they were pushing 40), the 2008 election, Occupy Wall Street, multiple school shootings (that made them fear and worry about if their own kids will face that in school eventually), multiple movements (SJW, BLM, Women's), and the 2016 election. They would turn 50, ending their average adulthood, by 2018, in the midst of the Trump administration. Most Boomers were hitting middle-age. Generation X were the average adults back then.
Age 34 - 2002/2003
Age 35 - 2003/2004
Age 36 - 2004/2005
Age 37 - 2005/2006
Age 38 - 2006/2007
Age 39 - 2007/2008
Age 40 - 2008/2009
Age 41 - 2009/2010
Age 42 - 2010/2011
Age 43 - 2011/2012
Age 44 - 2012/2013
Age 45 - 2013/2014
Age 46 - 2014/2015
Age 47 - 2015/2016
Age 48 - 2016/2017
Age 49 - 2017/2018
Age 50 - 2018
Life stage #6: Middle adulthood = c. 2018-present

They are currently in their middle adulthood since they are over the age of 50. They are most likely going through their mid-life crises right now. Most of their children are either grown or are not too far from adulthood in the next few years. The biggest events they witnessed were the attacks of many churches, the climate strikes, the Trump impeachment (both), the 2020 election, the Capitol Building riots, and most importantly, the COVID-19 pandemic. Boomers are hitting elderly now, while Gen X are hitting their mid-life crises.
Age 50 - 2018/2019
Age 51 - 2019/2020
Age 52 - 2020/2021 (currently)
Age 53 - 2021 (currently)
Good representations of the 1968 cohort:
Hugh Jackman
Will Smith
Owen Wilson
The late Gary Coleman
Tracy Morgan
Terry Crews
Rachel Ray
Molly Ringwald
Anthony Michael Hall
Shannon Sharpe
Kurt Angle
Michael Cole
Gary Payton
Barry Sanders
LL Cool J
Cuba Gooding Jr.
Tisha Campbell
Vickie Guerrero
submitted by CP4-Throwaway to generationology [link] [comments]

2023.06.09 16:12 Michael_AN_Creech The Chronicles of Marcus Hellyrr - Prologue

I'd like to start by letting everyone know that the genre is Fantasy Epic, and that this is a long prologue at 6,414 words. This prologue serves a purpose as it takes care of a lot of my setting and plot setup. It also gives the reader a fair bit of worldbuilding without making it too much of an info dump (talking to you Robert Jordan ;P).
I've had several people beta read this for me and gotten a lot of positive feedback. The prolbem for me is that these were all people I know very well on a personal level. Several have made comparisons to Chronicles of Narnia or Lord of the Rings as far as how well the full book is written. The problem is, friends and family can often have a bias and make things seem better than they really are. So, now I want to do a test run in the real world and see what people who don't know me think. Is it as engaging and compelling as they have made me hope that it is?
I'm basically wanting to take a page from a couple authors I admire and follow the ABC rule for critiquing. Please let me know of any point where you thought it was Awesome, Boring or Confusing. I know prologues aren't everyone's favorite thing, but this has basically been written like a novella for the main story as it foreshadows a lot of things leading all the way into book four.
October 14, 844 (Alt-Future)
"Welcome back to the Archive, Master Jonathan."
"Thank you, Charles. It's good to be back. Have you noticed anything interesting in the Physical Realm?"
"I have not, sir. Do you require any assistance today?"
"Thank you, but no. I'm only here to revisit a passage within the history of the Order. Shortly after, I'll depart for the reunion at the Tower."
"Excellent, sir. I'll leave you to it."
Jonathan emerged from the ether and walked through the Archive doors. Inhaling deeply, he breathed in the familiar scents of dusty cleanliness that can only truly be found in a place of learning. The lights reflected off the floor's white marble surface, casting a glow that evenly lit every corner of the large chamber. Even so, the room still felt cavernous to him, as if he were a galleon amidst the vastness of the ocean.
Jonathan appeared to be in his early to mid forties. Though, with the way he carried himself and the spring in his step, he seemed closer to his late twenties. His hair was shoulder length and dark gray. He wore bifocals though he hadn't needed them since his ascension, and dressed with a refined sense of style.
His gray eyes were by far his most interesting feature, though. They were the only hint of how old he truly was and the many adventures and travesties he'd witnessed. Regardless, how old he was didn't matter as age had long since lost its meaning for him. After all, being an immortal tended to give a man new priorities in life.
As he strolled across the room, a lift descended from the tower's heights. The square platform had waist high rails around its perimeter. It floated through the air showing no sign of a suspension system to raise or lower it. This was accomplished by a magical enchantment that allowed it to levitate and dart about the room at mind numbing speeds. As he stepped up onto the platform's dais, it landed on the floor in front of him. He took a position at its center, then, after folding his arms behind his back, mentally willed it to take him to floor eight hundred forty four.
It rose off the ground, gradually gaining speed until it was a hundred or so feet in the air. At that point, the platform took off like a rocket. The thought of what these speeds would do to him if this were outside the Realm of Intellect crossed his mind, making him chuckle nervously. He knew he had to be moving close to six hundred miles per hour.
Now, let me tell you a bit about Jonathan's pet project, The Archive Infinitum. The Archive is a magical structure he'd designed shortly after the cataclysm that nearly wiped out the human race. An event most of you now refer to as the Night of Burning Skies. That same event is also what gave us the powers we now refer to as magic.
Shortly after obtaining his ascension, he learned that science's multiverse theories were close to how reality really worked. There are an infinite number of parallel universes, or branching timelines, that coexist simultaneously. What was different is that each universe shared a common six realm structure. The Physical Realm, the Realm of Intellect, the Dominion of Shadows, the Plane of Enlightenment, the Land of the Forgotten, and the Ether.
He built the Archive within the Realm of Intellect so it wouldn't be bound by the laws of physics or time as we know them. Once the structure was anchored in place, he could set most of those parameters himself. What he didn't realize was that making it here would have an unintended, though not unwelcome, side effect. The structure's size, shape, and architectural style could change by anyone who entered it.
When someone enters the Archive, it ascertains their strength of mind and will. Suppose the individual's mental fortitude is deemed stronger than that of the other occupants. In that case, the appearance will adjust to one that best serves and appeals to that individual. This could become unsettling for the occupants already inside the first few times it happened. That being said, it has no effect on the contents atop the shelves or where you're located within the structure. For Jonathan, it shared an uncanny resemblance to the George Peabody Library, though on a much grander scale.
The lift stopped after a brief ride, and Jonathan stepped off. He resumed his stride, passing row after row of the cherry wood bookcases. There were hundreds of rows and thousands of tomes and scrolls in each. As a scholar, he'd spent most of his existence here. But, even so, he knew there would always be something more to be gleaned from their pages.
Today was a day of remembrance. Of celebration. Of mourning. It was the anniversary of the end of a war that had lasted ten thousand years. With the death of one individual, a light of hope was given to many. For others, it was a bittersweet victory that left a void in their hearts. He'd come here today to revisit a passage that would return him to that fateful day. Reliving the event which granted them this peace, and once again, paying his respects to a dear friend.
"Ah, yes, yes, yes. Here we go."
The plaque on the side of the bookcase read, Row DD, Column 15. Now that he'd found the right one, he began scanning the shelves. It wasn't long before his hand landed on the tome he sought.
"Here it is." He pulled it down from the shelf. "My word. Has it truly been fifteen hundred years since I glanced through these pages?"
Looking at the cover, he chuckled. The combined magic of the Archive and the Realm had created a thin layer of dust. Giving it the feeling of something ancient and lost to time. Raising it to his lips, he blew the dust away, causing the magic to dissipate as it fell to the floor. He pulled open the cover and rifled through the pages. The section he stopped at contained the account of Rexinon the Prophet's final words.
Summoning his divine magics, he channeled a spell into the tome. The words that once filled the passages began to fade away, leaving only the blank pages, which now bled a blueish gray smoke. The soft glow of the lights against the floor diminished as the smoke spread. As the darkness grew more substantial, luminescent spheres and arcs of brilliant blues and crimson could be seen dancing about its surface like lightning.
The ground trembled beneath his feet, and the smokey haze took on a more stormlike appearance. All around him, the air started to feel heavy, and the taste of dust and sea salt filled his mouth. A gentle rain began to fall, and the room's remaining lights winked out. If not for the increasing flashes of lightning, he would've been left in total darkness. But even this was not a comfort, as those flashes cast shadows against the storm's ever swirling walls. Many of which appeared to be dark things that should never be seen in the light.
The storm's intensity grew, bringing disorienting cracks of thunder and wind whipping around him. It assaulted his senses and seemed to have an almost vengeful purpose. That meant he had to constantly focus on the spell, bracing himself against the onslaught. If he failed, it would kill him without question.
Some of the shadows began to take on a physical form with details beyond what the walls could offer them. He watched as an hourglass tumbled end over end, circling him before it returned to the storm. A moment later, a blazing fireplace and mantle emerged but produced neither light nor heat. Finally, a door engraved with the crest of the Order appeared. These images were ones he'd expected to see for this particular passage, and so came as no surprise. However, when a fourth image appeared, he was caught off guard.
Although it was normal for three images to accompany this spell, an occasional fourth spoke of prophecy. He focused intently on this final image. It showed twelve people standing in a circle; one of them was coated in blood. Two others were bound by chains. One a man, the other a woman.
He looked closer at the man and realized it was Godric. His eyes opened wide as he tried to decipher the meaning behind the image. Only a few moments passed while he speculated, but it was a few moments too many. Disaster struck, and too late, he realized his mistake. He'd lost focus, and now the storm would surely take him.
Hurricane force winds and debris tore at his clothes, quickly turning them into rags. One powerful gust slammed into his side as if he'd been struck by a car, knocking him off his feet. The storm swelled with even greater ferocity. It threatened to consume him this time, and he wondered if it would finally cost him.
Rain and hail pelted his face and body, while dust and sand stung his eyes. As he wiped away the grit, a bolt of lightning struck before him, temporarily blinding him. He got to his hands and knees, gasping for breath as the storm continued to beat him relentlessly.
Steeling himself against the pain, he rose to his feet. As fast as he could manage, he began casting mental defenses and barriers to protect his mind from the horrific assault. He bellowed in defiance of the storm, "I will not let it end this way! I refuse!" One defense after another was laid upon his person, until finally, he succeeded. The winds died to a breeze as the rain became little more than a summer misting.
He heard the sound of a quill scratching against paper over the storm's remnants, and the air behind his back grew hot as a crackling fire joined the room's ambiance. The sickly sweet smell of incense filled his nostrils, reminding him of days spent in his master's study. Another fond memory.
The storm wall vanished as the tremors subsided, making the room visible through a misty haze. The light of the fireplace cast his shadow across the now rough cut gray stone floor. Half a dozen tapestries hung around the room, and a liquor cabinet stood at the room's far corner. The main entry door remained closed to his left, and the doorway to the study's balcony lay to his right. At the room's center sat Rexinon at his desk, writing furiously on a piece of parchment.
Wiping the sweat from his brow, he breathed a sigh of relief. Although he'd done this countless times, the journey into the pages of history was always filled with peril. But, blessedly, the most intense part of the spell was complete. And while he could now relax in that fact, that fourth image still concerned him.
He stood in the familiar square room, clothing restored to its original state. The evening's air flowed through the open windows, making the ambient temperature quite cozy. Crossing the room, he paused at the desk and listened as Rexinon started muttering. "What I wouldn't give for a typewriter, much less a computer. Would make this so much faster."
Jonathan couldn't help but crack a smile. "Oh, but how many times have I thought the same thing, old friend?" He remarked, though he knew Rexinon couldn't hear him.
He stepped up to the desk and leaned over it. Looking down at the paper Rexinon was writing on, he frowned. Like so many times before, it appeared as little more than black scribbles on a page. Those words had to be important, but there was no way to know.
This was one of the spell's critical weaknesses. The details within the vision were only as precise as what was written in the tome. Most of the books in the Archive were magically transcribed. The benefits of this were completed histories free of victor and writer biases. Although, it wasn't flawless.
Throughout history, there have been individuals or events that the spell couldn't see. The most well known examples of these blips in time were the United States presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt from 1933 to 1945 and the United Kingdom's Prime Minister, Michael Durham, from 2063 to 2065. All that is known about them was their lives before office and the accounts written by those around them. These gaps in history were generally the result of one of two things. In these two cases, a place or individual with a strong connection to the Dominion of Shadows.
Sighing, he pushed off the desk and crossed the room to the liquor cabinet. He opened the glass doors, pulling several bottles and a glass from the shelves. He made a drink consisting of three parts Red Adders Bite and one part Dry Amorian Blood Wine, then added a lime wedge to the rim of the glass. The others wouldn't arrive for another half hour, leaving him time to kill.
He walked around the room with his drink in hand and studied the various tapestries, several of which he'd been a part of. Each one depicted an accomplishment or tragedy facilitated by the Order. All save one, which showed a scene from the event that started it all.
The one to the left of the cabinet showed the Order's founding. In the background stood a grand tower of black and white marble. Its four sides were engraved with the Mark of Hellyrr, which glowed with a magical light. In front of it stood a man facing a gathered crowd, his arms swept wide in triumph. They looked up at him and the structure with reverence and awe.
He continued to move in a counterclockwise manner around the room. Above the main entry door hung another tapestry. One he was even depicted in. It showed the aftermath of a massacre. Six figures stood amidst the bodies of hundreds. The earth around them was scorched by flame, and the blood of the fallen had stained it red. The cloud covered sky glowed a deep crimson with gold outlines from the fires below. It had come to be known as the Cleansing of Elysian, in which the entirety of the planet's second continent had been annihilated to preserve the world.
"I wish it had never come to this. Why can't we all just get along? Instead of thriving in the prosperity of our two lands, they plotted and began planning to bring war to our own people. To rape, pillage, and enslave them. Even with all my vast knowledge and wisdom, I can't understand why they felt the need to dominate and control the world." He looked back up at the tapestry. "Even now, most of the land is still uninhabitable."
He turned around and looked at the tapestry above the balcony door. This one would appear out of place with the others to all but a few handfuls of people. Even for those who learned the truth behind it, it looked like little more than an artist's vision of what a beautiful landscape at sunset should look like. The sky is dotted with hundreds of stars as shades of red, orange, and yellow dance across the land's horizon. The artist's point of view appears to be looking down from a hillside. Down the hill's slope, you can see a pond teaming with wildlife along its edge. The remaining landscape is filled with miles of forest stretching toward the horizon.
For the few who survived this event and still remained, they knew it depicted the final moments of their world before all of humanity was nearly lost.
Jonathan fixated on this tapestry more than he had on the others. The longer he stared, the more distant his expression grew. Over time, his breathing quickened, and his grip on the glass slipped. It shattered as it hit the floor, causing the rug to stain from the liquid. The sound jerked him out of the trance like state, making him feel ill.
He could still recall the memory of that long ago day like it were yesterday. The thought of how close humanity had come to extinction made his legs weak, and he stumbled back against the wall behind him. He slid down the stones' cool surface and noticed his hands were now trembling. Through shuddering breaths, he uttered the words of a broken man. "So much death. So many lives were lost that day. So many. Oh, Sonia. Even after all this time, I still miss you."
The main entry door slammed open, crashing against the wall with a loud bang. Jonathan jerked as one of them collided mere inches from where he sat. The startling sound had been enough to pull him from his stupor, but it still took a moment for him to gather himself. A man in the doorway lowered his foot from where he'd obviously kicked the unlocked door in.
"Knock, knock, Rex. Seems you've done it now."
"Seth. I'll never understand the animosity you held for Rexinon," Jonathan said wearily as he got to his feet.
Seth stood just shy of five foot eight inches and had slick black hair that he kept combed back. He wore black jeans and a beige dress shirt with mother of pearl buttons, which had seen far too much polish in recent days. A malevolent grin displayed his perfect teeth and careless eyes. He strode into the room, dragging a chair behind him, and placed it on the rug by the fireplace.
"Was kicking the door in really necessary, Seth?"
A second man stepped into the room, obviously annoyed by the unnecessary use of force. He wore a navy blue business suit and towered over everyone else in the room, and that was saying something considering Jonathan was six foot. As he still held to the standards of a marine, he kept his hair high and tight and his face clean shaven. He stood at the rug's edge out of respect for the Order so as not to mar the embroidered Mark of Hellyrr. A respect Seth clearly lacked.
"Godric Gibbs. This day changed you. Hell, it changed all of us, but few as much as you," Jonathan said. He looked back at the door as the third and final man entered. "Assassin."
This man was of a height with Jonathan and wore all black from head to toe. His outfit looked like something out of a TV show. Almost like a cross between Gi Joe's Snake Eyes, and CW Arrow's League of Assassins. After ten thousand years, all they knew about him was his previous occupation as a contract killer. It wasn't long before they'd taken to calling him Assassin, as they had no other name to go by. Any time he was asked a question regarding his past, he either remained silent or dodged it outright. He took a position to Godric's left and, like Godric, took care of where he stood on the rug.
The three men stood in silence and watched as Rexinon continued to write. Godric and Assassin seemed content to wait until he addressed them. On the other hand, Seth seemed to grow more agitated as the minutes passed. Jonathan chuckled in spite of himself.
About twenty minutes later, Rexinon spoke, "Reverend Seth Jones, Colonel Godric Gibbs, and Assassin. To what do I owe the pleasure?" His tone plainly indicated that he already knew.
Seth spoke first. "Oh, cut the crap, Rex. You already know why we're here. This cult thing of yours has gone on long enough."
"Well, there's the pot calling the kettle black," Jonathan muttered sarcastically.
Godric rolled his eyes. Everyone in the room knew about Seth's past as a cult leader. They also knew his anger was more at being forced to wait in silence than anything to do with Rexinon or the Order.
"Calm yourself, Seth. There's no need for such hostilities." Godric looked at Rexinon apologetically. "I'm sorry to have to do this, old friend, but my hands are tied. Rexinon the Prophet, Headmaster of the Hellyrrian Order, you've been charged with conspiracy to overthrow the governments of Aurelia and seize control for the Order.
"As we speak, the leaders of the Hellyrrian Order are being gathered for execution. Furthermore, your towers and all their artifacts will be destroyed, and any remnants of the Order's existence is to be wiped from the face of history. As of 0813 this morning, you have been sentenced to death. How do you plead?"
Rexinon continued to write at an incredible rate. He knew why they'd come. He'd known this was coming for months. After all, his gift was the gift of prophecy. The evidence for the charges against him was both substantial and ethereal, depending on what light was shown on it.
Two centuries ago, the Order had tracked the activities of an unknown number of individuals who'd been subtly manipulating several of the Aurelian governing bodies. They'd spread like a poison, corrupting them and turning once prosperous kingdoms which knew few hardships, into lands where the people had to fight just to survive. The problem was that whoever that force had been, always seemed to be just one step ahead of them. Now, not only was it check, but checkmate. The Order had lost.
"I believe the Righteous Twelve to be ill advised. I believe you've been manipulated by the same corrupted governing body which we've spent so long trying to purify—." Seth grunted. "—But," he said at length, "I accept all charges against me, save one. Neither myself nor anyone else of the Order has ever sought to rule Aurelia, as the charges would imply. The Cleansing of Elysian should've been proof enough to show that to be true."
Rexinon penned the final words of his letter and placed the pen back in its stand. Pulling the top off a jar, he dusted the page with a thin layer of sand to soak up any excess ink. After dumping the sand back into another jar to be cleaned, he pushed away from his desk and stood to look at his guests for the first time. After nudging his stool back under, he addressed Godric directly.
"Will you join me on the balcony one last time?"
Godric nodded his head and gestured towards the balcony doorway. As they stepped outside, Jonathan followed.
Rexinon leaned against the railing and looked out over the city, his gaze fixed on the setting sun. Godric joined him and looked down to the tower's base, some five hundred feet below. Although he was not afraid of heights, it gave him respect for the sturdily mounted railing at the balcony's edge.
"It's beautiful, isn't it?" Rexinon said. Godric looked at him, confused. "The way the world has turned out since that day? Ten thousand years of watching as civilization was rebuilt and destroyed time and time again by a senseless war. Watching them evolve into something more as they learned how to use these gifts we were given. In some ways, we're greater than we ever were. In other ways, we're inferior. If I have any regrets, it's that I couldn't do more to leave the people better prepared for this new age."
"Well spoken. If it's any consolation, I believe this is wrong. I even spoke out against the council for a different outcome. For my efforts, though, I was threatened with execution if I didn't cease my objections."
Rexinon's tone grew heated after hearing of the council's reaction. "You should know better than anyone why I fought so hard against them, then. I'm not against governance. I'm against corrupt governance. We had far too many corrupt politicians and warlords in our own time for me to ever want to allow it again."
Godric nodded his head. "Yes. The problem is you played too heavy a hand too quickly. Instead of accepting that they'd been beaten, they cheated by playing with an ace they had hidden up their collective sleeves."
Rexinon sighed, knowing his words were true. "Indeed. I've accepted my fate. I won't run. Won't even make it difficult for y'all. I have no need to. I would like to make one final request to ease your conscience, though."
Rexinon leaned toward Godric conspiratorially. As he did this, the world around them began to shimmer and distort. Almost like the motion blurring you'd see on a TV. Likewise, their conversation was masked by the sound of white noise and the sound of hushed incoherent whispers.
This was the second hurdle the scrying spells had to deal with. Individuals with divine magic could conceal their conversations or even the events they were a part of. Rexinon had concealed this conversation, and to this day, Godric has never spoken of what was said.
Jonathan returned to the study with a resigned sigh. There was nothing more he could learn from their conversation. Assassin stood in the same spot he'd been when he first entered the room and looked as if he hadn't so much as twitched. Seth, however, was rummaging through the desk's drawers. He'd tried to figure out what he was looking for in the past, but nothing seemed obvious.
The shards of glass from when he'd dropped his cup earlier had vanished, along with the stain on the rug from the liquor. As expected, the glass had returned to the cabinet, and the bottles had refilled to where they were before he'd arrived. This was yet another reminder that this was a magically induced vision of an event that had long since passed. It could be too easy to forget that this wasn't real and that if he spent too much time here, it would have consequences in the real world for him.
He knew they'd be out there a while. In previous visits, he'd occasionally spent this time combing through the room, similar to what Seth was doing. Having cataloged everything centuries ago, there was nothing left to do but wait. So, he walked around the desk and sat squarely within the Mark of Hellyrr embroidered on the rug. There, for the next hour or so, he would remain, arms folded, legs crossed, and eyes shut. Freeing his mind of all unnecessary thoughts and emotions. At least, that was the plan.
About forty minutes in, Seth started to grumble and complain, forcing Jonathan to give up on his meditation. "… I know he's one of the humblest among our kind, but lord, does he have to be so dull? I can't find anything interesting anywhere. Even his liquor cabinet is dull." Seth walked from behind the desk to the liquor cabinet, pulled a few bottles out at random, and read the labels aloud. "Red Adders Bite, Amorian Blood Wine. Christ, he's even got Athester's Sweet Malt. This crap might as well be water." He pulled another bottle down and said, "At least he's got the taste to have at least one bottle of Nordic Berserker."
"Some of us prefer the simpler things in life. You might find life more enjoyable when you aren't always looking for the rare and exotic," Assassin said with a disinterested, almost dismissive tone.
Seth clicked his tongue. "Hell, even this letter he was so focused on when we arrived makes no sense." Seth thrust the letter towards Assassin, who took it nonchalantly. "Look at this."
Jonathan studied Assassin intently, hoping for any sign that would reveal the letter's contents. It was no use, though; for all the emotion he showed, Jonathan would've thought it no more important than a grocery list. But, if that were the case, why obscure it from the eyes of the scrying spell? The frustration caused by such a simple sheet of paper was baffling.
Jonathan got to his feet as Rexinon and Godric returned. As Rexinon walked to stand at the center of the rug, Jonathan moved behind the desk. Godric walked toward Assassin and conversed with him for a few minutes. Once again, the sound of white noise shrouded what was said. This time, it was Godric who masked his words from the spell. When Assassin nodded, Godric moved beside him and faced Rexinon.
Rexinon looked at each tapestry and seemed to relive each as he did so. They all knew those accomplishments and tragedies would stand the test of time. Any efforts to change that would fall flat. The Order had played too significant a role in shaping this new world. Finally, he turned to Godric, kneeling as he met his regret filled eyes.
Assassin pulled an infamous rod from his side, dubbed the Executioner's Handle. Forged in the Dominion of Shadow by Assassin some three thousand years ago. It was one and a half feet long of shadow infused steel and bound with his own divine essence. Ominous black tendrils crawled along Assassin's hand like something alive and flowed into the handle. The shaft elongated, and an axe head formed at its end.
Though he had accepted his fate, seeing that axe form made Rexinon's heart stop momentarily. He looked at Godric questioningly. Godric knew what that look meant and nodded his head in assent. Agreeing to this had allowed them both to right several wrongs this night by asking one simple question. "Do you have any final words or requests?"
"I have two, if you'll grant them. The first, allow me to disband the Order formally as my final act as headmaster."
Seth started to protest, but Assassin lowered the axehead in his direction as a silent threat. Seth glared at Assassin with seething hatred. Godric nodded to Rexinon. "Proceed."
As the headmaster of the Hellyrrian Order, he had a mental connection with every member. Without hesitation, Rexinon's eyes began to glow with a brilliant purple hue. This would be Rexinon's final order, and Godric knew it would save thousands.
"My brothers and sisters, hear me now and heed my words. Abandon the Order and save yourselves. Flee to the hills and never look back to what we once were. With my dying breath, the Hellyrrian Order is no more. The governments of Aurelia have played a hand we can't stand against. Anyone who disregards this command will be hunted down and executed without mercy. To the leaders and guild masters of the Order, I charge you with dismantling everything relating to the Order and turning over every artifact and document you can to Godric the Just, Jonathan the Wise, or Assassin the Watcher. I also ask that you help calm those who feel outraged and betrayed by this night. Do not blame the Twelve, as they were little more than pawns in this corrupt game of politics. Farewell, my friends. My family. May the peace we have fought for be found in the coming days."
The glow faded, and he slumped forward onto his hands, his breathing labored. A few moments passed, and he managed to catch his breath but still looked towards the ground.
"The second request I have is that anyone who would heed that warning be spared. The ruling factions wanted me. As long as no one else causes trouble, we know they won't cause too much fuss over it."
His voice took on a much sharper edge as he looked back up. "You call us a cult, though you know we are nothing of the sort. On the contrary, our Order has stood for nearly five thousand years for the betterment of the entire world. How they treated you should tell you that what I said and what we were doing was justified."
"Shut your mouth, Rex!" Seth spat venomously.
Godric glared at Seth. His own anger with this situation was at the point of breaking free. "Be silent! I don't know what kind of grudge you have, but I, for one, don't give a damn what the council said. Rexinon doesn't deserve death for the crimes he's being accused of. Unfortunately, the ruling factions in almost every nation are corrupted and working towards being as corrupt as they were back in our day." Godric sighed. "Regrettably, my hands are tied, though. The law is the law, and I have been overruled on this matter. Regardless of what my conscience thinks, I will abide by the rules of the land."
Rexinon nodded, understanding Godric's situation perfectly. Godric had become the divine embodiment of law and justice at his ascension. While those two things work hand in hand, they are far from the same, and one must often walk a fine line to serve them both. In this case, the choices were clear. In the end, it didn't matter what he chose; he would inevitably betray one virtue or the other. Unfortunately, there was no good way for him to handle this, and Rexinon could see how this was affecting him.
"The majority of the Order will heed my warning. As for the leaders, if any are still alive, they will follow that command to the letter. They'll even aid you in handling any hotheads who resist," Rexinon said.
"The good news is that no one has yet been executed this evening. I'll personally see to it that those who abide by that order are given a chance to live long, productive lives within society. If all goes well, you will be the only casualty of this idiocy."
Rexinon gave the faintest sign of a smile with a halfhearted chuckle as he said, "Godric, one thing I'll not allow is any of the Order's work ending up in the hands of one of those tyrants. Therefore, I demand that Jonathan be given every document, scroll, and tome held within our strongholds for safekeeping." Rexinon felt exhausted. The spell to warn his Order took more out of him than anticipated.
"You're in no position to be making demands of us," Seth said. Godric finally snapped and struck him so hard that he slammed back into the wall beside the fireplace, cracking it. He got back to his feet a moment later, fixed his shirt, and looked down at the blood he'd wiped from his lip. Godric looked back at Rexinon.
"As you were saying."
"Assassin, I'd ask that you secure all our relics and artifacts, regardless of their magical significance. I don't need to tell you what all we have housed around Aurelia."
"No, you don't. The nukes of our time were nothing compared to some of those items," Assassin replied.
"We'll see to it that it's done. There are things within these walls that were never meant for untrained mortal hands," Godric added.
"Thank you."
"As for the texts, Jonathan will have a field day going through everything. There is far too much the council doesn't understand within these walls that we can't afford to lose."
"Godric was right, Rex. I still have everything. Much of which has been quite useful over the centuries,"
Godric turned his head away, no longer able to look Rexinon in the eye. "I no longer deserve the right to call you a friend, but is there anything else you would ask of me?"
Rexinon looked at Godric for a long time and couldn't help but smile. Not at his pain or suffering in following the orders given to him, but knowing that if anyone here had ever been a friend to him, Godric certainly was. With his final words, he left Godric with a warning.
"No, but I'll leave you with this. Be wary of those among you, for one will betray you all. My friend."
Godric nodded, accepting these as Rexinon's final words as a tear ran down his cheek. Rexinon lowered his head, and Assassin enveloped his axe's blade in a purple aura.
"Woah, Assassin, what's with the new color? Never seen that before," Seth asked.
Ignoring the question, Assassin swung the axe, severing Rexinon's head cleanly.
That night, the cries of the Order were heard in every city across Aurelia. All mourning the death of the Order's first, and last, headmaster.
Jonathan fought back tears of his own as he watched the axe's head vanish. Assassin secured the handle on his belt as he walked towards the desk. Godric looked as though he was going to be sick.
"Did you do as I asked?" Godric asked shakily.
"Of course. I may be a trained killer, but even I know this was bullshit, mate."
Seth walked over and picked up Rexinon's severed head by the hair. He held it up before him, a mischievous grin on his face. Then he whispered something into Rexinon's ear.
Assassin's eyes locked on Seth. As he let go of the head, he used one of his abilities, known as shadow step, to cross the distance to where Seth stood. Before Rexinon's head hit the ground, Assassin snatched it out of the air and punched Seth so hard that it sent him flying into the same section of the wall he'd hit earlier. He bounced off it, but the force of the impact sent several of the stones flying into the next room. Seth crumpled to the floor, where he lay unmoving for several seconds. After a while, his head snapped upright, and he began to laugh. He stood up as if nothing had happened and headed out the door. Godric, now seething with anger, watched as Assassin started to go after him. "Leave him. He's not worth your time."
Jonathan paced around the room, waiting for the spell to wear off. His heart ached, and his own anger toward Seth at that moment made him wish he could destroy the man. But that was Seth's way, and they'd all learned to let it go in time. The world began to blur and vanish, reverting to the Archive once again.
He closed the cover, placing the tome back on the shelf with a heavy sigh. His fingers lingered on the binding as he read the inscription, A Complete History of the Hellyrrian Order, Volume 666. Finally, Jonathan let his hand fall to the side as he walked away with his shoulders slumped.
As if speaking to an old friend, he lamented, "Damn you, Rex. Why couldn't you have just left well enough alone?"
As Jonathan walked away, he shed a tear at the loss of one of his closest friends.
submitted by Michael_AN_Creech to KeepWriting [link] [comments]

