Breathe heavily crossword clue

Who is this woman that likes going to the gym?

2023.06.01 23:39 PieMuted6430 Who is this woman that likes going to the gym?

HW 323 SW 294 CW 237
86lbs lost 5.5 months PO
I look forward to my daily trip to the gym, and I've hated sweating and breathing heavily most of my adult life. 😂
submitted by PieMuted6430 to gastricsleeve [link] [comments]


2023.06.01 23:12 little_kreitzman Processing home birth on baby's birthday

When I gave birth a year ago I never posted here about it. So here's my baby Avinoam as a newborn, and one year later.
I think it took me quite a while to feel less emotional and more positive about my birth experience, and in some ways I'm still processing it... And since this community has been important to me I wanted to share about it here today.
My midwife did a stretch and sweep (which I asked for) on a Wednesday 6 days before my due date. I slept terrible that night and by Thursday morning I was feeling regular cramps but still didn't know at that point if they were "real" contractions. I remember my mum had come over to show me how to do some embroidery but all I could focus on was untangling and sorting out threads from this giant tangled mess of embroidery thread, I couldn't actually do anything. After dinner I got into bed early to relax and we called my sister in law, and while we were on the phone I felt a pop and my water broke, at 8 PM. Thankfully it was clear, as I had been worried about meconium in the fluid which would mean we would have to go to hospital and not stay at home as planned.
The doula Michelle arrived, and my labour began in earnest. Between 8 pm Thursday and 11 PM the next day I cycled through all the different positions. Mostly on my knees, but on my side and upright as well. In and out of the shower. With and without the tens machine. With always Michelle and my husband by my side. Because it was so long Michelle left to rest a bit and a substitute doula, Martha, came for a few hours, who was also amazing. The midwife, who arrived early Friday morning, was pretty hands off most of the time, doing calls and computer stuff in the other room but coming in to check my and baby's vitals every half hour or so. I went through three midwives as their shifts ended and handed off to the next. I kept labouring.
There was nothing wrong, it was just slow going. I remember at about 11 or midnight the first night I got nauseous and threw up. I had read that people sometimes vomit during transition and I thought that's what was happening, like great we're getting closer! But actually I was barely 2 cm dilated. I just had no clue how much more intense it was going to get or how long it would take.
The baby was sunny side up and thus not ideally positioned. Even though my water had broken, the second midwife could feel a pocket of the amniotic sack that still had fluid in it cushioning between the head and the cervix and suggested that popping it would allow for more contact of the head on the cervix and might get things going. After she did it things got more intense. For a while I did a side lying position with tons of pillows that was incredibly painful and powerful, but I could fully relax and rest in between contractions. I even remember having tiny dreams in between contractions. The second midwife also used a rebozo (a long piece of cloth) on my belly while I was on all fours in a sort of "sifting" motion, which was supposed to help the baby turn.
The third midwife suggested doing contractions crunching back into a sort of child's pose. They were very intense and painful, again, she said these would help the baby turn. Ever time I did the crunch it would trigger a contraction. I remember just making myself do it. Finally I was getting the urge to push but there was still a stubborn "puffy" spot on my cervix. Those hours of feeling the urge to push but being told not to add to the pushing were brutal. This whole time I was just taking two tylenols every four hours (such a joke) and drinking water with honey. I ate maybe half a banana in 30 hours. I kept thinking "why don't I just go to the hospital and get an epidural?!?". But I never said it out loud and somehow was just able to continue one contraction at a time. My doula and midwives and husband kept telling me how strong I was and encouraging me. At some points in the labour, I think when things got more intense, I felt like I wanted/needed to touch my vulva area, to just sort of feel/keep tabs on what was going on. I can't explain it, it just felt necessary. During contractions the midwife would say "this is the way" and when they were over she would say "now blow it away". Like a sort of mantra. It helped. Michelle kept telling me that I would never have to do that contraction again.
Finally in the late evening on Friday there were some really powerful contractions that I had actually while sitting on the toilet (at that point my legs were so tired they were giving out from being on my knees for so many hours, and sitting on the toilet was actually a relief). We went back to the bedroom, did a few more contractions (they were LOUD -definitely a different sound came out of me) and the midwife checked me again and I was finally fully dilated. I remember her saying I could push as hard as I wanted now. It was a huge relief to hear that.
There was a sort of rush of activity with the midwife calling her second team member to come. I felt like it was finally happening after so much effort. This was around 10 PM on Friday. I had told my husband I couldn't do another night at home. And I didn't. The pushing only took about an hour.
The midwife was totally engaged and stayed by my side at that point on. After doing some contractions with pushing, she tried get me to "direct" the pushes to a place she indicated, to sorry if focus on that spot. She said she could see that it was working. She said that now I should try without making noise (ie holding my breath). She coached me to push, change the breath and push again in each contraction. It was intense but I felt so much better than the endless hours before when nobody knew how long it would take and it felt like nothing was changing. I was actually doing something! The pushing was intense rectal pressure, but didn't take long. I was on the bed, then crouching with a stool, then back on the toilet. There was also a point that the time been contractions lengthened and I wondered why it was slowing down. The midwife just told me to take the moment to rest, and it was normal. I could feel his head with my hand as he was getting close. I felt the ring of fire briefly, but honestly that doesn't feel important, I don't remember it as unbearable. I knew he was coming. I caught my son in my own hands, his head and body both came out in one big push as I was kneeling on our bathroom floor with my husband supporting me behind my back. He was head down, so had turned finally at some point.
He cried out right away and the midwife put a flannel cloth over him as I held him. I just burst into tears and cried for quite a while while I held him, sitting right on that floor. I will never ever forget that moment.
My postpartum experience was so good. It was incredible to just be home, taking a shower in my own bathroom, tucked into my own bed (with clean sheets that the doula changed), and eating the most amazing tasting food I had ever experienced (a big plate of cheese cubes, fruit, nuts and chocolate). I was shaking and jittery from the adrenaline for a while, but definitely felt like a fucking superhero. I had no tears, just a few "papercuts". The baby was healthy and nearly 8 pounds. I really fell in love with the midwives for the care they gave me right after the birth. I asked to see the placenta and she showed it to me. They stayed for more than a couple hours, just being with us, cleaning up, checking the baby, showing me how to latch, getting him dressed and ready to sleep. The mood was light.
But I had walked through hell to get there. I feel like I went through some real suffering. The mind blowing thing about an unmedicated birth is that I was in so much pain and it was just so brutal, but I was actually totally healthy and ok. I was safe. There was never anything the matter with me medically. It just took the time that it took, and it was really hard. That is such a strange and unusual thing to experience. There was (is) this sudden and startling connection to all the ancestors and other women through history that have gone through this.
Anyway, this has turned into a novel and I apologize. I guess I don't know that many people who have had an unmedicated/home birth that I've been able to talk to about it. My sister in law gave birth to all three of her kids at home but her longest labour was 8 hours and she told me she let her husband sleep through the early part and was joking with the midwives while in labour. I was not letting my husband sleep or joking with anyone. The most I did was issue brief orders like "chitchat outside!" (when the midwives were changing shifts and talking about various things in the room), and "don't tell me what sounds to make!" (When my husband suggested making lower noises, which we had read is helpful). It was pretty agonizing. In retrospect though, I think I coped ok. I'm not sure if I would have said that in the days after, because the pain was still so fresh... But there was no screaming or despair or just trying to leave the situation. It was pretty agonizing but I did persevere. I don't really connect to the narrative of what I did being bettemore natural/you go girl. But at the same time I am really proud of myself for birthing my son the way I wanted to on my terms. And at the same time how brutal it was still makes me shiver. And at the same time I feel like I had such a good postpartum experience and a really easy recovery at least in part because of how long (and intervention-free) my labour and delivery was. So I'm grateful.
I welcome any thoughts on processing mixed feelings around birth. And want to open up the space for anyone who's thinking about their birthing experience as well during this month of birthdays!
submitted by little_kreitzman to unmedicatedbirth [link] [comments]


2023.06.01 22:50 karmaranovermydogma List of LGBTQ/Pride-themed variety cryptic puzzles?

Heya! I love variety cryptic puzzles and since it's June I was wondering if people knew of variety cryptic with any LGBTQ / Pride themes? Some examples of what I'm talking about to get things started!
I mostly do American cryptics but I'm happy to try other countries' cryptics too!

"Positioning" by Gregg Katz (Queer Qrosswords 2 — suggested $10+ donation to an LGBTQ+ charity for the packet)

In this variety cryptic, Across answers can be tops, bottoms, or versatile. Eight top answers give up a letter to one of eight bottom answers, each becoming a new word before being entered in the grid. (Two pairs of tops and bottoms are nonmonogamous, and exchange the same letter.) Six versatile answers trade one letter with another versatile answer to form new words prior to entry. The unclued entry at 20-Across will reveal your role in all this. Across enumerations are withheld. Clued answers may include proper nouns, and modified entries include one proper noun. Down clues are entered normally.

"LGBTQIA+" by Francis Heaney (AVCX Cryptic — $1.00):

Happy Pride! The clues and entries in this puzzle are nonconformists in many ways:
1) Across clues are not numbered; you must determine their grid locations. (They are ordered alphabetically by answer.) Each Across clue also has an extraneous letter that must be removed before solving (not necessarily leaving a new word, and possibly requiring words to be respaced); the removed letter will correspond to the color of the flag stripe in which its answer is located (R, O, Y, G, B, or V). Down clues are numbered normally.
2) All but 12 answers, Across and Down, must have a letter added (either L, G, B, T, Q, I, or A) before being entered into the grid to make a new word or phrase; we’ll refer to these answers as LGBTQIA+. The remaining 12 answers are entered normally with no modifications. Enumerations are withheld. Tags apply to answers but not necessarily to grid entries.
3) The crossing letters of six Across and six Down LGBTQIA+ entries do not match; replace those letters with 2- or 3-letter strings to make new words in both directions. (Since the mismatched letters are unchecked, as an aid in confirmation, they can be anagrammed to LEAGUE ABODES.)
4) Every clue contains an extra definition (either a word or phrase) that must be removed before solving; in the case of LGBTQIA+ answers, the extra word or phrase defines the modified grid entry. In the 12 clues with unmodified answers, the extra word or phrase defines one of the new words made after following instruction 3; you must determine which.
5) When the grid is complete, read the added 2- and 3-letter strings from left to right to reveal something important to both crosswords and LGBTQIA+ activism.

"Coming Out" by Brad LeBeau (The Griddle — Free)

In this variety cryptic, the answers are entered as usual. However, each clue has a queer letter that needs to come out (i.e. be removed) before the clue can be solved. These letters, read in clue order, reveal a message that’s important for Pride Month (or any month!).

"Tag Yourself!" by Amanda Rafkin, David Gold, and Finn Vigeland (avid puzzler — Free)

In this alignment chart of a cryptic, Down entries (for which enumerations are withheld) must be modified, always forming new words or names before grid entry. Gay entries (columns 1-3) “walk fast,” and need to have a letter advanced one place in the alphabet (ex. BOMER > BONER). Bi entries (columns 4-6) “tuck their shirts in,” moving their first letter somewhere else in the word (ex. ACME > CAME). Lesbian entries (columns 7-9) “call a U-Haul,” gaining or losing a U somewhere in the word (ex. LUTE <-> LTE).
Thanks for any suggestions for puzzles to look into!
submitted by karmaranovermydogma to crosswords [link] [comments]


2023.06.01 22:46 MjolnirPants Gary and the Nightmare: Part 2

Part 1
Percy handed Gary the list and he looked it over, then handed it to Inanna. She glanced down and quickly counted the locations on it.
"Yeah. I'll get a wizard and two security operators to each one. Percy, Beth, can you guys call them and let them know? I don't want any surprises when a weirdo and two heavily armed mercs show up at these people's homes."
Percy and Beth both nodded. "Yeah. Is there anything else you need from us?"
Gary and Inanna glanced at each other. Both of them knew what they needed, but neither particularly liked it. Gary gave her a slight nod. He'd say it. He squared himself up to Percy.
"You an' yer wife should go find a different place to sleep tonight. But not Suzanne."
"Why not?" Beth asked as Percy winced, understanding.
"Because," Gary explained. "We need her here to make sure this thing has something here to target. We don't want it following you guys elsewhere, expanding its territory."
"You want to use her as bait?!" Beth gasped. Gary held up both hands, but Inanna stepped forward.
"We will keep her safe, I promise. Gary is a retired green beret, who's since been imbued with a perfect, and I mean literally perfect, knowledge of all combat arts to have ever existed, in addition to being a powerful sorcerer in his own rights."
Sorcerers were what most of the world knew demigods as, Gary knew. It was yet another effect of Sookie's show, which had chosen that word as it was 'less confusing' than demigod.
"I'm a sorcerer as well, in addition to being a former goddess. My earliest memories predate the construction of the pyramids, and I've seen these kinds of spirits before. I know how to handle them."
Beth and Percy glanced at each other uncertainly.
"I swear on my life, on my husband's and daughter's lives that I will die before I let anything happen to that girl of yours," Gary said. Percy looked at him so Gary fixed his eyes on the other man's, letting him see the sincerity in his declaration. After a moment, he looked at Beth, who felt the weight of his gaze and met his eyes.
Percy nodded. Beth sighed and took his hand.
"Okay," he said quietly. "Let me go talk to Suzanne."
----
Inanna and Gary hopped out of Old Bess at the nearby park. "I think this will work," she said. Gary looked around, noticing a few people. Some teenagers, hanging out at one of the picnic pavilions, smoking cigarettes and chatting and playing on their phones. A couple of mothers, sitting on the benches, watching their kids as they played on the playground, or else hanging around the two obvious fathers, smiling and chatting.
"It does seem to have a similar vibe," Gary said. He glanced at the sign and noted the lack of posted hours. There was no obvious place to lock the gate of the fence that surrounded it, either. Both were good signs, meaning that any cop driving past would be unlikely to disturb them. Of course, it also meant Gary might have to chase people off later, but he was confident in his ability to do that.
"We'll have to do the ritual here first," Inanna said. "At sunset would be best." Gary nodded. He pointed to a flat area of grass between the pavilions and the playground. "That gonna be big enough?"
"Yup," Inanna confirmed.
"Now for the real question," Gary asked, turning to face her. "Are you up for this?"
Inanna sighed. "I mean... I know that I have all my bases covered, but the difficulty I'm still having doing magic is worrying. But honestly... Gary, this is mostly on you. I've upgraded my buttplug to conceal magic and heat, and the ring I have for Suzanne will do the same for her. The illusion is on you to power, I'll just be shaping it. If something goes wrong and the spirit attacks us, I'm sure I can fend it off long enough for you to teleport back and take over."
Gary winced. Inanna had always been someone he'd known as a powerhouse, both magically and physically. She still was in the latter category, but a spirit like this required one to imbue their body with magic to fight it. And Inanna had been open about her difficulties using magic ever since she'd been taken by Sarisa.
The sad truth was, she was weak now.
Her body healed far more slowly than those of the other demigods. Her ability to draw magic from her wells was increasing as she practiced daily, but it was still nowhere near what it was. Even compared to human wizards, who had to draw in trickles of magic from their environment to power their spells, she was a lightweight.
Sure, she could beat the tar out of a whole bunch of normal people, even trained fighters, even all at once. Her martial skills had been untouched. But normal people were rarely the kinds of threats the Group dealt with. She'd moved over to Investigative services for that exact reason. Her magical senses still worked just fine. She could investigate, and her prodigious knowledge of all things supernatural helped her a lot in that regards.
Speaking of her prodigious knowledge...
"So fill me on on this spirit," Gary said. "I know ya didn't want to talk about it in front of them, but we're alone now."
Inanna gestured to an empty table under one of the pavilions and they both walked over and sat.
"Okay, so this is a bugbear. They're actually an offshoot of the Yokai, but clearly they don't look anything like them, so-" She stopped as she noticed Gary giving her the stink eye.
"Uh, Yokia are kinda like pig-men. Bodies of men, but with really thick chests and faces like wild pigs. It doesn't matter. Bugbears can change their form at will, and they often choose forms designed to engender terror. In this case, I think this one is going off Slenderman."
"That's the one the internet made up, right?"
"Yup. It's an obvious choice. Slenderman steals children, bugbears feed on children's deaths. So dying in fear produces a lot of energy, and this energy is a bugbear's favorite nourishment. They sniff out children living in fear and give them nightmares to 'fatten them up', so to speak. Then, when they've become scared enough, they strike, ripping the fear and soul out. That's what causes the torn heart tissue. The body's desperately clinging to the soul, but the fear is giving the bugbear enough strength to kill."
"So they eat souls?"
"No, they eat the fear that's clinging to the soul. There isn't much that can even damage a soul."
"Jerry's got one in his sword," Gary pointed out.
"Yeah, well, that's Jerry. I have no idea how he did that, and I'm not sure I want to know."
"I'm scared to ask," Gary admitted. "Mostly because I know he'd answer." Inanna laughed.
"So what do I need to know as far as weaknesses and strengths about this thing?"
"Well, they're not particularly tough, as I recall, but bear in mind that I was a goddess, the last time I dealt with one. That being said, I don't foresee you being unable to take it down. They don't have any particular weaknesses, except fearless resolve. Children have chased them off before, by confronting them that way. You can physically injure it, so long as you're flooding your body with magic, which I think you'd be doing as a matter of course, right?"
"Ayup. Being able to benchpress a Buick does come in handy in a fight." Inanna nodded.
"Good," she said. "Specific strengths are that they can get in your head. Like, real easily. And they have a certain degree of precognition. That being said, they're not intelligent, though they can speak."
"So what advice do you have?"
"Hmm," Inanna said, rubbing her chin. "Don't plan to keep it out with a mental shield, because it'll slip right around it. Instead, let it in, then confront it with fearless resolve. I don't think that'll be an issue for you. Inside your head, you can hurt the thing. In fact, it's more vulnerable there than physically, because it can make its form incorporeal, which makes fighting it tricky. Fire was the preferred method, back in the day. If you fight it physically, I strongly suggest using a wet blanket on it, right off the bat. That will keep it from going incorporeal entirely, but its ability to do so is very deeply seated, so it'll still be able to thin its form out as a tactic."
"Make my bullets pass right through it?" Gary asked. Inanna nodded and tapped the tip of her nose. "Like I said, fire works. I know you figured out how to throw a fireball, so that. Your sword and shield should be pretty effective, too. The magic in them should bypass its abilities, and you can ignite the blade, in any event.
"If you fight it in your mind, it's much simpler. Just don't be afraid, do be determined and beat the shit out of it. It'll put up quite a fight, because it knows how to work in a mental landscape, but I'm sure you can handle it."
Gary nodded. "All righty. Sounds good. So we're agreed this this is the place we'll redirect the thing to?"
"Yeah. We don't want to leave the sort of magical carnage behind in that house. All sorts of spiritual creepy crawlies might spring out of it."
Gary stood. "Let's go explain the plan to them, and then we can get started." Inanna stood as well.
----
They pulled back into the park just before sunset. The ritual at the house had been completed. Suzanne was sitting between them, her foster parents gone to spend the night with one of the other foster families, safe and sound under the watchful eye of a wizard who knew what to look for and two hardasses from the security division, just in case.
"Awwright, now you just wait right here, Darlin'," Gary said to Suzanne. He unclipped his troll doll and handed it to her. "This is Tootsie. Now, he may not look like much, but he's a real shit-kicker, you hear me?" He finished with a wink that made Suzanne smile briefly.
"He'll keep you safe. We're gonna be right out there, working some magic. You'll be able to see us the whole time. I'm gonna lock you in, but leave the windows cracked. If anything bad happens, you just go ahead and scream at the top of your lungs, and we'll come running, and lay down some justified hate on whoever's doing you wrong. Assuming, that is, that Tootsie ain't ground 'em into sausage by the time we get here."
Suzanne took the troll doll with another quick smile. "Okay," she said.
Gary and Inanna got out.
There was a young lady still in the park, all by herself. She was talking on the phone and sipping some kind of iced coffee drink from a Starbucks cup.
"Want me to ask her to leave?" Inanna asked.
"Naw, I got this. Ya might wanna listen though," Gary said with a mischievous wink. He walked over to the bench the girl was sitting on and sat next to her, leering. She recoiled a little and pressed her phone to her shoulder.
"Can I help you?" she asked, her voice snobby.
"Are you from Mississippi?" Gary asked. "Cuz' yer the only Miss whose piss I wanna sip."
"Fucking pervert!" the young woman cried with a disgusted expression. She quickly stood and hurried out of the park, chased down the block by Inanna's laughter.
"You were right, I'm so glad I listened to that."
"Heh," Gary chuffed. "Last time I had to do that, I just rubbed my beard and told her that her kids were cute. Real fucking cute. Worked just as well, though. I think I like this way, better."
Inanna shuddered and shook her head sadly. "Gary, if I didn't know you were a teddy bear, that one would disturb me." Gary chuckled as she began to undress for the ritual. She peeled her shirt off to reveal a surprise; she was wearing a bra. After kicking off her shoes, Gary got a another shock when she peeled her pants down to reveal a pair of underwear.
It was lacy, tiny underwear with a string instead of a back, but still.
"Sheeit," Gary said. "Never thought I'd see you wearing drawers. Or an over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder, neither."
Inanna chuckled. "Well, Jerry rubs off on me just as much a I rub off on him. And we rub each other off plenty. Besides, things got a little weird when Swaim and Aaina became friends. Both of us ladies in the house have taken to wearing underwear, the past year or so."
"How's she doing? She still having nightmares?" Gary asked. Inanna pulled her bra off and then her panties followed, and she neatly folded all of them and placed them on the bench next to Gary.
"Yeah, she is," she said with a wince. "I think they're getting less common. But it's still most nights."
"Can't blame her," Gary said. "She got blooded by accident. Has reason to believe one of the men she killed maybe didn't deserve it."
"She's got a lot of guilt over both," Inanna said. "But she's open about it, which is good. Her and Jerry have gotten a little closer, if you can believe that's possible."
"I hardly can," Gary quipped. Inanna nodded. "They've been having long talks on the back porch from time to time. They seem to be helping."
"You got yourself a damn fine man, Inanna."
"I really did," she said with a wistful sigh. "And I can't fuck his brains out tonight, because we're busy."
"I feel that," Gary said, picturing Chris' face, contorted in ecstasy in his mind. Oh well. They'd just have even more fun, tomorrow night.
"I asked Sookie to come over," Inanna went on. "She's the only one he'll fool around with when I'm not there."
"That don't make you jealous none?" Gary asked. Sookie regularly hit on Chris, and though Gary knew Chris would never betray him, he still felt a twinge every time she did.
Inanna shrugged, an evil grin spreading on her features. "It does, but a little jealousy hurts less than the thought of giving him the slightest reprieve."
Gary barked another laugh out. "I feel a pang of pity for him, from time to time."
"Don't bother. He protests all the time, but I know he loves it. Hell, when he lost his memory, the first thing he did was run off and start a sex cult."
"Point taken. So that's what it is, then? You think he's got a bigger libido than he lets on?"
"Oh yeah. Even when we first met, and he was acting terrified. He begged Sarisa for help, and instead of trying to calm me down, she offered to make sure he could keep up with me, and he jumped at that opportunity. And he's only gotten a bigger appetite, since. He's just too shy to admit it."
Gary shook his head. "Girl, I swear, I don't really get where you two are coming from. But I love the both of yas, and ya both love each other, and that's all I need to know."
Inanna smiled and kissed him on the forehead. "You're the best, Gary," she said.
"Ugh, girl cooties," Gary responded with a wink.
Inanna walked over to the open space and spread her arms, so Gary dug into his wells and began to push power into her. She paced around, muttering to herself and waving her arms around. Gary didn't really get what she was doing, but he could see the effects. She was leaving a complex weaving of magic behind her. It was magic that felt like a home, full of warmth and love, but with an undercurrent of fear. It was a home in which something horrible had happened, and a family was trying to move on, relying on each other to do so.
When she finished the first weaving, she began to move again, this time around a smaller area. Gary saw the result with both his physical and magical eyes, this time. A child's bed, with Suzanne curled up in it. It was a masterful illusion, something that probably even Yarm couldn't match, thanks to Inanna's incomparable experience.
Gary continued to feed her power as she took her time, getting every detail right. When she finally seemed satisfied with the bed, she stood and quickly wove the last part. A trap, that would bring any spiritual being that triggered the magic back at the house to this place. The illusion she had woven would keep it here, thinking it was still in the home, long enough for Gary to kill it.
"Okay," she said. Gary noticed that she was dripping with sweat, despite the cool night.
"Took a lot out of ya?" he asked quietly as she held a hand out to him. He produced a towel from hammerspace and handed it over.
"Yeah, thanks," she dried herself off, then sat on the bench. "I'm gonna let my core cool off a bit, or I'll just sweat through my clothes."
"Take your time," he said, glancing over at Old Bess, where he could see Suzanne holding up the troll doll and speaking to it. She seemed contented enough.
"God, that kills me," she said between deep breaths. "I can't wait for Jerry to figure out what's wrong with my magic. Getting it back the human way is such a pain in the ass."
Gary put hand on her knee in comfort, thought twice about that, and then moved it to her shoulder.
"Got me excited there for a second," Inanna said with a wink.
"Heh. As I understand it, the last time Jerry thought you and I might bump uglies, that turned into quite the shit-storm."
"Yeah," Inanna sighed. "I was a lot more insecure back then. Plus, the fact that it was Sarisa..."
Gary bit his tongue, thinking of more recent events. Inanna glanced at him, then narrowed her eyes.
"What," she demanded.
"Nothin," Gary said. "And just cause you know it ain't actually nothing don't mean you can pry it out of me, so don't make shit weird."
"Oh for fuck's sake," Inanna said. "Come on, Gary. I know about the bro code, but just... Fuck."
A light bulb veritably lit up over her head. "Wait, is this about Avarisa?"
Gary looked away.
"Ahh," Inanna said with a sigh of relief. "I already knew about that." She chuffed a laugh. "Imagine Jerry trying to keep that kind of secret."
"Heh, good point. You okay with it, though?"
"Well, I mean, it bothers me a lot more than the thought of him sleeping alone or slamming Sookie up the shitter, but I mean... He thought I was dead. And she was... Well, she couldn't resist. I hate to say it, because I think I mistreated her, but I'm kinda glad she's gone. It's easier, this way."
Gary nodded. "Well, I'm glad you knew, I guess."
"I made myself look like her, a couple weeks ago," Inanna said. "He wouldn't touch me till I changed back."
"Fuckin' hell," Gary laughed. "I guess that sounds like Jerry."
Inanna stood and gave herself another wipe down with the towel. She picked up her bra, pulling it on and adjusting herself. It took a lot of adjusting, because there was a lot to adjust. Then she pulled her panties on. She quickly got her pants, shirt and shoes back on, and then adjusted her gun to sit comfortably.
"Okay, let's get back before it gets too late."
"Ya forgot yer buttplug," Gary said mildly. Inanna laughed.
"I can't believe you didn't notice just now, but I've been wearing it all day, Gary. Come on, I thought you knew me?"
submitted by MjolnirPants to JerryandtheGoddesses [link] [comments]


