Our community blogs
Hey again everyone!
We have been working hard to improve the look and feel around the site as well as adding helpful new awesome features. One of those new features is Two Factor Authentication. This is currently enabled to help protect your account from being hijacked if it is ever hacked. If you have suggestions for more questions that we can add (if you choose to do security questions over Google Authenticator) than don't hesitate to post in that thread and give us some ideas!
Next up! We have updated how blogs appear on their main page. We now have the most recent article fully shown with the other articles truncated below. It came with a Grid layout and a traditional layout. We also increased the height of the cover image to better showcase an image of your choosing!
All around we have made some aesthetic changes to many things around the site (like the embeds that were difficult to read). We hope you enjoy them!
Another cool feature that we added is we now have discord integration! So if you're in discord either on your computer or on your phone you will now get notified when new topics are posted around the forums. Currently it is set up to primarily post from the "Wanted, Roleplay" section and the "Roleplay Conversations" sections. In the future this may change. Please feel free to provide feedback in the Staff Contact forum to let us know if you think we should add more or remove any so we know what you like.
Now! Onto Challenges! The Best of 2016 has been posted! We would like to thank everyone who nominated and to remind everyone to look out for these same things as we will be repeating it next year and probably with more categories! You are free to contact us and let us know of categories you think we should add! Go check out the winners here:
Following that! We are looking for award ideas! Funny, nerdy, bizarre whatever! We want to make awards fun to both have and earn. If you have an idea for an award for something around the Initiative than please let us know what it is and how you think it should be earned! We would love more fun and creative ways to engage you!
Moving on from awards! Our Spotlight Challenge is nearly at it's end! Don't miss your opportunity to get your site listed in the header of the Initiative for an entire month! Check it out and send us some stories about Valentine's day! Remember they don't have to be about love!
Voting for Graphics Challenge 9 is up! Go vote for your favorite one here:
We have also posted a new graphics challenge! It's super easy and fun! Go make some avatars of some animals!
Think you have what it takes to write a graphic inspired challenge!? Go check out this writing challenge:
Last but certainly not least! Don't forget about @Gothams Reckoning advice blog. Just send them a PM with your question that you would like advice on and they will post it in the blog and give you advice. You can be completely anonymous just advise GR when you send your PM.
We just want to add that we can't have this awesome community without you! So we thank you for being awesome members and being supportive to one another! You all rock!
The Initiative Staff
The night before last I had a dream.
I had a dream that it was my birthday.
And on my birthday, I was going to go to a restaurant to celebrate with my family. I was going to drive there alone.
And while driving there, I realized there was a festival in town. A festival where some of my friends would be, and where some of my favorite performers would be. I decided to swing by just to say hi, but didn't call my family to let them know I might be a little bit late.
When I got there, I met up with my friends and said hi and such.
Then the zombie apocalypse happened. I survived it mostly by hiding under a blanket, because my dream logic was that the fabric of the blanket would prevent their scrabbling hands from opening up my belly and eating my insides. These were not very strong zombies, I suppose, so if they couldn't get purchase on me then they couldn't eat me.
Somewhere along the way, I found a "Japanese" house I could take shelter in. When I say "Japanese," I don't mean that is what my brain told me it was and not that it was actually based on the actual structure of stereotypical Japanese buildings. Someone was already living there, but they agreed to let me hang out until things blew over.
But there was a problem.
Because a gnome lived in their house, too. It was not a nice gnome. The gnome stole my shoes, and kept trying to attack me, so I ran away and went back to hiding from zombies underneath a blanket.
But then Adam Driver and some of his friends found me, and Adam Driver helped me look for my shoes and acted like it was totally normal that a gnome stole them. He was more concerned that they were not good shoes to wear during a zombie apocalypse, because they were nude-colored (?). After we found my shoes, I told him I was very late for my birthday dinner party with my family and that I needed to go see them. And then, even though I didn't park my car in a parking garage, Adam walked me to one and asked Oscar Isaac to help me find my car and my keys.
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Advertising should be the easiest and probably most ignored part of your site. That makes it no less important, but there are a wide variety of ways you can make it both easier on you and more tolerable to handle. I'll try to sum up how to effectively advertise, how to handle your own advertising boards and some common issues people run into. All while simplifying things as much as possible in order to make it a relatively untouched part of your site in terms of the work you have to do.
The purpose of this is to simplify your advertising and make it so you have to dedicate only the time you want to it. It should not take up the majority of your time on board and should be easily delegated if you so decide.
This is going to be horribly unorganized because I've been doing this so long I have it down to a machine-like routine and am trying to remember things as I go. I am, of course, not saying this is the right way to do things. I'm just saying that I've been advertising for years and this is what I've noticed to be the easiest way to do things while simultaneously dedicating very little time to it.
The Unspoken Rules:
Advertise on each board only once a month.
Do not use doHTML, most sites don't allow it.
Make sure your code works before you post it. (align=center vs center, urls link back where they should, etc)
Keep your ad PG13, even if your site is not.
Don't advertise in Cboxes or outside the advertising section. This is a dick move.
Do not criticize someone else's site.
Keep your images under 500x500. Most things over will be resized and will direct to the full sized image instead of your board.
Your ad should contain:
The Site Name (This should also be the name of the advertisement thread)
Any age limits
A link to your board's index.
I've seen so many ads that are just SITE NAME! With no description and a vague image. This does nothing to indicate what your board is about, and who should be interested in it. You don't need to cram a ton of information into the ad, but you have the thread title and description to work with. Utilize them. The entire point of advertising is for other people to see your ad and go "Oh man, that looks nifty!" And click it to explore your board. If your ad is a stock image of a pie and your board is about horses, no one is going to bother because they don't want to RP on a board about pie.
I recommend having the title be your site's name. The description being your genre and any age limitations. I also recommend having your ad contain several links, to things like availability, rules, index and plot. Many also include a link back link, which while super helpful, isn't the sole purpose in advertising. If you want to, you could just link to the advertising board in general.
Things you should worry about with advertising:
Linking back/New ads. That's it. Don't worry about organizing them, don't worry about making your advertising board pretty or fancy. Advertise, provide a place for people to link back and be done. Anything else is more work than it's worth and takes up time that is better spent RPing. Don't worry about sorting them or deleting them. Don't worry about locking them or posting fancy 'THANK YOU FOR ADVERTISING' nonsense. No one goes back to look at their own ads unless its to bump them.
