City Girls wiki

City of Girls is published by Bloomsbury (£16.99). To order a copy go to guardianbookshop.com or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over £15, online orders only. Phone orders min p&p of £1.99. Welcome to the City Girl Life Wiki! This is a fan run project with regularly updated resources including a step by step mission guides, gameplay tips, and an exclusive database of in-game items. Please feel free to add information to help keep the wiki up to date. City Girls had two groundbreaking documentaries, Period Point Blank and Period Point Blank Part 2, released in 2018 and 2019, respectively. In the latest documentary, Yung Miami is shown working hard to carry the City Girls torch while JT is in jail for credit card fraud. (JT is slated for release in 2020.) River City Super Sports Challenge: All Stars Special: 2015: River City Ransom: Underground: 2017: River City Melee: Battle Royal Special: 2017: River City Girls: 2019: River City Melee Mach!! 2019: Stay Cool, Kobayashi-San!: A River City Ransom Story: 2019 NPR Review: 'City Of Girls,' By Elizabeth Gilbert Elizabeth Gilbert's new novel is set in the New York theater community of the 1940s — an effervescent golden age for the women who congregate at ... City Girls' first studio album, Girl Code, followed in November and entered the Billboard 200 at number 63. JT had begun serving a two year jail sentence for credit card fraud in June of 2018, but was released to a halfway house before the end of the year. River City Girls (熱血硬派くにおくん外伝 リバーシティーガールズ Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun Gaiden Ribā Shitī Gāruzu, lit. 'Hot-Blooded Tough Guy Kunio Side Story: River City Girls') is a beat'em up role-playing game in the Kunio-kun franchise developed by WayForward and published by Arc System Works. The second spin-off game in the franchise, it was released on September ...

テラスハウス - Terrace House

2014.07.28 23:04 rehlee テラスハウス - Terrace House

Unofficial Subreddit for discussion about the reality TV show Terrace House (テラスハウス).
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2008.08.04 07:02 indonesia

Selamat datang di subreddit kami! Welcome to our subreddit! Please follow rules and respect others. Feel free to ask moderators about anything!
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2014.06.16 23:15 The Great British Muff Dive

The Home of the Great British Random Acts Of Muff Diving
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2020.09.30 15:59 deadislandman1 Suicide Squad Annual 1 - The Man Who Never Misses

DC Next presents:

Suicide Squad

Annual: The man who never misses
Written by Deadislandman1
Edited by dwright5252 and AdamantAce
 
 
Eight years before the crisis in Coast City
Floyd Lawton crouched in a dark corner of a suburban home, surveying the dining room with his weapon in hand. He’s been sitting here for hours, biding his time and waiting for the moment to strike. His mark would be here soon, to sit down at the table to eat her breakfast, so Lawton was prepared to take the shot before the meal was eaten. If he missed, if he failed to hit the target, he would face grave consequences, ones that he couldn’t bear to be subject to.
His target finally entered the room, skipping over to her chair and pulling it out, jumping into the seat and tapping the table with open hands, humming along to a cheery beat. Closing his left eye, Lawton brandished his weapon, aiming it at the girl and placing his finger on the trigger. Placing the sights on her long, dirty blonde hair, Lawton quietly took a deep breath before pulling the trigger.
A marshmallow gently bounced off of Zoe Lawton’s head, prompting a quiet yelp from the girl as she whirled around to find her father holding a marshmallow blaster. Smiling, he stepped out of the shadows, revealing an outfit that consisted of a pair of khakis, a plaid button up shirt with hawaian trees plastered all over it, and a silly party hat strapped to the top of his head, the strap digging into his bushy facial hair.
“Happy birthday, sweetie!” piped Floyd, dropping the blaster and opening his arms to receive a hug, “Come give your old man a big hug!”
“Daddy!” squealed Zoe, practically leaping out of her chair to run to her father, tackling him with a hug that Lawton returned. As the two embraced, Susan Lawton shambled into the room, heavy bags under her eyes as she brushed back her crimson hair, which was stricken with a serious case of bedhead.
“Well, look who’s up!” said Floyd, releasing Zoe to give Susan an affectionate peck on the cheek. “I didn’t think you’d be awake this early.”
“It’s only nine o’clock, Floyd,” said Susan, rubbing her eyes. “Besides, I’m not going to miss our daughter’s birthday!”
“Yeah, but...you were up late last night prepping the chicken for today’s birthday lunch,” said Floyd.
“Mooooom, Daaaaad!” howled Zoe, stamping her feet, “No more talking! Let’s have some fun!”
“Of course, sweety!” said Floyd, slowly backing away, “And we can start with your first present!”
“Yaaaay!” said Zoe, bouncing on the balls of her feet in excitement as Floyd walked out of the room, allowing Susan to occupy their now ten year old daughter to prevent her from bouncing off the walls. He’d been retired from active duty for about five years now, having finished his distinguished service with a Silver Star Metal and an inhuman record for shots hit versus shots missed. He was the best marksman the special forces had ever had, which made it perfect for him to carry those skills into his new job. But today wasn’t about his job, today was about Zoe, and he wanted to make sure that he would be here the entire day.
Marching up to his and Susan’s bedroom, Floyd knelt down next to their bed, reaching underneath and grabbing a large package, sliding it out before slinging it under his shoulder. Susan, who was aware of Floyd’s day job, warned him that she wouldn’t accept any toy guns, something that Zoe showed a peculiar interest in, but Floyd felt that he should at least meet her halfway.
A toy crossbow wasn’t a gun, right?
Scratching the scruff on his cheek, Floyd turned back towards the entrance to his bedroom to head back to Zoe when his phone vibrated in his pocket. Pulling it out, Floyd frowned when he realized it was from a restricted number.
“Shit.” said Floyd, under his breath so his daughter wouldn’t hear. He knew these calls weren’t meant to be ignored, so he quickly answered it, bringing the phone up to his ear, “Hello?”
“Deadshot, we demand your services. Your targets are the two VIP’s located in a limousine arriving at the Royal Hotel in the Gotham Burnley district precisely at noon. Eliminate them both and payment will be provided.”
Click
When the client gave their demands then hangs up, it was always a sign that the job couldn't be ignored without serious repercussions. Growling to himself in frustration, Floyd knew that if he didn’t drive up from Burnside to kill these pricks his family would be in serious jeopardy. Placing the present on the bed, Lawton walked over to his closet, grabbing a suitcase from the corner before walking downstairs as he made his way for the front door, Zoe skipped in front of him, only to see him holding his suitcase.
“Daddy! I thought you were staying with us for my birthday!” said Zoe, pleading with puppy dog eyes. Susan walked into the hall as well, glaring at Floyd.
“I’m sorry, pumpkin, but this is really important. Daddy really can’t miss this,” said Floyd, flashing a look at Susan to confirm that this was indeed serious. Susan sighed, nodding in understanding as Floyd knelt down to be at head level with his daughter, “Tell you what, I’ll be back as soon as I can, then we’ll all have a great big cookie cake!”
Zoe’s eyes widened as she began to giggle, “Really?! Awesome!”
Tackling Floyd with one last hug, Zoe skipped down the hall, with Susan following her to the dining room to eat breakfast as Lawton straightened his shirt, walking out the door to complete his job.
 
 
The Royal Hotel was a place that hosted only the most wealthy and prestigious people traveling in and around the city, though considering Gotham’s reputation, Lawton couldn’t imagine why anybody would ever dream of staying here for longer than a night or two. At least, anybody who achieved their status through legitimate means. The reality of the situation was that the Royal was often a hotbed for criminal activity, specifically organized crime, and judging by the host of armed and tattooed Japanese guards standing rank and file outside of the hotel entrance, Lawton felt it was safe to presume he was offing some high-up Yakuza members in today's job.
Lawton counted the guards posted outside of the hotel from his rooftop perch and stored the number in his head before kneeling back behind cover, placing his suitcase on the concrete and clicking the locks on the sides, propping it open to reveal his combat gear inside. A main body piece consisting of light kevlar fabric supported by armored plates around the chest area made up most of the suit, with wrist gauntlets that featured built in guns preloaded with submachine gun ammunition and a metal helmet with a targeting system built into the right eye to complete the set. Carefully taking the suit out of the case, Lawton slipped his civilian attire off before getting into his battle gear, sliding his arms into the wrist weapons before picking the helmet up and putting it to the side, revealing a semi-automatic rifle with two full magazines, a high powered armor piercing round meant for his wrist weapons and capable of punching through a tank, and a serrated combat knife.
Since Lawton never missed, he tended to keep his ammunition count light as to maximize his mobility, but he still packed just a little extra just in case he came up against more opponents than he initially expected. Packing the spare magazine into his suit along with the knife and the shotgun shell, Lawton returned his attention to his helmet, picking it up off the ground and observing it for any imperfections or issues that might prop up during combat.
Despite the fact that he polished and repaired as much of the helmet as possible after every mission, small scratches and dents were visible all over the headgear, showing the years of hardship and battle it and Lawton had been through despite his best efforts. As he continued to examine the gear, a small thought propped itself up in his mind as he mentally recalled the cause of each and every scar on the helmet.
How long was he really going to keep doing this?
A decade of military service, half a decade of contract killing, would the years of murder continue to pile on? Sure, Lawton didn’t mind taking people’s lives, he’s been doing so for nearly half his life at this point, but he was concerned that as he got older, as his reflexes began to atrophy, that he may be the one biting a bullet instead of his target. This wasn’t for the obvious reason that Lawton feared death, he’d cast that anxiety aside early on in his career.
In truth, Lawton was worried about his work invading his home life, invading Zoe and Susan’s lives. A career like this is bound to leak into one’s personal relationships, often in the form of someone being paid to slag your family members. Lawton didn’t want anything to happen to his wife or child, and the longer he worked, the bigger the chances that an assassin would kick down the door to his home to snuff out his family.
After this job, Lawton would see to it that he’s taken off of the deep web to retire. The best way to prevent this kind of thing is to stop before it becomes an issue.
Honk Honk
The limousine carrying Lawton’s targets began to pull up to the hotel, screeching to a halt as the assassin cursed to himself, flipping the helmet around before slipping it over his head. Grabbing the rifle and magazine, Lawton slid the latter into place before turning back towards the hotel, planting the butt of the firearm into his shoulder before looking down the iron sights, his one-eyed helmet visor providing a more complete scope for him to work with.
Two Yakuza in black suits came out of the hotel’s front entrance, rapidly approaching the limousine and standing guard as the door opened, allowing an older Yakuza in a white suit to exit the vehicle. The older man turned around, gesturing to somebody else to get out of the car as well as the two Yakuza piled around the door, creating a sort of shield as the second person seemed to exit the car, with the bodyguards preventing Lawton from getting a good view of the person in question.
Judging by their apparent importance, it was clear that the man in the white suit and the person hidden by the bodyguards were his targets. Considering the fact that one of the people had bodyguards at all, Lawton could surmise that they were the more important of the targets. Making the decision that they would be the first to go, Lawton took aim at one of the bodyguard’s backs, hoping to hit a collateral as he took a deep breath.
BANG
The casing ejected from the rifle, spinning out into the air with Lawton’s exhalation while the bullet crossed the street in less than a second, ripping through the bodyguards back and inner organs before exploding out of his chest, hitting the concrete in front of him and ricocheting off the ground. The Yakuza outside the hotel began to shout out in alarm, running to take positions behind the limousine and marble pillars as the remaining bodyguard quikly chaperoned his client towards the entrance, the white suited Yakuza right behind him.
Lawton didn’t take into account how damn short the other target was.
Cursing under his breath, Lawton realized he only had time for one more shot before he would have to dive into the hotel himself to pursue his targets. As the Yakuza whipped out their pistols, laying down fire at Deadshot’s perch, Lawton took another deep breath, honing in on the white-suited man before squeezing the trigger yet again.
Bang
The small arms fire of the Yakuza forced Lawton back into cover, but the familiar sound of a skull exploding, like taking a sledgehammer to a watermelon, told Lawton that he had hit his mark. Peeking out of cover, he spotted the now headless white-suited man lying dead at the front doors of the hotel with a spray of blood marking his fatal exit, leaving roughly eight or so Yakuza left on the outside to slow his advance.
Eight bullets. Eight targets. Child's Play.
Popping up from cover, Lawton unloaded the rest of the mag, watching as he painted the Yakuza’s blood across the concrete in a matter of seconds. With each baited breath, each pull of the trigger, a man went down. Repeating the process eight times over, Lawton dropped every single Yakuza outside the hotel, watching them fall limp before his path was finally clear. Popping the empty magazine out, Lawton grabbed the spare mag from his pocket, shoving it into his rifle with deadly intent before mantling over the rooftop terrace, grabbing onto a nearby pole and sliding down to street level before trudging across to the hotel entrance as screams could be heard from inside. Taking cover right next to the front door, Lawton peeked inside, giving himself a lay of the land.
The hotel was as elaborate and ornate as could be, with a golden chandelier lighting up a velvety lobby with mahogany wood pillars and golden engravings lining the walls. Fancy couches were generously placed all around the floor, providing places where guests would usually sit while waiting for their room keys while bellhops would take their luggage up to their new temporary residences. After the gunfight outside, it appeared that the guests within the lobby had cleared out in a jiffy, leaving suitcases and bags out in the open in their panic. Hearing the ding of the elevator, Lawton looked upward to find that the elevator, located in a glass chute, had settled on the fifth floor. His destination clear, Lawton ducked into the lobby, keeping his weapon in hand as he shuffled across the lobby floor.
“アサシンを殺せ! (Kill the assassin!)”
Suddenly, a barrage of bullets rained down at Lawton, forcing him to dive for cover behind one of the couches. As the cushions exploded, sending fluff everywhere and creating a downpour of fabric in all directions, Lawton quickly laid down, going as low as possible before peeking out the side of the furniture, catching a glimpse of four more Yakuza guards with submachine guns taking aim from behind the upper floors. As the hail of death ceased with the emptying of the Yakuza’s magazines, the gangsters ducked behind cover, smartly keeping themselves hidden while they reloaded their weapons.
Lawton narrowed his eyes, raising his rifle at one of the upper floors, specifically at the wall. Working out a few mathematical equations in his head while adjusting his rifle sights on the fly, Lawton fired a bullet at the wall, watching it ricochet off of the surface and into the cover area of one of the Yakuza. A splash of red exploded from the cover, informing Lawton that he’d successfully blown one of the Yakuza soldier’s heads off. With the knowledge that the process was easy to pull off, Lawton rinsed and repeated, removing the rest of the Yakuza from the upper floors before the hotel was rendered silent.
Mentally counting the number of bullets left in his own rifle, Lawton guessed that he had six shots left. Crawling out from behind the couch, Lawton crossed the lobby, moving up to the elevator doors as the car began to move back down. Since he didn’t call the elevator at all, Lawton realized that he was about to get even more company. Not wanting to drag this out any longer than it’s already been dragged out. Lawton took a few steps back, taking a knee while aiming his rifle at the elevator doors as the ding sounded off.
As the Yakuza poured out, brandishing katanas raised over their heads while screaming, Lawton unloaded the rest of the magazine, painting the glass within the elevator red as he gunned down all of the gangsters in a rain of lead. With his rifle ammunition now spent, Lawton tossed the weapon aside, marching over to the elevator and pulling the bodies out of the way of the doors before stepping inside.
“死ね! (Die!)”
Two more Yakuza, hidden in the corners of the elevator out of Lawton’s line of sight, jumped out at him with their blades, stabbing and swinging at him as he scrambled forward, dodging the attacks before quickly slipping his knife from his back pocket. As the two charged him again, Lawton ducked under one of the blades, stabbing the Yakuza in the gut and slicing his stomach open before using the momentum of his blade to jam the tip into the other Yakuza’s throat before leaving it in his body as his enemy slumped to the floor. As hot blood further drenched the elevator in red, Lawton stumbled to the side of the elevator, slamming his fist into the fifth floor button before sliding down to the floor to take a seat. The mental and physical exertion required to drop so many people so quickly had left Lawton with empty lungs, forcing him to take a breather while resting until the elevator reached its destination.
“You’re a damn snake.”
Raising his eyebrow, Lawton’s eye drifted over to one of the Yakuza he’d just battled, specifically the one who he had gutted with his knife. The criminal sat against the opposite wall of the elevator, his hands clutching his gut in an attempt to keep his insides from spilling out. He glared at Lawton with true malice, as if the assassin had done some unspeakable wrong to him.
“Don’t see why it matters to you,” said Lawton, reaching over to the other Yakuza and yanking the knife out of his throat. “You’re bleeding like a stuck pig. You’re not going to be alive in the next ten or so minutes.”
“You would slaughter our leaders, the members of our families, and for what?” said the Yakuza, wheezing between sentences. “Money?! Where is the drive, the honor?!”
Lawton’s breath began to steady, allowing him to pull himself back up to a standing position as the elevator stopped on his floor. As the ding sounded off and the doors slid open, Lawton stretched out his neck before glancing at the Yakuza muscle one last time, “It’s a dog eat dog world, buddy, you’d be surprised by what people would do for money.”
Having said what he needed to say, Lawton stepped out of the elevator and into the hallway, the doors closing behind him as he stared down the rows of doors in front of him. The lights flickered, bathing the hall in complete darkness every few seconds as Lawton walked down the hall’s velvet rug flooring, looking for any signifier that would help him identify which door his target was hiding behind. The bodyguard he initially killed outside would have spilled his blood all over the target he was shielding, and chances were that they’d be stained with enough of that blood for it to drip onto the floor, creating a trail for Lawton to track.
The small droplets of blood staining the rug leading into the fifth door on the left gave Lawton a pretty clear idea of where he needed to go.
As he began to trudge towards his destination, the flickering lights suddenly cut out entirely, eliminating all light in the hall. As barely audible footsteps began to creep up on Lawton from both the front and the back of the hall, he sighed, raising his wrist guns up and checking to make sure they were loaded before turning to aim them down either side of the hall.
BRAKAKAKAKAKAKA
As he unleashed a storm of lead down both ends of the hall, the flash of his wrist mounted gun muzzles relighting the room with brief illuminations, revealing dark clothed figures charging at him from all angles. They bore more katanas, dancing elegantly as they avoided Lawton’s weapon fire with ease. As they drew closer, they swung their weapons, expecting to cut right through Lawton’s armor, only to find that the armored plating prevented them from making any headway. As the blades bounced off of Lawton’s body, he took the opportunity provided by their failure to hurt him, riddling them with bullet holes while throwing in a few kicks and punches in order to keep them from getting too close. As his ammunition began to run dry, he noticed that there were fewer and fewer blades striking his body. Along with the blood that was currently clouding his vision, it was clear that his methodology was getting results. As the attacks on him finally ceased, the lights suddenly turned back on, once again restoring sight to all who were within the hall.
Lawton being the only one left.
As Lawton wiped the blood from his visor, he observed that just as he did with the elevator, he’d painted the hall red with the blood of his enemies. Yakuza bodies were strewn up and down the hall, awkwardly positioned and riddled with holes after their attempt to get the drop on Lawton. Counting the bodies, Lawton realized that he’d killed roughly twenty-five Yakuza so far.
Whoever they were protecting, they were important, really important.
With a little ammunition left to spare, Lawton turned around and walked down the hall unopposed, having finally made it to the hotel room where his target was located. This was it, just put a bullet into his target’s head and he’ll be on his way. Raising his foot, Lawton prepared to kick the door in when it flew open from the inside, prompting him to dive to the side before turning around to face yet another opponent.
A Yakuza stepped out of the hotel room, clad in a bright red combat suit. In his hands sat an ōdachi, a larger katana wielded by two hands. The Yakuza bent his legs as he went into a sort of combat stance, holding the ōdachi upward as he eyed Lawton from behind blank goggles, waiting for him to make the first move. Lawton sighed, standing up straight as he cracked his knuckles, keeping track of the Yakuza’s strict movements as he prepared to take aim.
These chumps never seem to understand the phrase ‘Don’t bring a knife to a gun fight’.
After a single moment of hesitation between the two killers, Lawton threw his hands up, aiming both barrels at the Yakuza as he opened fire, watching the bullets fly as the Yakuza surged forward, raising the weapon high above his head as he let out a violent war cry. Lawton expected him to go down right away, for the bullets to rip through his body as it did his friends. However, the lead instead bounced off the armor of the Yakuza, producing sparks as the criminal let out a blood-curdling scream, swinging his sword down on Lawton as the assassin attempted to dodge out of the way.
As he scrambled away from the Yakuza, the ōdachi was swung to the side, cutting Lawton across the chest and surprising him even further. The armor had kept him safe so far, yet this sword was different, capable of cutting through solid kevlar. Taking a few steps back after drawing blood, the Yakuza nestled the sword on the inside of his elbow, wiping it across his inner armor to clear the blood off of the blade. Lawton clutched his wound, stumbling back a few steps as the Yakuza advanced.
“Surprised that I do not go down as fast as the others?” asked the Yakuza in a mocking tone, “I armor crafted by the smartest technicians in Japan, capable of taking twelve gauge buckshot.”
Brandishing the ōdachi, the Yakuza’s eyes honed in on Lawton’s neck, hoping to behead him by the fight's end, “And the sword capable of cutting through your armor? Forged in promethium and stronger than any steel on the planet.”
Lawton slipped his hands behind his back, quietly unloading the rest of the bullets in his gauntlets by popping the storage open and letting them spill out into his pocket. From there he discreetly pulled out the armor piercing round, slipping it into his weapon as the Yakuza’s eyes narrowed.
“Ready to die, assassin?” asked the Yakuza, raising his blade once more. Lawton honed in on the Yakuza’s head, picking the exact spot where he wanted to make a hole in his enemy’s face.
“No thanks, you can go first,” said Lawton.
Furrowing his brows, the Yakuza let out another battle cry, charging at Lawton with his sword raised high above his head. As he barreled towards Lawton at top speed, Lawton raised his wrist gun, clenching his fist before firing.
In a deafening explosion of sound, the Yakuza’s head was taken clean off, splattering his brains across the hall and leaving a stump where his neck should be. With the complete loss of motor skills or brain function, what was left of the Yakuza’s body tripped up, falling front first onto the ground, twitching as Lawton breathed a sigh of relief. He was completely out of ammo, completely out of energy, and completely out of patience.
Turning back towards the hotel door for the final time, Lawton marched back down the hall, stepping over the bodies of his former enemies as he arrived at his destination. Tired and fairly pissed off, Lawton kicked the door open, marching inside with silent fury as he began to frivolously search the hotel room for his target. It was a fairly normal hotel room, with two double beds, a tv set up on a desk, an armchair in the corner, and a window covered in curtains. A bathroom sat to the side of the entrance, containing a showebath combination, a sink, a toilet, and a closet.
Practically foaming at the mouth, Lawton began to tear the room apart, checking behind the curtains and flipping the beds, sending covers and pillows everywhere as he angrily searched for his target. This had taken up far too much of his time and effort than it should have, and every second that ticked by was a second he wasn’t with his daughter on her birthday. He would be there for her today, he made that promise to her.
“Come out!” shouted Lawton, having thoroughly trashed the room before moving into the bathroom, “Now!”
Hearing a small whimper from within the closet, Lawton stomped over to the wooden panels whole drawing his knife, tearing them open as the person inside shrieked with terror before attempting to break past Lawton. Grabbing them by their shirt before they could escape, Lawton raised his blade, preparing to murder his target before he suddenly froze in shock.
His target, who was attempting to wrestle herself out of Lawton’s grip, was a young girl no older than nine. Wearing a normal t-shirt and jeans, she fruitlessly punched and kicked at Lawton, tears in her eyes as she cried hysterically, “あなたは私の父を殺しました!行かせて! (You killed my father! Let me go!)”
Lawton could only look on in horror at the child in front of him, the person he’s meant to kill in order to complete his job. He’s killed hundreds of men, both during his time in the military and his time as an assassin, but he’s never even thought of killing a child, let alone come close to a scenario where he would have to.
Yet here a child was, marked for death by people far more rich and powerful than Lawton.
He could feel his hands shaking as he contemplated the choice laid out in front of him. If he didn’t kill this child, those powerful people would hunt him and his family down for his refusal. He could try all he wanted to keep them safe, but sooner or later he’d be taken down and his family would be six feet under. He needed to go through with his job. He needed to kill this child.
But looking into the girl's eyes, seeing the fear written all over her face, the sheer panic in her actions, the grief in her words, he didn’t just see a scared little girl.
He saw Zoe in her.
He didn’t know how, he didn’t know why, but something made them look familiar. Maybe it was the eyes, who knows. All Lawton knew was that as he stood there, knife in hand and prepared to kill, he simply couldn’t go through with it.
He couldn’t kill this girl, even if his family's lives depended on it.
Visibly shaken, Lawton dropped the knife, letting go of the girl as she scrambled out of the room, sobbing as Lawton struggled to get a hold of himself. He had just let his target go. His family would be marked for death. How was he going to-
“死ね! (Die!)”
Lawton let out a pained scream of agony as the ōdachi from earlier was driven through his back, going straight through until the tip of the blade was protruding out of Lawton’s chest. As the sword was pulled out of his body, Lawton whirled around, falling on his back as he snatched his knife off the ground, flinging it at his assailant as they raised the sword for another strike.
It was the Yakuza from the elevator, the one who had initially survived. Somehow, the criminal had pushed through his fatal wound, picking up the odachi from his dead comrade and using it to shishkebab Lawton in an attempt to kill him. As the knife slammed into the Yakuza’s forehead tip first, embedding itself into his skull, the Yakuza dropped the ōdachi as he fell backwards, landing dead on the floor with splayed arms and legs as Lawton began to cough violently, blood leaking out of his body as he struggled to stay awake on the ground. As the shock began to take over and the feeling in his nerves began to deaden, Lawton could hear the ding of the elevator as a new group of people arrived.
Gotham Police.
“This is Sergeant Nancy Yip, responding to a call regarding shots fired outside the royal hotel. I’ve counted nearly two dozen bodies so far, proceeding into the hallways on floor five.”
As he writhed in pain on the ground, Lawton realized that now was the last time he’d be able to truly talk to the people he loved before it was all over. Placing a hand over his gaping chest wound in an attempt to staunch the bleeding, Lawton used his other free hand to pull his helmet off his head. As the metallic piece of gear was yanked off his head, he allowed it to roll away, instead reaching into his pocket and pulling out his phone. As his vision began to blur, he quickly dialed a number into the phone, bringing it up to his ear as a person on the other end answered.
“Hello?”
It was Zoe’s voice. Lawton let out a shaky sigh as he began to speak, “It’s Daddy, Zoe.”
“Oh! Hi Daddy!” said Zoe, “Mommy’s making dinner right now but I can take her phone to-”
“No, Zoe!” gasped Lawton, coughing up a little more blood, “Don’t...don’t go. Just stay on the phone for now.”
Hearing the distress in her father’s voice, Zoe held onto the phone, “Daddy? What’s wrong?”
“Zoe, I’m sorry but...I don’t think I’ll be making it back in time to celebrate with you,” choked Lawton, “After tonight, I won’t be seeing you for a long time, or maybe even at all.”
“Daddy, you’re scaring me!” cried Zoe, now becoming audibly upset, “You can’t go! You promised you’d come back!”
“I did, sweety...and I wanted to keep the promise, I really did,” said Lawton, who began to uncharacteristically tear up, “But things happened, and I’m so sorry I couldn’t keep my end.”
Feeling himself drifting out of consciousness, Lawton forced himself to say what needed to be said, “Listen to me, I want you to know that you’re my whole world. Always have been and always will be. I love you, Zoe, tell your mother I love her too.”
“Daddy, don’t-”
Hanging up before Zoe could properly respond, Lawton let go of the phone, allowing himself to lay completely still as he closed his eyes, a pool of blood forming around his body as the footsteps of the police grew closer and closer. If he was to die now, he would have at least been able to say his goodbyes. With that final mental note, Lawton allowed himself to pass out as the police barged into the room.
 
 
One month later
“Two hundred and fifty kills. Two hundred and fifty life sentences. That’s a lot of lives to spend in prison buddy.”
Lawton sat inside a sterile interrogation room, clad in an orange prison jumpsuit and handcuffed to an uncomfortable chair as he sat across from a grizzled blonde man in military gear. The man held a folder containing Lawton’s records, including specific assassinations he carried out and details on his gear and weapons. As Lawton stared blankly at the man, he sighed, scratching the back of his head before plopping the file onto the table separating the two.
“Strong silent type? Good, that means I do most of the talking,” said the man. “My name is Captain Rick Flag and I’ve been selected to lead a task force designed to carry out off record operations at the behest of the United States government. In the interest of keeping America’s name clean, we’ve elected to use former supervillains and assassins to do those jobs. You’ve been chosen for this task force and if you accept our offer, you’ll be given a chance to reduce your sentence, maybe even to the point where we can just let you go.”
Lawton stared Flag dead in the eyes, his stoic look telling the captain everything he needed to know. Lawton wasn’t interested in killing for his country again, so he needed to offer more.
“Well, since both I and the director of the task force were aware that this sort of thing alone wouldn’t interest you,” said Flag, reaching over to the folder and flipping it open, “We thought it’d be worth it to sweeten the pot, so to speak.”
Looking down at the folder, Lawton’s eyes widened when he saw a photo of Zoe and Susan taking a walk along the coast of some beachside town, completely safe and sound. Looking back up at Flag, he watched a smirk form on the soldier’s face.
“After your apprehension, we rounded up your family and put them into witness protection, mainly since your failure would mean consequences delivered by dark figures sitting behind computer screens,” said Flag. “They’re safe and sound...for now. If you want them to stay that way, well….You know what we want.”
“I’ll do it.”
Flag was taken aback by Lawton’s quick response, the man had been completely silent up until that point, but now he seemed eager to fight the good fight. Smiling, Flag got out of his seat, walking over to Lawton’s side to unlock his handcuffs. Once his hands were free, Lawton stood up, watching Flag as he beckoned the assassin to follow him out of the room. After following the soldier down a few different corridors, Lawton found himself being taken into a new room, one much larger than the interrogation room. As the two entered, Lawton laid eyes on two other people, who he presumed to be his teammates.
The first was a shirtless man covered head to toe in tattoos, while the second was a black haired woman cloaked in a green hood. As Lawton observed the two, Flag stepped between them, “Enchantress, El Diablo, meet your new teammate...Deadshot!”
The cloaked woman snaked towards Lawton, her body twisting and turning in all manner of inhuman ways as she shambled closer to the assassin, inspecting him from a multitude of angles, “Ssssss...this meat bag has the eyes of a killer…..I like him.”
“Hey, don’t get too cozy!” said El Diablo, “I don’t trust a guy with a beard like that.”
Flag watched the three converse with one another, a wry smile forming on his face, “You guys are getting along better than I expected. Maybe something will be made of this Suicide Squad yet.”
 
The end...for now.
 
submitted by deadislandman1 to DCNext [link] [comments]


2020.09.30 02:01 Armchair_Detectives Who was the Cumminsville Serial Killer and why did their reign of terror suddenly cease after 6 years?

