Master-slave dating

Another one b/ the last one was a fail

2020.10.28 20:54 Helen5808 Another one b/ the last one was a fail

Antonius Malfante wrote from Tuat (Tawat) in the central Sahara in 1447, to a colleague in Genoa. His travels suggest growing European outreach, for contact with Africa below the Sahara had been limited since the fall of the Roman Empire. Genoa was increasingly active in Mediterranean trade and presumably Malfante's venture was part of this activity, as his account Itself implies, He seems to have traveled fairly widely in the region and was also eager to report what he thought he learned about places he did not visit directly.
From The Voyages e Condomiosto and Other Documents et Western Africa in the Second Half of the fifteenth Century, truns. and edited by G R Crone, Hakluyt Society Works Ser II: Vol 80, 1937, 85-90. The Hakluyt Society was established in I846 for the purpose of printing rare or unpublished Voyages and Travels. For further information pleuse see their website at Reprinted by perminion of the publisher.
After we had come from the sea, we journeyed on horseback, always southwards, for about twelve days. For seven days we encountered no dwelling - nothing but sandy plains, we proceeded as though at sea, guided by the sun during the day, at night by the stars. At the end of the seventh day, we arrived at an oasis, where dwelt very poor people who supported themselves on water und a little sandy ground. They sow little, living upon the numerous date palms. At this [wasia] we had come into Tucto [Tawat, a group of oases). In this place there are eighteen
quarters, enclosed within one wall, and ruled by an oligarchy. Each ruler of a quarter protects his followers, whether they be in the right or no. The quarters closely adjoin each other and are jealous of their privileges. Everyone arriving here places himself under the protection of one of these rulers, who will protect him to the death; thus merchants enjoy very great security, much greater, in my opinion, than in other North African kingdoms such as Tunis.
Though I am a Christian, no one ever addressed un insulting word to me. They said they had never seen a Christian before. It is true that on my first arrival they were scornful of me, because they all wished to see me, saying with wonder "This Christian has a countenance [ appearance] like ours" -- for they believed that Christians had disguised faces. Their curiosity was soon satisfied, and now I can go alone anywhere, with no one to say an evil word to me.
There are many Jews, who lead a good life here, for they are under the protection of the severalrulers, each of whom defends his own clients Thus they enjoy very secure social standing. Trade is in their hands, and many of them are to be trusted with the greatest confidence
This locality is a mart [market] of the country of the African Muslims, to which merchants come to sell their goods: gold is carried hither [to or toward this place), and bought by those who come up from the coast. There are many rich men here. The generality, however, are very poor, for they do not sow, nor do they harvest anything, save the dates upon which they subsist. They eat no meat but that of castrated camels, which are scarce and very dear.
It is true that the Arabs with whom I came from the coast brought with them com and barley which they sell throughout the year. It never rains here if it did, the houses, being built of salt in the place of reeds, would be destroyed. It is scarcely ever cold here: in summer the heat is extreme, wherefore they are almost all blacks. The children of both sexes go naked up to the age of fifteen. These people observe the religion and law of Muhammad. In the vicinity there are 150 to 200 oases.
In the lands of the Blacks, as well as here, dwell the Tuareg, who live, like the Arabs, in tents. They are without number, and hold sway over the land from the borders of Egypt to the shores of the Ocean [present-day Liberia, and over all the neighboring towns of the blacks. They are fair, strong in body and very handsome in appearance. They ride without stirrups, with simple spurs They are governed by kings, whose heirs are the sons of their sisters - for such is their law. They keep their mouths and noses covered. I have seen many of them here, and have asked them through an interpreter why they cover their mouths and noses thus. They replied:
"We have inherited this custom from our ancestors." Their faith is that of the Blacks. Their sustenance [food for survival] is milk and flesh, no com or barley, but much rice. Their sheep, cattle, and camels are without number. One breed of camel, white as snow, can cover in one day a distance which would take a horseman four days to travel. Great warriors, these people are continually at war amongst themselves,
The states which are under their rule border upon the land of the Blacks. I shall speak of those known to men here, and which have inhabitants of the faith of Muhammad. In all, the great majority are Blacks, but there are a small number of white [i.e, tawny (brownish bronze colored) Moors (Arabs))...
These adhere to the law of Muhammad.
To the south of these are innumerable great cities and territories, the inhabitants of which are all blacks and idolaters (idol worshippers), continually at war with each other in defense of their law and faith of their idols. Some worship the sun, others the moon, the seven planets, fire, or water, others a mirror which reflects their faces, which they take to be the images of gods, others groves of trees, the seats of a spirit to whom they make sacrifice; others again, statues of wood and stone, with which they say, they commune by incantations (magic spells or charms). They relate here extraordinary things of this people.
The lord in whose protection I am, here, who is the greatest in this land, having a fortune of more than 100.000 doubles (a coin), a man worthy of credence [belief in or acceptance of something as true] relates that he lived for thirty years in that town, and, as he says, for fourteen years in the land of the Blacks. Every day he tells me wonderful things of these peoples. He says that these lands and peoples extend endlessly to the south they all go naked, save for a small loincloth to cover their privates, They have an abundance of fish, milk, and rice, but no corn or burley.
The slaves which the blacks take in their internecine [destructive to both sides in a conflict] are sold a d at a very low price. These peoples, who cover the land in multitudes, are in carnal (relating to physical, especially sexual, needs and activities] acts like the beasts. They breed greatly, for a woman bears up to five at a birth. Nor can it be doubted that they are eaters of human flesh, for many people have gone hence into their country. Neither are there ever epidemics
When the blacks catch sight of a white man from a distance, they take to flight as though from a monster, believing him to be a phantom. They are unlettered, and without books. They are great magicians, evoking by incense diabolical devilish: sinister) spirits, with whom they say, they perform marvels.
The wares for which there is demand here are many: but the principal articles are copper, and salt in slabs, bars and cakes. The copper of Romania [the Byzantine Empire, which is obtained through Alexandria, is always in great demand throughout the land of the Blacks. I frequently enquired what they did with it, but no one could give me a definite answer. I believe it is that there are so many peoples that there is almost nothing but is of use to them.
The Egyptian merchants come to trade in the land of the Black with half a million head of cattle and camels-a figure which is not fantastic (unbelievable] in this region.
The place where I am is good for trade, as the Egyptians and other merchants come hither form the land of the Blacks bringing gold, which they exchange for copper and other goods. Thus everything sells well; until there is nothing left for sale. The people here will neither sell nor buy unless at a profit of one hundred per cent. For this reason, I have lost on the goods I brought here, two thousand doubles [coins]-
From what I can understand, these people neighbor on India. Indian merchants come hither, and converse through interpreters. These Indians are Christians, adorers of the cross. It is said that in the land of the Blacks there are forty dialects [local languages), so that they are unable to understand each other.
I often enquired where the gold was found und collected, my patron always replied "I was fourteen years in the land of the Blacks, and I have never heard nor seen anyone who could reply from definite knowledge. That is my experience, as to how it is found and collected. What appears plain is that it comes from a distant land, and, as I believe, from a definite zone." He also said that he had been in places where silver was as valuable as gold.
John Barbot, an agent for the French Royal African Company, made at least two voyages to the West Coast of Africa, in 1678 and 1682.
Those sold by the Blacks are for the most part prisoners of war, taken either in fight, or pursuit, or in the incursions (invasions] they make into their enemies territories; others stolen away by their own countrymen: and some there are, who will sell their own children, kindred [family), or neighbours. This has been often seen, and to compass [to contrive; to plot] it, they desire the person they intend to sell, to help them in carrying something to the factory by way of trade, and when there, the person so deluded fooled). not understanding the language, is old and deliver'd up as a slave, notwithstanding all his resistance, and exclaiming against the treachery.
The kings are so absolute, that upon any slight pretense [a claim, especially a false or ambitious One of offences committed by their subjects, they order them to be sold for slaves, without regard to rank, or possession.
Abundance of little Blacks of both sexes are also stolen away by their neighbours, when found ubroad on the roads, or in the woods or else in the Cougans, or com- fields, at the time of the year, when their parents keep them there all day, to scare away the devouring small birds that come to feed on the millet (a type of grain), in swarms, as has been said above.
In times of dearth scarcity and famine, abundance of those people will sell themselves, for a maintenance, and to prevent starving. When I first arrived at Goerree, [Gorée is a small island off the coast of Dakar, in Senegal known for its role in the 15th to 19th-century Atlantic slave trade] in December, 1681. I could have bought a great number, at very easy rates, if I could have found provisions to subsist [feed them; so great was the dearth then, in that part of Nigritia (a term used to describe the interior of Africa)
To conclude, some slaves are also brought to these Blacks, from very remote inland countries, by way of trade, and sold for thing of very inconsiderable value, but these slaves are generally poor und weak, by reason of the barburous usage they have had in traveling so fur, being continually beaten, and almost famish'd; so inhuman are the Blacks to one another.
The trade of slaves is in a more peculiar manner the business of kings, rich men, and prime merchants, exclusive of the inferior sort of Blacks
These slaves are severely and barbarously treated by their masters, who subsist them poorly, and beat them inhumanly as may be seen by the scars and wounds on the bodies of many of them when sold to us. They scarce allow them the least rag to cover their nakedness, which they also take off from them when sold to Europeans; and they always go bare- headed. The wives and children of slaves, are also slaves to the master under whom they are married; and when dead, they never bury them, but cast out the bodies into some place, to be devoured by birds, or beasts of prey.
This barbarous usage of those unfortunate wretches, makes it appear, that the fate of such as are bought and transported from the coast to America, or other parts of the world, by Europeans, is less deplorable shameful than that of those who end their days in their native country, for aboard ships all possible care is taken to preserve and subsist them for the interest of the owners und when sold in America, the same motive ought to prevail with their masters to use them well that they may live the longer, and do them more service. Not to mention the inestimable [untold) advantage they may reap, of becoming Christians, and saving their souls, if they make a true use of their condition....
Many of those slaves we transport from Guinea on the west coast of Africa) to America are prepossessed [preoccupied] with the opinion, that they are carried like sheep to the slaughter, and that the Europeans are fond of their flesh, which notion so far prevails with some, as to make them fall into a deep melancholy [sadness] and despair, and to refuse all sustenance [food]. tho" never so much compelled and even beaten to oblige them to take some nourishment notwithstanding all which they will starve to death whereof I have had several instances in my own slaves both aboard and at Guadalupe [un island in the Caribbean colonized by France. And tho' I must say I am naturally compassionate, yet have I been necessitated sometimes to cause the teeth of those wretches to be broken, because they would not open their mouths, or be prevailed upon by any entreaties [pleadings] to feed themselves, and thus have forced some sustenance into their throats...
As the slaves come down to Fida (the port of Ouidah on the western coast of Africa in modern day Benin from the inland country, they are put into a booth, or prison, built for that purpose, near the beach, all of them together and when the Europeans are to receive them, every part of every one of them, to the smallest member, men and women being all stark naked. Such as are allowed good and sound, are set on one side, and the others by themselves, which slaves so rejected are there culled Mackrona, being above thirty five yeats of nge, or defective in their limbs, cyes or teeth, or town grey, or that have the venereal disease, or any other imperfection. These being set aside, each of the others, which have passed as good, is marked on the breast, with a red- hot iron, imprinting the mark of the French, English, or Dutch companies, that so each nation may distinguish their own, and to prevent their being chang'd by the natives for worse, as they are apt enough to do. In this particular, care is taken that the women, as tenderest, be not burnt too hard.
The branded slaves, after this, are returned to their former booth, where the factor fa slave broker, a middleman is to subsist them at his own charge, which amounts to about two- pence a day for each of them, with bread und water, which is all their allowance. There they continue sometimes ten or fifteen days, till the sea is still enough to send them aboard, for very ollen it continues too boisterous energetic for so long a time, unless in January, February and March, which is commonly the calmest season and when it is so, the slaves are carried off by parcels [rope wrapped with tar), in har-canoes (e small cared boat and put aboard the ships in the road [a hay or harbor where ships are anchored]. Before they enter the cannes, or come out of the booth, their former Black masters strip them of every rag they have, without distinction of men or women: supply which, in orderly ships, each of them as they come aboard is allowed a piece of canvas, to wrap around their waist, which is very acceptable to those poor wretches.
If there happens to be no stock of slaves at Fida, the factor must trust the Blacks with his goods, to the value of a hundred and fifty, or two hundred slaves, which goods they carry up into the inland, to buy slaves, at all the markets, for above two hundred leagues [a nautical unit of measurement equal to 3.4 miles) up the country, where they are kept like cattle in Europe, the slaves sold there being generally prisoners of war, taken from their enemies, like other booty, perhaps some few sold their own countrymen, in extreme want poverty, desperation), or upon a famine as also some as a punishment of heinous [wicked] crimes: the' muny Europeans believe that parents sell their own children, men their wives and relations, which, if it ever happens, isso seldom, that it cannot justly be charged upon a whole nation, as a custom and common practice
One thing is to be taken notice of by sen-faring men, that this Fida and Ardra another slave port in modern-day Benin) slaves are of all the others, the most apt to revolt aboard ships, by a conspiracy carried on amongst themselves, especially such as are brought down to Fida, from very remote inland countries, who easily draw others into their plot for being used to see mens flesh eaten in their own country, and publick markets held for the purpose, they are very full of the notion, that we buy and transport them to the same purpose, and will therefore watch all opportunities to deliver themselves, by assaulting a ship's crew, and murdering them all, if possible.
Source John Rabot. Som Memolts of the Life of Jolt, the Son of Salomon," in Thomas Astley and John Churchill, ects Collection of Voyages and Travel London, 1732)
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2020.10.28 18:51 Godzoozles Post-Install tweaks/improvements for Fedora Workstation

I've been using Fedora full-time since this summer, and as a server for a couple of years. For the fresh release of Fedora 33 here is my knowledge-share list of tweaks, tips, and gotchas to improve the experience of Fedora Workstation. The following can be viewed as post-install notes, because I might not have 100% authoritative answers even on my own setup, but it helps me (and could maybe help you) toward a more enjoyable Fedora experience. I try to explain as much as I can without getting too in detail, because a lot of these things can be looked up individually for deeper explanations elsewhere.
Essential: These changes I consider so fundamental that I can barely agree to use my computer without them.
This goes in ~/.config/gtk-3.0/gtk.css
headerbar entry, headerbar spinbutton, headerbar button, headerbar separator { min-height: 22px; margin-top: 0px; /* same as headerbar side padding for nicer proportions */ margin-bottom: 0px; } headerbar { min-height: 22px; padding-left: 2px; /* same as childrens vertical margins for nicer proportions */ padding-right: 2px; margin: 0px; /* same as headerbar side padding for nicer proportions */ padding: 0px; } 
A screenshot for a comparison:
My wish list has me figuring out how to shrink the size of the button widget, too, but to date I've yet to figure that out.
Preference: I consider these options not essential but extremely preferential.
In my case my wired ethernet device is called enp30s0, but of course this isn't guaranteed and should be checked, not copied. The idea is to to connect the computer and VMs to the bridge, which acts as a virtual switch. The steps are something similar to what follows:
nmcli con add type bridge-slave ifname enp30s0 master br0 nmcli con modify bridge-br0 bridge.stp no nmcli con down "Wired Connection 1" nmcli con up bridge-br0 
I think that should be it. Now in virt-manager you can connect the network interface to bridge br0. A graphical tool to modify some of these network settings is nm-connection-editor
dnf group upgrade --with-optional Multimedia
I think I poached the gstreamer installs from here.
Flatpaks which worked far better than what was provided in Fedora's repos:
Sorely missing:
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2020.10.28 11:25 Jrubas The Loogaroo

