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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
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A few days back, I closed In Populus Technology down. For those that don't know, that was my hosting and SMF theme/mod commission service, and it did quite well for several years, considering how few people actually use SMF for their role-playing sites nowadays. I realise, however, that I will be disappointing a few people when I say, I'm done. So this blog post is mostly to explain it to those that haven't pissed me off in some manner, so they understand why exactly I came to this decision. It wasn't one I took lightly, and I'm not doing it to be spiteful (well, maybe somewhat).
Fair warning, this is pretty ranty. I'm done apologising for my feelings so I'm not even sorry.
Once upon a long time ago, in an era now far behind me, I was a doe-eyed socially-awkward youngster that discovered the joy of online social interaction. I never got into anything dangerous, but my mother did, so I was pretty smart about what I did on it. Role-plays were both a creative outlet, and a way for my anxious ass to be able to make friends. It was, and remains, the only means of social interaction my messed up brain is capable of handling; full stop end of story. Going anywhere makes me nervous in reality. I can't even go to the gas station alone most of the time. So one can imagine how happy I was to help others. Obviously, they liked me when I did, and given I so craved approval and someone liking me, yeah, it was magnetic. Up to that point, I'd never actually had someone like me before. One good thing about being so messed up, my particular combination of ways I'm messed up in the head does make me learn very, very fast, and pick up on things like coding at the speed of friggin light. SMF was pretty big back then; everyone wanted to use it, because it was self-hosting without the huge upfront investment IPS was and is, but nobody could crack its secrets.
This sounds boastful, but if you've ever seen my work you know it's really not; I eventually became the best SMF coder in the RP world. I have yet to find evidence anyone knows it as well as I do around here. At this point, I'm also the last one. The joy of helping people, seeing sites that I helped with do well, used to be enough to keep me going and make me keep learning, even when I wanted to just give up. SMF and learning it were never easy, and I had no guide. I had to just dive in screaming yolo and hope for the best, because no one in the RP world knew how it worked, and the official SMF community is elitist as hell. "I can't stop," I'd say to myself. "There are all these other SMF admins that I need to stay on my game for and help out. If I stop making SMF themes and stuff, there'll be no one left to do it anymore." The last remaining decent SMF coder went away about a year or so ago. Now was my time to shine, and I felt like my life was finally just beginning.
But you know what? I'm going to be real for a second. I have basically never personally stepped in and helped someone with a theme or a mod or their board in general, and not had them stab me in the back, or at least slap me in the face, somehow. Every SMF admin that has a husband in IT or server management or networking or... fuck, I think that one just fixed computers, thinks he knows better than I do, and will be a misogynistic turd and she'll let him because she trusts him. I should hope she does, but he never has any inkling of an idea of what the hell he's talking about, and I can usually prove it - being undermined and invalidated in the one thing I do really well, by someone that doesn't even know how to write a basic database query, is frustrating on many levels. Especially since I can't call him out for the dumb prick he is. Oh, they all love me and sing all my praises, sure as can be, until I start having opinions, feelings, or god forbid request something.
I've had people turn against me; straight up drop their site in my lap, and then bail on me to figure it out on my own; lie to me all the time; smear my name all over the internet in any corner they can; call me every name in the book; act like my best friend to my face and then be talking shit on me elsewhere; waste all my time and then blame me for it; go around in godawful circles about what they even want in the first place (and still blame me); treat me like their personal butler here to do their bidding immediately and on the spot when they want something; one posted my full legal name in a very public chatbox on a very large resource site; undermine and invalidate my efforts and skill; rip apart something I made because it wasn't good enough without asking if they can even edit it; steal from me; blatantly and right to my face tell me they are stealing while giving me the full overexcited rundown and details of what they're stealing and how, and expect me to be okay with it; treat me like their personal therapist; talk shit on my friends and their role-playing style; underhandedly and covertly question my intelligence; treat me like I'm a 12 year old; blame me for all their mistakes that mess up their board even though I told them not to do that; ask for my help and then defer to their husband that doesn't actually know what the fuck-all he's doing, because I haven't been doing this work every single day for over ten years or anything, surely he knows better; and basically just piss all over whatever semblance of joy and self-esteem I got from helping others without even the courtesy of calling it rain.