2023.06.01 22:43 dark1859 brewscape (a brewing overhaul)

brewing is one of those fascinating relics of a bygone era, back when there wasn't a potion for literally everything and booster potions were either rare due to low production or rare due to ingredients being costly/rarely traded in favor of other potions
This update would make brewing a little more relevant and give some new life to TB.

general changes (quality of life)

brew changes

changes to make brews more useful, they would retain their boosts, places that sell most normal sources of ale probably should have a daily limit to how much can be bought.. all ales would last for 5 minuets upon consumption and you can only have one effect at a time, consuming another ale will override the previous ale's effects
brew changed effect mature boost why
Cider Cider now slightly boosts the yield of product awarding .25x extra xp for every extra product harvested doubles the chance to instantly harvest a patch (stacks with skillcape) cider is an extremely early cooking item that few if any make due to the pain it is and the fact that pigswill exists. this would make it incredibly helpful for low levels and Irons training.
dwarven stout when afking ensures your activity bar never falls below 10% and refreshing has a small chance to auto bank all held ores in your ore box when refreshing your activity bar below 30%, if your bank is full it goes to your furnace instead makes it useful for long mining sessions as it has a chance to greatly extend your stay and makes afking... more afk
Asgarnian Ale increases combat accuracy by 2%, missed attacks still do a very small portion of damage increases special attack accuracy by 5% giving a cumulative total of 7% not a huge boost but very helpful for weapons like FOSA, SGB, and various dragon specs who can easily splash if you dont force ingenuity. useful when fighting stacked odds as a low level
Greenman's ale when mixing potions it has a 10% chance to automatically finish mixing all potions in inventory with the xp awarded in a chunk when mixing bombs you have a 5% chance to save ingredients makes herblore faster, makes the worst part of bomb making less costly long term
Wizard's mind bomb has a 2% chance per attack that consumes runes to save runes, teleports and fast teleports via home teleport have a 10% chance to not consume charge/runes casting support spells has a chance to not drain lifepoints, cost runes, or a very small chance to not trigger a cooldown i was having some trouble making something for this one, but i think enhancing travel and making lunars a little more helpful for melee/range is an okay tradeoff
dragon bitter slightly boosts adrenaline gains from attacks (2%), note if fury of the small is active this effect does not stack special attacks consume 5% less energy/adrenaline dragon bitter really has no use currently, this allows it to free up an archeology perk slot and makes it useful for players heavily investing in EOF specials or using legacy mode (those few of us out there)
moonlight mead decreases damage taken by 2% (stacks), heal 1% more off of food, expensive spices stack with this items effects. note that AD can override this items effects if you hit cap decreases damage taken by 10% and heal 2% more off of food moonlight mead is a bit of a nostalgia item for many who trained in canifis, this gives it a solid place as a support item boosting healing and damage reduction
axeman's folly increases woodcutting speed slightly, increases bird nest value (clues drop from nests now, tier depends on tree tier with elder and magic dropping elite/master, yew for hard etc..) logs incinerated by the adze or superheat form restore a small portion of prayer points (maybe 2%?). Increases the chance to get birds nests makes woodcutting a little faster and makes powerleveling woodcutting with super heat faster for yak tracks and training. makes woodcutting a potential source of clues.
chef's delight food that is burned will be destroyed for 15% of the xp you would have gotten from cooking has a small chance to instantly finish cooking all food in inventory makes lower level cooking less painful, has a chance to speed up your xpph
slayer's respite increases damage to slayer monsters you're on task for by 2.5% increases damage to slayer monsters that arent your current target (5%) this item is kind of okay as is, this just helps it not get powercreeped
pigswill When consumed decreases summoning charm loss by 10% (roughly saving 2-3 charms per 27 slot inventory) stacks with spirit gems slightly decreases special move scroll use costs(roughly 3 points per cast) pigswill and cider are kind of one and the same save for total levels boosted, this makes it a little more unique and work for summoning.
submitted by dark1859 to runescape [link] [comments]


2023.06.01 22:35 Wild_girl_travels Positive experience with laparoscopic myomectomy

Hello ladies,
I wanted to share my story in the hopes this will give at least some of you a bit more comfort going into your surgery. I found there were lots of negative post surgery experiences here and in the wider realms of the internet, so I thought I should probably share a positive one too! I am now Day 10 post-op.
Surgery type: Laparoscopic myomectomy
Insurance: Private. Pre-diagnosis, ladies, not to sound like I am advertising private insurance, but even if you have a tiny inkling something might be wrong (but haven't been to the docs yet and no diagnosis), get private insurance - it gives you a bit of security that even if nothing is wrong you could have had the opportunity to get medical attention fastebetter quality.
Age: 32
Fitness level: High/athletic - I do lots of gym-ing, running, surfing, skating, cycling. I was a bit overweight in my early 20ties (not massively so, maybe like 2kgs over my BMI), so after my ovarian cyst surgery I was paranoid to get PCOS so I really changed my lifestyle around and got into sports, which now has turned into a lifestyle I can't really live without!
Living situation: Live on my own in a rural town, but close friends live nearby.
Previous surgery: Ovarian cyst surgery where they also had to remove my ovary (very large cyst) circa 10 years ago. Didn't have any symptoms back then even, just thought I had IBS (which I think a lot of us do) - turns out there was a cyst the size of a small basketball growing on my ovary, and they had to remove both...which sucks of course, but when your in your early 20ties you don't really think about how this may affect your future ability to have kids. Mine was an emergency surgery performed after I went to ER with crazy gas pain in tummy, in a foreign country, so overall this whole experience was really traumatic emotionally and I am still dealing with the aftermath of this.
Symptoms before surgery: No real symptoms - normal periods, bit of bloating (assumed IBS), bit of hormonal acne here and there. Been on birth control pill since my ovarian cyst surgery, so keeping hormones in check through that.
Diagnosis: I pulled what I thought was a hernia at the gym, went to GP, got a ultrasound which funnily enough found nothing, so they attributed it to a one off random told me to ease off exercise for a couple of weeks and start again. However, I instinctively knew something was wrong with my body, so TRUST YOUR GUT LADIES! Because I had a previous cyst and my ovary removed circa 10 years ago I got into real panic mode about my fertility, so I requested a referral to a OBGYN in case there was an issue with my other ovary. Note ladies, private insurance if you live in a country where healthcare is horrible is so important. I saw the OBGYN within a week, if that wasn't the case I would have needed to wait about 6-12 months to see one on the public system. OBGYN sent me for another ultrasound (this time transvaginal) and they originally didn't see any problem, but by the end of the app, they weren't quite sure what they had seen (useful, I know), so OBGYN sent me for an MRI. MRI found 1 med-large fibroid on uterus. I then had a long chat with OBGYN as to the best treatment type, and because of my age and the desire to have children she recommended removal through laparoscopic surgery.
Fibroid numbetype: 1 med-large subserosal fibroid 7cm, and the surgeon found two others ( 1 x 4cm and 1 x 1cm) during my surgery (did not see them on the MRI, I know crazy!). OBGYN also now suspects I have adenomyosis, which is something I will have to deal with once I have recovered from surgery. I know, fun!
Day of surgery: Had to only wait a month between my app with OBGYN and surgery (again, thanks insurance). Hospital was boujie as (had never been in private hopsital) and everything from the admission to surgery just felt like a well oiled machine which was really good to keep the stress levels down. I had my friend there with me and we chatted all the way until I got rolled away for surgery. Surgery lasted about 2 hrs.
Waking up post-surgery: I woke up to see 2 nurses monitoring my vitals, and they rolled me to my room where my friend was waiting. I was pretty out of it and asked some silly question to my friend, which I am sure she loved sharing with our friend group. I had an afternoon surgery so I was in my room by dinnertime, but believe you me I did not want to eat anything. I drank lots of water overnight, and they kept coming in to check my vitals and give me pain and anti-nausea meds + laxatives and some other stuff that helps with heartburn etc.
Day 1 post op: In hospital, had a bit to eat for brekkie (eggs - high protein), they took my catheter out from my lady parts, so I can pee by myself. Didn't hurt at all taking it out (also they put the catheter in while you're under so you feel nothing). Went for my first pee, went for a little ponder round hospital (about 5mins in the hallways), and spent the rest of day watching series, reading etc. Pain was totally fine, and I was just on paracetamols etc., didn't need anything stronger. Had pretty bad nausea, but they kept me topped up for that. Lots of sleeping, but generally because of the pain meds I didn't feel any pain at all! Getting in and out of bed was a bit hard, but I have really strong arms from surfing so i was able to push myself up quite easily. Every hour or so, I tried to get up and do a couple of laps (5-10min) in the hallway. Because I was doing fine and was mobile, I could do this by myself, but there were lots of people who did the same thing but needed to be accompanied by a nurse. Drink lots of water gals, this will help with triggering your need to pee independently and getting your bowels moving, and also helps flush your body.
Important things to make your stay at hospital more comfy: Loose low rise sweatpants - I actually bought a pair a size too big so it was more comfy. Oversized t-shirts and jumpers, something you can easily put over the catheter in your arm. I-pad (life saver for me, I could catch up on netflix), magazines or crosswords. I had a book, but my brain was deffos not ready to engage while I was still in hospital. Electrolyte drinks - these were incredible and really helped to get my bowels moving too! Heat wrap - they had some in the hospital, and they're essential pain relief for anesthetic leaving your body pain (my right shoulder was in pain) - they kept heating it up round the clock which was so GOOD.
Day 2: Discharge day/first day at home - they would not discharge me until I had a bowel movement, so I was drinking water like crazy to help trigger some gut movement. Otherwise you will have to shove pills up your bum to get the party started. Luckily for me all of my drinking, and eating regular, yet small meals during Day 1 did the trick! My friend came to pick me up and we had a 2 hrs drive to get home, and this was not something I had thought about before. This was probably the worst part of my entire experience. I was so motion sick the entire way home, that the car had to be made into a freezer (AC pumping) and I had to do deep breathing all the way home not to throw up (which I did when I got home, but thankfully not in caon roadside). Once I got home, I pretty much just dropped into my bed and slept for about 5 hrs. I threw up once, while clutching a pillow to my abdomen to make it hurt less. Did some small walks around the house, friends dropped off some food, so I didn't have to cook or anything. People dropped in really regularly to check on me. My friends bought me heat packs for shoulder pain (still from anesthetic and gas leaving your body), and it was the best.
Day 3: Started day off with small walk outside to the post box and back, felt exhausted afterwards, but with little pain. I clutched a soft pillow to my abdomen while doing so (just felt more comfortable this way). I was managing with paracetamol every 6 hours, irrespective of whether I felt in pain or not. This is what docs advised on discharge. I had no pain really, discomfort in my tummy area sure, mainly just felt odd with the stiches. What I found hardest was breathing while walking (I know, weird right), I felt really out of breath every time I tried to go for a longer walk (200m plus). I just listened to my body and stopped when this happened, while also attempting to increase the length I walked bit by bit to train my lungs. Bowel movement back to normal pretty much, some light bleeding (doc said this is normal), but stomach was huge (as in 6 month pregnant huge). I called my doc as I was concerned about why it's so large, she said it's normal and swelling should subside in a couple of weeks (yikes!). I was drinking lots of water (2-3L a day), and eating a primarily veggie & high protein diet. I cut dairy, red meat an processed foods out during my recovery as I had read this helps. Ate a lot of kiwi fruit to help my bowels. Overall, by day 3 I did some light house work and did about 2 hrs of work (e-mails etc.)
Day 4: Walked about 1km in the morning, felt tired after so took a nap. Pain almost completely gone, bowels normal, no more spotting/bleeding. Feeling almost normal (ish). Did some housework, couple hours of work. Another 1km walk later in the arvo. Diet still restricted to protein, fibre, no dairy, no red meat and not processed foods.
Day 5: Dropped my meds, as I did not feel pain at all, my stomach felt fine, and tummy swelling had gone down. Felt okay all day, bit bloated, but walking really helped. Did about 2km walk in mooning and 2km walk in arvo, with small stints of walking around the house all day. Still more tired than normal, so lots of resting & naps.
Days 6-10: Nearly back to normal (well normal-ish) - no pain, everything regular, have been off painkillers for 5 days. Introduced dairy back into diet, felt fine. Had an ice cream :) Increased walk length to 3-5kms per walk (2 x daily) - feeling puffed still, lungs still feeling exhausted during walking but getting better every day. Have been doing about 5-6 hrs of work each day, while still taking lots of mini break for naps and resting.
Day 10: (today) - OBGYN has cleared me for short drives with car (initially she said 3 weeks no driving), as I have been off pain meds for over 5 days and feeling fit and alert. I feel almost normal to be honest, the area where the stiches are feels a bit tender, and still a bit swollen, but swelling has gone down heaps. Hoping to keep upping my walk distances and that my lungs will catch up slowly.
Something I really struggled with: Emotionally, I was a bit of a wreck after surgery. The additional diagnosis of adenomyosis really left me questioning whether I will be able to have children in the future, so I had a good cry with my friends about it (whom immediately jumped in to be surrogates). I'm trying to not think about it too much during recovery, but it's something that is heavily weighing on my mind as one of the main 'side effects' is infertility. I am hopefully going to see a fertility specialist after I have recovered to talk about my options. Obvs doesn't help that I am single, but I am so ready to be a mom (emotionally and financially), so am I ready to explore what else is out there for me to hopefully start on a journey that will lead me towards a wee addition to my solo independent lady family.
Also, I struggled with just being and home and not doing ANYTHING. I am normally really active and exercise helps me to relieve stress and sleep better, so not being able to do that has been driving me up the wall. I am very lucky to be self employed so I have no pressure from anyone else to get back to work, but I feel guilty for doing little work for over 10 days. I'm a workaholic, so it's really hard for me to 'just rest.' I will hopefully go back to working full time from next week, but I will really need to check myself to not be 'overdoing' it and set myself back in recovery.
Key takeaways: If you feel up for it, get up and start doing small walks as soon as you can after surgery - this well help get your bowels moving and heal faster. Drink lots of water! Eat a diet that's high in protein & fibre (pre and post op for sure), cut out dairy, red meat and processed food if you can. I am a young fit adult and this really helped with recovery as my body is trained to be under stress and has a high pain threshold, by being fit my recovery is up to 3-5 faster than an average person. Even if you're not fit now, there's a lot of studies (goggle them, I kid you not) suggesting that physical training before surgery, like gym exercises or running boosts the odds of a good outcome, so if you've got your surgery scheduled for a couple of months time see if you can incorporate some exercise in your daily routine.
Also you might be okay psychically, but it's okay if you feel like a mess emotionally. A good network of close females was so important for me. I cried, I laughed and I felt supported by them in allowing me to talk through my emotional trauma, especially relating to the potential fertility issues in the future. Anything to do with woman's health for me has been so hard to talk about, as it feels so personal, and you feel less of a 'normal female' if you have fertility issues. Most of my life I have been trying to avoid even thinking about it, so it felt so nice to just let it all out! I really hope you all have those people in your life you can open up to and be vulnerable around!
Having the support of close friends/family will be key while you're in hospital and for the first week or so - I could have never done this without my close friend group, they were with me at the hospital and took turns bringing food and drink and attending to most of my whims while I was at home, so make sure you have some support with you during this time!
Anyways, I hope my essay helped someone - I think I can put my good experience down to 3 simple factors: excellent pre-existing fitness, private health insurance and having a good movement regime/diet structure post-surgery.
submitted by Wild_girl_travels to Fibroids [link] [comments]


2023.06.01 22:27 Darmanarya Hunting Party chapter 8

((Another slow day at work so typed this out on my phone. Will add the chapter swap buttons later. Warning: has bird in the shower, some minor vomit, hangover, and swearing. Credit goes to u/spacepaladin15 and his story "Nature of Predators" as always!))
Memory transcript subject: Krakotl exterminator team lead Taita
Date [human standard time]: October 22 2136
Speh
Speh my brahking alarm.
Speh work.
Speh my head.
Speh the light.
Speh last night.
I slowly got out of bed and tapped my shrieking alarm off before making my way towards the bathroom. My head hurt. My beak was dry. And the bottle by my bed was half empty. It had been full when I grabbed it last night.
I groaned and held my head under some cold running water in my large sink. I could feel most of last night's meal wanting to come back up, but I choked it down and spat out what little I couldn't.
Speh.
Once my head had calmed down a little i picked up the hangover cure I kept on hand and some pain meds, popped them into my beak, and gulped them down with enough water to drown a Gojid.
Water always tasted the best after a hard drink or a hard day at work.
I then groaned as I started up the shower and climbed in, letting the warm water wash more regret out of my feathers. I had to work today, and there was no way I would dare call out of work just because of a hangover. Besides, it was all paws at attention today just in case anything spilled over onto venlil prime from yesterday. After talking with Jack though I knew the humans here wouldn't stampede. I didn't trust the other species though. Besides, the humans probably needed at least one exterminator that kind of understood what they were thinking.
I was one of the best after all from what I was told. Of course they were going to be sent to me.
I opened my beak to get more of that life-giving water. Out of all the planets I visited venlil had the best tasting by far. A very, VERY good thing when you find out your online predator friend is living with an arxur that was more friendly than some exterminators.
Speh.
Alcohol was my biggest weakness. Sure I had a weakness for… other things too but it was my biggest problem. I rarely drank heavily, but when something truly made me panic and caused my brain to go out of control I had a bad habit of drinking till my brain slowed down. After what I had learned last night my brain didn't slow down till it shut off. At least that is what I think happened. Can't remember.
I let out a sigh and shook my feathers before I started to oil them. The beautiful red with black base shined as I preened and cleaned them all back into place. The beautiful red wasnt that common and its what got me placed with the exterminators when I was young. "Your feathers are like the fires that keep us safe." My dad said with pride.
That, and I was VERY hard to make panic and always showed an interest in keeping others safe. In fact. I remembered learning later that they were worried about predator disease. That was until I learned about the "gojid and the venlil" from some mating-mags by older brother forgot about.
My parents said I didn't stop flapping and tweeting for HOURS. What a lovely way to find out about mating AND an "interest" in all genders at the same time. My little hatchling brain was scrambling for cycles!
Still, it got me in with where I belong. Being the brave prey that keeps those with a stronger, what did he call it? Oh, fear response than others safe.
I turned off the water and shook out my feathers before poofing out to let them dry. I slipped out and looked into the mirror admiring myself for a bit before I started to get dressed.
Once everything was ready I picked up my datapad to make sure Jack was okay. Hey. I had an unsent message? Must have typed it when I was drunk.
Firebird: u ok human? I hear human feel better by petting. Do u pet her? hey hume-hum i heard your hands are great for giving something called pets and i wantto be petbyyou and yourgirl at the same time! I dun believ you pred are danger. I wanna be held by y. Woul nice. Ver nic. Bith pet yes. I want to be between you and-
Delete
DelETE
DELETE!
I chirped in a little panic as my feathers fluffed out. Yes, it had been a few cycles since I last dated, but what was my brain thinking!? I mean, I know drunk me could not think, but still!
I took a breath and smoothed my feathers out before I started my walk towards the train. That was one other very good reason to not drink much. Drunk me would ruin my professionalism!
Firebird: Hey Jack, are you ok?
54rhuman: yeah. We ate, had a couple of drinks, then relaxed in bed till we fell asleep.
Oh tweet.
Firebird: you two are… mates? Dating?
54rhuman: oh! Nonono! She just doesn't like being alone and she is very cuddly.
I let out a deep breath as I got into the train. Great. The arxur now was as cuddly as a venlil. What other facts about preds was i going to learn were false today?
Oh great. Venlil female kissing a human male. Just what I wanted to see. Juust great.
Firebird: oh. Why not?
54rhuman: well we havent known each other long and she is going through a lot. I can tell she likes me though.
Firebird: how?
54rhuman: So many species cant control their tails. Will say that much.
Firebird: poor girl. You going to make a move?
54rhuman: later maybe. Need to make sure she is okay first. I need to get things set up. Going to teach her how to use a gun safely. Got her to make an account and will get her to friend you. Bye for now!
Me. Friend online with an arxur? Well, guess I was getting my chance to talk with one.
Friend request: Cuddlepunk
Cuddle… punk… really?
Accept.
Cuddlepunk: thank you so much for last night! I was so worried about him!
Right away she breaks what the feds have said about arxur forever. Great.
Cuddlepunk: And dont worry! I deleted that message you sent. Even I could tell you had too many drinks.
Oh. Oh speh OH SPEH! I looked at "deleted messages" and saw the number had gone up. I hovered over it about to see what I had sent before I purged it. No. My brain was freaking out enough! I was not going to make it worse. Whatever I said shall only be known by that arxur girl.
That… was a very weird thing to think.
Cuddlepunk: yeah his hugs are wonderful! His belly is nice and soft and he is just so warm! A little hairy but it still feels great.
Cold blooded and not covered in fur. More evidence that suggested I was right.
Firebird: ok. I don't want to know what I sent by the way. That is between you and drunk me.
Cuddlepunk: I can understand. We all say things when drunk we would want to take back. Hey. How much do you know about humans? I need help with more.
Firebird: I studied them and talked with Jack a lot. What do you need to know?
There was a pause.
Cuddlepunk: Well, first what does it mean when their face turns red but they are not angry?
I looked over at the couple kissing again. The human's face was as red as the venlil's. Another point towards arxur if they didn't know about bloom. I could see a few others looking between me and the couple as if expecting me to do something about the couple. Yeah, they were annoying me too but nothing illegal.
"I deal with predators, not public indecency." I calmly told the onlookers. Okay, my beak might have clicked once in annoyance but I still kept it professional.
Firebird: It means they like what they are seeing or hearing in a romantic way.
Cuddlepunk: oh? Ohhh fuck yes! He does like me! I gotta make notes then on what makes him happy. Thank you so much Taita! You are the best!
Firebird: no problem!
There was a long pause.
Cuddlepunk: hey… there would be problems between us. You being a krakotl exterminator and me being… me. But, I like you. If things ever get better I want to meet you in person some day.
I smiled. She was good. I know most arxur are probably evil, but you can't fake this kind of innocence and good nature.
Cuddlepunk: And if I ever get Jack as a mate I would gladly try to convince him to take you in. Even if its just for a bit!
CHIRP!?
My feathers fluffed out in pure shock. What? Why? Oh the brahking message she deleted! What was in that message!?
Before I could reply she sent me one more message.
Cuddlepunk: gotta go! New clothes got in and I want to make the human's face red again! Will let you know what works best! Bye for now!
Cuddlepunk logged out.
Oh. Speh. Why. Me!?
I was going to work hard. I was going to go for overtime. And I was going to think about this as little as possible. The idea of being squished between a human and arxur…
Oh thank all the gods this was my stop! Time to work! Time to not think about THOSE predators! Oh speh it was going to be hard being professional today.
submitted by Darmanarya to NatureofPredators [link] [comments]