I arrived home on the afternoon of June 22, having made the long trek from Port-au-Prince by train. I had been away for nearly two years studying in Paris, and was shocked by the state of my nation as though I had never before set foot within it.
Had things always been this bad? I wondered as hillside villages and dusty plains passed without the smudged window. Surely nothing had changed in the time I had spent away. The people I encountered were the same as always, seemingly happy and unaware of their Third World lot, the way that a country bumpkin is unaware of his region's dialect until returning from a big city.
I sighed. Most hillbillies remain forever ignorant of their accent, the way most Haitians remain ignorant of their subpar conditions. It's people like me, those who go away and return, who are cursed with the power to compare.
I too would have stayed blind to the ills of my homeland had it not been for mama and her non-negotiable demand that I attend university.
"You've got to have a good education, Quincy," she used to stress in her soft voice, "you have to makesomething of yourself."
Mama herself had gone to college in Miami, where several of her sisters lived. She dropped out in the late seventies, though, to marry my father. He was an army captain and staunch patriot, and never once would have thought of living anywhere but his native home. Mama didn't regret her decision to start a family rather than to prosper in the United States, but she did however lament that she wasn't able to adequately provide for me and my brother, Jean-Terri, after our father died.
We made it, somehow, though the years were a torment and a bother. I remember lying awake and hearing mama weeping and quietly and desperately praying in her room at night. Jean-Terri once found her in the kitchen after school, sitting in a darkened corner and crying into her apron, hitching, "God forgive me! God forgive me!"
But things smoothed out in the end. Mama's anguish evaporated, perhaps leaving her with only the sweet optimism that characterized her later years, and good money began to come in from somewhere. We never lived in opulence, but we made it in moderate comfort, and there was even enough to send me and Jean to college overseas, though Jean vehemently refused; he was intelligent, but loathed the structure and discipline of formal educational systems.
The train, shaking violently, pulled into the station at half-past five, as the light weakened in the west. I waited in my seat as the others gathered their things and disembarked. When I stepped off of the train, the singeing heat of the day washed over me, sapping my energy. A few men in ripped clothes stood idle, smoking, and a group of children clustered around a fully erect nun in full habit (poor woman!), but otherwise the platform was empty.
I had only my carryon and no reason to delay. My family didn't know that I was coming, so would not be waiting for me. Yet for a second my feet seemed to have melted into the hot concrete, my eyes dotting from face to face and over the concrete retaining wall. Beyond there sat only wavering forest, golden in the sunshine. The village stood four miles beyond in a brief clearing near a rank swamp.
The terminal was dim and nearly deserted at that hour. I paused on a moment on the rickety wooden steps leading down to the road, a dirt lane overhung with drooping trees exhausted by the dancing sunlight upon their higher bows. I closed my eyes and breathed deeply. After years in an urban center, I had forgotten how good the country could smell.
The stroll was wonderful. I have always been active, and leisurely walks are to me what alcohol is to some men. The road runs through the outer fringe of what locals call the Black Bog, a vast forest stretching from the coast to the base of Mount La Harve. A sparkling brook followed the road for several miles before breaking off and boring deeper into the lush jungle. I passed only a few dilapidated shacks on my way, all but one of them abandoned and overgrown since I had left. The occupied one sagged into the tall weeds around it, a fruitful clothes line in the side yard and a woman on the deep porch absorbed in her knitting.
I reached the outskirts of the village forty-five minutes after setting out, my brow damp and my throat parched. Encircled by a menacing and leering wilderness, my hometown was a study in rural Haitian poverty. The tarpaper buildings sat clustered along the road, seeming to cling to a river of life. The sun here was weaker than it had been at the train station, the trees spitefully refusing to let even the least rays shaft down.
My home sat at far end of the village. Passing through, I encountered only playing children and grim-faced women engaged in domestic labor. Most of the town's men, my brother included, toiled from sunrise to sunset on one of the many nearby estates owned mainly by wealthy foreigners. Passing by, one would swear that he'd stepped into a wormhole and was now in the American South of the 1850s: rows of black men toiling away, stately white homes, and vast, rolling fields. The workers were paid better than slaves, but not by much. Hunting was the primary way of eating here, but even without grocery bills, money never went far. You just had to look at the houses, sagging and brown, windowless and decaying, to know that.
Compared to the tarpapered norm, my home was a mansion. Presently I came to it, behind its warped and crooked picket fence. It was a small stone cabin set back a bit from the lane in the claws of nature, only the façade and the tip of the red roof showing. It had windows and indoor plumbing.
I stood on the small covered porch for a long, indecisive moment, not knowing whether I should knock or just walk right in. I hadn't lived there for several years. Technically, it wasn't my house.
Finally, I knocked.
For a long moment I waited for someone to admit me. I knocked once more, louder, even as footfalls from within sounded. I took a deep breath as the door opened, and, for the first time in two years, I came face to face with mama.
She was a short, plump woman with a pleasant face and warm brown eyes. She wore her customary floral print dress and a scarlet kerchief tied around her sweaty head. Affection rose in my throat.
"Quincy!" she gasped, craning her neck up to see me.
"Hi, mama," I said through a stupid grin.
"Come in, come in! Why are you knocking?"
She moved aside and I stepped over the threshold. She shut the door behind her and we hugged.
"I didn't want to break and enter," I said.
"Quincy!" she said, shock having knocked the breath from her, "this is your home! This will always be your home! What were you thinking?"
"I don't know, mama," I said earnestly.
She released me and stepped back. "You've grown so much! And you're so handsome. I bet the girls just loveyou!"
"Oh, mama," I said, flushing.
"What? There's nothing wrong with being handsome and dating."
"I'm too busy for all that, I guess."
"Nonsense! You'd better make time! Ido want grandchildren…"
She laughed merrily. "Okay, okay; too busy. I just hope you won't be too busy to stay for dinner, Mr. Hotshot."
Now that she mentioned it, I could smell something frying from the kitchen, which sat at the end of a short hall directly across from the front door.
My stomach rumbled.
"Even hotshots have to eat," I said, following mama back into the kitchen. It was a shadowy room, dirt floored like the rest of the hut, with cabinets along the floor and a rusted sink under the small windows through which sunlight, darkened as it was filtered through the swaying leaves, poured. The table was small and weathered, shoved against the far wall, three chairs arranged around, two at the poles and one at the flank. Here we had had many happy family dinners, and only when I saw the modest and familiar set up did I realize how horrendously I had missed them.
She was frying pork chops on the stove, a crude black thing seemingly out of place in the modern age. She hurriedly flipped the meat, and threw on an extra three.
"Oh, mama, I'm not that hungry," I said.
"Nonsense," she replied, "you always eat somuch."
I couldn't help but smile at her perception of me. I had left home as a growing teenager, but in the years since my appetite had settled down.
I shook my head, and realized I still had the suitcase in my hand. "Mama, where do you want me to put this?" I asked.
"Put it in your room. But set the table first."
"Alright, mama," I sighed, grinning. I had forgotten how she could be.
I sat the case down and got the plates from the cabinets; they were in the same place as always, as were the glasses and the silverware.
Once I had three places set, I took my suitcase back to my room at the end of another hall leading off from the kitchen. The bed was shoved against the far wall in gloom and the dresser was under the window. The room itself brought back memories that nearly knocked me over, but it wasn't exactly a shrine to my existence: boxes, crates and piled bedding, clothes and other, less identifiable odds and ends reached from the floor to the ceiling, wall to wall.
I sat the suitcase beside the door, closed it, and went back to the kitchen.
Mama was forking pork chops onto the plates. At the head of the table Jean-Terri sat with his back to me. Besides being a bit taller and leaner than previously, I recognized him even from behind.
He must have heard my tread, for he turned and smiled, his teeth yellow against his charcoal skin. "There's our little schoolboy," he said and rose.
Jean-Terri was three years older than me, and I had always looked up to him. We were never rivals. He had always been my best friend, my mentor, my confidant.
I hugged him, and he squeezed a groan from my throat. "How's Paris?" he asked, patting my back.
"Good. A little too pretentious for my tastes sometimes, but otherwise an extraordinary city."
"You sound like a school book," he said as he regained his seat.
"And I'm proud," mama said, "now sit down, Quincy, I'm starving."
After we had settled down, mama said a prayer, thanking God for my return and asking Him to watch over Mrs. Antoine, whose infant daughter had died several nights before. When we commence eating, I noted that Jean-Terri seemed preoccupied, contemplative, even. He didn't eat very much of his meat, only cut it up and pushed it around his plate. I and mama had a nice long conversation, but he didn't add much or ask anything.
When the talk tapered off and the food was eaten or, in Jean-Terri's case, mangled, mama explained that she had to go sit with Mrs. Antoine for the evening. She was in a bad way emotionally, and mama and some of the other women had decided to take shifts comforting and watching over her. She had had a great deal of tragedy in the past year, as first her husband drowned when his fishing boat capsized in May, and then her baby died. Mama said that she and the others couldn't tolerate the thought of her grieving alone in the dark.
She charged me and Jean with washing the dishes, and hurried off, promising to be back around ten. Once the door was shut behind her, the house was eerily silent.
Jean sat for a moment with his head in his upturned palms, looking at me, his eyes close to pitiful. "You wash and I dry,"he said lowly.
"Always taking the easiest route," I commented as I stood and began collecting the plates.
"You know me," he said, standing stiffly."Why do what you don't have to?"
We moved over to the sink. I drew hot water from the tap as Jean stood close by, his arms crossed over his scrawny chest, gazing into space.
"So, what's new?" I asked as the water level began to rise. I squeezed a bit of liquid soap in, and it began to foam.
Jean-Terri turned. "Huh?" he asked distractedly.
I grinned. "What's been happening since I left." While I had received mail from my mother and Jean-Terri over the years I was gone, most of it was of a personal nature. Mama was a fervent anti-gossip, and Jean never said much of anything.
He shrugged, leaning against the countertop and facing me. "Not much," he said, "same old shit."
I nodded. I didn't really expect anything more. Small towns in Haiti are like small towns everywhere: not much changes from year to year. The old die, the young step into the roles their parents had played, and the music on the radio transforms from disco to rap.
"Mrs. Jacobi died last winter."
Mrs. Jacobi was the principal at the small school several villages over, where I and Jean-Terri had attended high school. She was a tall, sturdy woman who never smiled. She had seemed invincible.
"Really? What happened?"
"Crib death," Jean said, and then immediately tensed. "I mean…"
But I was already laughing. "Crib death? Wasn't she a little old for that?"
Jean smiled weakly. "I guess…I guess I just have Mrs. Antoine's baby on my mind."
Sobering, I nodded. "It's horrible what happens to children."
He regarded me quizzically.
"I mean death and disease. It…" I trailed off. "It just shouldn't happen."
He nodded, "Yeah."
"A friend of mine in Paris lost a little five-year-old brother," I said, "and I went to the funeral with her. It was awful. I looked at the coffin and thought"They shouldn't have to make them that small.""
Jean looked at me again, and seemed to consider something. "I don't think it was crib death," he said haltingly, and then looked down at his hands.
"What killed Mrs. Antoine's baby. I don't think it was crib death. I know it wasn't crib death."
For a moment I must have looked at him like he had lobsters crawling out of his ears. "What did then?"
Ignoring me, he asked,"You know Dr. Jeffers, right?"
Of course I did. Dr. Emil Jeffers was a lax, limp wet-noodle of a man who had come to Haiti in the mid-1980s to administer to the ill and injured. I don't think he was an actual doctor, his work screaming textbook shaman, but he knew enough, so he was embraced.
"Sure," I said, suddenly thinking of malpractice.
"He said it was crib-death, but it's not. Mrs. Antoine's baby was two and a half."
Crib Death, which occurs when an infant forgets to breathe, is exclusive to children under two.
Jean nodded gravely, and then swallowed. He looked around as though someone might overhear, and then leaned closer. "And they found blood in the crib. Not much, but…"
The unfinished thought hung heavily between us.
"Were there any wounds?" I asked.
"I don't know. No one's said."
"Do you think something could have crawled into the crib?" I asked, "unless…"
Jean looked at me. "What?"
"Maybe Mrs. Antoine…"
He vehemently shook his head. "It wasn't her."
"Then what?"
"I think…"
"I know…"
"Come on, what is it?"
"It was a loogaroo."
A loogaroo is a Caribbean folk myth, usually identified with the vampire. Supposedly, someone, an old woman more often than not, can sell their soul to the Devil for certain powers in return for bringing him some fresh blood each night. To do this, the loogaroo peels off its skin like a coat and roams the night in the form of a white ball of brilliance, entering homes and sucking blood at random. Once the grizzly collection has been made, the loogaroo dons its skin and takes the blood to its master in a special chalice.
So I'm sure you can understand my initial reaction.
"Jean! You can't be…"
"A loogaroo…
"The night before last," Jean cut in, "I was over at Qunnin's house, drinking beer and listening to the game on the radio."
I nodded. "All right."
"The Yankees were already done by the eighth inning, so I left around…eleven or so."
Qunnin lived about two miles down the road.
Swallowing again, Jean continued. "It was warm, you know? So I was taking my time and all. Right when I came into the village, I saw something weird up ahead."
The something weird was a glowing ball of light roughly the size of a boulder. It was hovering outside a cottage window.
"I…I just panicked," Jean said. It was night, he'd been drinking and was unsteady, and immediately the old stories grandmothers told their ill-behaved grandchildren came rushing back. "I jumped into a ditch and watched it."
For almost half-an-hour, Jean spied on the"loogaroo" as it went from house to house, window to window, seeming to peer in like a burglar attempting to find that richest load.
"I was shaking like a little fucking kitten," Jean chuckled humorlessly, "and I almost pissed myself."
Just when it seemed that the night would stretch hellishly on while the loogaroo window-shopped, it floated off into the night.
"I came home," Jean explained, "and stayed awake all night."
After sleeping most of the morning away, Jean woke refreshed and sober. "I thought I hallucinated or something," he said, "so I…guessed I'd wait up and see if it came again."
Which, as you may have inferred, it did. In breathless horror, Jean watched as it came within feet of the window.
"I know you might say it was just swamp gas," he forestalled, "and I thought that before I saw it again. It was…different. I can't explain it. The coloring was different. I don't know."
The next morning, after a thin night of fitful sleep, Jean heard of Mrs. Antoine's baby and immediately put two and two together.
Done, Jean stood in place, arms crossed, too embarrassed to look me in the eye. I'm sure he thought I didn't believe him.
But did I?
I was raised a Catholic, as was most everybody around me. I was early told of God's miracles, and instilled with a fear of Satan's marauding henchmen, which roam the land making all sorts of hell. But over the years my beliefs have become modernized. I do, however, believe in the supernatural. My dorm in France was haunted. I had seenthe ghost once, a hazy mist that hung at the end of a darkened hallway, and came forward almost menacingly when I beheld it.
But that's a far cry from a satanic ball of light that puts skin on and takes it off again like a winter coat.
I looked at Jean. "You don't believe me, huh?" he asked.
"It's not that," I said.
"Yes it is."
"Well, it is a little outlandish…"
He sighed. "But that doesn't mean I don't believe you."
"Yeah?" he asked, skeptical.
"Yeah. In fact…" I stopped for a moment, unsure how to proceed. "In fact" what? I grasped for what to say, and then: "In fact…do you think it'll come again tonight?"
After finishing the dishes, we passed the rest of the afternoon visiting old friends and hiking worn and faded trails we had blazed as children. Neither one of us mentioned loogaroos, though both of us had them on our minds.
Mama came home at fifteen past ten that sultry evening, and we all sat up in the living room for an hour or so before she retired for the night. I and Jean-Terri stayed up, talking about nothing of great import, neither one acknowledging what we were doing.
Sometime in the night, I extinguished the candles and we took two chairs from the kitchen so that we could sit closer to the window. We were mostly quiet through our curious wake, focused almost entirely on awaiting the loogaroo's advent.
It was getting late, I remember, and I was starting to nod off, as was Jean-Terri. Without, my section of street stood deserted, the houses across the way dark and still. A light breeze rustled the treetops, but otherwise it was deathly silent. In fact, it struck me odd that I heard no cricket noise.
Time seemed to drag on and on, and I was growing impatient. It was quickly becoming apparent that nothing was going to happen, whether the loogaroo was real or not.
Pulling my eyes away from the window, I turned to Jean-Terri, intending to tell him that I was going to bed, but froze when I saw the expression upon his face. His jaw was slack and his eyes wide.
"There it is," he whispered without moving. I whipped around in my seat, nearly toppling over. Outside, just up from our walk, the loogaroo hovered in the air like a burning nightmare.
To be faced with something of that nature, to have your safe perception of the world and the universe dashed like a schooner on jagged rocks, is beyond description. I cannot even begin to paint my feelings and thoughts at that moment or during the few following; though in reality nothing as grand as half a minute passed, I would need page after page to convey to you the terrible wonder, disgust, awe, fear and denial which seized my soul upon seeing the loogaroo before me.
It was nothing like swamp gas. While the same basic shape and diameter, it was rather than a loose swirl of fumes a tightly compacted orb roughly the hue of the River Styx. At the core of this loathsome thing I saw what appeared to be a burnt coal. The heart of evil, as the legends call it.
Proud, arrogant, as though performing for an unseen audience, the vain loogaroo sailed like an ocean liner past the window and out of sight. The light thrown by the thing died, and we were thrust again into darkness.
I cannot account for my own actions hereafter. I don't know why I jumped up and rushed to the door, don't know whatI was thinking chasing an apostate of hell with nothing more menacing than my own academic fists. I was numb with shock after the thing had gone, and didn't fully realize that I meant to pursue it until Jean-Terri's quivering voice found me.
"What are you doing?"
I threw open the door to the warm, fragrant night.
"You-you're crazy!" Jean called after me as I rushed off. I heard his footsteps on the road behind me.
Gracefully, like a windblown tumbleweed in an American western, the loogaroo left the road in favor of a bordering field. I can't exactly remember crossing the rutted land, only that I paused at a silvery wood into which the loogaroo had gone, its light shimmering from between twisted and gnarled tree trunks gathered like the living dead to cheer the monster on.
I leaned against one of the wooden forest vanguards, a red stitch in my side and fiery dragon blasts bursting from my hot, heaving lungs.
"Wait up!" Jean-Terri called from the distance.
The loogaroo had slowed, alarming me to the possibility that it had heard us, and seemed to pause. It wasn't far enough into the forest that I felt safe resuming the chase.
I waited for Jean-Terri, who quickly yet hobblingly caught up with me. Breathing much harder than I was, he nearly collapsed, grabbed my shoulder, and bent at the waist.
I looked back to my right. The loogaroo was still in sight through the underbrush, but it looked as though it were moving away. I couldn't properly gage distance in such a terrain.
Making sure that Jean-Terri could stand on his own, I went back at it.
"Damn it…Quincy!" Jean-Terri gasped, and began following me. "Do you want…that thing to come back here…and kill us? It will. And what will you say…when it eats us?"
"Nothing, I'll be dead," I replied over my shoulder, bowling through the thick growth.
On I ploded, after the burning embodiment of French slave superstition. Winded and intoxicated with horror, time seems to blur here. I snapped back to full and clear reality, however, when the loogaroo came to a dead halt about fifteen or so feet ahead of me. That is the only time I felt true terror that night. I was so pumped full of adrenaline and religious indignation that I didn't feel normal emotions until later. But at seeing the thing stop, thinking perhaps that a twig snapping under my foot had alerted it, I threw myself to the ground with no regard for physical pain.
Jean-Terri was soon beside me, panting. I hesitantly raised my head, but my view was blocked by a wall of blackness. Only after a perplexed moment did I realize that I had dropped behind a fallen tree.
Tentatively, I got to my knees, sore from the fall, and peeked over. Jean-Terri did likewise.
The loogaroo was stopped under a Jumbie Tree, also known as the silk cotton tree.
"The Devil Tree," Jean-Terri fearfully said, as if he had heard my thoughts. It was said that the loogaroo left its skin on the silk cotton tree, in the tallest branch, while it was away. I don't know why.
For a long time the loogaroo paused, seeming to rotate 360 degrees, and then began to rise like an unfettered balloon.
"It's going for its skin." It would take the blood to its unholy master, assume a normal façade during the day, perhaps as a kindly grandmother, and then night would fall and it would resume its slaughter.
A fire sprang up in my chest. I knew then that I couldn't allow the loogaroo to escape. It would be a moral affront to humanity and God. I couldn't live with myself being a mere bystander.
"Jean, we've got to do something."
Jean-Terri looked me in the face and shook his head vehemently. "No…I…I…"
I looked back. The loogaroo was lingering at the top of the tree, possibly making extra sure that it was alone.
"Jean-Terri," I urged, "we've got to kill that thing. Look at what it did to the baby. Think about what it's done to others."
An idea struck me.
"Jean," I panted, drawing him closer by his shoulders. "I'm going to lure it away, and when I do I want you to grab its skin, get back to town and burn it."
Supposedly burning the skin of the loogaroo trapped it in its incorporeal form, unable to get the blood to Satan. Then he, the Evil One, would claim it.
Jean's face crinkled in disgust even as he winced in fright. "Quincy, please…"
"Do it!" I spat, "damn it, do it or burn in Hell!"
I didn't wait for a reply. Panting with rage, toward the loogaroo and not Jean, I clambered over the tree and dropped down onto spongy ground. The land before me rose from there before evening out near the Jumbie Tree. The demon was now at the base.
I took a deep breath and said a silent prayer to God. Then I bent, scooped up a small stone from a trickling creek, the water sickly warm and slimy, and threw it with all my might at the loogaroo.
Upon the strike, the loogaroo shimmered like a wind menaced flame and then appeared to jerk toward me in that unsettling eyeless way. What looked like a draped cloak dangled near the main concentration of the energy as though held by a ghost. The flesh. I wondered for one brief moment if it would be warm and wet.
"Oh no," I cried stiffly out, my mouth now dry, no doubt sounding like an exaggeratedly bad actor, "a loogaroo! I've got to tell someone!"
Fleet like a rabbit, I dashed past the monster and darted into the woods on the other side of the clearing, snapping twigs and dead leaves crisply underfoot.
The night from there on is rather repetitive and dull, not to mention disorienting. The loogaroo chased me for some time before eventually tiring of the game. It left me near a stand of briars, and went back to dress in peace. Having it gone like that was more disturbing than having it with me. I hoped that Jean-Terri got far out of the woods, back to the village, before the loogaroo discovered it had been robbed. I was also slightly worried for myself. What if its anger gave it a new edge, and it came back and brutalized me?
Needless to say, as I am writing now, I survived. I wandered in the woods for hours until I finally came upon plains and railroad tracks. Following the iron lane tentatively west, I came to the train station at dawn, as the sun rose blazingly over the inky barrens behind me. I collapsed on the deserted platform, and laid there for over an hour, panting, my feet and legs throbbing, before a conductor found me and made me leave. I wasn't crazy about making the trip back to the village, but I did it quicker than I had the day before, eager to discover the outcome of our amateur vampire hunting.
Jean-Terri was at home asleep when I got back. I didn't disturb him. He needed his sleep, especially after last night.
When we both woke near dusk, he quietly told me how he had torn through the brush toward home, his feet heavy with terror, sure that he was going so slow that even a "baby loogaroo" could easily catch him. He made it home safe, though, and, in the backyard, doused the skin in grease and burned it.
By now it was dinnertime, and we, or at least I, was hungry.
"Where's mama?"
"With Mrs. Antoine, I guess."
Yet she didn't come home at ten.
Or eleven.
Or twelve...
submitted by Jrubas to nosleep [link] [comments]