This isn't all one or two people. This is every non-friend I've ever helped. And I've helped a lot of people over the last 10+ years, and they all hit one or more of these unless they were my friend already. I could've handled a couple toxic people out of a larger bunch. All of them? I'm afraid to help people I don't know real well, right now. At all. With anything. No, I really am. Because every dang one I do help turns into a nightmare. And certain genre admins are the most picky, finicky little fucknuggets I've ever had the displeasure of interacting with. I have a site I really like that's looking for staff, and I was going to, but now? Nope. Bruh I got too many trust issues now. Y'all be acting like lil angels and then turn into sociopaths when you don't get your way and the world doesn't conform to you. Sometimes things aren't all rainbows and lollipops. I'm always willing to talk through those times, but I have never had anyone actually talk to me about whatever it is, and work something out. I just immediately became the bad guy.
I have so many horror stories from helping people with their sites that they literally outnumber the ones I have from running a shonen animanga RP with no combat system for 12 years (listen, that's a nightmare; I have mild PTSD-like reactions to some of what that site put me through, and it is the main reason I am now such a hands-on admin, but also I have OCD so that doesn't help, and I wouldn't call myself much of a delicate snowflake). I never intended to stop offering my theme and mod services. In fact, at one time, a personal grand dream of mine was to use the revenue from hosting sites and doing theme commissions to create an official, registered hosting business specifically for SMF. I even started coding an updated new software similar to SMF that meets current web-standards, and has a bunch of features RPs really need by default, because I thought I'd found my tribe and I wanted to shower it with love. I went above and beyond for people, and I suppose my biggest mistake was thinking I was even vaguely valuable to them. Hey, everyone on the internet's expendable, right? If you don't like this person, there are plenty of others. You know what they say about never doing work for your family or friends, because they turn into clients from hell? I had the opposite experience. The only people that weren't a client from hell in some manner were the ones that were already my friend, which basically tells me I was seen as a beneficial accessory. Nobody actually liked me, they just saw an opportunity to get what they wanted with minimal effort. The moment I started having feelings, or boundaries, or even just had a bad day, I wasn't beneficial anymore. There was one that loved to braindump and vent about all their real-life problems and whatnot, more than one actually, two or three, but the moment I actually did it back about something more impactful than my allergies were acting up, woo, hold the phone. No no no, you aren't supposed to be a person, stop right immediately now.
Yeah, that is how that came off. If you don't want the heat, man, don't walk into the kitchen. And it is this mindset that is destroying the RP community, it's not just the SMF people. It's everywhere. I see it everywhere. Nobody cares about anybody else, whatsoever. They're all just text blocks on a webpage, but y'all can be doing some real, serious damage to someone with your selfish bull. Yeah, take care of you; ultimately only you really can. But have some damned common decency and act like your momma raise you right. If I did and said half the crap y'all be doin and sayin my momma like'a pop me in the teeth. Other people aren't here merely for your convenience, and those of us that help others aren't going to tolerate your crap forever. Someday, there won't be anybody left willing to help you, and then where will you be?
I shut down everything, even my RP sites. I don't run any sites now, and I don't intend to anytime soon. I'm not doing requests or commissions anymore, and have absolutely no desire to code. Being blunt, if I ever release the updated version of the SMF Character Manager for 2.0.x, it will not be anytime soon, and it will not be free. I may release some of the themes I have lying around that I'm not using anymore, but those won't be free, either, nor will any of the other mods I still have about. Maybe someday, someone will step up to the plate and fill the gap I'm leaving behind. Maybe not. I'll do my job here at the Initiative, but I'm not doing any more than I have to. I need to take care of me, now, not ungrateful pricks on the internet. Now it's my turn to be a selfish jerk. Maybe I'll have occasion to RP with some of you. I did join a couple sites, and I apologise to them because I am a salty, stressed-out wreck right now.
I'll wrap up this salty, autism-sleepiness-and-ADD-fuelled mess with this. Just because someone isn't talking about it, doesn't mean they're not having a hard time. It just means they're not talking about it. Be kind. Everyone's fighting a battle you know nothing about. Thank you for tolerating my ranting long enough to make it here, and I'm sorry it turned out this way, but I can't do this anymore.