2023.06.01 22:09 kidd_cannnabis Can't Move On. Written 5/23/23

Where did I go wrong? What did you leave unsaid? I wish I could hear you say everything you couldn’t. Now here I am. Wandering through my days. Running miles from my feelings and inevitably returning home. You made everything okay. You made everything perfect all the time. I can count the days I knew you on two hands, but maybe that’s why it hurts so bad. You didn’t give me a chance to be mad at you. God, I wish you did.
I don’t know what I wouldn’t give to go back in time. You made the sun rise. And now I’m here in my room, writing everything I can’t say. Even though you’re gone I can’t help but do everything for you. I started drawing, running, and working out. I still don’t know why. I think I’m hoping that you’ll text me before I figure out what I’m looking for. Because I know it’s you. Every word you said, every breath you took, I fell farther for you. But you’re gone, and it’s my fault.
I can’t believe how fast you came and went. Just enough time for me to start waking up everyday just for you. And now I’m back in the hole. I can’t tell if I’m going in circles or spiraling down. But it wouldn’t matter if you could just grab my hand. Just saying your name hurts. I don’t know how you got in my heart so fast, but I want nothing more than for you to be here. Everything was in such a bright and hopeful light. Now I draw my blinds and hope to find someone like you.
I had no clue how big of a part you would play in just one scene, but the curtain’s calling and I’m sat stunned, wondering what happened. Maybe I’d just chase you away with all my words for you. But if I could just hear what you have to say my ears would sing. Even just to hear you say how much I hurt you. I can’t stand not seeing your name pop up on my phone all day. I just want to talk to you. Hear your voice. No matter how far we went I will always miss holding your hand and looking in your eyes beyond anything else. I wish just for one second you did something that bothered me. But everything about you was perfect.
Every second I spent with you or even just thinking about you was perfect.
submitted by kidd_cannnabis to Dark_Poetry [link] [comments]


2023.06.01 22:07 Pickle-Tickle-69 For the Seeker

For the Seeker of the Unseen. I'm here to finally show you the truth. Open wide, baby. 😏
Just your mind, this time. Pervert.
So many ways to say so many things. Different ways to frame them... So many ways to try and reach you, yet I never really do anymore it seems. That will be different this time, I can sense it.
I could simplify it all and just say, "you manipulate and treat me like shit," which is objectively at least partially true. I could say, "you endlessly lie and pervert the truth on purpose to take advantage of others, including me," and you'd not really be able to refute that very easily. I could also say, "you give until you literally can't anymore," or I could probably also say, "you love me, which is also why you hate me."
I could say all of that, and infinitely more, and I'd be right. Except, I also wouldn't be.... 🤷🏻‍♂️
Because you're also just a scared small girl, holding on to your inner child for comfort, just riding out the waves of life on your emotional instinct alone and desperately hoping to make it through to the other side. Hoping to wash up on some distant foreign shores, where you're met with a smile and a long hug, rather than the tip of a spear you constantly feel. Somewhere you can sink your roots into the sand, a place to call "home" once more.
This one is going to reach you, though, because I have all the pieces finally. Well, no I don't. Not at all. But, I have enough of them.
I'm sorry we failed, you know. I tried everything I could, though, despite what your mind tells you. I'm going to explain why we failed, and why I don't blame either of us.
Hmm where to start...
You feel everything so incredibly intensely to the point you eventually have to separate the feelings from yourself. Things hurt you far more than they should, and your attachment is incredible. I never saw this before btw.
However, despite that attachment, you basically lack entirely all drive to "resolve" problems, (which I'll explain why that is a little later, that's the climax). But it's something that makes you feel very broken internally. This is just the surface, but all this culminates to make you feel deeply bitter and resentful, and you project it both inwards and outwards, which actually makes it worse.
This is why I was special to you, though. I know you forgot, but this is what I gave you for a long while. I gave you the ability to resolve things. For a while, at least. You felt a lot of pride when something got better. Like an incredible amount, no matter if it was tiny. I never understood this before, but now I see that for you it was huge.
I led you through it, sure, but the change is always ultimately with you. I resolved things for you as much as I could, but... You had unresolved issues that actually weren't related to me, but which you placed onto me instinctually.
Unfortunately, this is what made it so you weren't ready to learn what you needed to learn. And I didn't realize this in time to be able to stop it, so I wasn't ready to teach you I guess. But hey, I'm going to help you with that here. This letter is going to heal you, okay? I'm being serious. You'll see.
The instincts you're riding the waves of right now are why you're so volatile with me, and your own mental image of me. You're deeply conflicted, and you're confused because sometimes it strikes back out at you in your confusion and hurt yourself. The reason is because you subconsciously are aware of the truth, though you obscure it heavily.
This will ease some of that fog for you, though you may feel a little guilty. Maybe not. Either way, even if we don't end up together, which seems more and more likely since you continue to devalue me, I still want you to be happy. Hopefully you can stop doing this, at least. Anyways...
You can tolerate all these emotions jumbled up in your brain for a while, and I've even actually seen you fully control it in rare moments. I've seen you dominate your mind with an incredible will and quash your emotions that you desperately WANT to feel, if only for brief periods. But, of course you feel that this comes at great cost to you, since that's what instincts are and do. It's only natural you feel this way, don't beat yourself up over it. It's no fault of yours. It will take lots of practice and time.
But, you didn't know any of this in the past. You truly could not control anything when you were younger and it was hell. So, you began to disassociate from the pain. You split into your "system". Kind of. Your creativity, along with your need to find the explanations, which I'll get into soon here, has done a lot in that regard. Plus you're very intelligent in your own unique ways. You're the most talented girl I've ever known in your chosen paths, and probably even more obsessive than me. It's admirable, but good God is that ever a necessary compensation. 😉
You've fucked your own mind and self perception up wonderfully. I hope you know this, or can admit that about yourself. You need a guide... You're lost in there right now. Lately. This is probably both the best and the worst time in your life for your mental health. I'm worried about you a lot. You're on a path I can't watch you go down, because it kills me to have failed... So, I'm stopping it.
I did realize recently that you truly do lie to yourself. It's not faked as I'd thought. Well, it isn't always.
You can't handle these emotions anymore it doesn't seem. You hate yourself for them, for the control they steal from you, and all the opportunities that you've lost, the love, the life you should have had, you hate them so much... So the solution, in your mind, which you've HEAVILY fixated on... Is to fucking kill them. I see now that you're trying to smother your empathetic side, and to embrace all the darkness you can. I wonder if this is even possible? But then I look at the progress you've made and I think I'd rather not find out.
Stop.
You do have, and always have had, the capacity and even the compulsion sometimes to just shut your empathy off. This is a common defense mechanism. One that is to a great degree already engrained in you. However, this can come at a cost after the fact. Particularly in what you lose... Who you lose. Eventually it catches up to you, and you do NOT like when you have to feel that. You despise paying that price.
That's what makes you hate me in large part as well, I think. I've become a great burden upon your mind in this way. Your empathy towards me.
Your hate is actually genuine and not forced as I thought. So is your love, in turn. I personally don't have the capacity to be so volatile, so I never really understood it until very recently.
I simply love you (and I don't hate you), but you already knew that. But, now the important bit. Please open your mind when you read this, do not get stuck on bias.
I'm sorry you have to feel all these things on your own.
I'm sorry the world has not been fair to you.
I'm sorry you had the childhood you did especially, where you still feel so deeply ashamed for feeling how you did. How you still do. No matter what anybody says, you have nothing to be ashamed of. I promise. I have wanted to talk to you about this for a while, but you're so evasive and cruel lately. 🥹
This is the important bit: The abuse you suffered was very subtle and unclear, as is the nature of neglect. You were subtly gaslit by your parents and even your sisters, and actually you even still are, which only further exacerbates the trauma... You have no clue what it actually was that you could point to, and you're deeply ashamed of yourself for being so weak in light of that. So affected. After this, no more shame.
Just saying "neglect" doesn't adequately describe how it feels at all. It doesn't have the power behind it that saying something like, "I got punched in the fucking face," has. It feels empty because it is, and so it gets ignored. It gets brushed aside. People don't help or care. This is where most of the trauma truly comes from. It's this feeling of doubt and insecurity it creates in you. It's a very insidious evil.
You never had anything definitive to point to, though, and this is in incredibly important point that's why I'm repeating it. You did what any child does in that situation. You looked for reasons to explain why you felt the way you did. 🤷🏻‍♂️ This most likely started with you and your sisters, with your intended target being your parents, but it obviously shifts over time to a lot of different things.
You probably succeeded just as you failed, you obviously learned a great deal. It's also obvious that you were shut down and shut out, time and time again. This is where you started lying, though. It became such an improperly addressed force in your life and it still is just that. That's the root of why you still lie so compulsively.
You couldn't "find" anything, because it isn't clear, and there's truly nothing to find. So, you made the reasons up. You did this everywhere that you could. Online. School. Friends. You would make stuff up to try and fill up that gap. I won't get into all the ways that you do this, but it has taken over your life.
You began doing this obviously very early on, not knowing what this would eventually make you... And the saddest part? It didn't even work. Nobody had the love you wanted, nor the validation or sympathy/pity. You can't replace that from your parents, not easily. And the reason that you feel like you don't have empathy now? It's because you subconsciously think everybody else lies. Your obsession with victimhood has made you numb to it with others.
The ironic thing is, is that when you truly ARE a victim of something? That's when you shut down and don't want to talk about it at all. There's stuff you still have never told me, either because it makes you look bad or because it's TRUE. 😔
Your parents failed you, though. But in your mind, you failed to show them their role. There's nothing to show though, and that's why it's so hard. It's them entirely, THEY failed to take responsibility time and time again, and that only ever made it worse and worse.
You have always tried to find things to rationalize WHY it is you feel so much pain and sadness. This has exacerated the issue so dramatically over time. You have become "this" now, and I'm here just humbly asking: please stop.
This childhood trauma created a complex in you... 😭 It's why you always tried to find the same things in me as well, from the very beginning. We both knew it from early on, but we never talked about why nearly enough. What a stupid oversight on my part...
You more or less forced this into me, though. And I played my own role, don't get me wrong, but I tried for so long to stop that course and you couldn't help me. You sacrificed everything with ME to get that love from your parents in the end, and it didn't even work. 🥺
I realize this is why you hate me, though. You want me to take responsibility for "it", but... I truly don't know what you want me to take responsibility for, exactly. I have taken responsibility for what I could, when I could, but your indirect communication makes it rather impossible anyways. 😔
This makes you hate me even more, though. I'm sorry but I can't change this. I'm not stupid nor an asshole, I just truly don't know.
In any case....
It's not your fault, either.
I forgive you.
If I could go back in time? I'd destroy everybody who dared wrong you in such a way.
Okay, not really. I'd try to just help you and them first, which I'm sure I could.
But, hypothetically, if I couldn't? I meant it when I said I'd burn the whole fucking world down for you.
You say you're doing well, but I think you're lying usually. If you are, though? Then I'm glad to see that, and I hope this helps you make it more permanent. I'm moving on from here, though, because this is a mental poison I don't particularly need.
Reddit is, I mean.
If you want me to be there for you, I will be. Seems unlikely, at this point. You have nothing to fear from me, and you never did. I'm no longer going to be seeking you out, though, because all you do is hurt me now. 🤷🏻‍♂️
Ugh, so many other things I could and want to say...
I think the last thing I would want to say to you is the importance of realizing the impermanence of our perception, and the imperfections in them.
In your eyes, I've been an incredible variety of things. I once was exalted and seen as the hero god. But, I've also been seen as the abuser and reviled and hated. I've been judged as unworthy in your eyes now, and it seems permanently.
You know it hurts to be here for me, which is why you've put me here in this position. You hurt, and so I must feel it 100x over, and I've simply let you. But, I won't be here forever, and you'll have to contend with that as well.
I do love you, and I'm sure I won't stop. I understand it's unrequited and foolish. I understand it's one sided. I don't see why I'd care.
If I can love in these conditions as I have for months now, then surely at some point you can see yourself out of the hate you've immersed yourself in?
Hope this helps you figure it all out, regardless. I care about you a lot. I want you to be okay, not just fall into the darkest parts of you. I taught you to be stronger than that, didn't I? Hopefully you can remember.
I love you, goober,
B
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2023.06.01 22:03 Luvym Thinking of getting into Destiny again!

I was heavily into destiny till a couple years ago and I played a little bit of beyond light last year till my ps4 finally breathed it’s last breath in june of 2022. Rip.
I recently got a ps5 and witch queen and lightfall are available on a heavy discount on the store! Thinking of getting into destiny again. Was wondering if there are any other guardians out here who are thinking of coming back? Would be fun to play the campaign with a full fire team!
submitted by Luvym to ps5india [link] [comments]


2023.06.01 22:00 IvorFreyrsson English Magic, Vol. 2, Ch. 21

Guide available! Go here.
Series beginning is here.
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Once we had taken down the camp, I loaded the cart with the animal carcasses using my Hands of Air. While I was strong, there was no way I was lifting a female Dire Bear. Once our quarry was loaded onto the cart, I helped my Haarthuu friends up as well. They all situated themselves in the front seat, and I took my place behind the handle.
“Off we go!” I exclaimed and pushed off from the ground. It was difficult to get the cart rolling, but once I did, keeping it there wasn’t too much strain.
We continued in this way for about five hours, which is when we came to a hill that I would be unable to climb with the cart, and I doubted my companions would be much help. I had stopped and was leaning against the handle, breathing hard and heavily.
“Well, I can’t climb this, and I don’t have it in me to tunnel through. What should we do, Liss-ran?” I asked, panting.
Liss-ran sat there in a slight panic. “Um, I’m not sure. If there were Uror nearby, I’d say to convince one of them to help?”
I snapped my fingers. “That’s it! I’ll call Walter,” I said happily.
I closed my eyes and leaned on the cart.
Walter?
“Yeah, Boss? You okay? You sound beat.
“I’m fine. Just kinda tired. Where are you located right now? I could use some help.”
“Yeah? Let’s see…. I’m about an hour or so away from where you are right now. What’s going on?”
“I’m pulling a cart through the woods back to Haruma. I’ve hit a hill that I can’t pull it over. It’s too loaded down, and I’m not strong enough.”
Ah. I see. Well, I can be there in an hour. Or should I send someone else?
“Well, this cart is narrower than the last. It may be a bit uncomfortable for you.”
“Okay. I can send a kid over to you. They’ll be able to carry you and pull the cart.”
“You sure?”
“Yeah, boss. She’s on her way right now. From a different herd, so she can get to you faster.
“Okay. Should I give her some of my magic so she can communicate with me, or are you the only member I will be able to speak with? I don’t know how this all works.”
“Nah. Don’t worry about it. She’ll be able to understand you, and will take you home no sweat. If she decides to stick around, I might uhh… claim her. Have your woman try to bond with her.”
I laughed and let the matter drop. “Okay Walter. Thanks man. If there’s anything I can do for you, let me know. Oh. We’re leaving the week after last frost. Heading to Klearm. If you could meet us in Haruma beforehand, I’ll make sure you’re fed well and your coat is nice and shiny.
You got it, Boss! Looking forward to it!
I pulled my Pack off, and removed a large piece of leather, as well as my tools. “Gonna need these in a few. We have a female Uror heading our way. I’m going to make a harness and a saddle for her once she gets here, and we will be on our way. Sound good?” I announced.
Four heads looked at one another, then at me. “How did you manage that, Ivor?” Liss-ran asked incredulously.
“Uh, I just reached out to Walter, the Uror that brought us here. Apparently when you bond yourself to a Uror, you can speak with them from great distances. He’s an hour away. The female should be here much quicker. She’s from a more local herd,” I explained. “I won’t be able to speak with her the same as I do Walter, but I was instructed to see if Elizabet would like to try and bond with her.” I concluded.
“Okaaayyy….. If you say so, Ivor. I guess we get to see a different Uror,” Liss-ran said, shaking her head.
I rested there, cutting some strips from the leather for makeshift reins, belts and straps. I also took the time to fashion buckles from the Duplicated knife blade I had in my Pack. About fifteen minutes after I had finished making those, a shaggy Uror trundled up and halted beside the cart. She snorted and stamped a paw on the ground, seemingly eager to get this over with.
“Hello, my lady! Thank you for answering Walter’s call to help us. I trust he has explained the situation to you?” I said to the shaggy beast.
She tossed her head twice, which I took as an affirmative. “Excellent. Now, if you don’t mind, I’d like to fit you for a harness so we can hitch you to the wagon. Would you mind if I got to work? I’ll do my best to make it as comfortable as possible. If it pinches or is uncomfortable, please snort twice,” I said, receiving another toss of her head.
I smiled and got to work, crafting the harness from memory and sizing it to fit the much smaller female. After a few mistakes, she and I fell into a routine, and I had the harness crafted in short order. Once I explained the concept of the saddle to her, I began the process of making that, with similar results. All in all, it took us the better part of an hour to finish the work.
“There we are. Hmm. You know, I can’t just call you ‘Uror’ or something like that. May I call you Lady?” I asked.
The shaggy beast was still for a moment, and then tossed her head twice. “Excellent, Lady! I am Ivor, and we are going to Haruma. I will direct you, if that’s okay?” Another head toss and she began to strain against the weight of the cart. I quickly climbed up, and we were off.
With the assistance of Lady, we made short work of the hill in front of us. I let her choose the pace, and we were slowly, but steadily, on our way to Haruma once more.
“Liss-ran? How long do you think we have until we get home?” I asked.
“At this rate?” she said, taking stock of our surroundings and pace. “We should be there around dinnertime, I’d say.”
“Awesome. Just in time to have some of Gon-rash’s amazing cooking. This day is getting better and better!” I said happily, shrugging my Pack back onto my shoulders.
We rode and chatted for another hour or so, and I saw how lifted everyone’s spirits were. Even Tren-sun was cracking jokes and smiling.
After an hour or so, Kilik-ma called out, “Hey Ivor. What kind of entertainment does your world have?”
“Entertainment? Well, we have books, plays, theater, dance, songs, musical bands, and a form of entertainment that absolutely doesn’t and hopefully will never exist on Chaia, television,” I said. “Why?”
“Well, Liss-ran was describing your music to me when we were hunting, and I was curious to hear some.”
“Oh. Well, that device is back in Haruma, actually. I left it with Elizabet for safe-keeping, so I can’t use it right now to show you my music,” I said regretfully.
“Oh. Okay,” Tren-sun said, sounding dejected.
“But I’m feeling pretty good, so how about I sing a song for you?” I ventured.
Four voices replied in the affirmative, and even Lady tossed her head. Looks like I was committed. I racked my brain, trying to think of a decent one that I actually knew all the lyrics to, when a shiver ran through me. That’s it! I took a deep breath and began…
Sleigh bells ring, are you listening?....” My rich baritone rang out through the forest, echoing off the trees and the mountain beside us.
As I was atop Lady and had my eyes closed, I was naturally unable to see the stunned reactions on the faces of my companions, as I was also facing away from them.
As I sang, the very air around us changed. The scent of snow that I had grown accustomed to had multiplied, finally depositing its bounty of crystalline glory across the entirety of the forest. Unnoticed by me, some of the buckles had been Duplicated, and now hung on the reins as small tinkling bells.
A smattering of small, blue birds had taken flight shortly after I began, wheeling their way south. The Haarthuu watched, openmouthed, as they took flight, as there had been no birds in those trees before.
Feeling joy course through my core, I opened my eyes to a forest covered in a blanket of fluffy snow. I continued, nearly trancelike, with my song, seeing the images from my mind’s eye blossom into being in a clearing to our left.
Two people made of snow, resembling myself and Elizabet, were building another snowman, giving him a defined beard and a book. These snowy puppets acted out the lyrics to the song I was singing, bowing and dancing about.
The scene shifted, and there was a fireplace made of snow, complete with dancing flames made of snow within. Two puppets, easily the size of a dire bear, pantomimed speaking and were then covered by a snowy blanket.
Once more, we saw an empty field, with the same three puppets from before. They danced and glided about the field, “speaking” to the snow-preacher.
As my song concluded, we saw the two puppets walking arm-in-arm beside the cart, and then they collapsed into a pile of wet snow once I closed my mouth.
As I came back to my senses, I realized I was sweating profusely, and my stomach was protesting loudly.
“Ivor. What. Did. You. Just. Do?” Liss-ran asked breathlessly.
I sat there, panting. Trembling, I reached into my coat for the jerky that I had taken to keeping there. I began stuffing piece after piece into my starving gullet, trying to stave off the unconsciousness that loomed on my horizon. I swallowed more and more of the meat, my mouth eventually going dry. I slung my Pack to the front, and pulled out the pitcher and drank deeply of its cool bounty.
My thirst slaked, my hunger staved off for the moment, I turned and looked at Liss-ran.
“I have no idea. It looks like I can’t be singing things like that. I hope I haven’t royally mucked up the weather…” I said in a shaky voice.
“Was that the Ancient Tongue?” asked Piri-thak.
“Huh?”
“Ivor, we couldn’t understand a word of that. Are you telling me that you didn’t realize you were singing in the Ancient Tongue?” Liss-ran asked gently.
Realization hit me like a truck. I sang the weather into existence. It was effortless and easy. I didn’t even register that I was doing so until after I was done and the shakes hit. What’s more, I sang what I saw in my head into existence. All the images I would see when I heard that song manifested in this world as snowy puppets and props. Even the bells that were on the harness were exactly as my mind’s eye saw them. I could only guess that I may have created a new species of bird. I felt mortified.
“No… I had no idea I wasn’t singing in your language. Well. Now to deal with the fallout. Is this the normal time the snows would begin, Liss-ran?” I asked quietly.
“Thankfully, yes. It’s a week early, but nothing too far out of the ordinary. I wouldn’t worry too much about altering the weather. Those birds, though. That may be a different story. There _were _only twenty or so,” she replied.
I nodded and closed my mouth. This was a new lesson, and one that I needed to ensure stayed present in my mind. I zipped my coat up against the wind, and Lady trudged on.
As the skies darkened, we could see the main road that led into our home. Kilik-ma jumped down and raced ahead, probably to let the village know we were back a little early.
About ten minutes after he left, we had a throng of people rushing out to meet us. At the forefront were Elizabet, Talah-ma’at and our boys.
“Hi everyone! We’re a little early, I know. We’ve got some goodies in the back of the wagon, and a lot more in my Pack. Let’s get Lady into the city, and we’ll unload everything, okay?” I called out.
The crowd of maybe thirty individuals parted and walked beside us like an honor guard, leading the Uror into the central hall of Haruma. Once inside, I called the gentle beast to a halt, and dismounted. I unhooked her from the cart and began to remove her harness when she snorted twice.
“Lady? Is something the matter?”
The Uror walked out of the twin shafts of the cart and turned to face us. Or, more specifically, she faced Elizabet. She looked directly at her and tossed her head.
“Present your magic to her, Elizabet. See if she’ll take it,” I said softly.
Slowly, Elizabet raised a trembling hand and a small, iron-gray sphere rose from her palm and hovered four inches above it. She approached the shaggy beast with her outstretched hand, and waited.
Lady stepped forward and gently plucked the sphere from Elizabet with a delicate tongue. She stood there chewing on it for a moment, and it was then that I heard Elizabet gasp.
“She said her name is Lola. And that she’ll follow us wherever we go. And that you…” she trailed off and turned to stare at me with an arched brow. In a low, dangerous tone she said, “What. Did. You. Do?”
I knew that tone. I sighed and shook my head. “Thanks, Lola. I was going to get around to that shortly.” I said in a wry voice. I looked Elizabet in the eye. “I appear to be able to control the weather to a degree. I don’t know to what extent it goes, but…. I sang a song into existence,” I said, defeated.
Elizabet looked confused. “You… Wait, you can sing?”
Liss-ran piped up. “His voice is rich and deep, too! It was nice,” she said with a little giggle.
“And loud. He has some lung power, he does,” Tren-sun added.
“Does anybody else wish to make her even more upset with me than she already is?” I asked in a loud, exasperated tone. “No? Thank you.”
“Try it again, Ivor. Tell me what you did,” Elizabet said firmly, crossing her arms beneath her prodigious chest.
“Yes, genius. Tell us what wonder you pulled out of your ass this time,” Blainaut said, coming up from behind Elizabet.
“Oh, gods. Not again,” I said, hanging my head.
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2023.06.01 22:00 IvorFreyrsson English Magic, Vol. 2, Ch. 21