2023.06.09 12:55 Katieengland PIP

I am applying for PIP after 4+ years of chronic bone pains & serve IBS to the point I find it very difficult to go outside. It has caused me to have depression & anxiety.
I have answered how the following affects me personally in note form. My application is long and the explanation of my pains and symptoms are added in more detail. I would just like to know if I could get it for IBS and chronic bone pains.
(I have written down in detail my answers to these questions but a bit apprehensive to disclose all, although I understand the information is needed).
Answer - I do not cook alone when using the hob or oven due to instances when I have burnt myself when dropping utensils and hot water. Due to my IBS and pains I sometimes have to stop cooking mid way due rushing to the toilet often having left the hob or oven on for extended periods of time.
Answer - due to my IBS, eating has become one of my main sources of anxiety. The pain and discomfort and experience can distract me from recognising feelings of hunger. When I am alone I do not eat and will only eat when I have the encouragement and the presence of my mum or boyfriend.
Answer - on my bad days, which are the majority of the time it is particularly hard as the heightened pain levels make it impossible to wash myself completely independent. I only have access to a shower cubicle so my way to wash myself is to sit on the floor. I find it extremely difficult to wash my hair as my arms have to be extended for a period of time, bending down to wash the rest of my body makes impossible to thoroughly wash myself.
Answer - my treatment is challenging for several reasons for a physical and psychological. Although there is no direct cure or medication to manage my IBS symptoms I take a range of supplements, including pre-and probiotics, flaxseeds and prescribe medications. I often struggle to remember to take the supplements or find the motivation to take them at all, as they do not allow me to live normally.
Answer - on good days which is about two out of the seven I can manage to dress myself. On other days, depending on reaching to put on bottoms can trigger discomfort in my abdomen and pains and aches in my arms. Even the simple task of tying shoelaces can be extremely painful. I don’t dress properly for the weather. I wear the same things all the time, jogging, bottoms, or jeans on good days and they jumper. And on days where the pain is prevalent, my boyfriend assist me on putting on my clothes.
Answer - I understand managing money although has been difficult due to the expensive supplements I have to purchase. (I understand I would not get anything on this section)
Answer - I can understand, simple and complex pieces of text.
Answer - In times of pain I cannot communicate as the pain is overwhelming, becoming dizzy, sick and most often feeling faint. I will not communicate with others, if I do not have somebody else present. (I understand that I may not meet the requirements for this section)
Answer - I no longer go outside. If I do, it is for a short period of time and I stay in the car. I even start going in uni because my panic attacks and anxiety would get so bad. I would have to go and sit in the toilet until somebody could come get get me.
Answer - sometimes I am on the toilet for over an hour lead into pins and needles in my feet and legs as the pain is so bad, I cannot move until it has come down. As I am so fatigued, cleaning myself, afterwards can become a challenge. I have sought sitting in the shower afterwards to ensure I am clean as I will not let anyone do this for me. When in the shower, there is always someone is in the room with me to ensure that I am okay.
Answer - irrespective of being a good day or bad day concern in my condition the unpredictability of my symptoms such as sudden flareups of severe pain or the urgent need to use the bathroom makes the thought of leaving my home overwhelming. I will not go to an unfamiliar city. Even when I leave my house, I have to plan out close toilets or how long the journey will take. I can drive and do have access to my own car however will never go out by myself as one in pain or have the anxiety that I will suddenly need the toilet, remembering where I’m going or following adequate instructions is impossible. There have been instances where I cannot plan my journey home from somewhere close by.
Answer - On good days I might manage to walk for a few minutes but never without discomfort. On days where my pain is bad, but not severe. I try not to leave the home as often even going into a shop. I have to pretend that I am looking at an item until I have the energy to carry on. Due to the bloating, back pain and other pain that radiates throughout my body I get out of breath and again feel dizzy this can be short distances for example from the car to the front of the shop in a supermarket carpark. I will always hold onto the shopping trolley or my boyfriend or mum.
submitted by Katieengland to DWPhelp [link] [comments]

2023.06.09 07:19 Jenniher Losing the plot

I've been enjoying llm for roleplay. Letting it build a fantasy world around me has been so much fun!
But...the context length sucks no matter the model I use. I have to continually remind it of the context. For example I'll enter a village and it will say there is a guy with jeans and a denim shirt leaning in his car. Eventually it cant even be corrected, or it will just repeat the same few sentences and i have to start over with a new prompt. Sometimes I'll summarize on a fresh session to try to continue, but the characters are never the same and neither is the feel.
I've used oobabooga and gpt4all. Is tavern better? Do I just have wait for bigger context lengths, or is there a way around it that i don't see?
submitted by Jenniher to LocalLLaMA [link] [comments]

2023.06.09 04:00 DawsonmonO60 Best Sublime Song Starting With “D”

Yesterday’s winner is “Cisco Kid”
Below you will find a list of every Sublime song starting with the letter “D”.
D.J.’s, Don’t Push [Jah Won’t Pay The Bills], Date Rape Stylee (Rarities Version), Date Rape (Demo), Don’t Push [40oz. to Freedom], Date Rape, Don’t Push [Robbin’ the Hood], Doin’ Time, Doin’ Time (feat. The Pharcyde) [Remixed By Marshall Arts], Doin’ Time (Uptown Dub), Drunk Drivin’, Doin’ Time (feat. Mad Time) [Eerie Splendor Remix], Don’t Push (Live at Kommotion 1994), Date Rape (Live at Kommotion 1994), D.J.’s (Live at Kommotion 1994), Don’t Push (Acoustic Version), Date Rape (Dirty), Date Rape (Edit Version), Doin’ Time (Uptown Dub) [Remixed By Wyclef Jean), Doin’ Time (Marshall Arts Remix) [Instrumental], D.J.s (Live 1991), Doin’ Time (Snoop Time Remix), Doin’ Time (Tricked Out Life Sentence Remix), Don’t Push (Live at the Palace 1995), Don’t Push (Live at the Palace 1995) Pt.2, Date Rape (Live at the Palace 1995), D.J.s (Live at the Palace 1995), Doin’ Time (lonelyboy), Dj’s (lonelyboy), Date Rape (lonelyboy), Don’t Push / Right Back / New Thrash (Live), D.J.’s (Live), Date Rape (Live)
Vote in the comments which one you think is the best.
In 24 hours I will make a new post announcing the winner and starting the vote for letter “E”.
submitted by DawsonmonO60 to sublime [link] [comments]

2023.06.09 00:25 v4mpeira [F4A] Looking for long-term RP partners for all sorts of fandoms! ₊ ⊹

I am (19, female) and am looking for some new roleplay partners & RP centered around some fandom universes below. At the minute, I am looking to write as canon female characters in either FxM or FxF pairings.
My preference for pairings tends to be Canon/Canon but I also have no problem doing Canon/OC!
About Me / What I Am Looking For
I write in the third-person, past tense, and consider myself literate. I have done both quick-fire and novella- length stories but prefer something somewhere in the middle. Medium-length replies that keep the story moving forward, while providing the other with opportunities to react. My sweet spot is somewhere between two and five paragraphs, per reply. But I am happy to do less or more; depending on your preference and what the scene requires.
I like to leave plot-based stuff all up for discussion. Things can get dark, as dark as we would like. Or we can have stuff on the lighter side. I thrive crafting vivid descriptions that transport us to the heart of action. From heart-stopping chase scenes to spine-tingling encounters in dark and mysterious settings. I value collaborative storytelling where we can shape the story together, playing supporting characters, and delve into the depths of our plot.
Please: nothing one-sided. Be invested when it comes to plotting. There’s nothing worse than receiving one sentence in reply to two paragraphs of ideas, or having a doormat partner who says “sure” to whatever I suggest. I love to build ideas on top of the other, incorporating all our ideas. But having to pull plot ideas myself makes me think you’re not interested, and I will loose interest in return.
I adore tropes. They are popular for a reason, right? Some of my favorite tropes include: * Enemies to lovers (anything along the lines of initial distrust is great); unlikely allies. * Hurt/Comfort, Angst. * Polar Opposites * Redemption/Corruption * Aftermath of war: Punishment, Rehabilitation, Rebuilding. * Trauma Bonds/Unfortunate Circumstances * Betrayal/Revenge * SlowBurns/Friends to Lovers
Here is a list of fandoms along with the characters I can write as in them:
Video Games
The Last of Us (Ellie Williams).
Resident Evil: (Jill Valentine, Rebecca Chambers, Claire Redfield, Ada Wong, Ashley Graham).
Silent Hill: Maria, Angela Orosco, Heather Mason.
RDR2: Sadie Adler
Final Fantasy: Aerith Gainsborough, Tifa Lockhart.
Detroit: Become Human (Kara, Chloe, North).
Marvel (Gwen Stacy, Natasha Romanoff, Felicia Hardy, Wanda Maximoff, Mary Jane Watson, Jean Grey, Emma Frost).
DC (Harley Quinn, Kara Danvers, Dinah Drake, Selina Kyle, Diana Prince, Zatanna Zatara).
Harry Potter (Hermione Granger).
Star Wars (Ahsoka Tano, Leia Organa, Bo-Katan Kryze, Padme Amidala).
I am pretty much fine with any pairings for these characters! Please know that I am more than willing to welcome any idea you might have.
If any of this sounds interesting to you, or you think we might get along, please, do not hesitate to message me! If you’ve messaged me before and I haven’t responded, please feel free to try again, as my Reddit messages can be very glitchy!
submitted by v4mpeira to RoleplayPartnerSearch [link] [comments]

2023.06.09 00:23 v4mpeira [F4A] Looking for long-term RP partners for all sorts of fandoms! ₊ ⊹

I am (19, female) and am looking for some new roleplay partners & RP centered around some fandom universes below. At the minute, I am looking to write as canon female characters in either FxM or FxF pairings.
My preference for pairings tends to be Canon/Canon but I also have no problem doing Canon/OC!
About Me / What I Am Looking For
I write in the third-person, past tense, and consider myself literate. I have done both quick-fire and novella- length stories but prefer something somewhere in the middle. Medium-length replies that keep the story moving forward, while providing the other with opportunities to react. My sweet spot is somewhere between two and five paragraphs, per reply. But I am happy to do less or more; depending on your preference and what the scene requires.
I like to leave plot-based stuff all up for discussion. Things can get dark, as dark as we would like. Or we can have stuff on the lighter side. I thrive crafting vivid descriptions that transport us to the heart of action. From heart-stopping chase scenes to spine-tingling encounters in dark and mysterious settings. I value collaborative storytelling where we can shape the story together, playing supporting characters, and delve into the depths of our plot.
Please: nothing one-sided. Be invested when it comes to plotting. There’s nothing worse than receiving one sentence in reply to two paragraphs of ideas, or having a doormat partner who says “sure” to whatever I suggest. I love to build ideas on top of the other, incorporating all our ideas. But having to pull plot ideas myself makes me think you’re not interested, and I will loose interest in return.
I adore tropes. They are popular for a reason, right? Some of my favorite tropes include: * Enemies to lovers (anything along the lines of initial distrust is great); unlikely allies. * Hurt/Comfort, Angst. * Polar Opposites * Redemption/Corruption * Aftermath of war: Punishment, Rehabilitation, Rebuilding. * Trauma Bonds/Unfortunate Circumstances * Betrayal/Revenge * SlowBurns/Friends to Lovers
Here is a list of fandoms along with the characters I can write as in them:
Video Games
The Last of Us (Ellie Williams).
Resident Evil: (Jill Valentine, Rebecca Chambers, Claire Redfield, Ada Wong, Ashley Graham).
Silent Hill: Maria, Angela Orosco, Heather Mason.
RDR2: Sadie Adler
Final Fantasy: Aerith Gainsborough, Tifa Lockhart.
Detroit: Become Human (Kara, Chloe, North).
Marvel (Gwen Stacy, Natasha Romanoff, Felicia Hardy, Wanda Maximoff, Mary Jane Watson, Jean Grey, Emma Frost).
DC (Harley Quinn, Kara Danvers, Dinah Drake, Selina Kyle, Diana Prince, Zatanna Zatara).
Harry Potter (Hermione Granger).
Star Wars (Ahsoka Tano, Leia Organa, Bo-Katan Kryze, Padme Amidala).
I am pretty much fine with any pairings for these characters! Please know that I am more than willing to welcome any idea you might have.
If any of this sounds interesting to you, or you think we might get along, please, do not hesitate to message me! If you’ve messaged me before and I haven’t responded, please feel free to try again, as my Reddit messages can be very glitchy!
submitted by v4mpeira to Roleplay [link] [comments]