I am desperate. I don't know what to do anymore. It feels like talking to the walls... and I wonder what I have done so wrong in my childhood in order to deserve this at mature age. I wish that, as so many parenting books exist, how to make a stubborn child obey, eat or take medicine, it should also exist books how to take care of old parents. How to make a stubborn 89 years old eat, or take the medicines according to the posted schedule (and to my phone calls, because I never let it only to the printed schedules, I remind her). And to obey me in general, because she is doing everything NOT how I told her to (and how the doctors tell her in some cases).
I wish I mattered... and yes, I know she loves me, but she would wish me to obey her now, like I did when young. She thinks she knows everything and she is always right, not accepting to be contradicted (when even what she used to know, isn't valid anymore, and I remind her continuously that she is comparing things at distance of 30-50-70 years, and from two totally different social orders - socialism vs. capitalism- so she shouldn't because they are nothing to compare.) She knows better than the doctors, better than me, better than everyone, and she does only what and how she wants to, no matter that it is harmful.
I am green of anger this afternoon, after I heard that she started taking at 3 pm the medicines she had to take starting with 6 pm. I explained her again for the thousand times why the schedule must be kept, why I am always calling her, to remind her to take them when due, then... I am still the bad and disrespectful and crazy one because I shouldn't dare to talk this way to my mother. 😞
I wanted a place to brainstorm ideas. A lot of the concepts I touch on here are partially developed and will be part of a site I plan on opening. This is just barely scratching the surface, but hopefully it's an ok introduction with commentary!
I call it surreal, but mostly because the world functions very, very differently from our own.
Iluciya is a world concealed by The Barrier, locked away and ignorant of the forces beyond it. It is about half the size of earth, and due to the barrier holds some scientific concepts that wouldn't translate perfectly into the real world. A celestial ring made of aether that's bisected by the Barrier surrounds the globe. There is a thin layer of stardust in the atmosphere, causing a glittering appearance in the sky no matter the time of day or location.
The planet is climate-controlled by the barrier, with sections of large clusters of aether acting as the "sunlight" and "moonlight" of the world. Because of the large concentration of aether in these areas, they appear similarly as our sun and moon on earth do. The actual satellites orbiting on either side of the aether ring are Anetia and Lusria, rumored to be moons from the days before the barrier's existence.
Due to the unreliable nature of written history, and how most books and media relating to the world before the barrier were lost, there's many beliefs spread throughout the continents regarding the origin of the barrier. I'll tell you OOC, that it was probably a Supernova of some sort, and that a witch (or 10) created the barrier to protect their home. In doing this, they were still only able to save a small section of the population. It's believed that all of the races come from one of the three most common races, and that everyone originates from an island referred to as Home.
This world was made to encourage users to work together to develop new and old concepts. We're currently also making an STG-Game, which was the primary reason for bringing the RP back to life. People started wanting to develop their own characters within the world I built for the game, but I also want to encourage long-time members to contribute their own lore and OCs.
I think I'll start the board with the bare-bones of information on the races and locations and encourage users to build up the world together during the soft-opening. I have about 23 locations plotted out among the continents, but I'm going to publish them as if I were a member as well, to kind of set an example and encourage open dialogue.
My only issue is... My member base is almost all entirely only interested in either 1. drawing their characters and developing them outside of RP or 2. developing the world outside of RP! This isn't too much of a roadblock, since we'll have an active OOC community actively contributing to the world, but I'll probably need to gather a few role-players outside of my current member base! 😄 (I think I know just the place~)
With IPS, I want to use the Clubs feature as a way for users to create storylines and characters are accepted/rejected on a per-member basis. This is kind of how I ran a Touhou forum back in the day, and I think with these extra features it'll be a lot more streamlined! I hesitate to step away from the normal location-board formula, but it might be nice to try something new!
Magic is the name given to any set of skills or processes that utilize or consume aether in order to change or advance the usual laws of physics. Most believe that magic is tied to the state of being, while others believe that it is a gift from divine entities. Magic is such an integral part of life that it's hard to believe that the world even functioned without it as a whole before World's End happened and the barrier was created.