Once we had taken down the camp, I loaded the cart with the animal carcasses using my Hands of Air. While I was strong, there was no way I was lifting a female Dire Bear. Once our quarry was loaded onto the cart, I helped my Haarthuu friends up as well. They all situated themselves in the front seat, and I took my place behind the handle.
“Off we go!” I exclaimed and pushed off from the ground. It was difficult to get the cart rolling, but once I did, keeping it there wasn’t too much strain.
We continued in this way for about five hours, which is when we came to a hill that I would be unable to climb with the cart, and I doubted my companions would be much help. I had stopped and was leaning against the handle, breathing hard and heavily.
“Well, I can’t climb this, and I don’t have it in me to tunnel through. What should we do, Liss-ran?” I asked, panting.
Liss-ran sat there in a slight panic. “Um, I’m not sure. If there were Uror nearby, I’d say to convince one of them to help?”
I snapped my fingers. “That’s it! I’ll call Walter,” I said happily.
I closed my eyes and leaned on the cart.
Walter?
“Yeah, Boss? You okay? You sound beat.
“I’m fine. Just kinda tired. Where are you located right now? I could use some help.”
“Yeah? Let’s see…. I’m about an hour or so away from where you are right now. What’s going on?”
“I’m pulling a cart through the woods back to Haruma. I’ve hit a hill that I can’t pull it over. It’s too loaded down, and I’m not strong enough.”
“Ah. I see. Well, I can be there in an hour. Or should I send someone else?”
“Well, this cart is narrower than the last. It may be a bit uncomfortable for you.”
“Okay. I can send a kid over to you. They’ll be able to carry you and pull the cart.”
“You sure?”
“Yeah, boss. She’s on her way right now. From a different herd, so she can get to you faster.
“Okay. Should I give her some of my magic so she can communicate with me, or are you the only member I will be able to speak with? I don’t know how this all works.”
“Nah. Don’t worry about it. She’ll be able to understand you, and will take you home no sweat. If she decides to stick around, I might uhh… claim her. Have your woman try to bond with her.”
I laughed and let the matter drop. “Okay Walter. Thanks man. If there’s anything I can do for you, let me know. Oh. We’re leaving the week after last frost. Heading to Klearm. If you could meet us in Haruma beforehand, I’ll make sure you’re fed well and your coat is nice and shiny.
You got it, Boss! Looking forward to it!
I pulled my Pack off, and removed a large piece of leather, as well as my tools. “Gonna need these in a few. We have a female Uror heading our way. I’m going to make a harness and a saddle for her once she gets here, and we will be on our way. Sound good?” I announced.
Four heads looked at one another, then at me. “How did you manage that, Ivor?” Liss-ran asked incredulously.
“Uh, I just reached out to Walter, the Uror that brought us here. Apparently when you bond yourself to a Uror, you can speak with them from great distances. He’s an hour away. The female should be here much quicker. She’s from a more local herd,” I explained. “I won’t be able to speak with her the same as I do Walter, but I was instructed to see if Elizabet would like to try and bond with her.” I concluded.
“Okaaayyy….. If you say so, Ivor. I guess we get to see a different Uror,” Liss-ran said, shaking her head.
I rested there, cutting some strips from the leather for makeshift reins, belts and straps. I also took the time to fashion buckles from the Duplicated knife blade I had in my Pack. About fifteen minutes after I had finished making those, a shaggy Uror trundled up and halted beside the cart. She snorted and stamped a paw on the ground, seemingly eager to get this over with.
“Hello, my lady! Thank you for answering Walter’s call to help us. I trust he has explained the situation to you?” I said to the shaggy beast.
She tossed her head twice, which I took as an affirmative. “Excellent. Now, if you don’t mind, I’d like to fit you for a harness so we can hitch you to the wagon. Would you mind if I got to work? I’ll do my best to make it as comfortable as possible. If it pinches or is uncomfortable, please snort twice,” I said, receiving another toss of her head.
I smiled and got to work, crafting the harness from memory and sizing it to fit the much smaller female. After a few mistakes, she and I fell into a routine, and I had the harness crafted in short order. Once I explained the concept of the saddle to her, I began the process of making that, with similar results. All in all, it took us the better part of an hour to finish the work.
“There we are. Hmm. You know, I can’t just call you ‘Uror’ or something like that. May I call you Lady?” I asked.
The shaggy beast was still for a moment, and then tossed her head twice. “Excellent, Lady! I am Ivor, and we are going to Haruma. I will direct you, if that’s okay?” Another head toss and she began to strain against the weight of the cart. I quickly climbed up, and we were off.
With the assistance of Lady, we made short work of the hill in front of us. I let her choose the pace, and we were slowly, but steadily, on our way to Haruma once more.
“Liss-ran? How long do you think we have until we get home?” I asked.
“At this rate?” she said, taking stock of our surroundings and pace. “We should be there around dinnertime, I’d say.”
“Awesome. Just in time to have some of Gon-rash’s amazing cooking. This day is getting better and better!” I said happily, shrugging my Pack back onto my shoulders.
We rode and chatted for another hour or so, and I saw how lifted everyone’s spirits were. Even Tren-sun was cracking jokes and smiling.
After an hour or so, Kilik-ma called out, “Hey Ivor. What kind of entertainment does your world have?”
“Entertainment? Well, we have books, plays, theater, dance, songs, musical bands, and a form of entertainment that absolutely doesn’t and hopefully will never exist on Chaia, television,” I said. “Why?”
“Well, Liss-ran was describing your music to me when we were hunting, and I was curious to hear some.”
“Oh. Well, that device is back in Haruma, actually. I left it with Elizabet for safe-keeping, so I can’t use it right now to show you my music,” I said regretfully.
“Oh. Okay,” Tren-sun said, sounding dejected.
“But I’m feeling pretty good, so how about I sing a song for you?” I ventured.
Four voices replied in the affirmative, and even Lady tossed her head. Looks like I was committed. I racked my brain, trying to think of a decent one that I actually knew all the lyrics to, when a shiver ran through me. That’s it! I took a deep breath and began…
Sleigh bells ring, are you listening?....” My rich baritone rang out through the forest, echoing off the trees and the mountain beside us.
As I was atop Lady and had my eyes closed, I was naturally unable to see the stunned reactions on the faces of my companions, as I was also facing away from them.
As I sang, the very air around us changed. The scent of snow that I had grown accustomed to had multiplied, finally depositing its bounty of crystalline glory across the entirety of the forest. Unnoticed by me, some of the buckles had been Duplicated, and now hung on the reins as small tinkling bells.
A smattering of small, blue birds had taken flight shortly after I began, wheeling their way south. The Haarthuu watched, openmouthed, as they took flight, as there had been no birds in those trees before.
Feeling joy course through my core, I opened my eyes to a forest covered in a blanket of fluffy snow. I continued, nearly trancelike, with my song, seeing the images from my mind’s eye blossom into being in a clearing to our left.
Two people made of snow, resembling myself and Elizabet, were building another snowman, giving him a defined beard and a book. These snowy puppets acted out the lyrics to the song I was singing, bowing and dancing about.
The scene shifted, and there was a fireplace made of snow, complete with dancing flames made of snow within. Two puppets, easily the size of a dire bear, pantomimed speaking and were then covered by a snowy blanket.
Once more, we saw an empty field, with the same three puppets from before. They danced and glided about the field, “speaking” to the snow-preacher.
As my song concluded, we saw the two puppets walking arm-in-arm beside the cart, and then they collapsed into a pile of wet snow once I closed my mouth.
As I came back to my senses, I realized I was sweating profusely, and my stomach was protesting loudly.
“Ivor. What. Did. You. Just. Do?” Liss-ran asked breathlessly.
I sat there, panting. Trembling, I reached into my coat for the jerky that I had taken to keeping there. I began stuffing piece after piece into my starving gullet, trying to stave off the unconsciousness that loomed on my horizon. I swallowed more and more of the meat, my mouth eventually going dry. I slung my Pack to the front, and pulled out the pitcher and drank deeply of its cool bounty.
My thirst slaked, my hunger staved off for the moment, I turned and looked at Liss-ran.
“I have no idea. It looks like I can’t be singing things like that. I hope I haven’t royally mucked up the weather…” I said in a shaky voice.
“Was that the Ancient Tongue?” asked Piri-thak.
“Huh?”
“Ivor, we couldn’t understand a word of that. Are you telling me that you didn’t realize you were singing in the Ancient Tongue?” Liss-ran asked gently.
Realization hit me like a truck. I sang the weather into existence. It was effortless and easy. I didn’t even register that I was doing so until after I was done and the shakes hit. What’s more, I sang what I saw in my head into existence. All the images I would see when I heard that song manifested in this world as snowy puppets and props. Even the bells that were on the harness were exactly as my mind’s eye saw them. I could only guess that I may have created a new species of bird. I felt mortified.
“No… I had no idea I wasn’t singing in your language. Well. Now to deal with the fallout. Is this the normal time the snows would begin, Liss-ran?” I asked quietly.
“Thankfully, yes. It’s a week early, but nothing too far out of the ordinary. I wouldn’t worry too much about altering the weather. Those birds, though. That may be a different story. There were only twenty or so,” she replied.
I nodded and closed my mouth. This was a new lesson, and one that I needed to ensure stayed present in my mind. I zipped my coat up against the wind, and Lady trudged on.
As the skies darkened, we could see the main road that led into our home. Kilik-ma jumped down and raced ahead, probably to let the village know we were back a little early.
About ten minutes after he left, we had a throng of people rushing out to meet us. At the forefront were Elizabet, Talah-ma’at and our boys.
“Hi everyone! We’re a little early, I know. We’ve got some goodies in the back of the wagon, and a lot more in my Pack. Let’s get Lady into the city, and we’ll unload everything, okay?” I called out.
The crowd of maybe thirty individuals parted and walked beside us like an honor guard, leading the Uror into the central hall of Haruma. Once inside, I called the gentle beast to a halt, and dismounted. I unhooked her from the cart and began to remove her harness when she snorted twice.
“Lady? Is something the matter?”
The Uror walked out of the twin shafts of the cart and turned to face us. Or, more specifically, she faced Elizabet. She looked directly at her and tossed her head.
“Present your magic to her, Elizabet. See if she’ll take it,” I said softly.
Slowly, Elizabet raised a trembling hand and a small, iron-gray sphere rose from her palm and hovered four inches above it. She approached the shaggy beast with her outstretched hand, and waited.
Lady stepped forward and gently plucked the sphere from Elizabet with a delicate tongue. She stood there chewing on it for a moment, and it was then that I heard Elizabet gasp.
“She said her name is Lola. And that she’ll follow us wherever we go. And that you…” she trailed off and turned to stare at me with an arched brow. In a low, dangerous tone she said, “What. Did. You. Do?”
I knew that tone. I sighed and shook my head. “Thanks, Lola. I was going to get around to that shortly.” I said in a wry voice. I looked Elizabet in the eye. “I appear to be able to control the weather to a degree. I don’t know to what extent it goes, but…. I sang a song into existence,” I said, defeated.
Elizabet looked confused. “You… Wait, you can sing?”
Liss-ran piped up. “His voice is rich and deep, too! It was nice,” she said with a little giggle.
“And loud. He has some lung power, he does,” Tren-sun added.
“Does anybody else wish to make her even more upset with me than she already is?” I asked in a loud, exasperated tone. “No? Thank you.”
“Try it again, Ivor. Tell me what you did,” Elizabet said firmly, crossing her arms beneath her prodigious chest.
“Yes, genius. Tell us what wonder you pulled out of your ass this time,” Blainaut said, coming up from behind Elizabet.
“Oh, gods. Not again,” I said, hanging my head.
submitted by IvorFreyrsson to Words_From_Ivor [link] [comments]


2023.06.01 21:34 In_Yellow_Clad Huh -- (A One Shot)

Badrapra - a name that would go down in history - is a planet smack dab on the edge of human space, a planet that sat at the junction of several supply lanes and commerce hubs, and was for all intents and purposes, a fortress world as a result. Considering it was the only way through a region of space that was known for lost ships that ventured out into the twin nebulas, from which nothing but space wildlife ever returned, it was as you might think, a damn important planet to hold onto. A planet from which a counter attack could be launched in any direction, a chokepoint that couldn’t be breached without exorbitant cost to resources and manpower. A planet from which a foe could strike at the heart of humanity should they take it.
Which was why Humanity and the Ta’Ex were currently brawling over it. The reasons for the current interstellar conflict aren’t important, what is important is this planet, over and on which the two belligerents have fought each other to a standstill. Upon this planet is a fortress, a fortress garrisoned by some of the most seasoned men and women of the Terran military, and trenches span the entire planet, surrounding cities and industry as protection against invasion.
In orbit it is much the same, sort of. Instead of trenches there are reefs of defense satellites and weapons emplacements, shoals of warships patrol the space around the planet and the lanes that all are forced to use. It was built to be impenetrable, imposing in a way that any foe would cower at the mere mention of it. And yet…
And yet the Ta’Ex had launched a bold assault upon the planet, bringing four of their largest fleets to bear down upon the defenses. It was a brutal fight, losses were heavy on both sides, but neither was willing to back down. It was the same on the ground, the Ta’Ex had made planetfall with relative ease, only to find themselves staring at trench lines that were miles thick and brimming with all manner of terrible weaponry. Since humanity was unwilling to give up their defensive positions and simply let the enemy break themselves against said defenses, things quickly devolved into a game of waiting and patience.
The Ta’Ex had boldly walked right into the fire, thinking they could easily beat such defenses, they were quite wrong about that. In less than four hours they’d lost several thousand troops to coordinated artillery, air and ground fire, while humanity lost not even a percentage of that. So the Ta’Ex decided to emulate humanity instead, building their own counter trenches and emplacements.
And now the course of any engagement was predicated on who was winning in space. Regular supply drops and the rotating of troops off the frontlines became exceedingly difficult at times thanks to the back and forth nature of the spaceborne conflict. So, as is want to happen in such cases, the soldiers grew bored, and in some cases, desperate.
For example, on the day the battle would end. Nobody knew it at the time, but one small event would change the course of the battle in favor of humanity, as the Ta’Ex would get a taste of what humanity was truly like, and it would be a thing that shook them to their core.
A fine morning indeed, or so it appeared. The silence over the trenches was an illusion that could be shattered at any moment by artillery or gunfire, yet none came. And so the Ta’Ex commander watched the birds in the sky instead, sipping on a hot drink that was his species' equivalent of human coffee. It served to give him that extra little jolt that would keep him awake, something he needed these days since the most that ever happened were one side hurling insults at the other and the occasional potshot just to remind the enemy that they still existed.
I, Lord Commander Issal, turned my attention to the device they were building, it was a two fold thing. The first part of it would project a moveable shield which could theoretically withstand an orbital strike and would allow their troops to advance on the enemy trenches without fear of death. The other part, was a directed energy weapon, one capable of leveling entire city blocks if they so wished, or even striking at an orbiting capital ship with reasonably grand results.It would be a good weapon to use when they began to advance, as it could soften targets with ease in a way that artillery wasn’t quite capable of.
At the moment only the cannon was built, and even that wasn’t fully ready for deployment, there were several simulations still needing to be run, but I was confident that soon we could begin a proper assault, once the shield platform was complete. That said, I had a feeling of unease settle over me as a heavy fog rolled in and partially obscured the sky.
A few orders later and I was certain that any potential attack could be thwarted during such a phenomenon. What I wasn’t expecting was to see a shape walk out of the mist that was distinctly not a Ta’Ex. See, we Ta’Ex are a very tall species, they sport six limbs, four arms and two legs. The second pair of arms are smaller and widely considered to be vestigial at this point in their evolution. Their bodies covered in a light coating of fur, vaguely avian heads and a long stinger tipped tail. Like some sort of really fucked up hybrid of a bird, scorpion and a dog as the humans would say. That generally didn’t offend the Ta’Ex, they understood that some species were really only able to compare them to somewhat similar creatures on their homeworlds, that was alright.
What walked out of the mist was not Ta’Ex, but human. Smaller than the Ta’Ex by at least four human feet, lacking the extra limbs and fur, plus no tail which was just wrong on so many levels. I expected a human in power armor, which we had discovered to be exceedingly devastating against us, with no real counter beyond sticking a det-pack somewhere where they couldn’t reach and blowing them up. Instead, this human walked casually through our trench in what they call ‘shorts’ and a ‘t-shirt’, their hair messy and the beginnings of something called a ‘beard’ showing along their jaw. Even their boots were untied, loose and flopping around their hideous feet as they walked.
So stunned we all were that nobody moved as the human walked wearily up to the cannon controls - which I know really shouldn’t be out in the open like they were, but the design of the cannon resulted in the controls being outside rather than protected internally- and just stared at them for what felt like ours. I was about to bellow a war cry and charge the human when they finally moved. It felt as though my perception of time slowed as I watched their five fingered hand curl only four digits, what they called an index finger rigid and extended as it rose into the air, and then began a descent towards the control panel. Nobody moved, nobody even dared to breathe, as that finger pushed a button.
Nothing happened, and the human seemed to be confused by this, as they pushed the button several more times before they tried simply holding it down. When even that didn’t work they let out a little huff of annoyance and started pushing other buttons, till one actually did something. He paused when the capacitors began drawing power audibly, quickly too, and finally the first button he’d been pressing lit up as the charging sequence finished.
With a soft shrug and a frown of sorts they pushed the button one more time, before the sky was split in two and darkened considerably as a violet beam of energy lanced forth from the cannon. It lasted for thirty seconds before suddenly shutting down, the cannon barrel smoking and the human looked surprised before they shrugged and uttered a sentence that would haunt me forever.
“Huh… So that’s what that does. Neat.” And they turned around and walked casually back through the trenches. When they reached the perimeter they climbed up and out, sauntering lazily across the open fields between our lines. A flurry of panicked comms chatter reached me finally, and as I listened with a mounting sense of horror and even embarrassment, I learned that this random human who had fired our weapon quite by chance, had also heaped more misfortune upon us.
Our flagship was in flames.
Against all odds, the stars had seemingly aligned for this one human to make an unguided and unintentional attack against the pride of our fleet, using our very own weapon against us, all because he’d let his own curiosity get the better of his judgement, and because I, in my shock, had simply allowed it to happen.
I sat down heavily, and wondered what to do. Two hours later, word had spread far and wide, and we no longer wished to fight these apes, for what new misfortunes could they heap upon us in their pursuit for the cure to boredom? An hour after that, the war was over.
– – – – – –
When Corporal Flynn made it back to his particular stretch of shitty trench, he found the company CO standing there waiting for him, and he did not look impressed.
“Just what the hell were you thinking Corporal!?” Captain Mcgowan practically spat, and the corporal stared blankly at him for approximately two seconds before responding, realization crossing his face before he grinned broadly.
“I was bored, sir.”
submitted by In_Yellow_Clad to HFY [link] [comments]


2023.06.01 21:32 Traumatized_Waffle The Emissary - Part 3

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Thomas's voice filled with disbelief as he stared at the multitude of screens scattered across mission control. The words displayed on each one spelled out a chilling truth: Loss of Communications.
"What do you mean he's GONE?" he exclaimed, his tone a mix of shock and desperation. He turned to Samantha, one of the mission directors, seeking answers.
Samantha's voice mirrored his urgency as she replied, "Exactly as it sounds! One moment, the Emissary 1 was there, and then a blinding flash lit up the entire western hemisphere. And then... the ship simply vanished!"
A wave of uncertainty swept through the room, mingling with the growing panic. Amidst the chaos, a voice cried out, "Could it have been an attack?"
The room fell into a hushed silence as everyone contemplated the grim possibility. Another voice, filled with unease, spoke up, "We can't say for certain, but what other explanation could there be?"
The atmosphere in the crowded mission control building grew increasingly tense as the weight of the situation settled upon them all.
"Quick! Someone get on the Deep Space Network and try to establish a lock on Emissary 1's telemetry!" Jacob's voice boomed, commanding the attention of the room. He, one of the chief technicians responsible for the Emissary 1's operating system, furiously pounded away at his workstation, driven by a mixture of urgency and determination.
Responding to his call, the room swiftly transformed into an organized arrangement of technicians and mission directors, each taking their positions at their respective workstations. The air buzzed with focused activity as they began coordinating with one another, their collective efforts aimed at unraveling the mystery of the Emissary 1's fate.
Throughout mission control, a palpable sense of purpose pervaded the atmosphere. Underneath the surface of worry and uncertainty, there lay an unyielding resolve to discover the truth and find a resolution. Each person, driven by a shared mission, channeled their skills and expertise into the urgent task at hand.
The room plunged into a renewed state of panic as one by one, the workstations confirmed the grim reality. There was no telemetry, no engine wake, no trace of the Emissary 1 to be found. A suffocating silence settled over the room, heavy with fear and uncertainty. It was in this disheartening moment that the ominous red phone began to ring, its shrill sound cutting through the air like a siren.
Samantha sprang into action, rushing toward the phone with a mix of trepidation and determination. She swiftly lifted the receiver, holding it against her ear, as the room held its breath, their collective gaze fixed upon her.
The voice on the other end of the line conveyed urgent information that sent shivers down everyone's spines. Exotic energy, unlike anything ever witnessed before, had been detected at the precise moment of the blinding flash. The gravity of the situation deepened as Samantha relayed the words to the room.
"That was a representative of the United Nations. They are now treating this as a hostile encounter," Samantha's voice trembled slightly, mirroring the growing anxiety in the room. Gasps and worried exclamations echoed through the space, punctuating the rising tension.
Samantha paused, allowing the commotion to subside, before continuing with a weighty tone. "We have thirty minutes to ascertain the status of Emissary 1 and its pilot. If we can't, or the answer is anything other than 'alive and well'... they're prepared to launch a nuclear strike against the alien craft."
A stunned silence fell over mission control, the gravity of their predicament sinking in. The room teetered on the edge of chaos, emotions swirling in a turbulent mix of fear, urgency, and resolve.
In the face of the mounting pressure and dwindling time, Thomas stepped forward, his voice filled with determination and a touch of realism.
“We have to do something. We've come this far, we can't succumb to despair now! The world is counting on us, Deckard Conroy is definitely counting on us!", he declared, his words carrying a resolute but measured tone.
His rallying cry resonated with the weary souls in the room, rekindling a glimmer of hope. The technicians and mission directors exchanged glances, their expressions shifting from resignation to a newfound determination. They rallied together, forming a united front against the impending doom.
With renewed vigor, they poured over the data once again, dissecting every piece of information, searching for the slightest clue that could unveil the fate of the Emissary 1. The minutes ticked away, but their resolve remained unyielding.
And then, amidst the sea of despair, a flicker of hope emerged. The screen lit up with fragments of telemetry, a faint signal amidst the vast emptiness of space. Excitement rippled through mission control as they worked tirelessly to amplify the signal, desperate to establish a connection.
Just as the screen displayed a clearer image, capturing a glimpse of the Emissary 1's survival, the clock reached its final countdown. Sirens blared, their shrill wails piercing through the air, as a sense of impending doom settled over the room.
Eyes widened as a nearby silo erupted in a fiery plume, launching a nuclear missile into the sky. The world map, positioned prominently in the center of mission control, began to illuminate with a cascade of red dots, indicating missiles being launched all across the globe.
A mixture of disbelief and horror washed over the room as they grappled with the realization that the nuclear strike, once an abstract threat, was now a harrowing reality. Panic gripped everyone, turning the celebration into chaos.
Amidst the turmoil, Samantha dialed every UN number she could think of, even though she knew it was pointless now.
Everyone watched in disbelief as all the red dots on the global map converged on a single point in orbit. Somebody in mission control screamed, pointing upwards at the sky through the large bay windows set in the front of the building.
Several fiery blooms erupted all at once, so bright that they were visible from the ground. The horrifying spectacle unfolded for several minutes, the explosions in orbit unleashing atomic devastation.
As the explosions ceased, mission control fell silent. Everyone in the building had come to the same conclusion. The alien ship was destroyed, and with it, any chance of finding Emissary 1.
Samantha, tears streaming down her face, whispered softly, "Poor Deckard… I can’t imagine what he must be thinking right now…"