2023.06.08 23:07 mintjuulpodd What’s this girls issue? Help lol

I posted this before but it got buried. So I (20f) am acquaintances with this girl at school (28?f) because we had the same classes and went into the same program. When classes started she seemed sweet so we became school friends. I have went on lunch break with her but I can’t see myself hanging truly outside of school. Anyways, I’ve come to find her personality is a bit rude. It’s hard for me to not like someone but the things she does is honestly about to make me snap. But I want advice so I don’t end up being too rude.
Basically she is academically competitive, condescending and talks to me like I’m dumb. I hate asking her questions now because she answers in a tone as if she thinks I’m stupid. She will ask what I made on a test and the one time I decide to tell her, I specifically stated that “im actually pretty proud of myself because it’s the highest I’ve gotten in this class” and her first thought was to quickly respond with “hah I got a higher grade”. Like wtf, I always congratulate her when she boasts about her achievements. I compliment her too but I’ve never gotten a compliment from her about anything EVER. She also never seems interested when im talking and will even talk over me. She always has to be the main one talking in our groups. I haven’t even gotten to the rest of what she does though.
So I thought when our core classes ended and our program started that she would be less annoying, nope. The other week she told two of us our pants are ugly cause they’re mom jeans. She also started off a sentence with “not saying im smarter than you guys but” and I zoned out after the rest but me and this girl gave eachother the side eye. Speaking of that, I noticed that she’s not as rude to the other girls who are all around my age. She also was talking about test grades and said something like “im pretty sure I got the highest in the class” and we all got quiet cause it was so random. Today we had a test and we’re discussing it in the bathroom afterwards. She and another were talking about some difficult parts and I wanted to make them feel better by saying that the questions near the end were a bit hard and she quickly says “nahhhh nahhh”. So we take a second test and i got everything right but she just sounded annoyed when she saw my grade (which I wasn’t showing off) rather than saying something like dang okayyy. She’s pretty silent when her grades lower than mine.
She also loves to make me look bad. I remember her saying something like “poor {my name} over here-“ or telling others how a teacher made me cry and saying how she would never let a teacher make her cry. Yesterday is when she pissed me off most. We were doing a skills check and working with instruments together. She kept swatting my hand when it was in the wrong place and again, talked to me like she knew everything and like I was dumb. I didn’t appreciate her swatting my hand like that. My face got so hot with anger, I’m glad that class ended early.
I really try to like her cause she sits next to me and there’s not many of us in our program. Plus we will have this program for a year. but she is so damn rude I almost can’t stand her. Again, it’s hard for me to not like people. What would you guys suggest I do next time she talks down to me? Good comebacks? Just any advice for responses to the things she does. Also, why would you say she acts like this? She considers me a friend but treats me this way so I don’t get it.
submitted by mintjuulpodd to Advice [link] [comments]

2023.06.08 18:54 VirtuousFool_ Instrument of Ill-Fate: A LitRPG Adventure [Chapter 01]


In the realms of Skysea, where destinies are moulded by the pantheon, one young man defies the established order.
Denied Aether on his Adulthood ceremony, Zaire was dragged by cruel whims of fate to somehow awaken Emerald Aether, setting him on the path of a Mage.
But his awakening hardly had anything to do with the pantheon. Deeper secrets reside within him and in the System. Why was he exiled to the backwater village? What did those recurring nightmares and visions entail? And what's with the cursed dagger?
Zaire will search for the answers to them all, but before that, he must master his power. Great evil lurks near his village.

Carmel Village, Spring, 3617 years of the System
As the morning of System Inauguration Day dawned, countless individuals awakened with hopes and dreams for what the future held for them. Sadly, Zaire was of a completely different sentiment.
He had risen before the break of dawn, and went through all the rigorous training his mother demanded, and now, found himself on the receiving end of her ruthless thrashing in the spar.
"Move with purpose," Ella barked, her blade poised for the next strike. "I didn't teach you to be sloppy."
His limbs ached from all the exhaustive exercises, leaving him far from his peak during their spar. Not that it would have made a difference—Ella was in a particularly foul mood this morning.
Gritting his teeth, Zaire shifted into a defensive stance, though he didn’t see its purpose with Ella being... Ella. With narrowed eyes, he observed her approach. Despite her tall and heavy stature, she was light on her feet. Her training rod, held high, swung mercilessly towards Zaire in a threatening arc. He managed to block the first strike, but struggled to parry the following ones, barely delaying her advances.
There was no room for him to push forward. Zaire found himself constantly on the defensive, forced to withdraw under the unrelenting onslaught. Each contact between their weapons sent electric spasms through his arms, intensifying the ache.
"No," Ella yelled, her voice piercing the air. Unsatisfied. "I'm not seeing it yet. You are better than this."
Those words struck a nerve within Zaire, prompting him to shift his weight onto his front foot and mount a more committed front. His moves lacked refinement compared to hers, but he put more force behind them, although he knew it would hardly make a difference against a Retired Knight who was well over 200 levels.
But Ella would be more content seeing him trying to get a hit.
"That's more like it," Ella remarked, parrying his attack, a hint of satisfaction in her smile.
They continued sparring for another two minutes, leaving Zaire utterly spent and sprawled on the ground. At that moment, he couldn't help but wish that someone else had adopted him, someone who wouldn't subject him to such gruelling training sessions every morning.
She seriously needed a man in her life, Zaire thought.
"Clean the weapons and tools and you'll have your day," Ella instructed, placing the duelling cane among the rest of the equipment.
Zaire responded with nothing more than a grunt.
"I'll go check on your sister," Ella continued. "Hopefully, she's finished preparing the meal, so we can go to the temple for her awakening."
Zaire remained on the ground, still catching his breath from the exertion his mother had put him through.
Today marked System Inauguration Day, an event where individuals who had reached the age of sixteen would awaken their Aether and embark on the path the gods set for them.
A year ago, Ella was adamant about moulding Zaire into a Knight like herself, despite his fervent aspirations to pursue the path of a Mage. While he displayed considerable skill in swordsmanship and other weapons, Zaire's true passion had always been spellcraft.
He had tirelessly studied spell models and diagrams, fearing that the gods might mistake his talent for swordsmanship and force him into becoming a Knight Squire, as his mother had always desired. Zaire had invested double the effort in learning the spell models than in honing his swordsmanship skills, but it seemed the gods were merciless in their choices.
On his Age day last year, Zaire's dreams of becoming a Mage remained unfulfilled. Matter of fact, he hadn't awakened any Route at all. Completely no reaction from the Aethers.
Even the most humble and unfledged youths of the village had awakened as Woodcutters, Farmers, or Merchants, but Zaire was left without any designation.
The gods had deemed him Routeless. A Faithless Cur.
If only they would grant me another opportunity, Zaire thought, clenching his jaws in frustration. However, he couldn't be certain that it would make any difference. They had attempted various other methods, infusing him with different types of Aether, but most only resulted in agonising concussions and rendered him unconscious.
"Stop gazing at nothing with that long face," a feminine voice broke him through his contemplation abruptly.
Startled, Zaire found himself face to face with Faye, clad in a simple white gown, ready for the Awakening Event. The siblings were strikingly dissimilar in appearance. Faye stood with a full head shorter than him, her features set her apart from the villagers. Her hair was of burning silver, cascading over her shoulders, in contrast to their foster mother Ella’s blonde and his black.
Had it not been for Ella's integrity, Zaire would have suspected that the retired knight had stolen Faye from a noble house. Yet, he was even more perplexed by the implications of her unique features.
It was very likely that Faye was blessed by the Aether. Her pearl eyes and silvery hair were hints of that. He couldn’t think of them as just a coincidence.
His frustration grew with those thoughts.
"If I'm not mistaken, Mum asked you to hone all the weapons and clean everything else," Faye reminded him, breaking the silence. "You're going to get an earful for that."
Zaire grunted as he rose from his seat and made his way to the toolbox. His fingers deftly manoeuvred a knife against the grinding stone, the metallic scraping sound filling the air. Faye lingered in the yard.
"Aren't you missing something?" she asked, eyebrows raised.
Pausing his grinding, Zaire lifted his gaze to meet hers. Clueless
"Aren’t you going to wish me luck?"
"I don't think you'll need any luck from me," he replied with a sigh. "But for what it's worth, I wish you good fortune, Pumpkin. Hopefully, you'll awaken a formidable Route, and Mum will stop nagging about training me to become your Knight."
Ella had expressed her desire for Zaire to become Faye's Knight since she had adopted them. However, Zaire wasn’t so sure about her requiring protection. As far as he was concerned, it was the others who needed protection from her.
Faye arched an eyebrow, looking at all the items scattered around him. All this could take over an hour to finish easily. "I understand that this is difficult for you, but I hope you'll be there during the ceremony."
"What are you talking about?" Zaire responded, his smile beaming brightly. "There's no way I would miss this occasion."
He made sure his words carried genuine excitement and support, assuring her.
Faye beamed as she excitedly returned to the house to prepare for the ceremony. Zaire couldn't help but release a sigh and refocused his attention on his sharpening task.
A few minutes later, Faye emerged from the house along with their mother. She informed Zaire that they expected him to join them in the temple. Knowing that the ceremony would last for a couple of hours, Zaire was confident he would be able to complete his work and catch up with them in due time.
Zaire hastened his grinding pace, swiftly honing the blades one after another. Fatigue began to take its toll, and his arms throbbed. In his haste, the sharp edge of the blade sliced through Zaire's index finger.
“Damnation,” Zaire cursed, jolting his finger, causing crimson blood to splatter across all weapons and tools that surrounded him.
It had already been over half an hour since Faye had departed for the ceremony, and he still had a few daggers left to sharpen. If he were to tend to the cut properly, he definitely would be delayed. Exhaling, Zaire gave a couple of minutes for the blood to stop flowing out and clutched the next weapon in line—a worn dagger with a hilt that had seen better days.
Prepared to resume his grinding, Zaire steadied the dagger against the sharpening stone, this time putting pressure with his palm instead of fingers.
However, to his astonishment, the moment his fingers made contact, the blade began disintegrating into a swirling cloud of black smoke.
“What in the world!” Zaire broke into a fit of uncontrollable coughs as the thick smoke enveloped him, obscuring his vision. Within moments, the smoke dissipated, leaving behind nothing but empty air.
The dagger had vanished, dissipating into thin air as if it had never existed.
Zaire stood frozen in disbelief, his gaze fixated on his empty hands where the weapon should have been. He blinked repeatedly, hoping to get a hint to explain the inexplicable turn of events. He had spent years cleaning and sharpening tools, but he had never encountered anything remotely similar to this disconcerting phenomenon.
"I hope Mum will understand," Zaire muttered to himself, a sense of relief washing over him as he realised that the vanished dagger was not one of the cherished weapons.
After completing his errands, Zaire swiftly changed into a more presentable tunic, eager to make his way towards the temple.
Carmel Village, situated on the very fringe of the empire, could easily be labelled as a secluded backwater village. Despite its remote location, it possessed an old temple devoted to Goddess Solas. Solas, one of the twelve prominent deities of the Skysea, the Mistress of Union and Harmony. The folks of Carmel were pretty diverse in their faith, but it didn’t stop them to crowd over the old temple on occasions such as this.
Nestled amidst a serene expanse of wheat fields, the temple stood as a weathered and unpretentious chapel that seemed to have withstood the test of time. Clearly failing to reflect the true grandeur and influence associated with the primordial goddess.
Time had taken its toll on the temple, evident with the stonewalls bearing marks of weathering. A similar, if not more, withered stone arches led his path to the sanctuary where people crowded over, clamouring. As Zaire crossed the arches, a modest statue at the heart of the plaza came into his sight. One simply couldn’t assume that to be a statue of the goddess without context, considering it was challenging to determine whether the statue depicted a male or female figure.
Zaire ventured inside, only to be met with a sea of people obstructing his path. The number of adults in attendance far surpassed the youths present for the ceremony. Zaire's eyes swiftly located the two women with their distinct blonde and silvery hair, positioned on one side of the gathering. To his surprise, it seemed that they had also noticed him, as Ella pointed him out to the young girl and waved her hand in his direction.
After a couple of good minutes of shoving and wrestling with the people, Zaire managed to reach them, but he was already breathless by that point. It appeared that Faye was patiently awaiting her turn, as the guest priest called individuals forward one by one to the Ascendant Pool in the other chamber.
Fortunately, the priest conducting the ceremony was not the same one who liked to blabber too much during Zaire's previous visit. Nevertheless, an unsettling restlessness settled in his stomach as he regarded others.
"Are you alright?" Ella asked, concern laced in her voice.
"I'm fine," he replied, "just a bit breathless from the sprint."
"It's good that you came," his foster mother interjected. "I understand this isn't easy for you, but you must realise there are other paths beyond what the gods set us for."
Zaire clenched and unclenched his jaw, choosing to remain silent as he settled himself in a corner, leaning against the wall. They had indeed explored other avenues, ones that diverged from paths the pantheons chose for them, but none had brought about any meaningful change within him, except subjecting him to excruciating agony.
Regardless, it was Faye's special day, and he couldn't make it all about himself. Taking a deep breath, he adopted a carefree expression and engaged in conversation with his family.
The newly appointed guest priest for the ceremony appeared to be a stern man. Observing the chaotic gathering in the hall, which was no better than a bustling fish market, he dismissed the families who had already completed their ceremonies. Even among those still present, he allowed only two relatives to accompany the youths of appropriate age.
In a matter of seconds, the hall grew more spacious as more than half the attendees dispersed.
"Now we'll have fewer people bothering Faye once she completes her ceremony," Zaire joked, playfully nudging the silver-haired would-be maiden on the shoulder.
Faye snorted in response. "What, you think I'd enjoy when boys pester me until Mum has to brandish her sword to scare them away?"
Faye glowered at him, but upon witnessing his laughter, she couldn't help but burst into giggles herself. Her nervousness about the ceremony subsided significantly.
Zaire scoffed, exclaiming, "What are you even worried about? You got this."
“It’s just that. . .” Faye's voice trailed off. She didn't need to finish her sentence because Zaire understood her fears all too well. She dreaded the possibility of her ceremony turning out exactly like his. Her unique traits made her more apprehensive than confident.
"You'll be fine," Zaire reassured her, gently patting her head. Being a head taller than her, it was effortless for him to make her feel small and comforted. But that’ll end soon. . .
In quick succession, people gradually cleared out, and within half an hour, the hall was nearly empty, with only three more families remaining for the ceremony.
"Oh, crap! I need to go," Zaire exclaimed abruptly, startling both Faye and their foster mother. "Nature calls." He provided a curt explanation for his sudden departure and hastily rushed out of the temple.
Zaire swiftly made his way out of the hall, the sparse number of people remaining making his way out easier. However, in his haste, he failed to consider the possibility of encountering folks just outside the door.
Zaire caught sight of locks of golden hair just before colliding with someone the moment he emerged from the door. It was a young girl who had just undergone her age ceremony and ended up falling alone from the impact.
Zaire stumbled, barely regaining his balance and scattered attention until he could finally discern who he had collided with.
"Diana," Zaire instinctively called out, stooping down to extend a helping hand. "I'm sorry, I didn't see you there."
"You shouldn't be running inside the temple," Diana said, raising her right arm to inspect the bruise on her elbow. Her eyes were teary.
"I’m really sorry," Zaire repeated, more genuinely.
"It's alright," Diana sighed, accepting his arm and allowing him to assist her in standing up. Her expression showed she was bothered by something else entirely other than the little bruise she got from the collision. It could be that she didn’t get the right class she desired.
If it weren’t for the urgency, Zaire would have stayed there for a few minutes to listen to her and reassure her. But the growing pressure in his bladder made it harder for him to be considerate.
Regardless, the situation didn’t conclude there as Zaire hoped, as he found a group of youths led by Alex, a blond youth who went through Ella’s for a few months.
There was no way in hell they could resist the urge to aid a damsel in distress. Granted, in this particular instance, the damsel was only mildly bruised, but you try to explain that to them.
"I wondered who else would have the audacity to act so impudently within the sacred temple," Alex interjected. The blond youth had undergone his ceremony last year, along with Zaire. "Of course, it had to be you, Zaire. Why are you even here? Hoping to partake in the awakening ceremony once again?"
Alex didn't miss the chance to strike where it hurt the most. However, his counterparts were one level above him.
"Fat chance of that," Kash, a short, mousey-looking black-haired boy of their age, chimed in. "Ignoring everything, his blatant behaviour in the goddess's temple alone shows that he's unsuited for the path."
"Kash, we're all aware of your lack of intelligence," Zaire retorted, more irritated than angry. "No need to open your mouth and prove it to us again."
The mousey-looking youth glared at Zaire before turning his attention to the others. "Did I say something wrong?" he barked. "You have no fibre of reverence for the goddess. Why do you think you're still lost and—"
Zaire stifled a yawn. "I have more important matters to attend to than engaging in a pointless argument with you lots,”
The persistent pressure in his bladder reminded him of the true urgency at hand. With an apologetic smile directed at the blonde maiden, he hurried away.
Tackling the argument, Zaire now faced another predicament he had no time to dwell upon. While the temple may have been humble and worn out, it still resided within the holy embrace of the goddess. How could he commit sacrilege by pissing in its vicinity?
However, the pressure continued to mount, leaving Zaire with no other option but to retreat to the rear of the sacred grounds. Discreetly, he found a secluded spot merely a few blocks away from the hallowed area.
To an outsider, it might still appear blasphemous, but he clung to hope that the goddess would be more understanding than her devotees.
Zaire let out a deep exhale, a mixture of relief and frustration intertwining within him. His shoulders slumped as he directed his gaze towards the imposing statue of the goddess perched atop the temple's peak.
Zaire gritted his teeth. Why was it only me? What have I ever done? He wanted to ask her, but he had asked such questions countless times already. The goddess, to her credit, remained silent all these time.
Abruptly, he found his attention fixated on a small window high on the stone wall as Alex’s words resurfaced in his mind.
Without conscious thought, Zaire found himself scaling the walls, driven by an inexplicable force. He climbed towards the window that led to the ceremonial chamber.
Zaire wasn’t even sure what he was trying to prove or if he even thought of the consequences when he latched himself on the window ledge. It was simply an impulse.
Soft rays of sunlight filtered through stained-glass windows, casting a gentle glow upon the worn stone floors of the ceremonial chamber as Zaire cast his sight inside. Amidst the hallowed walls, tapestries, and murals that tell stories of the goddess, Zaire found the small pool next to the altar where another Goddess’s statue stood, in far better shape than the one outside.
A young boy, now an adult, just completed his ceremony and departed. Within a minute, Zaire caught sight of the blond priest ushering Faye into the room. Instinctively, Zaire lowered his head, ensuring to directly not to stare at the high-level priest of the goddess.
The priest focused solely on his sister, guiding her towards the pool. Faye approached the small pool with a reserved expression, her gaze fixed upon the clear and dense water that seemed to possess an otherworldly quality. The surface of the water reflected light differently from ordinary water, as thin misty smoke puffed out.
Faye hesitated for a moment, her mind enveloped in a flurry of unknown thoughts.
"Do not resist the Aether, Daughter," the priest advised, his voice carrying a tone of solemnity. "Embrace its essence, open your heart to the Goddess and let her lead you to your designated path."
Gathering her wits, Faye stepped into the pool, allowing herself to be completely submerged in the hallowed water. Zaire, observing from above, couldn't help but feel a tinge of anxiety.
However, any doubts he harboured dissipated as he witnessed a radiant white glow emanating from the Ascendant pool. Faye emerged from the water, her figure outlined by a blinding light that enveloped her form.
"Blessed! Solus!" exclaimed the priest, his voice filled with astonishment. "The Dream Aether, I knew it."
The intense white light faded as swiftly as it had materialised, leaving Faye slightly disoriented. Her eyes shimmered with an ethereal glow, reminiscent of light dancing through her pearl eyes. A moment later, everything returned to normal.
Dream Aether, Zaire thought, that has to be the rarest form of Aether under ordinary circumstances.
Zaire had his suspicions about it for years. Regardless, this changed everything.
The priest knew it too. If the priest had previously held a mild interest in his sister, now he was entirely captivated, granting her his undivided attention.
"Come on," the priest ushered her out. "I'll explain things more clearly to you, and I shall need to have a conversation with your mother. You have a bright future ahead of you, Fair Lady."
With them gone, Zaire had the room all to himself for whatever he wanted to try. However, he still waited for a couple of minutes, even though the priest had shut the door behind him, signalling the end of the ceremony.
The latch of the stained-glass window opened effortlessly as if it were a sign from the goddess to guide him into the ceremonial chamber. The opening was spacious enough for him to slide in without any trouble. However, the landing posed a challenge, considering he was still about three and a half metres above the ground.
Zaire couldn't afford to cause any disturbance, so he held onto the window ledge and dangled his legs downward. Preparing himself, he leapt like a house cat, albeit only on his feet.
His landing was nearly perfect, causing minimal disturbance. But that didn't give him an advantage; he had to finish this quickly and make his exit before anyone noticed.
Zaire cast one last glance at the statue of the goddess on the altar, his right palm clasped over his heart in a praying manner.
Then he submerged in the cold water. Instantly, a chill rushed through his spine. Unlike what happened to Faye, nothing developed in his case as he remained underwater, controlling his breathing.
The priests had instructed them to be open to the Aether and not resist it. However, how could Zaire resist anything when there was no reaction from the water, except for the uncomfortable shivers coursing through his body?
It was exactly like the previous time, no reaction, and… Zaire's thought process abruptly halted as he noticed the water starting to swirl around him in a terrifying surge.
Zaire couldn't even comprehend what was happening to him as the chill spread through his body and mind, completely stunning him. The priest had advised not to resist, but he wasn't sure if he could even if he tried.
[Awakening conditions met... Initiating Protocol... Analysing...]
[Soul curse remnants discovered.]
[Creating link.]
[Link complete...]
Zaire was completely taken aback, overwhelmed by the unfolding events. And before long, he lost consciousness...
[Purging the curse remnants...]
[ETA: 11:43:12]
submitted by VirtuousFool_ to HFY [link] [comments]