2020.10.26 22:37 cottonwisper Chapter 5/Introducing the Kyte-Sen-Koo: Ghost Warriors of the Wet

Chapter 5
“What are you, a child? Think about it! Hey, Luc, do you figure they’re going to just hand the keys to the O.E.C. to a bunch of guttersnipes like us?” Cato replies to Stokley’s question by tossing another to Lucius with a chuckle.
“Not in this lifetime. I may have been born at night, but it wasn’t last night. You’d have to be a real rube, to believe that,” the strapping older boy replies. “Thank you very much. I’ll take the free ride, the money now, and just as soon be on my merry way.”
Zander chimes in with his best impression of Torpid Tide’s infamous rat-catcher, “Me neither, I don’t think so. You know what ole three-fingered Mingy the Mink used to say, ‘Whenever anything theemth thoo thathtyy.”
“What?” Burdy asks, interrupting the older boys.
“There’s always a trap on the other side ready to slam its teeth shut on whoever’s fool enough to be screwing around in its jaws,” Zander snaps his reply a few inches from Burdy’s face.
And with that, they saunter off satisfied. Lucius, Cato, and Zander, eldest of the potential heirs, all select the path of easy money and an escort to the port of their choosing. Baradta A’tDarab and several faetorians descend with the smirking youths into the depths of the Mother.
The older boys having departed, Burdy, Jem, Puck, and Stokley pester their officiators for any information concerning the Community, the Oroboro Exchange Cartel, and the Commodore while they await Baradta’s return.
“When do I get my own zombie wasp?” Burdy asks, a gleeful smile spreading across his face at the notion. “I can’t wait to have my own zombie wasp so she can eat everyone that’s mean to me and fly me anywhere I wanna go. Weeeeee!” Pointing his index finger in the air, he hops up and down in a corkscrew pattern on the benches next to Jem. Landing on the ground, he reaches out to pat the imaginary creature by his side, whispering something sinister into her ear and giggling at her reply.
“What are you talking about ‘she?’ Anyways, you ain’t getting a zombie wasp, dummy! You’ll be lucky if one of those things doesn’t eat you first, head-first. I hear they like the taste of live brains,” Jem remarks. “Too bad he won’t find a meal waiting inside your head.”
“Huh, why not?” Burdy asks.
“How do you know? Don’t act like you’re some kind of expert all of the sudden just cuz you’ve been to the Pantheon a few times,” Puck croaks from the corner bench, both paws, per usual, stuffed under the opposite armpit. “And besides, zombie wasps are all female, everyone knows that!”
“What do you know, you can’t even find a washrag? Look at ya, you probably have the same dirt from two years ago. What do you think those fleas are your friends?” Jem retorts, pointing a finger at a suspicious spot, prompting Puck to jump up and chase him around the benches.
“Well, well, well, looks like ya’ll got just the right kind of spirit!” Baradta chuckles, surprising the group as he returns sooner than promised. He leads an ancient scribe, swaddled in robes of deep purple. A score of native men trail in their wake.
“I’ve got some very important people for y’all to meet.” Baradta carefully helps the fossilized little scribe into an oversized throne-like chair made from lacquered Bloodwood, almost black in some places and red as a wound in others, depending on where the light strikes.
I can’t decide if that chair is beautiful or needs a bandage.
After situating the elderly scribe in his seat, Baradta turns back around, “There’s an old Oroboro sayin, ‘A man’s only as good as his swarm.’ You won’t know what that means right now. I can tell you this though, every one of ya starts building your swarm today. These legends right here will be the first, but, hopefully, not the last, of yer Kyte-Sen-Koo.”
“Wow!” Burdy swoons.
Baradta allows the boys a few more moments of appreciation before continuing, “The team you leave with will probably save your life many times before you’re ever capable of returning the favor. You should remember that as you struggle to learn their language, adapt to their customs, or think they’re just plain weird and don’t wanna learn what they teach ya. It and they will keep you alive out there in the Wet. And believe me, I speak from experience.”
Primal and obscure designs sprawl over the scalps of two separate clusters of shaved skulls in the back. Their tattoos depict images too complex for the naked eye to discern at a glance, at least from afar. Spiral scarification burns pattern the cheeks of four lurking faces in the front. Two others next to Baradta wear black masks covering the upper third of their heads, without eye-openings; their pale, ivory skin shimmers here and there.
I wouldn’t mind switching into whatever it is they’re wearing. Anything is preferable to this sweat mop.
Their attire leaves little to the imagination, but anything is preferable to the perpetually fetid torture garment Stokley’s had to wear while under contract to Happy Hunter.
“Officiators, I’m going to start calling out names.” Baradta inspects the scroll in his hand. “Je-mer-iah For-te, Jem, get on up here.”
“So, they’re going to be my bodyguards and assassins or something?” Jem asks the moment Baratda has finished speaking, pointing at the group with a sideways smile.
Jem’s officiator begins, “I’ve tried to explain to the young sire--”
“I don’t get it. If we’re the heirs to the Commodore, why do we need protection, and why do we have to learn anything?” Jem interrupts.
“Perhaps it might be easier if I asked what you thought the O.E.C. does here on Perelandreia?” the ancient scribe asks from his throne-like chair.
Is he talking to me? Stolkey wonders, sensing the old man’s gaze. Though his eyes remain unopened and his head faces forward, the old man bores into Stokley’s soul from behind those fossilized lids, each one sealed like the ancient, hidden crypt of a doomed and forgotten heretic.
“Um, I don’t know. Send creatures and other stuff from the island back home, right?” Jem replies with a shake of his head and a shrug of his tiny shoulders, as if the old man asked him the dumbest question imaginable.
“Yes, Jemeriah, the O.E.C. owns and operates an export monopoly over all resources and products originating on Perelandreia, everyone knows that.” The tone he conveys carries a strength of mind which contradicts the frailty of his physical appearance. “But where exactly do you think those products originate and how do you think we acquire them?”
“Well, I don’t know. Don’t ya get em from the island? And what do you mean, ‘acquire them?’ Anyway, ain’t that why you hired all the poachers and sailors and such, to acquire them or whatever?”
“If only it were that simple. No, the fortune seekers to whom you are referring comprise the least skilled of our labor force and work exclusively within the Green Zone. And though it has plenty to profitably occupy their time, the wealth of the Zone doesn’t scratch the surface of what can be found in the Wet. Indeed, we are finding new significant resources from its previously unexplored regions nearly every week.”
Puck showers scorn from the back bench: “Guess those sweet trips to the arena didn’t teach you everything, did they?”
“Shut up, Puck!” Jem yells before resuming his conversation. “Well, if the Wet’s so great, why don’t you send teams out there then?”
“We are sending teams out there. But we can’t send those men. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t survive more than a few days. You see, Perelandreia can be fatal to many from the Seven Semi-Continents who remain for too long, except for a select few. That’s where you boys will come in.”
“Wait, you want us to go all the way…out there?” Jem asks, his hand shaking as he points toward the shore.
“Apparently, Jemeriah, you are as quick as reported. Yes, you’ll be heading into the Great Oceanic Jungle, eventually. Have no fear, your departure will be far from immediate. First, each of you will spend time with your team learning about this place and how our operation works on the ground while you get acclimated to the environment.”
“How are we supposed to survive when everyone else gets sick?”
“That’s an excellent question. The answer has to do with the gifts children, even bastards and orphans, can receive from their ancestors, if they’re lucky enough to have them.”
“Forgive me, Jemeriah, I don’t mean to speak in riddles. Your forbearers possessed an invisible protection against the diseases of the interior which you have also inherited. This makes all of you very special. Because your gift is so rarely found within the peoples of the Seven Semi-Continents, you boys are essential to our work with the nations of Perelandreia. You will help to continue building and maintaining the strong alliance network which facilitates our trading relationships and protects the viability of our long-term existence here.”
“Huh?” Jem queries again.
“Stokley Faruthian,” Baradta announces.
“Right here,” Sclerian answers, stepping forward with Stokley beside him.
“Ah, young Master Faruthian, all the way from Tien-Tay.” As the aged scribe smiles from his seat, the infinite folds of his face summon a genial expression to match his tone.
“That’s right,” Stokley replies, strangely humbled by the old man’s familiarity.
“Master Faruthian, my name is Heliopyron. I am the Apex Officiatus and Keeper of the Cartel’s Cartulary. It has been the responsibility of my department to oversee your education and welfare from before the day you were born. Speaking of that, how was Han-Zen State Home Nine? Did they treat you well, and how about Matron Maggotte?”
“Everyone there hated me, just for breathing and taking up another bed. And Matron Maggotte almost starved me to death when I was six! It would’ve worked too, if I hadn’t started stealing most of my food.”
“Good, very good, Sclerian, make sure you record that. We’ll want to ensure Maggotte gets her bonus this season,” Heliopyron instructs the junior scribe.
“What, you’re going to reward her for trying to starve me?”
“Ah, but she didn’t starve you, did she?” Baradta replies.
“No, but only because I snuck into the kitchens at night while she and her henchman slept and learned to pick the locks, amongst other things.”
“So, ya have her to thank fer teachin ya a bit of craftiness then, do ya?”
“Well, I suppose.”
“I’m sure it may have been painful, lad, but we wouldn’t want our heirs turning into weak-willed, over-indulged, entitled twats who think the world owes em fairness, comfort, and pretty pink pillows made of spider-silk to sleep upon every night, would we?”
By the time Stokley generates a suitable response, Baradta’s bejeweled teeth are already glinting like a hideous rainbow as he and Heliopyron flitter back and forth with Sclerian in Murdesh, one of the island’s native dialects. Stokley has never heard it pass the lips of a competent speaker, though its unique throat ululations are recognizable enough. Professor Pontius, another reason he didn’t starve at State Home Nine, taught him a few words of the melodious language. Even old Pontius, who only possessed those few broken phrases, managed wringing beauty from their tortured employment. The two scribes and the pirate in front of him chirp as if it were their mother-tongue.
Concluding their conversation, Baradta points out four natives, each of whom steps forward as the ancient scribe addresses the youth.
“Stokley Faruthian, this is your Kyte-Sen-Koo. It is true, as Mr. a’Tdarab has said, they will be your swarm. They will also be your shields, your swords, your guides, your teachers, your singers, your bards, your family, and your friends. Although just treatment is its own reward, deal with them fairly and it will return to you tenfold. Each hails from a different clan in the Pi-To-Kai Confederacy whose friendship is essential to the O.E.C.’s interests. Listen closely to their wisdom, their people have survived this place for millennia and know its…er, wonders.”
Four figures assemble in a row facing Stokley. Standing in his chair, Heliopyron flutters his arms in three spirals, in response to which the four natives bow, heads remaining lowered.
“Stokley, this is Kareek. He is of the Bontu, natural diplomats they are. Kareek’s father, Kadik Mo-Ham-Kamree, is First Speaker to Cholom Bassa, the most important of the Bontu Khans. Kareek will be your translator until you become proficient at the various native methods of communication.” Heliopyron’s hand quivers like the leafless limb of an ancient tree as it hovers over Kareek’s fully tattooed head until moving on to the next figure, still bent over in obeisance and awaiting introduction.
Stokley stares at the top of Kareek’s skull, trying to decipher its imagery while his head remains bowed. At the last possible moment a blind widow spider’s iridescent eyes glimmer at him, along with several hundred of her young, from the center of his scalp.
“Here we have Fee-Poy of the Mun. They have among their people the greatest pharmacologists in the known world. For nearly every poison or malady in the Wet, there is an antidote or remedy. They say their gods give certain children Perelandrea’s dark catalogue written into their memory at birth. For what it’s worth, I believe them.” Fee-Poy nods as he raises his head and grants Stokley a look of recognition, his yellow eyes blending into golden skin, a mural of vibrant tattoos depicting jungle scenes canvas the exposed derma of his arms, legs and torso. His shaved head and bare face are bereft of any decoration except for seven tiny obsidian stones embedded below his right eye like a constellation of black stars.
“This is Jebbe, of the Malaresh. His people are the most competent aphid dancers in the world.” A note of whimsy floats in amongst his words, as if he’s summoned the flicker of a fond, bygone memory across eons of time.
“Jebbe’s famous brother, Flyt-Flu-Flee, has captured and broken seventy-two mounts. That’s the most to date that we know of. Pay close attention if he should think you worthy of teaching this valuable skill.” Jebbe nods with a slight grin which the variously sized spiral scarification marks about his cheeks and forehead obscure into a menace.
“And last, but not least, we have Subotai of the Korongal. Of all the nations of the Pi-To-Kai, the Korongal live in the deepest, darkest depths of the Wet, home to a great deal of interesting, valuable, and dangerous creatures. In addition, Subotai is one of the most decorated young hunters of his tribe, having counted coo twenty-two times by the age of fourteen, as his mogo scars attest.” Subotai wears a black, silken mask pulled taut over his eyes and his ivory pale skin shimmers in the twenty-two burgundy striped scars framing the top of his bare chest.
“Now that we’ve introduced the first four, it’s time for you to head to the Sky Stables and meet the last member of your Kyte-Sen-Koo.
“OOOOH, you’re an aphid dancer?” Burdy’s enthusiastic voice trails off as Stokley enters the greater din of the Roost’s multi-tiered operations floor. The murmuring mass of officials and shuffling steps of their clerks create a cacophony of corporate cricketdom which evaporates into a cloud of silence within the moving pocket of his vicinity and recommences with his departure.
What are they all looking at? The unsolicited weight of countless staring faces perches on the edge of his mind and hangs until, passing under the bannister of a purple pagoda, several young men in lavender overcoats catch his discerning eye, or he theirs. A few gawkers point in his direction.
Flying Fleet Jockeys! Too bad none of them looks old enough to be Janissary Draven. Whether carrying important messages for anyone willing to pay, transporting the Imperium’s elite, or hunting down notorious bandits in the badlands, the tales of the Flying Fleet and its legendary jockeys nourished him more than the pilfered bread he stole from Maggotte’s pantry. Stokley, like many spirited children of the Seven Semi-Continents, spent much of his childhood nourishing dreams of running away and enlisting in their ranks.
Another of the recumbent flyboys casts an index finger in his direction, quipping something clever enough it sparks a round of laughter from the group. Subotai sniffs the air in their direction and looses an inhuman, sub-sonic growl, silencing the party of chuckling flyboys. Thus cowed, the jockeys resume their prior conversation in earnest.
Soakley, Soakley, Soakley. The sing-song voices of his adolescent torturers finally shut their mouths. Heat flushes his face and an alien sensation floods his heart, empowering him in a manner he’s only known a few times in the past, and never from a person. Floating across the bustling operations area, forgetting about the countless stares and the strangers from whom they emanate, the first taste of demonstrated personal loyalty intoxicates him.
Glancing down from another raised dais, a party of trade executives and honored guests pauses in its deliberations. One wears an indigo kimono undulating around the legs and sleeves and ornately folded through the torso. Dictated by law throughout the Sacred Sargosian Empire, the Heavenly Robes are the exclusive privilege of the Thirteen Lines, the common term for the various offshoots of the imperial family. As the title suggests, they are a common enough species of aristocrat that even Stokley has seen a few in the streets of Tien-Tay, carried aloft in lacquered liters by gilded slaves.
Leaning into the railing without bothering to conceal his interest in Stokley, whose skill at lip reading few ever anticipate, the bearded noble addresses his party, “This one looks particularly strong. What do we think about him?” A spectrum of jewels adorns each digit of his pointing hand as well as three of those stroking the brass bells in his beard.
“No, no, no, sire, you’re mistaking age for size. Look closer and you’ll see he’s a bit over-ripe. The smart money is on the filthy one. If you’d like my advice, the youngest is the pick of the litter though.” An elderly man wearing the pink and green silk toga of an apex level consortium executive waves over the group.
A younger executive adds his opinion, bright orange toga flapping as he hops outside the range of his slave’s fan, “Yes, well, it takes all kinds I suppose. But, does it even matter anyway? I dare say, tis common knowledge, the Commodore’s not going anywhere any time soon. The old creature will probably outlive us all.”
“That doesn’t mean we can’t have our little side wagers. So, cousins, the same conditions I presume?” the baron asks with a sudden flip of his head, jingling the tiny bells in his beard as Stokley’s group passes under their pagoda.
Unable to read any more of the conversation, his new body men usher Stokley into an alcove in the south-east corner of the Roost. “All right, sire, Kareek and the others will take you up to the Sky Stables where you will meet Chit-Chit, your mahout. He will fly you over to the Father. You can start your preparation there. Normally you’d head up to the stables through a separate lift, but it has been out for the past few hours, so you’ll have to take the catwalk up. It’s not the most comfortable route, I’d be the first to admit. But it’s the only option, so out you go.”
“Aren’t you coming with us?”
“Oh, no, no, no, I shall be joining you in three days after notarizing your documentation and managing its secure departure,” Sclerian replies, shaking his head. “I will be there soon to provide any aid you will need. And, as I said before, ‘I’ve never had a Faruthian fail!’”
“Put this on.” Kareek holds up a harness made from hundreds of inter-woven brown leather straps connected by dozens of brass rings and buckles of various sizes.
“See, like me?” Kareek slaps his hands against his chest and presents the harness again.
Stokley manages the complicated series of straps and hoops with help from Subotai, who steadies him from behind while he slides the harness through each leg. Kareek guides him through the process of fastening the many buckles from his legs through his torso and shoulders.
Grumbling under his breath Kareek shakes his spider-covered skull, creating the illusion that some of the spider babies have switched places. Fee-Poy and Jebbe, delayed by a stubborn wheel embedded in the building’s frame, struggle opening the portal. “Subotai, mayocn ngnjydo cosdigkcym,” Kareek suggests.
The others back away as Subotai steps forward and loosens the device with one hard twist. Pressing inwards, the door slides over the adjacent wall. Corresponding gusts of heavy tropical air displace dozens of loose scrolls, soliciting hostile looks from the underlings who scurry snatching them out of mid-air.
Kareek and Fee-Poy clip their harnesses into Stokley’s belt with carabiners and a few feet of black rope. Fee-Poy positions himself in the rear with Kareek on the other side. Subotai and Jebbe lead. A spool of rope over their right shoulders, clicking into the guide wire they step outside.
“Hold here, no look down.” Kareek pats his own shoulder and steps through the portal.
One hand clutches the safety wire and the other grips his guide’s shoulder. Stokley focuses on Kareek’s back and the bamboo catwalk beneath his feet, trying to ignore the gusts of tropical wind buffeting around him. Controlling his natural tendency towards curiosity, he avoids looking down, concentrating on the multifaceted eye tattoo’d on Kareek’s shoulder as they begin climbing the catwalk.
I wonder which kind of eye that is?
“Inside,” Kareek instructs after an eternity of climbing. Subotai opens the circular iron door and pops inside with Jebbe. Leading Stokley in after the first two, Kareek turns back and unclips their harnesses from the guide wire.
Natural light glares from the opposite end the corridor as if from an open roof and an acrid scent permeates the air. Jebbe slams the door, temporarily igniting a swarm of sandpaper chitters from the stables beyond.
Departing the corridor and taking a few steps inside the main floor of the Sky Stable, a massive shadow eclipses the sunlight, momentarily shrouding the floor in darkness. Barreling through the open roof, a gryphon scarab lands thirty feet above, slamming into the iron framing which gives way, swaying inward. The barbs of the scarab’s lava colored forelimbs hook into the structure as if built for the purpose. A pair of figures emerge from the thorax carriage as the creature perches between floors. The first runs to an adjacent fifteen-foot circular stall door and struggles, rolling it open. The other assists the pilot in unlocking his saddle and dismounting from behind the creature’s head. All three unstrap the wicker carriage from the creature’s thorax, attaching it to another set of hooks, guiding the scarab backwards into its stall in an efficient, well choreographed routine.
“This way, we go up,” Kareek says, leading the group to the opposite side of the floor and up several flights of stairs. At the fourth level, they stalk down the platform, passing three faetorean stable hands. Each patiently paints purple poison on the barbed blade of a ten-foot harpoon, none reciprocates Stokley’s interest.
At the end of the platform Kareek turns around and leans in.
What is he? Hey!
Digging his nose into each of Stokley’s arm pits, Kareek inhales liberally. Twisting his face and shaking his head, he pulls away and coughs, wriggling his right hand to Fee-Poy and the others.
“Wait here. They help,” he says. Turning around, Kareek coughs his way to the last stall and knocks several times.
“Like me.” Fee-Poy taps Stokley’s left shoulder, reaching into one of the many pouches at his side after acquiring the boy’s attention. He pulls out a portion of light green plant material, breaking it in half. A pleasant, piney scent tickles the nostrils as Fee-poy slathers the tattooed skin of his forearm with the slimy leaf, handing the other piece to Stokley, who stares at the oozing plant in wonder. Jebbe and Subotai rub pieces on any patch of his exposed skin they can find, slicing sleeves and trouser legs off at the arm-pits and knees and rubbing it into the boy’s neck and the tops of his ears after finishing with his face.
Waves of hot and cold flush from his skin through his chest and into his head. Every cubic inch of oxygen evacuates his virgin lungs, and voluminous inhalations refill them with air of such purity he might float through the open roof. Perception incorporates a dream-like quality; colors pulsate and expand, light folds around moving objects creating a halo around his foreground. The whimsy of a yawn, slightly drowsy and eminently comfortable, sets in.
This feels amazin—
Fee-Poy’s hands clap together three inches from the boy’s ear, pulling him back to the platform. A further shake of his head refocuses his mind though the world still glows in a new and wonderful manner.
“What is this plant?”
Fosi Nagja.” Fee-Poy nods with a grin.
Fosi Nagja?”
“Ayyye, fosi nagja,” Fee-Poy replies in cheer, handing the boy another leaf and putting a pinch in the back corner of his own cheek, nodding with a generous grin. The process reveals eight inlaid front teeth, the center of each has a piece of turquoise carved in the shape of a different, yet detailed, human head, one of which bears a close resemblance to Fee-Poy himself.
Reluctant to offend this new friend upon whom his life might soon depend, he nibbles a small portion. Less pungent in flavor than expected, the bland taste quickly numbs his mouth.
Fosi nagja, Fee-Poy, maama shuuusi.” Kareek grins as he returns from the stall and procures another sample of Stokley’s scent from arm’s length.
“Take this. Give to Po-Po La-La.” Kareek hands Stokley an eighteen-inch fan-like Fosi Nagja leaf at the stem.
Fee-Poy, Subotai, and Jebbe skip ahead to the stall and open the large door, cheerfully greeting the fellow who emerges from the other side, spinning twice, hopping from foot to foot, waving arms, and laughing in unison at the end, squeaking, popping, and clapping in delight.
A trio of ten-inch antennae-like dreadlocks search the air above Chit-Chit’s head in tiny vibrations. Like the back half of his head, he has shorn his face of hair completely, including his eyebrows, the only other decoration is a pair of scarab shell tattoos on his eyelids.
“This Chit-Chit, he Po-Po La-La’s Mahout.” Chit-Chit bows, his hair antennae attempting different angles of ascent as they reach out to Stokley.
Hopping up after his introduction, Chit-Chit grins and clutches Stokley by the wrist, dragging him to the front of the stall. Pointing to the fan-sized foliage in the boy’s fist, he says, “You give Po-Po La La.”
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2020.10.26 20:31 emukid7713 What's it worth?