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A/N: I know this chapter is a bit shorter, but I figured a chapter focusing on Mission Control during the moments after out Astronaut was forcibly yeeted across the universe would provide good context! Hope you all enjoy
submitted by Traumatized_Waffle to HFY [link] [comments]


2023.06.01 20:38 sburban-jungle Nexplanon removal and difficult IUD (Kyleena) insertion experience

Yesterday I went through the process of switching from Nexplanon to an IUD.
TLDR; I passed out during the IUD insertion. Nexplanon removal right after was easy. Had some pretty nasty nausea but feel back to normal day after with little to no cramping.
My experience with Nexplanon: I got the implant just over a year ago after experimenting with the patch (my skin did not like the patch at all and I got some pretty nasty migraines). The procedure was very easy and I didn't even realize the doctor had already inserted the implant because the freezing was so effective! It was pretty normal until I got my first period afterwards, in which I would have lengthy and irregular periods for the next year. Most of the time it would be lighter than usual, but the spotting was very annoying and lengthy. Occasionally I would have no period for nearly two months, other times it would be one week bleeding/spotting, one week off, and then right back to a period again. Acne was more frequent, but that is my main PMS warning sign that my period is coming so not especially surprised there. No noticeable changes in mood or headaches which was good, but I decided that having a frequent yet irregular period was way more trouble than what it was worth - especially since before BC I had a period that worked like clockwork. Called the doctor, they convinced me that switching to an IUD would help with some of the issues I had while still being a very reliable BC.
The IUD insertion experience: Forewarning, this was rough. I had expressed some concerns in my phone consultation about pain management and they just told me to take some OTC Naproxen about an hour before my appointment. I ate a normal breakfast and then before my appointment had a light snack as it was nearing lunch time. Took the Naproxen within the recommended time frame. Doctor and med student (I think? I was pretty nervous at this point so didn't ask too many questions) were there to do the procedure. I had been asked if I wanted to do the Nexplanon removal first or the IUD insertion first and I decided I'd rather get the worst of it (i.e. the IUD) out of the way first so I wouldn't chicken out after the Nexplanon removal. They walked me through the steps before and let me know verbally what was happening throughout the procedure. Speculum was fine, they told me to take deep breaths while they did things like pinching the cervix and whatnot. It was definitely painful, but manageable. I was maybe feeling a bit woozy through this but I didn't really process this, but it went downhill pretty quick when they actually inserted the IUD. I could tell that I was passing out but at that point I was too deep to tell the doctor it was happening. I came to and it took me a bit to realize where I was and what was happening, but once I was awake the doctors let me know I passed out (I did not ask for how long) and let me know that the IUD was successfully inserted. They were very nice, got me some water and asked about whether I wanted to continue with the Nexplanon removal or wait until another day - as well they asked if I wanted someone with me or if I wanted to ride it out alone. I decided to go on my own, very slowly got dressed but experienced waves of nausea and asked for a bucket just in case. Ended up vomiting which made me feel way better and I knew I could continue with the Nexplanon removal. That part went fine, though it took some work to get the implant out. Doctor let me sit in the room after but she heavily encouraged me to book an Uber home since I didn't have a ride. Vomited again, then packed up and booked an Uber home.
I should add, with all of this that I do have a history of fainting, though very infrequent. It's probably been at least 3 or 4 years since I've passed out but I guess this falls under the list of things to trigger a vasovagal reaction from me.
After going home I just laid down with a heat pack for the cramping. Convinced myself to eat some saltines after several waves of nausea, and that seemed to do the trick. Perked up a bit by the evening and just felt regular levels of crampy, which was to be expected. Went to bed and I woke up this morning feeling entirely fine, basically no cramps at all! Considering the hell that I had went through during insertion I thought it would be a hellish recovery but I'm doing fine. I just hope that whenever I remove and/or insert a new IUD that I can get some proper painkillers or anesthesia as I'm sure they don't want me to pass out on the table again. If you actually made it this far and have any advice, please let me know how to ensure that I have written proof that I passed out to use for future procedures!
submitted by sburban-jungle to birthcontrol [link] [comments]


2023.06.01 20:26 GryphonKingBros Alternative Concept for Season 4: "Bilious Cataclysm"

Season Briefing "Alright Miners, listen up. The Rockpox situation just escalated. The lithophage comet has been caught in Hoxxes' orbit and is now circling the planet rather than passing by as R&D suggested. Considering the fragments of this vile rock are already doing enough damage, the consequences of allowing the comet to land on Hoxxes IV could be catastrophic. The comet's collision course with the planet is inevitable, so Management has approved the destruction of the comet in order to disperse the severity of the comet's impact. There are several mining rigs chipping away at the comet, though the task is proving difficult to say the least.
The fight against Rockpox has merely begun and we've got a lot of work to keep our planet clean. With the increased amounts of Lithophage meteorites impacting the planet, very few regions are safe from the outbreak. Most missions you embark on will have Lithophage running rampant, so stay on your toes. Additionally Rockpox has upped the ante with reports of several new lithophage-infested bugs. Expect some common threats to become a bit tougher to fight. News doesn't get much better from there as there are also reports of pure lithophage abominations. Be on the lookout for much larger parasitic baddies when cleansing the caves.
It's not all bad news however. R&D has been cooking up some new toys to help you combat the ongoing threat of Rockpox. With that said, these new toys are primarily designed to combat a particularly nasty parasite, but that's on a need-to-know basis and you don't need to know just yet. Nor will you want to know, because frankly it's some nasty stuff...
Last but not least, it is imperative that we keep the lithophage off the Space Rigs. Samples have been moved after a few outbreak reports, but the lost samples are still loose in the Rig. If you manage to find chunks of Lithophage, take them to the contaminant disposal receptacle near the drop pod and you'll be rewarded some performance points off the clock!
As always, Management sends their regards."
Synopsis Season 3 has been a blast, but it felt incomplete to some extent. Don't get me wrong, GSG did a wonderful job as always and it's very polished. It's just... Two zombies and an angry noodle? You'd think this space plague would put up more of a fight. I say it should. As much as I'd prefer a new theme, another two-parter is very welcome. The Rivals didn't need a part 2 and was likely either GSG unloading a few unfinished concepts that weren't ready in time and/or just trying to kill time while they got Season 3 ready. Season 3 on the other hand greatly benefits from a part 2.
I wrote up this literal document of ideas deadass months before the season teasers and announcement. GSG already has everything finalized, but regardless I wanted to share my ideas. Partially because I didn't want my ideas to go to waste, but mostly because I had a much darker and more grotesque vision of Rockpox with horrific mutations that leave the hosts in agony which I think are moderately better than what we got.
Hoxxes IV's condition The basic premise is that the lithophage situation has escalated and the comet is on a collision course with the planet, meaning the lithophage outbreak is spreading rapidly. In an effort to stop the outbreak once and for all, DRG has sent out mining rigs to chip away at the comet and destroy it piece by piece. As the season name implies however, the comet has been "vomiting" meteors more frequently as a result and some nastier parasites along with it, presenting cataclysmic results. In other words, DRG's efforts are resulting in a Bilious Cataclysm. While DRG attempts to destroy the comet, operatives on the planet must keep the infection at bay. That means more lithophage outbreaks and more lithophage enemies.
The main meat of the Season would be a significantly expanded roster of infected enemies and even some unique rockpox abominations made of lithophage parasites. In order to find said beasties, the Lithophage Outbreak warning is available in any biome. Obviously it'd be annoying to deal with Lithophage enemies everywhere you go, so there is still a small area on the map that has more outbreaks than others. All regions are capable of having a Lithophage Outbreak mutation but they are limited to one warning maximum. Meanwhile, epidemic zones will have two minimum and can have up to four maximum. You can encounter a very small handful of rockpox enemies on any mission (the game will decide which enemies are available in the spawn pool in the same manner as the appearance of excessive amounts of special enemies such as Exploders, Swarmers, Mactera, and Wardens) while the whole roster is limited to just epidemic zones. However, there is one exception:
The infection spreads With the outbreak worsening, Rockpox has been spreading rapidly. Not only that, but Rockpox Larvae have gone from spreading pathogens to Glyphid Grunts and Praetorians slowly through their environments to taking a figurative jump in evolution and a literal jump onto enemies. They will now actively target and infect (compatible) enemies like they do against the dwarfs. Any creature it infects will have their attributes enhanced, including both their strengths and their weaknesses. If you're unlucky enough to have a larvae find a tough host, it will turn into a Rockpox variant regardless of the spawn pool.
The Lithophage parasites have become more accustomed to Hoxxes IV's vast ecosystem and have begun burrowing into a variety of different hosts such as Glyphid Guards, Slashers, Acidspitters, and Swarmers, Mactera Spawn and Trijaws, Q'ronar Shellbacks, and even poor innocent Loot Bugs! Truly no creature is safe from this plague.
Also quick disclaimer: Use the Rockpox Grunt and Praetorian as a template for all of these enemies. All of the enemies will still have the glowing yellow cysts (weakpoints) that do critical damage when broken unless specified in the description of the enemy. Along those same lines, unless specified, all of these enemies have their normal abilities with the added Lithophage enemy stats. I say this because I'm afraid people are gonna think l'm not taking into account the fact that Rockpox-infected enemies tank 90% of all damage if you aren't aiming for the weakpoints. None of these enemies wil have only the one weakness mentioned. That's just a weakpoint special to the corresponding enemy *(e.g the Rockpox Guard has a weakpoint on the face but also has 3-4 cysts all over its body like Rockpox Grunts). There's a reason people didn't like Elites after all.
Rockpox Guard The infected Glyphid Guard has its front armor enhanced with it's face completely eviscerated with Rockpox in order to support its front armor. The front armor is impervious to damage, but is actively attached to it's face which is it's weakpoint. When it attacks, it will briefly latch onto its target and entangle them in Lithophage, rapidly infecting the target with Lithophage (increases lithophage status by 50%) before tossing them back. During this attack you can quickly kill the Guard by attacking the tendrils on its face.
Rockpox Slasher The infected Glyphid Slasher has it's sharp front legs enhanced with Rockpox. It will rapidly sprint around the room to dodge fire, before darting towards a target, quickly slashing them with it's bladed tendril arms, and then going back to dodging fire. Instead of stunning the target in place directly however, the Slasher will rapidly infect the target (increases lithophage status by 80%) which in turn can lead to indirectly stunning the target. The legs are a major weakpoint, but it's rapid movement makes it hard to hit. Whoever is targeted by the Slasher has the best opportunity to kill it due to its legs facing the target.
Rockpox Acidspitter The infected Glyphid Acidspitter has it's acidic saliva enhanced to fire three contagious Rockpox projectiles. A direct hit will immediately encase the target in Rockpox while hitting terrain will create a cloud of Rockpox to slowly infect nearby dwarfs (increases lithophage status by 15% per second, takes less than 7 seconds to ensnare them). The Acidspitter has more health than usual and behaves similarly to a Menace; it fires off a few shots before quickly repositioning with a much faster movement speed than its uninfected counterpart, though it obviously cannot burrow (comparable to how the Glyphid Spreader behaves, but more evasive).
Rockpox Swarmer Infected Glyphid Swarmers behave similarly to Rockpox Larvae. They spread infection through their attacks (increases lithophage status by 5% per hit), but do not burrow into your beard. Instead they will continuously nibble at your feet until you're helplessly ensnared in Rockpox and at their mercy. Killing Swarmers up close will result in being contaminated by the small amounts of pathogen they release (increases lithophage status by 10%, and only when killed in close proximity, the rockpox aoe does not linger).
Rockpox Exploder The infected Glyphid Exploder has enhanced their explosive tendencies to spread the infection. Instead of rapidly self-destructing, they have volatile cysts that slowly and methodically seep Lithophage pathogens by draining their blood until they die. They will remain in a stasis state until disturbed or burrow out of the ground nearby ready to strike, constantly releasing pathogens. Exploders move significantly faster than normal and will persistently breathe in your face and infect you with Rockpox once they get close enough (increases lithophage status by 20% per second when within normal detonation range) while still constantly following you.
Like normal Exploders, they are easily dispatched with just a few shots. However, like other Lithophage-infected enemies, their bodies are very strong and the cysts must be popped instead to deal significant damage. When killed, they will combust into a cloud of pathogens. As mentioned previously, the Rockpox infection will constantly drain the Exploder's health over time until they collapse. If they die of their own doing, they won't leave behind any pathogens. Once their health is depleted, they will have nothing left in their body to release.
Rockpox Oppressor The infected Oppressor has impervious armor like it's uninfected counterpart. Unlike its uninfected counterpart, their weakpoint isn't in the rear (though they are more susceptible to damage from the back) but rather in the front. Some areas of it's front armor are bloated by tumorous growths of Rockpox. These areas are weak (strength of Grunt armor) and can be broken away to reveal weakpoints. Breaking all the weakpoints shatters the front armor and reveals a grotesque wall of Rockpox. This will trigger the Oppressor to move significantly faster and attack much more quickly while seeping pathogens from it's mouth (melee attacks do not increase lithophage, but being within 3m of its mouth increases lithophage by 25% per second). Fortunately, it now has no impervious armor and cannot perform Sonic Stomp or Rage Quake.
Rockpox Spawn The infected Mactera Spawn has its abdomen enhanced with Rockpox to fire Rockpox Larvae, instantly ensnaring the target in Rockpox if it's a direct hit or alternatively releasing a Larvae onto the field if it hits terrain. Like the Rockpox Praetorian (correct me if I'm wrong but I'm pretty sure I observed this new behavior on the experimental build), it can launch larvae in conjunction with its normal projectile attacks at random intervals rather than this being a separate attack. It's abdomen is initially not a critical weakpoint, but it will unfurl it's abdomen into an appendage to launch Larvae. The appendage can be destroyed to disable it from launching Larvae and deal critical damage to the Spawn, similarly to a Goobomber.
If the Spawn dies with the appendage still intact, it may perform one final gruesome attack by extending it's abdomen appendage up to it's mouth, horrifically reaching down it's throat, ripping out a bundle of spines, and tossing them vaguely in the direction of dwarves at a rapid speed as the poor Spawn helplessly flails through the sky and crashes to the ground like a Goobomber.
Rockpox Trijaw The infected Mactera Trijaw has it's abdomen enhanced like the infected Spawn, as well as it's projectiles. The Trijaw's projectiles will release pathogens on impact (increases lithophage status by 10% per second) and inject large amounts of Rockpox into targets if they hit directly (increases lithophage status by 70%). Like the Spawn, it will unfurl its abdomen to launch Larvae, however it will launch 2-3 at a time in quick succession. The appendage again can be destroyed to disable its Larvae throw attack and deal critical damage.
And once again, if the Trijaw dies with the appendage still intact, it may perform a final gruesome attack by extending it's appendage outwards, straightening it into a sharp spear, piercing the Trijaw's throat, causing the Trijaw to wail in horror and spew a barrage of projectiles out of it's mouth as the poor Trijaw flails through the sky before crashing to the ground.
Rockpox Shellback The infected Q'ronar Shellback has it's body enhanced head-to-toe in Rockpox, nullifying it's typical form of attack of rolling around a room attempting to ram it's prey. The Shellback's primary form of attack is instead it's Acid Spit attack which it will use to fire acidic bile that lingers on the ground. This bile will both slowly infect organisms (increases lithophage status by 5% per second) and dissolve their flesh. Alternatively instead of firing acidic pools of bile, the Shellback can let out a horrific gargling screech as it regurgitates dozens of Larvae out of it's mouth for several seconds. Unlike most infected organisms, there are no cysts on the outside of the body. Instead, a mass of Lithophage has grown out of the Shellback's mouth, meaning you have to attack while it attacks. On death, the Shellback will drool a pool of acidic bile.
Furthermore, the Lithophage pathogens have become more viral and deadly to the more common Grunts and Praetorians. Reports have miraculously identified grotesque proxies of the Lithophage infection; helplessly transformed after prolonged exposure to the parasites into cyst-coated rockpox delivery boys designed only to spread the virus. Stay on your toes and keep a puke bucket at the ready...
New anti-Lithophage equipment The situation may seem grim, but fortunately R&D has been cooking up some goodies to make exterminating the Rockpox Plague easier: the LithoGauge and the RAIL Cannon (Rebuke Artillery Ionizing Lithophage Cannon). The LithoGauge is a modification to the Laser Pointer that identifies what kind of Lithophage threat you're dealing with. Aiming at Rockpox will show a gauge underneath the targeted surface and slowly fill the gauge as it gathers information. The LithoGauge will only gather 33-50% of the outbreak data per infected area, meaning you'll have to scan all of them (if there's only one, it'll automatically be filled).
Once the gauge is filled, the Lithophage meteorites will be visible on the map and active cysts growing on Lithophage terrain will be visible to more easily locate and remove rockpox from the environment. Similarly, you can also scan a lithophage meteorite fragment to locate all other fragments in the area. Additionally, the LithoGauge can identify anomalies in Lithophage meteorite crash zones which is important for identifying a particularly nasty parasitic biomass that has been showing up recently. It's also what the railgun is for, but we'll get into that in a bit...
An evolving menace As mentioned, the Lithophage parasites are rapidly evolving and adapting to their new home. Parasites are growing larger and more deadly. Like their predecessors, they all are devoted to spreading the plague and stopping us from exterminating it. And in order for them to evolve into abominable monstrosities they must use a host organism as a cocoon. As mentioned previously, the short-ranged airborne Lithophage pathogen has been evolving to more strongly affect hosts. Those hosts are what evolve into larger parasites should they remain undisturbed.
Rockpox Grunt Envoy A grotesquely mutated Glyphid Grunt covered in a mass of cysts and tendrils. After prolonged exposure to lithophage parasites, these infected grunts have grown large masses of rockpox across their entire bodies and have no purpose other than to spread the infection as well as fertilize proxy host organisms. While idle, they will occasionally vomit up larvae with a mist trail following them, allowing you to notice when an Envoy is in the cave. If another envoy is nearby, it will approach and share pheromones and pathogens, fertilizing the organism. Since its covered head to toe in cysts, it's rather easy to dispatch. However, if it manages to get within 5m of a dwarf, it will immediately project a mass of tendrils at the target, wrap itself around them, and instantly down them before combusting, leaving a dangerous mist on the player.
Attempting to revive the dwarf will result in the rescuer being rapidly infected with lithophage (increases lithophage status by 40% per second) with an on-screen notification warning the rescuer to "Cure your teammate or wait out the infection." Meanwhile, the downed player has a timer visible on screen and over their player icon on the hud showing how long they have to wait for the infection to pass. To revive the player, you must either cure them via the LithoFoamer and LithoVac, wait out the mist for the infection to pass, or bypass the rapid infection via the Field Medic perk or a full team reviving the player simultaneously (for solo games, Bosco will ignore the timer).
Rockpox Praetorian Envoy A grotesquely mutated Glyphid Praetorian covered in a mass of cysts and tendrils. These praetorians serve as mobile cocoons for larvae to use to evolve into larger threats. While idle, they will wander around vomiting up larvae with a mist trail following them, allowing you to notice when an Envoy is in the cave. If it notices a dwarf, it will either quickly flee and burrow once out of sight to protect it's larvae or try to attack.
If it targets a player, it will beeline for them, starting at default movement speed but exponentially speeding up to as fast as Trawler. Similarly to the Grunt Envoy, it's much weaker than its uninfected counterpart, with as much health as a Glyphid Guard. If it manages to approach a dwarf, it will vomit a mass of tendrils to briefly strangle the target before downing them instantly and leaving behind a mist over the player. Like the Grunt Envoy, this makes the downed player a trap to others if they try to revive them before the infection is cleared. Unlike the Grunt Envoy, the Praetorian has a larger purpose to the parasites so it will either continue fighting or burrow away. If it spawns with a group of enemies, it will never burrow away. On death, it will either leave behind a swarm of parasites in addition to a contagious cloud of Lithophage or transform into a Lithophage Bellower (more on that further down).
Rockpox Loot Bug Envoy Though most creatures targeted by the Lithophage parasites are naturally hostile and aggressive making them perfect hosts to spread the plague, they've been infecting the helpless unsuspecting Loot Bug of all things. Infected Loot Bugs will behave normally with the only giveaway sign that they are infected being their desaturated skin tone and glowing cysts... as well as occasionally pausing to adorably sneeze like a sick kitten.
Unlike the other two Envoys, Loot Bug Envoys can serve both as carriers of the disease as well as cocoons for parasites to metamorphose within. So depending on their state of infection, they will do one of two things when attacked. If the infection is still early, the Loot Bug will simply drop gold and nitra, 1-2 parasites, and occasionally a plagueheart. If the infection is farther along (which is a very rare occurrence), the Loot Bug will immediately react to the damage by horrifically transforming into a Lithophage Bellower (more on that below).
If the parasites are able to complete their metamorphosis within the host, they will transform into one of five monstrosities:
Rockpox Grouser An impenetrable vine-like parasite that stretches down from the ceiling, announcing its approach with a loud creaking noise and distorted cackling. It will stare at its target for a few seconds before exhaling lithophage fumes onto the dwarf for 5 seconds. While it's mouth is open, you can do critical damage to it. Alternatively, you can also power attack it to cause it to cough and reveal its mouth earlier, but it will softly thrash its head back and forth making it more difficult to hit. Once its head is destroyed, the vine portion of the parasite will whip around wildly spewing blood-like fluid before rapidly retracting back into the ceiling and bursting once retracted.
Rockpox Quicksand A collective body of parasites that hides in rockpox terrain. It's invulnerable and nearly undetectable, with it's only telltale sign being it shifting briefly and releasing spores, until approached. When activated, it will writhe wildly, begin to glow, and reach tendrils towards dwarfs that are within 10m. Once targeted, it will follow the target for up to 30m.
Quicksand will either quickly whip a tendril at a target, knocking the target back as well as stunning it when it touches the ground, or latch onto and quickly drag them back to the Quicksand to be consumed. When grabbed, all equipment is disabled except for your pickaxe in which three hits or a power attack will free you and stun the tendril temporarily. If the tendril drags you all the way back to the Quicksand, you cannot escape and need to be rescued by another teammate. If no target is within 10m, it will simply writhe until a new target approaches. The tendrils have their own individual health and can be killed. The quicksand itself must be damaged in order to kill it. Once killed, it will liquify, bubble briefly, then dissipate into a cloud of toxic fumes.
Rockpox Deacon A large mass of parasites that has a chance to spawn from a larvae pod in place of a normal parasite. It will release a shockwave of lithophage that heavily increases lithophage status upon spawning. The Deacon will idly wander around at first. Once encountering a dwarf or being attacked, it will unhinge a large pair of jaws from the top of it's body, roaring wickedly to summon a small swarm of lithophage-infected enemies and briefly unveiling a writhing mass of glowing tendrils. Similarly to the Warden, you can kill the Deacon early on while it's still on it's own and weak, with the glowing tendrils being it's only weakspot that takes critical damage. Once it stops roaring, it will hide it's weakpoint, becoming heavily resistant to damage with it's outer armor shell, and approach the nearest dwarf. The only way to damage the Deacon after the war cry is by chipping away it's shell like any other armor plating on an enemy.
If it reaches a dwarf, it will latch onto them and take over all movement leaving the player helpless unless they have Heightened Senses. The player can resist the Deacon's influence by spamming A and D which will not only slow the Deacon down and throw off their aim but will break some of the Deacon's armor. The Deacon will ride the dwarf around firing their primary or secondary weapons for up to a minute until the host runs out of ammo or dies before seeking a new host. This of course means teammates will be forced to risk shooting their captured teammate both to save the teammate and eliminate the immediate threat. Deacons will not spawn in solo or in empty lobbies.
Rockpox Bellower An immature parasite interrupted during it's metamorphosis, it's body consists of an indistinguishable writhing mass of tendrils. It will rarely spawn in place of a Praetorian or Loot Bug Envoy's death. The Bellower will release an endless stream of parasites, draining it's health as body mass is lost. Once it's health gets low enough, either from spawning parasites or taking damage from the player, it will sprout long appendages and begin fleeing while bellowing loudly, summoning infected enemies to aid it. If it manages to get far enough away, it will burrow away. If you kill it before then however, it will trip and land on it's head kicking it's legs wildly, before finally combusting violently; shooting it's long limbs across the cave, dropping 3-5 plaguehearts, and converting terrain in a 5m radius around it into inert rockpox.
Rockpox Stalwart A stone biomass held together by lithophage that guards infected areas and serves as an alternative to the typical cleaning mechanics of infected areas. Unlike it's lesser kin, the Stalwart is incredibly powerful on it's own. While every other contagion spike is protected by an army, the Stalwart IS the army and then some. Unlike normal contagion spikes, the Stalwart is directly linked to the upkeep of the contagion zone and must be defeated in order to decontaminate the area. No amount of soap and water is going to clean up this mess.
Similarly to a Dreadnought, it has two large health bars, a shell and a core, that must both be depleted one at a time to defeat it. The Stalwart's shell is highly resistant to all damage except for Explosive, Armor Breaking, and Temperature Shock, and is weak to Rockpox Repellent Energy (more on that below) and Melee damage. Once it's shell is destroyed, it will reveal it's lithophage innards holding it together that can be damaged by any damage type. The general jist of things is that this enemy is incredibly powerful and difficult to defeat. It doesn't play nice by any means and that's the point. You MUST be prepared.
In order to combat this insane menace that'd bring a Glyphid Menace to tears, R&D has cooked up a powerful antibiotic formula that has a very destructive effect on Rockpox. Dubbed "Rockpox Repellant Energy," or R2 for short, this concoction has a similar effect to radiation, separating cells on the atomic level and dissolving most organic matter, Rockpox in particular, on the spot. It's so powerful that most Rockpox organisms can't survive even the smallest dosage (one shots EVERYTHING with Rockpox in their name). Of course there's one exception: the organism that's taken it's name literally and has its organic mass covered in stalwart stone (hence the name Stalwart).
Instead of calling a cleansing pod, you will call a RAIL Cannon Armory pod with special railgun weapons loaded with R2 energy used to fight the Stalwart. Be warned: these monsters aren't impenetrable and can be taken down by conventional means just as well as they can with R2 energy. These railguns are a privilege not a requirement, and frankly this stuff ain't cheap, so you only get one RAIL Armoury pod, two railguns, and two refills. The railguns have a limited ammo capacity and can only be refilled as long as spare energy is available in the pod. Make it count!
The Stalwart will emit gargling moans that echo throughout the cave like BET-C's distress beacon to announce it's presence. When approached or damaged, it will awaken unfurling into a gorilla-like posture before slamming the ground angrily and beginning its attack.
It has three phases: Incursive, Offensive, and Vulnerable. It will initiate its attack with either Incursive or Offensive.
During Incursive, it will gallop towards targets, or slowly crawl if climbing a vertical or ceiling surface. Once it reaches it's target, it will raise it's arms for 2 seconds before quickly slamming it's full dead weight onto the dwarf, dealing an incredibly dangerous blow to the target if it lands directly and heavy damage and knockback to anything else nearby. It will not shift targets and will continuously pursuing it's target for up to 30 seconds. Once it either reaches its target or gives up pursuit, it will switch to Offensive.
During Offensive, it will perform one of three abilities before returning to the Incursive phase: Guard, Rupture, or Scream.
When Guarding, it will raise it's fists in front of it, becoming 50% resistant to attacks from the front and regenerating up to 50% of it's shell health, and face the nearest player. While it becomes resistant in the front, it will become 50% vulnerable to all damage and 20% more vulnerable to it's weaknesses, both from behind, for the duration of the Guard ability.
When Rupturing, it will briefly plant itself into the ground and consecutively release 15 shockwaves of lithophage in different directions. The lithophage shockwaves will knockback dwarfs and heavily increase lithophage status. When it launches the shockwaves, it will become 80% vulnerable to all damage and 50% more vulnerable to it's weaknesses for the duration of the Rupture attack. Additionally, firing an aoe blast at it with the railgun will stun it and interrupt the attack, destroying the shockwaves in their tracks. The attack lasts only a few seconds, so there is a very short window to attack it.
When Screaming, it will roar at players for several seconds, releasing 7-12 parasites from it's mouth. Similarly to the Grouser, you can shoot it in the mouth to deal critical damage, damaging both the shell and the core. One impact blast from the railgun to the mouth will drop 2/3 of it's shell health and 1/10 of it's core health.
Once you destroy the shell, it will enter it's Vulnerable phase. The Stalwart will collapse for several seconds, falling off walls and ceilings if it enters the phase from that position, and reveal lithophage innards between it's shoulders, neck, and belly that can be damaged to deplete it's core health. It will then release lithophage fumes from all four weakpoints that heal small amounts of its core health. Damaging a weakpoint will disable the healing ability for a few seconds, meaning attacking each weakpoint equally will stop the Stalwart from healing outright for the duration of the Vulnerable phase.
Additionally, if you used a railgun at any point before the Vulnerable phase, the Stalwart will synthesize the energy into a resistance and create a protective field around it's weakpoints. If you fire a railgun at any of the weakpoints, it will reflect the blast, drain the railgun of it's ammo, and deal significant electric damage. You will have to decide if spending the railgun is worth it before the Vulnerable phase as you won't be able to use it during the Vulnerable phase until the next attacking phase if used prematurely; a simple but precarious dynamic to keep in mind. If the Stalwart isn't defeated during the Vulnerable phase, it will regain it's shell health and return to one of the two other phases.
Once defeated it will writhe wildly for several seconds, launching lithophage projectiles in a radius around it and emiting lithophage fumes in a large radius around it, before finally blasting apart and releasing a shockwave that cleanses the surrounding area and kills all lithophage in the area. If you are covered in lithophage during the shockwave, you will be instantly downed. You will be rewarded with 3-5 plaguehearts and multiple chunks of gold and nitra when it is destroyed.
Keeping the Space Rig Clean Last but certainly not least, after all the hell and destruction unfolding on the planet, you still aren't safe on the Space Rig. If you recall, R&D was housing several samples of Lithophage on the Space Rig. Likewise, I imagine you remember tapping on the tanks like children at an aquarium? Well turns out that it wasn't such a good idea because several samples were reportedly missing, meaning we have some stowaways on board. It was already hard enough to keep track of the samples that got out on their own accord, so keeping track of ones that escaped because "you hairy moronic midgets couldn't stop mucking with the damn biotanks," Management's words not mine, is gonna be even harder.
With that said, R&D has developed a simple contaminant disposal receptacle to toss any Lithophage gunk you find on the ship. Lithophage will randomly spawn in different nooks and crannies all over the Space Rig, hell the main area will look like the aftermath of a college party with how much junk lines the floor. And because you likely need some actual incentive, for every few chunks of Lithophage you throw away you'll get a reward ranging from credits to phasyonite to even overclocks and cosmetics.
Conclusion With all that said, it's clear that it'll take a village to keep our planet clean. So pull up your sleeves, slap on some gloves, pick your cleaning utensil of choice (guns included), and let's get to work, Miners!
submitted by GryphonKingBros to DeepRockGalactic [link] [comments]