2023.06.08 12:12 vpyr [Rise of the elven sage] - Chapter 34

Chapter 1 Previous Chapter
Having wrapped up the clothing preparations, the days leading to the auction were consumed by intense training for Raphael. Every aspect was covered—how to carry himself with poise, how to expertly highlight the specifics of each item on the stage. Raphael's mastery over his magic grew with each passing day, despite the lingering inability to summon or reconnect with Azura. In his innermost thoughts, he concluded that the power bestowed upon him by Azura had drained him, necessitating time to regain his strength.
On the fifth day of his training, Raphael progressed from freezing a single glass of water to tackling two simultaneously. While he still relied on visual or physical contact with the objects, his speed had undeniably improved. A sense of pride swelled within him, even if it was just a modest advancement. However, a tinge of sadness clouded his accomplishment as he realized their imminent interruption. The trio needed additional provisions, and since George would draw too much attention and Sanya's safety was of the utmost importance, it fell upon Raphael to venture out into the perilous city. Though they managed to establish wired communication, enabling them to place orders, the availability of necessities remained limited. They had secured practical clothing for Sanya, prioritizing utility, yet George, contrary to his previous stance, insisted on including a frilly ocher dress, deeming it an absolute necessity. Raphael couldn't shake the sensation that he saw his own daughter in Sanya and wanted to indulge her, but he chose to keep his thoughts to himself.
Setting the two frozen glasses of water aside, Raphael made his way to the kitchen, where a prepared pan awaited. The blocks of ice would be thawed, allowing them to reclaim the water for reuse. However, instead of activating the heat, he redirected his steps toward the dressing room. Hanging from a coat hanger was the order he had received for the day, including yet another gray beanie to conceal his elven ears during their shopping excursion.
The previous evening, the trio had meticulously compiled a shopping list. Dried and canned meats, dried fruits—typical survivalist or tinfoil-head essentials. However, the egg supply was running dangerously low, and Sanya pleaded with Raphael to procure her favorite candy, a peculiar request that left him slightly bewildered. Nonetheless, he resolved to grant her wish and purchase candied ginger. Meanwhile, George had a special request for a particular cut of meat from his preferred butcher, framing it as a celebratory dinner. But deep down, Raphael couldn't shake the feeling that it was more akin to a last supper, an unspoken acknowledgment of the lurking dangers that surrounded them.
Donning the military-style hoodie and baggy jeans he had prepared beforehand, and the gray beanie suspended on the coat hanger, Raphael couldn't suppress a smile. At twenty-eight years old, he resembled a man experiencing a midlife crisis, attempting to appear hip for his younger girlfriend, eager to delve into activities like skateboarding or mountain biking. His transformation was remarkable, a departure from his usual self. Nobody would recognize him, not that anyone would in the city of Offerstone where he wasn't a familiar face, but he couldn't afford to take any risks. Embracing his newfound persona, Raphael ventured onto the bustling streets to acquire the necessary supplies. In his mind, the streets should have been filled with life, reminiscent of the vibrant energy worthy of a capital city. However, the reality was quite different. The main road appeared eerily empty, with only a handful of people scattered here and there, aimlessly wandering, and the occasional passing cars. The sidewalks were littered with motionless vehicles, frozen in time for the past few weeks. Raphael had observed during his brief outings that prices had skyrocketed to astronomical levels, a distressing indication that the less fortunate would soon face hunger and desperation. Despite the facade of normalcy, the situation had already taken a turn for the worse, lurking just beneath the surface. Navigating through the streets, Raphael found himself making his way towards the next supermarket, the cacophony of a familiar armed military vehicle blaring through the air. Anger welled up inside him, his fists clenching within the confines of his hoodie. The scene reminded him of those old war movies, depicting tyrannical regimes, how they manipulated and intimidated their own people. The vehicle roamed the streets every hour, its speakers blaring McKennsy's proclamations and orders, day and night, attempting to instill fear or perhaps buy compliance.
"Report any sightings or information leading to the capture of a dangerous individual, and you'll be rewarded with five thousand! Bring them directly to us, and it's ten thousand! And for each additional Demi-Human, an extra six thousand awaits you! Stay safe. They are a threat!" the vehicle announced as it zoomed past Raphael. "President McKennsy permits the ownership of these captives as slaves if they can be proven docile! In other news, a new law has been enacted, making it illegal to own firearms on your own. All firearms and ammunition need to be given to your next military officer! Failure to comply will lead to arrest and a possible death sentence. Homelessness is strictly forbidden, those who will be found after 10 pm and without a special permit will be deemed homeless and conscripted into the military and provided shelter! For humans, by humans! Victory to McKennsy. He will lead us into-"
Raphael was relieved as the vehicle swiftly disappeared, sparing him from further exposure to such nonsensical propaganda. Yet, it did not end. The harsh truth about humanity was and still is that unless it affects them directly, they're willing to turn a blind eye. The darkness of this reality loomed large. It was evident in the despicable act of Sanya being betrayed and sold out by her own parents. Even now, as Raphael walked the streets, he overheard the murmurs of a few passersby, their voices filled with disdain. They spoke of driving away the so-called dangerous Demi-Humans, of profiting from their labor, and how splendid it would be when they finally crushed these "filthy" creatures back into their place. The echoes of such sentiments painted a grim picture of the prevailing prejudice and indifference. Other than this blatant racism in the open, the empty streets and the supply emergency that caused prices to soar, it looked like Offerstone was fairly undamaged. There was no widespread destruction caused by a crystal, and based on the information George and Raphael had gathered so far, it seemed that transformations were few and far between. They had tentatively concluded that the crystals played a role in these transformations, but lacked concrete evidence to support their hypothesis. Some Demi-Humans had emerged, like Sanya, who, despite her unfortunate circumstances, was still fortunate compared to others. They had discovered that both Demi-Humans and humans could go berserk or even explode, leaving behind a gruesome splatter of blood and an inconspicuous crater. Raphael understood the reason behind this phenomenon and had already explained to George and Sanya that it was likely the result of their magic spiraling out of control. As he walked past one of the rare craters caused by such an event, a wave of reflection washed over him. Why had he not encountered anyone else capable of wielding magic? Was it truly challenging to gain control over it, and was he merely fortunate, or were they purposely concealing their abilities? Raphael was left pondering these questions, yearning for answers he couldn't grasp. Finally, he arrived at the supermarket, its entrance guarded by armed security scrutinizing every person entering and exiting. A nearby sign warned them to maintain silence and avoid causing trouble, as the law granted permission to kill. The interior of the supermarket resembled a grayscale painting. The once vibrant advertisements urging customers to purchase various products had vanished. Only a lone cashier remained, surrounded by a security presence. A lengthy queue snaked through the store. The shelves, depleted by more than half, displayed scarcity and desperation. Signs pleaded with customers to limit their purchases to one or two items at most. The abundance of choices had been slashed, leaving behind a grim reality. Fresh fruits and vegetables were a distant memory, replaced by withered, soft potatoes and bell peppers that were anything but appetizing. The exorbitant prices only added insult to injury.
Next Chapter
Thanks for reading
submitted by vpyr to redditserials [link] [comments]

2023.06.08 05:48 HaykakanTxa Daily News Report: 6/7/2023

Date: 06/07/2023
Reading time: 6 minutes, 1323 words

EU Mission in Armenia to open three additional operational hubs

EUMA plans to open three additional operational hubs in Kapan, Ijevan and Yeghegnadzor. EUMA Head of Mission Markus Ritter welcomed an EU delegation from COEST Working group in Martuni. Every week, the patrols cover more than 3800 km of distance.
Armenpress, EU Mission planning to open three additional operational hubs in Armenia, Armenia interested in developing comprehensive cooperation with UK, EU border mission to double number of ‘operational hubs’ in Armenia

Armenia-Czech Republic military-technical cooperation agreement discussed in defense and security committee

Deputy Minister of Defense Arman Sargsyan presented the agreement to lawmakers on June 7. He said the agreement will define the direction of cooperation in the military-technical area. The agreement covers production of military-grade products, imports and exports procedures.

Germany expects immediate release of Armenian POWs kept in Azerbaijan

Germany expects that the Armenian prisoners of war held in Baku will be immediately released as part of the peace negotiations. Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the German Bundestag Michael Roth said at the press conference held in Yerevan.
Armenpress, Azerbaijan provides information to the ECHR regarding 2 kidnapped Armenian servicemen, Azerbaijan has provided information to the ECHR regarding two kidnapped Armenian servicemen

We hope Azerbaijan will also agree to implement EU mission on its side, but have not received optimistic signals - Roth

Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the German Bundestag Michael Roth hopes Azerbaijan will also agree to the activities of the EU civilian mission on the Azerbaijani side. Roth said this in a conversation with journalists in Yerevan.

Speaker Simonyan, UK House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee Chair discuss Azeri aggression against Armenia

Speaker of Parliament Alen Simonyan and his delegation met with UK House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee Chair. They discussed the opportunity for launching direct contacts between the two parliaments. The continuous Azerbaijani aggression against Armenia’s territorial integrity was also discussed.
Armenpress, Speaker Alen Simonyan meets with Sir Lindsay Hoyle of House of Commons,expresses eagerness to develop Armenia-UK ties

Bundestag’s Michael Roth visits Armenian Genocide Memorial, calls for securing Armenia’s territorial integrity

German Bundestag member Michael Roth has visited the Tsitsernakaberd Armenian Genocide Memorial in Yerevan. Roth and members of his delegation laid flowers at the Eternal Flame in memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide.

Armenia congratulates five newly elected non-permanent members of UN Security Council

The Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs congratulated the five newly elected non-permanent members of the UN Security Council. Algeria, Guyana, Republic of Korea, Sierra Leone and Sierra Leone will serve for a two-year period. The 15-member body is composed of 15 countries, five of which are permanent members.

Mirzoyan discussed regional security issues with the US Deputy Secretary of State

Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan had a telephone conversation with Derek Hogan, acting US Deputy Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs. The minister emphasized on ensuring the maximum possible certainty in the process of demarcation, particularly in 1975. the importance of commitment around the map.

Armenia, China report 39.4% increase in commodity turnover

Trade turnover between Armenia and China in amounted to $1.76 billion in 2022, increasing by 39.4% compared to the same period the previous year. Commodity turnover in January-March 2023 was $448.8 million, a 43.5% increase compared to same period last year. The 11th session of the Armenian-Chinese Joint Commission on Trade and Economic Affairs was held in Beijing.

Diaspora: Armenia’s “black gold” for economic development

Diana Sarumova, executive director at the European Business Association in Armenia, talks about Armenia’s improving business environment. Sarum

Freedom House commends the readiness of Armenian authorities to participate in the Forum for Democracy

The Freedom House says it was honored to host the second Armenian Forum for Democracy alongside Armenian NGO Union of Informed Citizens. The forum focused on navigating democratic development in the face of security challenges. Freedom House President Michael Abramowitz joined PM Nikol Pashinyan, President Vahagn Khachaturyan, and US Ambassador to Armenia Kristina Kvien.

Armenia is determined to prosper in a safe and peaceful region – Alen Simonyan

The delegation led by the President of the National Assembly of Armenia Alen Simonyan is on a three-day working visit in the United Kingdom. The Speaker of the House of Commons of the Parliament of the UK Sir Lindsay Hoyle welcomed the visit of the delegation.
Armenpress, Armenia, U.S. normalization of Armenia-Azerbaijan relations

Russia appreciates brotherly ties with Armenia, says PM Mishustin

Russia appreciates brotherly relations with Armenia which are of strategic and allied nature. Trade between Armenia and Russia grew 96% in January-April and stood at 140 billion rubles. Mikhail Mishustin called for increasing volume of trade and investments.
Armenpress, Armenia, U.S. normalization of Armenia-Azerbaijan relations

Armenian Prime Minister visits Russia for Eurasian and CIS intergovernmental council meetings

Nikol Pashinyan will be on a visit to Russia on June 7-9. He will participate in the meetings of the Euras

Armenian FM calls for maximum possible certainty in delimitation process with Azerbaijan

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia Ararat Mirzoyan talked over the phone with US acting Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Derek Hogan. Ararat and Hogan discussed issues of regional security and stability, the foreign ministry said in a readout.

Armenia, Turkey FMs express willingness to continue working towards full normalisation of relations

Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan had a phone conversation with the newly appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey Hakan Fidan.
ArmRadio, Armenia, U.S. normalization of Armenia-Azerbaijan relations

An Azerbaijani activist was arrested after posting a post criticizing Aliyev

Amrah Tahmazov sentenced to 30 days of administrative detention on charges of hooliganism and disobeying police orders. Other activists claim that his arrest is related to a post on social networks that addressed the President of Azerbaijan personally.

Azerbaijan urges its citizens not to visit Iran

Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry urges citizens not to travel to Iran. The warning comes amid strained relations between the two countries. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan announced that Farid Safarli, an Azerbaijan citizen studying in Germany, was arrested in Iran on charges of espionage.

The Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan will meet on June 12 in Washington

Armenian and Azerbaijani Foreign Ministers Ararat Mirzoyan and Jeihun Bayramov held a series of meetings in Washington in early May. After the four-day negotiations, the foreign ministries of the two countries noted that the positions of the parties on a number of key issues remain different.
CivilNet, Armenia, U.S. normalization of Armenia-Azerbaijan relations

The EU mission will open new operational centers in Kapan, Ijevan and Yeghegnadzor

European Union mission in Armenia will open new operational centers in Kapan, Ijevan and Yeghegnadzor. Head of the mission, Marcus Ritter, said that in the first 3 months of mission's presence, more than 300 patrols were carried out from its operational centers.

Donations to Armenia:

Armenian Wounded Heroes
If you'd like to support me: Patreon
Technical updates: I added PanArmenian and Civilnet as sources. These include a combination of English and Armenian articles where the Armenian articles are translated into English using the Google Translate API so keep in mind they may not be perfect. Also if the Google Translate costs become too high, I may have to limit the Armenian articles. Also you might notice the ordering of articles is a little weird and there might be some articles that are important not included here, or some irrelevant articles included, so I'll be working on improving that next.
Please provide feedback: more sources you'd like to see, formatting, etc. and I'll work to improve those.
submitted by HaykakanTxa to armenia [link] [comments]

2023.06.08 00:23 timeye13 My letter to Ezra and team (April 13th, 2023)

Hey everyone. I'm new to the community, but am an avid listener of Ezra's podcast. The reason I am posting this is because of recent developments in the topic of UAP (formerly known as UFO's). Please reference this article from The Debrief for more context. I hope the Ezra or the show runners see this and dig in. Thanks!
Hello Ezra and team,
Timeye13 here, reaching out from a very windy Golden Gate Heights in San Francisco CA. First, I want to acknowledge you and your staff for the excellent work relating to the ongoing development and wide proliferation of consumer facing LLM (and other) AI's. Your segments have spearheaded a conversation that is timely and necessary to understanding the broader implications of these tools and how uncertain the future truly is at this moment. I hope you continue the work as the subject continues to develop. I also enjoyed listening to your talks with Dan Savage and Rick Ruben. If Rick did an audio book reading of "Goodnight Moon" I'd likely listen to it nightly. The primary reason for this message is to draw your collective attention to recent developments that, in my opinion, merit much more exploration and reporting: the reality, ubiquity and acknowledgement of encounters with UAP or Unidentified Anomalous Phenomenon (historically labeled as UFO's). Since 2017, when Leslie Kean, Ralph Blumenthal, and Helena Cooper at the NYT's published an article about the DoD's AATIP program along with the 3 gun camera videos from Navy fighter pilots (Gimbal, Tic Tac, and Go-Fast: provided by Christopher Mellon) the public has become aware of government interest in this phenomenon. Primarily, how it relates to security concerns and threat scenarios within the IC and DoD. I won't rehash this story further, as there was a wide array of coverage pertaining to these events, specifically through the lens of military, defense and national security. There were some notable follow up pieces on the topic from Gideon Lewis-Krauss of The New Yorker, and 60 Minutes in the spring of 2021, as well as the first congressional hearing on UAP in 50 years in the Spring of 2022 (which can safely be categorized as political theater). Don't get me wrong, these were all important efforts, and groundbreaking when you consider the historical and ongoing stigma of this subject going back 75+ years. But there have been many remarkable developments since then...such as:
(There is a lot to unpack in this subject. This is basic surface level information) "What's the point of it all, Tim?" you might ask: well...if there is substantial interest from the US government (including Congress and the Executive branch), current and former US DoD and IC representatives, leading minds in academia from premier universities, multidisciplinary scientific bodies and think tanks, and private enterprise, WHERE IS THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA?! There is there there. Why aren't there journalists here here? Where are the leaders in journalism who took a journalistic oath to pull the threads that need to be pulled, follow the facts where they lead, and shine light into the darkness on the public's behalf? (That was only slightly preachy, right?) My point is, outside of a handful of reporters who do short segments on this topic, there isn't a single American investigative journalist with the bonafides of a Murray MAder, or Bob Woodward, or Carl Bernstein, or Ida Tarbell, etc etc, who have had the courage to follow the mountain of leads relating to this subject. Ross Coulthart in Australia is the only notable reporter who is actively pursuing this story. Surely, this has the implications to be the biggest story of all time, right? So where are the reporters? Where are you and your colleagues? Conspiracy theories aside (of which there are many), the heaps of anecdotal evidence is there. The physical evidence is lacking, which is a total understatement. The actions of the aforementioned groups should be evidence enough to motivate some big names in journalism to do their job. It takes courage to wade through decades of stigma and ridicule. I'd like to see more risks in this direction, and I think your team is well equipped to handle it. This might sound sensational, because it is in fact, very sensational. In my opinion, the only way to reveal whether that sensation is merited or not is to disinfect it with sunlight. What could be more interesting than to discover that the world we inhabit is a much much bigger place than we once thought, and that maybe non-human intelligence is not only something we're close to creating, but the universe has already iterated, and shipped it. Thank you for reading, whoever you are. I love the show and will continue listening. In keeping with show tradition I'll sign off by leaving you with my 3 book recommendations on the topic:
  1. American Cosmic: UFO's, Religion, and Technology- By Diana Walsh-Pasulka
  2. UFO's: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials go on the Record- By Leslie Kean
  3. In Plain Sight: An Investigation into UFO's and Impossible Science- Ross Coulthart
Maybe consider having a conversation with Dr Sean Kirkpatrick, former AWSAP director Dr Colm Kelleher, former UAP Task Force Director Jay Stratton, Sen Kirsten Gillabrand, Sen Marco Rubio, Rep Matt Gallagher, former Deputy Secretary for Defense and Intelligence Christopher Mellon, former AATIP Director Luis Elizondo, Leslie Kean, Dr Garry Nolan, Jaques Vallee, Avi Loeb, Dr Eric Davis, Diana Walsh-Puslka, Ross Coulthart, etc. Good places to start.
submitted by timeye13 to ezraklein [link] [comments]