Your Own Boards:
Have a first link and linked back section.
You don't need anything else. Anything else means you dedicate more time to it. You can split them up based on hosts, but I find that's more trouble than it's worth. You generally won't get many ads outside of your host if you don't advertise off your host. Splitting them up isn't worth the multiple clicks it takes to get to the ad to link back. Having these two available makes it much, much easier for you to keep track of what you need to link back to as opposed to trying to rely on your own memory.
No one will read them. I assure you of that. But have them and keep them simple. They're there so you can delete ads as you feel and if anyone decides to bitch you can point them in that direction. (This has happened and I find it utterly ridiculous but covering your ass is always good.) Because no one will read your rules, don't bother making a big deal of them. Don't go and hunt down the rule breakers to yell at them for breaking the rules. Just delete the ad. They won't come back and look and if they do, you can point them at your rules. Your rules should be simplistic. Ie: No boards from X host. No DoHTML, no porn, every ad you post, we'll post back, etc. You do not want to limit who posts to your board because that, in turn, limits whom you can post to. If I see a board that advertises on mine but then makes me jump through hoops to advertise on theirs, I'm just deleting their ad.
Don't make a rule about posting multiple ads.
It will get broken. You will spend more time than anyone needs deleting them. Either link back or delete it, whichever you prefer. Most sites will post once a month, maybe once every two weeks. Your board will get hit multiple times. It's part of life. No one can memorize every board's rules and no one should bother trying, for that matter. Remember: You want to keep things simple and easy for you to manage. That means letting go of some control.
Don't Lock Boards.
This takes up more time than you need to dedicate to it. Plus, some boards prefer to bump their post as opposed to posting multiple ads.
Don't hesitate to delete ads.
Not comfortable with a site? Their ad is broken? Can't get back to the site or figure out how to advertise on it? Delete the ad. Done and done. It isn't your job to police them or to make sure they receive exposure. It's their job to make sure their ad works. You do not have to justify why you delete an ad. (The rules are just so you can, if you so decide.)
When sites advertise in your First Link section:
Link back. That's it. You can always reply to that thread with "Linked back" so you can, personally, keep track of things. Or, if you have multiple people handling advertising, this makes it so there's no confusion and no one winds up spamming another board.
When sites advertise in your Link Back section:
Do nothing. You are done here.
Don't bother sorting ads once they are posted. Don't bother going to other sites to tell them how they broke your rules. Just let them drop the ad, delete it if you don't like it and go on. You should barely ever touch the linked back section and only hit the first links to link back.
I just opened a new board! How do I get started advertising?
Well, presumably you have all of the above set up and have an ad made. Fantastic! Go to a directory or to really, any other forum. Go to their advertising section. Drop an ad. Go back. Find another site. Rinse repeat. Do this until you're tired of doing it. I recommend knocking out 5-10 ads a day when you first start a board. You do not have to maintain this, nor do you have to do it every day. Just make sure you're getting out there and advertising. List your site on directories, get affiliates with other new boards and established ones alike. Then go back to dropping first links.
Link back within a week. This is so you don't get too bogged down. I generally hit up my advertising before I start writing for the night. Knock out a couple link backs, then go enjoy myself. I'll also frequently hit other sites that have posted on the one I just linked back to and first link them. There, look at that! You got your 5 ads done and it took, maybe, 10 minutes.
I can easily dedicate several hours to advertising and legitimately enjoy it, but I know many people hate it. I think one of the reasons I can enjoy it is because it isn't the focus of my day and I have it set up so its incredibly simple and requires very little time or attention outside of actually dropping ads.
Questions? Concerns? Want to tell me why I'm wrong? Feel free to do so!
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Sites feel pressured into Discord because it is popular, leaving bad experiences to build resentment
I once heard a person say that they dislike stats so much that they will never join a site that has them; they went on to say that stats affected nothing in roleplay, were a waste of time, and were meaningless math. In a different time, stats were none of these things, but efforts to cater to -lovers and -haters combined created a common system where numbers exist, are work, but have no value and affect nothing. No doubt, this person had a bad experience because they tried something even the site's admin's likely didn't understand.
This is the exact same trend as Discord. The first thing every site admin hears about discord is "Do you have a Discord?", and then they feel pressured to get one because everyone has one, usually not realizing that Discord has its pros and cons.
I firmly believe this fad will continue the way of stats and people will eventually begin to dislike it because they don't understand. Unless Discord can fix the cons...
Guests don't see activity
Discord is a separate app that has to be launched and there really isn't any integration for a real-time chat on a webpage. There is a brand new widget for websites where you can see who's online, but that doesn't say much as they may be bots or people AFK. So, whenever people do things on Discord, a guest doesn't see that. All they see is what's on the website. In fact, in order to see, they have to launch a whole new app, figure out what the discord join URL is, choose a handle, and log on. It's not very guest visible, leaving a guest with more "Is this site active?" than before.
Guest questions don't get responded to as quickly
I don't know any staff who monitor both the Discord and whatever cbox/chatango/etc there is at the same time, especially while idle. Discord has a way of sucking up your attention, meaning that responses to guests take longer than usual. This also plays into how welcome a guest feels at the site, and their interest usually hinges on whatever the question was.
Most roleplayers have very little in common
Perhaps the most important point about Discord is that it creates a community for like-minded people. While in Discord, chat turns to personal lives, media, music, and video games pretty often. Roleplays have encouraged players to be a community for a very long time, but the truth is that most roleplayers just don't have that much in common, which can mean that even the most valued roleplay members are suddenly the least valued in Discord, falling through the cracks.
Activity tapers off on the forum because it encourages players to plot but not play
This is the one most important reason that Discord can be bad for a roleplay. It sucks up your attention and people go off to chat about other things. This is nothing new about chat, but now that the roleplay is no longer even on your screen and that you're surrounded by your buddies from other places inside the app, the temptation to wander is much stronger. Personally I feel that plotting has gone up due to players being more accessible, but actually playing the game is much less for forum-based roleplays.
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I don't really know why I'm writing this, maybe to get it out somehow. It's late and I'll regret this tomorrow.