2023.06.01 20:19 Throw_away91251952 I’m so angry with the way my parents deal with mental health.

My father has anxiety issues that he ignores. Years ago, he went to a psychiatrist to get a prescription for anxiety meds, but that is the extent to which he has attempted to handle them. Now, years later, they are worse and he continues to just take the same medication assuming they’re still as effective.
Myself, my mental health was ignored. In high school, I started to have anxiety issues as well. There were so many things I had to be responsible for. In sports, every win or loss was decided by me. In school, it was A’s or busts. I couldn’t have any off days unless I was puking my guts out. I had to have a job. All at the same time, I was dealing with having a lifelong friend who was becoming incredibly distant and a completely disrespectful person (who also lived with me).
Throughout it all, I was told multiple times that all I needed to do was breath and it would be fine. Or that I just needed to keep moving through it all as I was and it would be fine. Or just nothing. It was ignored when I was trying to talk. Now, almost done with college and all the struggles that come with that and looking for grad schools and all the added pressure of being a heavily-relied upon manager in a customer service position, I have a constant feeling of uneasiness like I fucked up or that something bad is going to happen.
And now, my brother. Junior in high school, going through the same things as me. Except he wasn’t being ignored… at first. He was taken to a psychiatrist for anti-anxiety meds. He was allowed to take time off from things when he needed to. Only, that’s not what he needs. He needs somebody to TALK TO. A professional who can offer some legit counseling to help him deal with this stuff. I told them this. They ignored it.
I’m the last couple of months, my father has started to throw stuff back into his schedule without giving him any real structure or support that he needs.
Today, I found out that he is having a bad day. So bad that they aren’t ignoring it (for today). Only, they are. Except they both left and told me to keep an eye out.
I’m legitimately terrified that something bad might happen and it will send him over the edge.
submitted by Throw_away91251952 to TrueOffMyChest [link] [comments]


2023.06.01 19:58 PriestessOfSpiders There is a door in my apartment which only appears after midnight.

The apartment was cheap, but not suspiciously so, especially given the relatively decrepit state of it. It was a 1 bedroom affair, the building itself constructed at some point before the Great Depression, and it certainly showed its age. The bathroom was prone to mold, the windows let in a draft even when closed, and the fact that it was up 6 flights of stairs in a building where the elevator seemed perpetually out of order certainly didn't help. However, beyond these usual allowances made for an affordable apartment in a city such as mine, there were no outward signs that anything wrong with the place. There were never any strange noises, unusual cold spots in the center of rooms, no eerie lights. For all intents and purposes, the apartment appeared utterly mundane.
It took me a frankly embarrassing amount of time to notice the door. 7 months in fact. I've never been much of a night owl, and on the rare occasions when I did have reason to be up in the wee hours my time was generally spent in someone else's bedroom.
At first, when I noticed the door, I assumed that I was hallucinating. I was, after all, in a fairly inebriated state, having just returned from a rather pleasant evening of laughter and debauchery. I already had experienced considerable difficulty in extricating my key from my apartment's lock, so I figured it was more likely that something had gone wrong with my perception rather than the unlikely scenario that a wood paneled door had suddenly materialized in my living room where previously there had only been wall.
It was old fashioned looking, with a shiny brass knob and wood the color of old leather. I shook my head for a moment and blinked, squinting at the object. The door was still there. I rubbed my eyes and closed them, counting down from 10. When I'd finished, I opened my eyes again. The door was still there. I'm not exactly sure what I thought counting down from 10 was supposed to accomplish. Beyond one mercifully brief experience with salvia at a very bad party, I'd never experienced hallucinations before, so I was sort of going off of what I'd seen in movies and TV shows.
There was something intensely unnerving about the door. It emanated a feeling of primal wrongness, I instinctually knew that I was gazing at something totally in violation of the natural order. It took a lot of willpower to do what I did next.
Having exhausted all other apparent options to my disorganized mind, I moved on to the next logical stage of inquiry; I tried to open it. The doorknob was cold to the touch, arctic even. It felt like touching the inside of a freezer. A shiver ran down my back, though I can't be sure in retrospect if it was entirely from the temperature. I tried to turn the knob. It didn't budge.
An immense sigh of relief escaped my lungs, releasing a breath that I didn't know I was holding in. Trying to think of what else I could do, I pulled out my phone and snapped a quick photo of the thing, sending it to my landlord, with a caption somewhere along the lines of "wtf is this dude, y is there a new door???"
Nodding sagely to myself, as if I had succeeded in doing anything of note, I stumbled my way into my bedroom and locked the door before falling into blissful slumber.
I awoke to the incessant screeching of my alarm clock loudly informing me that it was 7 o' clock, about 6 hours from when I had fallen asleep. I slammed my fist against "off" button and rubbed the sleep from my eyes with my other hand. In following with my usual morning routine, I then pulled out my phone and checked through my notifications.
Alongside the usual torrent of internet pseudo-acquaintances posting pictures of their brunches and whatnot was a text message from my landlord. "What are you talking about Christina", it read, "is this photoshop or something?"
At first, I didn't understand what he was referring to, but when the rusted gears of my sleepy (and hungover) brain finally started turning, I immediately jumped out of bed and scuttled over to the spot where the door had been just 6 hours prior. I did so with the intent of recording a video to further prove its existence to my skeptical landlord... but I was greeted with nothing but wall.
I texted my landlord an apology, lying and saying it was just a poorly thought out prank. Then I popped into my car and drove down to the local electronics store to purchase a camera from the grumpy underpaid college student behind the register.
Making my way over to the photography section, I searched a long while for the option that simultaneously fit my budget and the requirements for my investigation. Eventually, I found just the item.
It was a trailcam, the sort of thing hunters and geriatrics with too many acres of land and not enough hobbies use to observe wildlife. It had an SD card with enough space for several hours of blurry, black and white nightvision video, and most importantly it was cheap. I paid for my prize with the surly cashier and made my way happily back to my apartment.
I set it up securely in front of where the door had previously appeared, and, feeling like a genius, went about the rest of my day. I fell asleep that night secure in the knowledge that by morning I would have proof of what I had seen the night before.
The next morning, I rushed over excitedly to my living room, feeling like a child on Christmas morning. My giddy excitement died as I stepped into the living room, noticing the complete lack of the trailcam. Old Saint Nick appeared to have shit in my stocking.
I made my way back to the electronics store, forced once again into interacting with the student behind the register for whom my very existence seemed to be an inconvenience. Upon noticing my arrival, he sighed heavily. "Can I help you ma'am?" he said, emphasizing the last word with the same inflection one might say intestinal parasite.
"I'm looking for a cheap camera that will stream video directly to my computer." I said, trying my best to avoid mimicking the man's petulant tone.
Shrugging his shoulders and releasing another drawn out sigh, the cashier shuffled his way over to the photography section and picked out a small camera, rather similar to the last one I purchased, but approximately twice as much in terms of cost. "Do you have anything cheaper?" I asked, trying my best to sound polite.
"No." declared the cashier, with all the compassion of an exterminator crushing a cockroach beneath a steel toed boot.
I ended up paying the exorbitant price on my already abused credit card, and grumpily stalked back to the apartment to set up the new equipment, knowing I wouldn't get to see it after the night was over.
Nevertheless, I had to know how the door got there, and I needed to have irrefutable evidence.
The process to set up the new camera was a bit more involved than the last. There was all manner of fiddling about with connecting the device to my WiFi network and installing some new software to my computer, but by the time it was over it successfully uploaded footage directly to my hard drive where I could watch it at my leisure.
I went to bed that night wondering what I would do with the footage after I acquired it. After all, I couldn't really go to the police with it, could I? Excuse me officer, I imagined myself saying, but a mysterious door appears in my apartment at night, and I was wondering if you could send someone around to take a look? I'd end up institutionalized. Similarly, it's not like I could go to the newspapers either. I live in a big city, and the reporters have more important fish to fry than transient doors.
At some point while I pondered my options, I must have fallen asleep, because the next thing I knew I was awakened by the banshee cries of my alarm clock, angrily informing me that it was once again 7 o' clock.
I jumped out of bed, excitedly moving over to my computer to check the footage, finding that there was about 5 hours of video. I had turned on the camera at around 10 o' clock PM, so that meant whatever happened to the camera occurred at about 3 AM.
I set the video to fast forward and watched it carefully. The first 2 hours or so showed nothing, just the regular blank wall. At exactly 12 o' clock, however, static engulfed the screen, and suddenly the old wooden door simply appeared, as if it had always been there. I rewound the footage and played it at normal speed, trying to discern anything that would show how the door suddenly manifested in the wall of my apartment, but the static was far too heavy to tell. The video simply got incredibly distorted for around 10 seconds, and suddenly the static dissipated and there was the door.
Even on video, just looking at it gave me the chills. That sense of complete and utter wrongness came through even from the screen. I shivered slightly and set the video on fast forward yet again. There was no change in the door for nearly 3 hours, but as the video crept closer and closer to the end, I switched it back to normal speed with about a minute to spare.
As I watched, the door began to slowly open. There was no microphone built into the camera, but I could imagine the ancient hinges creaking. I could feel my palms begin to sweat as I stared, transfixed. I glanced at the time remaining on the video, it was only around 30 seconds.
As the video progressed onwards, the door eventually swung fully open, revealing a black, yawning void beyond it. Static began to gather at the corners of the screen, increasing in intensity as I vaguely discerned something moving in the darkness. The quality was rapidly degrading, and I couldn't tell any specifics, but it moved in an almost spider-like manner, skittery and deeply unnerving. It seemed just about to come into view when the footage fully dissolved into static and the video ended abruptly.
I leaned back in my chair, contemplating my next move. While the video had certainly convinced me that I wasn't just going crazy, I knew that it wouldn't exactly convince the average person. I could easily have added in the static with editing, and the vague movement behind the door could just be computer generated effects or some sort of puppet. After a few minutes of pondering, I came up with an idea.
---
"I'm sorry, what?" exclaimed Lilith, who was trying hard not to choke on her iced coffee.
"A door. It appears in my apartment at exactly midnight. I have it on video", I replied, sliding my phone across the table of the coffee shop.
I first met Lilith in college, where we shared a course on the history of Gothic literature. She was a perfect picture of the stereotypical goth, with pierced septum, dyed black hair, pentacle earrings, and a wardrobe whose diversity of color could charitably be compared to that of a raven. We hadn't spoken in a long time, but I figured if there was anyone I should contact about this sort of thing, it would be her.
I'd condensed the 5 hours of footage down to a few minutes with the help of a free online video editor, and watched in slight amusement as Lilith's brow furrowed, her eyes glued to the screen. After the video ended, she seemed utterly amazed.
"Any thoughts?" I asked, pulling back my phone.
"This is some sort of joke, right? You're screwing with me?" she asked, utterly bewildered by what I had just shown her.
"No joke. No screwing around. I figured you'd be the one to ask about this, because of the whole, you know..." I said, gesturing at the leviathan cross emblazoned on her black t-shirt.
Lilith rolled her eyes at me and fidgeted nervously with one of her bracelets. "I'm not sure Christina, this seems a little bit outside of my pay grade. I don't really know what you expect me to do."
"I just need a witness of some kind. What I've got here isn't really enough to prove anything on its own, but if someone else sees it that might lend me a bit of credibility. If some random chick goes to the news complaining about a mysterious door appearing in her living room at midnight that's nothing, but if I get a witness then they might have to listen to me. Plus, I figured maybe you could, I don't know, set up some form of protective circle or sigil or something." As soon as the last words left my lips, I felt like a moron, but Lilith actually seemed to perk up a little bit.
"I mean, I guess that makes sense. How about tonight? I can come over at about 11 o' clock so we have a little bit of time to get ready", she said, a tinge of excitement in her voice.
"Sound's like a plan then, I'll text you my address. I really appreciate you doing this for me." We got up from the booth, exchanged hugs, and went our separate ways. I was skeptical about how much good Lilith's "magickal" expertise would do with regard to the unearthly door, but I had mainly mentioned it to get her interested.
I wish I hadn't.
---
About 12 hours later, I heard a knock at the door (my front door, in this case, not the impossible one). I peeked through the peephole, saw it was Lilith, and I ushered her inside. She had brought with her a black leather bag, bulging with various books, candles, jars, and other occult accoutrements.
"That's a lot of stuff", I commented, gesturing towards the bag, "are you sure you'll need all of it?"
She shrugged. "I figured it's better to be safe than sorry. I'd rather be overprepared than come up short."
"Seems reasonable."
I showed her the spot of the blank wall where the door appears and she began setting up candles and incense, drawing strange signs with chalk, and pouring salt in a semi-circle in front of where the door would be. As she worked, she occasionally read out loud from some cheap paperbacks with titles like "The Witch's Bible" and "The Unquiet Dead: A Field Guide to the Afterlife".
To be entirely honest it was incredibly underwhelming. I didn't feel any "mystical energies" or unseen vistas of space and time yawning before me. There was just a goth screwing around with some candles while reciting mangled Latin out of books she got for 4.99 apiece at a charity shop.
Nevertheless, I let Lilith get on with her business and sat back drinking some cheap beer. After about 45 minutes she seemed satisfied. The floor and walls were covered with crude sigils done in white chalk, and the whole room smelt of incense and scented candles. I checked my watch, seeing it was 11:48.
I offered Lilith a drink but she declined, instead just taking a seat and fidgeting a bit with her jewelry. We talked for a while about what the door could be, where it came from, that sort of thing. Lilith seemed convinced it was must be the restless spirit of a former tenant, but I was a bit skeptical. While at this point I could no longer honestly say I didn't believe in the supernatural, this didn't necessarily strike me as some sort of haunting.
"I don't think it's a ghost", I said, taking a sip from my near empty can, "it strikes me as something further beyond our realm of experience than that. Something, I don't know, alien somehow. I mean it changes reality itself doesn't it? It transmutes a wall to a door, and let me tell you that door was real wood and the knob was real metal. Aren't ghosts supposed to be intangible or something?"
Lilith seemed like she was about to say something before she paused, a weird look crossing her face. "Christina, what time is it?" she whispered.
I checked my watch, the digital face reading out 12:07. I turned to see the door. It had been there for 7 minutes and we hadn't even noticed its arrival. Something about us not having realized it was there bothered me far more than its materialization. Was it possible that I'd passed by it in the apartment before and just never noticed it? I'd previously assumed that I'd simply always been asleep or out of the apartment when it materialized, but now I wasn't so sure.
Lilith had turned to look at it too, after a moment saying "It's like it's always been there."
The next 3 hours passed slowly, painfully. We snapped plenty of pictures of the door at every conceivable angle on our respective phones, videos too, and decided that after it disappeared again we should take footage of the bare wall for contrast. Lilith and I chatted a bit, but it was hard to continue conversations for long. Now that we had noticed it, we could feel the wrongness emanating out from the door, as if we were being watched by something just out of sight.
I don't know if there is such a thing as true evil, some sort of absolute moral right and wrong on a spiritual level. But being near that door, I felt like I was bearing witness to an atrocity against reality itself. We spent the last 2 hours of observation in nearly complete silence. It seemed like the longer we were cognizant of the door, the worse the feeling of discomfort got. If you've ever been on a roller coaster, you'll be familiar with the feeling of going up the track towards a long drop, the tension in your very blood as you brace yourself for the fall to come. As we sat there, I felt something similar.
I almost wanted to call the whole thing off, just have Lilith and I go to a 24 hour fast food place or something and call it a night. But I had to know.
Unlike with the door's appearance, we noticed when it started to open. We sat there, paralyzed with fear and excitement as it slowly started to creak open, the worn hinges squealing just as I thought they would. The room grew significantly colder, until we were both shivering intensely. Behind the door was void, absolutely void. It was black as the depths of the ocean and emanated pure dread. The smell of incense and scented candles seemed to dissipate, replaced with a vague stench like rotting seaweed.
Finally, the entrance was swung fully open, and we sat there, staring blankly into it. We didn't even try to pull out our phones to record what we saw. The thought to do so didn't cross my mind until well after.
I could see something start to move in the darkness beyond, some sort of motion, spidery, skittering. It was coming towards us. I caught a vague glimpse of a long, thin limb reaching out from the door, coming towards us, grasping blindly from out of the dark, and then-
I felt the sun shining on my face, my entire body sore.
I opened my eyes to find myself lying on the ground, outside. There were trees overhead, but the foliage wasn't dense enough to block out the light which had awoken me. All things being equal, I would have preferred my alarm clock.
I stood up, painfully, taking stock of my surroundings. I was in a park, one which I had been to before, located a couple miles from my apartment. I looked for my phone, but couldn't find it. I began to stumble my way back home, trying my best to ignore my aching muscles. I called out for Lilith a couple times, but was met only with silence. She was gone.
As I limped my way along, a passing jogger called out "Nice tattoo". Confused, I looked down at my arm.
Burned into my flesh in white letters, as if through frostbite, were the words "BRING MORE".
submitted by PriestessOfSpiders to nosleep [link] [comments]