2023.06.07 20:16 tobblerwobbler Buffalo Common Council Candidate Forum Recap

Last night, at the Downtown Library, PUSH Buffalo and The League of Women Voters held a candidate forum for all competitive races for the upcoming common council election. Each candidate running in a competitive Democratic primary was invited. The city has no Republican primary in any district.
Under NYS only registered party members can vote in party primaries. The deadline to change your party affiliation has passed according to the NYSBOE. The deadline to register is June 17th, any applications sent by mail MUST BE RECEIVED BY JUNE 17th.You can check your voter registration status and your polling location here. Information on registering to vote, along with Spanish forms can be found here.
Early Voting
Early voting is open Saturday, June 17th & Sunday, June 18th, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, June 19th – June 23rd, Noon to 9:00 PM Saturday, June 24th & Sunday, June 25th, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. You can vote at any of the following locations in Erie County, regardless of where you live.
Election Day
You can vote on Election Day, Tuesday June 27th. A full list of county wide candidates in each primary can be found at the ECBOE's website. For residents of the City of Buffalo, you can find out your council district at this link to the common council's website. You can register for an absentee ballot at the ECBOE. On Election Day you if voting in person,YOU MUST VOTE AT YOUR DESIGNATED POLLING LOCATION
The following candidates were in attendance at the forum, which the full video can be found (when the LWV posts it) on the LWVBN's Youtube page:
Not in attendance
No representatives for Lovejoy were in attendance. In addition, incumbents Joe Golombek (North), Brian Bollman(Lovejoy), and Rasheed Wyatt (University) were not in attendance. Non-Incumbent Zeneta Everhart (Masten) was not in attendance as well.Per the LWV's empty chair rule, the absence of two candidates from each district meant that only those running for Ellicot district were allowed to speak to the audience.
I will try my best in the following section to recap the event to the best of my abilities. I do not pretend to be unbiased, however, I will attempt to be fair to each of the candidates in my highlights section.
Matt Dearing (Note, he will also be on the November Ballot on the WFP Line)
Matt Dearing gave several answers of policy substance. He highlighted his experience as a community relations director for the NYS assembly. Some substantive policy positions he stated included:
Cedric Holloway
Cedric Holloway emphasized his love of his community, his involvement in youth sports and his role as a youth mentor. He used much of his time to talk about the value of community programs. Some highlights from him include
Eddie Egriu
Eddie Egriu highlighted his experience in the private sector and in activism. I frankly couldn't understand a lot of his answers to policy questions (at one point he gave a statement that could be interpreted as being either pro or anti-marijuana legalization for example). He included some attacks on other candidates, which I will not repeat. He emphasized
Leah Halton Pope
Leah Halton Pope emphasized throughout the night her deep relationships across the community and all levels of government. She emphasized her experience working for the Assembly Majority leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes. Many of her answers were vague and hard to pin down on specifics, often emphasizing working with others to find solutions. For instance, on a question regarding BPD's sharing of license plate information with federal immigration agencies, she emphasized being welcoming of immigrants, and "working with our partners in the federal government" to ensure their rights are respected. On housing, she emphasized the need for housing stability but did not commit to using the ETPA, (however, she may have alluded to it).On the issue of the 33 redesign:
If any of you were in attendance and would like to add to this, please let me know!
EDITS: Formatting and spelling corrections, Addition of Zeneta Everhart to the Non-Attendance section, separated early voting and Election Day voting
submitted by tobblerwobbler to Buffalo [link] [comments]

2023.06.06 21:31 ly_yangyy [AVAILABLE] Rules for Writers by Hacker (10th edition)

[AVAILABLE] Rules for Writers by Hacker (10th edition)

TITLE: Rules for Writers AUTHOR: Diana Hacker, Nancy Sommers EDITION: 10TH ISBN-13: 978-1-319-39289-5 (ebook) FORMAT: EPUB+PDF (Converted)
[TEXTBOOK ] Available
Please feel free to DM for more a sample or more details :)
submitted by ly_yangyy to textbook_unlocks [link] [comments]

2023.06.06 14:42 Johnny_Boy398 Africa Rework Proposal: Bêafrîka, Katanga, and the Mercenary Kingdoms of Africa

Africa Rework Proposal: Bêafrîka, Katanga, and the Mercenary Kingdoms of Africa
(This is part of a continuing series, links to which will be provided in the comments below)
Bêafrîka State: Bob Denard, Jean-Bédel Bokassa and the mercenary state.
The term “warlord” has been abused by many as a catch all term for any armed african group. It brings to mind images of a barbaric, violent oaf seeking to enrich themselves with trinkets and money off the back of their military extortion: an example of the primitive and bloodthirsty nature of the african. This is certainly the purpose of the term for the Germans, who seek to paint all native armed resistance in this light in order to justify their own return to the continent. But despite this abuse of the term, and its unjust application, it is not made up out of whole cloth: bandits, criminal gangs and short sighted thugs do exist among the africans as they do in all people, and the chaos of the German collapse has given these characters the opportunity of a lifetime. In the former RK Zentralafrika this is seen most clearly in the “mercenary state” of Bêafrîka.
Borders of a successful Bêafrîka. Many post-colonial African nations are accused of being artificial: random lines drawn on a map for the convenience of foreigners, and thus doomed to be either failures or exploitive facades. The truth of this statement is debatable: what makes a nation “organic”, is it truly critical that one be so? Are the struggles of new African nations so easily encapsulated? The argument goes on but all will agree on this: Bêafrîka is an utterly artificial and extractive state which can only begrudgingly be called a nation at all.
The north-west of Zentralafrika has always been something of a hodgepodge. The initial conquest of the area from the Free French meant the roll back of any “nation building” expenditures in favor of reverting back to the old company rule. Corvee slavery, plantations and almost non-existent infrastructure was the rule even under the French, and as such the transition to German ownership was almost seamless. If the average native african noticed a difference at all it was in the flags and helmets of the whites who terrorized them: their managers and guards stayed essentially the same. As such the region was seen by independence agitators as ripe for their own movements to grow in. Though such resistance was kept on a tight leash by the Germans it finally burst forth in the northern incursion of 1954. Supported by Nigeria and with the German forces drawn thin by the ongoing Wester Russian War, socialist militants made a lightning strike southward in the hopes of toppling Zentralafrika. For a moment it seemed as if they would do it: the road to Leopoldville was only lightly guarded and the rebel numbers were, in theory, vast. But it was not to be: poor command structures and infighting slowed the rebel advance for long enough that Kommissar Krogmann and Seigfreid Muller were able to reorganize and counterattack with the aid of a new breed of soldier: the Mercenary.
Though having been present in the role of corporate security for years this war was the instance when the Congo Mercenaries truly became a force to be reckoned with. Restrictions on who could hold a gun were dropped and the ranks of mercs swollen with Europeans, Asians and Africans. Though typically small groups and far more independent than Krogmann would have liked, they were all well acquainted with their trade and often brought along their own equipment. They could move fast, hit hard, and there was no reason to suspect their siding with the revolutionaries. With the aid of mercenaries and the cash of selling off vast tracts of land to private holders the revolutionaries were pushed back, and the long guerilla war began. Some areas of Zentralafrika were essentially passive, or had other security solutions. But in the north it was the mercenaries and the garrison which enforced the German order. Names of these men would soon become minor celebrities to the military minded, and their benefactor Seigfreid Muller got a promotion. But for our story only three names matter: the French “mercenary king” Bob Denard, “black Napoleon” Jean-Bédel Bokassa, and “the tiger” Alexandre Banza.
Though it is the armed men who hold real power in their hands, the counter-revolutionary forces are not all German and French soldiers of fortune. The APL’s anti-clerical excesses and radical nativism also alienated the thin class of native collaborators and most of all the catholic church. Barthelemy Boganda was one such native conservative, being a native priest who has tried to act through the church to both reform and aid his flock. After the death of his mentor Marcel Grandin Boganda has become a leading figure of pro-native reform without resorting to violence or leftist radicalism.
With the alliance of French and German landowners paying for their protection the mercenaries, though still technically led by Europeans, became the foremost armed presence in the north. Battling against resistance internal and external by 1962 they have become a hated and envied force, and one which Krogmann is eager to bring into line. But the South Africa War will get in the way of any reforms, with mercenaries once again being called on to shoulder the burden of warfare and internal suppression. By the end of the conflict, no matter how it ends, the mercenaries will have become an even more entrenched force in Zentralafrika. Of course when Huttig takes over this will no longer be tolerated. Having already been humiliated by Muller before, Huttig will take great pleasure in dismissing and rounding up the mercenaries, forcing them to join his forces as regular conscripts without any special privileges. Or rather he would, if he had been fast enough to catch them. When news came of Krogmann’s death and Huttig’s assumption of control the mercenaries did not wait for the order to come: they fled if they were able, and if not they seamlessly transitioned from paid agents of the state to new warlords out for their own survival and enrichment. And more than anyone they congregated around the new king of the mercenaries: Bob Denard.
For the year Huttig’s reign lasts the gangs of former mercenaries will be yet another thorn in his side: raiding, bribing and leading his forces on goose chases. And thanks to Huttig’s destruction of any boats or airplanes he could not gain control over these same former mercenaries had nothing else they could do, unless they cared to gamble trekking all the way to Free France. But Huttig’s flailing attempts to bring them to heel was only one of many threats: in this same area socialist militants and petty warlords also sprung up, and sought to destroy the hated mercenaries themselves. When Huttig dies and the German forces retreat to Leopoldville all pretense will be dropped: the Pan-africans, Fang Gabonese and Cameroonian revolutionaries will all attempt to proclaim new states and to expel the gangsters of German capitalism for good. But with their attention divided and the mercenaries still possessing skill, fire power, and all the money the old landowners could scrap together the attempt will only be half successful. Right between the three of them the new Bêafrîka State will be proclaimed.
Born in 1929 Bob Denard first got the taste for battle during the French State’s failed expeditions against De Gaulle in the late 40s. Deciding that there was better pay and better leadership to be had in Zentralafrika he was one of the first mercenaries brought in through the “King of the Mercs” Siegfried Müller. Though he has little patience for the Reich’s racial code he is a brave commander and an ardent anti-communist. After Müller’s disappearance upon Hüttig’s ascension the stranded mercenaries looked to those bold and skilled enough to lead them, and found it in Denard.
Under the nominal presidency of Boganda, who was practically kidnaped to take the role, the new state is in perhaps the most precarious position of all post-independence states.Their domestic support rests on a incredibly thin strata of white landlords, a handful of native conservatives and a mercenary army which is already looking for a way out the back door. And opposing them is a very dedicated coalition of native nationalists and revolutionaries. It would be the most natural thing in the world for this ramshackle “state” to disintegrate. But there is one thing which can unite them, and can make them all take the risk of fighting it out: Money. Specifically diamonds, gold, and other precious metals which can be sold high on the global market. The mercenaries, native or foreign, have struck for fame in Bêafrîka with the process of becoming more than the lap dogs of the wealthy, but instead to be the wealthy themselves. Baganda hates this of course, but no one asked: the guns call the shots here. And besides, the APL has already branded him a traitor to the people: in the mercenaries' eyes he should be thankful that he still has his head. And so it is decided, the mercenaries would make their own little heaven, and all they had to do to keep it was win the war for it.
Against them stands the APL, their long-time adversary. When the war begins these Pan-africanists, supported by Cameroon and Nigeria, will take the fight to Bêafrîka. This would probably be a death sentence if it were not for the fact the APL is fighting a two front war with the Nationalists to their east. If the mercenary state should still fail it will be dismantled, with the surrounding states taking over its former territory. But if it should win this first war the gamble will have, for now, paid off. Bob, Bokassa and the rest will be able to begin bringing in the money as they use outright criminal methods to both extract and then sell the bounty of the land. The people, of course, hate this as does the nominal “president”. And within the mercenary ranks new fissures will soon begin to show. When faced with a united enemy these men were willing to work together, but now that the threat of death no longer hands quite so close the question of dividing the spoils has quickly turned into a feeding frenzy: it seems to be every mercenary clique for itself trying to carve out its own privileged fiefdom. And it is here that the reformists, such as they are, spy an opportunity.
Alexandre Banza, born 1932 to the Gbaya people, is one of the very few high ranking officers who have a ethnic connection to the land they now rule. His story is much the same as the rest of the black mercenaries: born to a poor family he saw mercenary service as a path to excitement, respect and advancement he would never get on his own. Intelligent, ambitious, and unscrupulous he would rise to become a commander of his own group before the Huttig takeover, and should he take power will rename his state the Bêafrîka Republic, embarking on a cynical campaign of “reform”.
The continued presence of white mercenaries is especially resented by the people, and none more so than commander of the presidential guard and de facto leader of the Bêafrîka State Bob Denard. As such soon after the emergency of war has passed Denard will be dismissed from his position and the two most prominent native warlords Alexandre Banza and Jean-Bédel Bokassa will be invited in to take command. Denard of course has no interest in leaving, and will arrest the president in his own residence, but not before word of the new decree leaked to the streets and the other mercenaries. So it is that the fate of Bêafrîka will be decided the only way a state built on mercenaries could be: with a shootout for control of the president. On one side is Denard: he has already made overtures to Free France and the OFN, as well as criminal contacts in Europe. By leveraging these contacts, and with the aid of the remaining white mercenaries who see his removal as the precursor to their own, he may be able to fight his way out and rise to power over the bodies of his rival warlords.
If Bob Denard and his presidential guard emerges victorious president Boganda’s days will be numbered. Unceremoniously removing and replacing him with a more compliant puppet who I will not even bother you with the name of, any promised elections will be delayed, and then delayed indefinitely. In the end even the facade of democracy will be left behind as the government instead relies on various emergency decrees and under the table deals, as well as outright coercion to cement its power. This is the true mercenary state, in which the armed and powerful take what they want from the weak and destitute: the state will see its revenues come from precious minerals and eventually oil, but just as much from the underground world of smuggling, arms trading, mercenary contracts on behalf of any who will pay, and even (if rumors are to be believed) human trafficking. Denard himself is not so unsophisticated as many of his henchmen: he portrays himself and his state as anti-communist crusaders who are willing to go to the ends of the earth to protect the people from the bolshevik menace. But it makes no difference to the people and to his neighborhood: unless those friendly to him such as the Free French and the Belgian regionalists are victorious both Denard and his state will find themselves facing external invasion sooner or later. When that happens, surrounded by disciplined enemies and facing ever increasing internal revolts, Denard will do what mercenaries do best: he will gather what valuables and guns he can before fleeing. But if this should not happen: if the Congo should remain shattered, and Nigerian ambitions fail, who knows how long the dream may last?
Living as they do in a half criminal status all mercenaries are well acquainted with the underworld. Under Bob however the state itself will come to resemble a crime syndicate, with Bob acting as the Mafia boss. More than any other single resource diamonds are the breadwinner for the “White King of Bêafrîka”, but taking a page out of Manchuria’s playbook drug production and trafficking are increasingly filling the ledger as well. The diplomatic denouncements are nothing: there are always back doors which money can open.
But all this is only if Bob and his people should win the battle for President Boganda. For the first time having the full backing of the streets and with a larger manpower pool to draw from it is likely that the native warlords Alexandre Banza and Jean-Bédel Bokassa will become the victors, chasing out the (competition) colonizers in favor of their own rule. They shall of course be rewarded by the eternally thankful president for their good deeds: Bokassa will take over as the new head of the presidential guard, while Banza will become minister of finance and foreign minister. But just as inevitably there is no throne on earth big enough for two people and so the former allies will soon look for a way to oust the other. The hope of the civilians lay in the victory of the Alexandre Banza clique. If he should succeed in arresting and disappearing his rivals Banza will seek to somewhat moderate the state. Rather than rely on naked coercion he will enforce the most basic of social contracts: in return for the country's obedience he will provide protection. Though the basic facts of the Bêafrîka State shall remain: a thriving underground, an economy based on raw export, and a army of criminals, the worst aspects of this rule will be softened and the “civilianization” of government give cosmetic reform to the regime, and finally permit the nominal president a level of dignity, even being allowed to push some of his catholic inspired social reforms. Though not much more than swapping a military uniform for a business suit this will go some way to providing a sense of normalcy, and allow the state to take a non-aligned stance rather than become the plaything of some foreign power.
On the other hand is the favorite of the soldiers Jean-Bédel Bokassa. You know him as the “mad” emperor of the C.A.R. otl, but there was always a method to his madness: one cannot remain in power for over a decade by being stupid. Where Banza seeks to normalize his regime and to be seen as a developmental junta rather than a warlord, Bokassa will lean into his reputation as a warlord, adding esoteric elements to bolster his rule over strangers. Under Bokassa the new system will be entirely personal: he will take the already weak state apparatus and effectively dismantle it, instead relying on personalized dependents to govern the capital city, and leaving the remainder of the country to its own devices so long as it bent the knee when ordered. No longer able to convincingly portray himself as a benign figure to a people who are mostly foreigners to him, he will instead tap into local superstitions to appear as the master of the occult, ruling as a man to be feared even beyond the grave and allegedly indulging in cannibalism. Perhaps even more importantly however he will make a hard switch from western backing to eastern, seeking the protection and the money of Japan. In this at least he will be fairly competent: negotiating the relationship with Japan through a mixture of bribery, utility, and threatened confiscations to wring out as much foreign aid and diplomatic backing as he can. Beyond this his rule will be one of chaos and decline with the people seeing their standard of living decrease yet further to a near subsistence level. But it will be a chaos which Bokassa alone is the ruler of.
Jean-Bédel Bokassa has been fighting longer than most: volunteering for the Free French during WW2, he was captured and ultimately released during the German conquest of Gabon. From there he drifted as a menial laborer until the northern insurrection forced the Reichskommissar to bend, and Bokassa was called up by an old french commander. From there he rose to be the de-facto head of his own suit by 1962, and now the undisputed leader of his own fiefdom. The extreme personalism and close relation with Japan will eventually result in his coronation as the sovereign of the Central African Empire.
Whether it be cynical pragmatism or esoteric terror the Bêafrîka State will remain a pariah among their fellow african nations. Cameroon and Gabon will consistently attempt to undermine and take over their territory for themselves, while even the Germans will see any government as traitors and rebels. Though its military may find a backer and its people may become cowed, the incredibly fragile state will come to an end sooner than later, unless they get very lucky. Any Nigerian victory will be a disaster, but a successful unifyer to the south and east would be a great threat as well. They were already founded in the war against one of those potential unifiers and all contenders for power recognize that a united Congo is a dangerous Congo. So, either through direct aid in the case of Denard or cheering from the sidelines Bêafrîka must hope for the victory of the regionalists and Jean Schramme.
Katanga, the Regional Alliance, and “The Belgian”.
For the Pan-Africans, the Republicans, the Nationalists and even the Germans survival is not enough: they wish to reunite the old Belgian colony under their vision of the future, and perhaps even seek expansion beyond that. But not all “congolese” feel this way: in particular the province of Katanga sees no reason why it should not be free to plot its own course. Wealthy in its own right with economic ties to the south the elite of the mining provence see no reason why they should be chained to a central government, and are at least partially supported in this by the people. Just what future this “independence” takes is is still up for grabs, but in the chaotic aftermath of Huttings death Moïse Tshombe, Albert Kalonji and Jean Schramme will form a triumvirate to lead the Regional Alliance.
Élisabethville slum. Katanga is the richest province in the Congo, as well as the one with the highest concentration of Belgians, and as such has seen the beginning of a modern city develop in its capital. It has also been the prime region for victims of the Congo Dam to migrate into, on account of its relative stability and high labor demand. This has all combined to put a great deal of pressure on those populating the land south of the lake and the development of modern slums alongside the growing city.
Katanga is, in 1962, the last remnant of Belgian colonial rule left after the German takeover. Not formally of course, that had been swept away along with Belgum itself in the 50s. But just beneath the German surface the old colonial trinity of church, company and stick still held true, and mostly under Belgian control. In the aftermath of WW2 and the establishment of Burgundy many Belgians had chosen to migrate into their old colonial territory, either for political or economic reasons. Their numbers would soon fill out the officer ranks of the Force Publique, the managerial posts of various new mines and plantations, and the pews of the catholic church. But it would not be the end of their difficulties: the old trinity clashed with Krogmann’s designs for the colony and after formally absorbing it in 1955 the contest began. Where the catholic church once held near total control over healthcare and education, not to mention religious life, Krogmann favored secularism for the european and promoted dechristianization for the native. His hopes for dissolving the FP and for removing french and dutch from the lexicon would be similarly resisted. By 1962 this contest of wills has continued to grind on, with the steady advance of germanization being constantly interrupted by economic and political expediency. The Belgian Katangaians find themselves stuck uncomfortably between German pressure from above and Native pressure from below.
This native pressure is on one hand from the educated evoles, always looking to improve the lot of themselves and sometime of their kin. But it also increasingly comes from the restless masses who have come under pressure from the fallout of the Congo Dam. As the Belgian congo moderately prospered the cities began to grow as well, with the colonial authorities making tentative attempts to accommodate the influx. But after the Congo dam and the German takeover both of these trends changed. Millions of refugees fled the great flood into the wealthiest regions they could go: Leopoldville and Katanga. The population of the cities exploded, and the subsistence agriculture still practiced by most Congolese came under incredible pressure as migrants and squatters proliferated. The Belgian authorities meanwhile were left without the resources needed to truly accommodate this change, and were left with only the Force Publique to try and keep the “indigenes” separate from the new “foreigners”. It was in this context that regionalist associations with the goal of protecting specific people, such as the Lula or Lunda, came to dominate the native political scene, such as it was. Both of these movements discovered that they had similar enemies: both resented German power and feared the “national” native resistance. But this did not yet mean they became allies.
Moïse Tshombe, the nominal head of Katanga. Born to a noble lineage and always wealthy, his desire to be liked and his lack of spin have made him into an ideal puppet for other interests. His current sponsor is the remnants of the old Belgian Union Minière, which comprise much of Katanga’s economy. Though not hated by any “his” government is in reality more beholden to his lieutenants such as Godefroid Munongo.
Katanga had lived in an atmosphere of tension even before the rise of Huttig and the advent of the “Afrikareich” did nothing to alleviate this tension. As part of Huttig’s program to fully disarm the natives and bring all armed forces under SS command he attempted to disarm the Force Publique and Belgian mercenaries, rolling them into its own armed forces. Prominent civilian Belgians were arrested and replaced with SS men, leaving both the Belgians and the natives angered. Under this new pressure some decided to give it up: the new regime could not be bargained with as the prior one was, and any resistance clearly meant death. But enterprising elements were not willing to take death laying down: most prominently this included Godefroid Munongo and Jean Schramme. Using their own wealthy connections and estates as payment they would form small resistance groups, and would be the first formal alliance between the Belgians and the regionalists. To cut a long story short when Huttig dies and the Germans retreat to Leopoldville, those SS governors who do not flee will find their lifespans much shorter than expected, and those brave or desperate enough to resist Huttig will return to power. In the face of nationalist calls to reunite the congo however, the regionalists will move first. With the lavish bribery of local mining conglomerates and the justification of “popular will”, the Belgian community led by Schramme and localist leaders will form the first concret result of their ad-hoc alliance: The State of Katanga.
In its first years Katanga is a divided and unsettled place, forced into unity by the common fear of external subjugation but beholden to competing political camps. The state itself is at least nominally led by Moïse Tshombe, descendant of the kings of the Lunda people and scion to one of the last wealthy native families. He is the figurehead of a poorly organized class of native elites and collaborators, most often independently wealthy and committed just as much to their own economic privileges as they are to the cause of regionalism itself. But despite this Tshombe heads the closest thing to a “popular movement” in the new state: the "Confédération des associations tribales du Katanga" (CONAKAT). Formed in the interest of protecting the livelihoods of the Lunda against the encroaching migrants it is through this party that the people are mobilized for war. Relying on traditional authority and elite connections in the name of a tribalism has been effective in at least countering the partisans of the republicans and nationalists which contest the provence. Just as in the other contenders the war is as much a mater of internal division as it is defeating external challenges. But in order to meet those external enemies the party has been obliged to do so with the aid of their “ally”, the Belgians.
Jean Schramme, despite his official profession, is less of a mercenary and more of a Belgian “contractor” who has a reputation for getting things done and resisting German encroachment. Coming to Africa soon after the end of WW2 he is part of a new breed of Belgians who consider Zentralafrika, or more accurately Katanga, as their true home and embrace the ideal of a paternal ruler of their “primitive” neighbors. Being a successful entrepreneur as well as part time leader of the “Leopard Battalion” Jean has become a prominent part of the Belgian expat community. But though he no longer wishes to return to Europe do not think he has forgotten what the Nazi’s did: the old motherland is dead by German hands, and he has not forgiven them.
Just as on the native side the Belgians are divided internally: German policy was frustrating and insulting, but it was also relatively stable and offered a protection against the natives surrounding them. To forgo this protection and risk battle with the world's superpowers in the name of an uncertain independence requires a boldness uncommon in men. But since when did the meek make history? Returning from his armed exile Schremme will find the FP and Belgian police in disarray, and take it upon himself to topple the last of the SS governors. In his mind there is no question: in order for the Belgians to be free and prosperous they must take the risk of rebellion against Germany and carve out their own state in the chaos. But despite his personal exploits he is unable to do this on his own, and so despite his personal distaste for allying with the native regionalists his own backers in the belgian mining and administrative class have forced him to make common cause with “their” evolese. Regardless Schremme has become the critical belgian commander in this rebelion, bringing the remainder of the belgian community with him whether they like it or not. He leads in a mercenary style, never far from the front lines and with a greater emphasis on personal bravery than more mundane things like logistics.
Though Katanga is the heart of the Regionalist Alliance it is still only one part of that alliance: to the eastern flank is Sud-Kasaï, led by Albert Kalonji as the vanguard state of the Luba secessionist movement. Both Kalonji and Tshombe claim to be protecting their people (Luba and Lunda respectively) from becoming minorities within their own land and from becoming the playthings of another foreign power, whether that be Germania, Washington or any other place. They are also both from prominent and wealthy local families, who have cooperated with the belgian colonizers for generations and have every personal incentive to resist foreign acquisition. As such their support is not primarily from the people, but from the oligarchs and the army. These are two significant advantages however: While other factions are scrambling to put together a military, a state, and to pay for it all, Katanga and her allies are able to fall back on the old colonial power structures, expanding the FP and leveraging oligarchical ties to slap together an army faster than their rivals. With the mix of audacious leadership, money and the Schramme loyalist mercenaries/formed FP officers the alliance may be able to snatch its independence despite the lack of international backing.
Map of regionalist victory, Azandeland acts as a placeholder for local authority (or lack thereof), Sud-Kasai is the Luba Empire. The immediate issue facing the regionalists will be export access: the states survival depends on the revenue from its extensive mining operations, and if that material cannot be exported it is worthless. For this Katanga must either negotiate a trade deal with the German remnants, or seek a detente with the self proclaimed frontline of liberation Zambia. Neither is eager to do this, but the world calls for what Katanga can provide, most of all Uranium. Eventually the market will win out, and one side will decide it is better to compromise principle than give the other an opportunity to gain access to the Katanga bounty.
IF VICTORIOUS the Regionalist Alliance will comprise an expanded State of Katanga, the Luba Empire, and a number of minor eastern powers propped up by Katanga. For the Luba and the Eastern chiefs the question of post war politics is an easy one: tribal traditionalism shall prevail as Albert Kalonji names himself king and the local chiefs are either bribed or threatened into compliance with the new order. While some may make efforts to modernize and advance their domains it will only be done under the watchful and occasionally helpful eye of Katanga. The only question remaining is who will be in control of Katanga itself. Jean Schramme is not a reasonable man, or at least not a moderate one: if he feels that he and the Belgians are not granted their proper place he may well try to overthrow Moïse Tshombe and install himself as the leader of the new state. The natives are less than satisfied as well: though free of foreign control it is clear to them that the old order is no longer acceptable: the people who fought and won the war for independence demand that their sacrifice be rewarded in some meaningful way. And most of all the question of race can no longer be papered over: The Belgians and Europeans remain on top, the migrants have been savaged, and the land and jobs available are not enough to satisfy them all.
To reconcile these internal difficulties a conference shall be held between the Belgian leadership of the army and company's one on hand, and the native oligarchs and officers on the other to see if a viable solution can be worked out. On the Belgian side the question is that of security and property: they wish to maintain the full roster of legal rights granted to them by belgian law, to keep their property and company concessions, and for a Belgian “veto” in the national government to ensure that Belgian rights are not trampled by some future populist government. On the CONAKAT side is a desire to renegotiate the terms of the “social contract”: to ensure a majority native voice in government which cannot be overruled by Belgian privilege, greater native ownership of property and the full abolition of any legal barriers to their advancement. However both sides are united in seeking stability and in their distrust of the congolese “masses”. Those masses are not without a voice themselves: through labor unions, dissident political parties and new officer associations the experience of warfare has made the people politically aware. If the result of the conference does not give some bones to the people it may find that its support is far too narrow to be stable.
Union Minière, once the undisputed master of the Katanga economy, has declined somewhat under German overlordship. With a majority of its shares owned by the Belgian state and its former leadership fleeing to America after the end of the war its foundations were shaky. When Krogmann began the great sell off and rescinded the Belgian Congo’s autonomy the company found itself in yet more hot water. Transitioning to a locally owned company within Zentralafrika itself the Union has been forced to cut back on its paternalistic spending to make ends meet. Beyond the typical demands for labor rights and wage increases the Kantaga people also wish for a return to the housing, education and social protection once afforded by the leviathan. With its place in Katanga once again secure this may just be possible.
A successful conference will be one of compromise. For the people a number of social protections and laws will be promised: greater state funding to education, hospitals, and housing will be promised, along with a hike in wages. In order to afford this the belgians will need to accept their privileged economic position comes with a responsibility to fund the state which protects it: though direct taxes may be a bridge too far a system of expected “gifts” and an expansion of the old paternalism into state guided policy may work out. In return for their material contributions the Belgians will receive legal autonomy, organizing their own political parties and keeping their land. The native oligarchs meanwhile would take the national stage, being granted privileged places within the Katanga economy as well as using CONAKAT as their vehicle for political dominance. Concessions and compromises such as these require that all parties trust the other to keep up their end of the bargain, and not simply alter the deal when they feel they are able. And in the aftermath of a brutal civil war and a political culture of corruption such trust is very hard to come by. But if these difficulties are overcome, and Jean Schramme is kept mollified, the new State of Katanga will be ruled as a collaborative oligarchy, keeping real representation out of the hands of the people and wealth in the hands of a few, but also a relatively stable and moderate government which is willing to compromise when need be. Unless it is a question of distrusted ethnic groups attempting to secede from the state or restart Congolese unification, in which case the Katanga Gendarmerie will be the only answer given.
But what if this conference does not succeed? What if the protests outside become too large, or the sides are too inflexible, or if Jean Schramme believes the rights of Belgians are being sold too cheaply? Then the Rule of Fire will come back and those with the force to crush their opposition will prevail. And in Katanga that can only mean one thing: Schramme and his allies will stage a coup, placing themselves in charge once again as an emergency government. Those unwilling to ally with him will be dismissed, replaced with those who are. The new mission of the state is the protection of “Belgian civilization” in Katanga, with Schramme attempting to revive the old trinity of Church, State and Company under his guiding hand. He never truly wanted to be in this position: he would much rather simply go back to his plantation and be master of his own little world. But he belives that his new homeland calls out for leadership and guts it seems only he can provide, and so he will seek to lead it into the future he envisions. One where the Congo natives are grateful and subservient to their betters, where all the structures of the trinity are led by Europeans to the benefit of all. Of course most of the natives have very different ideas about what the future should look like, and so Schremma’s Katanga will immediately be thrown into a bush war as the old civil war factions reform as guerrilla movements seeking to topple his dictatorship. The profits of Katanga are vast, especially if one is willing to sell uranium to anyone willing to buy, but how long will money and determination be able to hold against the will of the people?
At a stretch the white population of Katanga is 100,000, while the total african population is somewhere north of 1.5 million. This is before one considers the increasing populations of the Luba Empire and the eternal frontier of the Eastern Congo. And then there is the highly likely presence of hostile regimes on the borders: all the money in the world cannot win Schramme this Bush War, and he will either need to swallow his pride and accept democratization for the natives or accept the return of the Reich as suzerain. And even that may not be enough to avoid the rage of a people betrayed.
submitted by Johnny_Boy398 to TNOmod [link] [comments]