In present day Cincinnati the neighbourhood of South Cumminsville boasts a population of 801 and a strong upper middle class community. But in the early 1900's it was the site of 5 brutal serial murders that were never solved, these became known as the Cincinnati Streetcar Murders or the Cumminsville Killings.
Background to Cumminsville in the 1900's
South Cumminsville had been the southern portion of the independent settlement of Cumminsville until the 1860's when the town was incorporated and then integrated into Cincinnati in the 1870's.
In the late 1890's and early 1900's, owing to the reputation of Cincinnati as a 'boom town' the area was known for a growing population of German Catholic Immigrants and African Americans, these people primarily lived on Follet and Dreman Avenue.
The First Victim
On the day of April 30th, 1904, Mary McDonald had left her home on East Seventh Street where she lived with a Mrs Finley and was seen by several witnesses near Chester Park. The 32 year old then went to see friends, the Stagmans who lived on Knowltons Corner.
John Stagman later claimed to have driven Mary back into the city around 11pm, dropping her off at College Hill, Main Street and that was the last anyone saw her alive.
The following morning Mary was found dying on a railway belonging to the Big Four Railway Company. A freight engineer had rushed her to the city hospital where she was said to have stated her name before dying of her injuries.
Doctors identified a large bruise on the back of Mary's head and the more obvious fact that her left leg had been severed below the knee. It appeared she had been robbed of her belongings. Initially police theorised she had been murdered by someone on one of the city's trams who may have then thrown her from it. The alternate theory offered was that Mary had gotten drunk and stumbled onto the rail line before being swiped and injured by a passing train.
The case hadnt progressed by the time of the second murder.
The Second Victim
Louise Mueller had been last seen at a socialist rally in South Cumminsville listening to a speech just a short distance from her home. She was found later that same day of October 2nd lying in the weeds along a well known lover's lane in the area.
Police knew early on that Louise had many men in her life and had planned to visit a particular Lover named Frank Eastman when she had left the rally. Her body was found to possess two large wounds down the front of her face and her skull was fractured.
Police would later question if Louise had been also struck or thrown from a train due to the proximity of the Railway to the lovers lane and the nature of her injuries.
Third Victim
18 year old Alma Steinigewig became the third victim when her body was found on November 3rd 1904, lying in a vacant lot next to Spring Grove Cemetary in South Cumminsville. The young woman who was well known at her local church and had been working as a telephone operator was last seen the day before when she had boarded a tram near her workplace with an unknown man, this was the testimony of the conductor who regularly saw her on the tram returning home.
Her head had been badly bashed in with a club of some kind, along with missing teeth and considerable blood loss from blunt force trauma. A blood trail told police she had been dragged into the vacant lot after being beaten.
Clutched still in her hand was a Tram transfer ticket, police surmised that she had been attacked while waiting for her transfer after disembarking the tram she was last seen on. Likely being struck from behind first and then dragged away before the beating continued.
Alma's Boyfriend had phoned her at work that day to ask her out that night but she had told him she had been out dancing earlier and wanted to go home and sleep. The only noteworthy physical evidence recovered in the case was the heavy bootprints of the likely assailant that had been left in the Vacant lot.
Fourth Victim
The murders seemed to stop after the third victim though there were several unsuccessful assaults that may have been the work of the same suspect. It wasnt until 1910 that the attacker killed again.
December 31st was New Years Eve 1909, many businesses had closed early to allow employees to go out and celebrate. A 36 year old secretary named Anna Lloyd left her job at the Wilborgh-Hanna Lumber Company, she was last seen 20 minutes after this waiting for a tram near Spring Grove Cemetery.
Her body was found the following day near the railway tracks, she had been gagged, her throat cut and she had been badly beaten. Police believe that she had been attacked while waiting for the tram before being dragged away and had managed to fight her assailant due to her great physical strength and caused them to kill her with a bladed weapon that may have been a Butchers Cleaver.
Lloyd's satchel was found over a mile away from her remains, all the money she had on her at the time was gone. This was considered by the media of the time to be the point in the investigation when the slayings began to be more seriously investigated. Racial tensions began to grow between the African American and Germanic populations of Cumminsville while the local council offered a reward for information in the case.
The Fifth Victim
On the 26th of October 1910 the fifth victim was identified when Mary Hackney, a 26 year old married woman was found dead by her Husband and a fellow lodger in the boarding house they were living at in South Cumminsville.
Mary had been brutally hacked to death with an axe, her throat cut, face smashed and multiple slashes administered on her face and body. Police quickly established that murder had been the only motive as nothing had been taken from the house.
This time the police had more physical evidence to work with, the murder weapon, a bloody axe had been left behind while a bloody thumb print had been left pressed on the door frame when the killer had left. Police took the unusual step at the time of draining a nearby canal in the hopes more of the killers belongings had been disposed of there but nothing else was found.
The Attempted Murders
When the initial 1904 murders were happening there was a multitude of attempted murders that police later looked at more closely for information to aid them in their investigation.
A Miss Clausing was attacked while on her way to a party one night, she had just crossed a bridge on Elmore Street, South Cumminsville when a man came at her out of the darkness and tried to snatch her purse. The attacker struck her with an axe several times in the head before leaving her for dead on the railway tracks. A group of men later found her still alive and doctors saved her life. Miss Clausings father was a local gardener who didnt come forward about his daughters ordeal until after the third murder in 1904.
On the night of November 6th 1904, Mrs Winnes heard a knock at her door around 11pm, when she answered a man asked her for food and she refused. She then went out the backyard and was grabbed from behind by a man she believed to be the same individual and screamed once before he stopped her. At the same time her husband who had gone out to the local pharmacy returned home early and heard her scream, he attempted to confront the assailant but they fled, Mr Winnes fired several shots at the assailant with his shotgun during the encounter.
The daughter of american architect Samuel Hannaford was the next victim, his daughter Dorothy Hannaford had left her meeting of the Young Women's Christian Association and headed for her home in Winton Place, South Cumminsville. While she had stood waiting for the tram to arrive near the Spring Grove Cemetery a short rough man jumped from the undergrowth and grabbed her arm. While Hannaford was screaming and struggling with the assailant a tram suddenly approached and he fled leaving her unharmed.
Just an hour after the attack on Dorothy Hannaford, her neighbours Mrs Unkaback and Mrs Hagerdorn were set upon near their home, when one was grabbed by the arm by a short man the other hit him about the face until the man released her and then both women beat the man until he fled the area.
The day after the discovery of the third victims body, three young women The Weimer Sisters and Mamie Roddie were passing the Spring Grove Cemetery when a man stepped from the undergrowth near the graveyard and began to attack them, pinning one of the girls down as he beat another. The girls managed to overpower their attacker and pulled his hair before gouging at his eyes causing him to flee back into the graveyard.
The following night Mrs William Wergel, her mother and a Mrs Robert Kelley were passing through the woodland that borders the back of Spring Grove Cemetery when a man they believed to be the Cumminsville Killer approached them, the women screamed and fled the area in the direction of the busier streets. The man didnt attempt to follow them.
On November 17th, a Mrs Gerbig reported to police that she had been attacked twice by the same man near the Vacant Lot next to Spring Grove Cemetery. She told them she had managed to fight the small man off both times and return home unharmed.
On the night of November 22nd 1904, Mrs Josephine Hewitt was passing Spring Grove Cemetery when a man emerged from behind the headstones and attacked her, while he attempted to strangle her she punched him in his left eye before drawing a revolver and shooting at the man. Once he had fled she hurried home and contacted the police, a search was carried out but nothing was found in the area.
Police believe that these many set backs and close calls in 1904 may have been partly the reason for the killer stopping his attempts until 1910.
The Suspects
All the survivors of the 1904 attacks described their attacker as a short and heavily built man who wore a dark slouch hat. These eyewitnesses all gave different descriptions however when it came to race as many described their attacker as white while others said they had a dark or possibly black complexion.
Henry Cook
Cook was a prime suspect as he worked as a Butcher and had been identified by two local girls as having fled the scene of Lloyd's murder. According to records from the time he was arrested and bail was set at $1000 by the magistrate however no further records exist of what became of him and its widely believed he was later released because of a lack of evidence.
George Lewis
Lewis was a marine firefighter who had been arrested for a series of minor offences in the years before the murders. He was arrested and questioned about the crimes but was described as being vague about his whereabouts during the 1904 crimes. He was later confirmed to have been in prison at the time of the 1904 murders in nearby Hamilton.
James Fields
Fields remains the only black man arrested in relation to the crimes, he was arrested at the same time as Lewis and Cook but like Cook no record exists of what became of him, its believed he was also likely released without charge.
Harley Hackney
Hackney was arrested on suspicion of having murdered his wife when he found her dead in their home in 1910, his fellow boarder Charles Eckert was also arrested and questioned. He was later compelled to remain in Cincinnati to give testimony at his wifes inquest but this lead to no charges being brought against him.
Charles Eckert was held for less time then Hackney and was released swiftly because of a total lack of evidence against him in the case.
Herman Schwering
Schwering was a milk float driver who was arrested at the same time as Hackney and Eckert, the reason for his arrest was not given but it was believed he may have been present at the scene when police arrived and was arrested as a precaution. He was released without charge.
The Dayton Strangler
From 1901 until 1909 an unknown killer had murdered 5 women in Dayton Ohio in a manner described as identical to the Cumminsville Killer, this has lead many to believe the killers were the same individual and despite a mentally disturbed man claiming responsibility for the Dayton crimes the case is still considered unsolved to this day.
An Unnamed Black Man
Almost a week after Lloyd's murder a black man arrived at the home of David Taliaferro in Ford, Kentucky. The man had a bloody knife with him and yelled out that he had murdered Anna Lloyd before fleeing. A posse led by the local sheriff is believed to have failed to find the man but no official records exist of the aftermath beyond the initial report.
Richard Finley
A Black man named Richard Finley was also arrested in 1910 near the scene of the Hackney murder and was held pending further investigation but like so many suspects in this case a lack of further reports about them suggests they were also released without charge.
Conclusion
The Cumminsville killings occurred more then a Century ago and are likely to remain unsolved forever more. Do you believe a likely suspect wasnt looked at closely enough by police or did the killer elude identification entirely?
Why do you believe they stopped in 1904 only to kill twice more and then vanish?
Wikipedia Article
Cincinnati Streetcar Murders Link
submitted by Armchair_Detectives to UnresolvedMysteries [link] [comments]


2020.09.29 23:27 MarkdownShadowBot Removed comments/submissions for /u/fivedollarlamp

Hi fivedollarlamp, you're not shadowbanned, but 15 of your most recent 200 comments/submissions were removed (either automatically or by human moderators).

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It's hard to tell the difference between an excited dog and an aggressive dog if you're not a dog person, or haven't been around dogs too much.
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antistatic_bag, and please tell me- what shape of egg carton would cradle and cushion a mobo in any capacity?
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It’s ass
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A girl.... AND a gamer? Whoa mama! Hummina hummina hummina bazooooooooing! *eyes pop out* AROOOOOOOOGA! *jaw drops tongue rolls out* WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF...
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A girl.... AND a gamer? Whoa mama! Hummina hummina hummina bazooooooooing! *eyes pop out* AROOOOOOOOGA! *jaw drops tongue rolls out* WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF...

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Beanie deosn't show up in character creator
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2020.09.29 21:34 cindybuttsmacker Translated podcast interview with Nadia Nadim (14/9/20)

Nadia Nadim was interviewed by Anders Hagen a few weeks ago on the Danish football federation's podcast Landsholdslejren. I really enjoyed it, so here's most of it! Any interested Danish speakers can find the whole interview here.
About the French language AH: A big bonjour, Madamoiselle Nadia Nadim. NN: Bonjour, monsieur, vous allez bien? AH: Ahhh, oui oui baguette. I can’t really speak French, Nadia. NN: It’s okay, it sounded very authentic, oui oui baguette.
About the Danish national team AH: Do you know how many caps you have? NN: I don’t. I just meet up, have no idea anything that happens beyond that. How many do I have? Is it over 80? AH: Yeah, it’s definitely over 80. NN: Is it over 90? AH: It’s also over 90. NN: It is? Oh, wow. I didn’t know that. Pass. AH: You’ve played 93 matches for the national team. NN: That’s very good. AH: It is very good. That’s around when they start to talk about legends. I think you could be called a legend. NN: I was already a legend at the beginning, but ok, fair enough. AH: There we go! We like that. You’re totally right. It’s Euro qualifications week, you’re going to be playing against Bosnia-Herzegovina. Last time you played a Euro qualifier, you played Georgia, can you remember that? It was at home back in November, you smashed them 14-0. You scored twice. Did you feel bad for their keeper? NN: Honestly, I did. For me, after 5-0, 6-0, that’s fine. For me though, to score that many times in one match...I felt bad. And they were really sad afterwards. Yeah, we won, but we ruined their morale, it made me feel bad. AH: And their keeper was also actually switched out after that match, and she’s quite young. NN: It’s tough to single her out, it wasn’t just her fault, what else could she do? But sometimes in women’s football, some of the teams haven’t quite reached the right level yet, especially some of the countries that are a bit further away from the big European nations. AH: And looking at our national team right now, there are some players playing at big addresses. Everton, Chelsea, Aston Villa, Djurgården, Inter, Fiorentina, PSG. Some massive clubs that you’re all playing at. NN: I think it’s cool to see the development our players have gone through, most of us play at big clubs and that benefits both the national team and also women’s football in Denmark. I think the level [within the Danish national team] has always been pretty high, but of course it’s gotten better, women’s football is better, our opponents are better, matches are harder and closer, even if we won 14-0 against Georgia; those matches happen here and there. But women’s football in general has developed really well and that includes our team.
About coronavirus and becoming a doctor AH: I think you’re a pretty wild person. You’re so honest, and clearly you don’t feel Jante's Law. That’s cool. NN: I wasn’t born here, so I don’t know what Jante's Law is, honestly. AH: That makes sense. Well, you make a bunch of money playing football, you’re from Afghanistan, you grew up in Aarhus, you’re damn good at football, and now you’re in training to become a doctor. There aren’t many in football who, alongside their sports career, go into one of the hardest educations there is. Do you have medicine books with you in camp now? NN: I have my laptop with me because I have an assignment I’m writing right now. Not my books though, they’re too heavy. I would have had to pay 500 DKK extra because of all that extra weight - that isn’t a lie, that’s what it would cost going between Denmark and Paris. So now I have them all on my laptop. AH: Why did you want to become a doctor? NN: I don’t know, because I can? I think it’s a cool job, I love working with people and helping others, and doctors also make a lot of money. So a combination of those things. AH: So you want to make money? Good money? NN: Of course, when you go to school for so long, you may as well have a good life afterwards. AH: That makes sense. You’ve probably also had good motivation during the coronavirus pandemic. And you live in France, one of the countries that was hardest hit. Has it ever affected you personally? NN: No, we’re tested very frequently at the club. At the beginning it was almost every other day, now it’s a bit less. Some of my teammates have been positive, but they haven’t been sick, they were asymptomatic, so no, it hasn’t really affected me. We’ve been very protected, we always have masks on around the club, last time I was in Denmark I had a mask on and everyone was giving me weird looks. Of course in Paris, if you go out without a mask, then you get weird looks. But we’re with the club a lot, and then we’re at home a lot, so we’re mostly protected. AH: What is it like playing football under coronavirus rules? Even now we’re sitting far apart and wearing masks, but it’s nothing compared to UEFA’s rules, Champions League rules. NN: It was something. Here we already have all these rules, but with UEFA it was like that times five. In the bus, you always have to sit in the same spot, masks on always, if we’re eating, even if it’s with the same people and everyone just tested negative, we still have to have masks on if we get up to get food. It’s pretty wild, but again they’re doing it for our protection, and I feel very safe here. It’s weird overall, without fans and with closed doors, and not even our families can come to the stadiums, but everything is there to make sure we don’t get sick. AH: You’re 32. Is being a doctor something you want to do right now, or do you want to keep playing football for the next 10 years? NN: No, not the next 10 years! I want to play a few more years, but after that I really want to concentrate on the medicine field and try to be good there. 100% I want to be a surgeon. Whether it'll be plastic surgery, or orthopedic surgery, time will tell, I think both are very interesting. One is more creative than the other, but we’ll take it one step at a time. First I’ll focus on being healthy, alive, happy, then we’ll see what happens.
About Euro 2017 AH: Okay, we’re going to jump in a time machine now. Back to 2017, before coronavirus. You were in a Euro final in Holland. You were also named Dane of the Year 2017 by the newspaper Berlingske. What was the coolest part of that? NN: As I said in my acceptance speech, it’s a really really cool recognition. I got a trophy thing, actually a very nice trophy. I thought it was a big thing, because I wasn’t born here, so to be accepted as a Dane was a cool thing. AH: So you felt that that was when you were accepted as a Dane? NN: More accepted, but yes, I thought it was a big moment and I was proud to bear that title. It was a good day. AH: You kicked ass at Euro 17, you were in the final against Holland. We’re not going to rehash the tournament, but what do you remember best from it? NN: As you said, it was a really good year for us. We were underdogs, but we went all the way, we beat Germany, and then we were in the final. Of course, it was tough that we didn’t win, but it was still a good year for us, and I think we inspired a lot of young girls, which is really cool. AH: Euro 21 was postponed until 2022, do you think you’ll still play? NN: First we need to qualify, and then, it’s crazy, we’ll have to see if it’s played at all. Then we’ll have to see if we’re healthy, and we’ll have to see if FIFA and UEFA want to put it on. It’ll be held in England, and I used to play there, so it would be cool to go back. And it’ll be pretty big, the English national team will want to make an impression and show women’s football’s best side. It’ll be exciting. AH: I think there are many of us football fans in Denmark who can remember where we were during the final. What did it mean to you, when everyone was probably going crazy and sending you tons of messages after that? What was it like with all that recognition? You were also celebrated when you came home, both at Viborg [home stadium for the Danish WNT] and at City Hall in Copenhagen. NN: Honestly, I don’t really pay attention to social media in those kinds of tournaments, I don’t really care. But was cool to see, we went from having our DBU video camera to having international press following us. That was pretty cool. Then you know you’re really on the right path. Otherwise, yeah, of course the interest was growing. [Being celebrated in Denmark] was wild, experiencing people crying when we came in. Mom, I made it! It was a cool experience, of course, but also, that was kind of all it was. We were in the final, but we didn’t win. It would have been cool if we won, but that’s how it is in football.
About her work with refugees AH: Why do you serve as the ambassador for the Danish Refugee Council? NN: Why not? I think they do great work, they help people in need, and when I was asked to be ambassador, I thought that it comes to me quite naturally. I’m ambassador for multiple organizations, I always say yes even if I don’t have much time. When I know there are good people that want to make a difference, and if I can help in any way, then I say yes. It was the same with the DRC. I went with them on a trip to their refugee camp in Kenya and it was a crazy experience. I know how things work, I know what the world’s like - I was a refugee myself. I’m very grateful to live in a country like Denmark, France, Germany, where you have secure frames around everything, a safety net. You go to places where it’s not like that, where people are fleeing war or climate change, then it’s always hard, especially when it’s young people, kids, that are being affected. They don’t have any choice, they were born into that situation. I was in Sudan, there were a lot of people there from neighboring countries who had fled effects of climate change. It was really, really harsh conditions. And I was there to make a difference, cheer up some kids. AH: Did you have a football with you? NN: Of course I did. I also make sure that my sponsors, especially Nike, send a lot of equipment with me. Balls, shirts, shoes. It’s hard to see the kids like that, but it’s always great to see them cheer up and forget everything around them when they play football. And hopefully I’m a part of that difference and bringing focus to everything around us. I wish everyone could, once in their lives, even if it was just a day, see what things are like in relation to their lives. I think it would make one’s life, and quality of life, a lot better here, because you can really easily forget how good you have it and become ungrateful, bitter, complain about a lot of things. Of course you can always want more, that’s human nature, that’s fair enough. But sometimes, just waking up and being content and happy, that’s also very good. AH: Could you tell us more about what it’s like for refugees during coronavirus? For us, we’re here complaining about being in our apartments all the time, with tons of food, and it’s hard to be with our families all the time. It brings more perspective. NN: Not just refugees, many people out in the world have different conditions than we do here, than I do in Paris. I know it’s hard. Even though some of us aren’t working, we’re still earning money. Everyone is being hit, but some are being hit much harder.
About being at PSG AH: Let’s go through your time in Paris - you’re having a wild time there, according to your Instagram. In this clip, you’re all dancing and singing, very musically, after a victory. NN: We’re a very multicultural team. AH: You have a good time. NN: Definitely. I think we’ve had a great season, even if we lost to Lyon, they’re a really really strong team. It was a close match, but they won in the end, and that’s football. It’s been a long season, even if we’ve had a few months’ break, that doesn’t mean we’ve just had free time, we still have to stay in shape. I could feel on my body, especially after the Champions League match, that I maybe needed a week off. AH: You could vacation with Neymar. NN: Oh yeah, he called me up, asked if I could go with him, I told him I couldn’t today. It was lucky I didn’t go! AH: You have a lot of different nationalities on the team. What language do you all speak together?NN: It’s quite different, actually. We have a lot of different groups too...I speak Scandinavian with those I can, the Norwegians, the Swedes, I speak Danish with Signe [Bruun] of course, I speak German with our Germans and Swiss, I speak French with the French. I practice all my languages. AH: You speak French? Fluently? NN: Of course I do, I’ve lived there for a year, year and a half. AH: I don’t think that’s really an “of course”. You also speak German fluently? NN: Yes. AH: Okay. Wow. Well, it seems like a lot is happening at Paris, both at the men’s side and the women’s side. You have some crazy fans! I saw a video of fans going crazy before your semifinal. NN: I love our fans. Ultras, PSG Ultras Collective. It’s very cool. I haven’t experienced that in the same way any other places, this group of young people, men, 98% men, that are usually shirtless, running around with flags and masks, creating a crazy atmosphere. I’ve played a few times without them, and there was no atmosphere. They sing for 90 minutes, I think they’re really cool and I’m really happy to have them. They create a cool atmosphere for matches and then afterwards we go over for ten or fifteen minutes to thank them. AH: Would you like to have that same experience with the national team? NN: Yeah, I like having a good atmosphere for matches. I don’t like when people just sit in their seats and clap. It’s an experience to be in a stadium, and I’ve been in a lot of stadiums now, and the best ones I’ve been in have had atmospheres created by fans and it makes it magical. So if we could learn to have some of that for the national team, though Viborg has been pretty cool...you can be a bit wild at football matches, because it brings a cool energy to the field and we can feel that. AH: That’s pretty cool to hear, because my job is fan coordinator, and you’re telling me that my job is important. NN: Your job is insanely important! Trust me.
Nadia said it herself - she's a legend!
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2020.09.29 17:33 AutoModerator /r/nashville Weekly Free Talk - Discussion, Questions, and Recommendation Thread for the week of September 29, 2020

Discussion
Got something to discuss? Is your favorite band in town? Is a new bar opening up in your neighborhood? Need to know about the most popular beer in town? Did you see a Google Fiber Pedle Bachelorette Woo Girl Party leaving their AirBNB in East Nashville with designer Edison Lightbulbs as souvenirs? Want to know where to take the best selfies for your instagram feed? Looking for a drag strip to race Bird/Lime/Dash/Jump scooters while pounding beers for your bro's epic Bach party? Construction on 440 or bad drivers got you down? Feel free to discuss anything you'd like in this post.
Questions on what to do while you visit Nashville?
Start with our Wiki and feel free to post follow-up questions to the information you've found and the research you've already done. Posts implying you've done zero research will be subject to ridicule and possibly downvoted into oblivion.
You should also make a post in /VisitingNashville for other tips from locals.
Events
Want to know what's going on in the next few days? Nobody keeps a calendar like The Nashville Scene and Now Playing Nashville. If they don't have it - it isn't happening in town.
Nashville Scene - local see & do categories
Now Playing Nashville - Today and forward
Meetup - Upcoming
If you have an event scheduled for this week and can't find it anywhere, please feel free to post it here in this thread.
u/ayokg has created a list of non-country shows in a google doc that they will update regularly.
LINK
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2020.09.29 17:32 random--fandom Questions about Danger Days and killjoy comics

So I know that the Girl ran with the killjoys in 2019, and then the killjoys got killed protecting her. But on the wiki page it says this was in 2027. Also, in the sing outtake version it says that the four fabulous killjoys faked their deaths?? (Yeah ik there’s a song called that). Also, in the comics, it shows the girl’s soul or something going out of her body and into the air in this big flash of green when the scarecrows tried to put a drac mask on her. In the next frame, it showed her in the desert, alone, she previously she was with the scarecrows, dracs, and ultra vs. what happened? I have several more questions regarding the comics. 1. Who’s the other woman she encounters at the end of the book? 2. What happened to the ultra vs and how did the girl get away from them? 3. Did red’s soul go into destroya? Or how did destroya come alive 4. If the four fabulous killjoys were able to regenerate, why wasn’t dr d or cola? 5. Is there any more information regarding the phoenix witch? 6. What happened to battery city after destroya went rampaging around? And when does dead satellites take place?
I loved the book, but the whole thing left me confused
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2020.09.29 15:01 fjelstud [Show Notes] 048 - Diglett's Cave, Rock Tunnel, Celadon City, & Rainbow Badge

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2020.09.29 14:23 LordChozo Hindsight is 2020: #4 - The Lamia