Sometimes I don't handle things well, I get tired so easily. I love studying biology, but I don't always have the energy to be a student. It goes up and down. Sometimes I have days where I have so much energy, I get so much done, then I hit rock bottom and I lie in bed for an entire day. And then I just skip classes, and curl up with a book or some of my hobbies, trying to feel better. And I'm lonely, which is silly. I have several friends, family who lives nearby, and I know that my parents would come to pick me up for a visit home if I just asked.
I guess that is my problem, asking for help. "I'm fine." My most frequent lie. Those acting classes did pay off I guess.
Most of those who know me know I struggle with migraines, a lot. They leave me so exhausted, both physically and emotionally. I can deal with the pain from the migraines, it's the exhaustion that tears me down.
Today started good, I had plans to work on my ethics paper, then I had a migraine attack. I took a painkiller and slept for three hours. I woke up, so tired, so exhausted, I'm crying and shaking.
I'm going to post this before I regret it and just delete it before even posting, as a reminder to myself. I have a bad habit of thinking I'm fine after I come up again from one of these downs, it's a cycle. Maybe if I see this tomorrow I'll actually gather up the courage to make an appointment with a psychologist, or just another appointment with the school councilor. Someone.
I'm sorry, this is a letter to myself on my public blog.... I hate it, but I think, I think if I don't post it somewhere I see it again I'll just keep going like I've done now for the last three years. Ignoring it.
Sometimes I am feeling cheated of character development. Cheated in my writing, in the story we are writing together, not receiving the same thing I am offering, but only a tenth part. I have said before that Nothing happens if you don't write. Everybody knows it is true, still they don't write even if they all declare they love their characters and they want the plots they have suggested and we have planned for months, waiting for their free time to actually write the story.
In some cases, this leads to "this has happened" decisions between writers, without showing how in a thread, but just mentioning it in passing in another thread. I this case, if I feel cheated of the character development, usually there are remedies for this: some characters have journals and tell their version of the story, with their thoughts and feelings about it. Some characters, for whom it isn't in character to keep a journal, might write a letter to somebody dear and confess there if it is a thing which can be confessed, or can open up to a friend in a certain circumstance. I guess one of these three solutions can be applied unilaterally in most cases, so that at least my characters gain the character development they have been cheated of.
In some cases, after waiting longer than anybody else would have had patience for, the thread starts and continues (from their side) with one post a century, written quickly, as if wanting to get rid of it instead of developing their characters and making them enjoy the story. I receive something emotionless, without letting their charachters develop through the plot, making them less than wallflowers. What satisfaction would they gain from this kind of writing, I can't understand.
I do write my characters normally through the threads, giving them time to feel, to think, to watch, to react and to make the story happen, to take in through all the senses what happens. But by their lack of proper reactions, of a real contribution to a story they wanted/ asked for, I still feel cheated of my character development. They get even less than mine, too, but by their choice, because there would have been a lot to react to and vibrate to in my posts. And sometimes I don't know what to do to fix the story, at least on my side.
I feel cheated, I feel that writing in partnership doesn't attain that partnership feeling, that I am giving everything and I receive just crumpets in exchange, that I am doing all the work and the others are sabotaging their own character development, and mine as collateral damage. That the story isn't anymore how it should have been, because it lacks... enthusiasm? Feeling? Life? And that if I wrote it alone from both characters' perspective, it would have been more pleasant to read, more developed and immersing the readers into the proper athmosphere of the setting.
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I was reading the script for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and this made me think about the various fandoms I like. My main ones are Tolkien and Star Wars (before the Disney take-over - I didn't like Force Awakens and probably won't care for the stories that spring off that, but I'm reserving judgement for Rogue One and the various stand alone spin-offs.) Reading those then got me re-visiting Jim Butcher's Dresden Files, and this made me think which, out of all the books, films and TV shows I like, which are the ones which stand out and blow the rest out of the water, so to speak? These are the ones which we are most likely to be inspired to write fan fiction for and create rp games and boards, the ones which seem to get us through times that are tough.
Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit
Women of the Otherworld (includes the adult and YA books)
Mercy Thompson/Alpha and Omega
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Star Trek: Voyager
Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel
I wouldn't make an rp site for these books, but they do deserve an honorary mention because they are things I go back to time and again: Watership Down, James Herriot, and One Hundred and One Dalmatians.
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Alright, so I think I took on too much and I’m starting to feel the effects of it. I’m unfocused, I have a constant ringing headache. I want to finish things but when I start looking at it I start to feel a little panicky, which honestly, isn’t anything like … Continue reading
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I do not know if this happens to anyone else, but sometimes I get so many writing ideas at once, that I cannot write anything at all. They flow in and out of my head, like multiple electrons spinning around so fast inside of my head that I can barely even write any of them down.
Its funny, because I have a character application to do on a board, a few email RPs to do, and I wanted to write more on this novel I have been slowly working on and I just cant do any of it. It is all clogged. As I concentrate on one character, I see in my head this character and then its gone, replaced by a rapid fire a few more ideas, like a speed of light shot gun which splatters all of the other ideas in all different directions.
Right now, I just started to read the Killing Joke and some Daredevil comics so its about those. Ideas about Joker, Batgirl, Daredevil, Bullseye, Elektra. I am also watching the middle of the Jessica Jones show it is about her, about her life, about different parts of her life and of course Killgrave. Then my son started to watch the Fantastic Four cartoon this morning and I wondered why Sue stayed with Reed as he was always in his lab. Then I started to play Halo, and wondered about a good RP between the Master Chief and Cortana, with everyone attacking wondering where is the Green Lantern in this story, isn't her supposed to protect it ?
Ok so its time to relax, and I really want to write a fighting scene between two characters with a lot of frustration, totally unaware that their frustration is secretly with each other. My mind goes to someone like Wolverine (because I have not written him in so long) and maybe someone like Kitty Pryde. I can see Logan in my head, teasing her about every relationship she ever had not working out. Kitty firing back about his failed marriage with Mariko. Logan coming in hard with his claws and she dodging and phasing, Logan commenting just like everything in her life she just "phases" like it doesn't affect her when really she just misses her Dad. Kitty laughs and back flips away, saying at least she remembers her Dad. Up in the Danger Room observation deck, Cyclops and Emma comment how they are going back to bed tired of seeing these two banter about their lives glad that at least Logan isn't assaulting Scott right now. Logan laughs as he takes up a different martial arts stance, dares Kitty to try anything, as he says well its better than having Daddy issues and always picking men who cheat on her. Kitty loses it saying Pete Wisdom never cheated on her. Logan laughs against tripping her to the ground with a feint, saying yeah right, like Pete Wisdom never cheats on anyone, ever wonder why he got along with Moira so well. This hits Kitty to the core, tearing her up and Logan doesn't stop. You never did get it darling, he says, and you never will.