2023.06.06 11:09 miarrial Bizutage mortel en BELGIQUE : Entre torture et « justice de classe », retour sur l’affaire Sanda Dia

Bizutage mortel en BELGIQUE : Entre torture et « justice de classe », retour sur l’affaire Sanda Dia

RÉCAP' Les 18 accusés ont été condamnés vendredi à des travaux d’intérêt général et une amende 400 euros, suscitant l’indignation dans le pays
Publié le 05/06/23 à 18h08
Des manifestants brandissent des portraits alors qu'ils participent à un rassemblement contre la sentence clémente prononcée par un tribunal belge à l'encontre d'étudiants tenus pour responsables de la mort de Sanda Dia, à Bruxelles, le 4 juin 202
  • Environ 1.500 personnes ont manifesté dimanche à Bruxelles et à Gand en mémoire de Sanda Dia, l’étudiant métis mort à la suite d’un bizutage en 2018.
  • Les manifestants ont dénoncé le jugement clément dont ont bénéficié à leurs yeux les membres du cercle étudiant à l’origine du drame.
  • 20 Minutes revient sur cette affaire qui secoue la Belgique.
Dix-huit accusés, 18 condamnations. Aucun acquittement n’a été prononcé vendredi pour les camarades d’école de Sanda Dia, étudiant belge décédé à la suite d’un bizutage violent. Les peines prononcées par la cour d’appel d’Anvers ont toutefois suscité l’émotion. Les 18 accusés ont été condamnés à des heures de travaux d’intérêt général ainsi qu’à 400 euros d’amende pour coups et blessures ayant involontairement entraîné la mort. Une sentence jugée clémente par la famille ainsi que par des centaines de personnes descendues dans la rue dimanche pour protester contre le jugement rendu. Circonstances de la mort, origines sociales des accusés, peine prononcée… Retour sur cette affaire qui secoue la Belgique.

Quand et comment Sanda est-il décédé ?

Anversois né d’un père mauritanien, Sanda Dia, 20 ans, entamait ses études d’ingénieur à la prestigieuse université catholique de Louvain (KU Leuven) à l’automne 2018. Le 4 décembre, au lendemain d’une épreuve de vente de roses dans la rue dont il était ressorti mal classé, il avait dû ingurgiter une quantité phénoménale d’alcool. L’enquête a montré qu’après plusieurs bières, il avait bu à lui seul un litre de gin, et que l’objectif était de ne pas le laisser dessaouler. Le robinet du lavabo de son appartement de Louvain avait été scellé au ruban adhésif pour l’empêcher de s’hydrater.
Le lendemain, les épreuves s’étaient poursuivies autour d’un chalet isolé de la périphérie d’Anvers. Cette fois, le « bizut » devait séjourner dehors dans le froid dans un trou rempli d’eau glacée, après avoir avalé une mixture à base d’huile de poisson. Lors de ce bizutage infernal, l’étudiant a également été soumis à « l’ingestion forcée de bouillie pour chien et d’une souris malaxée, de torture animale et d’arrosage à l’urine », raconte Le Monde. Quand Sanda Dia est admis le 5 décembre au soir aux urgences d’un hôpital proche, la température de son corps est tombée à 28,7 degrés, une hypothermie rendant « toute prise de sang impossible », a raconté lors du premier procès en 2021 l’un des médecins l’ayant examiné.
L’étudiant est rapidement transféré en soins intensifs dans un autre hôpital. Son décès est constaté le 7 décembre. L’œdème cérébral fatal résulte de teneurs en sodium anormalement élevées dans son corps, selon le dossier médical.

Quelles sont les peines prononcées ?

Des peines allant de dix-huit à cinquante mois de prison avaient été réclamées en mars, lors du procès devant la cour d’appel d’Anvers (nord). Mais la cour a été plus clémente, écartant notamment la prévention d'« administration de substance nocive ayant entraîné la mort. » Une référence à la mixture très salée à base d’huile de poisson qu’avait dû ingurgiter le « bizut », et dont les médecins ont estimé qu’elle était la cause de l’œdème cérébral fatal.
Les 18 étudiants de la fraternité des Reuzegommers sont renvoyés en correctionnelle deux ans après les faits. Tous sont finalement tous reconnus coupables de « coups et blessures ayant entraîné la mort sans intention de la donner. » Ils écopent selon les cas de 200, 250 ou 300 heures de travaux d’intérêt général – des « peines de travail » selon la terminologie belge –, ainsi que de 400 euros d’amende, sans compter les milliers d’euros de dommages et intérêts dus aux parties civiles. Outre l’administration de substance nocive, la cour a aussi écarté la prévention de « non-assistance à personne en danger. » Les membres de la fraternité Reuzegom à l’origine du bizutage « ont fait le nécessaire dès qu’ils ont vu qu’il était en danger », a commenté une porte-parole de la cour d’appel citant les motivations de l’arrêt. Après l’épisode du puits d’eau glacée, « ils lui ont donné des vêtements secs, ont essayé de le réchauffer ».

Comment a réagi la famille de Sanda Dia ?

La décision a été accueillie par la famille Dia avec « soulagement » et « frustration », selon les mots de Sven Mary, avocat du père. Lors du procès, ce dernier, Ousmane Dia, avait dit que mettre les coupables en prison « ne lui rendrait pas son fils », a rappelé l’avocat. Toutefois, « ils n’ont pas reçu les réponses qu’ils espéraient, en raison notamment du silence des Reuzegommers », a déploré Me Mary. Il a fustigé l'« omerta » qui a régné durant toute la procédure au sein du cercle étudiant à l’origine de ce bizutage. L’avocat estime par ailleurs dans une interview au média belge Humo « que le long cheminement juridique a joué en faveur des Reuzegommers ».
Sven Mary va un peu plus loin dans l’interprétation du jugement. Cette fraternité, dissoute depuis, rassemblait des jeunes issus de milieux favorisés qui entendent faire carrière à grandes responsabilités. Les accusés ne font pas exception. Or, « si leur casier judiciaire contient les mots "homicides accidentels" et "traitements dégradants", cela aura un impact sur leurs possibilités d’emploi », analyse encore l’avocat dans la presse belge : « ces gars-là aussi veulent tous occuper des postes à responsabilité : juge, entrepreneur, politicien. Eh bien, je pense que les gens devraient savoir ce que les politiciens ont fait dans leur vie s’ils veulent voter pour eux. »

Pourquoi les Belges ont-ils manifesté ?

Environ 1.500 personnes, en grande partie des étudiants et des familles, ont manifesté dimanche à Bruxelles en mémoire de l’étudiant métis. « Justice for Sanda », « le silence tue », pouvait-on lire sur les pancartes brandies par les manifestants dans la capitale belge. Une autre manifestation a réuni dimanche après-midi un millier de personnes à Gand, en Flandre (nord), selon la police locale citée par l’agence de presse Belga. Elle était organisée par plusieurs associations de lutte contre les discriminations.
L’un des organisateurs du rassemblement bruxellois, Jean Kitenge, a dénoncé auprès de l’AFP « une justice de classe ». « Est-ce que la sentence aurait été la même si les auteurs avaient été comme moi noir ou maghrébin ? », a-t-il interrogé, appelant aussi à « cadrer davantage les folklores étudiants. » Cet étudiant belgo-congolais, se disant touché à titre personnel par l’affaire, a rappelé que Sanda Dia n’était pas du même milieu social et de la même couleur de peau que les organisateurs du bizutage. Des fils de « l’élite » flamande, selon lui. Le rassemblement était symboliquement organisé devant le Palais de justice de Bruxelles, neuf jours après l’épilogue judiciaire, à Anvers (nord), de ce dossier qui a eu un gros retentissement, particulièrement en Belgique néerlandophone.
submitted by miarrial to francophonie [link] [comments]

2023.06.06 04:54 HeadOfSpectre The Silver Baron - 5

July 7th Excerpt From the Journal of Violet Stone

I don’t remember much. Just the scenery flying by me as I ran from the train station. I didn’t see anyone chasing me. But I felt chased. I didn’t know what to think, what to feel, or even where the hell I was going. The only thing I felt was fear.

When I finally stopped, it was because I just couldn’t run any further. My lungs burned, begging me for air. So I ducked into an alley, trying to catch my breath, and organize my thoughts. The rain pounding down around me was too loud. The street was too quiet and every car that passed by sent another fresh jolt of terror through me as I replayed what had happened at the train station over and over again in my mind. The way that he’d fallen, the look on his face in the instant before he’d gone under the train. Oh God… I couldn’t get it out of my head! I couldn’t stop seeing it in my mind!

I wanted to go home, but was that even an option? How the hell does someone just go home after something like that? I couldn’t just waltz through the door like nothing was wrong! If Sam and Lisa didn’t notice, Rose sure as hell would and that assuming that the police weren’t already there. Someone could have recognized me! That Marilyn Monroe looking girl on the platform had gotten a good look at me. What if she told someone? It didn’t matter whether I’d meant to push the guy or not! It didn’t matter how much I’d fucking hated him at the time. He was dead. I was responsible. I’d pushed him. It was my fault.

‘I’ve just fucking killed a man!’

That thought… that reality didn’t feel real. It hadn’t truly hit me yet.

I’ve just fucking killed a man!’

I felt sick. If I actually had anything in my stomach, I might have even thrown up. Moving made me feel even worse, so I just stood there, letting the rain soak me to the bone, shaking from the horror and the cold while I tried to figure out what the hell I was going to do next. But all I could think about was the way he looked as the train went over him, and wondering if anything would have changed if I’d at least tried to grab him. Could I have caught him? Could I have saved him? What then? What would happen next? As far as I knew that motherfucker had murdered my goddamn parents! Should I really have even bothered trying to save him? Maybe I should have felt vindicated by all of this? Maybe this was some kind of justice, right? It sure as hell didn’t feel like justice. It’s not like I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that this had been the guy! There were doubts! There were a lot of fucking doubts!

I heard the sirens in the distance. But nobody came for me. I saw a police cruiser pass my alley. It didn’t stop for me, but it did make me think about my sweater. The goddamn sweater… it would probably be enough to identify me, right?

For a moment, I thought about turning myself in to the police. I mean, maybe once I told them that it was an accident, then maybe they’d be cool with it and let me go? I mean, the police are just known for being trustworthy and reasonable, right? What did I possibly have to worry about with them? I could just turn myself in and everything would be hunky fucking dory! ‘Oh, you just threw a man in front of a fucking subway train! Yeah, no big. Go home! Take a load off! Get some coffee! Try not to think about the man you just threw under a fucking subway train!’ Yes! Go to the police Violet! Great idea! And while you’re at it why don’t you do it in the fucking nude too? GREAT IDEA VIOLET! ALMOST AS GREAT AS THE TIME YOU THREW A MAN IN FRONT OF A FUCKING SUBWAY TRAIN! REMEMBER THAT?

I took off the sweater and abandoned it in the nearest dumpster. I hid it under some trash bags and hoped to God that nobody would ever find it, then, after standing in the rain like an idiot for several minutes with no idea on where to go next, I started walking home.

Nobody noticed me.

Nobody followed me.

The city was just… quiet. Not quiet, quiet. But nothing felt out of place. The world around me almost felt normal, and it was my own fault that the normalcy felt wrong somehow.
I entered my old bedroom through the fire escape, just like I used to back in high school when sneaking out at night to drink was the worst thing I’d ever done. I could hear people in the apartment, and I listened to see if any of the voices were unfamiliar. I heard Sam and Lisa talking over breakfast, and I could hear the TV. Nothing out of the ordinary. It satisfied me enough that I was safe. I locked my bedroom door and crawled into bed, pulling the covers over my head and listening to the rain and the voices outside. But I heard nothing out of the ordinary. It was like nothing had happened. Like it was all just a bad dream. Eventually, I fell asleep.

I stayed in bed until well after noon, staring up at the ceiling when I couldn’t sleep anymore. Sam and Lisa both left for work. I could hear Rose going around the house. She’d said that she had the day off, save for classes in the evening. She only bothered me once, though. Knocking on my door to check on me. I told her I was sick, and she didn’t pry. She didn’t sound suspicious. Just concerned.

I kept replaying what had happened at the subway station over and over again in my head. I couldn’t stop thinking about it and I couldn’t stop hating the quiet around me.