from The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, 1974
Listen to it here!
Let’s talk about perspective, shall we? Point of view. Narrative reference. These are literary ideas, and so might seem a strange thing to discuss when talking about music. But then, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway is a strange album, isn’t it? Running 94 minutes and change and revolving around a concept that is real, Rael, and everything in between, this isn’t your average listening experience. If any album might be ripe for analysis in literary terms, this is probably the one.
And so, perspective. Within the storytelling world there are various forms of viewpoints an author might choose. First-person is when we see the story through the eyes of one or more of its characters, as though they themselves were sharing the tale with us. This is where we find pronouns like “I”, “me”, “we”, and so forth. Second-person view is much less common, involving the audience directly as a kind of character-by-proxy. It invites us to feel like we’re taking a more active role in the story, as characters might speak to us knowingly (called “breaking the fourth wall” in certain contexts). Fittingly then, the pronouns involved here tend to be, simply, “you” or its variations.
Third-person view is by far the most common narrative device out there, incorporating in its style a sense of distance from the subjects. The story is being told by someone who is not part of it, which opens up some flexibility. As a result, third-person perspective can itself be divided into two forms: omniscient and limited. In the omniscient variant, the narrator knows all and relays all the important elements to the audience, who therefore become privy to details some of the characters within the story may not even know. In the limited variant, the narrator only relays information pertaining to a single mind, or location, or some other fixed target, which ends up making this style feel more like an expansion of the first-person perspective as opposed to its own unique thing.
Each of these styles has its own advantages and disadvantages, its own method of shaping the way we receive and think about the story it sends us. Deciding on which type of perspective to use for a work is one of the most important artistic choices any writer faces. It’s a decision that has to be informed by a deep understanding of the kind of story that’s being told, how the drama of that story should unfold, how intimately the audience should know the story’s characters, etc. What point of view a piece of writing uses - first-person, second-person, or third-person - tells you an awful lot about it before you’ve even read a word.
The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway uses all three.
Let’s put that second-person viewpoint aside for a moment, as it’s rare even in this context, and focus for simplicity’s sake on the first- and third-person perspectives. To aid me, I’ve made a handy chart illustrating the way these perspectives break down on a song-by-song basis over the course of the album. To get these figures, I worked through the lyrics and tallied every time I found a line written in a distinctly first-person from Rael’s viewpoint (e.g. “I’m counting out time” or “This is the one for me”) as well as every time I found one written from the third-person style (e.g. “Rael imperial aerosol kid” or “he knows he must be near”). Then I just totaled the tallies and divided to get the percentage of each song’s lyrics in one style or the other. The results are, well, pretty striking.
If you notice some tracks missing from this chart, don’t fret; I didn’t forget them. Of the six missing songs, four are fully instrumental, while the other two (“Broadway Melody of 1974” and “Here Comes the Supernatural Anaesthetist”) solely describe things other than Rael, and so can’t be said to clearly fall in one bucket or the other. But I’m sure it only took a slight glance at the diagram to catch onto the anomaly here. “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway”, “The Lamia”, “The Light Dies Down on Broadway”... Why are these three songs - and only these three - sitting at less than 100%? Why do they contain the only instances in the album of the story going “off perspective” and shifting into the third-person? Is there something special or meaningful about these tracks that warrants such treatment? Or was it just an accident - an “oopsies” on an otherwise meticulously crafted effort? What’s really going on here?
Let’s zoom out a little here to the writing of the album in general. Due to severe time constraints as well as The Lamb being positioned as a concept album, it was (begrudgingly) decided that there should only be one lyricist for the entire double LP: Peter. His main point was that a concept album needed a coherent story (ha!) and that in order to create that coherence, a single lyricist was needed. Thus, the expectation might be that Peter would pick a point of view and stick with it for the sake of consistency. And indeed, for roughly three quarters of the album, that’s exactly what you get: Rael’s journey told through Rael’s eyes.
But Peter did something else with this album too. He knew that no matter how well he maintained his lyrical flow-through, there would be little gaps and jumps between songs. He also knew that the more bizarre and surreal his imagery and details became, the harder it would be to actually follow the plot of the story at all. To that end, he wrote additional non-lyrical story snippets; extra narration that would explain what happens before, after, and frequently during the actual songs. This story would be printed in the booklet, or liner notes of the album, and was meant to be a companion to the listening experience. And right at the outset of this additional material, Pete employs a particular narrative device to act almost as a kind of disclaimer on the whole thing: he sets up The Lamb as a frame story.
While I write I like to glance at the butterflies in glass that are all around the walls. The people in memory are pinned to events I can't recall too well, but I'm putting one down to watch him break up, decompose, and feed another sort of life. The one in question is all fully biodegradable material and categorized as 'Rael'. Rael hates me, I like Rael, - yes, even ostriches have feelings, but our relationship is something both of us are learning to live with. Rael likes a good time, I like a good rhyme, but you won't see me directly anymore - he hates my being around. So if his story doesn't stand, I might lend a hand, you understand? (i.e. the rhyme is planned, dummies).
To loosely translate: “I am the narrator and I am going to tell you the story of Rael. I like rhymes and poetry, so I’m going to tell you his story in song form, kind of like an opera. This does mean that sometimes I’m going to say things in an unclear manner in order to preserve the musical aspect of the thing, but when that happens you can refer to this more straightforward narration for guidance.”
And so the album opens with “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway”, the album’s title track. Look at the verses of that song and what you find is that they are purely descriptive. Again, it’s like an author adding lots of little details to bring a scene to life. But in context, in a very literary sense, this is setting. It’s the narrator telling us how and where the story starts. When Rael is introduced, it’s in third-person: “Rael Imperial Aerosol Kid.” I’ve been comparing this to literature proper, but what we soon realize is that this is a play. The third-person narration is telling us what the backdrop looks like, and then it’s “Enter Rael, stage left.” The final verse of the song then shifts; now that Rael is fully on stage and properly introduced, he can tell his own story. The third-person narration won’t return until the end of the album’s third side. It’s all eyes on stage, now. We who’ve read the liner notes know that this is all really just the narrator speaking in character like you’d hear on an audio book, but the effect is the same. The Lamb is configured as one narrator effectively reading us a script. Layers of style.
Meanwhile back in the real world, other members of Genesis are bristling a bit at not getting to put words onto their songs.
Peter: To try and keep everybody happy, there would be parts of it where we’d be discussing lyrics and throwing some of the words around for different bits. And so “The Lamia”, which was sort of Tony’s musical piece, or “Supernatural Anaesthetist” which Steve had brought in, so they would discuss some of the lyrical stuff with me because they’d sort of got the writer’s ticket. 1
Tony: I think the lyrics [on the album], although they’re good lyrics...no song really kinda stands out on its own. You know, what could have been some really pretty song like “The Lamia” for example. I mean, if you start singing that out of context it makes no sense at all. You know, sort of about snakes and stuff. So I slightly resent that aspect of it, I suppose. 1
On top of that, there were still the aforementioned time constraints, where Pete was having to absorb the music the other four guys were writing, figure out what part of the story he wanted to tell over them, and then come up with lyrics that would sing well, flow well, relay the story well, and so on. It’s exhausting work. And though he didn’t want to concede any kind of creative control, pressures from time and peers closed in on him.
Peter: There was the odd argument about having to do [the story] democratically, so I conceded on sharing some of the lyrics. 2
By “some” Peter means “one song.” And by “concede” he means “I gave Mike and Tony a plot outline and made sure that what they wrote followed it.” The result was “The Light Dies Down on Broadway”, which is, if you’ll recall, another of the tracks featuring a hybrid first- and third-person viewpoint. Now, we’re entering the Unsupported By Direct Evidence Theory Zone (brought to you by Dr. Pepper) so bear with me, but I think it’s a hybrid precisely because it wasn’t Peter who penned the words. Musically, as is obvious from the title of the song, the band here was reprising the album’s title track. Mike and Tony had to write lyrics and follow a plot thread while also calling back to that earlier piece with the lyrics. So what do you think they did? Did they just cross their fingers and hope it all worked out, or did they look at the lyrics Pete had written for “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway” and try to imitate that style? I think the latter is far more likely, and they would’ve seen in those lyrics this hybrid POV at work. And of course, at the time they didn’t have the benefit we do of seeing Peter’s companion prose, and thus wouldn’t have any reason to know that this was a frame story configured like a play. Without all that context, it feels like the song just switches from third- to first-person on a whim as suits the flow of the melody, and I believe that’s exactly what Mike and Tony did.
That said, Mike and Tony had another reference point for their lyrical effort as well: “The Lamia”. As was helpfully pointed out to me in the comments of my post for “The Light Dies Down on Broadway”, that song reprises not only the album’s title track but also the primary chorus melody of “The Lamia” in its verses. It does wonders for the album’s musical cohesion and is also likely why I enjoy “Light Dies Down” even more than “Lamb Lies Down” in general - more on that later in this post. Look at the chronology of the album's writing, which took place from June to August 1974, with the recording stretching into October. Consider that Mike and Tony did "Light Dies Down" because of time concerns, which means it must have happened late in the process. And then consider what Tony has to say about the timing of the lyrics for "The Lamia".
Tony: “The Lamia”...was quite fun as Pete had written all these lyrics over Christmas 1973. I took them all back with me [and] just fitted them on top of this basis that we had for “The Lamia”. I just weeded it down and used just one word in five. We didn’t have the melody line but we had the piece written, and Pete had all these lyrics which were like poetry. I tried to get them to fit the melody and essence of the song, which was fun to do. I enjoyed that. 3
This is Tony getting that “writer’s ticket” and feeling like he’s got some kind of control, which was critical to keep the peace. But at the same time, he’s just editing down from what Peter already wrote, and what Peter wrote was something that again had a hybrid POV style about it. Until partway through the second set of verses, everything in this song is told from that third-person perspective. Then it shifts as Rael enters the pool; his body begins to transform at the same time the POV itself transforms, returning to the first-person viewpoint of the rest of the album. As a capstone, the final line of “The Lamia” says “the stage is set,” explicitly reaffirming the album’s “narrated play” style of delivery.
It could be that if Peter had had more time to review everything, he may have shifted the first half of "The Lamia" into first-person as well for consistency's sake. But the benefit of retaining that hybrid viewpoint is clear: now anyone listening to “The Light Dies Down on Broadway” doesn’t need to be confused. The lyrical perspective of that song isn’t shifting randomly, but rather it’s part and parcel of that “Lamia” reprise. Even as the musical melodies return, so too does the rare third-person POV. It’s a reminder once again that we are watching an opera, or at least listening to the retelling of one. What could’ve been a clunky fumble caused by bringing in not one but two additional lyricists is deftly morphed into a tasteful reference, strengthening the album’s cohesion even further.
As for that second-person point of view? It comes up two times over the experience of The Lamb, both in very similar ways. The first is that last line of “The Lamia” again. It’s not just that the stage is set, but “the stage is set for you.” We have been taking this journey alongside Rael and for the first time we are invited directly to share his experiences. This makes “The Lamia” significant in that it actually contains all three POV styles within a single song; that it does so tastefully and effectively makes it an exquisite lyrical accomplishment, snakes or no.
Steve: To my mind this is the most poetic song on The Lamb... It expresses...magic amidst the urban sprawl of Rael's tale. It's a song that speaks to women as much as men. 4
The second and final “you” of the album comes again at the end - this time of the accompanying story in the album’s sleeve. As “it.” dissolves into a purple haze, the ball moves into the listener’s court: “It’s over to you.” It’s the storyteller’s goodbye, turning the story over to our care to make of it what we will. Notably in the liner notes themselves, after some legal credits the story then starts over again from the very beginning until the page runs out of space. Perhaps that’s us becoming the narrator, telling this story again to the next audience, following a grand oral tradition and ensuring The Lamb always lives on.
Regarding my personal opinions on “The Lamia”, the obvious thing is that it’s in my top five Genesis songs of all time, so I think it’s fair to say I believe this song is doing something right. I actually generally agree with Tony about the lyrics, too: they don’t work out of context from the story and therefore the song has a lot of trouble standing apart from The Lamb as an independent piece of music. And given that I also agree with Tony about not being overly fond of the story of The Lamb itself, it seems like this one would be something I might quickly write off as “that one snake song with Pete standing in the blue cone.”
Phil: One [song where the visuals got in the way] was “The Lamia”, where this thing came down and Peter was in the middle of it. And sometimes the microphone cord would get caught up at the top or the bottom of it. And so either it didn’t move or he had to move with it. 1
Peter: In this post-MTV world it’s very hard for people to imagine how strong being bombarded with different visual images in parallel with the music was for audiences at the time. Film had always been my passion and that was really the only place audiences had seen great images and music working extremely well together. We didn’t get there always, but I think we got there more than most at the time. 2
Nevertheless, even if I’m not a particular fan of what the lyrics are describing, I’m a huge fan of how they craft those descriptions. Pete’s words have a fantastic poetic quality to them, here more than almost anywhere else on The Lamb or indeed in his time with Genesis as a whole. And Tony did a bang-up job of selecting the right phrases to go over the melodies so that it all just flows gorgeously out.
Speaking of melodies, that’s what does it for me with this song. I’ve said before in this countdown that I’m a melody kind of guy, and let me tell you: in my opinion, “The Lamia” is the greatest melody Genesis have ever done. Period. It’s a haunting track, but not the overt ghostly kind of haunting like a “Home by the Sea”. It’s the kind of haunting that stays with you, just out of your conscious awareness, but always lurking around your mind. Once I was logging into a voice chat for an online game, and had this song playing in the background while I was the only person in the channel. One of my friends, who is not a Genesis fan, logged in and was immediately intrigued: “What is that? That sounds really nice.” I told him it was a Genesis song called “The Lamia”, and he didn’t really care, as I wouldn’t have expected him to. But perhaps two hours later, in an idle moment, he began humming the song’s chorus melody to himself. He’d heard it once and didn’t even register it as anything more than “hey, that’s kinda pretty,” but it had already snared him. He caught himself doing this and, surprised, announced, “Wow, that song is actually really good, I’m going to have to look it up.”
That’s the power of “The Lamia”. It gets everything right. The grand piano on the verses? Perfect. The mini solo that could almost be a flute thing but for some reason isn’t? Still perfect. Making Steve and Phil and Mike sit on their hands until the chorus? Perfect. Because that means their tasteful restraint upon entry in the chorus can be perfect too. Phil’s backing vocals and drum fills near the chorus’ end? Perfect. The Mellotron choir, Steve’s guitar synth, the build to bring the chorus to a climax? Perfect. The transition returning down into the spareness of the verse? Perfect. The addition of ethereal backing vocals on the back half of the second verse? Perfect. The intensity of the final section where Pete sets the stage for us? And that guitar solo???
Steve: I was proud of my guitar on..."The Lamia"... 5
Perfect. And it’s spelled with a taste of that very flute we were denied earlier in the song, as though it was being saved just for this moment. In a song about the dangers of giving into blind temptation, we’re shown by the music the value of delayed gratification. It’s marvelous.
So don't fret, lyrics. You don’t need to be about something other than snake people. You don’t really need to be about anything at all. Because everything around you is very nearly as good as it gets. And maybe, just this once, we should take a cue from Rael and jump in blind ourselves. Just turn off our brains and see what happens when we let this rose-water music wash over us. Who knows? Maybe we’ll find some magic.
Let’s hear it from the band!
Tony: What I can say is my whole experience of music is very pure. I hear music as music. I don’t hear it in any other way. So, I try not to analyze it. If I do, then it becomes something else. When I don’t analyze music, there’s something going on in my brain that is completely unrelated to anything physical. It’s something totally outside of that. 6
Steve: It’s funny, you know...The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, you have this New York City, and of course it’s also, the contradiction is it’s a mythological journey for Rael, the imagined character. And you have this song that is I think the most romantic part of The Lamb. Although it’s in New York City, you have this idea of the character wandering into this realm of female temptresses, the Greek idea of the Lamia. Subject matter that wasn’t unknown to the Pre-Raphaelite artists, who were very fond of this kind of image of these girl-women that look very innocent [and] sweet on the surface but underneath... The underlying idea is of course that they are potentially lethal. So in a way it’s that kind of poetic contradiction of the two. And it’s part of Rael’s journey. But in a way I personally was very drawn to this. In the midst of the urban angst that was driving Rael - and the band at that time - I think there were two types of Genesis. There was this forward motion thing, but then there was always the nostalgic looking backwards that characterized so much of the band’s work. And I think this song embodies those contradictions. You get these very whimsical, impressionistic moments: “only a magic that a name would stain.” Beautiful, beautiful lyrics from Pete. Absolutely gorgeous. Still love it. 7
1. 2008 Box Set
2. Genesis: Chapter & Verse
3. The Waiting Room, 1994
4. HackettSongs, 2012
5. HackettSongs, 2018
6. Innerviews, 2019
7. Steve Hackett, 2020
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2020.09.29 10:22 Zhanteimi An Anaïs Mitchell Primer

Personal interaction with the artist

I remember searching for new music one day, and I ran across an album called Child Ballads and thought to give it a try. I usually throw on new stuff while I'm having a leisurely breakfast, so I don't really intently listen at first. Anaïs Mitchell's music (or rather her rendering of these traditional folk ballads) seized my attention at once. Even my wife, who likes to sleep in, raised her sleepy head from the pillow and paid attention. After this initial exposure, my wife went digging and got a hold of the 2010 studio version of Hadestown, and that was us basically tripping and falling into the rabbit hole... though it's not very deep. Like Tom Waits, Anaïs Mitchell is a family favorite. My daughters practically worship her music.

Overview of the artist

Anaïs Mitchell's claim to fame at this point is her Tony- and Grammy-award winning Broadway musical, Hadestown. As far as I see, she treads the line between confessional lyrics and political commentary with the skill of a mountain goat. And that's a large part of her charm. She can criticize Bush's war and the Patriot Act with as much honesty and intimacy as she can ponder her lover's eyes as they watch the ships coming into the harbor. It's no wonder her songs are so well-crafted, her lyrics so intelligent and thoughtful: her novelist father raised her on books, on words, on creative expression. It's clear from her lyrics and her Vermont upbringing that she's a liberal American who bleeds blue. But I'd expect nothing less from a folk artist like her, one who can effortlessly blend her politics into the greater tapestry of songwriting that runs the gamut from romantic love to religion to the historical continuity of music inherited like sin, drunk in like mother's milk.
You might like her if...
  • you want overtly political music
  • you like Baez and pre-electric Dylan
  • you want music with traditional folk themes
You might not like her if...
  • you like a lot of percussion and heavier sounds
  • you like vocal range in your singers
  • you want music to pump you up

Similar artists and influences

Her father, about whom Mitchell sings so intimately on Young Man in America, has to have been the earliest and most profound influence on the girl's young and growing mind. As a late teenager and into her early 20s, she found inspiration in the bold songs of female (folk) singesongwriters such as Ani DiFranco (whom she later signed with), Tori Amos, and Dar Williams.
Last.fm provides a list of similar artists, none of whom, in my opinion, meet Mitchell on her elevated level. Laura Marling, Jesca Hoop, Ani DiFranco, Laura Veirs, Joanna Newsom, The Mountain Goats, and Bon Iver. I'm not really sure about the Newsom correlation. Both are female and folk, but that, in my mind, is where the similarity ends. They're just so... different.

The Albums

This album list does not include singles or compilation appearances. Links added where found.
The Song They Sang When Rome Fell (2002). So why did Rome fall? Well, the short answer is: because it didn't want to stand. Romans forgot the freedom of nakedness as they wrapped themselves in heavier and heavier robes of work and school, strangling them like a slave's chain. They fell because they had everything to lose. ...anyway, can I just ask, Anaïs: how the fuck do you dance to Leonard Cohen? Album art
Hymns for the Exiled (2004). This is (for me) her delicate, intimate debut, despite its dark subject matter of war and Orwellian politics. The production is simple and elegant, and her songwriting is superb. She tells stories as the government tells lies: that is, boldly, easily, unflichingly. Album art
The Brightness (2007). She continues her understated magic on this album, simultaneously being intimate yet keeping us at arm's length. We get a few glimpses into her life, but she still seems to be the kind of artist who plays her cards close to her chest. Album art
Country (2008). This short, five-song collaborative EP (with Rachel Ries) contains a bit of country charm from women known more for their folk, and though there are some similarities in the consciously poetic lyrics and turns of phrase, the music is constructed along traditional country lines. There are really no surprises here, but it's a beautiful, comfortable EP. Back cover art
Hadestown (2010). This one needs a walkthrough. To bring the listener up to speed: Orpheus is a penniless artist living in the city. Eurydice is the girl he wants to marry, but there's no work, and she's afraid how they'll live. There's work in Hadestown, and that promise has lured a lot of people into Hades' trap. Album art, full art experience
  • Wedding Song
Orpheus and Eurydice have a conversation about how they're going to live. With every objection Eurydice brings up, Orpheus confidently answers with the wit of a poet.
E: "Who's going to buy the weddings bands?" O: "When I sing, the rivers will break their banks and lay their gold at my feet."
E: "Who's going to lay the wedding table?" O: "When I sing, all the trees will bend their branches down for me to lay their fruit around my feet."
E: "Who's going make the wedding bed?" O: "When I sing, the birds all sing along, and they'll fly down to me and lay their feathers at my feet."
  • Epic (Part I)
Orpheus has heard of Hades, and he detects Eurydice's desire to go get a piece of his wealth. But Orpheus tells her what it's really like in Hadestown: dirt, sweat, back-breaking toil. Hades is "a king of bricks", living in a land built by hands not his own. Orpheus is wise to Hades' game, and he's the only one not fooled or tempted.
  • Way Down Hadestown
Eurydice doesn't listen, though. She seeks out Hermes, a harmonica-playing, blues-singing conductor who operates a night train straight to Hadestown. He welcomes Eurydice aboard, but there's another passenger: Persephone. Hades is calling his wife home for the winter. Eurydice sits back amazed at everyone with their pockets full of gold.
Orpheus makes one last plea, calling Hadestown a graveyard. His wife doesn't listen, and she leaves on that one-way train while Orpheus is at work.
  • Songbird Intro
Eurydice meets Hades. A haunting violin plays.
  • Hey, Little Songbird
Hades entices Eurydice with an offer her empty belly cannot refuse: food, shelter... security. This underworld king guesses she's married to some poor minstrel, and he warns her against idealism. Love can't feed you or keep you warm.
"Why not fly south for the winter?"
  • Gone, I'm Gone
Eurydice loves Orpheus with her heart, but her empty stomach cannot be ignored. She accepts Hades' offer.
  • When the Chips Are Down
What would you have done in Eurydice's situation? Love is unconquerable! Love is all you need! That's what you might say, right? Well, that's easy to say when you're well fed. It's easy to have principles when your belly is full. But when the chips are down, what would you really do?
  • Wait For Me
Orpheus returns from touring or a gig or whatever he's been doing to try to scrape a living together and finds Eurydice gone. He finds a guide who's willing to show Orpheus a secret way into Hadestown... not the train, but by his own two feet. "There ain't no compass, there ain't no map."
Undaunted, Orpheus follows some old telephone line. He climbs the razor-wire and cinder-block walls. He's hungry, too, just like everyone else, but he goes after Eurydice anyway, risking all. All for love. "Wait for me," he cries to his absent wife.
  • Why We Build the Wall
Why do they build the wall in Hadestown? To keep themselves free. How does the wall keep them free? It keeps out the Enemy. Who do they call the Enemy? Poverty. Others outside the wall want what they've got... What've they got that others want? They've got a wall to work upon. They have work, and others have none.
  • Our Lady of the Underground
They may have food in their bellies in Hadestown, but it's a dreary state of affairs. Because there's none of the old things the people used to love. No moonlight, no smell of flowers, no warm sunshine on your face, no music, no autumn leaves, no wind or rain.
"When's the last time you saw the sky?"
No worries. Persephone runs a bootleg operation. She can get whatever you miss from your old life. She's the Lady of the Underground, the Lady of Ways and Means.
  • Flowers (Eurydice's Song)
Eurydice walks away from that night in Persephone's tavern, where weeping workers were spending their hard-earned wages on brief glances into the simple pleasures of their old lives, and she realizes what she's done. She's signed her soul away. She remembers flowers, fields of flowers. And she remembers... someone. Someone by her side. He turned his face to hers, but she turned and walked away.
Whoever that stranger is, she wants to see him again. She sings alone, begging him to come find her in the shadowy mess she's made of her life.
  • Nothing Changes
The Fates tell Orpheus he cannot win. He cannot change what Eurydice has done. Her fate is sealed. No one escapes Hades' grasp.
  • If It's True
Orpheus ignores them. He doesn't care. He's going for Eurydice anyway. If she's gone for good, so is his heart. He might as well die. His voice and hands would be worthless. Music would be meaningless to him.
"The ones who tell the lies are the solemnest to swear. And the ones who load the dice always say the toss is fair."
He refuses to play a fixed game.
  • Papers (Hades Finds Out)
This is an instrumental, but it captures the hubbub in Hadestown at the arrival of the indefatigable minstrel. Having taken the secret way down, he did not have to pass through death to arrive.
  • How Long?
Hades' and Persephone's pillow talk consists of the only topic in Hadestown: Orpheus. Persephone tells of the minstrel's song, of his passion, and of his desire to reclaim Eurydice.
But Hades remains pitiless. "Nothing comes of wishing on stars."
  • Epic (Part II)
We hear Orpheus sing to the miserable denizens of Hadestown. And he sings specifically of their king, Hades. He pulls back the curtain and reveals the man behind the throne. Hades is king, aye, but Orpheus paints a picture of the moment Hades first saw Persephone. In that moment, he was thunderstruck by love and was nothing more than a man.
And that's what Orpheus is: a man. A man in love. Just as Hades once was when he saw Persephone with "the sun on her shoulders, the wind in her hair". The pitiless king had tasted nectar that day, and all Orpheus wants is what's his.
  • Lover's Desire
Another instrumental evoking the turmoil Orpheus' music is causing in Hadestown. People are flocking to him, for in him they see hope, beauty, love, freedom--all the things mere gold can't buy.
  • His Kiss, The Riot
Hades has to get rid of Orpheus before he ruins everything the king has built (upon the backs of others). So he concocts a plan: he'll give Eurydice back, but only on one condition. Orpheus cannot look back to make sure Eurydice is following him. He must trust that she is there with him, though he is not be allowed to confirm that she is indeed with him. Only when they are out of the Underworld can he turn to look at her.
Hades is hoping Orpheus will turn back. After all, "she's out of sight, and he's out of his mind".
  • Doubt Comes In
The long march back to the sunlit realms begins, but Orpheus feels as if he is going alone. Where is Eurydice? Is she there? Is she really behind him? She left him once. Could it be that she would be faithful and strong this time, when she failed and abandoned him before?
Eurydice calls to him, but as a shade, her voice does not carry to Orpheus' ears. She begs him to be strong and carry on, but he cannot hear her. At last, doubt gets the best of him, and he turns back.
And Eurydice is forever lost.
  • I Raise My Cup to Him
The workers, Eurydice included, are all sitting in Persephone's tavern, drinking to the memory of Orpheus. They toast him and wish him well.
I find this track to be poignant, for in the original myth, Orpheus, after losing Eurydice, travels the world singing his sad songs until one day he is torn apart by Dionysus' maenads. What this means is: in his sorrow, he drank himself to death.
Cast
Orpheus: Justin Vernon
Eurydice: Anaïs Mitchell
Hades: Greg Brown
Persephone: Ani DiFranco
Hermes: Ben Knox Miller
The Fates: Tanya, Petra, and Rachel Haden
Daytrotter Session (2011). Another tiny, five-song EP by the Mistress of Folk, but on this one she brings material that has shown up or will show up on other albums, specifically from Hadestown and from Young Man in America. Bringing Rachel Ries and Jefferson Hamer in to guest was a brilliant move, and it's such a delight to hear Hamer's warm guitar tones on "Why We Build the Wall". Album art
Young Man in America (2012). This is a really evocative album, painting pictures of America of a certain time. In this case, she follows the coming-of-age of her father. She also touches on a very Americana feel in songs like "Shepherd" and "Dyin Day". And the way the album ends, with the harbor bells tolling at the end of "Ships", brings about a perfect unresolved resolution to a storybook epic. We really are just children wandering in the wilderland. Album art
Child Ballads (2013). I've heard many folk artists cover Child ballads. Folk's my thing, both avant and traditional. It depends on my mood. This album is full of traditional English folk songs. The thing is, they're Child ballads, which means they're some of the 305 old folk songs "from England and Scotland, and their American variants, anthologized by Francis James Child during the second half of the 19th century". There are lyrics but no music, so each folk artist who comes to these ballads has to interpret them in his/her own way, and of all the Child ballads I've heard, Anaïs Mitchell's (and Jefferson Hamer's) interpretations are superlative, better than anything done by Dylan, Baez, Strawbs, Renaissance, etc. etc... and those are really good, too! Cover, inside 1, inside 2, inside 3
Xoa (2014). I'm just going to assume, based on what Mitchell said about this collection of new songs and re-recorded songs from her catalogue, that XOA stands for "sending kisses and hugs to my audience". This limited release was intended as a personal thank-you gift to her fans. "Any Way the Wind Blows", "Now You Know", and "The Pursewarden Affair" are the three new tunes written for this album. As far as I'm concerned, this could be a live studio performance, and that's the way I'm going to think of it, since the recordings were all made for the same purpose. "Now You Know" is a perfect example of Mitchell's ability to associate disparate elements of life together and weave all of the vagaries and happenstances of life into a tapestry, from childbirth to death, from making love to making war, from loneliness to pillow-confessions. All in all these stripped-down, intimate, acoustic recordings of beloved songs are simply charming, an album made for the fans and nothing more. Album art
Why We Build the Wall: Selections from Hadestown (2016). This EP is four songs selected from the Original Cast Recording (to be released the following year), and they break the story down succinctly into its unskippable plot points: Eurydice's temptation and Orpheus' objection to Hades and all he represents, Eurydice's protestations of self-confidence and -reliance and how Orpheus' love just isn't enough in hard times, Orpheus going after her despite her faithlessness, and a grim look into Eurydice's fate, everlasting life as nothing more than everlasting overtime.
Hadestown: the Myth. the Musical. (Original Cast Recording) (2017). This live recording lacks much of the singsong banter that would be expanded in the Broadway version. Although "Any Way the Wind Blows"--first appearing as a new song on Xoa--was reimagined as part of the opening of Act I, it's not included on this recording. I assume it was performed on the stage before the show reached Broadway, though. The songs I love from the 2010 studio version of Hadestown are not as embellished or digressive, thus making this whole performance feel more like a folk opera than the overblown show tunes of Broadway. You can hear the crowd not only cheering but laughing in reaction to bits here and there, highlighting the intimacy of the live setting and the audience's familiarity with the subject matter. Certain indispensable lyrical phrases later abandoned are preserved here, much to my delight. I feel like this recording, in its song choice and editing, focuses more on the Hope Springs Eternal motif, what with this performance ending on "Road to Hell II" (celebrating Persephone's return to the world) instead of "I Raise My Cup to Him" (mourning the loss of Orpheus). By the way, that reminds me: changing the song from "I Raise My Cup to Him" to "We Raise Our Cups" is clear evidence of injecting solidarity politics into a love story. Moreover, we raise our cups "to them", not "him", thus making the song not so much about Orpheus but about the listener, who can delude himself into identifying as an oh-so special and unique bird that sings in the dead of night or an oh-so special and unique flower that blooms in the bitter snow.
Hadestown (Original Broadway Cast) (2019). I'm not going to do a breakdown of the songs/plot here, since I already did that on the more mythical-leaning 2010 studio version of Hadestown. I want to look at just the differences between the two. As a Broadway musical, this one's penchant for embellishment and throw-your-hands-up song-and-dance ecstasies are forgivable, but though I adore Anaïs Mitchell's creative genius, I have the tiniest little bit of distaste at certain points of this production. I'm not saying that the plight of the poor shouldn't be brought to the forefront, discussed, and struggled against, but when its intimated that the downtrodden workers are following Eurydice, who is in turn following Orpheus, I feel like, suddenly, the politics of the show get in the way of the love story, and thus the myth. In fact, I'd say the myth itself is in the service of politics here, unlike in the 2010 studio recording, which focuses almost purely on the mythical to-hell-and-back love story. It is love itself that is struggling against all odds, not the working class rising up against their oppressor. That's just a side effect, something Orpheus thinks about less than this stage production does. There might just be the slightest bit of pandering here. But whatever. It's a brilliant show and suffers only if one first fell in love with the myth long before ever having heard the music. It comes down to this: the stage production trades "suddenly Hades was only a man, with the taste of nectar upon his lips" for "you gotta keep your head low if you wanna keep your head".
Woyaya (2019). This collaborative EP with UK folkette, Kate Stables, is five versions of the same song. Unfortunately, the lyrics are rather trite and repetitive, not at all what I expect from the ever-thoughtful and -creative Mitchell. Of course this is nothing more than cover of an 70s afro-pop song from Ghana, so I guess the only blame I can lay at these ladies' door is bothering to cover the tune in the first place. Basically this handling of the song is like frolicking on a beach full of landmines when you should be in school. The instrumental version of the eponymous song is a form of folktronica, which leads into the "flipped dub" version. You know, that kind of spaced-out folk that people on drugs put on their Awesome Chill Mix Vol. 1 playlists. Album art
There's a folk-singing girl out there who was a livewire long before her Broadway fame, and if you tune in your shortwave radio, you might just be able to pick her up.
Sources:
RYM
Wikipedia
Last.fm
All Music
Other Primers
Tom Waits
submitted by Zhanteimi to LetsTalkMusic [link] [comments]


2020.09.29 03:13 jordancottle Where are the Fort Worth Missing Trio?

What do y’all think happened to the Fort Worth Missing Trio?
In a world before online shopping and cell phones, 3 beautiful girls, with the desire to buy Christmas Gifts for their families, ventured off to the Seminary South Shopping Center(now known as the Fort Worth Town Center). The home of many popular department stores like Burlington, Sears, and J.C Penney. Rachel Trlica, Renee Wilson, and Julie Ann Mosley vanished from that shopping center just 2 days shy of Christmas, and have not been seen since.
Their unsolved disappearance’s have left their families filled with anguish and tragedy, hoping every day for their return. That tragic day of December 23rd, 1974 began as normal as any other. Rachel Trlica, 17, in a 1972 Oldsmobile 98, drove to the home of Renee Wilson,14, with the idea of shopping at the mall for Christmas Presents. Julie Ann Mosley, 9, who lived across the street and wanted someone to hangout with, asked to tag along. After getting permission from Julie Ann’s mother, the girls headed to the Seminary South Shopping Center to begin their shopping excursion, promising to be home by 4pm, Renee was to attend a Christmas party that night, wanting plenty of time to get ready.
Once 4pm rolled by…then 5pm…then 6pm the families of the girls became increasingly worried and made their way to the shopping mall, clinging to the hope of a rational explanation as to why the girls hadn’t come home. In the world before cell phones, if something happened to the girls, they would have no way of calling for help. Upon their arrival at the shopping mall they discovered Rachels 1972 Oldsmobile 98 vehicle in the Sears upper level parking lot, with the purchases the girls made inside the vehicle. Renee’s father waited in the parking lot that whole night, anticipating for their return.
With this discovery, the Fort Worth Police Department were notified and immediately presumed the girls were runaways. If they did runaway, why would they leave those purchases in the car? Why not leave in Rachel’s vehicle? What really happened to these girls? No child would run away just 2 days before Santa was to arrive. If you have been following my past Missing Person Monday Posts, you can note a uncanny trend of police assuming most children are runaways from the get go. Arguably, the cases I have covered so far have occurred in a time when our world was ignorant to the idea of children being taken.
A few witnesses claim to have seen all 3 girls that day. A store clerk accounted a woman told her she had seen some men push the girls into a yellow pickup truck. However, the police were unable to locate that woman, leading them with little to go on. The woman’s identity of this encounter is still unknown. One Witness claims to have seen all 3 girls in the back of a security patrol vehicle. Years after the disappearance, a man came forward claiming to have seen the girls that day in the parking lot being hurled into a van by a strange man. He confronted the man who yelled out to him it was a family dispute and to stay out of it. All these witnesses yielded no results. Speculations arose that at least one of the girls may have known the identity of their abductor, thinking they may have went with someone they thought they could trust, leading to something sinister.
On December 24th, the morning after their disappearance, Rachels Husband of 6 months, Tommy Trlica, received a letter in his mailbox that made it seem like it was written by Rachel.
The letter wrote "I know I'm going to catch it, but we had to get away. We're going to Houston. See you in about a week. The car is in Sears' upper lot. Love Rachel"
The letter was written in ink on a single sheet of paper, but the envelope was written in pencil. In the upper left hand corner of the envelope was the name Rachel, but seeming as if it were initially misspelled, then written correctly. The letter was addressed to Rachel’s Husband, formerly written as Thomas A. Trlica, but always went by the nickname “Tommy”. The postmark on the envelope did not appear to have a city but a blurred numbers police believe to be either “76038” or “76083”. The letter was examined by handwriting experts in the 1970’s and 80’s, with results coming back inconclusive each time. Renee’s boyfriend at the time of her disappearance, Terry, said in an interview to Dateline “I don’t understand the letter at all. The letter seems to me like it almost points to someone who knew them. People say it’s to throw us off the track. Throw us off what track? There has never been any track. I don’t know if we will ever know what happened”. The families of Rachel, Renee, and Julie Ann vowed their girls did not run away, and assured Rachel did not write that letter.
The families refusing to give up, canvassed neighborhoods and set up Missing Persons Posters. A witness came forward claiming to be a friend of Rachels, and saw her that day she went missing in the record store of the mall, conversed with her briefly, and noticed a man with them, but was unable to provide a accurate description.
1975 had approached and the families still left without any answers, ensue the services of Private Investigator, Jon Swaim. Swaim became the center of newspaper headlines when he claimed to have received a phone call from a strange man wanting to collect the reward money that had been offered in exchange for information. Later making headlines again when he received an anonymous tip saying girls remains were near Port Lavaca, none of this panned out and nothing was found. Swaim later passed away from a drug overdose in 1979, with all of his files being destroyed, just as he wanted.
Over the years, the families of the trio have received dozens of anonymous phone calls of them claiming to be one of the girls. Eventually having to change their phone number due to the increasingly number of prank calls.
Rachel’s younger brother, Rusty Arnold, has spent part of his childhood and adult life enveloped in a conspiracy like frenzy. Never being able to forget the anguish that consumed him. Rusty has never believed Rachel wrote that letter that came that day after they disappeared. Rusty and Rachel share a older sister named, Debra, who was just 19 when Rachel went missing. Its alleged their father was very hard on them, installing a bond in the siblings from day one.
Before Rachel married Tommy Trlica in 1974, Tommy and Debra had a relationship. Debra claims the relationship wasn’t that serious, and was destined to never work out. She also reports there were no hard feeling between them regarding their breakup, and there was no bad blood between Rachel and her, so much so that Debra even lived Rachel and Tommy at the time of her disappearance. Even being present with Tommy at his home the morning he discovered the letter on December 24th, 1974. Debra was invited to accompany Rachel and Renee to the mall the day they went missing, but declined.
Over the years some witnesses have claimed to have seen Rachel and Renee at multiple different places like a Walmart, country store, and a gas station. When Rusty first heard of these sightings, he immediately dismissed them as hoaxes, his mind was eventually changed when he met a Private investigator named Dan James, who had been unofficially following the case since 1975. Matching his eagerness to solve this puzzle Dan James joined the families crusade in searching for the Trio, offering a 25,000 reward from his own pocket in exchange for the “arrest and conviction of person or persons responsible”. Upon joining the case, James began to receive anonymous death threats.
When Investigating the case, James found several credible witnesses, one claiming to have seen Rachel in Fort Worth during Christmas time in 1998. James has created the assumption that Rachel visits Fort Worth even year during the Christmas Season, and presumes to be the only one alive, but is evasive as to who he thinks is behind these heinous acts.
Rachels mother dedicates Christmas every year to the lost girls of Fort Worth. Sprawling 3 angels across her front lawn memorializing their memory. 45 years have come and gone, lives lost and new lives born. Days wallowed with contentment followed by melancholy dips. The families of Rachel, Renee, and Julie Ann vowed their girls did not run away, and assured Rachel did not write that letter, and have been waiting ever since for them to come home.
Mary Rachel Trlica, who goes by her middle name Rachel, is a Caucasian female with brown hair and green eyes. She has a small scar on her chin and a chipped front tooth.
Lisa Renee Wilson, who goes by her middle Renee, is a Caucasian female with light wavy brown hair and brown eyes. She has a scar on the inside of her thigh.
Julie Ann Moseley has sandy brown hair and brown eyes. She has a scar in the middle of her forehead, on the back of her calf, and under her left eye.
More information: https://www.murdersandcoffee.com/post/missing-person-monday-the-fort-worth-missing-trio
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Worth_Missing_Trio
http://www.missingtrio.com/TRIO/index.aspx
submitted by jordancottle to TrueCrime [link] [comments]


2020.09.29 03:11 jordancottle Where are The Fort Worth Missing Trio?