Ok I feel a lot better. At least I got one idea out.
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I hate Reign. Stop talking to me about Reign. You want medieval shows? You want Renaissance shows? HERE are some you ought to spend your time with instead:
Borgia- Netflix. Italian sets. Gorgeous and at least quasi-historical costuming. Actual faithful replicas of some of the jewelry. Balls-out crazy plotlines while yet remaining a touch closer to the spirit of balls-out crazy that actually made up the Borgia-era papacy.
The Borgia: Showtime. STUNNING costumes, great cast and heartbreaking plots. I love this show too.
Wolf Hall: Technically Tudor-era but also good. I don't even like Henrican/Tudor era but this is acceptable and the costuming is both brilliant and almost entirely accurate (dear GOD wtf are those hoods why did you do this, Tudor England? WHY?)
Vikings: Technically Dark Ages not medieval but still freaking fantastic. Worth it just for the eye-candy. Totally inaccurate clothing but I love the plot enough not to mind. At least it's believable fantasy Viking most of the time. And the plotlines actually compel me to watch.
The Bastard Executioner: Medieval Wales in the reign of Edward II. An increasing amount of fantasy elements showing up but I like it, even if the plot's going a little slow and the fact the main female lead is named Love... annoys me to no end yet the show is good enough to let me keep watching. Not very accurate clothes but believable enough and they're working within a budget so at least you can tell they TRY to be medieval. Mostly they succeed very well: if I wasn't someone who does medieval clothing for FUN I wouldn't notice.
The Last Kingdom: Dark Ages/ early medieval. This is when the Vikings are taking over England and Alfred the Great will be the one to throw them back. Touch of mysticsm here and there but overall AMAZING. You should go watch.
Marco Polo: Netflix series. 12th century Mongol court. I don't actually know much about Mongol clothing but I suspect a lot of this is hysterically wrong to someone who does know that era but it's at least believable-ish. What the series does get right is the Mongol way of thinking and doing things, and the conflict within the Mongol peoples as Kublai's court becomes increasingly Chinese while others remain closer to their own traditions. This show is so far from being about Marco most of the time that I love it. I LOVE the intrigues in the court, I love Jingem's hair, and I love Kublai Khan.
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Okay, aside from the $1mil I need, there are some other things that I'd dearly love that are role play related. This seems like a good post to start it off on!
- Time. Like seriously, can I just be Piper from Charmed and stop time to do rp stuff in the middle of my day? Because I think that's the only way it'll happen.
- Time. It gets a second one because it's that damn important.
- A Star Trek rpg. Like, Deep Space Nine. I love my Cardassians, and my Vorta (sexy little bastards).
- Doctor Who role play, preferably Nine's era. Because I love my 9.
- Time. Did I mention that one already?
- Benedict Cumberbatch. I just want him, period.
- A new house (that's not part of this, and it's more of a need, but I thought I'd throw it in there in case any of you have a spare one floating around. Beachfront works for me.)
- Sherlock Holmes. A sexy beast that man is. A great rp it would be, I am certain.
- To be able to talk like Yoda at will. I think I can type like him, maybe?
- A Harry Potter rpg. I want to ship Snape and my OFC. Seriously.
- Another Star Trek set after the latest new movie. Khan should be involved. And why? I refer you to 6.
NIGHTMARE ZERO'S POPULARITY ON THE RISE
A recent new video game released at the beginning of this year has gamers from all over Nyxis flocking to play. The video game, which is an MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) is set in a fantasy land called Sedna, where players can choose a character from several different classes to explore, fight monsters, interact with other players, and more. The open-ended plot of the game, which involves taking on jobs, fighting monsters against one another, and joining guilds, is said to be a large part of the draw.
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long story short: i am a used car salesman. i am so atypical that i have literally had someone come into my dealership, look at me and my name tag, and ask me if i sell cars.
EP 1: ADVENTURES WITH ROBO-D
ROBO-D is the second oldest member of the sales team and the person who has been at this particular dealership the longest. robo-d is the top sales guy in the region, and, as his name implies, he can be hilariously robotic. thus i made it an immediate social experiment to terrorize him into three-dimensional emotions!
a recent adventure with robo-d:
thus i bribed robo-d with hot chocolate + coffee + french vanilla creamer and settled his miserly soul after piggybacking on three of his deals
kyubey: what can i do you for, robo-d
robo-d: [faces full-length window with his hands on his hips, staring out at car lot]
kyubey: [assumes same position]
kyubey: waddaya need d
robo-d: i need a pick me-up
robo-d: like one of those hot chocolate coffee things
kyubey: you got it robo-d
robo-d also snaked us all out of $8 to make brownies on monday. we all agreed that we had been hustled.
EP 2: FUCKED UP
my sales manager is a guy we shall call CARLOS. carlos has been slowly forced to adapt to my manic ways and my insistence that i be allowed to crush candy on my cell phone all day if i am making phone calls. yes, i have actually freaked out in front of my coworkers about this.
kyubey: would you like a jalapeno chip carlos
kyubey: [places a single chip on the desk]
kyubey: [adds another single chip]
carlos: [eats chip]
kyubey: [slowly adds another single chip]
carlos: oh my god you're like my kid
carlos: do you think you're feeding a monkey
carlos: [eats chip]
kyubey: [slowly adds another single chip]
carlos: you're fucked up
robo-d: women are crazy
kyubey: men are useless
kyubey: i can think of like
kyubey: two good uses
carlos: whatever you're about to say is fucked up
kyubey: okay, maybe three uses
stay tuned for more sweet adventures
Georgie never played well with others, but she was not the â€œI prefer animals to peopleâ€ type. She did, but she preferred individuals to animals, which had to count for something. She was young and small for her age, small enough to seem even younger, and that showed her the truth in people. So she knew that many were jerks but far more were good, decent people.