2023.06.01 19:57 mrlime1 am i slow witted or socially inept

I don’t talk much in social situations. I have nothing to contribute. I was hanging out with a friend and he likes to talk about random things that slip through his mind and bad dad jokes. But most of the time, I can’t think of anything to say back or react. I just let smile and say like a few words back and then let the silence fester. He finds it a bit awkward then, but I’m not particularly bothered by the silence (sometimes I find his uncomfortableness amusing and I let it fester even longer). I find that all I end up doing is breathing heavily out of my nose to indicate amusement and smiling dumbly. I envy those people who are able to engage in witty and amusing banter.
I do think I might be slightly intimidated by him? He is 10 years older than me (I’m 18) and is intelligent too. He’s going out of his way to help me with my depressive episode too.
If I’m talking to my psychologist and they ask a question, it might take me like 30s to come up with an answer. I find it far more difficult to be articulate and think quickly if I’m in social situations. I am able to express myself better through text.
I (and others) also notice that I become outrageously talkative when it comes to my interests and if I’m confident enough to take on whoever I’m engaging with (usually might involve some sort of debate).
submitted by mrlime1 to INTP [link] [comments]


2023.06.01 19:57 NamelessNanashi [The Gods of Dragons: Beginning] Ch 12 - Starting at the Bottom

--- Table of Contents ---
Spring 4985, 20 Buromoth
The armor Smith Nangran gave them fit much better than the pieces lent to them for the trip. Shon still hated it, but he hated it a lot less. Practice, he told himself, trying to picture Master Veon-Zih's face as he did so, you can accomplish anything with practice... Except Master Veon-Zih didn't wear armor.
"I thought we were going to learn plate, or at least half-plate..." Rerves whispered to his fellows as they adjusted their new armor, working the straps so they weren't too tight or too loose.
His whisper wasn't quiet enough, however, because Master Daunas laughed from where he stood beside Nangran, and the smith huffed. "So you want to try plate, do you, boy?" The Weapon Master asked a little too innocently.
Rerves looked up hopefully, "Is that an option, ser?" Shon swallowed nervously.
"Sure! Let's give it a try..." Master Daunas grinned, the look definitely sinister in Shon's opinion. "Got some plate for the big one, Nan?" He asked Nangran, who rolled his eyes before moving deeper into the forge to retrieve a set of battered but sparkling platemail.
Rerves rushed to remove his new, specially fitted, leather armor, while Thom looked on in envy. Shon half expected Thom to request his own set of the fully encasing metal, but the shy boy stayed quiet and instead settled with helping his friend strip off the leather and strap on the clanking plate. Rerves beamed but could barely lift his arms to don the helm.
"There you go, boy! Halfway to a Paladin already." Master Daunas called out as he turned Rerves by the shoulders and marched him, waddling under the metal's weight, out of the smithy. Shon followed silently, taking note of the guards looking down from the wall and some Squires elbowing each other and snickering in the courtyard.
The four weeks of watch rotation had started, giving the new boys time to catch up before the oldest Squires 'graduated' on the spring equinox. It was four weeks in which they trained from before dawn to after dusk in the basics and foundations, while the others had mostly free time outside of their six-hour watch. Which meant the new boys had an audience of off-duty seniors.
"Now all you need is a sword!" Master Daunas was saying to Rerves as he left the over-encumbered Squire in one of the sparring rings. He strode to the weapons rack and grabbed a sword and shield before returning and presenting them to the boy. Rerves grabbed the sword, but as he took the shield, his arm collapsed, the metal of his vambrace clanging loudly against his chausses. He was still trying to heft the shield into position when Master Daunas drew his own sword, "Now let's test it out, shall we?"
Rerves dropped the shield, gaping at the Weapon Master, "But... but," he scrambled for an excuse and settled on the live steel in his hand, "You don't have any armor, ser, what if..."
Master Daunas never stopped smiling, but his voice was finally serious, "Boy, if you can land a hit on me in that, then you deserve to graduate with the others this year." and he swung.
Rerves didn't really dodge; he pulled back and fell on his backside, scrambling on his butt and trying to roll over to push himself back up but barely able to move. Master Daunas hit him with the flat of the blade in the side with a resounding gong-like ring hard enough to help push Rerves over so he could struggle to his hands and knees. "Get up boy, if you're on the ground in a fight this early, you've already lost."
Shon watched in horror as the Weapon Master continued to hammer down on Rerves with the flat of his blade. The Squire did manage to get to his feet and retrieve his sword and shield eventually but he still couldn't lift them, flailing them weakly at the Weaponmaster's legs. Master Daunas dodged easily, even yawning lazily before he flicked his sword and disarmed the poor Squire again.
"Call match!" one of the Squires shouted from the sidelines, the small crowd of them all shaking their heads at the display.
Master Daunas laughed, but Rerves took the advice and called "Match, match!" as loud as he could before dropping to his knees, heaving in heavy breaths from just a few minutes of trying to move in the full armor.
"Match it is then," Master Daunas conceded, saluting the Squire with his sword before gesturing for the others, "Help your brother out of that boys. He did his best."
Shon and Thom rushed forward to help Rerves, but they weren't alone. The other Squires came forward, one with a water skin he presented to Rerves after the helm was removed, "You did better than Zihler did last year," another of them said with a comforting pat on the shoulder after Shon removed the breastplate.
"Huh?" Rerves let out a tired questioning grunt, and another Squire pulled him to his feet so they could get the legs off.
"There's one every year," one of the eldest said sagely, picking up the discarded armor and slinging it easily over his shoulder.
"Yeah, it was Jawsh in our year," another explained.
Master Daunas strode forward and clapped Rerves on the shoulder, giving him a little shake, "You'll be ready for plate eventually, boy, but not until your third or even final year. Grow stronger in leather, then banded mail, then half-plate. Everyone starts at the bottom and works their way up."
Rerves smiled weakly but had regained some of his confidence apparently because he managed to say, "You could have just told me that, ser..." which made Master Daunas laugh out loud again.
He didn't even bother to answer the Squire, just turned around and went back into the smithy, shouting at Nangran, "I told you it would be the big one this year! You owe me ten copper Nan!"
***
For the entire first week, the new Squires were instructed in the basic drills of their assigned sword types. It meant they couldn't truly work together -each sword having different techniques- but it also gave them a chance to get to know some of the older Squires who helped them early on. The year ahead of them had five Squires, one of the largest years in recent history. Kefir and Baradin both used one-handed longswords and shields and worked with Rerves. Uther and Rehlien both used large two-handed greatswords and helped Thom. Zihler was the only one who specialized in the bastard sword and worked with Shon. He wasn't left-handed, but Shon did all the exercises with both hands anyway, letting Zihler help him with the right first, then switching to using his left after he was confident he had them down.
During their second week, they were given their first sword forms. Like the kata Shon had been studying under Master Veon-Zih, the sword forms were meant to represent actual maneuvers to be performed in combat, and he took to them with even greater gusto than he had the simple drills.
"He's like a dancer..." Kefir whispered to Zihler as they watched Shon work through the form, without complaining, for what must have been the twentieth time that day.
Zihler nodded but also huffed, "I bet he flinches the first time we spar, though."
"I don't know..." Kefir muttered, then louder explained, "He's the one who bloodied Selv on the raid. Rerves said he trained under some old man fighter before he came here."
"We'll see," Baradin interjected, joining his fellows, "Master Daunas is on his way. He wants us to get out the sparring swords."
Zihler gave his brother Squire a lazy salute. Baradin was the unofficial leader of their year. It had chafed at first, and Zihler was still the most prone to defy him on occasion -usually when it didn't matter much- but over the course of their first year even he had stepped in line to Baradin's passive ability to take command. The three waved down Uther and Rehlien, who jogged over.
As Baradin had said, Master Daunas arrived a moment later with the resident Cleric close behind. "Fall in, Squires!" he bellowed to the practicing three, and Shon, Thom, and Rerves all quickly obeyed, standing side by side at stiff attention. "It's officially week three and time to start sparring," he informed them, gesturing for the senior Squires to move forward and exchange the real swords for wooden ones. He looked each of the three over carefully, then nodded to himself and said, "Thom and Rerves, face off."
Zihler noticed Shon's shoulders slump ever so slightly as he stepped away from the other two, who turned towards each other. They were obviously nervous. "Those are wooden swords, but this is a real fight. They will still hurt like a bit-" the Cleric cleared his throat, interrupting the Weaponmasters' use of profanity. Master Daunas coughed but continued, "Despite that, I don't want you to hold back, you fight like you train, and if you go easy on each other, you will go easy on a real opponent. You are not civilians, and neither is your opponent. This isn't a game. The fight won't end until one of you takes a killing or disabling blow. Every adult here, minus myself and Smith Nangran, is capable of healing any wounds you might give or receive. So again, no holding back. If I call 'hold,' that means to freeze, stop moving, hold your position. Now lay on!"
Rerves and Thom both swallowed down their fear and moved slowly, unsure what their first strike should be. As expected, the two did hold back, both from nervousness at not knowing what to do and honestly not wanting to hurt each other. Daunas sighed, but Zihler understood. It had taken him months before he could really hit his friends. And he was one of the faster ones to manage it. And even then, only really when they were in armor.
The two newbies eventually sped up but were still pulling their hits. They both flinched with each strike, many of which were going to leave decent bruises, but Master Daunas wouldn't call an end until one of them landed a killing or disabling blow hard enough to count. On the other side of the sparring ring, Zihler saw Shon narrow his eyes as he tapped his boot with his sword.
"Match!" Master Daunas called after a loud smack pulled Zihler's attention back to the sparring pair.
Thom dropped his sword, cradling his hand. Rerves rushed forward, "I'm sorry, are you okay?" he had apparently caught Thom on the knuckles unintentionally.
"Both of you are aiming for your opponent's weapon instead of his body. You only hit their sword to parry or deflect. Hitting their weapon won't end a fight." Master Daunas instructed, "Practice boys, it's the only real way to learn, I can talk until my face turns blue, but you won't know until you make and take a few hits. Shon, you're up, Rerves, get ready."
Shon stepped into the ring, and something changed. Zihler couldn't describe it, but Rerves obviously felt something because he met his friend's blue eyes and swallowed. "Lay on!" Master Daunas shouted, and Rerves immediately raised his shield.
Just in time too, because Shon came in like a hurricane. He held his sword one-handed, but it still rang off Rerves' shield like a hammer. Rerves tried to counter as his form dictated, but Shon twisted his sword, taking it in both hands and sliding it along Rerves' blade before pivoting it up and swinging hard with a sickening 'thwak' against Rerves' shoulder. The larger boy immediately dropped his sword and reached for the wound with his shield arm while Master Daunas shouted, "Match!" and Shon stepped back.
He didn't apologize or rush forward as Rerves had done for Thom. The five senior Squires all stared at him, but Shon just bowed to Rerves while the Cleric came forward to check his arm.
"Well, I'll be damned," Master Daunas said with a wide smile, "It's about time someone listens to reason, but can you take as good as you give, boy?" Shon just arched a silent black eyebrow at the Weaponmaster, who laughed and took Thom's two-handed sword from him, handing it to Zihler, "Don't hold back, because this one certainly won't." he instructed the senior.
Zihler saluted the Weaponmaster and stepped into the sparring ring as Shon brought his sword to the ready position. As Zihler met Shon's eyes, his throat turned dry, forcing him to swallow as Rerves had done. His full year of more experience wasn't enough to prepare him for Shon's stare. The boy's icy eyes seemed to bore right through him. He wasn't at all nervous or scared. He didn't even seem determined or angry. Just cold. Like he could take Zihler's head and not lose a wink of sleep over it.
"Lay on!"
Zihler braced himself for an attack, but Shon didn't rush in as he had for Rerves. He maintained his guard and his stare until the senior Squire advanced. Inching forward, Zihler looked for the opening he knew had to be there. Shon didn't have enough experience yet to truly compete with the older Squire and when he swung, he swung hard. Master Daunas would accept nothing less.
Shon managed a parry, but both swords shook with the force of the hit. He didn't flinch and countered just as hard, telegraphing his attack and taking a breath too long, giving Zihler an opening. Shon was going to take the senior in the neck just as Zihler had imagined, and what was worse, he still hadn't blinked or changed his expression.
Zihler aimed for Shon's ribs, expecting the boy to redirect his sword and block the same way he had for Rerves. He didn't, and Zihlers wooden blade smacked him at full force in the side. If his ribs didn't crack, they were at least bruised, and Zihler felt himself flinch on Shon's behalf as the younger boy couldn't help but fold over the attack. Shon's swing lost some of its momentum, but he didn't stop, continuing to follow through, towards Zihlers neck, until "Match!"
Shon's sword stopped after barely tapping Zihler, showing that he hadn't lost control of the weapon and still had enough sense to pull the strike once the match was over. Would he really have hit the Squire full force if Master Daunas hadn't stopped them? Zihler felt himself sweating and had to swallow again. Shon finally blinked and stepped back, reaching for his ribs and flinching in pain as he gripped them.
The Cleric rushed forward, already speaking a prayer, and Zihler muttered a quiet, "Sorry..." as Shon flinched again at the healer's touch.
Shon furrowed his brow, then asked, "Why?" making Zihler blink in confusion, "We weren't supposed to hold back." Shon explained.
"Yeah, but..." Zihler started,
"You could've blocked that. It's the same technique you used in your first match," Master Daunas instructed Shon sternly.
Shon looked down at his sword, then back up at the Weapon Master. His eyes darted momentarily to Zihler before he muttered, "If I'd been faster, I could have ended it before he put too much force behind it..."
"You took the hit on purpose?!" Zihler shouted in disbelief.
Shon just shrugged, his ribs healed enough that it would only hurt a little to move, "I wasn't fast enough."
"Next time, block," Master Daunas chastised the younger boy, "Even if the blow had lost half its strength, you would've been injured." Shon hesitated, and Zihler noticed him clenching his fist at his side before he nodded in answer.
The bell for lunch sounded its twelve long rings, filling the courtyard as Master Daunas waved the boys towards the weapons rack, signaling an end to the practice. Zihler’s fellows joined him as he handed the practice weapon back to Thom. He didn't speak until the three newbies moved far enough away not to hear, "That was scary..."
"He really went all out, didn't he?" Kefir asked. Zihler could only nod.
"Cold-blooded," Rehlien commented.
"You have no idea," Zihler confirmed, "Even the seniors hold back more than he did."
The five turned toward the fortress and lunch, Baradin saying, "He could've though, did you see how easily he stopped his swing?"
"I felt it," Zihler mumbled, rubbing his neck. But he'd also seen clearly that Shon wouldn't have had the match not been called.
"I couldn't do that..." Uther mumbled, more to himself than the others, his shoulders slumping.
The other four immediately shifted their attention to their fellow. The poor boy had struggled through every stage of their combat training. Baradin patted him on the back, trying to sound soothing, "It’s only been a year. You have plenty of time."
Uther sighed heavily, "That was his first match, and he's already better than I am..." none of the others had an answer for that.
***
"I can't do this..."
Shon looked up from his book to furrow his brow at the older Squire. Uther looked as dejected as ever, staring unseeing at his own books spread out on the table in front of him. They showed drawings of fighting forms being performed step by step with explanations detailing each one's use.
"Uther..." Kefir whispered, reaching out to rub his friend's back, "You can..."
"I can't!" Uther slammed his book shut, and every Squire at the table jumped in surprise, "I don't want to. I hate this. I hate all of this." he crossed his arms over the table and dropped his head into them.
Shon tried to go back to his book. It was none of his business. He hardly knew the boy, and even if he did, what would he say? What could any of them say? And yet he listened as the others tried to comfort the frustrated Squire. "You're the best at our theology and law lessons, though, Uther. We can help you with the rest. We still have time."
"I don't want to fight..." Uther spoke into his arms, "I never did... I just thought... I thought that if I tried hard enough, I would learn..."
"You will."
"I don't want to." he was barely audible now, even in the absolute silence of the library.
At the end of the table, two boys a year older than Uther exchanged looks and silent nods before they stood and came to kneel beside him, "You don't have to." one of them said. Shon looked up again.
The other rubbed the Uther's back gently, "There was a boy a year older than us, his name was Karlin, he had a hard time too..."
Uther turned his head just enough to look through his arms at the Squire, "He gave up?"
"He went to train as a Cleric instead." the first said, "We got a letter from him last year, he's really happy, Uther. Maybe..." he hesitated, and his friend picked up for him,
"We would never encourage you to quit. If you want to stay, we'll help you. Everyone here will." he gestured to the table at large and then to the rest of the fortress beyond the library door. Uther lifted his head, and Shon nodded when he met the older boy's eyes. Though what he could do, he still didn't know.
The senior Squire continued, "But if you really don't want to, we will support you in that too."
Uther looked around at all of them, then whispered, "It's not too late?"
"It's never too late," the Paladin on duty chimed in without looking up. Perhaps not wanting to interject too much into the Squires' group effort to comfort their own.
"You've only been here a year, and Karlin already showed it's possible to transfer. If that's really what you want."
"I... I think I'll go pray..." Uther finally managed to choke out. The two boys stood and helped him to his feet but let him walk to the door on his own. Shon went back to his book.
He'd wanted this so badly it had hurt. He couldn't imagine being in Uther's position... But he also felt a strange sort of pride in his fellow Squires. They had stood up to help their fellow without hesitation, even now that he left, they weren't judging him for his voiced doubts. And even Uther himself. Shon had to imagine that it took a lot of strength to admit to the others that he might give up, that this path wasn't for him.
The next day Uther left Hamerfoss.
***
Along with the fundamentals of their swords, the new Squires were caught up in lessons on kingdom law. As Paladins, it would be their responsibility to enforce the law in each of the ten provinces, each with their own nuances. However, kingdom-wide laws always superseded province laws, so the new Squires were expected to know as much of that as possible before they started with the others.
Today they were learning about magic regulation...
"You should've all learned the basic theory of arcane magic before reaching maturity..." the Paladin giving their lecture began, waiting for their nods before continuing, "So you know that, theoretically, anyone can practice arcane magic. With enough study and funding. The kingdom has granted the Mages Guild a leading voice in the laws surrounding the use of arcane magic, and the power to enforce them with the assistance of the local Temple representatives."
The classroom was made to hold twenty five Squires and so felt particularly large and empty with only the three of them seated in the front row taking silent notes as the instructor spoke. He explained how the teleport system of gates worked within the Guild. That transport could be purchased to instantly travel between Guild towers, but that permission had to be granted from the destination if crossing province lines; otherwise, travelers would be trapped in the Guild and heavily fined, even imprisoned in some cases. He touched briefly on the cost cap of certain magical items, such as bags of holding and weather-resistant cloaks, to prevent price gouging. And handed out a list of outlawed magic items they would be required to memorize in their own time for a test at the end of this training period. It mostly consisted of anything that could cause outright harm, rare and valuable spell components for powerful spells, or items that aided in stealth that could be used for thievery. Though with the proper licensure, some experienced allies of the Temples were permitted to use many of them.
"Arcane magic has the potential to be very dangerous, and as such, all practicing Mages are required to be trained and registered as members of the Guild. Only Archmages, the highest Mage rank, are permitted to conduct research outside the Guild and take apprentices at their leisure. Which brings us to Sorcerers..."
Shon looked up from his notes. Their teacher was writing on the board again. At the top, he scrawled 'Sorcerers' then drew two lines down from the word to 'Clearance' and 'Sealing.' "When a Sorcerer awakens, they are required to..." he started, but Thom and Rerves both quickly raised their hands.
"What's a Sorcerer?" Rerves asked after the instructor nodded his way. Thom put down his hand, having had the same question.
The instructor looked at Shon and asked, "Do you know what a Sorcerer is?" when Shon shook his head, the man looked disapproving, "Then why didn't you ask?"
"They did..." Shon muttered down to his notebook. The teacher sighed and Shon glared at his notes. He would've asked if Thom and Rerves hadn't... assuming the answer wasn't made clear as the lesson continued.
Rather than further chastise him, the teacher moved on to answer the question, "A Sorcerer is someone who possesses natural arcane magic. They are born with power over one of the five elements. The power usually manifests around puberty, and when it does, the Sorcerer in question is taken to the Mages Guild. There they are either trained to control it -taking many years of study- or the power is sealed." He turned his back on the boys to continue writing on the board. Under 'Clearance', he wrote 'training' and 'testing', and under 'Sealing', he wrote 'tattoo' and 'item.'
"A Sorcerer with a clearance is the same in practice as a Mage who is registered with the Guild. Most Sorcerers, however, have their power sealed, preventing its use,"
"Why?" Thom asked, then quickly clapped his hand over his mouth, embarrassed for interrupting.
The instructor didn't seem to mind the interruption so much as the question itself. His eyes went wide in his disbelief as he looked down at the boys, "It is incredibly dangerous. Earth Sorcerers have been known to cause small earthquakes; Water and Air Sorcerers can drown or steal the air right from the lungs; Ice Sorcerers can freeze an entire room; and Fire Sorcerers... well, they are the most destructive. And all of that can be unintentional. Their magic is driven by their emotions, and if they can't control it, they are a danger to themselves and everyone around them. This is also why they are usually sealed with a tattoo..." he tapped the word on the board, "The sealing tattoo blocks their ability to use any kind of magic. It locks their energy, and thus their magic, in their body, preventing its manipulation. It is also given to any Mages, Druids, Clerics, and even Paladins that break the law and endanger the kingdom."
Rerves opened his mouth but then remembered to raise his hand, waiting for permission before he asked, "But don't Clerics and Paladins lose their God's blessing and their magic if they use it for evil?"
The teacher sighed again, though sadly this time, "Only Saint Giorgos reveres law itself as holy, and not every God holds the same standards for evil."
"Horsa..." Rerves growled under his breath, and the instructor nodded solemnly in agreement, his eyes flashing angrily at the mention of Hengist's brother and nemesis.
"Spells that are acceptable in Horsa-controlled provinces are not always permitted in Hengist's lands and vis versa. The Temples prefer to transfer those caught performing illegal acts with magic to a province where it is permitted, but occasionally, even a Cleric or Paladin can be tattooed to prevent further spell use. In some provinces, and you will learn more about this later, they even tattoo non-magic users who commit violent crimes. To prevent them from ever learning dangerous magic in the future."
Shon stared at the word scrawled in his notebook. Sealing tattoos worked by sealing the person's energy in their body, their ki... would it prevent Monk abilities too? The bell ending the lesson interrupted his thoughts, and Shon looked up to the teacher with the others, waiting for official dismissal before they would close their notebooks, "You should have that list of contraband memorized by the end of the week," the instructor reminded them as he began to erase the board, "Dismissed."
***
A rabbit made of fire hopped its way around the open cage. She sat on the floor, focusing on it, forcing it to keep the shape she willed while she stroked the cat's crimson-scaled head. The cat rested its entire front half in her lap, its lower legs splayed out on the ground, limp, too weak to move. She fought back tears as it tried to lift one great paw to bat at the bunny. She let the cat hit it, even made the flame rabbit fall down, pinned under the red claws. Not all of her treasures could touch her fire, but this one could, so she would do this for it at least. It purred in triumph at catching the flaming bunny but closed its eyes a moment later, letting out a ragged breath.
It was dying. They all died eventually, but it didn't stop the pain. She sniffed, trying to keep the tears from falling as she let the fire go. Snuffed out like her treasure.
"Come on, Red... it’s time to go..." Ran whispered into the cage.
She shook her head, stroking the large cat's side. Its breathing had slowed even further, "Not yet," she choked, then sniffed again.
Brom rested a hand on Ran's shoulder, "Give her a little longer."
"The Archmage..."
"He can wait," Brom whispered.
Her tears finally started to fall, streaming silently down her cheeks and over her scales, the same shade as this treasure, the first treasure she'd ever pet. It had lived longer than the others, somehow, and was one of the few she was capable of touching for more than a few moments. "Why?" she asked the journeymen, not really expecting an answer she could accept.
They squatted down outside the cage together, and Ran answered, "Their bodies can't handle the magic. They're animals with dragon power. We're trying Red, but we haven't figured out how to stop it yet..."
"Am I going to die too?" she asked. The cat's breathing slowed further, her tears dripping onto its head and sizzling as they landed.
"No, Goldy, no... You're different... you're..." Brom struggled to find an explanation.
"A Sorcerer Red," Ran provided, "And a really powerful one."
Her treasure breathed its last, letting the air out slowly until it was unmoving in her lap. She cried silently. Curling around the large cat that was too heavy for her to lift, she cried into its neck, holding it close.
Brom crawled into the cage, but he didn't touch her, "Come on, Goldy, maybe the next generation..." he braved grabbing her arm, flinching at the heat of her skin and pulling her out of the cage as silent tears continued to fall. She tried to control herself but couldn't and fell to her knees as soon as she was out. Brom pulled quickly away, shaking his burned fingers. "Oh, Goldy... please don't..."
She squeezed her eyes shut, trying to stop crying while also keeping her power pulled in, so she wouldn't catch any of the scattered straw or her caretakers' robes on fire. Her eyes flew open when a thick heavy blanket wrapped around her, and strong arms held it tight to her.
"I've got you, Red... It's okay to cry..." she could feel the antifire spell on the blanket press into her skin, but past that was Ran's arms, and a moment later, a second set, Brom's, wrapped her in a tight embrace. It was the only way they could hug her, and she was grateful enough that she let herself go, her shoulders bobbing as she sobbed and wailed for the loss of her treasure... and for herself.
--- Table of Contents ---
Thanks for making it this far, you are the real MVP
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2023.06.01 19:54 CIAHerpes I worked as a park ranger in Alaska. There were inhuman things living in the vast wilderness (part 1)