What do y’all think happened to the Fort Worth Missing Trio?
In a world before online shopping and cell phones, 3 beautiful girls, with the desire to buy Christmas Gifts for their families, ventured off to the Seminary South Shopping Center(now known as the Fort Worth Town Center). The home of many popular department stores like Burlington, Sears, and J.C Penney. Rachel Trlica, Renee Wilson, and Julie Ann Mosley vanished from that shopping center just 2 days shy of Christmas, and have not been seen since.
Their unsolved disappearance’s have left their families filled with anguish and tragedy, hoping every day for their return. That tragic day of December 23rd, 1974 began as normal as any other. Rachel Trlica, 17, in a 1972 Oldsmobile 98, drove to the home of Renee Wilson,14, with the idea of shopping at the mall for Christmas Presents. Julie Ann Mosley, 9, who lived across the street and wanted someone to hangout with, asked to tag along. After getting permission from Julie Ann’s mother, the girls headed to the Seminary South Shopping Center to begin their shopping excursion, promising to be home by 4pm, Renee was to attend a Christmas party that night, wanting plenty of time to get ready.
Once 4pm rolled by…then 5pm…then 6pm the families of the girls became increasingly worried and made their way to the shopping mall, clinging to the hope of a rational explanation as to why the girls hadn’t come home. In the world before cell phones, if something happened to the girls, they would have no way of calling for help. Upon their arrival at the shopping mall they discovered Rachels 1972 Oldsmobile 98 vehicle in the Sears upper level parking lot, with the purchases the girls made inside the vehicle. Renee’s father waited in the parking lot that whole night, anticipating for their return.
With this discovery, the Fort Worth Police Department were notified and immediately presumed the girls were runaways. If they did runaway, why would they leave those purchases in the car? Why not leave in Rachel’s vehicle? What really happened to these girls? No child would run away just 2 days before Santa was to arrive. If you have been following my past Missing Person Monday Posts, you can note a uncanny trend of police assuming most children are runaways from the get go. Arguably, the cases I have covered so far have occurred in a time when our world was ignorant to the idea of children being taken.
A few witnesses claim to have seen all 3 girls that day. A store clerk accounted a woman told her she had seen some men push the girls into a yellow pickup truck. However, the police were unable to locate that woman, leading them with little to go on. The woman’s identity of this encounter is still unknown. One Witness claims to have seen all 3 girls in the back of a security patrol vehicle. Years after the disappearance, a man came forward claiming to have seen the girls that day in the parking lot being hurled into a van by a strange man. He confronted the man who yelled out to him it was a family dispute and to stay out of it. All these witnesses yielded no results. Speculations arose that at least one of the girls may have known the identity of their abductor, thinking they may have went with someone they thought they could trust, leading to something sinister.
On December 24th, the morning after their disappearance, Rachels Husband of 6 months, Tommy Trlica, received a letter in his mailbox that made it seem like it was written by Rachel.
The letter wrote "I know I'm going to catch it, but we had to get away. We're going to Houston. See you in about a week. The car is in Sears' upper lot. Love Rachel"
The letter was written in ink on a single sheet of paper, but the envelope was written in pencil. In the upper left hand corner of the envelope was the name Rachel, but seeming as if it were initially misspelled, then written correctly. The letter was addressed to Rachel’s Husband, formerly written as Thomas A. Trlica, but always went by the nickname “Tommy”. The postmark on the envelope did not appear to have a city but a blurred numbers police believe to be either “76038” or “76083”. The letter was examined by handwriting experts in the 1970’s and 80’s, with results coming back inconclusive each time. Renee’s boyfriend at the time of her disappearance, Terry, said in an interview to Dateline “I don’t understand the letter at all. The letter seems to me like it almost points to someone who knew them. People say it’s to throw us off the track. Throw us off what track? There has never been any track. I don’t know if we will ever know what happened”. The families of Rachel, Renee, and Julie Ann vowed their girls did not run away, and assured Rachel did not write that letter.
The families refusing to give up, canvassed neighborhoods and set up Missing Persons Posters. A witness came forward claiming to be a friend of Rachels, and saw her that day she went missing in the record store of the mall, conversed with her briefly, and noticed a man with them, but was unable to provide a accurate description.
1975 had approached and the families still left without any answers, ensue the services of Private Investigator, Jon Swaim. Swaim became the center of newspaper headlines when he claimed to have received a phone call from a strange man wanting to collect the reward money that had been offered in exchange for information. Later making headlines again when he received an anonymous tip saying girls remains were near Port Lavaca, none of this panned out and nothing was found. Swaim later passed away from a drug overdose in 1979, with all of his files being destroyed, just as he wanted.
Over the years, the families of the trio have received dozens of anonymous phone calls of them claiming to be one of the girls. Eventually having to change their phone number due to the increasingly number of prank calls.
Rachel’s younger brother, Rusty Arnold, has spent part of his childhood and adult life enveloped in a conspiracy like frenzy. Never being able to forget the anguish that consumed him. Rusty has never believed Rachel wrote that letter that came that day after they disappeared. Rusty and Rachel share a older sister named, Debra, who was just 19 when Rachel went missing. Its alleged their father was very hard on them, installing a bond in the siblings from day one.
Before Rachel married Tommy Trlica in 1974, Tommy and Debra had a relationship. Debra claims the relationship wasn’t that serious, and was destined to never work out. She also reports there were no hard feeling between them regarding their breakup, and there was no bad blood between Rachel and her, so much so that Debra even lived Rachel and Tommy at the time of her disappearance. Even being present with Tommy at his home the morning he discovered the letter on December 24th, 1974. Debra was invited to accompany Rachel and Renee to the mall the day they went missing, but declined.
Over the years some witnesses have claimed to have seen Rachel and Renee at multiple different places like a Walmart, country store, and a gas station. When Rusty first heard of these sightings, he immediately dismissed them as hoaxes, his mind was eventually changed when he met a Private investigator named Dan James, who had been unofficially following the case since 1975. Matching his eagerness to solve this puzzle Dan James joined the families crusade in searching for the Trio, offering a 25,000 reward from his own pocket in exchange for the “arrest and conviction of person or persons responsible”. Upon joining the case, James began to receive anonymous death threats.
When Investigating the case, James found several credible witnesses, one claiming to have seen Rachel in Fort Worth during Christmas time in 1998. James has created the assumption that Rachel visits Fort Worth even year during the Christmas Season, and presumes to be the only one alive, but is evasive as to who he thinks is behind these heinous acts.
Rachels mother dedicates Christmas every year to the lost girls of Fort Worth. Sprawling 3 angels across her front lawn memorializing their memory. 45 years have come and gone, lives lost and new lives born. Days wallowed with contentment followed by melancholy dips. The families of Rachel, Renee, and Julie Ann vowed their girls did not run away, and assured Rachel did not write that letter, and have been waiting ever since for them to come home.
Mary Rachel Trlica, who goes by her middle name Rachel, is a Caucasian female with brown hair and green eyes. She has a small scar on her chin and a chipped front tooth.
Lisa Renee Wilson, who goes by her middle Renee, is a Caucasian female with light wavy brown hair and brown eyes. She has a scar on the inside of her thigh.
Julie Ann Moseley has sandy brown hair and brown eyes. She has a scar in the middle of her forehead, on the back of her calf, and under her left eye.
More information: https://www.murdersandcoffee.com/post/missing-person-monday-the-fort-worth-missing-trio
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Worth_Missing_Trio
http://www.missingtrio.com/TRIO/index.aspx
submitted by jordancottle to TrueCrimeDiscussion [link] [comments]


2020.09.29 03:09 jordancottle Where are The Fort Worth Missing Trio?

What do y’all think happened to the Fort Worth Missing Trio?
In a world before online shopping and cell phones, 3 beautiful girls, with the desire to buy Christmas Gifts for their families, ventured off to the Seminary South Shopping Center(now known as the Fort Worth Town Center). The home of many popular department stores like Burlington, Sears, and J.C Penney. Rachel Trlica, Renee Wilson, and Julie Ann Mosley vanished from that shopping center just 2 days shy of Christmas, and have not been seen since.
Their unsolved disappearance’s have left their families filled with anguish and tragedy, hoping every day for their return. That tragic day of December 23rd, 1974 began as normal as any other. Rachel Trlica, 17, in a 1972 Oldsmobile 98, drove to the home of Renee Wilson,14, with the idea of shopping at the mall for Christmas Presents. Julie Ann Mosley, 9, who lived across the street and wanted someone to hangout with, asked to tag along. After getting permission from Julie Ann’s mother, the girls headed to the Seminary South Shopping Center to begin their shopping excursion, promising to be home by 4pm, Renee was to attend a Christmas party that night, wanting plenty of time to get ready.
Once 4pm rolled by…then 5pm…then 6pm the families of the girls became increasingly worried and made their way to the shopping mall, clinging to the hope of a rational explanation as to why the girls hadn’t come home. In the world before cell phones, if something happened to the girls, they would have no way of calling for help. Upon their arrival at the shopping mall they discovered Rachels 1972 Oldsmobile 98 vehicle in the Sears upper level parking lot, with the purchases the girls made inside the vehicle. Renee’s father waited in the parking lot that whole night, anticipating for their return.
With this discovery, the Fort Worth Police Department were notified and immediately presumed the girls were runaways. If they did runaway, why would they leave those purchases in the car? Why not leave in Rachel’s vehicle? What really happened to these girls? No child would run away just 2 days before Santa was to arrive. If you have been following my past Missing Person Monday Posts, you can note a uncanny trend of police assuming most children are runaways from the get go. Arguably, the cases I have covered so far have occurred in a time when our world was ignorant to the idea of children being taken.
A few witnesses claim to have seen all 3 girls that day. A store clerk accounted a woman told her she had seen some men push the girls into a yellow pickup truck. However, the police were unable to locate that woman, leading them with little to go on. The woman’s identity of this encounter is still unknown. One Witness claims to have seen all 3 girls in the back of a security patrol vehicle. Years after the disappearance, a man came forward claiming to have seen the girls that day in the parking lot being hurled into a van by a strange man. He confronted the man who yelled out to him it was a family dispute and to stay out of it. All these witnesses yielded no results. Speculations arose that at least one of the girls may have known the identity of their abductor, thinking they may have went with someone they thought they could trust, leading to something sinister.
On December 24th, the morning after their disappearance, Rachels Husband of 6 months, Tommy Trlica, received a letter in his mailbox that made it seem like it was written by Rachel.
The letter wrote "I know I'm going to catch it, but we had to get away. We're going to Houston. See you in about a week. The car is in Sears' upper lot. Love Rachel"
The letter was written in ink on a single sheet of paper, but the envelope was written in pencil. In the upper left hand corner of the envelope was the name Rachel, but seeming as if it were initially misspelled, then written correctly. The letter was addressed to Rachel’s Husband, formerly written as Thomas A. Trlica, but always went by the nickname “Tommy”. The postmark on the envelope did not appear to have a city but a blurred numbers police believe to be either “76038” or “76083”. The letter was examined by handwriting experts in the 1970’s and 80’s, with results coming back inconclusive each time. Renee’s boyfriend at the time of her disappearance, Terry, said in an interview to Dateline “I don’t understand the letter at all. The letter seems to me like it almost points to someone who knew them. People say it’s to throw us off the track. Throw us off what track? There has never been any track. I don’t know if we will ever know what happened”. The families of Rachel, Renee, and Julie Ann vowed their girls did not run away, and assured Rachel did not write that letter.
The families refusing to give up, canvassed neighborhoods and set up Missing Persons Posters. A witness came forward claiming to be a friend of Rachels, and saw her that day she went missing in the record store of the mall, conversed with her briefly, and noticed a man with them, but was unable to provide a accurate description.
1975 had approached and the families still left without any answers, ensue the services of Private Investigator, Jon Swaim. Swaim became the center of newspaper headlines when he claimed to have received a phone call from a strange man wanting to collect the reward money that had been offered in exchange for information. Later making headlines again when he received an anonymous tip saying girls remains were near Port Lavaca, none of this panned out and nothing was found. Swaim later passed away from a drug overdose in 1979, with all of his files being destroyed, just as he wanted.
Over the years, the families of the trio have received dozens of anonymous phone calls of them claiming to be one of the girls. Eventually having to change their phone number due to the increasingly number of prank calls.
Rachel’s younger brother, Rusty Arnold, has spent part of his childhood and adult life enveloped in a conspiracy like frenzy. Never being able to forget the anguish that consumed him. Rusty has never believed Rachel wrote that letter that came that day after they disappeared. Rusty and Rachel share a older sister named, Debra, who was just 19 when Rachel went missing. Its alleged their father was very hard on them, installing a bond in the siblings from day one.
Before Rachel married Tommy Trlica in 1974, Tommy and Debra had a relationship. Debra claims the relationship wasn’t that serious, and was destined to never work out. She also reports there were no hard feeling between them regarding their breakup, and there was no bad blood between Rachel and her, so much so that Debra even lived Rachel and Tommy at the time of her disappearance. Even being present with Tommy at his home the morning he discovered the letter on December 24th, 1974. Debra was invited to accompany Rachel and Renee to the mall the day they went missing, but declined.
Over the years some witnesses have claimed to have seen Rachel and Renee at multiple different places like a Walmart, country store, and a gas station. When Rusty first heard of these sightings, he immediately dismissed them as hoaxes, his mind was eventually changed when he met a Private investigator named Dan James, who had been unofficially following the case since 1975. Matching his eagerness to solve this puzzle Dan James joined the families crusade in searching for the Trio, offering a 25,000 reward from his own pocket in exchange for the “arrest and conviction of person or persons responsible”. Upon joining the case, James began to receive anonymous death threats.
When Investigating the case, James found several credible witnesses, one claiming to have seen Rachel in Fort Worth during Christmas time in 1998. James has created the assumption that Rachel visits Fort Worth even year during the Christmas Season, and presumes to be the only one alive, but is evasive as to who he thinks is behind these heinous acts.
Rachels mother dedicates Christmas every year to the lost girls of Fort Worth. Sprawling 3 angels across her front lawn memorializing their memory. 45 years have come and gone, lives lost and new lives born. Days wallowed with contentment followed by melancholy dips. The families of Rachel, Renee, and Julie Ann vowed their girls did not run away, and assured Rachel did not write that letter, and have been waiting ever since for them to come home.
Mary Rachel Trlica, who goes by her middle name Rachel, is a Caucasian female with brown hair and green eyes. She has a small scar on her chin and a chipped front tooth.
Lisa Renee Wilson, who goes by her middle Renee, is a Caucasian female with light wavy brown hair and brown eyes. She has a scar on the inside of her thigh.
Julie Ann Moseley has sandy brown hair and brown eyes. She has a scar in the middle of her forehead, on the back of her calf, and under her left eye.
More information: https://www.murdersandcoffee.com/post/missing-person-monday-the-fort-worth-missing-trio
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Worth_Missing_Trio
http://www.missingtrio.com/TRIO/index.aspx
submitted by jordancottle to UnresolvedMysteries [link] [comments]


2020.09.27 21:47 Lightenant [Divinity] - Chapter 32

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Tera climbed atop the stack of crates, careful to keep her balance and not shift her partially-stable platform. The shop she perched on was empty and probably had been for several hours, but strange noises were no way to keep hidden.
“Kai,” Tera whispered. The islander gave no indication he’d heard her. “Kaikoa,” she tried again, a little louder. Kai perked up a bit like a dog waking from a nap and took a quick look over his shoulder, then nodded his head sideways for her to come closer. Tera slowly walked across the roof in a low crouch, mindful not to silhouette herself at the peak, and joined the islander at the edge behind a small parapet.
“Are they still there?” she asked.
“Yes,” Kai answered in a hushed tone. “They’re just talking, though. I’m starting to think they’re not what we’re looking for.”
Tera frowned. “All the missing people—the women, children, even the men were from the Slants,” she said as she took a seat on the cold stone of the storefront’s roof and suppressed a shiver. “These four have been waiting outside a tavern in the cold far longer than what I’d consider normal.” Kai shrugged in passive agreement and kept his eyes on the group across the street below. Tera chewed her lip as she considered how best to bring up the favor she wanted to ask. “Kai…”
The islander turned to give her a pensive stare. “What do you need me to do?” he asked begrudgingly and Tera recoiled a bit at the bluntness. How had he known? Kai sighed at her movement and was quick to reveal his source of knowledge. “The only time you can’t keep eye contact is when you want to ask me something.”
Maybe that’s how Nora always knows what I’m thinking, she thought. That was beside the point for now, though. She made an effort to look right at Kai while making a note to try to be more aware of her tells. “Listen, if it turns out they’re part of a Void Cult—” she started.
“Which is unlikely, despite their suspicious nature,” Kai added and turning back to look at the group.
“I want you to help keep an eye on Raegn,” Tera finished.
Kai stiffened, then fully turned from his sentry position to face her. “You think he’ll just kill them?”
“What? No,” Tera whispered with a glance at a rooftop some distance away. Raegn would be watching the group from a different angle, but she couldn’t make him out amongst the shadows. “I’m afraid he’ll…I don’t know, freeze?”
“That’s ridiculous,” Kai said with a wave of his hand. “Raegn’s fought the Void far more than any of us. We’ve never even seen it. We’re much more likely to be a burden to him.”
“He’s fought it, sure, but it took his home and nearly killed him, too,” she pointed out. “You haven’t spent time with him like I have, Kai.”
Tera clasped her hands together and squeezed at the memory. They’d gone to sleep like any other night, but she’d woken some time later from a motion next to her. The look on his face was…awful; distorted and scrunched like he was in so much pain. “He hardly sleeps,” she said softly. “He thrashes and sweats and sometimes cries out. I think he has nightmares every night.”
Kai opened his mouth in a smile like he was about to make a joke, probably about how often they spent the night in each other’s beds, but must have thought better of it. His jaw clacked shut and he gave his lips a nervous lick. “Alright. I’ll keep an eye out.”
“Thank you,” Tera whispered and silently made her way to the back of the roof where she could descend to the street out of sight.
###
The night was bitter and though she wrapped herself tightly in her cloak the wind still cut through the fabric. Tera blinked the water from her eyes that the cold had summoned and glanced to her left. Raegn’s face was partially obscured by his hood and shrouded in shadow, but she could see a faint glow in his eyes. He must be holding the Light. How long has he been doing that? she pondered. The Sentinels were legendary for their endurance, so she imagined enhancing his vision like that for hours came as second nature. She also imagined him running for days on end— straight into the same darkness that had almost ended all of humanity.
“Why did you fight the Void?” she asked faintly. She hadn’t even realized she said the words out loud until his voice, unnaturally gravelly, slipped out into the night.
“It was Bastion’s duty.”
The answer was unexpected, not in content, but that he replied at all. She couldn’t pinpoint why she felt that way, though. Probably because every time she asked something it always felt like she was prying. Each time she brought up some topic of his home he’d never denied her a response, but he was never the first to volunteer the information. Still, she’d already opened the door - might as well see where it led.
“So you only did it because it was expected of you?”
Raegn sniffed and wiped his nose on a gloved hand. He turned toward her and blinked several times while the glow faded from his eyes. “Well yes, but there was more to it than that. I thought I could…I don’t know. Win?” he said, unsure of himself. “I thought I could make enough of a difference that it would somehow free Bastion from its charge and save the Realm.”
Tera smiled at that. Everyone liked to think themselves a hero until they were faced with reality. He’d done far more than most in comparison, though.
“Do you still?” she asked. “Believe that, I mean.”
“I suppose a small part of me still does.” Raegn took a pouch off his belt and dumped a handful of dried berries into his palm. He held it out toward her in an offering, but Tera shook her head. He shrugged and tossed the small fruits into his mouth in one go. “I wouldn’t have joined the Order otherwise,” he said after swallowing the mouthful.
“I think it’s very noble of you,” Tera said coyly. She’d meant for it to be more of a flirty jest, but she cursed herself for sounding meek, like some sort of servant-girl.
Raegn chuckled. “Arrogant is more accurate. There are very few who made such a difference. You would think by now I would have learned that stories rarely reflect reality.”
“It’s good to have a belief like that, though,” she blurted out. She’d felt the same about becoming a Justicar, after all. Plus, his ardent nature nature was one of the things she’d come to admire about him. Passion begets passion, she supposed.
“Oh? And you believe the same, right? Raegn asked. “You told me in the library you joined to protect the Realm.”
“That was…partially true,” Tera said under her breath and hugged her knees a bit tighter. “I wanted to surpass my sister and prove my worth to my family name. To become the greatest Justicar in the Order’s history.”
“How come you never talk about her?” Raegn shifted into a more comfortable position, as though he were anticipating a long anecdote. “Kai told me you had a sister seasons ago but I’ve never even heard you say her name.”
“It’s…not that complicated, really,” she admitted. “It’s just not a fun topic.”
“And why’s that?”
Tera sighed and resigned herself to telling him the story. She knew she probably should’ve done it earlier in their relationship. He’d been open enough to talk about his past even though it had been taken from him - it was only fair that she discuss hers as well.
“We’re only half-sisters,” she said and let her head fall back against the half-wall at the edge of the roof. “We share the same mother, but Nora is the daughter of Lucas Caloman, one of the greatest Justicar the Order has ever known. I’ve never met my father, but I know he’s some merchant from the Kheeralid territories. Lucas gave me the Caloman name even after returning home from a long assignment to discover me, an infant child held in an unfaithful woman’s arms.”
Raegn grunted in soft acknowledgment. “I can understand some resentment towards your mother then, but Nora?”
Tera nodded in shame. “She represents everything I want to be. She looks like a true Elysian. She’s tall, athletic, has beautiful blonde hair, and she doesn’t have any…issues, with the Light,” she finished with a woeful wave of her hand.
“Well, whatever your mental block is with the Light, your ability with barriers is still impressive,” Raegn said and shuffled his way along the roof to a spot next to her. “The first time Merced mentioned it I remember thinking, ‘She would have been the center point of Bastion’s planning if she were in the ranks.’ Plus,” Raegn added with an arm wrapped around her shoulders, “your hair suits me just fine.”
Tera turned her head away and mumbled a soft thanks. Her cheeks were already pink from the bitter wind, but she felt a different heat rising in them now.
###
In a not-so-unexpected turn of fate, the night had managed to get even colder. It couldn’t possibly have been any darker, though the alleyways were noticeably less visible than the man streets that were partially lit by lanterns. The group huddled in the shadow of a street corner, watching their quandary head away.
“We should go after them,” Tera said.
“What for?” Nalani asked incredulously. “They stood around and talked and now they’re walking. They’ve hardly done anything suspicious. Maybe the tavern was noisy or they wanted to have a private conversation. We’ve had plenty of those, haven’t we?” She finished her thought with a bit of heat targeted at Tera.
“But they—”
“Haven’t done anything wrong, Tera,” Nalani finished for her.
There was a long silence filled by the muffled sounds from inside the tavern and its sign that creaked in the faint wind. Tera looked to Raegn, but he didn’t know what else to say. He shrugged, but all that earned him was a sharp scowl.
Nalani was right, though, technically. There wasn’t much of a motive for this group to have been cultists. Raegn had imagined flowing robes, secret emblems, or faces hidden by hoods, yet these men wore simple pants and shirts under cloaks—all perfectly normal for the time of year. Still, Tera continued to glare at him, then turned away in a huff.
“I say we follow them,” Kai said abruptly. Nalani frowned at the other islander and Tera seemed a bit surprised by the suggestion as well. “What?” Kai asked defensively. “We said we were looking for cultists. People have gone missing at night and this is a group out at the right time in the right area. Following doesn’t do any harm, so I say we follow.”
The frown on Nalani’s face grew into a deep glower, but she gave a shallow nod. Kai turned to head down the street in the same direction the group had gone and Nalani strode up beside him. She leaned in to whisper something, but Kai shrugged and kept his pace. Raegn tried to walk next to Tera, but each time he got next to her she hastened her stride to get away from him. The little game continued until she was leading the group and Raegn was left to walk next to Nalani and Kai.
They followed the men for several blocks, making sure to pause at intersections and sending only one person ahead to not lose sight of their quarry. Tera was normally the one leading the chase as they wound their way through the narrow dirt streets of the Slants. In his first few days in Elysium, Raegn thought the name for this part of the city to be an exaggeration, but this deep into the labyrinth of leaning and rotting wooden buildings there could be little doubt - the night sky was hardly visible with how far some of the structures had contorted out over the streets. It played a trick on the mind and made it feel as though they were walking on an incline despite the ground being perfectly flat.
To make matters worse, Tera still refused to allow him near her. It seemed only minutes ago that she’d damn near snuggled against him when he’d embraced her and now her shoulder was colder than the night. Raegn knew he put off a similar air when he was focused, but this seemed more…directed. At him, specifically. Did all women have to be so fickle?
Their pursuit paused for a moment as one of the men ducked into an alley to relieve himself and the other’s stood about waiting for him. Kai crouched behind a stack of barrels, peering through the gap between two of the large casks with Nalani at his side. Raegn used the opportunity to give Tera a slight tug on the arm and motion a few steps back. She rolled her eyes and sighed, but followed. When they were far enough away that they could still see the two islanders but not be heard, Raegn opened his mouth to ask what was wrong, but Tera turned her back on him to keep Nalani and Kai in sight. The blatant disregard was enough to make his blood boil, but he forced in a deep breath and prayed for the strength not to yell at her.
“Listen,” he whispered, “I don’t have a lot of experience with this sort of thing, but I don’t think you’re being entirely fair. If something’s wrong I feel like you should tell me.”
For a long moment it seemed like she was content to just keep ignoring him, but then Tera let out a long sigh and turned to face him. “I don’t have much experience either, you know. You’re my first, actually,” Tera said while wriggling the toe of her boot against the ground. Raegn had all but known as much, but hearing her confirm it did bring a bit of selfish joy. “But why is Kai the one defending me? Shouldn’t that be you?”
Her eyes were fierce, her tone accusatory, and she was right. Raegn stared at her in mild shock, then gave a slow nod. He’d only played his part so far as what she’d told him to say. Everything else he’d done only because he was already committed, not because he felt any real desire for it.
“It’s just…” Tera kept her eyes on the ground as if she couldn’t find the words to say. “I thought you’d be more supportive,” she murmured. “But when I realized you hadn’t actually helped much with the planning and Nalani said I had my hooks in you… it just…when you looked like you were just going along with everything it made me feel like I was using you,” she finished hurriedly.
Raegn remembered the feeling. Days spent planning a route to the Ridge that afforded them the best pace while still giving ample opportunity to scout the paths the Void frequented. All that work only to be met with scorn by his mentor and doubt from those he led. He had been bitter, too.
This was important to her. Raegn clenched his fists and forced his own resolve to grow. If it was important to her, it was important to him.
“Tera, I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t support your plan,” he assured her.
“I know,” she said with her head hung. “It just didn’t feel like it.”
A soft whistle from Kai had both of them scurrying to rejoin their friends who had kept watch. The suspicious men were on the move again.
They resumed their cautious pursuit, though this time it wasn’t long until the group entered a small, single-story shack tucked along a muddy street. Tera led the way around the block to reach the far side of the building without having to trudge through the slop leading to its front side. Raegn was thankful as the mud had to have been comprised of more than just dirt and water given the smell. Nalani seemed hesitant to approach the exterior wall, but Tera left her little time to voice any complaints. Raegn cursed himself when Kai was the first to follow, but made sure he at least beat Nalani to the position Tera had taken up beneath a small rectangular opening nestled just beneath the roof.
“Help me up,” Tera said.
Raegn was halfway to her when he realized she’d been talking to Kai. The islander shook his head in a silent laugh.
“What?” Tera asked, noticing the activity. A look of guilt spread across her face as her eyes moved between the two of them. “Oh, sorry,” she mumbled. “He’s just bigger and stronger.”
Bigger and stronger, Kai mouthed through a wide smile.
Raegn rolled his eyes and stepped back with his arms crossed. Either of us could lift her up, he told himself. She only asked Kai because they’ve known each longer and she was just mad at you. Still, it stung more than it had a right to. Maybe he could get payback and hoist Nalani…he shook his head. It’s not like they were going to fit through that tiny hole in the wall.
Kai laced his fingers to give Tera a foothold, then lifted her above his head so that she could grab hold of the ledge beneath the opening.
“Well?” Nalani asked. “Anything up there?”
“Just wait,” Tera whispered. She continued softly talking to herself, describing what she saw inside as though saying it would better commit it to memory. “Alright, let me down,” she ordered quietly. Kai complied and Tera landed softly on the street, avoiding a nearby puddle far darker than normal water.
“So?”
Nalani seemed awfully persistent, but Raegn reminded himself it was her right as the one responsible for this little excursion. It may have been Tera’s plan, but it was Nalani’s authority that would protect them from any reprisal the Order might issue.
“All five were inside. There’s a door hidden under a rug in the back left of the room. They all went in save for one,” Tera recounted.
“Okay,” Nalani said with a slow shake of her head. “And where do you think you’re going?” she snapped at Raegn.
He’d made it several steps away from the group, but turned back at the question. “To the door?” he said with a thumb over his shoulder.
“Just like that?” the islander asked incredulously.
He looked at the rest of the group huddled in the side alley. Tera watched him cautiously. Was this not what she would want? They’d come this far, why stop now?
“There’s only one of them,” he said matter-of-factly.
“And what if he alerts the others?” Nalani shot back.
Raegn pondered it for a time, then simply shrugged. They were three Templar and a Crusader. Each had a small sword hung from their belt and he doubted they’d be finding anyone in heavy armor. They ought to be able to fight two or three times their number.
“It’d still be an even fight,” he answered.
“On unfamiliar ground,” Nalani insisted. “I don’t like this. We should head back to report what we’ve found.”
“Come on, Nal,” Kai interjected. “You don’t think we can take a few street urchins?”
“Who knows what’s down there, you oaf,” she answered, then turned towards Tera. “We’ve learned something, you should be proud of that. You’ve followed a lead no one else in the Order thought to and it seems like it’s going somewhere, but a larger team can come back and check out the rest.”
“They’ll get all the credit!” Tera complained.
“It shouldn’t be about credit, Tera,” Nalani scolded.
Tera gave a huff, but apparently knew better than to argue. Had she not just finished telling him how she’d felt, Raegn might have let this be the end of their mission. As things were, though, he couldn’t bear to see the look of defeat on her face. It didn’t suit her. He liked the sternness of her eyes and the determination she normally held in her cheeks. Now seemed like as good a time as any to prove he would back her.
Raegn’s knock on the door brought an end to any debate. The group whirled on him and Nalani’s eyes seethed enough hatred that it looked as though she might be seriously considering stabbing him. He did his best to maintain his composure under the deathly glare and waved Kai to come join him. The islander took up a hasty position at the side of the door and they waited for the approaching footsteps.
The moment the door opened Raegn lunged forward, gripping the man’s head with one hand at the back to prevent a retreat and the other over the mouth to prevent a cry of alert. Kai was only a moment behind. The islander delivered a fist deep into the man’s gut. Their victim wretched, all the air forced from his lungs, and collapsed to the floor.
“What are you doing?!” Nalani hissed.
“Subduing a suspicious citizen,” Raegn informed her. He slipped the rope they’d brought to help climb atop roofs from his belt and bound the man’s hands and ankles before gagging him with a large square of cloth.
It wouldn’t have been possible for Nalani’s eyes to bulge any further without popping out of her head. “And now what?! We haul him back to the Order?” she chided.
“I figured we’d go down,” Raegn said with a point at the rug in the corner of the room.
The building looked to be little more than a storehouse, full of half-broken crates and barrels with the metal bands rusting and failing to keep the boards tightly bound. The rug was an odd touch of decor, especially when one considered the large square lump at its center that it did a miserable job of concealing. Raegn hadn’t even needed Tera to point it out despite her being the only one who had seen it prior to their entry.
“And what about him?” Nalani asked with a point at the bound man who still struggled for air.
Raegn didn’t really have a plan for that, but he made one up as fast as the words left his mouth. “We’ll leave him here and either arrest him or release him based on what we find below,” he said with his hands raised in defense. All he had wanted was to show Tera he would support her, but now that Nalani’s anger was solely focused on him he was beginning to regret it.
Nalani bit her lip and glared at him. She gave a curt nod of her head Tera took a guarded walk over and to the rug and pulled it away to reveal a cellar door.
“It’s unlocked,” Tera said.
There wasn’t much need for her statement in reality. The satisfying clunk of the handle and groan of the hinges as the door swung upward and fell back onto the floor might as well have been deafening while Raegn held Nalani’s disapproving scowl.
“We go down, we look around quickly, and then we come up,” Nalani growled. “And in those short moments one of you three will come up with a way to justify detaining this man.”
The Crusader let her icy gaze linger on each of them for an uncomfortable period of time. Raegn hazarded quick glances toward Tera and Kai. Both of them gave cautious nods in response. He took a slow step towards the cellar door and when Nalani didn’t reach for her sword or try to kill him he took another. Halfway across the room he began to string his steps together to look like normal walking, but the air remained stiff and he hoped Kai might make a lunge to restrain his beloved if Nalani suddenly changed her mind.
Tera was the first to descend the rickety stairs. It turned out not to be a cellar that lay below the storehouse, but an underground passageway. Even from the foot of the stairs and with a single torch to provide light Raegn could see that the tunnel intersected several others before it disappeared into blackness.
“Now what?” Kai asked.
“We follow the mud,” Tera said with a point at the ground.
Several sets of footprints headed away from the stairs and took a left at the first intersection. They tracked the prints for several turns before the traces of wet earth became so faint that they were no longer visible.
“And now we’ve no trail to follow,” Nalani noted sarcastically. “We’re liable to get lost if we go any further.”
“Not exactly,” Raegn and Tera said at the same time. He looked at her quizzically and she returned the expression.
“You first,” Tera said.
Raegn shrugged. “Not much to it for me. There are symbols carved into the wall at every intersection. Look.”
Raegn guided Kai’s hand and the torch it held towards the corner where two walls met. Small carvings, little more than a few parallel lines with others intersecting, were on either wall just to the side of the seam.
“We used a similar method when we scouted the Scarred Lands,” he explained. “Some symbols reveal paths, others where a vanguard currently is. I’m willing to bet each of these symbols leads somewhere, but which one we’ve been following has changed a few times while we were tracking the footprints.”
“And you?” Nalani redirected her attention to Tera.
“I just memorized our turns,” she answered sheepishly. “To get back we make a right, two lefts, each with an intersection between where we go straight, and then another right.”
Nalani rolled her eyes. “Well that’s all well and good, but we still don’t have anything to follow.”
“Then let’s try this,” Raegn said and took the torch from Kai. He ignored the cries of surprise and anger of his friends while he smothered the flame against the ground.
“What are you doing?!” Nalani hissed.
“We can relight it,” he reminded her. “Now that it’s dark we just need our eyes to adjust…” he waited some time, slowing turning in a circle to look down the three different routes they had to choose between. “There!” he pointed down one where the faintest of lights stood out from the blackness.
“Let’s go!” Tera urged and took off down the passage.
Raegn didn’t have trouble keeping up. He could’ve passed Tera easily, in fact, but he grinned wildly as he tailed her through the corridor. They came upon the source of the light quite quickly. A simple door, little more than a few planks of wood held together by roughly pounded nails, failed to seal away the flickering of a torch held within its room. Tera flung the door open without any hesitation. A wise move, Raegn reasoned, considering how tentative Nalani had been.
The moment they gained access to the room another door on the far side swung shut. This time it was Raegn who took the first step to give chase, but he found arms wrap themselves under his.
“No you don’t!” Nalani grunted as Raegn struggled to free himself. “We’re not pursuing any further!”
“It’s fine, Raegn,” Tera said and raised a hand. “Look.”
She pointed at a table in the center of the room with several pieces of parchment scattered about. Some were sloppily laid about the nearby chair and others still were strewn across the floor. The sign of a hasty exit. Raegn stopped pulling against Nalani and the islander set him free, though kept him under a watchful eye.
Kai approached the table and picked up one of the documents. “What do you reckon they were doing?” he asked, flipping the paper over.
“It doesn’t matter. Gather them and let’s go,” Nalani ordered.
Kai helped Tera roll the bits of parchment and stuff them into the satchel she kept slung over her shoulders. Once the group double-checked to make sure they’d found all the evidence they could, they turned to leave. Raegn re-lit the torch using the one mounted on the wall of the room and led the way back through the passageways, mentally recalling the symbols they’d followed on their way in. Tera stayed at his side, using the light of the flames to scan several of the documents. She’d read probably four or five by the time Raegn had them back at the base of the stairs beneath the storehouse.
“Any idea what they say?” he asked.
“No,” Tera answered idly. She still scanned the page she held, but her face was contorted in frustration. “These characters are the common tongue, but they’re all jumbled. It’s like it’s some sort of code. I think maybe—” she didn’t get to finish before Kai called out from above.
“We’ve got a problem!”
Raegn took the stairs three at a time with Tera on his heels. He found Kai crouched down near a stack of crates and holding a piece of rope.
“You searched him, didn’t you?!” Nalani asked, though the tone of it made the words more of an accusation.
“Of course,” Kai said. “He didn’t have a knife on him. I swear.”
“Well unless I’ve gone blind the ropes certainly look cut!” Nalani huffed.
Kai pursed his lips and looked to Raegn and Tera. “Someone came and freed him.”
“By the Seven, if that man was innocent and the Order hears of this…” Nalani didn’t finish the thought. The implication alone carried more than enough weight. Raegn tried not to think about it too much. He might enjoy more time in the kitchens, but he doubted the others would have the same opinion. Especially not Nalani. A Crusader put on menial chores? She’d be the laughing stock of her newfound brethren. Or perhaps demoted.
“They weren’t innocent,” Tera said. “They wouldn’t have fled from us or use coded language if they were.”
Nalani chewed her cheek, but nodded.
The night they walked through on their way back to the Citadel wasn’t any colder than when they’d hidden from it’s grip beneath Elysium’s streets, but it certainly seemed deeper. No one spoke save for quiet statements of parting upon reaching the point of division between the Templar and Crusader Wings. Raegn waited for an offer from Tera to join her, but no such invitation came. She’ll probably stay up all night trying to decipher those pages, he convinced himself and headed towards his own room. Tera was nothing if not determined once she had her mind set about something. He’d learned that the first night he met her, even if it was several seasons later that he’d realized it.
It hadn’t exactly been a glorious mission, but they’d been marginally successful. If the evidence turned out to be damning they might even get some recognition, though Raegn told himself he’d give it all to Tera. It was her idea, after all, and this would be the first time outside of Merced’s assignment that he’d been part of something worthwhile since joining the Order. There was satisfaction to be had in that thought and Raegn fell asleep in a state of pleasant contentment.
Dreams of Camael choking him to death and slaughtering Bastion’s populace with that glowing sword, however, stole the feeling.
##########
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Remember that RimWorld story I mentioned? Well...let me know what you think. Far from done, no full release until it is, but I've always wanted to do a teaser haha.
If you're new, Divinity is a web-serial I've been working on for a bit now. It's admittedly a bit of standard fantasy, but it's a story I've nurtured in my mind for quite some time now. If you like it I'd love to have you subscribe to any of the sites and/or leave feedback!
submitted by Lightenant to redditserials [link] [comments]