Aether is the medium in which magic seems to materialize. It is generally believed that aether comes from the ring surrounding the planet and that the barrier is made from a grid of elemental aether, converging at one brightest and darkest point meant to emulate sunshine and moonlight. It's believed that a person utilizes their life force to interact with aether, commonly referred to as soul or aura.
Aether can crystallize and become Stars, a material believed to come from the clouds. Stars are used in just about every piece of technology and weaponry- From light bulbs to magic staves.
I debate on Races vs Species. In the Adoptables community, even humanoid races are considered "species". Since everyone that's sentient in this world is essentially humanoid, I started out calling them "races". Not sure how to go about that but I'll probably figure something out! Iluciya is affectionately called Cantankerous Elf Club, due to the fact that most of the races have pointed ears. (Evolutionary reasons)Spoiler
The races are...
Mundane - Must use an outside source of Aether, because they cannot store it in their body.
- Fiaca: The most human of races, their unique healing factor makes up for the lack of magical ability.
- 'Yin: A race with animalistic features. They are noted to have physical traits aligning with their animal features, such as frail bones for birds and night vision in cats.
- Nikino: Evolutionary mutation in an environment drenched in magic gave birth to a new type of Tabe'yin, named Nikino. They are normally born without vocal cords and communicate via bell-like chimes from their tail appendages. Fluffy antennae jut from their ears, allowing them to evaluate intangible aspects of items just by sensing them. This established the trading Nikino town of Gelisia.
- Keyitmi: Enigmatic creatures that feed on the blood of Magicals, they cannot use spell items but are categorized as "mundane" due to their inability to use any magic without first feeding on a magical being. They adapt to whatever magical talent and abilities of the blood in their system. When they absorb enough, they can materialize a set of wings made of aether and even fly. They are very rare.
Magical - Absorbs aether from their environment passively. Can store aether in their body. Commonly have markings on their skin called aether circuits. They're infamous for dying of shock after breaking bones, likely due to the presence of aether circuits.
- Siiday: They hold a unique trait in their magic circuits that adapts to the type of aether surrounding them for long periods of time, making them the only race that can switch out their elemental affinity. However, this change takes about 1/4 of their lifespan in a consistent environment. Siiday are not commonly nomadic, as the change in their magic circuits can be painful and hinder their casting ability.
- Lanmei: It's said that even their blood acts as magical circuits, holding a high aether content no matter how long it has been separated from the body. A favorite snack for Keyitmi, but the most magically talented of mortal races, most powerful magicians are of Lanmei descent. They have small antennae on their head, usually in pairs on each side, that allow them more absorption of aether from the air.
- Luxa: Said to be evolutionary decendants of both Siiday and 'Yin, Luxa tend to have digitrigrade legs and absorb aether from the ground through the tough pads on their feet. Luxa tend to focus on magic that enhances their bodies or physical weapons, making them effective spellswords.
Celestial - Passively expels aether from the body in small amounts, usually has a huge supply of aether to begin with, or are made of aether.
- Eilura: Elemental beings said to originate from the Barrier. They are usually found in large, crystalline structures buried deep beneath Iluciya's crust. Some retain memories of the area surrounding them, so Eilura are valuable for the progress of history-keeping. However, eilura tend to have a low morality standard and are known to trick mortals, magical or mundane. To recharge their aether supply, Eilura must eat the same type of Star that they are made from.
- Melnir: Doll-like androids originally made by Nikino and can be found in Companion, Combat, and Work models. They are usually powered by an item with a high concentration of aether. Their sentience is debated, but some Melnir report having memories they didn't experience and shifts in personality if the item at their Core is changed out.
Anyway, I have some doodles of the races up here on the Initiative! The album should be connected to this Blog Entry. 🙂 I'll probably do more down the line.
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Unfortnately, due to Icyboards closing, I do not know if I will be continuing with Legends of Arda. What is certain is that it will take longer than anticipated if I continue with it at all. On top of this, I have unexpected RL issues to deal with and as such this site is not my priorty right now. The RL issues are more problematic than Icyboards closing, so if it was just that, it would only be an inconvenience. However, I do play LOTRO ON Evernight, and if you want to play in a fellowship or join a kin, you can find me there. (Message me at RPG-Initiative, or @DeadWintersNigh on twitter if you want to arrange something.) Thanks for understanding!