She still felt closer to the tiny black kitten than she had to any human being in a long time. It was tiny. It had tiny ears and tiny claws, tiny eyes and a tiny black nose, even a tiny mewl, like it couldnâ€™t work up a full one. The kitten crawled over her hands and snuggled against her belly, each strand of tiny black fur sticking out like it did not have enough body to hold onto.
Georgie loved that kitten. Superstition aside, she liked to believe it had loads of brothers and sisters and a mamma somewhere, that she might wake up swarmed with black cats. It didnâ€™t exactly happen that way, but she did wake up with something. There is an expression about what one wakes up with when lying down with dogs. It turned out to be more than a metaphor and true about cats, too.
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What can I say about Halloween? There is actually not that much that I can tell you about Halloween since we do not celebrate it over here. What I can tell you is my story of celebrating Halloween last year in West Hollywood.
I stayed in LA for 10 months last year for my internship. I also was here during Halloween, which honestly was some kind of crazy happening for me. It was hard to understand what it was all about and at some point I just stopped thinking and went along with it. My friend took me to Disneyland and we went trick or treating there, dressing up and it was fun. I had not expected it to be so much fun, but it was a pleasant surprise.
What has made the biggest impression on me was going to West Hollywood to watch the parade there. To see all these costumes and that people had worked so hard on them. It was a very different kind party or celebration and I think how we celebrate things and how Halloween was celebrated in La both have their pros and cons. It is certainly a special celebration and I am extremely grateful to have been party of it. I will miss it this year for sure but who knows in the future I might celebrate it again.
Rain drenched the city, making the lights of the high tower blocks burr on the grey concrete. The air was filled with the sound of motion - both aircraft and the older, but still common, car. While darkness descended in a thick cloak New York didn't sleep - it didn't a centuries ago and if anything it was worse now. It was a city of Sin in a way Vegas never was, the new city. Pleasure, self discovery had become the meaning of life, had taken over.
It ruled Caella Evan's life and it was the reason she was hurrying through the street, pale fingers clutching at the lapels of her black jacket to close them over her throat, trying to stop the rain which threatened to drench her, to soak her through to the skin. The streets were teaming with people; some returning home from work despite the late hour, some going, some off to the clubs and houses of pleasure which crowded Times Square and the surrounding blocks. She loved the city, really, loved the atmosphere of it, how alive it was but she couldn't concentrate right then, couldn't focus on how beautiful it looked even with the onslaught of rain which threatened to entirely ruin the good work of evenings effort to look... perfect. She couldn't look any less than perfect, not for Mr Aidan McCallister. The man who owned more of the city than she could guess at.
The request had come as a surprise - she was a well liked consort, respected, she had a few years under her belt but McCallister was something else. He was big league. Bigger than the small escort agency who had her on the books but Mae's excitement, the high pitched squeak of her voice which was usually smoky fine and aloof had told her that this was no hoax. McCallister had asked for her.
Caella wasn't blind, she knew she was attractive - feminine, enough softness to be curvy and cuddly as some of her clients liked and toned enough to be admired, her auburn hair was long and thick and styled in loose waves tonight, her mouth crimson and sensual, her eyes a forest green. She was attractive, beautiful, striking even with her sharp jaw, the almond tilt of her eyes. But still beneath McCallister, her biggest client was a Lawyer who had made it big on a murder case the previous year.
The building loomed in front of her, elegant lines, glass and steal. It was prime real estate and she imagined the rent of a year could easily pay for her own apartment for the rest of her life. A doorman stepped up from a hidden alcove, potentially a bot she guessed from the smooth motions as he let her into the building. The lobby was as expensive seeming as the outside, but tastefully so. Creamy marble framed a run of lush red carpet, expensive enough that it felt springy beneath her six inch heels. Fingers brushed the inner button of her coat, the invisible shield which had protected her on her walk to the building disappating in a fizzle of blue light which momentarily lit up her features.
"Mr McCallister is waiting for you, Ms Evans, penthouse suite," the receptionist told her before she could even open her mouth, Caella having to force the hint of surprise from her features. Escorts weren't illegal and they had long since become common place in a world ruled by man, by those who gave themselves over to pleasure but it surprised her none the less that he was so open about his appointments.
"Thank you." The elevator was as nice as the lobby, lined with mirrors which she was sure could tell some secrets of the occupants of the building. From her it only got a glimpse of vanity, making sure her make-up was unsmuged, her hair still in place, her dress covering everything it should be.
With a gentle ping the doors slid open, spilling her out into a small hallway of cream walls and wooden floor. A security system was set beside the door and engaged the moment she stepped form the elevator, verifying her identity. Such systems were expensive. Very expensive.
The door swung open for her as the small red light on the box changed to green to confirm her identity. It felt like walking into the den of a predator, nerves like she hadn't felt since her early days danced in her stomach, butterflies the size of dinner plates letting themselves be known as she stepped further into the hallway and down into the sunken living area, trying to keep the look of surprised envy from her features.
"Welcome Ms Evans, I'm glad you could make it." His voice was like aged whiskey, smooth but burning, like liquid fire down her spine and Caella had to force herself to turn around slowly, to make sure her look was coy sensuality and not nervous apprehension.
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Warning: This is a VERY LONG One-Shot. This is the head-canon for my character and his backstory up to his present situation. ( Special thanks to @Morrigan and she knows why )
Born to a well-to-do family in suburban France, Henri was bounced between family estates a lot as a child. He wouldn't remember the reason; that his parents were not having a good time of their relationship. He wouldn't remember the fighting, or the screaming.
Instead, Henri would remember the sheep and the goats, making cheese, and bouncing between public school and a prestigious, expensive academy his father insisted he go to. Summers spent with Russian cousins who were sent to visit who smoked cigarettes, and drank cheap vodka. The Russian he learned was passable. Enough to communicate with the older, wilder kids.
But when it came to school, Henri would spend month here, a month there. It wasn't an ideal situation, but Henri thought nothing of it. It never occurred to him that it was anything but normal. The bloody fights, when both his parents would come home covered in blood--they didn't bother him. He didn't question it. His parents were the alpha pair of their pack. It was part of the territory, right?
To continue reading, click the spoiler:
When he first turned, Henri was twelve. It was unexpected, and triggered by him getting gravely ill. Some sort of something was going on; something rough. Something strange. A massive fever rocked his body out of nowhere, and the doctor who made the house call to the family said he wouldn't make it.