2020.09.27 21:47 Lightenant Divinity - Chapter 32

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Tera climbed atop the stack of crates, careful to keep her balance and not shift her partially-stable platform. The shop she perched on was empty and probably had been for several hours, but strange noises were no way to keep hidden.
“Kai,” Tera whispered. The islander gave no indication he’d heard her. “Kaikoa,” she tried again, a little louder. Kai perked up a bit like a dog waking from a nap and took a quick look over his shoulder, then nodded his head sideways for her to come closer. Tera slowly walked across the roof in a low crouch, mindful not to silhouette herself at the peak, and joined the islander at the edge behind a small parapet.
“Are they still there?” she asked.
“Yes,” Kai answered in a hushed tone. “They’re just talking, though. I’m starting to think they’re not what we’re looking for.”
Tera frowned. “All the missing people—the women, children, even the men were from the Slants,” she said as she took a seat on the cold stone of the storefront’s roof and suppressed a shiver. “These four have been waiting outside a tavern in the cold far longer than what I’d consider normal.” Kai shrugged in passive agreement and kept his eyes on the group across the street below. Tera chewed her lip as she considered how best to bring up the favor she wanted to ask. “Kai…”
The islander turned to give her a pensive stare. “What do you need me to do?” he asked begrudgingly and Tera recoiled a bit at the bluntness. How had he known? Kai sighed at her movement and was quick to reveal his source of knowledge. “The only time you can’t keep eye contact is when you want to ask me something.”
Maybe that’s how Nora always knows what I’m thinking, she thought. That was beside the point for now, though. She made an effort to look right at Kai while making a note to try to be more aware of her tells. “Listen, if it turns out they’re part of a Void Cult—” she started.
“Which is unlikely, despite their suspicious nature,” Kai added and turning back to look at the group.
“I want you to help keep an eye on Raegn,” Tera finished.
Kai stiffened, then fully turned from his sentry position to face her. “You think he’ll just kill them?”
“What? No,” Tera whispered with a glance at a rooftop some distance away. Raegn would be watching the group from a different angle, but she couldn’t make him out amongst the shadows. “I’m afraid he’ll…I don’t know, freeze?”
“That’s ridiculous,” Kai said with a wave of his hand. “Raegn’s fought the Void far more than any of us. We’ve never even seen it. We’re much more likely to be a burden to him.”
“He’s fought it, sure, but it took his home and nearly killed him, too,” she pointed out. “You haven’t spent time with him like I have, Kai.”
Tera clasped her hands together and squeezed at the memory. They’d gone to sleep like any other night, but she’d woken some time later from a motion next to her. The look on his face was…awful; distorted and scrunched like he was in so much pain. “He hardly sleeps,” she said softly. “He thrashes and sweats and sometimes cries out. I think he has nightmares every night.”
Kai opened his mouth in a smile like he was about to make a joke, probably about how often they spent the night in each other’s beds, but must have thought better of it. His jaw clacked shut and he gave his lips a nervous lick. “Alright. I’ll keep an eye out.”
“Thank you,” Tera whispered and silently made her way to the back of the roof where she could descend to the street out of sight.
###
The night was bitter and though she wrapped herself tightly in her cloak the wind still cut through the fabric. Tera blinked the water from her eyes that the cold had summoned and glanced to her left. Raegn’s face was partially obscured by his hood and shrouded in shadow, but she could see a faint glow in his eyes. He must be holding the Light. How long has he been doing that? she pondered. The Sentinels were legendary for their endurance, so she imagined enhancing his vision like that for hours came as second nature. She also imagined him running for days on end— straight into the same darkness that had almost ended all of humanity.
“Why did you fight the Void?” she asked faintly. She hadn’t even realized she said the words out loud until his voice, unnaturally gravelly, slipped out into the night.
“It was Bastion’s duty.”
The answer was unexpected, not in content, but that he replied at all. She couldn’t pinpoint why she felt that way, though. Probably because every time she asked something it always felt like she was prying. Each time she brought up some topic of his home he’d never denied her a response, but he was never the first to volunteer the information. Still, she’d already opened the door - might as well see where it led.
“So you only did it because it was expected of you?”
Raegn sniffed and wiped his nose on a gloved hand. He turned toward her and blinked several times while the glow faded from his eyes. “Well yes, but there was more to it than that. I thought I could…I don’t know. Win?” he said, unsure of himself. “I thought I could make enough of a difference that it would somehow free Bastion from its charge and save the Realm.”
Tera smiled at that. Everyone liked to think themselves a hero until they were faced with reality. He’d done far more than most in comparison, though.
“Do you still?” she asked. “Believe that, I mean.”
“I suppose a small part of me still does.” Raegn took a pouch off his belt and dumped a handful of dried berries into his palm. He held it out toward her in an offering, but Tera shook her head. He shrugged and tossed the small fruits into his mouth in one go. “I wouldn’t have joined the Order otherwise,” he said after swallowing the mouthful.
“I think it’s very noble of you,” Tera said coyly. She’d meant for it to be more of a flirty jest, but she cursed herself for sounding meek, like some sort of servant-girl.
Raegn chuckled. “Arrogant is more accurate. There are very few who made such a difference. You would think by now I would have learned that stories rarely reflect reality.”
“It’s good to have a belief like that, though,” she blurted out. She’d felt the same about becoming a Justicar, after all. Plus, his ardent nature nature was one of the things she’d come to admire about him. Passion begets passion, she supposed.
“Oh? And you believe the same, right? Raegn asked. “You told me in the library you joined to protect the Realm.”
“That was…partially true,” Tera said under her breath and hugged her knees a bit tighter. “I wanted to surpass my sister and prove my worth to my family name. To become the greatest Justicar in the Order’s history.”
“How come you never talk about her?” Raegn shifted into a more comfortable position, as though he were anticipating a long anecdote. “Kai told me you had a sister seasons ago but I’ve never even heard you say her name.”
“It’s…not that complicated, really,” she admitted. “It’s just not a fun topic.”
“And why’s that?”
Tera sighed and resigned herself to telling him the story. She knew she probably should’ve done it earlier in their relationship. He’d been open enough to talk about his past even though it had been taken from him - it was only fair that she discuss hers as well.
“We’re only half-sisters,” she said and let her head fall back against the half-wall at the edge of the roof. “We share the same mother, but Nora is the daughter of Lucas Caloman, one of the greatest Justicar the Order has ever known. I’ve never met my father, but I know he’s some merchant from the Kheeralid territories. Lucas gave me the Caloman name even after returning home from a long assignment to discover me, an infant child held in an unfaithful woman’s arms.”
Raegn grunted in soft acknowledgment. “I can understand some resentment towards your mother then, but Nora?”
Tera nodded in shame. “She represents everything I want to be. She looks like a true Elysian. She’s tall, athletic, has beautiful blonde hair, and she doesn’t have any…issues, with the Light,” she finished with a woeful wave of her hand.
“Well, whatever your mental block is with the Light, your ability with barriers is still impressive,” Raegn said and shuffled his way along the roof to a spot next to her. “The first time Merced mentioned it I remember thinking, ‘She would have been the center point of Bastion’s planning if she were in the ranks.’ Plus,” Raegn added with an arm wrapped around her shoulders, “your hair suits me just fine.”
Tera turned her head away and mumbled a soft thanks. Her cheeks were already pink from the bitter wind, but she felt a different heat rising in them now.
###
In a not-so-unexpected turn of fate, the night had managed to get even colder. It couldn’t possibly have been any darker, though the alleyways were noticeably less visible than the man streets that were partially lit by lanterns. The group huddled in the shadow of a street corner, watching their quandary head away.
“We should go after them,” Tera said.
“What for?” Nalani asked incredulously. “They stood around and talked and now they’re walking. They’ve hardly done anything suspicious. Maybe the tavern was noisy or they wanted to have a private conversation. We’ve had plenty of those, haven’t we?” She finished her thought with a bit of heat targeted at Tera.
“But they—”
“Haven’t done anything wrong, Tera,” Nalani finished for her.
There was a long silence filled by the muffled sounds from inside the tavern and its sign that creaked in the faint wind. Tera looked to Raegn, but he didn’t know what else to say. He shrugged, but all that earned him was a sharp scowl.
Nalani was right, though, technically. There wasn’t much of a motive for this group to have been cultists. Raegn had imagined flowing robes, secret emblems, or faces hidden by hoods, yet these men wore simple pants and shirts under cloaks—all perfectly normal for the time of year. Still, Tera continued to glare at him, then turned away in a huff.
“I say we follow them,” Kai said abruptly. Nalani frowned at the other islander and Tera seemed a bit surprised by the suggestion as well. “What?” Kai asked defensively. “We said we were looking for cultists. People have gone missing at night and this is a group out at the right time in the right area. Following doesn’t do any harm, so I say we follow.”
The frown on Nalani’s face grew into a deep glower, but she gave a shallow nod. Kai turned to head down the street in the same direction the group had gone and Nalani strode up beside him. She leaned in to whisper something, but Kai shrugged and kept his pace. Raegn tried to walk next to Tera, but each time he got next to her she hastened her stride to get away from him. The little game continued until she was leading the group and Raegn was left to walk next to Nalani and Kai.
They followed the men for several blocks, making sure to pause at intersections and sending only one person ahead to not lose sight of their quarry. Tera was normally the one leading the chase as they wound their way through the narrow dirt streets of the Slants. In his first few days in Elysium, Raegn thought the name for this part of the city to be an exaggeration, but this deep into the labyrinth of leaning and rotting wooden buildings there could be little doubt - the night sky was hardly visible with how far some of the structures had contorted out over the streets. It played a trick on the mind and made it feel as though they were walking on an incline despite the ground being perfectly flat.
To make matters worse, Tera still refused to allow him near her. It seemed only minutes ago that she’d damn near snuggled against him when he’d embraced her and now her shoulder was colder than the night. Raegn knew he put off a similar air when he was focused, but this seemed more…directed. At him, specifically. Did all women have to be so fickle?
Their pursuit paused for a moment as one of the men ducked into an alley to relieve himself and the other’s stood about waiting for him. Kai crouched behind a stack of barrels, peering through the gap between two of the large casks with Nalani at his side. Raegn used the opportunity to give Tera a slight tug on the arm and motion a few steps back. She rolled her eyes and sighed, but followed. When they were far enough away that they could still see the two islanders but not be heard, Raegn opened his mouth to ask what was wrong, but Tera turned her back on him to keep Nalani and Kai in sight. The blatant disregard was enough to make his blood boil, but he forced in a deep breath and prayed for the strength not to yell at her.
“Listen,” he whispered, “I don’t have a lot of experience with this sort of thing, but I don’t think you’re being entirely fair. If something’s wrong I feel like you should tell me.”
For a long moment it seemed like she was content to just keep ignoring him, but then Tera let out a long sigh and turned to face him. “I don’t have much experience either, you know. You’re my first, actually,” Tera said while wriggling the toe of her boot against the ground. Raegn had all but known as much, but hearing her confirm it did bring a bit of selfish joy. “But why is Kai the one defending me? Shouldn’t that be you?”
Her eyes were fierce, her tone accusatory, and she was right. Raegn stared at her in mild shock, then gave a slow nod. He’d only played his part so far as what she’d told him to say. Everything else he’d done only because he was already committed, not because he felt any real desire for it.
“It’s just…” Tera kept her eyes on the ground as if she couldn’t find the words to say. “I thought you’d be more supportive,” she murmured. “But when I realized you hadn’t actually helped much with the planning and Nalani said I had my hooks in you… it just…when you looked like you were just going along with everything it made me feel like I was using you,” she finished hurriedly.
Raegn remembered the feeling. Days spent planning a route to the Ridge that afforded them the best pace while still giving ample opportunity to scout the paths the Void frequented. All that work only to be met with scorn by his mentor and doubt from those he led. He had been bitter, too.
This was important to her. Raegn clenched his fists and forced his own resolve to grow. If it was important to her, it was important to him.
“Tera, I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t support your plan,” he assured her.
“I know,” she said with her head hung. “It just didn’t feel like it.”
A soft whistle from Kai had both of them scurrying to rejoin their friends who had kept watch. The suspicious men were on the move again.
They resumed their cautious pursuit, though this time it wasn’t long until the group entered a small, single-story shack tucked along a muddy street. Tera led the way around the block to reach the far side of the building without having to trudge through the slop leading to its front side. Raegn was thankful as the mud had to have been comprised of more than just dirt and water given the smell. Nalani seemed hesitant to approach the exterior wall, but Tera left her little time to voice any complaints. Raegn cursed himself when Kai was the first to follow, but made sure he at least beat Nalani to the position Tera had taken up beneath a small rectangular opening nestled just beneath the roof.
“Help me up,” Tera said.
Raegn was halfway to her when he realized she’d been talking to Kai. The islander shook his head in a silent laugh.
“What?” Tera asked, noticing the activity. A look of guilt spread across her face as her eyes moved between the two of them. “Oh, sorry,” she mumbled. “He’s just bigger and stronger.”
Bigger and stronger, Kai mouthed through a wide smile.
Raegn rolled his eyes and stepped back with his arms crossed. Either of us could lift her up, he told himself. She only asked Kai because they’ve known each longer and she was just mad at you. Still, it stung more than it had a right to. Maybe he could get payback and hoist Nalani…he shook his head. It’s not like they were going to fit through that tiny hole in the wall.
Kai laced his fingers to give Tera a foothold, then lifted her above his head so that she could grab hold of the ledge beneath the opening.
“Well?” Nalani asked. “Anything up there?”
“Just wait,” Tera whispered. She continued softly talking to herself, describing what she saw inside as though saying it would better commit it to memory. “Alright, let me down,” she ordered quietly. Kai complied and Tera landed softly on the street, avoiding a nearby puddle far darker than normal water.
“So?”
Nalani seemed awfully persistent, but Raegn reminded himself it was her right as the one responsible for this little excursion. It may have been Tera’s plan, but it was Nalani’s authority that would protect them from any reprisal the Order might issue.
“All five were inside. There’s a door hidden under a rug in the back left of the room. They all went in save for one,” Tera recounted.
“Okay,” Nalani said with a slow shake of her head. “And where do you think you’re going?” she snapped at Raegn.
He’d made it several steps away from the group, but turned back at the question. “To the door?” he said with a thumb over his shoulder.
“Just like that?” the islander asked incredulously.
He looked at the rest of the group huddled in the side alley. Tera watched him cautiously. Was this not what she would want? They’d come this far, why stop now?
“There’s only one of them,” he said matter-of-factly.
“And what if he alerts the others?” Nalani shot back.
Raegn pondered it for a time, then simply shrugged. They were three Templar and a Crusader. Each had a small sword hung from their belt and he doubted they’d be finding anyone in heavy armor. They ought to be able to fight two or three times their number.
“It’d still be an even fight,” he answered.
“On unfamiliar ground,” Nalani insisted. “I don’t like this. We should head back to report what we’ve found.”
“Come on, Nal,” Kai interjected. “You don’t think we can take a few street urchins?”
“Who knows what’s down there, you oaf,” she answered, then turned towards Tera. “We’ve learned something, you should be proud of that. You’ve followed a lead no one else in the Order thought to and it seems like it’s going somewhere, but a larger team can come back and check out the rest.”
“They’ll get all the credit!” Tera complained.
“It shouldn’t be about credit, Tera,” Nalani scolded.
Tera gave a huff, but apparently knew better than to argue. Had she not just finished telling him how she’d felt, Raegn might have let this be the end of their mission. As things were, though, he couldn’t bear to see the look of defeat on her face. It didn’t suit her. He liked the sternness of her eyes and the determination she normally held in her cheeks. Now seemed like as good a time as any to prove he would back her.
Raegn’s knock on the door brought an end to any debate. The group whirled on him and Nalani’s eyes seethed enough hatred that it looked as though she might be seriously considering stabbing him. He did his best to maintain his composure under the deathly glare and waved Kai to come join him. The islander took up a hasty position at the side of the door and they waited for the approaching footsteps.
The moment the door opened Raegn lunged forward, gripping the man’s head with one hand at the back to prevent a retreat and the other over the mouth to prevent a cry of alert. Kai was only a moment behind. The islander delivered a fist deep into the man’s gut. Their victim wretched, all the air forced from his lungs, and collapsed to the floor.
“What are you doing?!” Nalani hissed.
“Subduing a suspicious citizen,” Raegn informed her. He slipped the rope they’d brought to help climb atop roofs from his belt and bound the man’s hands and ankles before gagging him with a large square of cloth.
It wouldn’t have been possible for Nalani’s eyes to bulge any further without popping out of her head. “And now what?! We haul him back to the Order?” she chided.
“I figured we’d go down,” Raegn said with a point at the rug in the corner of the room.
The building looked to be little more than a storehouse, full of half-broken crates and barrels with the metal bands rusting and failing to keep the boards tightly bound. The rug was an odd touch of decor, especially when one considered the large square lump at its center that it did a miserable job of concealing. Raegn hadn’t even needed Tera to point it out despite her being the only one who had seen it prior to their entry.
“And what about him?” Nalani asked with a point at the bound man who still struggled for air.
Raegn didn’t really have a plan for that, but he made one up as fast as the words left his mouth. “We’ll leave him here and either arrest him or release him based on what we find below,” he said with his hands raised in defense. All he had wanted was to show Tera he would support her, but now that Nalani’s anger was solely focused on him he was beginning to regret it.
Nalani bit her lip and glared at him. She gave a curt nod of her head Tera took a guarded walk over and to the rug and pulled it away to reveal a cellar door.
“It’s unlocked,” Tera said.
There wasn’t much need for her statement in reality. The satisfying clunk of the handle and groan of the hinges as the door swung upward and fell back onto the floor might as well have been deafening while Raegn held Nalani’s disapproving scowl.
“We go down, we look around quickly, and then we come up,” Nalani growled. “And in those short moments one of you three will come up with a way to justify detaining this man.”
The Crusader let her icy gaze linger on each of them for an uncomfortable period of time. Raegn hazarded quick glances toward Tera and Kai. Both of them gave cautious nods in response. He took a slow step towards the cellar door and when Nalani didn’t reach for her sword or try to kill him he took another. Halfway across the room he began to string his steps together to look like normal walking, but the air remained stiff and he hoped Kai might make a lunge to restrain his beloved if Nalani suddenly changed her mind.
Tera was the first to descend the rickety stairs. It turned out not to be a cellar that lay below the storehouse, but an underground passageway. Even from the foot of the stairs and with a single torch to provide light Raegn could see that the tunnel intersected several others before it disappeared into blackness.
“Now what?” Kai asked.
“We follow the mud,” Tera said with a point at the ground.
Several sets of footprints headed away from the stairs and took a left at the first intersection. They tracked the prints for several turns before the traces of wet earth became so faint that they were no longer visible.
“And now we’ve no trail to follow,” Nalani noted sarcastically. “We’re liable to get lost if we go any further.”
“Not exactly,” Raegn and Tera said at the same time. He looked at her quizzically and she returned the expression.
“You first,” Tera said.
Raegn shrugged. “Not much to it for me. There are symbols carved into the wall at every intersection. Look.”
Raegn guided Kai’s hand and the torch it held towards the corner where two walls met. Small carvings, little more than a few parallel lines with others intersecting, were on either wall just to the side of the seam.
“We used a similar method when we scouted the Scarred Lands,” he explained. “Some symbols reveal paths, others where a vanguard currently is. I’m willing to bet each of these symbols leads somewhere, but which one we’ve been following has changed a few times while we were tracking the footprints.”
“And you?” Nalani redirected her attention to Tera.
“I just memorized our turns,” she answered sheepishly. “To get back we make a right, two lefts, each with an intersection between where we go straight, and then another right.”
Nalani rolled her eyes. “Well that’s all well and good, but we still don’t have anything to follow.”
“Then let’s try this,” Raegn said and took the torch from Kai. He ignored the cries of surprise and anger of his friends while he smothered the flame against the ground.
“What are you doing?!” Nalani hissed.
“We can relight it,” he reminded her. “Now that it’s dark we just need our eyes to adjust…” he waited some time, slowing turning in a circle to look down the three different routes they had to choose between. “There!” he pointed down one where the faintest of lights stood out from the blackness.
“Let’s go!” Tera urged and took off down the passage.
Raegn didn’t have trouble keeping up. He could’ve passed Tera easily, in fact, but he grinned wildly as he tailed her through the corridor. They came upon the source of the light quite quickly. A simple door, little more than a few planks of wood held together by roughly pounded nails, failed to seal away the flickering of a torch held within its room. Tera flung the door open without any hesitation. A wise move, Raegn reasoned, considering how tentative Nalani had been.
The moment they gained access to the room another door on the far side swung shut. This time it was Raegn who took the first step to give chase, but he found arms wrap themselves under his.
“No you don’t!” Nalani grunted as Raegn struggled to free himself. “We’re not pursuing any further!”
“It’s fine, Raegn,” Tera said and raised a hand. “Look.”
She pointed at a table in the center of the room with several pieces of parchment scattered about. Some were sloppily laid about the nearby chair and others still were strewn across the floor. The sign of a hasty exit. Raegn stopped pulling against Nalani and the islander set him free, though kept him under a watchful eye.
Kai approached the table and picked up one of the documents. “What do you reckon they were doing?” he asked, flipping the paper over.
“It doesn’t matter. Gather them and let’s go,” Nalani ordered.
Kai helped Tera roll the bits of parchment and stuff them into the satchel she kept slung over her shoulders. Once the group double-checked to make sure they’d found all the evidence they could, they turned to leave. Raegn re-lit the torch using the one mounted on the wall of the room and led the way back through the passageways, mentally recalling the symbols they’d followed on their way in. Tera stayed at his side, using the light of the flames to scan several of the documents. She’d read probably four or five by the time Raegn had them back at the base of the stairs beneath the storehouse.
“Any idea what they say?” he asked.
“No,” Tera answered idly. She still scanned the page she held, but her face was contorted in frustration. “These characters are the common tongue, but they’re all jumbled. It’s like it’s some sort of code. I think maybe—” she didn’t get to finish before Kai called out from above.
“We’ve got a problem!”
Raegn took the stairs three at a time with Tera on his heels. He found Kai crouched down near a stack of crates and holding a piece of rope.
“You searched him, didn’t you?!” Nalani asked, though the tone of it made the words more of an accusation.
“Of course,” Kai said. “He didn’t have a knife on him. I swear.”
“Well unless I’ve gone blind the ropes certainly look cut!” Nalani huffed.
Kai pursed his lips and looked to Raegn and Tera. “Someone came and freed him.”
“By the Seven, if that man was innocent and the Order hears of this…” Nalani didn’t finish the thought. The implication alone carried more than enough weight. Raegn tried not to think about it too much. He might enjoy more time in the kitchens, but he doubted the others would have the same opinion. Especially not Nalani. A Crusader put on menial chores? She’d be the laughing stock of her newfound brethren. Or perhaps demoted.
“They weren’t innocent,” Tera said. “They wouldn’t have fled from us or use coded language if they were.”
Nalani chewed her cheek, but nodded.
The night they walked through on their way back to the Citadel wasn’t any colder than when they’d hidden from it’s grip beneath Elysium’s streets, but it certainly seemed deeper. No one spoke save for quiet statements of parting upon reaching the point of division between the Templar and Crusader Wings. Raegn waited for an offer from Tera to join her, but no such invitation came. She’ll probably stay up all night trying to decipher those pages, he convinced himself and headed towards his own room. Tera was nothing if not determined once she had her mind set about something. He’d learned that the first night he met her, even if it was several seasons later that he’d realized it.
It hadn’t exactly been a glorious mission, but they’d been marginally successful. If the evidence turned out to be damning they might even get some recognition, though Raegn told himself he’d give it all to Tera. It was her idea, after all, and this would be the first time outside of Merced’s assignment that he’d been part of something worthwhile since joining the Order. There was satisfaction to be had in that thought and Raegn fell asleep in a state of pleasant contentment.
Dreams of Camael choking him to death and slaughtering Bastion’s populace with that glowing sword, however, stole the feeling.
##########
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Remember that RimWorld story I mentioned? Well...let me know what you think. Far from done, no full release until it is, but I've always wanted to do a teaser haha.
If you're new, Divinity is a web-serial I've been working on for a bit now. It's admittedly a bit of standard fantasy, but it's a story I've nurtured in my mind for quite some time now. If you like it I'd love to have you subscribe to any of the sites and/or leave feedback!
submitted by Lightenant to HFY [link] [comments]


2020.09.27 21:40 Lightenant 3.12 - Hallowed

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##########
Tera climbed atop the stack of crates, careful to keep her balance and not shift her partially-stable platform. The shop she perched on was empty and probably had been for several hours, but strange noises were no way to keep hidden.
“Kai,” Tera whispered. The islander gave no indication he’d heard her. “Kaikoa,” she tried again, a little louder. Kai perked up a bit like a dog waking from a nap and took a quick look over his shoulder, then nodded his head sideways for her to come closer. Tera slowly walked across the roof in a low crouch, mindful not to silhouette herself at the peak, and joined the islander at the edge behind a small parapet.
“Are they still there?” she asked.
“Yes,” Kai answered in a hushed tone. “They’re just talking, though. I’m starting to think they’re not what we’re looking for.”
Tera frowned. “All the missing people—the women, children, even the men were from the Slants,” she said as she took a seat on the cold stone of the storefront’s roof and suppressed a shiver. “These four have been waiting outside a tavern in the cold far longer than what I’d consider normal.” Kai shrugged in passive agreement and kept his eyes on the group across the street below. Tera chewed her lip as she considered how best to bring up the favor she wanted to ask. “Kai…”
The islander turned to give her a pensive stare. “What do you need me to do?” he asked begrudgingly and Tera recoiled a bit at the bluntness. How had he known? Kai sighed at her movement and was quick to reveal his source of knowledge. “The only time you can’t keep eye contact is when you want to ask me something.”
Maybe that’s how Nora always knows what I’m thinking, she thought. That was beside the point for now, though. She made an effort to look right at Kai while making a note to try to be more aware of her tells. “Listen, if it turns out they’re part of a Void Cult—” she started.
“Which is unlikely, despite their suspicious nature,” Kai added and turning back to look at the group.
“I want you to help keep an eye on Raegn,” Tera finished.
Kai stiffened, then fully turned from his sentry position to face her. “You think he’ll just kill them?”
“What? No,” Tera whispered with a glance at a rooftop some distance away. Raegn would be watching the group from a different angle, but she couldn’t make him out amongst the shadows. “I’m afraid he’ll…I don’t know, freeze?”
“That’s ridiculous,” Kai said with a wave of his hand. “Raegn’s fought the Void far more than any of us. We’ve never even seen it. We’re much more likely to be a burden to him.”
“He’s fought it, sure, but it took his home and nearly killed him, too,” she pointed out. “You haven’t spent time with him like I have, Kai.”
Tera clasped her hands together and squeezed at the memory. They’d gone to sleep like any other night, but she’d woken some time later from a motion next to her. The look on his face was…awful; distorted and scrunched like he was in so much pain. “He hardly sleeps,” she said softly. “He thrashes and sweats and sometimes cries out. I think he has nightmares every night.”
Kai opened his mouth in a smile like he was about to make a joke, probably about how often they spent the night in each other’s beds, but must have thought better of it. His jaw clacked shut and he gave his lips a nervous lick. “Alright. I’ll keep an eye out.”
“Thank you,” Tera whispered and silently made her way to the back of the roof where she could descend to the street out of sight.