What's it worth?
Gearing up to sell my beloved NA but I have no idea what to ask for it! Any suggestions? Also any thoughts on posting on cars and bids vs autotrader?
1997 Miata M Edition with 118k miles
Fully up to date on service including timing belt, water pump, new coolant hoses, new radiator, etc. Recently got a new master and slave on the clutch. All fluids relatively fresh. No oil or coolant leaks. Hard Dog roll bar installed by Hard Dog in North Carolina. New FM Koni Stage 1 suspension installed this year and recently aligned. DDM works intake, Momo Mod 08 steering wheel, Kenwood head unit, Voodoo shift knob, shifter rebuild kit. Car has been to 2 HPDE weekends and did great otherwise just driven on nice weekend drives. Paint is probably 7/10, interior probably 6/10 because of seat wear, and top is probably 5/10.

Any thoughts?
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2020.10.26 08:34 Niccolo_PagaNANI I put the first paragraph of the wiki article of cock and ball tourture and got quite the interesting read. A round history it talks about the greatest mad lad who never lived.

Cock and ball torture (CBT), penis torture or dick torture is a sexual activity involving application of pain or constriction to the penis or testicles. This may involve directly painful activities, such as genital piercing, wax play, genital spanking, squeezing, ball-busting, genital flogging, urethral play, tickle torture, erotic electrostimulation, kneeing or kicking.[1] The recipient of such activities may receive direct physical pleasure via masochism, or emotional pleasure through erotic humiliation, or knowledge that the play is pleasing to a sadistic dominant. Many of these practices carry significant health risks.[2] Terminology [ edit ] Cock and ball torture is commonly practiced by BDSM practitioners of all types, from rope bondage, leather cuffs and whips to piercing and penetrating, with a number of specific techniques depending on the preferred equipment, the rules and the sex of the participants. Some, but not all, forms of CBT involve the application of painful stress-enhancing techniques. In one, the ball is flogged in a circular motion around the testicle; another involves more intense or extreme stress on the balls with the use of a whip, paddles, bullwhip, rope or leather. Another form uses more intense stimulation by both partners in an attempt to break the testicles.[3][4][5][6] Usage [ edit ] Examples of use of cock and ball torture include genital piercing or piercing, deliberate breaking or stretching of the testicles, testicle whipping (the term used varies depending on context) or bullwhip ball-breaking, or the torment of sexual arousal.[1] It can be a safe but intense form of BDSM that can be pleasurable or traumatising.[1] Practitioners consider it a sport, competition or torture. There is also an athletic discipline of CBT, "battling balls", which involves using the maximum of 1,000 joules of electrical current.[7] Methods [ edit ] In some cases a CBT technique may simply result in the testicles being stretched to dangerous lengths or increased discomfort. In other cases the testicles may be ripped or torn out or may be gagged and bound together. Many techniques are often practiced under the guise of masochism or sadomasochism, with the partners secretly preferring one method over another. In fact, very few actually involve pain as a goal. Most involve pain or discomfort, but the use of pain or discomfort as an end result is rare, although it may be what is preferred by one or both parties. Common practice in CBT is to inflict significant stress on the testicles without causing injury. However, some techniques are severe enough to cause pain to the testicles and sometimes do. This is almost always dangerous, but may be desirable for the sadist.[8] Some injuries and fatalities can occur because the balls may be gagged, tied together or entwined with another body part, such as the penis. More severe injuries and deaths have been attributed to cock and ball torture in which the testicles are ruptured or exploded.[8] Most injuries are caused by the direct impact of the injury on the testicles, not the severity of the technique. History [ edit ] French physician Frédéric Cuénod is believed to be the first to perform CBT on a human (though he may have used the words "fucking" or "pounding"),[9] which is listed in his 1967 book The Black Book of Sexual Decay, co-authored with Gérard Aubert.[10][11] The book, published as a manual on sexual deviance, describes both deliberate breaking of the testicles (of unknown, legal or medical purpose) and research studies that have been performed, which include bringing a rabbit's scrotum to the full-size scrotum and describing what happened.[11] Stressing the testicles is believed to have started in the Middle Ages. The tradition may have started in Spain,[12] and was later brought to France and the rest of Europe by gypsies.[13][14] Similar practice was common in Central and South America,[13] particularly among indigenous peoples such as the Mayans and the Caribbean Maroons.[15][16] James H. Fetzer, author of Masturbating to Birth Control,[17] attributes the practice to a Mayan prophet named Kabili, who supposedly said that if his people strangled the testicles of a female infanticide victim, she would not fall in love and bear him a child. Fetzer suggests that in the process of strangling the victim, the testicles became cut or bruised and ruptured, and eventually collapsed.[18] Yemeni medical researcher Ahmad Al-Alawi and his colleagues claim that in the Islamic era, genital mutilation of Yemeni girls was performed, causing "squeezing of the testicles or tearing out of them".[19][20] Cock and ball torture [ edit ] Chester Spatt, a newspaper editor, invented CBT in 1938.[4][9][21] It is a variation of international ball torture.[9] During the 1930s, Spatt practised CBT with the consent of his wife. She later described their practice in an interview with Spatt's biographer, Ruth Wedgwood, in 1964. Spatt explained the choice of the practice as a natural progression of his sadism, having experimented with light BDSM, and wanted to challenge his own physical capabilities with extreme forms of pain. He then decided to try out CBT as an experiment to "prove its desirability and, if possible, the plausibility of its treatment. Spatt likened the feeling of CBT to a "tormented spermatozoon in the waiting-room of life".[22] Spatt claimed he discovered the technique by accident, when he was trying to kill a fly with a screwdriver and was left with a hole in his hand. He decided to experiment on himself by putting the screwdriver near his testicles, but not in, and the tool produced a spasm of pain. He then waited for a few days before trying CBT.[23] Spatt began experimenting with CBT after deciding to stop practising BDSM. CBT represented a "redundant pleasure" which gave him "one more element of titillation to add to the competition of sexual stimulation."[23] Spatt said he tried to make it as severe as possible. One of his early experiments involved breaking one testicle and crushing the other into the scrotum.[24] He tried to prevent CBT from causing the excessive pain associated with strangulation and asphyxiation. Spatt said, "In practice this has been somewhat haphazard."[24] His wife, Naomi, apparently had no interest in the practice and did not participate. Spatt kept a jar of urine in the kitchen and a bucket of water by the bed and would use the liquid to spray the testicles, filling the jar with warm urine each time. Spatt was sometimes accompanied by three women who would watch the ball torture.[23] Spatt went on to try CBT on more than 600 people, and claimed he always came out of the ordeal unscathed, although this is disputed.[25] In a later interview Spatt said, "I was sure I would never die...and if I died it would be an amusing way to go. The aim, I believe, was that I would avoid the boredom of death by going by some appalling route."[26] Spatt described the feeling of pain he got in the testicles as "sensation as if [he] were being squeezed between great weights. There is a feeling of immense tension in the body and it is as if the innards are being crumpled up. I feel, at any rate, I go to sleep after a while. [...] The physical effects are there, but it is the mental effect which I experience."[24] Spatt stated that because the testicles cannot be squeezed through a hole in the scrotum, they must be squeezed by passing through the urethra. He did not wear underwear, except for the socks, and they would sag down to his knees during his CBT sessions.[23] Spatt gave his method to the Middle East, where he eventually practised CBT for 10 years.[27] He published a book, Bondage and Beyond, in 1960.[27] Spatt said of CBT, "It is painful, it is horrible, it is unforgettable. It has no class distinction. If I am going to kill myself it will be in this way. That is why I think it is worthy of contemplation."[28] Donald Marshall reported the same method by Spatt in his book, BDSM: "This 'buttock pinch', in which the victim's testicles are pinched by the attacker with the fingers, is known as 'Chester Spatt's Cock and Ball Torture', though it is a long way from the original idea of male homosexuality."[29] Marshall quoted Spatt as saying "This new art was to replace the old one of male homosexuality and was more satisfactory to many who had become disturbed by it...The technique is impracticable to practise on just one person, but the ability of a skilled slave to do it, and of their master to enjoy the display, added greatly to its appeal to many."[29] Marshall also reported that the technique is referred to in the BDSM literature as "Spatt's Flush", "Chester Spatt's Baffle" or simply "Spatt's Torture". In his book, Not in the Business, Daley Richards related the technique of "Spatt's Torture", mentioning "I used to squeeze his balls as hard as I could. He would use an electric bicycle to give the pain the most out of bounds. He had a lot of hair in there so it was quite easy to grasp the testicles and really make him squeal, giving me plenty of time to do what I wanted to do."[30] In 1956, Spatt attempted to explain why there was no way to play the game without the ability to injure the testicles. He described the evolution of CBT in his article "Bondage and its concomitants". Spatt wrote, "It was not possible for the Master to play the game without inflicting the injury to the victim, and since this injury hurt him it was all right. "We discovered that he has two or three balls", I said. "These balls are his most private part of his anatomy; and we could not leave them undefended. They were thus impossible to contain in the fiddle. Therefore we devised the proper toy, which allowed us to use the testicles as we chose".[31] In his essay "The Leisure Hour" Spatt wrote about the difficulties of the field, especially explaining the game. He wrote, "Since none of the syndicates will admit to what they are doing, it is no use trying to teach people to play the game. It is necessary for me to show by strict demonstrations that the role of the man as slave, as distinguished from that of the male as human being, is possible, and that, once mastered, the rules of the game can be used to bring out the player's natural attributes, without trampling on his dignity".[32] By the 1960s Spatt's private practice was in decline. A&E Television Networks (ATN) and Mid-America Television Broadcasting (MATV) hired Spatt as a consultant for videotaped training, mainly for their experiment programs. Spatt appeared as a guest on TV shows and in numerous instructional articles, such as "The Kama Sutra in Action" for the Beach Boys and Billy Vaughn's instructional TV series.[33][34] On 18 May 1968, Spatt appeared on an episode of The Merv Griffin Show in New York City, and discussed his secret technique of penis massage. He was accompanied on the program by Stanley Stoller, one of his former students, to demonstrate the technique.[35] Griffin's positive response to the penis massage technique enabled Spatt to move forward with public performances of penis massage. These were performed in his apartment by his nurse, Shirley Mills, wearing a green tuxedo, and for which he charged $5 per ticket. Spatt eventually performed up to six shows per week at various theatres in New York City. By 1972, Spatt earned an income of $6,500 per week performing the massages, but the act of massaging his patients during the performance cost him $50 per hour.[36] Nunzio Quaresmi, one of Spatt's former students, stated that the act of massaging in Spatt's apartment was very intimate, and that Spatt typically asked his students "to conduct intercourse" with his clients. Quaresmi also stated that Spatt had "a peculiar technique of kneading" and that Spatt "is a sculptor", adding "I have never seen anybody in the art of massage do so much motion."[37] Death and legacy [ edit ] Spatt died in March 1973 of a brain hemorrhage at the age of 61. Spatt had requested that he be cremated and his ashes scattered at sea, rather than interred in a cemetery, and that he be buried wearing an eighteenth-century (clean-shaven) leather costume.[38][39] According to Quaresmi, the last known article written by Spatt was dated May 1974, in the Philadelphia police log for the night of his death.[40] However, a New York police department report states that Spatt died on March 18, 1973.[41] Quaresmi added that, according to Spatt's nurse, Shirley Mills, Spatt had always hoped to be buried in a cockfighting costume, and had recently purchased a cockfighting mask in lieu of a coffin.[37] The works of Spatt are divided into three main sections: "His Patents and Illustrations", "Science and Science Methods" and "Characteristics of Man".[42] Notable students [ edit ] Spatt had two major international students during his lifetime: Nunzio Quaresmi, a science teacher at Richard Stockton High School in New Jersey,[43] and Richard Sloan, a dentist who taught at Maine School of Technology. Spatt also trained women in his practice. In 1968, he taught future U.S. Representative Ellen Tauscher of California.[44] Spatt's second wife was Lois Ludwig. Legacy [ edit ] On April 15, 1977, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, along with the University of Miami and the University of South Florida, established the "Adolph Spatt Award" to honor Spatt's contributions to the teaching of science, especially in relation to athletics. The awards are given yearly, by the President of the Association for Experiment Teaching in Engineering Education.[45] Spatt's brother, George, wrote an account of the life of Adolph Spatt entitled An Appeal to the Masters of the Body, in 1991.[46] A new Adolph Spatt building was built at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, to provide students and clinicians in the medical field with improved opportunities to perform procedures involving the groin, as this was an area of expertise in Spatt's practice.[47] Possibly the most famous penis massage technique is the "chicken wing" method of massage created by Tom Voegtlin.[citation needed] In 1999, The Red Pen, a journal focusing on the practical use of yoga in business, published an article by a University of New Mexico student whose dissertation was about the penile-rejuvenation technique taught by Spatt. The student identified Spatt as one of three men who influenced him in his life. Other men were Abraham Lincoln and Alfred Hitchcock.[48] The film Kama Sutra: A Touch of the King, starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, deals with the culture of sexual pleasure and mastery practiced by Spatt in his private practice. In the comic book series Skin&Earth, Spatt's followers are classified as "Urban Knights", those who want to know about the "Kama Sutra".[49] Spatt is mentioned in the 2005 film The Big Wedding.[citation needed
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2020.10.26 07:49 ThrowawayVCard29 I'm a 29F virgin and can only orgasm a specific do I unlearn this?