Henri's father kicked the doctor out of the house, and Henri became a wolf that night. It wasn't during a particular phase of the moon; in between phases. It would be one of many strange things in his life. He was a wolf for days, a veterinarian brought in to give him antinflamatories, antibiotics. Thinking he was just a family pet. A wolf-like looking dog. Henri would never remember it.
With the wolf's arrival, Henri spent a year outside of school. He started going camping with his cousins a lot. Spending time away from home, often winding up at his grandmother's for stretches of time, chasing the goats, making cheese...
Some things never changed.
Henri had never been particularly popular. He was a geek with glasses and a manner of being quiet. But after the wolf? He began to develop a little muscle here and there, started to fill out, wasn't a scrawny little boy anymore.
He was popular, athletic, by the time he was fourteen. Just old enough to start screwing up. He got a job at a gelato shop. And that's where he met the girl who would change much of his life.
Spanish, quiet, a bit of a mean girl... Henri knew he didn't love the girl, but the way she wanted him... he didn't want to tell her no. What teenaged boy would tell such a girl no? Round, bouncy, perky breasts, a tiny waist, rich, creamy thighs that spread so easily... He was hotblooded, young, and male. The second she flashed the fact there was nothing under that skirt of hers, he was entrapped.
The weeks turned to months of sneaking around and even though Henri knew every bit of it was wrong, it wasn't until a few months later when he was told that she was pregnant, that he really realized what he was doing was a bad idea.
He went instantly to his father about it who did nothing but shout about disappointments, bad behavior, and human sluts. It was enough to make Henri hate the man. Especially when it was pointed out he had no love for the girl.
Henri should have felt bad, should have felt guilty. But he didn't.
When the child was born, Henri was there, in the delivery room, and immediately, the girl didn't want Henri anywhere near her. And she didn't want anything to do with the baby either. She was wheeled to another room, while Henri was left holding the tiny, nameless infant girl.
Still in school, and this tiny thing was suddenly his responsibility. He fed her with a nurse's help, and eventually, his mother showed up, thin-lipped, and made him name her, before they brought the baby home.
They weren't prepared. Not in the least bit. And it wasn't for a fair while before they found out the girl was deaf. But even though Henri hadn't been ready for a child, he did his best. Applied himself to the child the same way he applied himself at school. He was smart and quick. These were important things.
He still graduated from school, and soon moved out of his parents' house in favor of a small apartment. An apartment he would remain in for several years...
As the early years went on, Henri tried to maintain attending classes for accounting and actuarial information; he delved in statistics, took sign language classes for himself, and with his daughter. Speech therapy started when she was at the age where she should be talking, and eventually, things seemed to be working well.
The warning signs were there, when it came down to it. To the night when most of the family was murdered.
Bay was five, happily in school, doing amazing because of how devoted he was to his little girl. Henri did his best in as many ways as possible. It wasn't perfect. It was far from perfect.
But that was okay. He worked while she was in school, took classes at night when someone could watch her as she slept.
His parents had been getting into fights again. The Russian cousins hadn't visited in years. Things were tense... and Henri for the most part ignored his father's pressing for Henri to join up arms with him--to get ready for being the Alpha of their little pack.
Instead, he ignored his parents.
They had hired a mage, when Bay was only three...
"I won't do it. There is nothing wrong with your granddaughter. She is perfectly healthy." Lilya stated, sourly.
"But you must! She cannot communicate!" Henri's mother begged and the young man rolled his eyes.
"Your son seems to disagree. Did they tell you they were asking someone to come look at your daughter's ears?" The mage asked, raising her eyebrows.
Henri shook his head no.
"Well then! My time here is done. Congrats on your perfectly healthy, deaf grandchild," the woman said, giving Henri's mother a withering glare which broke the other woman into tears.
And just like that--she was gone.
Henri licked his lips a bit, shook his head at his mother.
"I can't believe you. You're not watching Bay again."
It didn't last entirely; but it was a long time before Henri let his mother watch Bay...
It was lucky he was home that night.
That night when everything went bad.
When the hunter group went after them. When he got shot... it was a turning point for the family.
Henri had no idea that everyone who was gone, was gone on purpose. His father had anticipated the attack.
And he hadn't meant for Henri to live. A fact his grandmother would tell him several years later.
They packed their things, all but Gram, and left.
Henri took everyone to the English coast. It was beautiful there. Henri needed to keep his little girl safe. She was the single most important thing in his life. The only thing he could find important. And so, they moved.
Life on the coast was good. Bay went to school, and Henri worked, moving into private security. He found it more interesting. By the time he was 24, he had found a successful little niche. Henri did the security for all the local businesses, and even many private homes. The hunter group had not sought him out again.
Everyone was fine. Everything went very well for several years.
Henri raised his daughter, and did his best not to fight with the others. But by the time Bay was ten, the fights were fairly frequent, and somewhat bloody.
Particularly, with Calliope.
She put Henri in the hospital once before their move to London, after the older people in their group had died. She had nearly broken his neck, pushing him off the roof of the house. He'd fallen into a tree; dislocated his shoulder, tore ligaments, broke his ribs, his ankle.
it was shocking that she would try to kill him.
She'd never crossed that line before.
Moving to London, Bay only agreed to the move because she was left scared with her father's injuries. He healed very fast, though it took a couple of surgeries, and then, he was okay... It was scary, and they never spoke of it again.
People--pack members--kept dying.
It was entering the height of that when Henri met Alice.
Because now, things were particularly a mess at home.
His life was falling apart.
And here he was, taking a good run, to try to not think about everything that had been going on... And there she was.
Well, there were a couple people. They had wandered rather purposefully into the woods, and he'd seen them from a distance. They smelled like hunters; it was terribly obvious.
The man's face was almost always in shadow, he didn't notice him as much as he noticed her. They seemed to have a... unique... sort of relationship. There was a lot of fire there. They were doing some sort of joking around.
It was fine, he supposed.
And he continued on, heading off silently away from them, moving more like a feline than a canine. Being extremely quiet was not something he found difficult.
Henri smelled the other wolf, before the humans would have any idea the other wolf was there. He kept his distance from the wolf for a little while, then began curiously tailing it. There weren't many wolves in this area, and he'd made sure to avoid others' marked territories. This wolf didn't belong here. Something wasn't right.