###

The night was bitter and though she wrapped herself tightly in her cloak the wind still cut through the fabric. Tera blinked the water from her eyes that the cold had summoned and glanced to her left. Raegn’s face was partially obscured by his hood and shrouded in shadow, but she could see a faint glow in his eyes. He must be holding the Light. How long has he been doing that? she pondered. The Sentinels were legendary for their endurance, so she imagined enhancing his vision like that for hours came as second nature. She also imagined him running for days on end— straight into the same darkness that had almost ended all of humanity.
“Why did you fight the Void?” she asked faintly. She hadn’t even realized she said the words out loud until his voice, unnaturally gravelly, slipped out into the night.
“It was Bastion’s duty.”
The answer was unexpected, not in content, but that he replied at all. She couldn’t pinpoint why she felt that way, though. Probably because every time she asked something it always felt like she was prying. Each time she brought up some topic of his home he’d never denied her a response, but he was never the first to volunteer the information. Still, she’d already opened the door - might as well see where it led.
“So you only did it because it was expected of you?”
Raegn sniffed and wiped his nose on a gloved hand. He turned toward her and blinked several times while the glow faded from his eyes. “Well yes, but there was more to it than that. I thought I could…I don’t know. Win?” he said, unsure of himself. “I thought I could make enough of a difference that it would somehow free Bastion from its charge and save the Realm.”
Tera smiled at that. Everyone liked to think themselves a hero until they were faced with reality. He’d done far more than most in comparison, though.
“Do you still?” she asked. “Believe that, I mean.”
“I suppose a small part of me still does.” Raegn took a pouch off his belt and dumped a handful of dried berries into his palm. He held it out toward her in an offering, but Tera shook her head. He shrugged and tossed the small fruits into his mouth in one go. “I wouldn’t have joined the Order otherwise,” he said after swallowing the mouthful.
“I think it’s very noble of you,” Tera said coyly. She’d meant for it to be more of a flirty jest, but she cursed herself for sounding meek, like some sort of servant-girl.
Raegn chuckled. “Arrogant is more accurate. There are very few who made such a difference. You would think by now I would have learned that stories rarely reflect reality.”
“It’s good to have a belief like that, though,” she blurted out. She’d felt the same about becoming a Justicar, after all. Plus, his ardent nature nature was one of the things she’d come to admire about him. Passion begets passion, she supposed.
“Oh? And you believe the same, right? Raegn asked. “You told me in the library you joined to protect the Realm.”
“That was…partially true,” Tera said under her breath and hugged her knees a bit tighter. “I wanted to surpass my sister and prove my worth to my family name. To become the greatest Justicar in the Order’s history.”
“How come you never talk about her?” Raegn shifted into a more comfortable position, as though he were anticipating a long anecdote. “Kai told me you had a sister seasons ago but I’ve never even heard you say her name.”
“It’s…not that complicated, really,” she admitted. “It’s just not a fun topic.”
“And why’s that?”
Tera sighed and resigned herself to telling him the story. She knew she probably should’ve done it earlier in their relationship. He’d been open enough to talk about his past even though it had been taken from him - it was only fair that she discuss hers as well.
“We’re only half-sisters,” she said and let her head fall back against the half-wall at the edge of the roof. “We share the same mother, but Nora is the daughter of Lucas Caloman, one of the greatest Justicar the Order has ever known. I’ve never met my father, but I know he’s some merchant from the Kheeralid territories. Lucas gave me the Caloman name even after returning home from a long assignment to discover me, an infant child held in an unfaithful woman’s arms.”
Raegn grunted in soft acknowledgment. “I can understand some resentment towards your mother then, but Nora?”
Tera nodded in shame. “She represents everything I want to be. She looks like a true Elysian. She’s tall, athletic, has beautiful blonde hair, and she doesn’t have any…issues, with the Light,” she finished with a woeful wave of her hand.
“Well, whatever your mental block is with the Light, your ability with barriers is still impressive,” Raegn said and shuffled his way along the roof to a spot next to her. “The first time Merced mentioned it I remember thinking, ‘She would have been the center point of Bastion’s planning if she were in the ranks.’ Plus,” Raegn added with an arm wrapped around her shoulders, “your hair suits me just fine.”
Tera turned her head away and mumbled a soft thanks. Her cheeks were already pink from the bitter wind, but she felt a different heat rising in them now.

###

In a not-so-unexpected turn of fate, the night had managed to get even colder. It couldn’t possibly have been any darker, though the alleyways were noticeably less visible than the man streets that were partially lit by lanterns. The group huddled in the shadow of a street corner, watching their quandary head away.
“We should go after them,” Tera said.
“What for?” Nalani asked incredulously. “They stood around and talked and now they’re walking. They’ve hardly done anything suspicious. Maybe the tavern was noisy or they wanted to have a private conversation. We’ve had plenty of those, haven’t we?” She finished her thought with a bit of heat targeted at Tera.
“But they—”
“Haven’t done anything wrong, Tera,” Nalani finished for her.
There was a long silence filled by the muffled sounds from inside the tavern and its sign that creaked in the faint wind. Tera looked to Raegn, but he didn’t know what else to say. He shrugged, but all that earned him was a sharp scowl.
Nalani was right, though, technically. There wasn’t much of a motive for this group to have been cultists. Raegn had imagined flowing robes, secret emblems, or faces hidden by hoods, yet these men wore simple pants and shirts under cloaks—all perfectly normal for the time of year. Still, Tera continued to glare at him, then turned away in a huff.
“I say we follow them,” Kai said abruptly. Nalani frowned at the other islander and Tera seemed a bit surprised by the suggestion as well. “What?” Kai asked defensively. “We said we were looking for cultists. People have gone missing at night and this is a group out at the right time in the right area. Following doesn’t do any harm, so I say we follow.”
The frown on Nalani’s face grew into a deep glower, but she gave a shallow nod. Kai turned to head down the street in the same direction the group had gone and Nalani strode up beside him. She leaned in to whisper something, but Kai shrugged and kept his pace. Raegn tried to walk next to Tera, but each time he got next to her she hastened her stride to get away from him. The little game continued until she was leading the group and Raegn was left to walk next to Nalani and Kai.
They followed the men for several blocks, making sure to pause at intersections and sending only one person ahead to not lose sight of their quarry. Tera was normally the one leading the chase as they wound their way through the narrow dirt streets of the Slants. In his first few days in Elysium, Raegn thought the name for this part of the city to be an exaggeration, but this deep into the labyrinth of leaning and rotting wooden buildings there could be little doubt - the night sky was hardly visible with how far some of the structures had contorted out over the streets. It played a trick on the mind and made it feel as though they were walking on an incline despite the ground being perfectly flat.
To make matters worse, Tera still refused to allow him near her. It seemed only minutes ago that she’d damn near snuggled against him when he’d embraced her and now her shoulder was colder than the night. Raegn knew he put off a similar air when he was focused, but this seemed more…directed. At him, specifically. Did all women have to be so fickle?
Their pursuit paused for a moment as one of the men ducked into an alley to relieve himself and the other’s stood about waiting for him. Kai crouched behind a stack of barrels, peering through the gap between two of the large casks with Nalani at his side. Raegn used the opportunity to give Tera a slight tug on the arm and motion a few steps back. She rolled her eyes and sighed, but followed. When they were far enough away that they could still see the two islanders but not be heard, Raegn opened his mouth to ask what was wrong, but Tera turned her back on him to keep Nalani and Kai in sight. The blatant disregard was enough to make his blood boil, but he forced in a deep breath and prayed for the strength not to yell at her.
“Listen,” he whispered, “I don’t have a lot of experience with this sort of thing, but I don’t think you’re being entirely fair. If something’s wrong I feel like you should tell me.”
For a long moment it seemed like she was content to just keep ignoring him, but then Tera let out a long sigh and turned to face him. “I don’t have much experience either, you know. You’re my first, actually,” Tera said while wriggling the toe of her boot against the ground. Raegn had all but known as much, but hearing her confirm it did bring a bit of selfish joy. “But why is Kai the one defending me? Shouldn’t that be you?”
Her eyes were fierce, her tone accusatory, and she was right. Raegn stared at her in mild shock, then gave a slow nod. He’d only played his part so far as what she’d told him to say. Everything else he’d done only because he was already committed, not because he felt any real desire for it.
“It’s just…” Tera kept her eyes on the ground as if she couldn’t find the words to say. “I thought you’d be more supportive,” she murmured. “But when I realized you hadn’t actually helped much with the planning and Nalani said I had my hooks in you… it just…when you looked like you were just going along with everything it made me feel like I was using you,” she finished hurriedly.
Raegn remembered the feeling. Days spent planning a route to the Ridge that afforded them the best pace while still giving ample opportunity to scout the paths the Void frequented. All that work only to be met with scorn by his mentor and doubt from those he led. He had been bitter, too.
This was important to her. Raegn clenched his fists and forced his own resolve to grow. If it was important to her, it was important to him.
“Tera, I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t support your plan,” he assured her.
“I know,” she said with her head hung. “It just didn’t feel like it.”
A soft whistle from Kai had both of them scurrying to rejoin their friends who had kept watch. The suspicious men were on the move again.
They resumed their cautious pursuit, though this time it wasn’t long until the group entered a small, single-story shack tucked along a muddy street. Tera led the way around the block to reach the far side of the building without having to trudge through the slop leading to its front side. Raegn was thankful as the mud had to have been comprised of more than just dirt and water given the smell. Nalani seemed hesitant to approach the exterior wall, but Tera left her little time to voice any complaints. Raegn cursed himself when Kai was the first to follow, but made sure he at least beat Nalani to the position Tera had taken up beneath a small rectangular opening nestled just beneath the roof.
“Help me up,” Tera said.
Raegn was halfway to her when he realized she’d been talking to Kai. The islander shook his head in a silent laugh.
“What?” Tera asked, noticing the activity. A look of guilt spread across her face as her eyes moved between the two of them. “Oh, sorry,” she mumbled. “He’s just bigger and stronger.”
Bigger and stronger, Kai mouthed through a wide smile.
Raegn rolled his eyes and stepped back with his arms crossed. Either of us could lift her up, he told himself. She only asked Kai because they’ve known each longer and she was just mad at you. Still, it stung more than it had a right to. Maybe he could get payback and hoist Nalani…he shook his head. It’s not like they were going to fit through that tiny hole in the wall.
Kai laced his fingers to give Tera a foothold, then lifted her above his head so that she could grab hold of the ledge beneath the opening.
“Well?” Nalani asked. “Anything up there?”
“Just wait,” Tera whispered. She continued softly talking to herself, describing what she saw inside as though saying it would better commit it to memory. “Alright, let me down,” she ordered quietly. Kai complied and Tera landed softly on the street, avoiding a nearby puddle far darker than normal water.
“So?”
Nalani seemed awfully persistent, but Raegn reminded himself it was her right as the one responsible for this little excursion. It may have been Tera’s plan, but it was Nalani’s authority that would protect them from any reprisal the Order might issue.
“All five were inside. There’s a door hidden under a rug in the back left of the room. They all went in save for one,” Tera recounted.
“Okay,” Nalani said with a slow shake of her head. “And where do you think you’re going?” she snapped at Raegn.
He’d made it several steps away from the group, but turned back at the question. “To the door?” he said with a thumb over his shoulder.
“Just like that?” the islander asked incredulously.
He looked at the rest of the group huddled in the side alley. Tera watched him cautiously. Was this not what she would want? They’d come this far, why stop now?
“There’s only one of them,” he said matter-of-factly.
“And what if he alerts the others?” Nalani shot back.
Raegn pondered it for a time, then simply shrugged. They were three Templar and a Crusader. Each had a small sword hung from their belt and he doubted they’d be finding anyone in heavy armor. They ought to be able to fight two or three times their number.
“It’d still be an even fight,” he answered.
“On unfamiliar ground,” Nalani insisted. “I don’t like this. We should head back to report what we’ve found.”
“Come on, Nal,” Kai interjected. “You don’t think we can take a few street urchins?”
“Who knows what’s down there, you oaf,” she answered, then turned towards Tera. “We’ve learned something, you should be proud of that. You’ve followed a lead no one else in the Order thought to and it seems like it’s going somewhere, but a larger team can come back and check out the rest.”
“They’ll get all the credit!” Tera complained.
“It shouldn’t be about credit, Tera,” Nalani scolded.
Tera gave a huff, but apparently knew better than to argue. Had she not just finished telling him how she’d felt, Raegn might have let this be the end of their mission. As things were, though, he couldn’t bear to see the look of defeat on her face. It didn’t suit her. He liked the sternness of her eyes and the determination she normally held in her cheeks. Now seemed like as good a time as any to prove he would back her.
Raegn’s knock on the door brought an end to any debate. The group whirled on him and Nalani’s eyes seethed enough hatred that it looked as though she might be seriously considering stabbing him. He did his best to maintain his composure under the deathly glare and waved Kai to come join him. The islander took up a hasty position at the side of the door and they waited for the approaching footsteps.
The moment the door opened Raegn lunged forward, gripping the man’s head with one hand at the back to prevent a retreat and the other over the mouth to prevent a cry of alert. Kai was only a moment behind. The islander delivered a fist deep into the man’s gut. Their victim wretched, all the air forced from his lungs, and collapsed to the floor.
“What are you doing?!” Nalani hissed.
“Subduing a suspicious citizen,” Raegn informed her. He slipped the rope they’d brought to help climb atop roofs from his belt and bound the man’s hands and ankles before gagging him with a large square of cloth.
It wouldn’t have been possible for Nalani’s eyes to bulge any further without popping out of her head. “And now what?! We haul him back to the Order?” she chided.
“I figured we’d go down,” Raegn said with a point at the rug in the corner of the room.
The building looked to be little more than a storehouse, full of half-broken crates and barrels with the metal bands rusting and failing to keep the boards tightly bound. The rug was an odd touch of decor, especially when one considered the large square lump at its center that it did a miserable job of concealing. Raegn hadn’t even needed Tera to point it out despite her being the only one who had seen it prior to their entry.
“And what about him?” Nalani asked with a point at the bound man who still struggled for air.
Raegn didn’t really have a plan for that, but he made one up as fast as the words left his mouth. “We’ll leave him here and either arrest him or release him based on what we find below,” he said with his hands raised in defense. All he had wanted was to show Tera he would support her, but now that Nalani’s anger was solely focused on him he was beginning to regret it.
Nalani bit her lip and glared at him. She gave a curt nod of her head Tera took a guarded walk over and to the rug and pulled it away to reveal a cellar door.
“It’s unlocked,” Tera said.
There wasn’t much need for her statement in reality. The satisfying clunk of the handle and groan of the hinges as the door swung upward and fell back onto the floor might as well have been deafening while Raegn held Nalani’s disapproving scowl.
“We go down, we look around quickly, and then we come up,” Nalani growled. “And in those short moments one of you three will come up with a way to justify detaining this man.”
The Crusader let her icy gaze linger on each of them for an uncomfortable period of time. Raegn hazarded quick glances toward Tera and Kai. Both of them gave cautious nods in response. He took a slow step towards the cellar door and when Nalani didn’t reach for her sword or try to kill him he took another. Halfway across the room he began to string his steps together to look like normal walking, but the air remained stiff and he hoped Kai might make a lunge to restrain his beloved if Nalani suddenly changed her mind.
Tera was the first to descend the rickety stairs. It turned out not to be a cellar that lay below the storehouse, but an underground passageway. Even from the foot of the stairs and with a single torch to provide light Raegn could see that the tunnel intersected several others before it disappeared into blackness.
“Now what?” Kai asked.
“We follow the mud,” Tera said with a point at the ground.
Several sets of footprints headed away from the stairs and took a left at the first intersection. They tracked the prints for several turns before the traces of wet earth became so faint that they were no longer visible.
“And now we’ve no trail to follow,” Nalani noted sarcastically. “We’re liable to get lost if we go any further.”
“Not exactly,” Raegn and Tera said at the same time. He looked at her quizzically and she returned the expression.
“You first,” Tera said.
Raegn shrugged. “Not much to it for me. There are symbols carved into the wall at every intersection. Look.”
Raegn guided Kai’s hand and the torch it held towards the corner where two walls met. Small carvings, little more than a few parallel lines with others intersecting, were on either wall just to the side of the seam.
“We used a similar method when we scouted the Scarred Lands,” he explained. “Some symbols reveal paths, others where a vanguard currently is. I’m willing to bet each of these symbols leads somewhere, but which one we’ve been following has changed a few times while we were tracking the footprints.”
“And you?” Nalani redirected her attention to Tera.
“I just memorized our turns,” she answered sheepishly. “To get back we make a right, two lefts, each with an intersection between where we go straight, and then another right.”
Nalani rolled her eyes. “Well that’s all well and good, but we still don’t have anything to follow.”
“Then let’s try this,” Raegn said and took the torch from Kai. He ignored the cries of surprise and anger of his friends while he smothered the flame against the ground.
“What are you doing?!” Nalani hissed.
“We can relight it,” he reminded her. “Now that it’s dark we just need our eyes to adjust…” he waited some time, slowing turning in a circle to look down the three different routes they had to choose between. “There!” he pointed down one where the faintest of lights stood out from the blackness.
“Let’s go!” Tera urged and took off down the passage.
Raegn didn’t have trouble keeping up. He could’ve passed Tera easily, in fact, but he grinned wildly as he tailed her through the corridor. They came upon the source of the light quite quickly. A simple door, little more than a few planks of wood held together by roughly pounded nails, failed to seal away the flickering of a torch held within its room. Tera flung the door open without any hesitation. A wise move, Raegn reasoned, considering how tentative Nalani had been.
The moment they gained access to the room another door on the far side swung shut. This time it was Raegn who took the first step to give chase, but he found arms wrap themselves under his.
“No you don’t!” Nalani grunted as Raegn struggled to free himself. “We’re not pursuing any further!”
“It’s fine, Raegn,” Tera said and raised a hand. “Look.”
She pointed at a table in the center of the room with several pieces of parchment scattered about. Some were sloppily laid about the nearby chair and others still were strewn across the floor. The sign of a hasty exit. Raegn stopped pulling against Nalani and the islander set him free, though kept him under a watchful eye.
Kai approached the table and picked up one of the documents. “What do you reckon they were doing?” he asked, flipping the paper over.
“It doesn’t matter. Gather them and let’s go,” Nalani ordered.
Kai helped Tera roll the bits of parchment and stuff them into the satchel she kept slung over her shoulders. Once the group double-checked to make sure they’d found all the evidence they could, they turned to leave. Raegn re-lit the torch using the one mounted on the wall of the room and led the way back through the passageways, mentally recalling the symbols they’d followed on their way in. Tera stayed at his side, using the light of the flames to scan several of the documents. She’d read probably four or five by the time Raegn had them back at the base of the stairs beneath the storehouse.
“Any idea what they say?” he asked.
“No,” Tera answered idly. She still scanned the page she held, but her face was contorted in frustration. “These characters are the common tongue, but they’re all jumbled. It’s like it’s some sort of code. I think maybe—” she didn’t get to finish before Kai called out from above.
“We’ve got a problem!”
Raegn took the stairs three at a time with Tera on his heels. He found Kai crouched down near a stack of crates and holding a piece of rope.
“You searched him, didn’t you?!” Nalani asked, though the tone of it made the words more of an accusation.
“Of course,” Kai said. “He didn’t have a knife on him. I swear.”
“Well unless I’ve gone blind the ropes certainly look cut!” Nalani huffed.
Kai pursed his lips and looked to Raegn and Tera. “Someone came and freed him.”
“By the Seven, if that man was innocent and the Order hears of this…” Nalani didn’t finish the thought. The implication alone carried more than enough weight. Raegn tried not to think about it too much. He might enjoy more time in the kitchens, but he doubted the others would have the same opinion. Especially not Nalani. A Crusader put on menial chores? She’d be the laughing stock of her newfound brethren. Or perhaps demoted.
“They weren’t innocent,” Tera said. “They wouldn’t have fled from us or use coded language if they were.”
Nalani chewed her cheek, but nodded.
The night they walked through on their way back to the Citadel wasn’t any colder than when they’d hidden from it’s grip beneath Elysium’s streets, but it certainly seemed deeper. No one spoke save for quiet statements of parting upon reaching the point of division between the Templar and Crusader Wings. Raegn waited for an offer from Tera to join her, but no such invitation came. She’ll probably stay up all night trying to decipher those pages, he convinced himself and headed towards his own room. Tera was nothing if not determined once she had her mind set about something. He’d learned that the first night he met her, even if it was several seasons later that he’d realized it.
It hadn’t exactly been a glorious mission, but they’d been marginally successful. If the evidence turned out to be damning they might even get some recognition, though Raegn told himself he’d give it all to Tera. It was her idea, after all, and this would be the first time outside of Merced’s assignment that he’d been part of something worthwhile since joining the Order. There was satisfaction to be had in that thought and Raegn fell asleep in a state of pleasant contentment.
Dreams of Camael choking him to death and slaughtering Bastion’s populace with that glowing sword, however, stole the feeling.
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submitted by Lightenant to Lightenant [link] [comments]


2020.09.27 07:41 TheWriteWayYT So, I wrote my approach to worldbuilding and I'd like to share it here for others. I'd also like to hear from others about there methods or opinions on any I've presented here.

Okay, So here is some approaches I use or have seen and I think can work. Personally, I mix all of these into various works. You can however just run with one till you have an idea what you're doing.
The first method: Map. Draw a map. Instantly you'll be imagining conflicts, city locations, borders...You'll probably make some mistakes, but don't worry. For instance, in early civilizations they tend to form natural borders. This means they get fenced in by rivers and mountains. However, maybe you've drawn them with no knowledge of this. Then you later learn of it or have it pointed out to you.
Don't scrap the project. You can adjust your map. Explore politics in the distant and isolated reaches of the kingdom. Talk about how they overcome the historic and real world troubles with fantasy or sci fi elements. And hey, now you're worldbuilding and you literally just started scribbling lines on paper.
Second method: Map, but informed.
Go to a great Youtuber or online resource or book (I like artefexian: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3jfv_lpsQE ) and get series about the science. Now you're going to make informed 'mistakes' or deviations. Exploring those to get black plants, red sand and two stars.
Then ask how this new world impacts your people. What unique animals would evolve (remember evolution is all about advantages out-breeding disadvantages) to live in the red sand and black trees, but in the super bright and hot lands?
Method 3: The DOOM method
You don't need to worry about anything. Just throw a character in and have them begin interacting with the world. Did they wake up on a base in Mars with demonic symbols, Space suits, machine guns and human husks all around... well better get to surviving.
Suddenly you're so deep in the world that your questions are piling up, but also feeling unimportant because you're getting immersed in how interesting this world is.
Doom is kind of set on our character not caring and also does expand and flesh things out a little when it can. Which gives us a path to...
Method 4: The iceberg method
Do your people always leave food by the door? are shoes forbidden in basements when visiting the north? Do they call the cardinal directions by other names? Just run with it. Your character knows these things, and so does everyone in these vignettes or scenes. And then we will pick them up. A lot of culture, best practices and traditions aren't that deeply understood by the average person anyway. So, anyone who has travelled knows the feeling of "when in Rome do as the romans".
Take us to Rome and force us to accept the norms by showing us a piece of something.
Then on occasion sink a ship, by showing us the iceberg.
Did someone forget to salt the grave? Was Jimmy careless and took the short way home? is the back door locked on an anniversary of a family death?
What is going to happen now?
Method 5: Mystery Box
The show Lost and parts of the new star wars movies use this and it is a compelling trick, but one that is easy to get wrong. The idea is that mystery is more satisfying than answers. So throw questions on your world and never explain them. Just keep the "infinite possibilities" going.
So perhaps there is an island and it has begun to levitate. No one knows why, how, or to where. Some people have ideas, but nothing concrete. You build characters, setting and more in the explanation.
See a giant floating island is a great hook. And while you're telling us "how abnormal it is" and how "maybe someone could do this with ancestor magic" you're actually getting to sneak a lot of expository work to your audience. And they'll lap it up, if your island is working as a hook.
This branches into two paths. If writing a story the island and its resolution will either be the focus of the story or not.
It can be the focus of the audience, but if it is the focus of the narrative then you'll need to explain it. If instead the narrative shifts to some internal goal, or maybe say something like a girl trying to save her boyfriend who is on the island then it won't matter in the end why it was floating.
Method 6: Start with a creation myth. Forming the gods can be a great place to get a feel for things. Similarly, how did the nation come to be? How did this town form? Who founded the school?
Any creation lays foundation and that makes building easier.
Method 7: A world for a scene.
Think of a single scene. Perhaps a boy weeping and terrified looking at his teddy bear grin. He then shoots both his parents and grows wings.
Or a dragon that breathes a gas that coats the city in crystals and when shattered the human reflections come to life and kill the original human they are based on.
Now go build a world that explains that scene. Go ground it and work to earn your "cool" premise.
Method 8: Reality but not
Go to project gutenberg, wikipedia or a documentary. Take it. Use it.
For example:
Margaret Macpherson Grant (27 April 1834 – 14 April 1877) was a Scottish heiress and philanthropist. Born in Aberlour parish to a local surgeon, she was educated in Hampshire, and was left an only child when her elder brother died in India in 1852. Two years later, she inherited a large fortune from her uncle, Alexander Grant, an Aberlour-born planter and merchant who had become rich in Jamaica.
Macpherson Grant took up residence in Aberlour House), which had been built for her uncle by William Robertson). She lived unconventionally for a woman of her time, dressing in a manner that one newspaper called "manly", and entering into what was described as a form of marriage with a female companion, Charlotte Temple, whom she had met in London in 1864. Macpherson Grant donated generously to charitable enterprises, especially those associated with the Scottish Episcopal Church, establishing an orphanage (now the Aberlour Child Care Trust) and founding St Margaret's Episcopal Church in Aberlour. She drank heavily, and despite attempts by friends and family members to persuade her to stop, she always relapsed into alcoholism.
From this wikipedia page, literally, the one suggest on their front page today: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Macpherson_Grant
Now what if it was set in our fictional world:
Well firstly, would that be her name? What about the years? and her lifespan. Where is from? does Scotland still exist? What do they call "being an only child" in the new culture you're making? What is a fortune and how does inheritance work? Are Planter and Merchant jobs in your setting?
Then, and this was entirely by accident, we get to the juicy topic of gender norms and sexuality and societal views. So you get to explore that.
This is a lot of work, but it is worth it.
So, how to apply all the above like I do:
Well, I learned creativity in classic portraiture and thus my bias is evident on structure first.
You lay big broad and general guides. Then you box in vague details. Mostly regarding things like spacing of the eyes and length of the nose.
This is the most important stage, but also the least appreciated. But like anything, say building a house, you may notice the decorations first, but you've got to live with the plumbing.
Once the structure is in place, you can move on to details. We move from light to darker and lastly the shading and hard to remove things. So you build broad to then do the fun micro and hyper focused polishing.
But you might not have enough to do this, because worldbuilding isn't drawing. Well, in art we don't let the model sit for 5 hours before we know we hate the pose.
So, of course you want to do a few bursts and rushes to get an idea of what you're doing. This is where I used the Doom, iceberg and mystery box. I then fit it to a map. I then use the wikipedia method to build a lot of things I probably wasn't thinking about.
I then visit this sub for the prompts and use those as a way of exploring and clarifying what I know.
Sincerely, I hope this helps. Worldbuilding is a great hobby for its own purposes. Both creative and scientific. So, if you're doing it with a goal great, but if you just want a world then thats also fine.
All hobbies are work and while a knitter never has to start a business there is artificial pressures on people like us to pivot our hobby into a job.
If you like doing this then it only has to meet your standards and your goals.
submitted by TheWriteWayYT to worldbuilding [link] [comments]


2020.09.27 07:31 Hydrarifle Analysis of Istina’s Bibliosmia Skin

Credits: huge thank you to u/rowanelm for translating the video and giving me permission to use their work, and u/malicealmond who linked the video in the daily megathread, I hope you enjoy reading this \ ( ゚◡゚) /
 
Warning! spoilers ahead about the upcoming Children of Ursus event story
 
Main references:
This amazing video by big brain CN doktahs
Agatha Christie Wikia
u/Laulicon - write up of Ursus story
 
Introduction
Skade is well known for her incredibly detailed skin art for operators as seen with Nightingale’s Elegy skin and Specter’s Undercurrent skin, and I thought I’d do a little write-up on the numerous cleverly hidden references in Istina’s upcoming Bibliosmia skin.
Through her voice lines and trust files, it is clear that Istina is a massive bookworm, as she displays a great interest in the books in the Doctor’s office and frequently reads there. She enjoys topics such as Arts, detective literature, sociology, politics, economics, dialectical materialism, and fashion, and also reads magazines on making snacks.
This outfit is heavily inspired by the traditional Russian dress, called a Sarafan, which is no surprise as it is generally accepted that Ursus is the Terra equivalent of Russia.
 