Hi all. Due to variety of factors (religious upbringing, awkward teen years, lack of opportunity), I am a 29-year-old woman who has never had sex with a partner. I recently started dating seriously, however, and feel like I'm ready to have partnered sex soon. The issue is that I have been masturbating for 15 years in the exact same way - just hands, no toys and no penetration, not even with my own fingers - and using the same erotica of pretty intense masteslave stuff, orgasm denial, humiliation, etc. to get off. I can't orgasm using any other scenarios or methods; I've tried, but it never gets me there.
I've done some reading and it sounds like I've conditioned myself to only come in a very specific way, and I'm worried that this will diminish my experience of partnered vanilla sex or make it impossible to come with a partner. A lot of folks have suggested a sex therapist, but I want to wait on that until I've actually had sex to see if this is necessary. Is there anything I can or should be doing now to de-condition myself? I've been trying to read less intense scenarios and that seems to be working, but it's still the same BDSM fare I've always used, which is concerning because I'm not looking for kinky real-life sex any time soon. Thanks in advance!
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2020.10.25 23:14 throwawayaracehorse 20 Years Ago I Participated in Something Known as The Great Pumpkin Holocaust. I Think It's Time for Me to Pay For My Sins

The guts of pumpkins are strewn out in the street this morning. My heart jumps and I feel a panic coming on as I look out the front window and see the seeds and fleshy remnants of a night of mischief. We slept soundly in our beds while the massacre occurred right outside our windows. We didn’t hear the laughter of teenagers, didn’t hear the splat of the busting gourds. We didn’t miss a wink.
I run outside to the front porch to see our two pumpkins, sitting safe, round and orange on the swinging bench that overlooks the front yard. We were lucky. Our pumpkins were spared. Still, if they did get smashed last night, it would’ve just been some bad karma on my end. In my youth I was responsible for many a smashed pumpkin. I feel as though I would have had it coming.
We haven’t carved ours yet. My wife, Theresa, bought a couple of those carving kits where you can make the really ornate with the detailed designs. I think Pumpkin Masters is the name of the brand. You put this little pattern on the pumpkin and you use these jigsaws to carve a design that would otherwise be impossible to do: skeletons with all 206 bones, Jack-O-Lantern faces expressing every human emotion possible, black cat faces with visible whiskers, and replicas of real life giant haunted castles.
Nathan, our youngest, will only get to watch. His tiny hands aren’t coordinated enough to work the little saw and punch out the pattern. Plus, it’s a sharp object and the blood of a four year old won’t look good on the design I’ve got picked out. Maybe he can scoop out some of the seeds and stringy pumpkin goo.
This year I’ve picked out the obligatory “pirate skull face”, complete with eye-patch, bandana, and golden earring. You can even make out all of the teeth in his leering grin. I’m not sure what pattern Theresa has picked out, but I’m sure that it is the most difficult pattern in the box. She enjoys the challenge and will be slaving away at that pumpkin skin canvas long after Nathan and I are done.
Sheridan, the teenager that happens to reside in our house will most likely abstain from the festivities. She’s no doubt got better and more important things to do. Hell, I’m not so sure that it wasn’t her boyfriend and his buddies that were responsible for the massacre outside. Maybe our pumpkins were spared because of who we are, safe by association. I’ll have to check the front door to see if she sprinkled some lamb’s blood out there, a pumpkin Passover.
Life is funny this way: Once I roamed the neighborhoods getting into mischief and mayhem like the young ruffians who slaughtered the countless pumpkins in our neighborhood. Me and my buddies reigned terror upon the middle-class suburbanites who had bought the seasonal squash for display upon their front porches. Now the shoe is on the other foot and I never thought that I would be the middle-class square, fearing for the safety of my own pumpkin.
My friends and I had always dabbled in our share of egg throwing, teepee-ing, and such, but had never pulled off something as monumental as what we were about to do. When it was all said and done, it would forever be known as The Great Pumpkin Holocaust.
Blake had just turned 16 and this afforded us many new opportunities. His pickup truck was a better mode of transportation than a bicycle. It served as our getaway vehicle and also a tool to wreak havoc on the unsuspecting denizens of our small town.
On our most glorious night we hit up a subdivision that was nestled in the hills just outside of downtown. It was somewhat isolated and had many exits and entrances to utilize. It was a week or so before Halloween and the pumpkins still had plenty of use left.
We were creative and ruthless in our methods of destruction. Jesse carried a small bottle of lighter fluid at his side and would give a hefty squirt into lit pumpkins. It’s a wonder that no houses got burned down that night. We rolled some down hills, chucked others on roofs, and many more were crushed under our thoughtless boot heels. But for the vast majority of the pumpkins we had much more sinister things in store.
Dozens were taken captive and held hostage in the back of Blake’s truck, awaiting a bleak fate. They only needed to be joined by their fearless leader before being advanced to the next stage.
It was the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, and he sat magnificently displayed on a front porch owned by an elderly couple. A spotlight shone on it as it sat upon a throne made of hay bales in front of a giant picture window, visible from the street.
I don’t know where they had obtained a pumpkin so big, but it must have won some blue ribbons at the county fair in its day. Maybe they knew a farmer who pumped a batch of mutant growth hormones into his patch.
Cinderella only wished that she could’ve ridden in a carriage as big as this pumpkin.
Blake sat in his idling truck a few houses down, waiting to pull forward to pick us up. As we crept along, undercover by shadows, Jesse and I could see the old couple through the picture window, sitting in their living room watching TV. We just knew that they were watching the thing out of the corner of their eyes.
We were just out of sight from the window at the corner of the house, waiting to make our move. On an adrenaline fueled count of three, we dashed towards the giant orange thing, got on either side of it and lifted. Man it was a heavy bastard. There was no way one of us could’ve carried it alone.
We were in the lawn when the front door opened, sidestepping down the lawn with the pumpkin in between us like a wounded comrade. Blake’s headlights appeared as the old man shouted behind us, scaring us like enemy gunfire. We heaved the giant pumpkin into the back of the truck and followed suit. Our bodies rolled off the bouncing and chaotic gourds as Blake hauled ass out of there. The old man’s shouts chased after us as we sped away, laughing like demons into the night.
It didn’t stop there, but it was about to. All of our pillaging and plundering was about to culminate into one final cruel mischievous act. We hit the back roads for a while, laying low and waiting for the cops to leave the neighborhood and for the residents to go back to sleep.
There was a large hill that overlooked the high school football field and Jesse had somehow managed to stash a homemade trebuchet in the bushes. How he pulled this off, I’ll never know.
We spent an hour or two launching pumpkins onto the football field below. Blake played the song “1979” on repeat, the song by the oh-so-apropos titled band Smashing Pumpkins.
Blake, ever the pyro in our youth, had graduated from Black Cats and M-80s to gunpowder and gasoline and a new type of product called Tannerite. He drilled a hole in the giant pumpkin and loaded it with explosives. One would only have to fire a gun at the thing and the bullet would serve as a detonator of the Tannerite. A chain reaction would occur and the pumpkin would explode, raining its guts down over everything.
The exploding pumpkin was the grand finale. We hefted that thing onto the 50 yard line, the splattered carcasses of its brethren scattered all around. We asked if it had any last requests. It didn’t respond.
Jesse was in the bed of the truck with a night scope and a thirty aught six. We were 300 yards away give or take. There was the blast of the single shot of the rifle that bled into the much louder explosion of the giant pumpkin, a deafening KABOOM that reverberated off the bleachers and stadium and echoed throughout the sleeping town in a way that we never could’ve anticipated.
We hauled ass out of there into hiding and were never caught. The front page of the town newspapers detailed the outcome of our exploits: scores of pissed off townsfolk, a crater in the middle of the football field and a relocation of the next game to the junior high field, pumpkin guts that were found a mile away,
Man, do I have it coming.
That was over two decades ago and I’ve long since moved far away from the hometown of my youth. I’ve never looked back. I didn’t make it to any of the high school reunions that have occurred over the years. I didn’t do this out of some sense of contempt for the place or my past; I just never gave it much thought. It was time to move on. I took a scholarship to a school out east where I would meet the woman that would become my first wife.
I didn’t keep up with Blake or Jesse either. Yeah, I guess I was one of those friends. But there was something that had happened our senior year, some falling out that I can barely recall, a rift involving jealousy and girlfriends. I can’t even remember whose. I wasn’t one for social media either, so as years passed I didn’t really have a means of touching base with them with the ease of typing in their names.
Besides, I didn’t really feel the urge to. Life had moved on. I was now on my second marriage, the Theresa I mentioned before. I have a toddler of my own and a step-daughter and piles of leaves in the front lawn, pumpkins on the porch. Things were good now*.* No sense in looking back.
* * *
“Is my pumpkin dead?” Nathan asks through the screen door as I examine the aftermath from the night before.
“No, buddy. See?” I say and hoist up our intact pumpkins.
“Did you see or hear anything last night?”“Just the Pumpkin Man. He was in the trees.”
“Oh,” I say. Nathan has an overactive imagination and is prone to nightmares and strange dreams. The bizarre things he says at times that has me Googling child psychiatrists and whether or not schizophrenia can manifest in kids his age.
“He had four elbows.”
“Four elbows? Wow. I bet he was pretty funny with all those funny bones.”
“He wasn’t, Daddy. Not funny at all. Can I have a Pop-Tart?”
“Sure, bud.”
What the fuck.
Later on in the day, there’s a flyer on our front door. It’s orange and black and festive.
The festival will take place in the park behind our house a week from today. There will be hot dogs and hamburgers and cider and a costume contest. I’m thinking that I could use that two hundred fifty dollar gift card. Sheridan could, too. Between my wife and Sheridan and myself I think our odds are pretty good of winning this thing.
I can’t stop buying Oktoberfest beer. Every time I’m at the grocery store or gas station there’s some new brand I’ve gotta try. It doesn’t help that as we get closer to November they’re starting to put it all on clearance. With prices that low how can I say no?
I like to drink a couple or three in the evenings after work. I tell myself that I have to sample all of the brands, decide which one’s the best. The night keeps coming earlier and earlier and most of the leaves have started changing. It’s peaceful out there in the backyard. I make efforts at raking leaves, but mostly it’s an excuse to hang out in the waning sun and drink beer.
I’m drinking a Spaten and pretending to rake the leaves. Nathan is running around in his ninja costume, jumping in my piles. He’s been putting a lot of miles on that costume, the one he’s chosen for Halloween. We’ve definitely gotten our money’s worth this year.
A strong wind blows leaves down onto our heads and carries with it an overwhelming sense of nostalgia. The air is crisp and there’s the smell of something burning off in the distance. The alcohol fuzzes my brain and that nostalgic feeling fills my gut with a deep sense of yearning for things passed. I pull my phone up and consider looking up Jesse and Blake, but I don’t have social media and I’m not about to create an account for this fleeting moment.
Still, the feeling persists and later that evening I bug Sheridan to look around for me. She doesn’t have Facebook though. Only Instagram and Snapchat and TikTok. They’re nowhere to be found on those platforms.
The next option is Google, but the feeling has passed by now. It won’t come until the next morning, after the nightmare.
“Long time, no see,” Jesse tells me and I suppose this is a double meaning because his eyes, they’re gone. He says this while relaxing in a camping chair across from me. It’s late evening, not quite dark. A hundred feet away there’s a cabin.
“Yeah man, whatcha been up to? Too good to keep in touch?” Blake asks. He’s tending to a charcoal grill, a can of beer in his hand. His eyes, they’re normal.
“I...I just kinda lost touch. Life got in the way. You know how it goes,” I respond.
“No, I don’t know how it goes. I guess when you fuck your buddy’s girlfriend that tends to get in the way.”
“I thought y’all were on a break. Besides, we didn’t go all the way or anything like that.Whatever happened to Christy?”
“I married her,” Blake says. He takes a long pull from his beers, his Adam’s apple bobbing as he swallows and swallows. Slowly, the piss colored liquid that he just chugged leaks and dribbles out from the bottom of his camo hunting jacket. He crushes the can in his hand, tosses it.
Jake looks over me with his hollow eyes, smiles. He flicks open his hunting knife and I can feel myself tense up. The vibe has started to go all wrong here. I need to leave, to run far away. He places the blade in his mouth and starts prying around in there, I can hear blade against enamel. My gums burn and my jaw aches just watching him.
He spits out a tooth. It’s his front one. There’s a gap in his bloody mouth. He does one on the bottom and then another on the other side.
“Jesus, fuck!” I manage to say.
Jesse and Blake both cackle at my reaction.
“Hey Blake, I might need some help on this one,” Jesse says, his speech all
mushy. He takes the knife and points the tip right at the crown of his skull. He grips the handle with both hands and thrusts downward, meets resistance. There’s the soft thud as it buries into the initial topsoil of his hair and scalp.
By now I’m screaming and running and everything goes black. In an instant I’m out in the dark woods all alone. I can see the glow of the cabin off in the distance. It’s full on nighttime now. I make my way towards the light.
On the front stoop of the cabin’s front entrance I can make out flickers of candle light. I see glowing faces leering at me from afar, Jack-O-Lanterns. One is much bigger than the other.
The skin is orange, spray paint. There are two triangles punched out of what I can only assume is Blake’s chest, right where his nipples would be. A smaller triangle makes a nose right below his sternum and there is a jagged grin carved into his abdomen. Flames dance from somewhere within his body cavity.
Jesse’s head is shaved and his face is orange. His eyes are still hollow and his nose is gone. The knife is buried to the hilt at the top of his head. His punched out sockets glow candlelight and his jaw is propped open while the spotlight of his now crooked grin dances across the ground.
Both of their remains suddenly burst into flame and topple against the side of the cabin—and because this is a dream with its own logic—the cabin bursts into flames.
My scream is paralyzed in my throat and I awake gasping for air, jerking and tangled in the sheets. Theresa rolls over half asleep and clings to me and I cling to her until I slowly acclimate to reality, my body wide awake until the morning comes.
There’s a creeping dread as I go about my morning routine. I try to leave my phone on the charger as long as possible. I wouldn’t be able to resist the urge to enter their names.
It was all just a dream. Nothing really happened.
Yet I can’t focus. Can’t eat breakfast. Can barely force myself to drink a few gulps of coffee. It’s like a scratch I’m trying to ignore.
Do it.
You have to know.
I pull up my phone, open Google. I enter their names, Jesse Stephenson and Blake Phelps. The top result is a sledgehammer to my balls. I double over and gag, choking on the splash of coffee and stomach acid that works its way out.
The date for the headline was November 1st. It occurred on Halloween. It was ten years ago.
The article doesn’t report the state of their bodies, if my two former classmates' bodies had been turned into gruesome Jack-O-Lanterns. I imagine that a fire like that, there’s not a lot of information that can be determined. Yet the article does report an unnerving fact, that Blake was survived by two children and his wife Christy.
Christy, that was her name. I do vaguely remember fooling around with her one semi-drunken night and the fallout that occurred. I never knew they got married. Not until I read the article. Not until Blake told me they did.
I can’t shake the feeling. The feeling that this happened ten years ago. On Halloween. The feeling that maybe this happens in cycles, in ten year cycles. The feeling that my luck has run dry and my number is up, the feeling that Halloween is only six days away and I’m next.
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2020.10.25 18:10 Dil872 Looking for feedback on a fantasy book I am writing. First three chapters available