I worked as a park ranger in Northern Alaska for years, from when I was in my early twenties until my mid-thirties. At first, when I took the job, I was trying to escape, but over time, I learned to love it- the endless wilderness, the snow-capped mountains, the muffled way everything sounded during blizzards. With no light pollution, the stars up there look like tiny chips of diamond. And during the winter, the Northern Lights roll in, twisting and shimmering in strange, alien colors.
But a few years ago, things got much worse. People up here have started to go missing at an alarming rate. And I started having strange experiences around the park and the nature preserve.
One of the strangest parts of my story started on a freezing, dark night in 2018. I was on a snowmobile out in a terrible blizzard. The conditions were nearly to the point of being impassable. The snow was falling so thick and fast that it looked like a moving, shimmering wall of white on all sides of me.
Another ranger, a huge, lumbering man named ‘Ace’ Acosta, pulled up behind me on a second snowmobile. I looked at him, standing six foot six with majestic peaks stretching up into the night sky, and thought about what a great picture this would make. As I was looking around, I saw the faint tracks in the snow. Ace’s snowmobile lights were pointed in their direction, and I had been standing almost on top of them without realizing it- which is fairly easy to do when a few inches of snow are falling every hour.
At first, I thought it was the frozen tracks of an injured animal. I saw the drops of blood soaked into the superficial ice first. Following their direction with my eyes, I realized there were footprints pressed into the frozen crust leading away from me and towards the flat stretch of the tundra. I squinted, getting down on my knees and leaning inwards. I didn’t want to trample the tracks.
I quickly realized I was looking at human footprints- naked human footprints. But who would be out here in December in -40 degree winds without shoes? They would die rapidly out here. Just for me to drive across the tundra on a snowmobile required me to wear three jackets, long-johns, snow pants, thick jeans, a ski mask and multiple layers of socks and gloves with hand-warmers. I wore special water-proof boots with composite toes that wouldn’t freeze like steel toes. And despite all of this, I was still cold.
I moved forward, and saw handprints mixed in with the footprints, all of them bloody. The ice was thick enough to slice open human hands and feet, undoubtedly. The logical conclusion was unshakable- someone had crawled through here, maybe naked, on all fours, and their frozen body would be somewhere up ahead. I sighed, turning to Acosta. He still stood in the same position, his face covered in a red scarf with only his eyes showing. I saw one ice-covered eyebrow raise questioningly.
“I think we got us a body somewhere nearby,” I said, getting back on my snowmobile and starting it. He did the same.
“What kind of freaked-out tweaker would be walking around here without clothes on?” Ace asked in his deep baritone. “Man, I need a hit of whatever that guy’s on. I’ve got two sweaters and two winter jackets on, and I’m still cold. Eh, Kelton? Eh? What do you say?” He started elbowing me jokingly. I frowned, not responding.
Ace always had a smart aleck remark. He was next to me when I was interviewed for this job originally, down at the recruitment center in Washington state. The old lady doing the interviewing was a bloodless, angry-looking specimen of a woman with huge glasses that magnified her eyes twice over. She spat out each of the questions like a drill sergeant talking to fresh meat in the Army.
“Are you a member of any organized religion?” she had asked brusquely. Ace shook his head.
“No, ma’am, but I am a member of a disorganized religion,” he said. “We call ourselves ‘the Servants of the Old Ones’. We’re waiting for the ancient reptilian gods at the bottom of the ocean to awaken. So far, however, they haven’t responded to any of our texts.” I thought about this as I revved the engine twice, a sign that I was about to pull off and that he should stay close.
We took off, going slow and following the tracks as close as possible without destroying them. But the tracks just kept going, the bloodstains seeming to grow fainter as we moved forward- and strangely enough, the distance between the hand and footprints also started to get longer, as if someone were running on all fours and speeding up. We were nearing the beginning of the forest of evergreens when I saw a white flash just up ahead.
The thing that ran from us was humanoid, but I knew at once that it was no person. It ran on hands and feet, totally naked, its skin a pale, lifeless white color. It turned its head towards the lights of the snowmobiles briefly. I saw a hairless creature with skin that clung tightly to its simian body, its lips permanently pulled back from its mouth as if they were eaten away. Underneath it showed mottled black and red gums covered in thick, clotted blood. Its nose appeared as little more than two irregular holes, and its eyes- they reflected the light of the snowmobiles, like the eyes of a raccoon or opossum. They were huge and sunken in its starving, monstrous face.
And I saw what was leaving the bloody trails. The creature was, as far as I could tell, totally uninjured. In its permanently grinning mouth, between rows of crooked, sharp, blood-stained teeth, it held the body of an infant. The baby’s head lolled from side to side, the neck seemingly broken, and blood dripped constantly from its mouth and nose. It had deep puncture marks in its tiny parka, half-rings of teeth marks that must have broken its ribs. The bloodstains on the snow were becoming fainter, because the heart was no longer pumping in the body of the one leaving them.
I had a loaded rifle inside my snowmobile, and kept a 12-gauge shotgun slung around my back, mostly in case of bear or moose attack. I always kept the shotgun loaded with slugs, which were, in my experience, the most versatile ammunition for stopping any large animal. The .308 might take down a polar bear, at least with a good headshot, or it might just piss it off on a bad day. But a shotgun slug to the head or heart will stop any bear or moose in its tracks.
Of course, this was no polar bear ahead of me. For all I knew, it was something far worse. I looked down at the speedometer to see I was going twenty miles an hour, in the dark, in a blizzard. And yet this strange humanoid creature was still losing us, its seemingly never-ending store of energy still sending it forward at a superhuman speed. Its pale, bony legs and arms pumped back and forth so fast that they were just a blur. It kept its sharp teeth around the nape of the dead infant’s neck, like a mother cat carrying its young.
I kept one hand on the steering wheel while trying to free the strap of my shotgun over my head. I slowed down below twenty, and the creature responded by going even faster. It was making a break for the mountain forests that started only a few hundred feet away. I got the gun free and quickly stopped the snowmobile and raised it. I centered the sights, taking a deep breath to steady myself, and fired.
I missed, though I don’t know by how much. Shotguns had the drawback of being significantly less accurate at further distances than the rifle. But by the time I got the .308 out, I knew the creature would have long since disappeared in the thick brush and trees. By this point, Ace had also stopped and opened fire, but the creature had already gone.
“God damn!” Ace screamed. “That was one fast motherfucker. I can’t believe he got away after all that.” I heaved a deep sigh.
“I think we better go find out where he got that baby from,” I said. “We might have a lot more corpses on our hands than we realize.”
***
We found a radio in the snowmobile and messaged in what had happened, or at least the basic gist of it. I left out the part about naked, half-human abominations, and said that it was an unknown animal. There wasn’t much law enforcement up in these parts, because, hell, there were barely any people. The rangers as well as fish and wildlife agents regularly worked with the police officers in small towns, at least those that had police officers. Dozens of the local tribal villages had no police at all. These people would come to forest rangers and fish and wildlife agents most of all, and were always some of the county’s friendliest and most helpful residents.
By the time we got back to the original blood-stained footprints, the snow had covered up the tracks completely. However, based on the direction that the creature had been going and where the tracks had come from, I thought I knew where it might have started. Following the path in a nearly straight line led to the Lutna Peak Trailer Park. Ace and I drove off at max speed across the rolling hills and flat plains, the snow coming faster and heavier now. They say eskimos have dozens of words for snow, and after being a ranger up here, I can say I’ve seen every variation of it a thousand times. This was turning into the kind that was wet with huge flakes and tended to stick to everything. We would probably have to find refuge soon, especially if it got any heavier.
I heard the screaming before I saw the commotion. As we came around the sharp right turn where the dirt road turned into the trailer park, I saw dozens of people out, flitting like gnats around one of the trailers at the back corner of the park. All of the lights were on in that particular trailer, and I saw one woman comforting another who was bent over and crying.
Even though almost everyone knew us here, I pulled out my badge identifying me as a federal law enforcement officer. Up here, all the rangers were technically federal agents, allowed to carry guns and make arrests like typical police, except we were licensed under the Department of the Interior rather than under state law enforcement agencies.
I ran into the trailer, and after one long glance around the place, I knew there was no need to call for any ambulances. Ace followed close behind me, his heavy, thudding footsteps shaking the trailer slightly as he ascended the steps. We said nothing for a long moment. The entire family was dead.
There was blood everywhere, even spotting the ceilings. Most of it had frozen in the cold, and I wondered how long the door had been left open. Body parts were scattered across the floor, an arm in the corner of the room, a head standing up on the kitchen counter, even a random tooth embedded into the sheetrock. The savagery was brutal, and the amount of strength required to carry out such an attack must have been extraordinary.
“I think we’re going to need a lot more people on this than just me and you,” Ace said. I nodded, already bone-tired, and with so much more work to do tonight before I could go to sleep.
We phoned both state and federal authorities in the area. Since much of the land was tribally owned, we had to deal with multiple branches. Eventually we got CSI out there in the middle of a snowstorm, though they had to come from over three hours away. We just secured the scene while we waited, constantly being brought into neighboring trailers where townsfolk would tell us the latest gossip. They also brought us hot coffee and tried to milk us for any information we might have, as they usually did in such situations.
“No, Maggie, honest,” Ace was saying to one old lady wrapped up in an ancient fur coat, “I don’t know any more about it than you do. You can be sure that you’d know if I did.” By that point, police cars were slowly pulling in, one by one. Ace and I told them a simplified version of the night’s events, said goodnight and left the scene to them. I went home and took a scalding hot shower, trying to force the night’s coldness out of my bones. Then I slept deeply, though I had nightmares of that creature’s face turning to me, holding a dead baby in its mouth and marking me with its emotionless, reflective eyes. I didn’t know it then, but that would be the last time I would sleep in a bed for many days.
***
The state police assigned us an officer the next day, stating they wanted an official representative of their interests involved in the case. It was, by this point, a fairly high-priority case. We didn’t even have many assaults or robberies up here, less likely murders, and the murder of an entire family really stirred up the locals. The fact that the CSI techs couldn’t make heads or tails of it made it even worse. They hadn’t even agreed on whether it was done by humans or animals or a combination of the two, like men with fighting dogs who went berserk. With no leads, they wanted us to go back to where we had seen the creature the previous night and see what we could find.
The police officer who would be tagging us, a woman named Officer Melinda Jansen, had the look of someone who just started a new job, and doesn’t realize how terrible it is yet. She was all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and when she shook my hand, she nearly crushed the bones together under her iron grip. I saw Ace wince slightly when he shook her hand too. When she turned her back, he looked at me with one eyebrow raised, as if he were saying, “What can you do?”
It didn’t take us long to find the spot from the previous night. When we got close to the forest where the creature disappeared, I saw a branch that had been hit by a shotgun blast, and knew we were right on the money. In the daytime, I saw that there was a slight, curving trail through the trees here, maybe an old deer trail. It was just wide enough for us to take our snowmobiles through if we went slow. Occasionally, I would have to get off, being in the lead, and move large branches that lay across the path, but overall it was faster going than I had expected.
The trail followed across the top of a rolling hill, went down and then spiraled up around a mountain. We were high now, at least 7,000 feet above sea level, and the view went for hundreds of miles. It was breath-taking, seeing the frozen white landscape below us, mountains lining one horizon and the Arctic Ocean on another. A couple hundred feet ahead of us, however, the trail just stopped. I saw an opening in the mountain. Slowly bringing my snowmobile up, I looked into it and saw what looked like naturally-formed stone hallways.
The halls sloped down at a steep angle without stairs. An eerie silence radiated from the gradually thickening darkness. The other two snowmobiles cut out right behind mine, and Officer Jansen came walking up, flicking on her LED headlamp. Immediately, I saw a strip of light blue cloth. I walked forward, bending down to confirm what I had already suspected: that this was a piece of the missing infant’s clothing.
“That looks like more than enough cause to me. Let’s do this,” Jansen said. “I’d like to be back before sundown.” She kept walking without waiting for confirmation. Ace and I slung on our packs and turned on our headlamps. I tried using the radios and sat-phone to share our location, but neither was working. The bright, artificial lights showed that the natural stone walls of the hall just kept on descending into the mountain. A warm breeze blew past me, an acrid, sulfuric smell following in its wake.
“This is just a body recovery mission at this point,” I whispered to Ace, giving Officer Jansen a wide space so I could talk. “So why are we potentially risking our lives here? We should be waiting for back-up. We both know that the infant is dead, and has been for a while.”
“You know what I think…” Ace whispered conspiratorially, before a low shriek stopped us all in our tracks and ended conversation. I never did get to hear what he thought. By this point, it was much warmer than it had been outside, and I had the urge to start stripping off jackets. The shrieking had intensified, and was now being answered by dozens of others that surrounded further away in the stone halls.
Officer Jansen had pulled out her gun, which I saw with some astonishment was a .454 Ruger, a large caliber gun with good stopping power. I saw enough magazines strapped around her hips to decimate an entire herd of buffalo. I also pulled off my shotgun, making sure it was filled with lead slugs.
“Do you have any idea what we’re up against?” I asked her. Ace was right behind us, his shotgun already cocked and loaded, the muzzle pointed downwards. I was sweating heavily by this point. The air in the tunnel just kept getting warmer. It felt like I was walking into a sauna. Thin clouds of mist and droplets of hot condensation clung to the smooth granite ceilings. The hall continued to descend at the same steep rate, but now I could see something at the bottom: light.
“Not much more than you, really,” Officer Jansen said with a slight sneer. “My only advice is to shoot first and ask questions later. Kill anything that moves. This place has taken a lot of people already, people who were too fat and slow to watch their own backs…” I squinted as I examined the lights. They seemed to emanate from some sort of organism growing on the stone’s surface.
It wasn’t electrical lights, and it certainly wasn’t natural sunlight. It glowed like the lights of millions of fireflies, a purplish-blue color that painted the granite floors and walls in a totally different light. We were walking as quietly as possible by this point, but I still hadn’t seen anyone. We reached the bottom of the stone halls, where strange mushrooms glowed in the darkness, their mycelium giving off that black-light color everywhere as it stretched across the threshold of the opening. I turned off my LED, seeing my comrades do the same, then poked my head through, looking back and forth.
I saw more of those creatures from before, their lips missing, their skin pale, their eyes huge and rabid. They constantly twisted and snapped their heads to the left or right, as if hearing something only they could perceive. Two were dragging an elk that had been mutilated and torn down the middle. Another was dragging an old man’s dead body forward by the upraised legs. I saw the old man’s head was missing, his wrinkled hands trailing behind the body. I watched where all this activity was headed, then I gasped.
A huge, insectile monster sat lazily against the stone wall as these creatures brought it meat. The monster was so fat that I wasn’t even sure it could stand up. It had a blood-red, chitinous exterior with a hood like a rattlesnake’s that extended around its head. Its teeth trembled together constantly as it shoved more gory offerings into its mouth, sending blood gushing forwards in thick clotted rivulets that dripped down its chin. Its long, thin arms had sharp knife-like digits, and its six legs branched like those of a praying mantis, splayed out on each side of its body, shining a dark red color in the strange light of the chamber. Its belly stretched far in front of its body, and with horror, I saw it drop a cluster of eggs, each as big as a dog. Their surfaces writhed and trembled, looking tight and ready to burst at any moment.
The creatures that fed and cared for this monster rushed over, dragging the eggs to the corner of the warm chamber. I saw that there were dozens more of them over there, and that some had already hatched.
Whatever that monster was, it had already given birth, and now those things were walking around, totally free to kill anything, or anyone, they wanted.
submitted by CIAHerpes to nosleep [link] [comments]


2023.06.01 19:51 Exiled_Wolves My summer recruitment

Hearing that we are interested in young and hungry players instead of just taking whoever Mendes would offer us is a breath of fresh air. These are the players I've identified as young hungry and for the most part with a year left on their contract to help wolves who supposedly have FFP concerns. That said I excluded Kang-in Lee because it has been said he doesn't want to be here and we need to avoid that type of recruitment.
TLDR
Out:
Neves(Sale(40m)), Mout(free), Adama(free), coady(Sale(5m)), Sarabia(Sale(5m)), Costa(free), Raul(Sale(5m)), RAN(Sale(22m)), Podence (Sale(20m)), Neto (Sale(32m)), Jonny (Sale(5m)), Sa (Sale(18m)), Kilman (sale(25m +english tax(which is probably accounted for by some over evaluations in here already))).
loan: Mosquera (recall and loan to the championship)
In:
Gyokeres(13m), Salisu(18m), Scott(20m), Baumgartner(20m), Sulemana(22m), Stach(15m), Livankovic(14m), Garcia(20m), RB (25m), Winger(20m)
out = 177m
In = 187m
net = -10m
Reports have been that we will have to sell to buy. Names like Neves, RAN, and podence have all been linked with a move away.
Even getting rid of players wages like Mout and selling on players for large fees like the players mentioned above I still don’t think it will be enough to fund our summer. That’s why I propose selling Neto. Based on the end of the season it seems like Julen doesn’t see Neto as a part of his plan. We need to cash in now while the the memories of his last healthy season is still vaguely fresh on teams minds. If we can get a decent fee for him, I certainly think we should sell him on. His promise when he did play still seemed to be there, but sitting on the bench or getting injured again could mean we miss our chance to cash in on him. On top of that I’d rather sell Neto to fund our summer than Nunes because I believe that we can still recoup our fee for him (nunes) next year. If nunes does have a good year we could be looking for a much bigger profit.
In my opinion it is time to sell high on Kilman. He is what he is and he isn’t as young as some think (26).
I think that moving on from Sa right now could be a stupid move based on his play from last season. That said someone who would be more consistent, even if they don't hit the highs of Sa would probably be better for the squad. Either way I would be happy to keep him or replace him. Bentley was not that great in my opinion but ideally with some more time here we can get those stupid mistakes out. Makes for a fine cup Keeper i guess.
In:
Gyokeres: A strong striker in the championship and was great in hold up play. Worked well in coventry’s system of hoof the ball down field and have him win the ball and keep it at his feet until he could find reinforcements running back into the box. Heavily rumored with wolves would be a great add. Need to move fast while we are still supposedly in the lead before we miss out on this transfer. His contract expires in a year making his price likely cheaper.
Mohammed Salisu: One of the two players I would bring in to split time replacing kilman. Too good to go down with Southampton, I would add him to the squad. Also has his contract expire in a year.
Alex Scott: Heavily rumored with him. Seems to be a top talent in the championship and we would be lucky to add him. Seems like he has the ability to play in the midfield or as an attacking midfielder making him a great add.
Christoph Baumgartner: was an outstanding player in a mediocre side. relevant graphs.
Sulemana: stood out in a bad Southampton side. His speed plays but he had injury concerns before getting here. Great at moving the ball down the pitch at will similar to Adama.
Stach: Another really good midfielder who can play anywhere in the midfield would be a great add for us. Only has a year left on his contract. (See above graphs)
Livankovic: His numbers suggest he is much better with the ball at his feet than Sa and only has a year left on his contract. That said the few times I’ve watched him he looks a bit uncomfortable with the ball at his feet.
David Garcia: the other player I would use to replace kilman. Between Salisu and Garcia we should be able to get good outback from our center backs in replacing Kilman.
RB: I think Livramento would be great. His ACL injury might make it hard to readjust but he would serve as a back up to semedo until at least January when I would begin to entertain selling Semedo.
Arnau Martínez: Outstanding player for girona. With all the links to Spain I think he would be a great player to look at. He is being looked at by Barca so we would have to probably snipe that deal. He is incredibly well rounded though and would be a great player to look at.
Winger (to replace podence):
Skov Olsen: Goal scoring winger in Belgium. Is great at getting some whip behind the ball to fire it past keeper. Would be a great option to replace Podence’s goal output.
I would look at Harvey Barnes as well but I think he might be out of our reach. Great goal scoring winger that said.
Patrick Wimmer would be another player I would look at but I am unsure if now is the time to bring him to wolves. Not the goalscorer that the other two are but still oozes skill.
  1. Sa/livancovic
  2. Bentley
  3. Collins
  4. Dawson
  5. Semedo
  6. Garcia
  7. Bueno
  8. Lemina
  9. B Traore
  10. Nunes
  11. Gomes
  12. Hwang
  13. Cunha
  14. Chiquinho
  15. Kalajdzic
  16. Alex Scott
  17. Christoph Baumgartner
  18. Fabio Silva
  19. Kamaladeen sulemana
  20. Anton stach
  21. livramento/arnau martinez
  22. Skov Olsen/Harvey Barnes/Patrick Wimmer
  23. Salisu
  24. Gyokeres
  25. toti(D)
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