Bibliosmia (n) - The smell and aroma of a good book.
 
Skin description:
经过重新搭配的乌民族服饰,真理穿着它在美食节推广传统美食。朴素材料下编入了难以计数的细节,只等自认聪慧的人前来寻找答案。
百般玩乐,唯书与食可兼得。
 
Translation:
After being re-coordinated to reflect the national outfits of the people of Ursus, Istina wore this outfit to promote traditional cuisine at the food festival. Countless details are engrained under the simple materials, awaiting people who believe they are clever enough to seek out the truth. (TN: the Chinese word here actually means "answers" but I think "truth" is more befitting and incidentally, Istina's name Истина means truth) There are many types of fun in the world, but only books and food are compatible with each other.
 
Pile of books + number 5 tag
The titles of the from top to bottom: This Little Pig Went to Market, This Little Pig Stayed at Home, This Little Pig Had Roast Beef, This Little Pig Had None, This Little Pig Cried Wee Wee Wee.  
This is not only an obvious reference to the nursery rhyme This Little Piggy but also a reference to Agatha Christie’s detective novel “Five Little Pigs”, also known as “Murder in Retrospect”, in which the 5 main suspects in a murder case each tell their version of the event, albeit 16 years later. This leaves a lot of room for the reader to piece together clues and potentially solve the mystery themselves, another nod to the skin’s description. The victim was a painter who loved his alcohol, which links to the brush used to write the number 5 on the tag, and potentially the wine glass. Furthermore, the chapters 6-10 of the novel are titled using the exact same lines of the nursery rhyme as quoted above, referring to the 5 prime suspects; an extroverted stockbroker (went to the market), a reclusive former amateur herbalist (stayed at home), a spoiled upper-class lady (had roast beef), a middle-class governess (had none), and a physically disfigured archaeologist (cried all the way home).
This also strongly hints at a correlation to the Ursus Student Self-Governing Group, comprised of extroverted leader Zima (went to the market), introvert Istina (stayed at home), chef Gummy (had roast beef). The other 2 could refer to any of the remaining 5 members of the Ursus faction; Beehunter, Absinthe, Rosa, Vika, and Summer.
This warrants a brief summary of the Ursus event, how the Chernobog incident affected each of the Ursus girls, and how the above titles correspond to them. When Reunion invaded the city, led by Mephisto, many students from different places were brought to Zima’s school (not all the girls were from the same school) and held as hostages for over 10 days. There were 2 groups of students; the civilians led by Zima, and the aristocrats led by Rosa.
A fire broke out in one of the food storerooms (likely by Mephisto), so in order to feed the civilian students, Gummy, as chef of the group, was forced to cook their only source of raw meat; the corpses of dead students. This explains her difficulty in controlling the strength of her 3rd hit, pointed out by Dur-nar during defender training, which is a technique to cut bone on the 3rd chop.
Vika was Istina’s best friend and a traitor, planning to defect to the aristocrats’ group. Istina discovered this, keeping with the heavy detective references in the story and the skin art. She let Vika fall to her death, and the guilt still haunts her to this day, as seen by her keeping Vika’s teddy bear, but she puts on a façade pretending she’s fine in front of the others, almost believing in her own lie.
The group of traitors were planning on attacking Zima, so she believed she had no choice but to kill them in order to protect the others. However, this strong sense of responsibility has resulted in her suffering from PTSD to this day and countless nightmares about whether she did the right thing.
I believe Rosa could be the “pig who had none”. After the destruction of the aristocrats by the second fire (accidentally ignited by Zima) and she is rescued by the Ursus group, she realizes that she does not hold as much dignity and kindness as she believed. She willingly chose to let the aristocrats rob the civilians for food/resources, which makes her feel extremely guilty, and leads to her developing PTSD and suicidal tendencies. Thus, she has lost both the value tied to her former title as a “noble aristocrat” and her mental stability.
 
The next few references are not as in-depth relating to the in-game lore of the Ursus girls, but are still unbelievably ingenious Easter eggs, nonetheless.
 
ABC blocks + number 3 tag
These seemingly innocent-looking decorations are a reference to "The A.B.C. Murders", another detective novel by Agatha Christie, in which the murderer goes by the pseudonym “A.B.C.”. The number 3 is particularly significant in the novel: 3 letters, 3 places, 3 murders, 3 bodies.
 
Chessboard + number 4 tag
Another Agatha Christie reference. Her novel “The Big Four” has a cover which features an almost identical chessboard. The number 4 written on the chessboard could be read as XI, the Greek numeral for 11. This ties in neatly with chapter 11 of the novel, titled “The Chess Problem”.
 
Самовар (Samovar) (metal container traditionally used to boil water) carved with number 13
Together with the food on the table, the number 13 likely refers to another Agatha Crhistie crime novel; "Thirteen at Dinner", also known as “Lord Edgware Dies”.
 
It could also be alluding to the collection of short stories by Christie; "The Labours of Hercules", which follows a private detective closing 12 cases before he retires. He chooses the cases in an order which conforms to the mythological sequence of the Twelve Labours of Hercules. This ancient Greek myth tells the story of Heracles, a great Greek hero attempting to repent for his sins. This may be suggesting that the Ursus girls are each trying, in their own ways, to atone for what they deem as their sins committed during the Chernobog incident.
 
For example, Rosa clearly cannot forgive herself for failing to protect the lives of the civillian students, as seen in her trust voice line:
 
博士,成为大人后,就能够变得容易忘记吗?我如果变成大人,就能够原谅自己了吗?变成像博士这样成熟的大人,就能够好好处理自己心里的那些讨人厌的感情吗?
 
Translation:
"Doctor, after becoming an adult, does it become easier to forget? Once I become an adult, can I forgive myself? If I grow into a mature adult like Doctor, will I be able to overcome these dreadful feelings deep in my heart?"
 
Wooden clock behind Istina + book she’s reading
Using Istina’s body as the clock hands, it is quarter past noon. Together with the book Istina is reading, which is likely “Murder on the Orient Express”, this lines up perfectly with the time of death of the novel’s victim; 12:15am.
 
Istina’s idle voice line directly references this novel as well:
 
Whoa, I never expected this solution! "All the passengers on this train are murderers!"
 
This could also be a reference to another detective novel by Agatha Christie, The Seven Dials Mystery, which is filled with clock references. The novel has a cover featuring a clock positioned at 4 o'clock, similar to Istina's position in relation to the clock.
 
Food
Teatime!
Istina is enjoying a variety of traditional Russian foods on the table beside her and on top of the book by her feet.
Оладьи (Oladyi) - thick pancakes with berries
Блин (Blin) – thin pancakes
Борщ (Borscht) – sour soup
The 2 cups very likely contain red tea, as referenced in Istina’s story in the Ursus event when she brews red tea for May and Rosa.
This is a potential reference to another Agatha Christie novel, Sad Cypress, in which the victim dies of poison supposedly placed in her fish-paste sandwich during a tea party.
 
Gummy
The jug and cup on the table has Gummy on it.
The bear in the background is the same one in Gummy’s summer skin and says “Ursus Student Self-Governing Group” on it.
The flag streamer shows up in both skins too, which might represent the Ursus girls’ colours.
This indicates Istina and Gummy’s close friendship and how after the Chernobog incident, Gummy needs Istina and Zima around as support to quell her PTSD and other “habits”, such as her fear of darkness and insatiable hunger.
 
Zima
The ribbon on Istina’s skirt says Полярные which means “Polar” and has Zima on it. At first, I thought this was a reference to Istina being a polar bear, but she is actually a Spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus), as seen by the name written on her coat. Zima has the same ribbon in her skin.
This could possibly be a reference to Rosa who is based on a polar bear (Ursus martitimus), but the word is in plural form, so it could just be a stylistic choice or a simple reference to their group and all of them being bears. - thank you to u/mort_a_credit for pointing this out
 
Flowers
These white flowers are abundantly scattered around Istina. My personal theory is that they are white cosmos, which represent order, harmony, and tranquillity. Ironically, the Chernobog incident greatly upset the peace and serenity of the girls' lives, claiming the lives of many and inflicting irreparable mental damage. However, they could also be white daisies which represent innocence, purity and new beginnings. Similarly, this could have a more sombre meaning - the Ursus girls losing their innocence with the Chernobog incident and starting a new life at Rhodes Island.
 
Thanks for reading and please let me know if I’ve made any mistakes or missed anything out!
submitted by Hydrarifle to arknights [link] [comments]


2020.09.26 08:09 AdequateSizeAttache Setting the Record Straight on the Evidence of Prior Sexual Abuse - Part 1

[This post has been split into two parts because of selfpost character limits.]

Introduction

It surprises me how often I see discussions involving speculation on whether JonBenet's UTIs, vaginitis, bedwetting, and history of frequent doctor visits indicate sexual abuse or not. These discussions invariably include people chiming in to share how they or someone they know had similar issues but were never abused. From these discussions, one could get the impression that itchy pageant costumes or Mr. Bubble useage are perfectly reasonable explanations for the evidence of sexual abuse.
The fact is, there's no need to speculate based on these things. There is physical evidence of prior sexual abuse. This is the evidence that should be at the forefront of discussions on the question of sexual abuse, not bubble baths or bedwetting. Issues such as vaginitis, UTIs, and bedwetting are not specific to sexual abuse; there are other possible explanations for them. There is no other possible explanation for the physical evidence besides trauma from physical penetration.
In reading discussions on the case over the years, it's always puzzled me how often the evidence of prior sexual abuse gets downplayed or dismissed. In considering why, I believe it is due primarily to these two common misconceptions:
Common Misconception 1 (as demonstrated above): The evidence of sexual abuse = vaginal irritation, UTIs, rashes, bedwetting, soiling, frequent doctor visits
Common Misconception 2: There is a medical debate on the issue and there's evidence to support both sides
Common Misconception 1 is a straw man argument — the actual evidence (the physical findings) is not being addressed or refuted.
Common Misconception 2 is an argument from false equivalence. An equal, rather than accurate, amount of weight is given to both sides of the issue. People see the mountain of conflicting information and contradicting opinions and think "It looks like expert opinion on this issue is divided; I guess a case can be made for either side." The enormous difference in expertise and experience between the various experts is ignored, as is the level of access they had to the evidence. This misconception gives the impression that all these expert opinions cancel each other out, rendering the issue debatable and open to interpretation. Consequently, the probative value of the evidence is undermined, making it easier for people to feel they can dismiss.
I think several factors have contributed to these two misconceptions:
However, if one takes a closer look at the evidence, it becomes apparent that it is not weighted equally on both sides. There is no medical debate, but a medical consensus. Every child sexual abuse expert who examined the genital findings from JonBenet's autopsy recognized physical signs of sexual abuse that predated her murder. Despite some objections to their conclusion, no one has disputed the physical findings of these experts. Their findings are compelling and should be seriously considered. In order to do that, though, one must first understand what the findings are and get acquainted with the doctors who testified to them.
The purpose of this post is to lay out everything that is known about the evidence of prior sexual abuse, but also to put it into a larger context so that hopefully it will be better understood. This will involve delving a bit into the history of child sexual abuse evaluations (it will become relevant later), as well as some background information of the experts involved. I will also go over dissenting opinions and address some common counterarguments and myths.

The evolution of modern pediatric sexual abuse evaluations: A brief historical timeline

1857 - One of the first known forensic medical studies on child sexual abuse, Étude médico-légale sur les attentats aux mœurs (Forensic study on offenses against morals) by French medical doctor and pathologist Auguste Ambroise Tardieu, is published. This treatise describes various forms of child abuse and maltreatment and includes anatomical drawings of genital findings which by modern standards are considered surprisingly accurate and ahead of its time. For some reason these efforts are largely ignored and it will be over a century before interest in sexual abuse evaluations from a medical perspective is resurrected.
1940s-50s - Child sexual abuse remains an unacknowledged taboo. Medical textbooks of this era tell doctors that children can contract STIs like gonorrhea from non-sexual means, such as from toilet seats, sharing towels, or sleeping in the same bed as an infected adult. Such myths will pervade for decades.
1962 - "The Battered Child Syndrome" by pediatrician C. Henry Kempe is published and physical child abuse is recognized. A watershed moment in pediatrics and child abuse protection. This article is about detecting hidden signs of physical abuse using modern radiological technology and newly proposed evaluation guidelines. Detecting chronic or hidden sexual abuse, however, will prove to be a more enduring challenge.
Late 1960s - By now all 50 states have child abuse protection laws in place.
1970s - Feminist campaigners and policymakers take up the cause of child sexual abuse. Most child protection workers during this period are social workers and therapists. The field of child abuse protection and evaluation is in its nascency.
1974 - Congress enacts the Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA, P.L. 93-247). CAPTA creates a nationwide focus on establishing standardized protocols for dealing with all forms of child abuse and neglect. Mandatory reporting is one component of CAPTA. Before, only doctors were required to report cases of suspected child abuse; now, it is anyone in a position of authority — teachers, camp counselors, etc. Consequently, there is a significant increase in the reporting of child abuse cases and an increase in the demand of evaluations for suspected sexual abuse. Most of the physicians doing these medical evaluations are not researchers or academics but work with prosecutor's offices and law enforcement.
1975 - Suzanne M. Sgroi, physician pioneer in the field, publishes an article calling child sexual abuse "the last frontier in child abuse" which "remains a taboo topic in many areas."
1977 - C. Henry Kempe brings awareness to the issue of child sexual abuse by following up "The Battered Child Syndrome" with a landmark lecture at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics in New York City. The talk, titled "Sexual Abuse, Another Hidden Pediatric Problem" is published in the journal Pediatrics the following year.
1980s - Doctors start examining children's genitals, documenting, cataloging and trying to interpret their findings. Some use a colposcope, a binocular-like instrument originally used to detect cervical cancer, which magnifies the vaginal canal and tissues up to 4-30x. Some take anatomical measurements which they use to develop criteria for suspected abuse. They know what findings they see in abused children, but there is an acute lack of understanding of what "normal" or nonabused genital findings look like.
1981 - The article "Sexual Misuse: Rape, Molestation, and Incest" by Dr. Bruce Woodling is published in the journal Pediatric Clinics of North America.
Dr. Woodling is a California physician whose area of specialty is in sexual abuse forensics. The paper presents his research on what he has dubbed the "wink response test", a concept borrowed from Tardieu's 19th-century forensic manual. This test involves stroking the area near the anus with a cotton swab and gauging the response — contraction of the sphincter indicates no abuse, while an involuntary opening or 'winking' response indicates prior penetration. It was a test Tardieu developed to diagnose pederasty and Woodling has applied it to children as a way to detect anal abuse.
1982 - The wave of daycare sexual abuse hysteria of the 80s begins with the Kern County abuse allegations. The investigation and trial will culminate in the conviction of two couples (the McCuans and Kniffens) for sexually abusing several children. Dr. Woodling's wink response test and testimony play a part in their conviction. Several other similar cases in the same area at the time result in convictions of several others.
1984 - Daycare abuse hysteria continues with the Fells Acres and McMartin Preschool accusations. In the Fells Acre case, day care teacher Gerald Amirault will be put on trial and convicted of sexually assaulting and raping nine children. Questionable interview methods of the children and unproven genital evaluation criteria form the basis for the conviction.
The McMartin preschool case is the first to receive major media attention in the United States. Pediatrician Astrid Heger, under the tutelage of Dr. Bruce Woodling, conducts many of the evaluations of the McMartin children and diagnoses the majority of them as having been sexually abused. The criteria used for the evaluations are based primarily on Woodling's research as well as other published papers at the time (e.g., Cantwell's 1983 study on hymenal diameter measurements). Many of the children are found to have suspect genital findings such as notches, clefts, bands, tissue tags, ruffled or rolled hymenal edges, 'microtraumas' seen only with magnification, hymenal openings which measure over four millimeters, as well as positive reactions to Woodling's wink response test.
mid to late 80s - More abuse allegations and convictions including Country Walk, Wee Nursery, Bronx Five, Little Rascals day care, Glendale Montessori cases.
1988 - Dr. John McCann, a pediatrics professor and researcher from UCSF School of Medicine, drops a bombshell at the 18th annual child abuse convention in San Diego. He presents the results of a study he and his colleagues have worked on the past four years. They had gathered a control group of about 300 nonabused/"normal" children and meticulously documented and photographed their anuses and genitals, the first such study to do so. What they learned shocked McCann and everyone else in the field. Many of the anatomic findings which some specialists were claiming to be signs of abuse were commonly found in the nonabused children. The study showed that the large variation of anatomical features of childrens' genitals were, in fact, just that — variations of normal. This meant that parents and caretakers were being reported and convicted based on erroneous unscientific criteria. This presentation, titled "Anatomical Standardization of Normal Prepubertal Children," is a watershed moment in the field.
1989 - The first paper based on McCann's study ("Perianal findings in prepubertal children selected for nonabuse: a descriptive study") is published in the journal Child Abuse & Neglect. Among its conclusions, it shows that Dr. Woodling's wink response test has no scientific basis.
The impact of McCann's study influences leaders in the field to call for an overhaul in the way sexual abuse evaluation criteria are approached:
Medical Examination for Sexual Abuse: Have We Been Misled?
The more we learn, the less we know "with reasonable medical certainty"?
1990s - This decade sees an explosion of research and progress. The second paper based on McCanns' landmark study ("Genital findings in prepubertal girls selected for nonabuse: a descriptive study") is published in the journal Pediatrics in 1990. The dropping of charges in the McMartin preschool trial, also in 1990, marks the beginning of the winding down of the nation's abuse hysteria. McCann's research is presented as evidence by the defense in some abuse trials, such as the McMartin and Little Rascals daycare cases.
1992 - A classification system for evaluating children for suspected sexual abuse is proposed by Dr. Joyce Adams, Katherine Harper and Sandra Knudson. This later becomes known as the Adams classification system (keep this system in mind as we will be referring back to it) and will be periodically revised with updated criteria throughout the following decades. It will be adopted and used in the field of child abuse pediatrics and gynecology worldwide. John McCann's research help form a basis for this system.
mid to late 90s - More research based on cross-sectional, case-control, and longitudinal studies of abused and nonabused children are published which improves understanding and accuracy of evaluation criteria: Berenson, Heger, Adams, Emans, Kellogg, Kerns, McCann, Muram, Finkel, etc. Due to the errors of the previous decade, specialists in the field are highly conscientious and prudent about differentiating nonabuse from abuse criteria.

The evidence of prior sexual abuse in the JonBenet Ramsey case: What we know

When Boulder County Coroner Dr. John Meyer performed JonBenet's autopsy, he identified signs of acute vaginal trauma which he believed was consistent with digital penetration. What we didn't find out until the publication of James Kolar's book Foreign Faction in 2012 is that Dr. Meyer also saw indications of prior sexual contact. Concerned about this possibility, he sought a specialist opinion and brought Dr. Andrew Sirotnak to the morgue to examine JonBenet's genital injuries. Dr. Sirotnak was a child abuse pediatrician who headed the Child Protection Team at Children's Hospital Colorado. He confirmed Meyer's opinion that there were signs of prior sexual contact.
Here are the relevant passages from Kolar's book:
  • Dr. Meyer also observed signs of chronic inflammation around the vaginal orifice and believed that these injuries had been inflicted in the days or weeks before the acute injury that was responsible for causing the bleeding at the time of her death. This irritation appeared consistent with prior sexual contact.
    [Foreign Faction: Who Really Kidnapped JonBenet?, A. James Kolar, p. 58]
  • Following the meeting, Dr. Meyer returned to the morgue with Dr. Andy Sirontak, Chief of Denver Children's Hospital Child Protection Team, so that a second opinion could be rendered on the injuries observed to the vaginal area of JonBenet. He would observe the same injuries that Dr. Meyer had noted during the autopsy protocol and concurred that a foreign object had been inserted into the opening of JonBenet's vaginal orifice and was responsible for the acute injury witnessed at the 7:00 o'clock position. Further inspection revealed that the hymen was shriveled and retracted, a sign that JonBenet had been subjected to some type of sexual contact prior to the date of her death. Dr. Sirontak could not provide an opinion as to how old those injuries were or how many times JonBenet may have been assaulted and would defer to the expert opinions of other medical examiners.
    [Kolar, p. 61]
  • Dr. Meyer was concerned about JonBenet's vaginal injuries, and he, along with Boulder investigators, sought the opinions of a variety of other physicians in the days following her autopsy. Dr. Sirontak, a pediatrician with Denver Children's Hospital, had recognized signs of prior sexual trauma but neither he nor Dr. Meyer were able to say with any degree of certainty what period of time may have been involved in the abuse.
    [Kolar, p. 63]
Boulder Police would later ask several child sexual abuse experts to review the autopsy findings* in order to help them determine if there was evidence of prior sexual abuse. In addition to Andrew Sirotnak, these are the experts whom we know were consulted:
Richard Krugman
James Monteleone
Valerie Rao
John McCann
That's right — that John McCann. The same John McCann who was responsible for putting child sexual abuse evaluations onto scientific footing and who happened to establish the standards for what is considered normal and abnormal in pediatric genital exams was consulted on the JonBenet Ramsey case.
In Steve Thomas's 2001 deposition for the Wolf v Ramsey civil trial, Thomas says that McCann came recommended by the FBI. There's a reason for that, which is that McCann was regarded as one of the the foremost authorities on interpreting pediatric anogenital findings in cases of suspected abuse. Thomas also refers to McCann, Monteleone, and Rao as the "blue ribbon pediatric panel." Based on various sources, we know that there was at least one meeting in Boulder in September 1997 involving McCann, Rao, Monteleone, and Krugman.
Here is the relevant passage from Thomas's book:
In mid-September, a panel of pediatric experts from around the country reached one of the major conclusions of the investigation - that JonBenet had suffered vaginal trauma prior to the day she was killed.
There were no dissenting opinions among them on the issue, and they firmly rejected any possibility that the trauma to the hymen and chronic vaginal inflammation were caused by urination issues or masturbation. We gathered affidavits stating in clear language that there were injuries "consistent with prior trauma and sexual abuse"...."There was chronic abuse"..."Past violation of the vagina"...."Evidence of both acute injury and chronic sexual abuse." In other words, the doctors were saying it had happened before.
...
The results, however, were not what is known in the legal world as "conclusive" - which means that there can be no other interpretation - and I would fully expect defense lawyers to argue something different. Nevertheless, our highly qualified doctors had brought in a remarkable finding.
[JonBenet: Inside the Ramsey Murder Investigation, Steve Thomas & Don Davis, p. 253]
The experts expected to testify in court had the case gone to trial. As we know, there was no criminal trial, but we know the experts were called to testify before the grand jury.
*During JonBenet's autopsy, an instrument called a colposcope was used to examine and document her genital injuries. This is standard procedure in forensic pathology in cases of suspected child abuse or sexual assault. Colposcopy illuminates and magnifies the vaginal cavity and is used to identify abnormal changes to tissue and the internal genital structures. The experts would have relied on these colposcopic photos as well as histologic samples of JonBenet's vaginal mucosa in addition to the autopsy report, coroner's notes, and lab results.

The physical findings explained

These are the genital findings we know were discovered at JonBenet's autopsy:
Ref. no. Finding Source
1 Chronic inflammation around vaginal orifice FF
2 Small amount of dried blood on perineum AR
3 Small amount of dried and semifluid blood on skin of fourchette and in vestibule AR
4 Hyperemia of vestibule and vaginal wall AR
5 Abrasion on hymenal orifice at 7 o'clock position, involving the hymen and vaginal wall AR
6 Epithelial erosion with underlying capillary congestion of tissue from 7'oclock AR
7 Hymenal orifice measuring 1cm x 1cm AR
8 A lack of hymenal tissue between the 10 and 2 o'clock positions AR
9 Vascular congestion and focal interstitial chronic inflammation of vaginal mucosa AR
10 Bruise on hymen BP
11 Three dimensional thickening from inside to outside of inferior hymenal rim BP
12 Narrowing of inferior hymenal rim to base of hymen BP
13 Exposure of vaginal rugae BP
AR = Autopsy Report
BP = Bonita Papers
FF = Foreign Faction
What do these physical findings mean?
Here is a quick break down:
  • 5, 6, and 10, with corresponding bleeding 2 and 3, are signs of acute trauma from the time of the murder.
  • 7 is something that gets brought up as evidence of prior abuse ("enlarged hymenal opening"). However, criteria based on hymenal opening measurements were removed from the Adams classification guidelines in 1996. McCann did not include it in his criteria for abuse, but said it supported the findings for abuse. Since the late 90s/early 2000s, specialists have tried to move away from using measurement-based criteria as it is difficult to do precisely. Research data has shown that measurements can vary with the examination position, technique, age of the child, state of relaxation of the child, and the skill of the examiner.
  • 8 describes a crescentic hymen, a common variation of hymen types. This is a normal finding. Generally, discrepancies of the anterior half of the hymen (above the 3 and 9 o'clock positions) are not considered concerning and missing segments, notches, clefts can be normal findings. It is the inferior half of the hymen (below the 3 and 9 o'clock positions) where experts look for indicators of abuse.
  • 11-13 are findings observed by John McCann that describe structural changes of the hymen from a prior penetration. 12 describes a transection (a healed laceration) of the inferior portion of the hymen.
  • 1, 4, 9 can be caused by a variety of other conditions and on their own are not classified as indicators for abuse. In the case where findings indicating abuse are also present, they need to be considered in context.
McCann's findings
The most important of these findings to understand is 12, which is one of McCann's observations outlined in the Bonita Papers.
There was a three dimensional thickening from inside to outside on the inferior hymeneal rim with a bruise apparent on the external surface of the hymen and a narrowing of the hymeneal rim from the edge of the hymen to where it attaches to the muscular portion of the vaginal openings. At the narrowing area, there appeared to be very little if any hymen present.
To understand what this means, take a look at the white line segment labeled "Hymenal width" in this colposcopic photo (warning: image of vagina/hymen). It demarcates the length of the hymenal membrane from the rim/edge to the base where it attaches to the vaginal wall.
A narrowing of the hymenal rim means the hymenal membrane is reduced in dimension from the rim/edge toward the base. When the rim is narrowed all the way to the base, that is called a complete cleft or a transection. A transection is a discontinuity of the inferior hymenal rim that extends to or through the base of the hymen. Basically, it is a telltale residual absence of tissue from a healed complete laceration.
If this is difficult to visualize, here is a figure which shows what transections look like:
Figure 3: Hymenal Membrane Characteristics
[source]
The Adams classification system
In the fields of child abuse pediatrics and pediatric gynecology, the set of guidelines most widely used in interpreting genital findings is the Adams classification system.
If we were to look at the most recently revised version (2018), we would see that it identifies certain "findings caused by trauma":
These findings are highly suggestive of abuse, even in the absence of a disclosure from the child, unless the child and/or caretaker provides a timely and plausible description of accidental anogenital straddle, crush or impalement injury, or past surgical interventions that are confirmed from review of medical records.
Among those findings that are "highly suggestive of abuse" includes point 37, listed in the subsection titled "Residual (healing) injuries to genital/anal tissues" under section E:
Healed hymenal transection/complete hymen cleft, a defect in the hymen below the 3-9 o'clock location that extends to or through the base of the hymen, with no hymenal tissue discernible at that location
This is precisely what Dr. McCann described having observed in JonBenet.
A transection in the inferior half of the hymen of a prepubertal child is a significant finding because it is considered a clear indication of a prior penetrating injury:
  • Multiple studies have noted the presence of hymenal transections only in prepubertal girls with a history of disclosed sexual abuse.
    [ Sara T. Stewart, MD. Hymenal Characteristics in Girls with and without a History of Sexual Abuse, p. 533]
  • Hymenal transections are very rarely seen in prepubertal girls who have not been sexually abused. However, a demonstrated transection, based on multiple studies, is commonly viewed as “a clear but uncommon indicator of past trauma.”
    [Mishori, R., Ferdowsian, H., Naimer, K. et al. The little tissue that couldn’t – dispelling myths about the Hymen’s role in determining sexual history and assault.]
  • Thus a deep notch, transection, or perforation on the inferior portion of the hymen may be considered as a definitive sign of sexual abuse or other trauma.
    [Berenson, et al. A case-control study of anatomic changes resulting from sexual abuse, p. 829]
  • A transection of the posterior hymen between 4 and 8 o’clock in prepubertal girls suggests genital penetrating trauma; however, the presence of this finding is not confirmatory of sexual abuse. Posterior hymenal findings including transections between 4 and 8 o’clock, deep notches, and perforations were not seen in studies of prepubertal girls without a history of genital trauma from sexual abuse included in this systematic review. Therefore, one can conclude that the posterior hymenal findings of transections, deep notches, and perforations are extremely infrequent findings among children without a history of genital trauma from sexual abuse or other means. [...]
    However, because the prevalence of posterior hymenal findings (between 4 and 8 o’clock) such as transections, deep notches, and perforations are near zero in nonabused prepubertal girls, the presence of these examination findings suggests genital trauma from sexual abuse. In the absence of known genital trauma from accidental means, the possibility for sexual abuse must be strongly considered. In a prepubertal girl with a posterior hymenal finding of a transection (between 4 and 8 o’clock), a deep notch (between 4 and 8 o’clock), or a perforation, a report to child protective services should be strongly considered. At a minimum, an examination by a child abuse specialist should occur to confirm these findings and to help provide a careful interpretation regarding the likelihood of sexual abuse.
    [Molly Curtin Berkoff, MD, MPH; Adam J. Zolotor, MD, MPH; Kathi L. Makoroff, MD; et al. Has This Prepubertal Girl Been Sexually Abused?, p. 2790]
If any doctor or medical provider today observed a transection on the inferior half of the hymen of a prepubertal female patient, he/she would be required to make a report for suspected sexual abuse and an explanation would be required for how that healed injury got there. In forty years of research, this finding has not been seen in any other instance besides from penetrating trauma. In prepubertal girls, it is indicative of sexual abuse unless it can be shown otherwise.

What the evidence says

The evidence says JonBenet had been subjected to at least one penetration of the vagina through the hymenal membrane prior to her murder. The penetration caused a complete laceration of the inferior hymenal membrane. After the laceration healed, a transection and other structural changes of the hymen remained.
The age of the prior injury could not be determined, but based on his research on the healing of hymenal lacerations of prepubertal girls, it was McCann's opinion that it was more than ten days old. His research has shown that "most signs of an acute [hymenal laceration] injury were gone within 7 to 10 days." Some of the experts thought the prior injury could have been weeks or months old.
While the evidence could conclusively prove only one prior penetration, the experts believed there had been more than one instance of penetration/sexual contact and that JonBenet's genital findings indicated abuse that had been repeated or ongoing. They were unable to determine how many incidents over what period of time.
Four of the five experts (Sirotnak, Monteleone, Rao, McCann) were confident in their opinion that JonBenet's genital findings were diagnostic of sexual abuse. One (Krugman) could not disagree with that assessment, but lacking certain forensic evidence (i.e., the victim's testimony, the confirmed presence of sperm, or an STI), was unwilling to assume a sexual motive for the abuse. He felt there was evidence only of physical abuse of the genitals.

What else could explain the prior penetration/ hymenal trauma besides sexual abuse?