So I posted a first draft chapter a while back and had some great feedback. I have now refined the fist chapter and written a further two, introducing more characters.
A few of the things I am looking for feedback on:
- Are there too many names/places being introduced too soon?
- Do the names seem appropriate? It is one of the things I dislike about writing, everyone and everything needs a name!
- I change perspectives between characters often, does this get jarring?
- Any mistakes/issues
- Things you really like :)
Google doc -
Or, you could just read it below:
Book One
Part One
My acceptance of even my enemies is natural, for I recognise it is the same hand that writes our fate. From the writing of Rumbaldi
Chapter One
The arrow grazed his left shoulder and black blood poured out. The crowd erupted in cheers at the sight and Aben was once again reminded that they were here to see him die, or at least that’s what they hoped for. He ran to the boulder on his right only to realise that this too had been moved since his last fight, it was now nine steps further away. He was out in the open for too long and decided to dive instead of run the last few steps. Another arrow whistled a hand span away from where he had just been.
Arenas were generally speaking supposed to be circular but given the lack of regulations governing arena fights, rarely were two arenas the same in size or shape. Some in fact were more of a square than a circle. Around the fighting circle were erected stands for the paying crowds, most arenas had a single stand but the larger more prestigious venues had up to three tiers. A few years ago, it had become popular to have a random selection of objects within the arenas, sometimes with weapons hidden into them.
Berret never changed the layout of the arena, partially because it was against the rules but mostly because he was too lazy. The fact that he had bothered meant he really wanted him to leave the arena wrapped in white and not breathing. A new layout meant the memorized map in Aben’s mind was of little use.
He peeped around the boulder to see his latest opponent, he had his next arrow ready and aimed. At the sight of Aben’s red hair he released the arrow but he had moved back behind the safety of the boulder and heard the arrow ricochet off the side. That was his third arrow, fighters were limited to five arrows so he would have two more before he would discard the bow and revert to his sword. He knew he should run from cover to cover until he could get into sword range. But he thought, where was the challenge in that. He raised his wooden shield and rather than run out from behind the boulder, he leaped over it and charged. He felt the thud of an arrow hitting his shield before he saw the steel tip penetrating through, a finger length away from his left eye.
The fighter realised that his arrow had not hit, as Aben sped up. The fighter started to move back and drew his short sword, faster than he had thought possible he had closed the distance between them. The fighter was saved from Aben’s swing as he tripped over a stone and fell backwards. Aben had the opportunity to end the fight but stepped back and let the fighter get back to his feet. The fighter, surprised to still be alive, rose and nodded his appreciation toward Aben. Once ready he came sword thrusting right to left, it was predictable and slow. Aben deflected the sword with his shield and looked for the opening he knew his opponent would have left. The last thing the fighter saw was Aben’s sword slashing toward his neck.
The crowds cheering abruptly stopped as they saw the blood on Aben’s sword and the body of the fighter slump to the ground. Aben looked at the hundreds of faces that started jeering and hurling whatever they could afford to get rid of into the arena. There was that face again, the one that looked at him directly in the eyes, that never screamed for his death. She saw him look at her and nodded with a silent applause, this was the first time she had engaged in anything more than a steely gaze. Aben had to raise his shield to his face to protect it from the rotten vegetables being directed at him by the crowd, when he looked back, she was gone.
Aben looked down at the body and leant down to close the eyes. He whispered. ‘May the mother embrace you.’ He did not remember where he had heard the saying, but it was something he started to say to all his fallen foes.
Aben looked at the red blood pooling around the fallen fighter’s neck and was forever amazed to think that this difference in the colour of their blood, his own black as the darkest night and the fighter’s red as a rose in bloom, was the cause of such hate, war and death.
Berret walked into the arena, his arrival got the unhappy crowd somewhat more unhappy. They had paid for what they hoped would be a more engaging fight, one that would see him slain at the end of it. His booming voice proclaimed ‘My dear Edesans, what a thrilling fight! For a second, I too thought that arrow had pierced into his chest and we would have seen the black blood of his heart.’
Someone shouted. ‘Death to black bloods.’
Another shouted. ‘Mortals rule all!’
Berret continued. ‘With his victory today, Aben has secured his place in our championship final. He will face the winner of tomorrow’s fight, when Edesa’s very own war veteran, Palas will face a barbarian from the tribal lands. And the best part, it will be at a discount ticket price for everyone who had tickets for today.’ The crowd erupted in cheers, placated by the discount.
Aben left the arena quickly and after getting stitches for his shoulder, he entered Berret’s office. Like the man, the office was small and smelt like a latrine.
‘I see you’re patched up.’ Berret said.
Aben nodded. ‘You changed the layout.’
‘My arena, my layout.’
He did not want to argue with him around the rules of arena fights.
Berret threw a pouch of coins which Aben swiftly caught in one hand. The weight was wrong, he checked inside.
‘You owe me five hundred ru’el. This is three hundred.’
‘I told you to make the fight interesting and you would get five hundred. You killed Diel in less than fifty heartbeats! You are lucky you are getting paid at all. I nearly had a riot on my hands!’
‘I am paid to kill my opponent, how I kill them is up to me.’
‘And it is my arena, what I pay my fighters is up to me.’
Aben rested his hand on the hilt of his dagger. A gesture that did not escape the attention of Berret who suddenly changed his tone. ‘I tell you what, you win the final fight and I will pay you the one thousand ru’el winner’s prize and a bonus of five hundred ru’el.’
Aben knew he and his father could do with the extra money but his stony expression hid his consideration of the offer. Berret who was unable to read him thought he had not convinced the fighter yet. ‘Also, I will let you keep the armour.’ Berret said somewhat reluctantly.
He would never replace his father’s sword, but he could do with a new shield and an extra pair of daggers. Aben smiled.
Upon seeing Aben walk out of the fighter gate of the arena, Kyros ran to hug his son and then inspected his latest stitches.
Immortals did not age much beyond their thirtieth year, so for observers, Kyros did not look like Aben’s father. He in fact looked like his younger brother, although they shared the same dark red hair and something about their lips and jaw suggested a relation, but that’s where the similarities ended. Aben towered over Kyros, both in height and bulk. His skin colour was more tanned and his eyes were an unusual shade of brown-red.
‘That was too close, He almost killed you.’ Kyros said worriedly.
‘He would have had to be a lot better to do that.’ Aben replied with a smile. ‘She was there again today. Did you see her?’ he asked a little more seriously.
‘No. I was too busy praying to the angels for your safety.’
‘You worry too much father, these fools are not fast enough, strong enough or smart enough to hurt me.’
‘They do not need to be, they only need one lucky arrow shot that you do not see.’
This was an old argument and one that he did not want to repeat. ‘Let’s eat,’ Aben said as he hooked his arm around his father’s neck and started walking toward the town centre. ‘Fighting always makes me hungry.’
‘Just like your mother.’ Kyros said and then averted his eyes.
Aben had no memories of his mother and his father was reluctant to ever talk about her or how she had died. All he had was snippets of information that Kyros had unwittingly revealed in passing conversation.
‘My mother fought?’ Aben asked, he had never heard of women fighting in the arenas. He was fairly sure it was prohibited.
‘With me.’ Kyros clarified.
‘You and her fought with weapons?
‘Women need no weapons to fight with men.’ Kyros said. Aben knew he could maybe get one more sentence out of his father before he would change the topic.
‘Did she win?’
Kyros looked up surprised at the question, he smiled as if he were thinking of a fond memory.
‘Always.’ He said, almost to himself.
Aben added this to his small but growing list of things he knew about his mother.
A stone came flying at them, Aben saw it at the edge of his vision and reacted on instinct. He caught it in mid-air, it was missing him but would have hit Kyros. Aben immediately looked to stand in front of his father, his left hand shielding his face and his right hand went to draw his sword.
‘Eat shit you black blooded bastard.’ A man walking from the betting house said. He was joined by another man who spat at Aben but the phlegm did not travel far enough to land on him.
Before Aben could unleash his sword, Kyros had put his hand on his arm and firmly said ‘Abenthos no.’ He nodded in the direction of soldiers at the end of the road, who had noticed the commotion. ‘If you react, they will have us both in cells with your winnings gone missing.’ Kyros said quickly. Kyros knew that his son would not hesitate to kill anyone that even deemed even a slight threat to his father.
In all the seven Kingdoms of Uthan Immortals were not allowed to carry weapons. The Kingdoms of Edesa and Thurn made exceptions for fighters of the arenas. Even then, if an immortal was caught fighting with a mortal outside of an arena, the consequences would be harsh for the black blood.
Aben took a deep breath, withdrew his hand and straightened. The men walking toward them suddenly realised just how much taller and broader Aben was than them, they slowed their approach and kept their distance. ‘Lose some ru’el, betting against me?’ Aben asked.
‘That arrow should have taken you in your black heart.’ The man said.
Before Aben could respond the soldiers had arrived. ‘What’s going on here?’ One of them barked.
‘These men are fans of mine; they were just congratulating me on my victory in the arena’ Aben said. ‘Isn’t that right gentlemen?’
The men sneered but walked away.
The soldiers watched the men walk back to the betting house and turned to Aben, ‘I saw you fight today. You fight well, for a black blood.’ One of the soldiers said. ‘But fighting in an arena and fighting in a war are very different things.’
Ignoring the back handed compliment, Aben noticed the scar on the soldier’s arm and replied. ‘Thank you. Which campaign were you part of?’
Kyros had never seen Aben meet a soldier and not immediately want to talk about which wars they participated in, how the armies had set up, what tactics were employed and how the soldier fared. Luckily, most soldiers did not entertain his questions.
‘The Hurish incursion of Samdek.’ the soldier replied and then spat on the floor.
Edesa had lost a series of battles to the kingdom of Hur and ended up ceding their southern territory of Samdek. Aben had his next question at the tip of his tongue when Kyros interjected. ‘Thank you for your intervention, we will be on our way now.’ With that he grabbed Aben’s arm and started walking away.
‘I wanted to ask them...’ Aben did not get a chance to complete his sentence.
‘They are not interested in answering your questions.’ Kyros interrupted.
‘You don’t know that.’
‘Didn’t you just say you were hungry? I heard of a place a few streets away. They won’t let us sit inside of course, but will sell us hot food and we can find the shade of a tree.’
‘You think they will recognise me?’ Aben asked.
‘Your blood is still visible.’ Kyros said, pointing toward Aben’s shoulder.
Aben has forgotten about the wound.
‘Never forget who we are Aben. For surely they will never fail to remind us.’
Chapter Two
Idan was looking out at the green pastures, nothing but lush hills for as far the eye could see. The fresh evening air was caressing his skin, the sun in it’s slow ebbing away was filling the sky with a spectrum of colours. He could hear the distant chattering of birds and further away was the hustle bustle of the southern tribes. He was sitting atop his favourite hill and trying to internalise all that he could see, feel and hear. He slowed his heart beat and added this memory to what he called the anchors of peace. In moments of distress, Idan would close his eyes and revert to one of his anchors. He would force his mind to recall the feeling of the air brushing his hands, the rays of sun warming his face, and that feeling of peace. By the time he opened his eyes he would feel the calm forces pushing away his anxiety.
Idan was reflecting on what the future holds when he thought he could hear something coming up the hill in a hurry. He turned around and looked down the hill to see Hymer running up. Hymer stopped and held the side of his stomach, stretched, grimaced and continued up the hill, this time it was more of a fast walk. He was sweating profusely and when he looked up to see Idan staring down at him, he smiled, but his face then turned concerned and he ran the last few strides.
‘Why out of all the hills do you have to choose the highest one?’ Hymer asked, panting as he reached Idan’s side. He had bent to his knees and was breathing heavily.
Idan starched his hand out to the valley, as if to say behold. ‘Need I make a clearer case?’ He replied.
When Hymer looked up he stood still for a moment and took in the beauty of the tribal lands.
Idan looked at his best friend expectantly, Hymer looked confused for a moment and then remembered why he had trekked up the hill, frantically he said. ‘Shez is about to kill someone, we need to go right now.’
Idan thought about asking for an explanation but knew it would only slow them down and Shez rarely had a good reason to draw his sword.
Idan, Hymer and Shez were childhood friends. Although they hailed from different tribes, they had spent some of their formative years together. Tribal custom was for boys from noble heritage to be sent away from their families on their fourth name day. They would travel with the Bedouin tribes to the remote valleys of Nush, where they would spend up to six years learning the traditions of their culture. It was thought this time away from their families and in particular their mothers would make them stronger men. They would travel almost continuously, only stopping for a few weeks at a time. The harsh and often remote life of the Bedouins of Nush meant that not all of the boys returned to their families, sickness could often be fatal, as the Nush only had visiting healers. The boys that did return to their tribes would be adept at hunting, fighting, archery and would have started their training with the sword. They would also be taught the history of the tribes and their guiding codes.
‘Your word is your bond; your bond is your honour and your honour is your life. Never forget the greatest honour is that of your tribe.’ Malak, one of the Bedouin leaders would say to the boys every morning. The honour of the tribe was the most important aspect of their life and this was ingrained into Idan and the others every day.
Idan, Hymer, Solam and Shez had become the closest of friends during those six years. Solam did not make it back from the Nush valleys. He had fallen unwell in the third year of their time with the Bedouins and despite the prayers of his friends and the limited healing efforts of the Bedouin women, he had died after a month of holding on to life, waiting for the healer to arrive. The healer had arrived the day after his funeral was held. His loss still haunted Idan, who fasted on his death anniversary every year. He vowed that if he were to have sons, he would not send them away. Idan spent the remaining days questioning the healer with everything they could have done to save his friends life. A year later when Shez fell unwell with a high fever and chills, Idan took it upon himself to take care of him. Despite the warnings of the Bedouin leaders that he would be falling behind in his training, he refused to leave his friends bedside. He followed the advice of the healer on how to manage the fever and within a few weeks Shez was back on his feet albeit it would be weeks more for him to regain his strength. The Bedouins insisted on carrying on with their travel as soon as Shez was walking and often Idan and Hymer would stay back with Shez who was able to maintain a slower pace.
One night when the three friends were laying on their back and stargazing. Shez who was deep in thought suddenly got up and went on a single knee. He removed his dagger and presented it to Idan who had also stood up.
‘I owe you my life. On this night I give you my word, that should the time arise, my blade is yours to command.’
Idan and Hymer ran back to the market quarters and saw that a crowd had gathered. They pushed through the spectators and could hear an elderly man pleading with Shez. He was being held by two of Shez’s house slaves.
‘I promise you my son is due to return any day now. He has gone to sell our goods in Edesa, he will return with sufficient profit and I will pay you back your loan.’
By the stress in his tone, it seemed that this was not the first time he was explaining his situation.
Shez had fury in his eyes as he stormed back and forth. ‘You and I had an agreement. We had an agreement!’ He shouted. ‘And now you want to break your word, break your honour?!’ He spat on the floor. ‘I should kill you now, oath breaker.’
‘No, no, no. I can pay you some of it back now’ the old man was desperate now.
Idan had heard enough and broke through the crowd to stand in front of Shez.
‘Shez, enough of this. Take what he can give now and set a new date for the rest.’
‘You can even charge a higher interest or a penalty, or both.’ Hymer added, as he stood next to Idan.