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Character Name: Agostina Vaide Vitalia Scordato
Nicknames: Stina, Double V, V
Date of Birth: May 31, 1985
Occupation: Heist Coordinator, Security, Enforcer
Eye Color: Brown
Hair Color: Brown
Playby: Dana DeLorenzo
Places For This Character: Modern Fantasy, Cyberpunk
1. Sex (With Friends)
3. Getting High
2. Being Vulnerable
Physical Appearance: Agostina got the short gene on her mother's side of the family. She has roughly an hour glass shaped body. While her breasts and bottom might not be considered large, they aren’t small either.
She has dark brown hair, often with the lower half dyed a lighter brown, that goes a bit past her shoulders and usually stops at her upper chest. She an oval or heart shaped face, almond shaped brown eyes, a long straight nose, and prominent plump lips. Her skin is a tanned olive complexion.
Often times she wears light makeup; black eyeliner, bright red lipstick, and blush are what she usually sticks to.
She usually wears t-shirts, leather jackets, gloves, and pants. When she wears dresses and skirts, they are usually of a leather or leather like material. Often times, her clothes are dark in color, usually black.
Her voice is low and smoky.
Personality: Agostina is opinionated and often boisterous. You’ll always know what she thinks of you. She straddles the line between feminine and tomboy, with a fondness for light make up and leather jackets. She’s always had a temper, but has become moodier since becoming a Meister.
She’s not afraid to getting dirty. In her line of work dirty can mean bloody, usually not her own. She’s always been a fighter and doesn’t fight fair. She’s never been happy about showing vulnerability to others, especially since the events of two years ago.
Despite her fondness of sex, violence, and getting high, she takes her job seriously. She doesn’t like it when heists don’t go according to plan, having planned out various scenarios. She has a fear of failing, not just her job but of various aspects of her life. She wants to rebuild her life, but doesn’t know how.
Abilities and Weaknesses: Agostina is a techno-mancer. Her abilities and talents revolve around electronics and machines, her construct being a machine she made herself. She is able to absorb energy from bodies to power it and her hammer. She also has the ability to cast spells and make potions.
Nevio, a masculine Italian name meaning ‘mole (on the body)’, is a flea like machine with two ‘legs’ that work like typical jointed arms or legs and two ‘arms,’ which are vacuum like tubes. He floats in the air, answering every mental command of Agostina, and has no personality. He has different interchangeable attachments she uses depending on the mission. He also has a large single eye. She has a mental connection to Nevio, always knowing where he is. He depends on occasional charges of her energy power to operate.
Powers: Nevio has the ability to create a small electrical shield either around himself or around Agostina. He can only do this for both of them if she is a few feet from him. He cannot create a shield around anyone else and can only have one.
His eye is also a camera capable of taking pictures or video. The eye also has night and heat vision that can be activated at Agostina’s command.
He also has a hidden compartment for items, stolen goods, or other small machines of Agostina’s making.
A laser for soldering, cutting, and attacking
A grab hand
Acid gun (to liquefy dead victims’ bones)
Taser (for when she doesn’t want to kill someone)
Weaknesses: Agostina feels pain when Nevio is attacked. If he is destroyed or heavily damaged, she may be knocked unconscious or faint from the pain.
He is vulnerable to lightning.
He cannot repair himself.
If the connection between Nevio and Agostina is broken at any time, he has the tendency to become confused and can attack her or someone else. Connection breaks happen usually because of pain.
If not charged with energy provided by Agostina, he shuts off.
Powers - Energy Absorption: She is able to absorb energy from the electrons from humans and animals. This has the side effect of often killing the target as well as altering the structure the body. If she takes all the energy from someone, all that’s left are bones, goo, hair, and clothing. She is able to absorb someone as well as take someone’s soul.
With her energy, she’s able to not only supply someone with energy to use like a human battery, but is also able to turn on, energize, and short circuit electronic items.