Sometimes, I wondered if it was just a bad dream. If maybe I’d never even left my room at all. Maybe I just wanted to believe that. It was better than thinking I’d just killed someone. There was a part of me that didn’t really seem to care. It still hadn’t fully hit me yet. After all, no one had come for me. So maybe it really was just a bad dream? Even if it hadn’t been, how had that man known who my Mom was? What about the things he’d said? Was it just a weird coincidence, or a horrible mistake? Maybe it was both.

I checked my phone when the afternoon began to slip into evening. The whole event was getting hazier in my mind. I was starting to convince myself it hadn’t happened. Lisa had messaged me, asking how I was feeling. Rose must’ve told her I was sick. I lied and said I was feeling a bit better, then I checked the news.

When I read the story I felt sick all over again. No name for my victim, no information at all. The man who’d gone under the train was just identified as ‘a man.’ That was it. Nothing else. There wasn’t even a picture of him.

There was however a picture of me… kinda.

It was blurry as hell. I tried to make out my own face amongst the black and white pixels but I couldn’t. It might have been me as I entered the station, although my hood was over my head, my hair was covered, and the only thing I could sort of identify was my lips, which aren’t exactly that distinct. Really, it could have been anyone in that picture. Anyone at all.

An unknown possible suspect’ It said under the picture. Followed by: ‘The suspect is believed to be male, approximately 6’2 and was last seen wearing a grey hoodie and jeans.’

They got the outfit right, and were only a little off with the height by two inches.

All in all… I can’t say that any of this really seemed damning to me. Although the idea that the police (or at least the news) had no idea who I was didn’t do a whole hell of a lot to calm me down. The idea of ‘getting away with it’ seemed just as bad as being caught.

For the second time that evening, I wondered about turning myself in to the police. I mean, this wasn’t exactly first degree murder. It was an accident! That had to be at least manslaughter, right? I mean, it was still a crime but it wasn’t first degree murder, right?

Christ… I was probably committing an even bigger crime by not coming forward! Why wasn’t I going to the nearest police station? What the hell was stopping me? Fear? Fear of what, consequences? You don’t fucking kill a man and not suffer any consequences! Even if it was an accident, there had to be some kind of consequence, right?

Was it justice? Assuming that this guy really had been the one who’d killed my parents all those years ago, did he really deserve to die like that? Thrown screaming under a train and… and…

God I didn’t even know if it was really the guy or not! It could have been anyone! He could’ve just randomly known my Mom and just so happened to look like her killer! It wasn’t even a perfect resemblance! I mean, fuck, how many fucking people in New York have blond hair, blue eyes and glasses? Thousands at least! Justice wasn’t a valid excuse! It just wasn’t!

I wanted to continue to lie there and stew, but I don’t know if that was really an option anymore. Slowly, I forced myself to get out of bed and head into the kitchen. I’d eaten nothing all day, which wasn’t all that healthy of a diet. As a further fuck you to my digestive system, I rummaged through the cupboard. There was a box of off brand pop tarts that I jammed them in the toaster for breakfast, if you could still call it that at five in the evening.

While I waited for my sugar enriched breakfast to ‘cook’ I raided the fridge for a drink. I found some OJ, and wandered into the living room. Rose had already left for class, but I knew Sam and Lisa would have been home soon.

When they did come home, they found me in the living room, under a blanket and finishing my shitty off brand pastries. Lisa fussed over me, like I knew she would. Sam just took over the TV and changed the channel to something other than the news.

I went to bed early last night, checking the news stories again on my phone before lying awake in bed. I might have slept a little. I couldn’t really say. I was just alone with my thoughts.

I’m not supposed to go back to Toronto for another day or so. But maybe I could leave early? Fuck off, leave all of this behind me and try to move on with my life? Sam and Lisa wouldn’t question it… much. That sounded like a horrible idea though. Just… fucking off, forgetting, pretending that this didn’t happen. It sounded like a mistake. Running away seemed like the exact kind of thing that would come back to bite me in the ass… and then what would I do? Was I supposed to just keep running from it? I knew in my gut that this would only ever make things worse. What would that do to Sam and Lisa? What would it do to Rose? I didn’t want to find out. I didn’t want to put them through that!

As I lay in bed a quiet resignation settled over me… and oddly enough, with it came a bit of peace. I guess even if no one else ever found out about what had happened at Prince Street, even if I took that secret to my grave, it would still gnaw at me. I’d still be looking over my shoulder, waiting for the day to come when it caught up with me. I didn’t want to deal with that. I didn’t want to put my family through that!

So I made a decision.

I don’t know if this will be my final entry or not.. I might not be coming back after this. Sam, Lisa, Rose… if any of you are reading this, I’m sorry. I swear to God, I didn’t mean for any of this to happen.

I’m going to go to the police in the morning and I’m going to turn myself in. So if this is it… well… goodbye.

I hope you don’t hate me too much.


Okay, so what the fuck?

I did the right thing! I turned myself in to the police! I was ready to go to jail over this!

Instead, I’m back in my old bedroom at Sam and Lisa’s and I’m 99.9% sure that I’m off the hook.

I went to the police station. I told them that I was there to confess and up until that point, things went as expected. They took me to an interrogation room and I waited for someone to come and talk to me. I was in there for about an hour, fidgeting aimlessly with my hands and waiting for some kind of judgment before someone finally bothered to show up.

The guy who walked through the door had a sort of ex military look to him. His eyes were intense and he had a muscular physique with a neatly trimmed goatee. He didn’t say a word to me as he came in. He just looked down at the file in his hands before sitting down at the desk.

“Violet Stone, right?” He asked. Straight to business. I always thought that Detectives were supposed to come off as friendly at first. This guy seemed like he’d come in with the express purpose of kicking my ass.
“Yeah, I’m Violet.” I said.

He looked up at me, sizing me up for a moment before huffing.
“Alright… well Violet, well my name is Vincent Bennett. I’m the Detective assigned to the Arthur White case. I understand you’re here with information, correct?”

Arthur White? Was that the name of the guy I’d killed?
“Yeah… I was… I was the one on the subway platform with him.”
“The one who pushed him?” Bennett asked.

I hesitated for a moment before nodding.
“It… it was an accident!” I said, “He’d grabbed my arm, I was just trying to get him off of me!”
“Right… tell you what Violet, why don’t you walk me through what happened yesterday morning, okay? Tell me everything that you remember.”

I did just that. I told him about how I’d run into Arthur and his daughter while I’d been out on a jog, I told him about how he’d mentioned my mother and how I’d followed him, and finally I told him about what had happened on the subway platform.

The whole time, Bennett just took notes and nodded quietly, only pausing a few times to ask a question.
“So - you attest that it was an accident, that Mr. White fell into the path of the oncoming train?” He asked.
“Yeah… yeah, it was.” I said.
“Okay. You mind if I ask why it took so long for you to come forward?” He asked, “I mean… this happened yesterday morning. It’s been at least twenty four hours.”

“I was panicking!” I said, “Look, I didn’t know what to do or if I should come forward or what!”
“A man was killed,” Bennett replied. “And you fled the crime scene. You also took a while to come forward. Forgive me if I find any of that suspicious.”
“Well, I’m trying to do the right thing now!” I argued although Bennett’s stony expression didn’t seem to change much.

“Miss Stone… are you aware of who Arthur White is?” He asked. “Do you know much about the White family?”
That question of his seemed awfully loaded.

“No, why are they important?” I asked.
“Depends on which circles you run in,” Bennett replied. “I’m gonna be honest with you… Arthur White was a real piece of shit. I wouldn’t really call him the worst member of the White family. Arguably he made the rest of them look saintly in comparison. But he was still a man with a… history. You say he resembled the man who you believed killed your parents… was that your only motivation for following him to the Prince Street station?”
“He mentioned my Mother by name!” I said, “He said he knew Diana Stone!”

Bennett paused, before looking up at me again.
“You’re Diana Stone’s daughter?” He asked.
My brow furrowed.
“What, you knew her too?” I asked.
“I’ve… heard the name before.”

My heart skipped a beat.
“So he did kill them…” I said softly, “You’re telling me that he did kill them?”
“Arthur White was not a suspect in the Diana Stone murder, no. His-”

Bennett’s phone started to ring before he could finish whatever it was that he was trying to say. His ringtone was the opening riff of ‘Phantom of the Opera’ by Iron Maiden.

He paused, tensing up a little at the sound of the ringtone. Then he quietly reached into his pocket to take his phone out. He stared at the screen, which depicted a big red X on it, before quietly standing up.

“Excuse me,” He said softly as he left the room, and for a few minutes, I sat there in the uneasy silence, waiting for him to come back. I found myself fidgeting with my hands again as I looked over at the mirror that dominated the wall to my left. I figured that there had to be someone behind it, watching me. Maybe it was Bennett? I squinted, trying to see if I could see him behind the glass, but there was no luck.

The only thing I saw was my own reflection, squinting back at me like an idiot and the security camera in the corner behind me. I looked back up at the camera, staring into it for a moment. I wondered if maybe Bennett was watching me through there. Maybe nobody was watching me? It was hard to say. I stared back into the iris of the camera for a moment, before the door opened again and Detective Bennett came back in. I saw him stuffing his phone back into his pocket.

Something about his demeanor had changed, but it was hard to say exactly what. When he spoke to me again, his tone was much quieter.
“Thank you for your time, Miss Stone. We have all we need. You’re free to go.”

Free to go?

“Wait, what?” I asked. “I… I just killed a guy! What do you mean I’m free to go!”
“You indicated that Mr. White’s death was an accident, correct?” Bennett asked. “That’s all we need. Go home, kid.”
I stared at him in disbelief. He was just letting me go? I’d fucking killed a man and they were just letting me go? That didn’t make any sense!

“So that’s it?” I asked, “You’re not going to arrest me or… or press charges or…?”
“No. We’re not,” He said. “You’re free to go.”

He picked up his folder and headed for the door again, pausing before looking up at the camera and then back to me. He held the door open for me, and after a moment, I got up and followed him.
“Do I need to get a lawyer?” I asked.
“That won’t be necessary,” He replied as he led me back through the police station. Once we were back at the front door, he pushed through and gestured for me to follow.

Once we were outside, I watched him take out a pack of cigarettes and a lighter.
“So that’s just it, then?” I asked. This whole thing still confused me.
Detective Bennett still didn’t reply. He just looked up toward the building, before taking a drag on his cigarette.
“Take my advice, kid… don’t ever look a gift horse in the mouth. It might not always be so pretty on the inside,” He didn’t look at me as he said that. He started down the steps of the police station, before pausing. “And do yourself a favor, keep your head down for the next little while.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” I asked, but Detective Bennett was already walking away from me.

I’m not an idiot.

Something isn’t right here. I just don’t know what.

I keep thinking back to the phone call Bennett got. I’ve got a feeling that it had something to do with my sudden release. What I don’t know is what or why and to be honest, I’m not sure that I want to find out.

Bennett told me to keep my head down, and I’m smart enough to take his advice.

I’m leaving tonight.

I’m going to let Sam, Lisa, and Rose know over dinner. I’ll think of some bullshit excuse. Maybe I’ll say that it’s a work thing, or something. They’re not going to check. I’m supposed to be heading home in a couple of days anyway, so they’re not going to think too much of it if I leave early.

Either way, whatever the hell I’ve gotten myself into, I want to get out of it sooner rather than later.
submitted by HeadOfSpectre to HeadOfSpectre [link] [comments]

2023.06.06 04:52 HumanOverseer I ranked all 283 songs on my playlist from favourite to least favourite

y'all prolly don't care but I did it anyway so ¯(ツ)¯
Rank Song
1 Michael Jackson - Ghosts
2 afi - Miseria Cantare - The Beginning
3 a-ha - Take On Me
4 Journey - Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)
5 Pearl Jam - Future Days
6 Evanescence - Bring Me To Life
7 Alter Bridge - The Other Side
8 Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody
9 Killswitch Engaged - This Fire
10 Motorhead - the game
11 Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit
12 Michael Jackson - Earth Song
13 Michael Jackson - Remember the Time
14 Saliva - I Walk Alone
15 Linkin’ Park - Crawling
16 Michael Jackson - Stranger In Moscow
17 Michael Jackson - Man In The Mirror
18 Michael Jackson - Bad
19 Imagine Dragons & JID - Enemy
20 Michael Jackson - Blood On The Dance Floor
21 BANKS - The Devil
22 Eminem - Godzilla ft. Juice WRLD
23 Elton John - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
24 Billie Eilish, Khalid - lovely
25 Luniz - I Got 5 On It
26 Dr. Dre - ETA (with Snoop Dogg, Busta Rhymes & Anderson .Paak)
27 Michael Jackson - They Don’t Care About Us
28 grandson & Jessie Reyez - Rain
29 The Cranberries - Zombie
30 Linkin Park - BURN IT DOWN
31 Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, Silk Sonic - Smokin Out The Window
32 Earth, Wind & Fire - September
33 Doja Cat - Woman
34 Linkin Park - Numb
35 Shakespears Sister - Stay
36 Michael Jackson - The Way You Make Me Feel
37 Britney Spears - Toxic
38 Michael Jackson - Billie Jean
39 Michael Jackson - Beat It
40 Michael Jackson - Thriller
41 Michael Jackson - Smooth Criminal
42 Bray Wyatt – Shatter
43 Doja Cat - Vegas
44 Linkin Park - In The End
45 Dr. Dre - The Scenic Route (with Rick Ross & Anderson .Paak)
46 Imagine Dragons - Natural
47 Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson - Scream
48 Imagine Dragons - Cutthroat
49 Coolio - Gangsta's Paradise (feat. L.V.)
50 Nirvana - Something In The Way
51 Limp Bizkit - Rollin'
52 Katy Perry - California Gurls ft. Snoop Dogg
53 Doja Cat ft. SZA - Kiss Me More
54 Lady Gaga - Bad Romance
55 Post Malone, Swae Lee - Sunflower )
56 Bring Me The Horizon - Can You Feel My Heart
57 Living Colour - Cult Of Personality (Official Video)
58 Queen - Killer Queen
59 Queen - Another One Bites the Dust
60 BANKS - Skinnydipped
61 Doja Cat - Say So
62 Michael Jackson - In the Closet
63 Rev Theory - Voices
64 Disney - We Don't Talk About Bruno
65 Michael Jackson - Rock With You
66 Britney Spears - Circus
67 Madison Beer - I Have Never Felt More Alive
68 Dua Lipa - Physical
69 Eminem - River ft. Ed Sheeran
70 Jefferson Airplane - White Rabbit
71 Imagine Dragons - Bones
72 Britney Spears - Oops!...I Did It Again
73 Lil Nas X - MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)
74 Doja Cat - Get Into It (Yuh)
75 Dua Lipa - New Rules
76 Gotye - Somebody That I Used To Know (feat. Kimbra)
77 Michael Jackson - Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'
78 Michael Jackson - Jam
79 Eminem - Lose Yourself
80 Queen - I Want to Break Free
81 Childish Gambino - This Is America
82 Joji - Glimpse of Us
83 Linkin Park - Somewhere I Belong
84 Hamilton - The Room Where It Happens
85 Snoop Dogg - Gin And Juice
86 Michael Jackson - Heal The World
87 Louis Armstrong - What A Wonderful World
88 NF - The Search
89 Hamilton - Satisfied
90 Ren - Money Game
91 Queen - We Are The Champions nn
92 Tech N9ne - Face Off (feat. Joey Cool, King Iso & Dwayne Johnson)
93 Jessica Darrow - Surface Pressure
94 Michael Jackson - Money
95 Motionless In White - Demons in Your Dreams
97 BANKS - Gimme (Official Video)
98 Dua Lipa - Break My Heart (Official Video)
99 Idina Menzel, AURORA - Into the Unknown (From Frozen 2)
100 Warriors (ft. Imagine Dragons) Worlds 2014 - League of Legends
101 Dr. Dre - The Next Episode (Official Music Video) ft. Snoop Dogg, Kurupt, Nate Dogg
102 Eminem - Venom
103 Céline Dion - Ashes (from Deadpool 2 Motion Picture Soundtrack)
104 I Want You Back - The Jackson 5
105 Imagine Dragons - Sharks (Official Music Video)
106 Joan Jett & The Blackhearts Bad Reputation - Official Music Video (1983)
107 Guns N' Roses - Welcome To The Jungle
109 Waterproof Blonde - Just Close Your Eyes
110 Sam B - Who do you Voodoo, Bitch
111 Skillet - Legendary
112 Billie Eilish - bury a friend
113 Ren - Money Game part 2
114 Guns N' Roses - Sweet Child O' Mine
115 Kevin Sherwood - Where Are We Going?
116 twenty one pilots - Heathens
117 Eminem - Without Me
118 Heavy - Linkin Park (feat. Kiiara)
119 Lady Gaga - Paparazzi
120 As The World Caves In - Sarah Cothran
121 Dr. Dre - Still D.R.E. ft. Snoop Dogg
122 Obie Trice ft. Eminem & Dr Dre - Shit hits the fan
123 Eminem - Big Weenie
124 Michael Jackson - Black Or White
125 SZA - Kill Bill Feat. Doja Cat
126 Clean Bandit - Symphony (feat. Zara Larsson)
127 Dua Lipa - Levitating Featuring DaBaby
128 Imagine Dragons - Believer
129 Mario Judah - Die Very Rough
130 Dua Lipa - IDGAF
131 Sabrina Carpenter - Thumbs
132 Ed Sheeran - Bad Habits
133 Imagine Dragons - Radioactive
134 Ariana Grande - thank u, next
135 D'LOURDES - How Did You Get So Good?
136 Queen - We Will Rock You
137 Imagine Dragons - Thunder
138 Eminem - White America
139 Olivia Rodrigo - good 4 u
140 Lorde - Royals
141 Billie Eilish - bad guy
142 Wiz Khalifa - See You Again ft. Charlie Puth
143 Leonard Cohen - Hallelujah
144 Michael Jackson - Who Is It
145 Hamilton - We Know
146 Michael Jackson - Speed Demon
148 K/DA - MORE ft. Madison Beer, (G)I-DLE, Lexie Liu, Jaira Burns, Seraphine
149 Shaman’s Harvest - Broken Dreams
150 Michael Jackson - I Just Can't Stop Loving You
151 Skillet - Hero
152 Michael Jackson - Leave Me Alone
153 Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa & Imagine Dragons w/ Logic & Ty Dolla $ign ft X Ambassadors - Sucker for Pain
154 Ava Max - Sweet but Psycho
155 RISE (ft. The Glitch Mob, Mako, and The Word Alive)
156 Downstait - Kingdom
157 Hamilton - Say No To This
158 Eminem - Survival
159 Backstreet Boys - I Want It That Way
160 Alter Bridge - Metalingus
161 Britney Spears - ...Baby One More Time
162 Michael Jackson - Dirty Diana
163 Michael Jackson - P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)
164 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Main Theme - Lifelight
165 PinkPantheress, Ice Spice - Boy’s a liar Pt. 2
166 Bee Gees - Stayin' Alive
167 Motorhead - line in the sand (Evolution)
168 K/DA - POP/STARS (ft. Madison Beer, (G)I-DLE, Jaira Burns)
169 Dua Lipa - Don't Start Now
170 Sam Smith, Kim Petras - Unholy
171 Imagine Dragons - Bad Liar
172 Ed Sheeran - Beautiful People (feat. Khalid)
173 Imagine Dragons - Birds
174 BANKS - Deadend
175 Mark Crozer and The Rels - Broken Out In Love
176 NWA - Gangsta Gangsta
177 Bon Jovi - Livin' On A Prayer
178 Toto - Africa
179 Michael Jackson - Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough
180 Ariana Grande - 7 rings
181 Eric Reprid - Vam
182 Imagine Dragons - Demons
183 Halsey - Without Me
184 Calvin Harris, Dua Lipa - One Kiss
185 Mark Ronson - Uptown Funk ft. Bruno Mars
186 Jim Johnston - Domination
187 K/DA - DRUM GO DUM ft. Aluna, Wolftyla, Bekuh BOOM
188 Lil Candypaint & Bhad Bhabie - 22 (Remix)
189 Dr. Dre - Gospel (with Eminem)
190 Lady Gaga - Applause
191 Shawn Mendes, Camila Cabello - Señorita
192 Billie Eilish - when the party's over
193 Phoenix (ft. Cailin Russo and Chrissy Costanza)
194 K/DA - I’LL SHOW YOU ft. TWICE, Bekuh BOOM, Annika Wells
195 Idina Menzel, Evan Rachel Wood - Show Yourself
196 Ash Costello - Brutality
197 The Gentle Men - Obsession
198 Imagine Dragons - Whatever It Takes
199 Demi Lovato - Sorry Not Sorry
200 Ed Sheeran - Perfect
201 BANKS - Beggin For Thread
202 2WEI and Edda Hayes - Warriors
203 Queen - Don't Stop Me Now
204 Dr. Dre ft. Snoop Dogg - Nuthin' But A G Thang
205 Fall Out Boy - Centuries
206 The Greatest Showman Cast - The Greatest Show
207 Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande - Rain On Me
208 Valerie Broussard - Awaken
209 Eminem - Rap God
210 The Weeknd - Blinding Lights
211 PVRIS - Burn It All Down
212 Fall Out Boy - My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up) (Part 1)
213 Michael Jackson - Will You Be There
214 K/DA - THE BADDEST ft. (G)I-DLE, Bea Miller, Wolftyla
215 twenty one pilots - Stressed Out
216 Tears For Fears - Everybody Wants To Rule The World
217 K/DA - VILLAIN ft. Madison Beer and Kim Petras
218 Loren Allred - Never Enough
219 Carly Rae Jepsen - Call Me Maybe
220 One Direction - Drag Me Down
221 Endeverafter - No More Words
222 Eminem - Fall
223 Zendaya, Zac Efron - Rewrite The Stars
224 Lil Nas X - Old Town Road ft. Billy Ray Cyrus
225 Disney - Remember Me
226 Bone Thugs N Harmony - 1st of tha Month
227 Lukas Graham - 7 Years
228 Whitney Houston - I Wanna Dance With Somebody
229 Ed Sheeran - Shape of You
230 Camila Cabello - Havana ft. Young Thug
231 Selena Gomez, Marshmello - Wolves
232 ZAYN - Dusk Till Dawn ft. Sia
233 The Greatest Showman Cast - This Is Me
234 Lewis Capaldi - Someone You Loved
235 Lil Nas X - STAR WALKIN'
236 Dove Cameron - If Only
237 U.S.A. For Africa - We Are the World
238 Dr. Dre - Fallin Up (with Thurz & Cocoa Sarai)
239 Tyler, the Creator - SORRY NOT SORRY
240 Nicki Taylor - Worlds Collide
241 Taylor Swift - Blank Space
242 Maroon 5 - Girls Like You ft. Cardi B
243 The Gentle Men - 2019 Guy
244 The White Stripes - Seven Nation Army
245 Eminem ft. Rihanna - The Monster
246 Charlie Puth - Attention
247 Bruno Mars - Grenade
248 Queen - Radio Ga Ga (Official Video)
249 Julia Michaels - What A Time ft. Niall Horan
250 The Greatest Showman Cast - A Million Dreams
251 Rihanna - Umbrella ft. JAY-Z
252 Lady Gaga - Poker Face
253 Clean Bandit - Rockabye feat. Sean Paul & Anne-Marie
254 Eminem - Love The Way You Lie ft. Rihanna
255 Sam Smith - I'm Not The Only One
256 The Chainsmokers - Closer ft. Halsey
257 Eminem - Not Afraid
259 Ellie Goulding - Love Me Like You Do
260 Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper - Shallow
261 David Guetta - Titanium ft. Sia
262 E-40 - Captain Save A Hoe ft. The Click, D-Shot, B-Legit, Suga T
263 Sofia Carson - Love Is The Name
264 Christina Perri - A Thousand Years
265 Maroon 5 - Moves Like Jagger ft. Christina Aguilera
266 Against The Current - Legends Never Die
267 Eminem - Like Toy Soldiers
268 Abba - Dancing Queen
269 Eminem - My Name Is
270 Shawn Mendes - Stitches
271 Malia J - Smells Like Teen Spirit
272 One Direction - What Makes You Beautiful
273 ZAYN, Taylor Swift - I Don’t Wanna Live Forever
274 Lil Nas X - Panini
275 Fergie - Glamorous ft. Ludacris
276 Ke$ha - TiK ToK
277 Sabrina Carpenter - Can't Blame a Girl for Trying
278 Shawn Mendes - Treat You Better
279 Shawn Mendes - There's Nothing Holdin' Me Back
280 Marshmello & Anne-Marie - FRIENDS
281 Pitbull - Timber ft. Ke$ha
283 Hudson Mohawke - Cbat
submitted by HumanOverseer to teenagers [link] [comments]