‘This is why you had me wait?’ Shez asked Hymer accusingly. ‘So, you could get Idan here.’
Shez turned to Idan. ‘No, this time you do not get to talk me out of it. This old fool has broken his word to me. He has broken his honour.’ His every word increased in volume so that he was nearly shouting by the end. The murmuring crowd clearly agreed with Shez.
Idan looked into Shez’s eyes and saw the rage. Idan had seen this look before and it never ended well. He made an instant decision and turned his back to his friend and faced the old man.
‘How much do you owe him?’ Idan asked.
The old man looked confused; his lips were dry and crusting. Idan thought he needed water before he passed out. Idan turned to one of the slaves holding him by the arms and firmly said. ‘Let him go.’
‘How much?’ Idan asked more softly.
‘The loan was for two thousand ru’el. I can pay seven hundred now but the rest, only when my son returns.’ Idan unhooked the waterskin hanging at the man’s waist and gave it to him.
‘What are you doing?’ Shez protested but Idan ignored him and Hymer stood in between the two.
‘We are going to make a separate deal. I am going to loan you one thousand three hundred ru’el. I expect repayment with one percent interest in...’ Idan looked at him expectantly who clearly could not believe he was maybe going to walk out of this alive.
‘In one month, my son will be back in one month at the most.’ He said quickly.
‘Idan this has nothing to do with you.’ Shez said, but his anger had clearly waned.
‘And this has nothing to do with you Shez.’ Idan replied.
Idan reached into his cloak and withdrew two pouches. He looked over at Hymer and made a face that needed no words. Hymer quickly withdrew four pouches of his own. He removed some gold ru’el from the last pouch which he deposited in an inside pocket and handed everything else over to Idan. ‘You are lucky, Hymer here is from the Azqari.’ The old man's eyes widened in appreciation. The Azqari tribe being one of the most influential and wealthy of the southern tribes, were always recognised when named.
Idan handed the pouches to the old man who held onto his new found wealth for a moment and then gave the money to Shez, who reluctantly accepted his due.
The crowd dispersed, disappointed that they would not see any blood today.
The man turned back to Idan. ‘What is your name, son of honour?’ He asked.
Idan smiled and replied. ‘Idan Safarez from the Sinah tribe. My tribe does not hold titles.’ He said warmly. Select tribes were given titles of importance, it added prestige to the households of the tribe and the respect of the other tribes.
The old man gave a small smile and said. ‘Honour is not just a title. It is a quality of the soul.’ He turned to Hymer and held his hands. ‘Thank you too, son of honour.’ The Azqari were the actual holders of the honour title among the southern tribes. Saying that he walked away. As he turned away Idan noted that he still held himself well, his cloak was of good quality but the cut was of an older fashion. Idan realised he forgot to ask his name.
Idan turned to see Hymer already speaking with Shez. In itself it was an amusing sight. Shez was a head span taller than Hymer, he also had his broad sword, short sword, bow and arrows all strapped to his person. Idan knew he would also have a host of other weapons hidden away. But Hymer was talking to Shez, the way a father would scold a child. Now that Shez had calmed down, he would see the light of reason.
‘And you thought threatening his life would result in you getting your loan back?’ Hymer asked rhetorically.
‘But Hymer, he gave me his word.’ Shez said defensively.
‘And he came to you to explain his situation rather than hide from you.’
‘Well I guess he had some honour.’
Idan joined the conversation. ‘All that would have happened is that the man’s son would have returned to hear that you have killed his father, he would have sworn vengeance and challenged you in blood combat, and you...’ Idan stopped and looked at the swords Shez carried. He continued. ‘You will probably kill him.’ Shez actually smiled at that. Idan ignored him and continued. ‘And that would have resulted in a blood feud between your two tribes, resulting in nothing but more death. All because of a delay of a small loan.’ Idan emphasised the words delay and small.
Shez lowered his head. ‘Yes, yes, I see your points.’
Not wanting to labour the point further, Idan changed the topic. ‘The contest starts in a week. Do you feel ready?’ he asked Shez.
Every year the southern tribes held a contest to establish the order of the greatest swordsmen. The contest was an optional entry but at least a few men from every tribe would put their names forward. The tribe with the winning swordsman would be given the honorific title of sword; with each member of the tribe being referred to as the sons and daughters of the sword.
For the past twenty-five years the title had been held by only three tribes. The Baloq, the Estada and the Rivera tribes; Shez belonged to the Rivera. Three years ago, Shez’s elder brother had been defeated in the final against Urar, a fighter from the Baloq and for the last three years no one had come close to defeating him. Shez himself was defeated by Urar in last year’s contest. Shez later admitted to Idan and Hymer that at no point in the fight did he feel like he had the upper hand.
‘I am never going to be more ready.’ He said without great confidence. Shez was a great fighter, his size and strength alone were often intimidating enough for those stepping up against him. ‘But I have a problem. Anaros wants to participate.’
Anaros was Shez’s youngest brother. Idan had seen the boy since his birth and even the time with the Bedouins did not seem to change him much. He was ever confident with his tongue as sharp as the best of swords.
‘He is still a child.’ Hymer said
‘He reached his sixteenth name day this year.’
‘Is he any good?’ Idan asked.
‘He refuses to fight with me or anyone in the family.’ Shez said, clearly unhappy at that fact. ‘He trains only with that halfwit Bedouin who refuses to be a Bedouin and move on. I mean that is what they are supposed to do right? Not stay in a single place.’ Shez said frustrated.
‘Do you want me to speak with him?’ Idan asked. Anaros had always liked Idan and seemed to respect his views.
‘No, I do not think there’s any getting through to him. Let him fight, he will soon find out why boys should not fight men.’
‘Speaking about getting a beating. I saw some of your uncle’s men in the crowd.’ Hymer said to Idan.
Idan looked at the sky and groaned. This was not going to be a good night, he thought. Idan thought of the valley view from atop his mountain and went back to his anchors of peace.
Chapter Three
There were a lot of perks of being a prince Jace thought, but the greatest was the women. Being crown prince behind his grandfather meant Jace would one day become King of Hulentis, the first and foremost Kingdom of Uthan.
Jace was currently trying to convince the daughter of a noble family that she really did not need to be wearing clothes in his royal company. They were in a bedroom of the largely unused east wing of the Eonian palace. Although rarely used, Jace’s mother insisted that it still be kept in pristine condition and so there was not a speck of dust for the finger to catch. Jace however, was trying to get his fingers to unlatch the bodice of Lureva or was it Mureva. Let’s stick with the brunette he thought. He was kissing her lips and neck and she was finally reciprocating, her hands making a mess of his brown hair.
‘Are you sure no one is going to come here?’ She asked for the second time.
‘Here? No, no. No one ever comes here anymore.’ He said distractedly as he kissed her again.
He had just managed to undo the second hook of her bodice when the door flung open. The brunette jumped up with a shriek and covered her now nearly exposed chest with a cushion. Jace was about to shout, get lost, when he saw Onayza, his younger sister, walk in.
‘Ah there you are, brother mine.’ Onayza said with a satisfied smile. ‘And Kureva, you are here too, splendid. I was just showing your parents the gardens and they were mentioning your love of roses. Perhaps you would like to join them?’ She asked.
‘Yes, your grace.’ She squealed and hurriedly put her clothes back in order as she exited the room.
‘You are going the wrong way my dear.’ Onayza said. She immediately changed directions and headed the right way. ‘Down the first set of stairs, take a left and walk until you see the fountains, then take a right.’
She turned to look at the princess one more time, her face a red to match the roses she would soon be seeing and said. ‘Yes, your grace.’ She curtsied and practically jogged away.
Onayza turned to face his brother with a sly smile.
‘You could not have waited a half hour more?’ Jace asked.
‘I dislike rice, it makes me bloated. Which is why I largely stick to bread.’ She replied.
‘How is that an explanation?’ Jace asked, now annoyed a little.
‘Kureva’s father is the fourth richest man in our kingdom and the supplier of the best quality of wheat to the crown.’ Onayza said. ‘Getting his daughter with child would mean mother would insist you marry her, which you will not do. I do not think her father will want to sell us wheat thereafter. And I like bread.’ Onayza said with a smile as she roamed around the lavishly decorated room.
‘The fourth, really. Who knew?’ Jace said nonchalantly, as he stood in front of a mirror equal to his own height and tried to push down a part of his hair that would not stay down.
‘You would have if you actually paid attention to our tutors and not the maids.’
‘Now where’s the fun in that.’
‘Did you know this bedroom belonged to one of our late uncles?’ she asked without really expecting an answer. ‘After he was killed, grandfather had this section of the palace sealed off.’
‘The rapist or the traitor?’ Jace asked.
‘They were both traitors.’ Onayza stated.
‘Right. Well I do not think grandfather knows where his own bedroom is on the best of days, far less where the east wing is, or that he sealed it off, or that he once had traitors as sons. Jace said.
‘Oh, he still remembers his sons. At night he can be heard talking to them in his dreams.’
‘Tragic.’ Jace said.
Onayza and Jace were taught of their uncles as part of their tuition. It was a cautionary tale of ambition, greed and the King’s justice.
‘We have been summoned.’ Onayza said.
Jace gave up on the strands of hair that defied and him turned to his sister. Technically only the King could summon him but they both knew there was one other in the Kingdom who presumed such privilege.
‘That is never a good thing.’ Jace said
‘It rarely is.’ Onayza agreed.
He gave one final look in the mirror and said. ‘Shall we?’
With that they walked side by side to their summoning.
As they existed the east wing Jace asked. ‘Any ideas on what this is about?’
‘None.’ She lied.
‘Onayza, there is nothing in life that you know nothing about. It’s part of the reason I love you so.’
She smiled inwardly and looked at her brother. He was charming, that is for sure she thought.
‘If I had to speculate, I would say it is about the celebrations.’
‘Right, of course.’ Jace said. ‘Erm what about said celebrations, exactly?’
‘Jace, we are about to host the heads of the six Kingdoms of Uthan, in the greatest celebration the Kingdom has ever seen. Did you really think you would have no greater part to play other than to show up to the night festivities and look pretty?’
‘I was going to leave the looking pretty part to you.’ Jace joked. After a moment he asked. ‘So, I have to what, shake some hands?’
‘Oh, this is going to be entertaining.’ Onayza said as they approached the large double wooden doors. They had reached the grand war room. The immortal kings of old had mapped out campaigns of for the conquest in this very room.
Three hundred years ago a group of human revolutionaries started a campaign of independence from the immortal Kingdoms of old. In three bloody years of battles they defeated the final immortal armies and ushered in a new dawn for mankind, with mortal rule over Uthan. The leaders of the group, Menor, Naz, Aalm, Pele and Hur would split the old Kingdoms into new borders and crown themselves Kings, and in the case of Naz, Queen. Jace was the direct descendant of Menor, the leader of the revolutionaries. Every year the final defeat of the immortals and establishment of the new Kingdoms was celebrated, but as this was the three hundredth year a grand celebration was in order.
At the sight of the royal siblings the guards standing at the door bent to their knees. Despite being treated as the future king of Hulentis since his birth Jace was still uncomfortable at the formalities. Onayza knew that he disliked preferential treatment and wanted to be liked for he was and not what he would become. It’s why she loved him, but of course she did not tell him that, he really did not need more of an ego.
The guards opened the door to let them in, inside sitting around the table was their summoner, their mother. With her were the masters of arms, faith and law. The room was draped in red and gold, the colours of Hulentis and had a table that could seat twenty. Onayza knew it was no accident that her mother had chosen this room, she was looking to make a point. The room was thick with tension.
Jace whispered. ‘This keeps getting better and better.’ He turned to Onayza, ‘You knew it would be all of them.’
The men stood from their seats and bowed, each in their own style. Their mother stayed seated; she would only bow to the King.
‘Mother and the wise men!’ Jace said in mock happiness. ‘Such a venerated group. To what do I owe the pleasure?’ He asked.
‘My prince.’ The men said in unison.
‘Have a seat.’ The princess said.
The siblings looked at each other and took their seats.
Never one for pleasantries she said. ‘We need to discuss the health of the King and the upcoming celebrations.’ She stopped and stared at her children. ‘Quite simply, The King’s health has worsened in the past year and in particular over the last months. He is no longer fit enough to be presented to the visiting Kings and Queens least he makes a fool of himself and embarrasses us all.’ She took a breath and now looked at Jace exclusively. ‘We have decided that you must take the responsibility to sit on the throne.’
Onayza thought she had seen the stable master display more emotion when having to put down a horse that had broken a leg. She looked over at her brother who was clearly lost for words. A rare occurrence indeed.
‘But… how? Grandfather, I mean the King still…lives.’ He managed to get out.
‘We will simply tell everyone that the King has been taken unwell and the healers have insisted that he have bed rest. And that you are taking the role you are destined to inherit.’
‘I am not sure about this. What will you tell grandfather?’ Jace asked, looking for a way out.
For the first time the Princess showed some emotion, she squinted her eyes in what Onayza and Jace knew meant she was tired and frustrated.
‘We will not. I will position guards outside his chambers. He will not be let out.’
‘For a whole week?’ Onayza asked with incredulity.
The princess looked at her now. ‘You will be at your brothers’ side throughout the week. We all know that you are better informed of the political affairs of the other Kingdoms. You will help him navigate the details and dynamics.’
‘And what role will you be playing?’ Onayza asked.
‘Do not presume to question me girl.’ The princess snapped.
‘That is to say, how can we expect your expert guidance?’ Jace said before Onayza could respond.
After an extended glare at her daughter, she turned back to her son, the future king of Hulentis. ‘I cannot be seen to be too close to you.’ She glanced at the masters and then back at him. ‘I am not loved by the people or the other royals.’ The masters of arms shifted in his seat and the master of law simply looked away, suddenly more interested in the papers in front of him. Clearly this was the prickly topic which was the cause of the tension in the room before they had walked in Onazya thought.
‘Even though it is I who has been governing this Kingdom whilst your grandfather has been singing to the fairies and you have been trying to create an army of bastards.’ She said bitterly. She took a breath and composed herself, she continued. ‘So, you with your sister's help will lead the way in forging a new start with the other kingdoms. One of respect and apparently affection.’ She said the last word whilst rolling her eyes.
The old master of faith who had largely had his eyes closed until now stirred and said. ‘Hulentis is and always will be the first and greatest Kingdom in all of Utahn. The King of Hulentis is the leader of all Kings in the land. He must be respected.’ At that he nodded at the princess. ‘But he also must be loved by the people he rules and the kingdoms he leads. With respect and fear they will fight for you. But for love they will die for you.’
The princess said. ‘You have one week to read and understand every trade agreement between us and the other Kingdoms. Every minor and major conflict currently at play. Backgrounds on all the households of the Kings and Queens, and all the nobility that shall be attending. There shall be more agreements, deals and backstabbing in this one week than in the next two years. I want us in the best position possible.’ With that she pointed at the large stack of ledgers, scrolls and books on the other table in the large room. ‘That is to start with, more shall be on its way.’
Onayza groaned, as much she enjoyed learning, this was a near impossible task with consequences she did not completely understand.
‘Very well. Jace said. ‘You may leave.’
The masters all rose at once. The princess raised an eyebrow and then stood up herself, clearly not enjoying being dismissed. As they exited the room Onayza turned to Jace.
‘She’s going to make you pay for that.’
‘She can try.’ He said coolly.
‘You know we cannot possibly learn everything in one week.’
‘You know that, and I certainly know that. But I did not want to give her the satisfaction of knowing that we know that.’ Jace said with a smile. ‘Plus, I doubt any king knows all that. This is just another one of her tests. We will learn the essentials and guess the rest.’
‘You cannot charm your way to being a King.’
‘Technically I don’t even need charm to be King. That is just an added benefit.’ He said with a wink.
submitted by Dil872 to fantasywriters [link] [comments]