He heard the attack, practically smelled it before he saw it.
Henri was a bit farther off than he would have liked to have been when it came right down to it. He managed to take down the other wolf, teeth sinking through the soft tissue at the neck, ripping through like a hot knife through butter... but the man was dead already, and the woman... She wasn't okay.
He stared at the face of the man who was killed. It was strangely like looking into a mirror, almost. If that mirror was a bit more cruel than normal, at least. Older. Meaner. A version of himself he didn't want to exist. He knew the weapons couldn't be found. It took a couple phone calls... and then getting the woman to the hospital.
Henri stayed with her. Texted his daughter about it. Called the others at the house.
But he stayed with the woman.
She was far too beautiful to be going through this... at least, alone.
And he didn't realize she wasn't really alone. It was a mess... and it took him away from his pack, and his daughter for a while.
Henri wasn't the most impressed with himself over that fact. He could have done some damage to Bay by spending time with this woman... but she'd been bitten. And when she realized it, he knew she was going to lose her shit. She was a hunter. She wouldn't be happy.
Henri felt bad for her. She was pretty, and she was actually quite brilliant, if not also kind of amazing. She was tough. He didn't really realize how tough at first.
And that was a lot to handle. A lot to take in. She was... something else. His heart could barely handle it, and he didn't much like it.
Henri had never been really happy about dating, especially with the fact he had Bay. Finding his mate was not anywhere on his 'to-do' list. And yet... those long-warned-about feelings were already a problem. He told his wolf to shut the fuck up, and tried to ignore it--but at the same time he couldn't leave the woman's side. It was almost annoying.
Bay was going to be so damn pissed, wasn't she? Ultimately.
And it turned out, she was. Briefly. Until her Sight had told her otherwise against her worry. He was thankful. When it came down to it, Henri was....falling in love with this brash, over-the-top woman, who wanted to die--who would rather be dead than be a wolf.
And ultimately he had very little to try to keep her alive. Very little he could convince her of.
He kept trying.
He wanted her. He wanted to keep her. And then, more people died.
And he was getting sick. And more people were dying... and he was in trouble.
The others attacked him. Tried to attack Alice.
He was, ultimately, thankful that his daughter was deaf. There was so much more terrifying for her to have to deal with. Of course, Bay did not discuss with her father the important things that were going on with him and Alice too much; she wanted him to figure things out for himself, other than when she got upset and jealous.
It was a very difficult sort of situation, and Henri did his best to just take it a day at a time with his daughter, and also with Alice.
Every day was a struggle, and more than once he did have to wonder if it was worth it.
Of course, then he almost died, and the fact she was a hunter was the only reason that he survived. It was a bitter pill to swallow and he could only hope that the woman, pregnant by another man, could love him the way he loved her, and that fuck the circumstance of it all...
He wanted her to love him.
His daughter needed a mother, and above all else, even after she killed the bitch who'd given birth to Bay... he couldn't stop loving her. Violent tendency and snapping.... these were things he couldn't change...
Henri didn't want to lose Alice. A lot of things didn't make sense in his life, but being with her felt like something he'd never felt before. When she left, he couldn't handle it. It spiraled him out of control. Henri had never felt so low in his life. Not ever.
When his grandmother called him to come do paperwork, he left abruptly. Trusting that Bay would be fine for a couple of nights alone. She had assured him she would be fine... but of course, when she found she couldn't handle being alone, the girl hadn't called him... and that? That had gotten him into a lot of trouble with Alice. And probably rightly so.
Because he'd turned off his phone, put it away, and tried to just calm himself down.
Being in Versailles wasn't the most fun, especially insofar that he knew he was the last of his line other than Bay; and as he had no sons, the name would die with him. He fully expected his daughter to marry off to someone and have kids of her own and be a happy woman.
It was very sad in his opinion, that his family name would end...but he figured it was likely for the best. He didn't expect Alice's child to have his name. He'd be the child's father .... if she came back. If she stayed with him... but father in title only. The child wouldn't be his blood. That would, of course, change nothing.
Henri wasn't a total useless dickhead. He knew better.
But he also didn't think Alice would come back. Because he had little faith in himself. Even if she was his mate... maybe she felt he wasn't hers. He hated that.
Hated that he'd let himself love someone. Because she had walked out.
Especially hated that it was his own damn fault.
Henri met with lawyers off and on in addition to his grandmother. He did his best for her.
She still hated that he was alive.
He was supposed to be dead.
So was Bay.
And the fact that his grandmother didn't want to be able to communicate with his daughter? Hurt him.
Being here was not fun for Henri. But he did it anyway. He tolerated it.
And all with no contact with the rest of the world.
He just wanted to get the trip over with.
When Alice showed up, Henri was truly shocked. But when he saw Bay with her, he knew he was in trouble. Trying to get a women he loved that had loved before him... to be with him.... it was hard; and things were awkward.
It was awkward for him. He didn't know what to think and tried to settle with himself, but it didn't actually do him much good. He felt empty without the crazy, beautiful woman that Alice was. It was frustrating. He was intensely thankful that she came to France. It then was not as easy to get back home, but it was one hell of a wonderful thing to see his grandmother eat a cup of her own nasty soup when Alice gave the woman a taste of it. It was brilliant.
He was so proud that that was who he loved. The women he was in love with.
The trouble was, no matter what, he felt that he'd never be actually married to her, even if he wanted to be. It was hard; she had history. He knew some of that history. Had gotten other bits from the other wolves and her mage friend, over the past several months.
While Henri had always considered himself incapable of maintaining a relationship... the longer he spent with Alice, the more he wanted things to work out, and that was painful. Because he worried. He worried that when the baby came she'd still want to leave. To raise her son as she saw fit, no matter how much he wanted to help....
It was an intense fear that he kept hidden the best he could, as Bay seemed to think that everything would be fine.
He had to trust his little girl.
It was the best he had.
When they got home, Henri was glad to have her.
She was amazing.
How she forgave him, he'd never be clear. But Henri knew better than to ever question it. He couldn't. If he did, he could lose her.
Things slowed down a bit, when they got home. Things were okay. Henri handled them the best he could. One day at a time.