If she takes energy from someone, her recuperating time before she can use her energy absorption power ten hours, but if she doesn’t or isn’t able to, it is twelve. It takes the energy of two people for her to get to eight hours. While she can take three or more, the recuperating rate does not improve.
When it passes roughly forty five minutes, she gets nausea, anxiety, and lethargy. She cannot use her power once this happens.
Her ability can sometimes backfire on her causing a light electrical shock. In addition to pain, this can cause a break in connection with her construct, Nevio, or stop any spell or ability active.
Powers - Electronic Manipulation:
Sometimes called technopathy, technokineses, or cyberpathy, in this case is the ability to manipulate software, computer data, electronics, and computerized hardware. She is able to override, trick, decode, or unencrypt electronic items. This includes systems protected by finger print, retina, or facial scan. Agostina developed this power back when she was fifteen.
She can’t do anything the electronic isn’t already meant to do. This means she cannot turn a cellphone into a bomb, but she can access different applications. She can however use her energy power to short circuit the device.
She can mentally type a message, but to send it, it must be already be connected to the internet. She must concentrate to do with, leaving her prone to attack.
She cannot access the internet mentally, cannot control items that are not electrical, and must touch the piece of technology. Surprisingly she can use gloves without it negatively affecting her power.
Viruses, malware, and Trojan horses affect her. This can leave her severely confused, unable to control her limbs, to being sick with severely flu like symptoms. To be healed, she must either use a healing potion inhaler dedicated to this, or be healed by someone.
If she fails to override a secure system or fails in other ways, she receives an electric shock, causing her pain, disconnection to her construct, and/or cause her spells to fail.
Abilities and Weaknesses - Spells, Potions, and Items:
She is able to salvage, repair, and create technological items. Newer cars with more electronic devices are easier for her to work on than older models. Using this ability, drains her, and infusing the item with magic, drains it a double the rate.
Curiously drinking potions have no effect on her. She must use an inhaler similar to the one she uses for her asthma. The drawback of her abilities is that sometimes the simplest or easiest solution doesn’t work for her and she often has to create technology to do things other spellcasters can do with ease.
Her spells, curses, and hexes are rather lackluster without having an object to channel though or infuse. She often uses a weapon for this purpose.
General Abilities: Agostina is into guns. Having been taught to shoot and how to properly handle guns since she was a little girl, she’s a talented sharpshooter. She has a preference for rifles and machine guns, but can also handle handguns with ease.
She is skilled in street fighting. While she has learned some different styles such as kung fu and kickboxing, she doesn’t subscribe to any particular style. She will simply use whatever she thinks will be most advantageous for the job. She is mostly into close quarter battles, using guns or her construct for anything else. If one could classify her as a level, she would be intermediate.
She's fluent in Italian, Spanish, and knows conversational level Basque.
Lastly, she has a falconry license, having had one for a few years. She has trained a turkey vulture back in early 2016, which she still happily owns.
Chamberlain: A regular turkey vulture with an injury to his wing and one leg from an injury caused by a car accident. He was likely eating fresh roadkill at the time. He is not able to fly for long distances and would have problems surviving out on his own. He is rather tame, and enjoys shredding paper and playing with balls. He’s rather affectionate, occasionally waking Agostina up by nibbling her hair or otherwise wanting attention. A room of her house has been converted into a cage for him. His name comes from Lord Chamberlain the skeksis from the Dark Crystal. Like all turkey vultures, he only eats carrion (flesh from dead animals).
Guns: A machine gun named Betty, sniper rifle named Phyllis, and a handgun named Judith are her favorites.
A shotgun transformed into a pipe she’s named Mary Jane.
A motorcycle she’s named Richard, often nicknamed Dick.
Meldunjaz: Meldunjaz, proto-German for ‘the grinder’ or ‘crusher,’ is a meat tenderizer that operates similar to the mythical hammer Mjolnir or Ukonvasara.
During her time living in Spain she heard rumors of a wealthy powerful Talented wielding an electrically charged hammer. Eventually tracking him down in Austria, she murdered him, took his money, and found out something shocking. The reason why he was able to go under the radar with such a powerful item it is a kitchen meat tenderizer.
This small hammer if thrown, will never fail to hit, fly back to her hand, hits with twice the amount of pressure she applies to it, and adds electrical damage to attacks.