There are three known causes of transections in the inferior hymenal rim in prepubertal girls — penetrative sexual abuse, accidental penetrating trauma, and surgical intervention.
Most accidental genital injuries sustained by children are straddle-type injuries that involve a fall onto the horizontal bar of a bicycle, jungle gym, or picket fence. This type of accident involves compression of the soft tissues against the bony margins of the pelvic outlet. Trauma is usually limited to the external structures of the genital area (e.g., labia, clitoral hood, fourchette, perineum).
Accidental penetrating or impalement injuries that involve trauma to the hymen are relatively rare:
Of 161 accidental genital injuries reported in the literature, 3.7% involved the hymen.
[Child Abuse: Medical Diagnosis and Management, 4th ed. Antoinette Laskey and Andrew Sirotnak (eds.), p. 359]
However, they do occur and the resulting injuries can mimic those of sexual abuse. In such cases, it is important that the cause of the injury be confirmed.
Whether an acute or healed genital or anal injury is identified, it is incumbent on the medical professional to obtain a complete history of the nature of the injury. [...]
Key differences in the history of accidental trauma, such as a straddle injury, are that accidental injuries are more commonly observed by a third party, medical attention is sought immediately after the injury, a scene-of-injury visit confirms the plausibility of the injuries and the accompanying history, and the pattern of injury is consistent with the history.
[Child Abuse: Medical Diagnosis and Management, 4th ed. Antoinette Laskey and Andrew Sirotnak (eds.), p. 359]
If JonBenet's prior hymenal injury was the result of an accident or a past surgical procedure, it should be reflected in her medical records and easy to prove. An accidental penetrating injury that results in a complete laceration of the hymen is considered severe, one that would be painful and cause bleeding. It would be expected that most parents or caretakers would seek medical attention for their child's injury.
We know the Ramseys were not timid or frugal when it came to getting medical attention for JonBenet's injuries and ailments. We have records of her being seen by the doctor for various bumps, falls, and injuries, such as a bent fingernail from a fall, a bruised nose from faceplanting at a grocery store, a bump on the brow from a tripping fall, and a small cut to the cheek from a golf club swing. If JonBenet had sustained an accidental genital injury that resulted in a severe laceration, I find it very hard to believe she would not have been taken to the doctor for such an injury when she was taken for lesser injuries and ailments.
Clearly, there was nothing in her medical records that could account for such an injury or the Ramseys would have provided it to police.
 
(Continue to Part 2: The experts, responses to dissenting opinions and common myths, etc.)
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2020.09.25 19:50 NLLumi Rudimentary sex education to young children can be a good thing when done very carefully and responsibly, and can even innoculate them against grooming.

Let me start by sharing a few personal anecdotes.

1.
The first took place a few years ago. I was waiting for a train, and other than myself there was a mother with two or three children on the platform; they were sitting just far enough so I couldn’t be too sure of their ages or genders (or maybe I could, but I can’t recall now), but still within earshot.
One of the children, who may have been about 6 or 7, kept smacking their younger sibling, a toddler, on their head (it may have been two, I can’t say for sure), and at one point the mother intervened and told them to stop. However, the youngest sibling actually confirmed that they were OK with it, so the mother basically just shrugged and said if that’s the case, she doesn’t get it, but they could continue. So they did, at least for a bit, as far as I could see; I don’t remember if the younger sibling decided to stop or not, and at any rate I soon had to board my train.

2.
About two years after the first incident (I think), I was talking to a friend of mine from a very liberal city in the US. Somehow the topic of sex ed came up, and she mentioned that her parents had taught her what sex was at a fairly young age. Somewhat counter-intuitively, she claimed that it made her less inclined to experiment dangerously with it, because it did not have the enticing air of secrecy around it, and helped her develop a more healthy attitude later in life. It was very eye-opening to me.

3.
This barely counts a personal anecdote, but it is worth mentioning regardless. About 3.5 years ago, Yedi‘ot Akhronot’s weekend extra 7Days published this shocking piece (in Hebrew, paywalled) about children who sexually assault other children. It mentioned a particularly horrifying case of a boy boasting having ‘raped’ a girl younger than him by telling her that her father was waiting for her in the shed in the backyard. It went on to feature an interview with a psychologist who explained the difficulties of handling such situations, and said that children normally engage in exploratory sexual play with each other; the difference between this kind of innocent, healthy (her words) play is that in normal situations they giggle a lot and obviously have fun with it. The article also went on to include a guide for parents to monitor their children’s behaviour to make sure they’re neither abused nor abusive, which I sadly can’t recall in detail.
Naturally, the anecdote mentioned horrified me, and explaining the normalcy of children’s sexual urges and how they explore them made me reconsider a lot of my assumptions about children’s sexual innocence in their pristine state.

4.
The second incident took place just over a year ago. I was playing PoGo with some friends and acquaintances at a local park when I heard a young girl, about 3 years old, complaining loudly about her two older sisters (the oldest of them being about 7 as well). They were standing/strolling next to some Pokéstops, so I could hear how the whole thing went down: the older daughters were feeling uncomfortable, but the mother still egged them on to kiss their sister because ‘kisses are nice!’. Also, they were apparently in the middle of a game of ‘truth or dare’, so the mother dared them to kiss her. The younger sister tried to keep her distance from the rest of the family and refused to join them as they kept walking, but eventually relented.
I was absolutely appalled by all of this. I could already see how cementing this callous attitude towards personal boundaries would have catastrophic results when she became a teenager and boys tried to violate them the same way. I wanted to say something, preferably in English so the girls wouldn’t understand, or even openly confront the mother, but I eventually decided against it because I felt it might be counter-productive; I’m still not sure I made the right choice.

5.
Last year or so a young rapper by the stage name Dudu Faruk was all the rage in Israel. He rapped about being a violent alpha male who dresses in quality brands (most prominently Armani & Givenchy) and basically seduces women by the truckload. In some of his later tracks, it becomes more obvious that his character is entirely delusional and is aware only for fleeting moments of how much disdain people actually have for him, and his faith in how fancy and sophisticated he comes across as is completely false, and he is in fact little more than what TV Tropes calls a lower class lout.
Now, the problem with him was that most of his audience was generally very young, like pre-to-mid teens or so, and of course parents all over the country and even some prominent media figures here were outraged! at the wicked influence of his explicit lyrics on their poor innocent children.
I happened to be working at a daycare for elementary school kids at the time, and there was one particular kid I spent most of my time with—he wasn’t very popular and I’m almost certain that he, like me, is somewhere on the autistic spectrum, and what’s good about autistic kids is that they’re more inclined to take authority figures seriously. So I used this to explain to him that Dudu Faruk’s work is meant for grown-ups, because grown-ups who listen to him have enough experience to realize that normal people don’t think, talk, or act like that when it comes to women or violence and that he’s supposed to be a delusional braggart, but kids don’t and might try to emulate him. And I could get that point across without any kind of formal training.
Unfortunately, other parents couldn’t even do as little as that—rather, there were cries to ban his music or even use legal measures against him. One religious figure even claimed that he was a literal demon trying to drive people to sin, citing his obnoxious affected accent as evidence (he claimed it was a ‘gentile accent’, which is very much not a thing). I was honestly shocked: apparently, rather than sit down and talk to their kids and give them context for the media they were consuming, parents wanted to lazily offload the responsibility for what their kids were exposed to onto others, freedom of speech and personal responsibility be damned.

The point of these anecdotes is that the kind of moral outrage people express at things like ‘drag queen story time’, explaining terms related to gender & sexual identity, or even letting children learn how to twerk or interact with people doing puppy play (I’ve seen photos of this happening at Pride Parades in some Western countries; see below) can actually be good—under tightly-controlled conditions and with proper mediation by responsible adults. Hell, puppy play can sometimes be explicitly non-sexual, as this Oh Joy Sex Toy comic explains; also, twerking can be some good core muscle workout and perhaps a healthy outlet for underdeveloped sexual urges (which, as anecdote no. 3 demonstrates, seems sorely needed).
As a matter of fact, such interactions can be used as teaching moments for some very valuable lessons:
  1. Being a grown-up has its perks but it can still be stressful, and there’s no shame in wanting to unwind, even in unusual ways.
  2. People can have very different tastes in personal style, mannerisms, you name it, and they might have an idea of fun that is very alien and unrelatable to us—and that’s OK. (Imagine if the mother from anecdote no. 1 had ignored her youngest child’s desires: they may have grown up feeling that their desires are wrong and are rightfully overridden, which is a horrible message to internalize.)
  3. Our bodies are natural and not something to be ashamed of.
  4. It’s perfectly fine and even necessary to assert personal boundaries, and we should never violate those of others (as anecdote no. 4 demonstrates, this is vital to assert and often isn’t).
The same also applies to basic sex ed. Not too long ago I came across some internet outrage at a news story about children in Ireland being taught how to masturbate, which turned out to be completely overblown; a few months ago, I saw similar outrage about YouTube channel ‘Queer Kid Stuff’. Both examples were decried as ‘grooming’, but the way I see it it’s actually the opposite: it’s teaching children the vocabulary to describe their experiences, express and assert their boundaries, and in worst case scenarios describe exactly what a predator did or tried to do. As a matter of fact, you can see that QKS actually does just that here.
It also dispels some of the taboos around their bodies and sexualities, which, again, is vital for them, for two reasons:
Of course, all of that depends on adult authority figures actually picking up the slack and mediating, making sure that kids actually receive the message they need to hear. While an adult might be inclined (fairly rightfully so) to feel appalled at a scene like this, but with the right guidance this kid’s take from that interaction could be as innocuous as something like, ‘Haha! Those grown-ups sure are funny, they dress kinda weird, but that’s OK, they’re fun to play pretend with!’, and leave no more scarred than by watching Steven Universe, Shrek, Animaniacs, Pee-wee’s Playhouse, or any other bit of media that contains sexual innuendos that go over their heads, or going to the beach and seeing men in Speedos and women in bikinis.
The problem is, as I can tell you from my experience both as a tutor and from anecdote no. 5, that parents would rather offload this responsibility to others and clutch their pearls at anything inappropriate their kid happens to be exposed to. And if anything, that is the real problem.
TL;DR: Kids should get rudimentary sex ed, among other things so they can describe what’s happening to them, feel confident to say ‘no’ to would-be molesters trying to manipulate them, and feel no hesitation-inducing guilt that prevents them from reporting if they are molested anyway. If they’re exposed to sexually suggestive material, responsible adults should divert their attention and turn it into a teaching moment about personal expression, boundaries, and consent, but the prevailing attitude seems to be one of lazily placing this responsibility on others.
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2020.09.25 18:12 OpheliaCyanide [The Extramundane Emancipation of Geela, Evil Sorceress at Large] --- Chapter 34: Damned Bloody Prophecies

Synopsis: After hoodwinking Darkos, a holy priest, into escorting her back to her castle, Dark Enchantress Geela has one item left on her list: revenge on her ex-husband. With a confused Darkos in tow, she sets out. However, Geela isn't the only one with secrets. And Barney isn't the only old enemy who's about to get a visit.
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(Note: I'll be getting you two chapters next week but I have until next Wednesday to submit my derby project, so that will take momentary precedence.
Thanks for sticking with me through some crazy times!
On with the show!
Darkos shifted uncomfortably as he stood in the foyer of Liani’s Table, Geela’s restaurant of choice for dinner. He was uncomfortable, partly because of the trinkets weighing down the bag on his back and partly because of the trinkets weighing down his conscience. Geela wasn’t going to be happy when he showed her what he’d bought but he couldn’t help it. Every little thing he picked up that he found himself enjoying or could see her loving went into the cart and the next thing he knew, he’d paid out the equivalent of a horse’s weight in gold.
Now that horse’s weight in gold bore down on him. Stupid stupid stupid! Jane should have stopped him. Someone should have stopped him. But the little wooden mule had reminded him too much of Shawn and he thought it’d make Geela mad, in a funny way. Then he’d bought her an ornate necklace made to look like a hydra, to remind her of her old pet. Then, remembering how he’d killed the hydra, he also picked up a tea sampler of twenty different flavors, some of which, mint clouds, sleepytime honey, blueberry fields, and, above all, ginger summer zinger, he just knew she’d love.
And it had continued from there. He’d bought a clay maraca filled with metallic pebbles, which made a shimmery, tinkly sound whenever shaken, for Dad. Then he bought an ivory watering can in the shape of an elephant for Mom. But then he was worried Mom would feel left out if she didn’t have any instrument to play with dad on, so he got her a little jade ocarina, since she’d tried so futilely to get him to play her old one. And then Dad needed a second gift, so he got a crystal wind chime, to also decorate the garden with.
But then Darkos also wanted to treat himself. Not including all the little snacks that he’d sampled while out, he’d bought a really neat book sold by a girl who’d claimed to hail from the Third Sea Region, a really cool arm brace thing that changed colors when he shifted it, and a little brown circle thing that promised it stopped pots from boiling over. That last one kind of joined what was supposed to be the ‘for both of us’ pile. It already contained a hand cream that prevented itchy skin, an amulet that warded away bugs (and frogs), a tonic that knocked out hangovers, and a bottle of a delectable smelling liquor that promised some future hangovers.
It just… it had added up. He’d even bought Jane a little hat with a flower in it just because he thought it looked silly. She absolutely adored it.
“Draaaaaaake!”
He yelped and whipped around like his head was on fire. “Gee...ale!” he said, barely catching himself on her name. “I didn’t know you’d be here!” Then he winced. “I mean. I didn’t know you were. Here.”
She cocked an eyebrow but there was an odd look in her eye. “Of course I’m here. I said I’d be on time.”
“Well.” Darkos eyed the clock by the maiter de’s desk. Geela wasn’t, in fact, on time. She was late, but Darkos decided against pointing it out. “I’m just jumpy.”
She nodded, not questioning this, and banged on the desk. “I have a reservation for two at seven?” she said, her voice a bark. “Where’s the waitress?”
“Gale,” he said, trying to keep his voice down, “she’ll be back in a second. Just had to seat another customer.”
“Oh and I suppose that other customer is better than us, are they?”
Oh she was in a mood and Darkos swallowed, all the more nervous about showing her his… yield. “Yeah, guess so.”
Wrong thing to say. Geela’s eyes disappeared to slits. “Oh I bet they think they are. Someone is going to find live frogs in their soup.”
This was one of those idle threats that Darkos had long learned to take seriously. “Not frogs,” he said. “We don’t like frogs, remember?”
She shook back her long black hair and huffed. “Hmph. They’re lucky.”
“The frogs or the customer?”
“I suppose both.”
“I’m so sorry about the wait,” came a breathy voice as the maitre de appeared. “Do you have a reservation?”
“Two for Bronwyn,” Darkos said, before Geela could even start. “At seven?”
“Ahhh Gal and Drake? Love the name by the way,” she added, giving Darkos a friendly smile. “Reminds me of dragons. Right this way?”
Darkos wasn’t entirely sure how the building had managed to stand after that remark. Geela’s fiery glare should have been enough to turn both the lady and the entire building into ash and then set that ash on fire. However they made it to their table without too much fuss.
“Care to hear our spe—”
“No.”
“Aaaalright then I’ll just send your waiter on over and be out of your hair.”
“Gale,” Darkos said, as the woman scuttled off, “what’s got you in such a mood? Did you find the academy?”
She shot him a glare but couldn’t fight a tiny smile at the corner of her lip. “Yes Darkos, I found the academy.”
“Oh. And uh, Professor Elle?”
She let the smile spread a bit further. “Professor Eve Elle? I know where her office is, yes.”
Darkos laughed, shaking his head. “The subtlety is staggering. Imagine someone having a name that so obviously has something dark in it and not noticing…” His own laugh trailed off just a bit there as a thought sorta tugged at his brain but Geela, perhaps a bit more cheerful now, jumped in.
“So, how was window shopping?”
He broke out in a cold sweat. “I didn’t think I was supposed to be window shopping.”
She waved a hand before untucking her napkin and placing it on her lap. “No, of course not entirely. If you didn’t buy a thing or two, it’d look suspicious. Like you’re killing time.”
“Right, ok, and when you say a thing or two… you meant maybe for like… each… person?” The end of his sentence ticked up weakly and he gave Geela a queasy grin.
“For both of us?” She clicked her tongue but it wasn’t at all an annoyed tone. “Oh did you get me something?”
“Yeah! A thing or two. Or uh, so, um, first it’s like, this—” he rummaged in his bag before coming up with the wooden mule.
“Darkos!”
“Drake.”
“Drake!” Geela glared at the little wheeled toy.
He just grinned, pleased with her reaction. “It’s even got a hollowed belly you can put things in.”
“It does not.” She crossed her arms, a pout fighting a laugh. “It does not have a hollow belly.”
The two stared at it for a solid minute before she snatched it off the table, trying to run a fingernail under the wood somewhere.
“Ok, you’re right,” he said, after letting her fidget with it for another moment, “it doesn’t. I had you for a second there.”
Very witty. Did you get me a toy void fiend as my second gift?”
He brushed this off with a wave. “No no no. Something you can wear.”
“Earrings of Noire? Oh no, wait, let me guess, one of those really tacky tunics that say ‘My Parents Went to the Celestial City and Only Brought Me Back this Tunic’ on it.”
With a jingle of metal and crystal, he unearthed the hydra necklace. “Close but not quite.”
“Ohhhh.” She pulled it from his hands, a bit sharply, examining it, running her fingers over the chains and jewels. “It’s not… well it’s clearly been made by a rudimentary craftsman but it’s not… it’s well made. You can see the— look, Darkos, here.” She pulled his hands over one of the little jade lizard heads. “Feel that. The graininess around the engravings. It was definitely done by hand, so none of these were just replicas. This must’ve taken a while. Was it pricey?”
Darkos’s fingers froze over the hydra head but Geela blew past her own question.
“That’s wonderful. Good.” She nodded. “Very good.”
“Well…” Darkos wasn’t sure if he should go on, because buying Geela gifts with Geela’s money was a bit much.
“I don’t mind how much it is,” she said, as if reading his mind. “If you saw my treasuries… money isn’t an issue. I’d rather see what you think I’d like than see you pinch pennies on something stupid like a cheap felt hat.”
Darkos frowned, trying to remember what Jane’s hat was made of. “Uh. Don’t think it’s felt.”
“Did you get me a hat?”
He grinned and reached back into his bag. “Nope. Bought you… these. They smelled so good that I couldn’t resist.”
She examined the little jars of teas. “These are definitely not felt,” she said. “Did they sell felt tea? I suppose I should be grateful you bought something edible—Ooh, that ginger is delectable.” She inhaled deeply. “Any of these black? I’ll be up late tonight.”
“The acai. What’s tonight? Just doing research or…”
Her eyes clouded and Darkos remembered how bad her mood had been when she’d first walked in. “I have to visit someone.”
“Professor Elle?”
She shook her head but just as she opened her mouth, their waiter, a narrow faced boy who’d introduced himself as Henry, arrived to take their orders. Geela was, fortunately, a lot more subdued by now and placed her order with far more indifference. It wasn’t until she walked away that she let out a long breath.
“Do you remember Vera?”
Darkos shook his head without half a thought. Geela wasn’t probably expecting him to anyway, even if he did.
“Vera was an old student of mine. Slacker. Or, rather, unmotivated. The student whose eyes glaze over when you’re lecturing and skips assignments but then when she does turn in work it’s impeccable.” Geela stared at the dark nails on her fingers. “Brilliant but not challenged. Not sufficiently. I took a liking to her because I saw a bit of myself in her. So I invited her to an… extracurricular.”
“Blood cult?”
“Oh you do remember.” This comment normally would have been accompanied with an infantilizing smile but her face stayed perturbed. “I told you how it all went south, then.”
“They sacrificed her?”
Her brow creased at this. “No. No they didn’t. I only sacrificed people who volunteered. I…” She shook her head. “No. I did. To destroy the cult, seal up Berta, and take out her followers. Had to be done, she understood, doesn’t mean it’s any more fair cause it should have been one of them. I’m really very over it but I did pay her a visit and it just brought back how stressful the whole thing was.”
“Oh. Wait, you visited her?” Geela seemed upset, distressed almost. He definitely had the impression that things used to bother her more when she was younger than they had as she got older. This new realization was not a fun one. It played over his skin like someone running cold, sharp fingernails along it.
“She’s encased in bloodrock. Old Bertie’s trapped in the sanguine realm as long as she’s in there.” Geela wrinkled her nose. “But that’s not really what happened that was so interesting. She had children.”
“In the rock?!”
Before Geela could answer, their food was delivered. All the while, as their succulent dishes were placed before them, Darkos could just picture little angel-like babies swimming around in bloodrock. He shuddered. What a cursed life.
“No, Drake,” she said, as the waiters stalked off, “before she was sacrificed.”
“Oh.” The image still didn’t quite vanish, though, as much as he tried to dispel it. “Uh, ok. You said student, I thought young.”
“Oh she was. Youngish. Twenty, so young.”
“Did one of them find you?”
She laughed, a bit bitter, and took a bite of her food. “No. Grandchild. I have to meet him at midnight.”
“Why?”
She swallowed. “He knows who I am.”
“He knows you’re…” Darkos dropped his voice to a whisper, “Geela?”
“Mhm. I’m not sure how but apparently he does. We’re meeting at midnight.”
“We, like, we. You and me and him?” Despite the fact that her legacy was plastered across the realm, Darkos had precious few instances to run into anyone from her past. Yes she stole a mountain and he’d dreamed of Barney once but that was about it. This could be very interesting.
Or as he was increasingly feeling, absolutely a terrible idea, but he felt like he had to be there. What this said about himself he did not want to think about.
Geela had a distant look to her eyes. “I guess… I guess so. Yes, I mean us. You and me and him.”
She might need him after all. Darkos knew she’d be able to hold it together, but she also could potentially use the moral support.
“Good,” he said. “What time?”
“Midnight. Simple time. We might need costumes, but nothing facially disguising. Just not… boring street clothes. I’ll figure something out when we get back to the inn.”
“Good.” Darkos grinned. “I’ll make some tea, keep us up.”

The two tiptoed down the roads while Geela fidgeted with a little device in her hand. It was an illusimancer or something. An illusiometer maybe. No, an illusionograph. Illusionator? Something like that. Something that made illusions easier. She’d explained how she’d preprogrammed a handful of illusions to call upon more easily.
“I’m not going to show up with the full gamut of my power running. We need to stay on the downlow.” That was pretty much the only word for word part he remembered her saying. The rest of his memory was dedicated to remembering the name of her device.
The Celestial City didn’t really seem to sleep, even if Darkos kind of wanted to. Even though it was approaching eleven, there were more people on the streets than in Darkos’ entire village. He couldn’t really blame them. The sun hadn’t even really gone down all the way.
“Why are they up so late?” Darkos asked.
“I couldn’t say. Out late with friends, going to work, home from working, shopping. Big cities don’t use the regular clock, especially not in the Celestial Region. Sun just stays up so long.” She gestured at the sky to highlight her point.
“Oh.” It did make sense that the sun would stay up later in the Celestial Region. “Does the moon stay out in the Lunar Region all day?”
“Mhm. All day.”
Darkos absolutely could not tell if this was sarcasm or not so he just kept following her. They reached a fissure in the ground, one that went down so deep he couldn’t see the bottom. Geela peered down it for a moment before sighing and straightening up.
Dakors laughed, breathing a sigh of relief. “For a moment I thought—”
“Ah ah ah, one minute.” She held up a hand before reaching into her bag and pulling out a coil of rope, which she affixed to a point above the fissure. Darkos sagged.
“Oh. So we are.”
“Hmm?”
“Aren’t you worried you’ll fall?” he asked, plainly worried that she’d fall.
She looked up at him. “No?” They wore maroon hoods that obscured their faces just enough to keep them more or less hidden without being too ominous, so Darkos couldn’t really see her expression. He could, however, hear it. “You’re going to carry me.”
Dammit. “Alright but then we’re doing this piggyback style and you need to hang on no matter what.”
She took a deep breath, accepting her solemn duty before crawling onto his back like some kind of spider monkey.
“You’d better hold on tight,” he said. “How deep is it?”
“The rope should make it easier on your hands so it won’t be too bad,” she said, hands clasped tight around his neck. “And once we’re on it, people won’t be able to see it. It won’t snap or release either. It’s reasonably useful.”
Darkos nodded and, giving the area around them one final look around the area, started descending.
It took about half an hour before he realized she hadn’t said how deep it was.
“How deep did you say this was?”
“I didn’t.”
Wonderful. Darkos used to have to climb hand over hand up to the top of a local tower in his village that was several hundred feet tall, so this wasn’t something he’d never done before. It was a little different. The evil enchantress clinging to his neck for dear life, so nervous that she was breathing harder than he was, that was new. But on the plus side, he got to use his feet, so that was good. And Geela’s rope was a little magic.
After another ten minutes, he tried his question in a more direct way. “How much longer?”
“Well, it’s about one thousand, three hundred and thirty… seven feet? No, eight. One thousand, three hundred, thirty eight feet deep.” She took a measured breath and he could feel her shaking on his back. “So almost there.”
Almost there. If he didn’t have a passenger, he’d probably have reached the ground already. He just kinda wished she’d given him an ETA. Though, technically he knew they had to be there by midnight, so maybe he was just being whiny.
Then, all of the sudden and with no warning, he hit the ground. “Oh!”
“Oh— ow!”
Darkos whirled to see Geela had, while dismounting, tripped and fallen.
“You ok?”
“ANKLE!”
“Uh, what can I do?”
“Uggggh.” She stuck a hand up to him and he helped her to her feet. “We’re going to keep this meeting to as little moving as possible. How much time do we have?”
He checked his watch. “Fifteen?”
“Crap. Alright, I’ll need your hand.” She grabbed his shoulder, supporting herself hard on him.
“I could try healing you,” he said, as he helped her limp down the treacherous underground steps that were apparently part of the academy.
“No no no.”
He’d expected her to say as much. Any powers he had came directly from Noire. “Honestly, I’m not even sure I still have my old healing spells. They came from worshipping Noire, even as Alerion, but I haven’t worshipped it in a bit.”
“And there’s no reason to tempt fate,” she said. “I could…” She sighed.
“What? You have any potions or something?”
“No Darkos, I told you. Not an alchemist.”
He held her elbow firmly as she stepped down a narrow passage. “Fair. Just thought maybe one of the apothecaries might’ve had something. I saw a few when I was shopping but I wasn’t sure how or if they worked.”
She didn’t respond to this, probably annoyed at him for not getting any. “Huh,” she said after a minute. “We should get some after this. Sure beats the bow.”
“The bow?”
Strangely, she blushed at this, but before he could say anything else, she held up a hand. “Ok ok, we’re here. Show time.” She dialed her finger around the illusiotechnic and a mist fell around them. “Invisible, sorta, so don’t make a sound. Remember, if you have to talk to me, only talk when your face is obscured by the magic of my hood or they will be able to hear.”
They rounded the next corner to find a large room, occupied by a small cluster of people wearing dark red garments. Darkos and Geela half tip toed, half limped past them, careful not to make a sound. Somehow the ceiling was made entirely of glass and looked up into the sky, even though that must be impossible. The chamber held an odd amount of life. Bats fluttered from alcove to alcove, a rat scurried by. A cloud drifted over the moon and somewhere, in the distance, he heard the hour start to chime.
Geela, still invisible, pulled down her hood to fully reveal the symbols drawn on her face. An owl from one of the little cave pockets screeched and the room filled with an eerie glow from the moon above.
Darkos heard a gasp.
“There, she’s there!”
Darkos turned, a bit quick, to see the figures in robes all turn to face him and Geela. She must have dropped the invisibility field. Of course, he wished she’d have given him a signal, but he was learning to be quick on his feet. He kept his hood up, as Geela had requested, but kept his place behind her, stoic and still.
Geela for her part, stood before them, her Gale disguise shed, her golden hair spilling down her own dark red robes.
The cluster of eight people knelt before her, heads bowed. The one in front, a man who looked close to Darkos’s age, fixed her with a look of adoration.
“High Priestess Geela,” he said. “You have, indeed, not aged a day.”
“What’s this about.” Geela threw out a hand, gesturing at the room they stood in. “You’ve activated the sanguine chamber. You stand garbed in the robes of blood. You claim to be the children of Vera. Explain yourselves to me.”
Another figure looked up. His face was identical to that of the first man who spoke.
“We are the eight, the four of two, who were of one. The two drops hit the water and so we are the ripples.”
Darkos wanted desperately to ask Geela what this meant but from her body language, something he’d gotten very good at picking up, she was annoyed by this. Still, before she had to ask for more, two other figures uncloaked themselves. Two women unveiled their hoods. They had delicate features, pixie-like noses, dark hair cut sharp at their collarbones.
“In the light we serve.”
“In the dark we serve.”
“We are as the world sees…”
“One.”
The two both came together on the last word.
Geela let out a long breath. “Ah. I see.”
“There was a prophecy.” This voice came from another hood figure, another male’s voice, but this one harsher than the first twins who had spoken. “Speaking of lineage passed down four times.”
“From witch to priestess.”
“From priestess to servants.”
“From servants to daughters.”
“From daughters to the eight.”
“And all paid back in kind.” Geela finished. “Your poor mothers.”
“They know what must be done,” spoke the first man. “They will go willingly.”
“I would expect nothing less.” Geela turned to him and beckoned. When he grew near enough, she leaned forward, speaking in the enchantment of his hood. The cultists would hear only high, muted whispers. Darkos, meanwhile, heard, “I’m so completely and utterly done with this right now. I’m so pissed. Why, why did this have to happen now?”
“What’s going on?” Darkos asked. “This is total nonsense, right?”
She groaned. “Mostly. Well maybe half. There was a prophecy that we divined decades ago that was supposed to bring some crap ton of power to Berta. But I blew the place up before then and I’d thought we were fine because I didn’t know that my damned students had any kids.”
“Oh. So what’s it mean when you walk into a prophecy?”
“Nothing good. They’ll want me to bring Berta back.” Geela’s voice had grown tense.
“Can we, like, avert the prophecy? Ignore it?”
She sucked in a breath between her teeth. “I’m not sure. I’m really not. I am a little nervous to refuse them. They have the power of prophecy at their back, which is icky temporal magic and they also know my identity.” She sounded nervous now. “I’m not really interested in bringing old Bertie back but I don’t know how to say no to this.”
“What happens if she comes back?”
Geela leaned away and looked over at the eight, all staring at her, faces either solemn or hopeful or joyous or skeptical, depending on which twin pair you looked at. She leaned back in.
“I don’t have time to answer that right now. Just know that one, it’ll be complicated. Two, it’ll be… messy. And three? We may not have a choice.”
Oooh plot thickens more and more... Let me know what you think!
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2020.09.25 18:01 MajorParadox The New Batman Adventures Rewatch - S2E7 "Girl's Night Out"

Welcome to the The New Batman Adventures Rewatch!

S2E7 "Girl's Night Out"

Synopsis:
When Livewire escapes in Gotham City, Supergirl and Batgirl team up to find her, but the supervillainess has joined with Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy herself. IMDb

How to Watch

Purchase the Blurays (or DVDs) or stream on DC Universe, YouTube, iTunes, Amazon Prime, Google Play, or Vudu
Next week we will watch "Chemistry"

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2020.09.25 17:33 AutoModerator /r/nashville Weekend Free Talk - Discussion, Questions, and Recommendation Thread for the weekend of September 25, 2020

Discussion
Got something to discuss? Is your favorite band in town? Is a new bar opening up in your neighborhood? Need to know about the most popular beer in town? Did you see a Google Fiber Pedle Bachelorette Woo Girl Party leaving their AirBNB in East Nashville with designer Edison Lightbulbs as souvenirs? Want to know where to take the best selfies for your instagram feed? Looking for a drag strip to race Bird/Lime/Dash/Jump scooters while pounding beers for your bro's epic Bach party? Construction on 440 or bad drivers got you down? Feel free to discuss anything you'd like in this post.
Questions on what to do while you visit Nashville?
Start with our Wiki and feel free to post follow-up questions to the information you've found and the research you've already done. Posts implying you've done zero research will be subject to ridicule and possibly downvoted into oblivion.
Events
Want to know what's going on in the next few days? Nobody keeps a calendar like The Nashville Scene and Now Playing Nashville. If they don't have it - it isn't happening in town.
Nashville Scene - local see & do categories
Now Playing Nashville - Today and forward
Meetup - Upcoming
If you have an event scheduled for this week and can't find it anywhere, please feel free to post it here in this thread.
u/ayokg has created a list of non-country shows in a google doc that they will update regularly.
LINK
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City Girls Biography & History AllMusic