Alice slowly got bigger, and Henri loved her no less, even when she was unhappy with the weight. She could rag on herself all she wanted and he'd just ignore it and insist otherwise...because Henri found her sexy as hell, even when she was heavily pregnant and looking like she would pop any day now.
They planned, of course, on a home birth. Her mage friend was often visiting, making sure all was well, and when and what to expect often... Alice's due date came, and went, Mordria came around every day.... It was two weeks past when Alice was actually due when Mordria decided it was time for the little boy to be born.
Wolves didn't go to the doctor.
They didn't go to hospitals.
They most certainly did not have their children in hospitals.
When the day came, Henri felt like a chicken with his head cut off. He kept by Alice's side about ninety percent of the time, and the other ten percent was literally running to get her things, and such like.
Mordria was there, and that was... the best they could hope for.
Alice was not comfortable.
She was in pain.
And Henri hated it. When labor was active, he sat with her, held her hand tight in his.
It was long. It was brutal. He was lucky she didn't break his fingers.
Baby Lamont was, however, quite healthy, despite the hell he put his mama through in order to make it into this world.
But the most shocking thing for Henri that day?
Was when Alice chose her son's name.
And hyphenated his last name.
Henri had managed to not cry until that point.
He leaned his forehead against Alice's temple, thankful that they'd made it through the day.
Bay came downstairs only after she was sure it was 'safe', as she didn't want to see certain things, despite Henri had teased her intently to try to get her to do so. She promised she'd stay in the room 'next time'.
Of course, Alice was already insisting this wasn't happening again. (And who could blame her, she was in a lot of pain.)
Bay smiled to her parents and signed 'May I?' with a gesture to the baby.
Henri couldn't help his smile as his daughter held her little brother.
No blood relation, and yet that didn't matter... This was what family looked like.
And Henri liked it very much.
It had been almost sixteen years since Henri had had a baby. It was harder work than he remembered.
Even with the fact he'd been a lazy, privileged, hot-headed teenage single-father... Henri still felt that this had been easier back then. Somehow, this was harder than he remembered. Hell! He didn't think Bay was quite so fussy with diaper changes, for that matter.
But he helped Alice as much as she would let him, giving her appropriate distance (which was sometimes hard) because he knew she needed to learn some of this for herself. He gave her tips and things only when she requested, with the understanding that she could and would ask any time she wanted to pick his brain for possible memories on ways to make things easier.
Of course, Henri didn't have all the answers, and many sleepless nights left them with a fussy baby and google, and the occasional call to Dria to make sure everything was fine--only ever used as last resort.
Bay was thankful that she was deaf; she was thankful she didn't hear the baby scream. And she was willing to help by rocking the baby, and otherwise helping care for him in as many ways as she could. However, she couldn't be left alone with the little one. She couldn't hear him cry, and unless he was in her arms or she was watching him directly and quite literally, being alone with him was-- in her opinion-- unwise.
Henri didn't want to push his daughter into a place she didn't want to be in, of course...
And after a while, they fell into a natural rhythm... and Little Lamont liked very much to put things in his mouth. All the time.
Henri also didn't remember babies growing up so quickly... but boy did they grow fast.
The few months they had before Russia were, to be honest, intense. Little Lala was already growing up way too fast, and Henri was sure to make sure that Alice got lots of pictures.
They went, when the baby was three months old, for a family portrait. His grandmother flew in from France to participate. The pictures took all day, and went through multiple changes of clothes. And a few breaks for baby, of course. Pictures were taken of just little Lala, too--and had been when he was just a few days old, as well.
Henri wanted Alice to have ALL OF THE PICTURES. He was happy, also, to have his family in his wallet, to show off, too.
Because his family was no longer just Bay. Now he had lots of pictures to show off.
Okay, his wallet only had room for three, but still. They were the best pictures ever.
Maybe Henri was a bit biased. But it was his family.
When they found out about Celeste dying, everything had been good; they had actually been visiting when she had taken the fall that wound up taking her life... which, was jarring.
It hadn't been an immediate decision to go to the funeral... especially with the funeral being in Russia... but when it came down to it, and the fact that the twins heeded a bit of help; that sort of solidified that They Were Going. The Sorokins were down one; and it made them down two, when it came to brass tacks.
It didn't help that the family also included another infant and a little one, to boot.
They were in trouble. And they had the resources to help, so they were helping. It was important to help.
So the family packed up, and headed to Russia.
It was, above all else, beautiful. But when the Sorokins had warned them about a 'little bit of an active volcano' Henri had not expected having to climb up the damn thing.
But it was actually an amazing experience that he wouldn't have traded for anything. Bay, while she'd hated the flying, seemed thrilled about the trip. Changing into indigenous clothing, the way his daughter was grinning... that, to Henri, was gold.
It was a strange thing, and he couldn't help but grin at Alice's refusal to leave her leather jacket behind. He didn't blame her. He understood enough. She wanted to cling to some control, and familiarity. He didn't blame her.... but really, he was loving being there.
It made his wolf very excited, and thus, him very excited.
Henri liked this; liked being in a place where he could fade into the background and learn something. He didn't speak any of the sorts of Russian these people spoke (He had no idea what Koryak was, just thought it a dialect, when it was more it's own language, but it was what it was.), but some of them spoke English and others French and he found ways to communicate in that manner.
It was kind of great.
He hoped Alice would like it as much as he did.
Of course, he hand't meant for her to get a bit of the raw end of the deal, he hadn't realized how patriarchal the society was, despite it was fairly clear the women ran the show. They were the ones doing most of the work.... Gatherers, home-makers; while the men were the hunters. He knew it was unequivocal, but he would wait until Alice brought it up to him, before they became once again inseparable, much as they were at home.
It wasn't easy for him, and he didn't want to fully admit that... that he didn't like being apart from his mate. The other men teased him mercilessly as it was. He didn't want to make it worse, of course. So this wasn't easy.
He just did his best to make it look that way.
At least Bay was having a lot of fun, right?
And when Alice finally stepped up and decided to join with him, the fun for them became much more. And he loved every bit of his time with her, sometimes alone. There was no shortage of baby-sitters for them, even if they were also in the baby-sitter rotation, themselves.
It was a trip to remember, certainly.
He hoped it didn't have to end too soon, especially with Alice's friend falling ill.
it was strange, really. Henri didn't know that mages could fall ill.
© Ghost, 2014
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