It must be charged with her energy power to work. This item is weak against those with protection against electrical energy.
Past: Agostina was conceived backstage at a Motley Crue concert to a roadie Liborio Scordato and traveling groupie, Gloria Capello. The couple only knew each other for a few months, leading a life full of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. They were highly encouraged to get married, settle down, and have the child.
They settled in Gloria’s hometown. Liborio’s side of the family hailed from New York City from a mafia family with ties to Sicily. Liborio continued the tradition of crime, being in charge of heist coordination. As per Italian tradition, Agostina was named after her paternal grandmother. While the transition to family life was tricky, they managed, with Agostina’s younger brother being born approximately five years later.
Being the first Capello grandchild and the first female grandchild for the Scordato side, she was spoiled more than the many of the subsequent ones. She enjoyed wearing lacy pink dresses while alternating between dolls and Legos. Her father taught her how to shoot guns, while her uncle taught her to build things; she became an enthusiast of both. She was also fond of her mom’s pet birds.
Her power manifested at age eleven while at Sunday school. She almost killed one of the nuns. Her schooling changed to home schooling as she trained in her father’s footsteps. She was mostly disappointed with her power, Energy Absorption.
At fifteen she gained the unique power of Electronic Manipulation that increased the utility of her Energy Absorption. The teen began to craft small electrical items and toys. She would also often baby sit for her younger brother and cousins, allowing them to sweets until they puked, watch horror movies, and engage in pillow fights with her.
By her early twenties, she was following in another family tradition, that of sex and the consumption of drugs. Her family was concerned, and she was sent to family on the Scordato side in Catania, Sicily.
Once she established herself as a successful heist coordinator and enforcer in Sicily and slowed down a little, she moved back home. Her life was relatively quiet as she got more involved in the creation of experimental electronic devices, sharpshooting, and just received her falconry license just before her thirtieth birthday.
That changed in early June of 2015 when an organization took interest in her. She was kidnapped, tortured, and given a handler, Philip Desborough. She was essentially his slave to be broken to their will. He participated in an attack and was killed. Agostina was now free, feeling completely lost, and fearful this organization would come after her.
She fled to Bilbao, Spain working for the crime syndicated there. Once she heard the news it was safe, she decided to come home. She’s looking forward to reconnecting with her family and friends. She still gets nightmares from her past. She’s still trying to cope and is resorting to her old standbys sex and marijuana.
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Gather round my friends for a tail of woe! A tail that will frighten the very fur from your hides for it reminds us all of the sacred, nay, profane! road that carries cats between life and death.
Imagine if you will a young kitten. She is a brave thing, with her white fur divided like continents by masses of brown and tan. She is a kitten with eyes that sit quite close to her nose, giving her a decidedly cross eyed appearance. This kitten, she knows that the drive yard, the trees, the up right and fallen down clothes lines are all part of her domain. She knows that the large cars that drive upon the hard path may be monstrous things that roar and snore; but they will wait for her to make her way off of the hard path and onto the place of grass. For she is indeed, the queen of this domain.
Until one fateful morning! The monster did not stop! It slew her in one fateful acceleration! And though the driver did get out and cuss, she could not be saved.
You would think this tale could get no darker. You would be wrong.
That very night I did witness the signs of dark magicks. I walked down that hard path and saw that the exterior light globe did shine directly upon the fallen queen’s bed. I saw that numerous outdoor chairs were gathered ‘round the bed, hinting of the ritual that surely took place.
For the very next day, I met the God Cat. He is a cat of stout legs and nose and ears battered from many wars. He too, is confident in his domain, merely waving his behind at me as I left the now unholy domain. He rubbed his head upon the monster wheel, as if to spit upon it.
Mere days later, another cat, very much like the queen. An adolescent, less confident but he walked with the wide eyes and up-pricked ears of a scout mapping his surrounds. He vanished a day later, I did hear one of the driver’s call his name, Joe! Joe! Joe! Perhaps, he had gone to get his sister….
For today! I saw three cats gathered upon the hard path! The God Cat! Joe! And another, perhaps the queen. I fear to get too close….
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Since I talk about them so much...
Allow me to present: My lizards!