2023.06.05 23:02 bpulis This is one of the scariest movie that nobody ever talks about. Have you seen it?

This is one of the scariest movie that nobody ever talks about. Have you seen it? submitted by bpulis to moviecritic [link] [comments]

2023.06.05 20:44 CIAHerpes My father always kept the shed locked. Today, I found out why (part 3)

Part 1: https://www.reddit.com/nosleep/comments/13u9t3m/my_father_always_kept_the_shed_locked_today_i/
Part 2: https://www.reddit.com/nosleep/comments/13vycj7/my_father_always_kept_the_shed_locked_today_i/
The Undergraves were as close to literal Hell as I could imagine. In fact, we only survived because of a twist of fate and a sad, lonely mutant.
There were creatures everywhere, and most of them were horrible things to behold. More of the strange pig-men with long knives had come out of the surrounding rooms. They always had human bodies hung up and butchered, drying meat stretched out on hooks all around the room. Hell, if Gil and I had no problem with cannibalism, we could eat for years in this place.
I had shot at least a dozen of the pig-men, trying to conserve my ammo by using only a single headshot where possible, and Gil had decapitated probably a dozen more. Some of them we just ran away from, especially if there were large groups. But it felt like we were going further into the fire rather than escaping from it.
There were windows now, endless windows along the sides of the rooms, and they showed a world in flames. I saw people with missing limbs huddled around barrel fires in bombed-out cities, husks of tanks scattered across the street and bodies hanging from the lampposts. I began to see where the meat to feed all these creatures was coming from. Gil and I found a room with a pyramid of clothes, shoes and glasses that stretched to the top of the room.
“Brother,” Gil said, “this place makes me sick.” I sighed, sitting down on a pile of clothes and opening some beef jerky and a candy bar. I checked my ammo supplies, and realized I was down to my last magazine.
“I can’t wait to get out of this fucking place,” I said. “The smell of so many dead bodies must have seeped into my clothes by now.” Then I heard a soft rustling from behind me. I turned my body, pulling up the gun and pointing it. A strange man stood there with his hands up.
He reminded me of pictures I had seen of the Elephantman. Tumors and scarred, rounded growths stuck out all over his head. His forehead sloped radically to the left, and one of his eyes was slanted, the folds of skin around it hanging loosely above and beneath it. He had on an old military uniform, one I assumed he scrounged from some dead body. My finger tightened on the trigger for a moment, then I relaxed. He had no visible weapons.
“Please…” he said. “Can I get a chocolate bar?” I laughed, breaking the tension and handing him an Eisenheart. It was, apparently, a brand he knew and loved, for he ripped it open and ate it, smiling and bowing. I gave him a soda too. His face brightened like a child’s. “Thank you, thank you! Nice men, very nice.”
“What’s your name, friend?” Gil said slowly, still holding his bowie knife tightly. I still had my finger on the trigger as well, but I had a feeling we wouldn’t need weapons for this guy.
“Frankie,” he said. His smile was so wide now that it showed all three of his remaining teeth. “I’m a friend?”
“Sure,” I said. “Why not? Frankie, my name is Luke, and this is Gil. We’re good guys. We’re… not from here. In fact, we are trying to get out. Do you know how to get out of here?” Frankie paused for a long moment, as if that many sentences at once had overloaded his brain’s processing power. His face took on a slack, vacant look. Then he brightened and nodded.
“You can go to Rusty Township right out there,” he said excitedly, pointing out the window to where a woman’s body was being picked apart by angry, squawking birds. I shook my head, smiling.
“While that seems like a real nice place,” I said, “I’m actually looking for another where. We came down here on the circular stone stairs. Some… uh, real nice people told us that those stairs could be found over here in the Undergraves, if you follow that strange hallway covered in muscle and skin straight.” Those “real nice people” had also been cheering and clapping as they shoved one another in an iron maiden and let the blood soak into the floors, I remembered. Frankie laughed, a genuine, happy sound that felt strange in this place.
“No, friend,” he said, wiping a tear from his eye, “if you go straight into the Undergraves, you come to the Pit of the Skull. There’s thousands of angry demons in there. They’d eat you.” He continued laughing. “I think your other friends played a joke on you.” I swore, my face darkening. Gil looked like he was about to be sick.
“Never trust a woman with scurvy blossoms on her face,” Gil muttered. “I should have known.”
“So we would have died if we followed their directions?” I asked. Frankie nodded. I wanted to go back to where I had seen them and use the last of my magazine on those sick weirdos, but I tried to focus on my breathing and calm down.
“Jesus man, it’s a good thing we found you,” Gil said, reaching into his pocket with his unmutilated hand. “You want another chocolate bar?”
From what we learned from Frankie, who tended to stare off into space and drift off topic but seemed otherwise all there, the people who sacrificed each other to the iron maiden or, as they called it, the steel mistress, were all refugees from Rusty Township. They were also apparently cannibal cult members. Once they had drained the blood from whoever picked the burnt match or played Tic Tac Toe the worst or whatever other insane way they chose, they would throw the mutilated body into the opening of the Undergraves. The demons would come out after the drums and drag the body away to eat it. And the cult members also tended to send wayward travelers, like ourselves, down into the Undergraves to get killed and eaten by demons. Apparently they thought these precautions kept them safe from the majority of the horrors of the Undergraves, and hell, they had survived this long, so maybe they were right.
The urge to go back and murder the whole lot of them came strongly to me. I could see Gil felt the same way. But getting home was far more important.
Frankie had lived here for years, foraging from the occasional vending machines and stealing supplies from the cult members and demons. I assumed this means he ate human meat for a lot of his calories, but I wasn’t going to point it out. It just didn’t seem polite at this point. He seemed like a hard guy to upset though. After all the things he had seen, it was hard to imagine him turning out otherwise.
But it also meant he knew the halls and intersections like the back of his hand. When I explained to him the staircase we had come through, his eyes lit up.
“I know it,” he said, “but it is nowhere near the Undergraves. It changes, but it is always found at either the beginning of the Endless Hall…”
“That’s where we came in, I think,” Gil said. “It seemed endless enough.”
“Or it hides between the meeting place of Veriden and Rusty Township.”
“So we were right next to it?” I asked angrily. Now I really wanted to kill those lunatic cult members. Frankie nodded, drawing back slightly, his eyes widening at my anger.
“Well, let’s go,” Gil said, looking more tired than I had ever seen him, holding the bloody, bandaged remains of his hand against his chest and wincing. “I’m tired as hell, but I’d like to get out of here before those nutjobs find us and throw us in an iron maiden, or maybe some pig monster slices me up and makes jerky from my muscles.” Frankie shook his head violently.
“No, no, no,” Frankie said, “if you go back the way you came, you will die. The drums stopped.”
“What are the drums?” I asked. He shrugged.
“They come from the ceilings and walls,” he said, describing a small, black box that sounded like a speaker. “Maybe they were originally set up before the collapse of Rusty Township. I know not, friend.”
“I don’t give a flying fuck about the drums,” Gil said. “What happens if we just walk back the way we came?”
“The cleaner comes after the drums,” Frankie said in a whisper. “The cleaner is mean. He is a tall, metal man, as tall as the ceilings, and he is strong. I’ve seen him snap the pig-men in half.”
“So is there another way around the main hall?” I asked. Frankie took a long moment to think, then he nodded.
“It’s dangerous too,” he said. “The tunnel underneath leads back, but it has strange things.” This was all he would say about it.
“OK, Frankie, lead the way,” Gil said, throwing the deformed man a bag of beef jerky and a soda. We were getting very low on food and drinks by this point, but as I saw it, it wouldn’t matter. Either we would get out, and we would have plenty of food and drinks back home, or we wouldn’t, and we wouldn’t need food and drinks if that was the case. An old riddle popped into my head as I considered this. What is greater than God, worse than the devil, the dead eat it always, but if the living eat it, then they die? Nothing.
Frankie got up quickly, eating the entire bag of beef jerky in a single swallow, which I didn’t even know was possible until I saw him do it. His cheeks were stuffed like a chipmunk, and he chewed slowly and thoughtfully with his few remaining teeth, savoring the taste of the meat.
Then he went back behind a pile of clothes, felt around on the floor, and with a cry of triumph, pulled out a weapon. It was just a baseball bat with rusty, bent nails sticking out of it like the broken quills of a porcupine, but it was better than nothing.
“Let’s go, friends,” Frankie said. “I would do anything to help my new friends. You should go home, where you belong. We all need a home…” He trailed off sadly. I looked around at where he lived, and my heart broke for him.
He stuck his huge head out the door, looking up and down the main hallway of the Undergraves. Slick, muscular growths covered the walls, the ceiling and the floor. The red stuff seemed to contract and expand, as if it were undergoing peristalsis.
With a look back, he nodded and went forward. We followed along, placing all of our trust in this strange being who called us his friends.
The hatchway to the tunnel was in an auxiliary room a few hundred feet down the hall. I walked in front next to Frankie, seeing as I had a gun and needed to be able to shoot in an instant without worrying about them being in my way. The hatchway was rusted and ancient-looking. It had a wheel that had to be turned to open it, and it took the strength of all three of us to get it moving. It squealed loudly, flakes of rust splintering off it. I cursed under my breath, hoping that it wouldn’t draw attention. As soon as it was open, we went down the ladder, one by one, underneath the main hall.
The tunnel was cramped and dark. Red emergency lights placed every hundred feet or so gave us some illumination, but not much. Everything had a bloody glow to it. And there were auxiliary shafts running off the main one, some with no lights at all. But in the darkness, I could have sworn I saw movement, as if a slightly less black silhouette were moving towards us through the darkness.
We got through as fast as we could. Another ladder led up, and we took it. But that strange sensation of being followed by dark shapes hadn’t left me.
The ladder opened into a room I didn’t recognize at first. The hatchway panel opened up into a place filled with detritus, broken furniture and mold spread out all over the floor. But when we got into the main hallway, I felt like cheering. Further down, I saw the sign for the intersection of Rusty Township and Veriden. And crossing in front of it, I saw the cult members who had tried to give us directions to the ninth circle of Hell, or whatever that place truly was.
“Stop right fucking there!” I screamed, raising the gun. The dark-haired woman with the scurvy blossoms on her face jumped so high, I thought she might fall over. The other cult members turned and looked at me, surprised and afraid. “Didn’t expect to see me again, did you? Thought I would get killed by demons and maybe you could take my body and eat it? Or just give it as a sacrifice to those abominations?”
“Sir, I am sorry,” the woman said, “but we must get out of here. The machine…”
“Stay right there, or I will blow your goddamn head off,” I said, walking forwards quickly and shoving the gun in her face. “Your brains will be dripping off the wall. You’re not going anywhere.”
And then I heard it. A mechanical whine started down the hallway, coming closer.
“The cleaner,” Frankie whispered in a tone that reminded me of the scared voice of a child. “Oh God, the cleaner…”
I kept the gun raised, but prodded the woman forwards towards the intersection of the three hallways, looking down towards the Rusty Township side, where the noises were coming from. What I saw sent my heart racing.
It was a robot, at least ten feet tall. Its silvery skin shone in the flickering fluorescent lights. It had two eyes that shone white LED light, a slit of a mouth, and long arms and legs that looked like they had been made of steel beams.
“Freeze,” it said in an emotionless voice. “Please show identification.” The cult members screamed and started to scatter like cockroaches. The robot instantly responded upon seeing them move, taking one of its long arms and running forward, whipping it across the hall in a blur. I heard bones crack and saw bodies break as they were pushed into the walls and, in one case, out of the window. I heard shrieking for a few seconds as the hapless man fell to his death.
“You’ve killed us all,” the dark-haired woman told me accusingly. She tried to run away from me as I backpedaled away from the insane robot, but it grabbed her, twisting off her neck with a loud crack. Blood poured out of her head as the robot threw it across the ground, rolling it like a bowling ball.
“You are in violation of executive order number 82,” the robot said. “Show identification, or lethal force will be used.” It was running at me now, and I saw it approaching as if in slow motion. I knew I was dead.
And then Frankie came running out, swinging his baseball bat as hard as he could into the robot’s back. The nails stuck into the metal. I saw his large muscles bulging as he tried to pull it out. But before he could, the robot turned and hit him with a balled-up metal hand. Frankie’s skull collapsed inwards as he fell, crumpling into a heap in the corner.
“No!” I screamed, running forwards. I looked at the bright eyes of the robot, and suddenly, an idea came to me. It was the only one I had.
I started emptying the magazine into the robot’s face, and within seconds, its white eyes had burst. My ears were ringing from so many gunshots in such a small space. Sparks and wires shot out, and the robot began to wail. The smell of gunpowder and burning metal filled the area.
“Visual centers offline,” it said, “visual centers offline. This is a catastrophic error. Contact Victoriat Arms Corporation and report the location and type of this error. A large reward is offered. Please call 1-600-333…” I stopped listening. The robot had begun to move randomly, swinging its arms and legs in wide circles as its alarm blared. I saw it crush a few more cult members to death. It smashed into the walls, breaking the sheetrock and leaving huge dents and holes everywhere.
I ran over to Frankie. He was still alive, though he was fading rapidly. His eyes were shutting.
“Did I help my friends?” he said slowly, sadly. I nodded, a single tear falling from my eye.
“You saved us,” I said. “I’m so sorry…” He nodded, then closed his eyes and let out a long breath.
“The stairs… are down the Veriden hall. Before the train to Naraka,” he said. “Go home, friend. Go home.” Blood pooled around his broken head as his lips began to turn blue and his breath stopped.
Gil pulled me up, whispering in my ear.
“I think we’re being followed,” he said. “We need to go now.” And so we did. We began running down the hallway. I looked back, seeing the bodies of the dead cult members and the kamikaze writhings of the robot as he smashed into random rooms and went further down the hallway towards Rusty Township.
But there was something there, something dark and humanoid. I squinted, but it faded into the shadows.
“There!” Gil yelled, pointing to a door I recognized. It was a chipped blue door with a daisy painted on the front. My euphoria and elation was so high at seeing it that I grabbed Gil and hugged him.
“Frankie did it,” I said. “He got us here…” And then we heard the shriek from behind us. I turned to look, but it was all dark shadows now behind us. The flickering lights had died.
We flung open the door, running through it. It opened on the same circular stone steps that we had used to get down here. They were still slick, still endless, and still had no railing, but my adrenaline was so high that I just started sprinting. My fear of heights had nothing on my fears of what was down here with us.
But whatever it was following us, it was getting closer. I could hear it gaining, hear it shrieking. I checked my gun as I ran, and was not surprised to see I had no ammo left. All we had was that damned bowie knife.
I was exhausted, but we kept running, on the verge of passing out. Eventually the temperature started to go up, and the air felt less oppressive and thick. I could see the entrance to the shed a few more revolutions up around the circular stones. Using the last of our energy, we sprinted to the end of the stairs.
We ran out into the shed, clearing the last of the slick, stone steps. The door was locked, just like when we left it. There seemed to be new gouges in the plate metal shielding the interior of the shed, deep claw marks and lines running every which way, but especially over the shielding for the door. Gil fumbled in his pockets for the key.
“Hurry up,” I said through gritted teeth. “It’s coming.”
“I can’t…” Gil said, reaching into every pocket. He kept coming up empty-handed. He had lost the key, and now we were going to die.
Then he reached into the little pocket built into the main pocket of his right front jeans, and I heard a tiny jingle. He brought up the leather strap with the shed key on it. With shaking hands, he shoved it in the lock and began turning.
I heard deep thudding footsteps only feet behind us now, and a demonic voice began to shriek. My ears rang in a high-pitched squealing, but I kept my hand on the now useless gun, looking back and forth from the door to the last step. Just as Gil pushed open the door, I saw it.
It had empty, black sockets where its eyes should have been. Its skin looked like the tight, desiccated skin of a mummy, and it seemed to tremble and writhe as its body moved. Its mouth opened nearly to the center of its chest, just a huge, black void that sent out deafening screams constantly, seemingly without needing to breathe.
We slammed the door shut. I put all my body weight against it as Gil put the key into the lock and began to turn. There was a tremendous shaking as the abomination slammed into the door, and then Gil clicked the lock into place and pulled the key out. I slid to the floor, my heart beating so fast that I couldn’t feel the individual beats anymore.
After resting a while, we went back into the house. Gil flipped on the TV, where we saw “Breaking News” flashing across the screen on our local channel.
“The death of an entire family in Lancester County today continues to remain unsolved. Authorities state the neighbor found the bodies of Larry Matheson, age 46, his wife Linda Matheson, age 41, and their children, Jonathan Matheson, age 11, Jordan Matheson, age 7, and Abigail Matheson, age 3. Authorities state that the amount of violence at the scene was ‘unbelievable’, and that the victims were physically mutilated both before and after death.
“In addition, authorities told our reporters that the heads of the children were removed, and that they still found no sign of them. Police believe the killer or killers likely took the heads with them.
“Anyone with any leads is asked to call…” I shut off the TV. Gil looked up at me. The shrieking in the shed started up again, and I heard scratching and clawing coming from behind the house.
“Something got out,” I said. “Something got out of the shed.”
submitted by CIAHerpes to nosleep [link] [comments]

2023.06.05 20:12 autotldr Sanda Dia: Belgium reckons with verdict over black student's hazing death

This is the best tl;dr I could make, original reduced by 79%. (I'm a bot)
The death of black Belgian student Sanda Dia shocked Dutch-speaking Flanders in 2018.
More than four years on, 18 students have been sentenced to up to 300 hours of community service and a €400 fine each after being found guilty in their role in Mr Dia's involuntary death and degrading treatment.
However suggestions that race and class played a part in the treatment Mr Dia was subjected to during the hazing have sparked discussion since his death - particularly among young people on social media and in student circles.
"Everybody is just angry and disappointed in the Belgian justice system," Eliza Plesea, a 22-year-old student and Brussels protest co-organiser, told the BBC. Speaking about the sentencings, she said, "In Belgium, if you take the bus but you don't have a ticket... you get a higher fine for that" than what the students involved in hazing received.
Protest organiser and student Jean Kitenge, 25, feels race "Definitely" played a part in Mr Dia's death.
Sven Mary, the lawyer representing Mr Dia's father, Ousmane Dia, said after the court verdict it was "Difficult" for the family not to know the full facts.
Summary Source FAQ Feedback Top keywords: Dia#1 student#2 death#3 Reuzegom#4 university#5
Post found in /worldnews and /worldnews.
NOTICE: This thread is for discussing the submission topic. Please do not discuss the concept of the autotldr bot here.
submitted by autotldr to autotldr [link] [comments]