Nicknames: Testicle, Ballsack, Carrot
He is a grump. Norbert knows only hate. All he does is glare and occasionally hisses when you pick him up. He is the most dominant of the lizards and head bobs at everything, including anyone with a beard. But he loves me. And apparently no one else. He's perfectly content to sit on my lap and be comfortable. He's had a pretty rough life. He only has like 5 toes total. Plus a bunch of scars and missing the tip of his tail.
Khadgar - Male
Brand new. Very active!
Ramoth is a lump. She seriously never moves. She's one of my breeders and is easily the most relaxed lizard I have.
This poor lady has had a rough life. The top of her head is mostly scar tissue because she was cohabbed in a 20g with two others and one of the three was a jerk. She's a very friendly lady and doesn't move much more than Ramoth.
He was my steal. Snagged him at a show after a friend screamed across the floor to me to let me know he existed. I proceeded to have people stop me to ask me where I got him the rest of the show. He lives life upside down, dangling from the top of his cage. He's jumpy and I'm still working on socializing him.
This'll be a big list!
Kalecgos - Brindle, fat, lazy, frogbutt female
Malygos - Halloween, friendly, greedy, hopefully a future breeder! Never fires down. Female!
Nozdormu - Jumpy, brindle, unsexed.
Ysera - Brindle? Hider, glutton, literally never fires up. Female
Lilly - Rescued with Ysera and Kalecgos. Brown, frogbutt, originally owned by @Aerona Female.
Sabellian - Brown/Dalmation, fraidy cat, I frequently think he's dead, unsexed
Fred - Pinstripe. Super small. Very orange.
George - Imperfect Pinsripe. Super small. Very orange. Tries very hard to die.
Karynaku - Brindle/Dalmation. Pretty relaxed. Jumps everywhere. Lives in a pool noodle and stares. Female
Vaelastrasz - White/black. Not sure on pattern yet. SUPER fat.
These guys started the obsession.
Iskierka, Female Albino
The first one! Iskierka hates all. She spontaneously screams. She doesn't want you around, doesn't want you to look at her, doesn't want anything touching her. I love her.
Lien, Normal, Female
The fatass. She will eat nonstop. I have to cut her off. She is a princess and very friendly. She's easily the most curious of everyone.
Messoria, Tremper Albino, Female
Not the brightest bulb in the box, Messoria makes up for it with personality. She's nearly blind, dumb as a box of rocks, but likes being held, exploring and bathing in her calcium.
Perscitia/Calliope, Normal, Female
Adopted this one from my friend because she loves me and weirdly hates said friend. We have no idea why.
Whites Tree Frog
Pap AKA Tubs, Tubba-jubb, The Blob
Pap was an accident. She came with Ysera and Kalecgos when I picked them up. She doesn't move much. I'm trying to find her a buddy.
Roger AKA Roger-Roger!
Roger was obtained solely because I felt bad that Pap was alone. He is tiny and I am slowly working on fattening him up. He croaks!
Salvatore was obtained because I felt bad that ROGER was alone. He jumps at faces.
Karen AKA Damnit, Karen!
Karen was accidentally "sold" with Salvatore. Meaning they didn't charge me for her. She is sneaky.
Since returning from my break from RP and now back in full admin role. It has made me aware of how important some things are to the survival of a site, and how going on a hiatus may change how people treat you. I used to help many people get their sites going, offering help, advice, and time to help. When I have asked for the same things now I have received radio silence? It hurts to think that the help I gave was so easily forgotten. That being said, there have been many people who have been supportive, and completely believed in me. Even during the more difficult times.
I'm determined to remain active. I'm currently caught up on all my threads, and working on revising the Canon list, along with other information on the site to clarify or encourage members. I'm beginning to slowly feel like my old self again. My mental health has improved. I've worked hard on improving every aspect of my life, and I feel my writing is better for it. I don't dread things or procrastinate. I take my time yet get them done. I set goals and I meet them now. I expect to be treated with respect and treat others with respect.
I learnt some lessons, especially recently about how your vision for your site can be changed, and if you let it, people will use a lapse in an owner being around to mold a site to being what they want it to be.
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.
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.
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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 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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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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