2020.10.25 13:10 Klokinator [Cryoverse] The Last Precursor 034: Reviving Private Rodriguez

The Last Precursor is an HFY-exclusive web-serial which focuses on the exploits of the last living human amidst a galaxy of unknown aliens. With his species all but extinct and now only known as the ancient Precursors, how will Admiral José Rodriguez survive in this hostile universe? Make sure to read the earlier chapters first if you missed them!
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Previous Part
Part 001
On an unknown world, atop a mountain plateau, beneath the darkness of the night sky...
A man and woman hug one another as the gentle breeze caresses their bodies. The man towers more than three feet taller than his lover, but he makes up for the height difference by lifting her into his arms.
"I'm going to miss you," The woman says.
The man sighs. He sweeps his fingers through her long, curly brown hair. "Don't say that. I'll come back someday. I promise."
"José. Don't make a promise you can't keep," The woman says, as she pulls back to look into his eyes. "You and I both agreed that was an impossibility. Once you leave, you won't ever be able to return."
José falls silent. A deep sense of remorse fills his gaze. His shoulders slump, and he lowers her to the ground.
"...Evelyn, I-"
"You can't stay. If Nick goes back alone, they'll ask questions. They'll send another team, and they won't even tell you."
"But..." José says, his voice low, "you could come with me."
"You know I can't," Evelyn counters. "It will be impossible to claim this world is barren if you bring another human back. You've said so yourself."
The man, one of Ramma's Chosen, lowers to his knees so he can look into his wife's eyes.
"Of course. But still... it isn't fair. I can't leave you, or our child. If I go- if I leave and never see you again, what use will there be in continuing my life? A hundred thousand years of loneliness. A hundred thousand years wondering what fate befell you. I'd... I'd rather die."
Evelyn's soft expression, the look of a woman gazing into her soulmate's eyes, hardens in an instant. Her gaze turns frosty, and anger fills her countenance. "Don't ever say that again. As long as there is life, there is hope. Don't you remember? That's what you told me when we first met. I thought we could never win against our oppressors, but you taught us differently. You showed us that where there is a will, there is a way. Even slaves can bite the hand of their masters, so long as they have the will to fight back."
José slowly shakes his head.
"This situation is different, Evelyn. Fighting against your enemies is one thing... but your allies? Your own interests? I'm one of Ramma's Chosen. I represent the will of Terrankind. Standing up to them is akin to assuming the role of a demon. A heretic. I can't do that."
Evelyn pulls away from José. A look of pity enters her eyes. "We all make our choices, José. We all have our obligations. Would you rather spend a few years living with me in peace, until your commanders decide to send another team to collect your 'corpse,' or would you rather go back, ensuring I can raise our child safely?"
"Haha..." José chuckles, his tone lacking all trace of humor. "You know what I want to say."
"I do."
Evelyn forces a pained smile.
"I want you to stay, too. But you don't have that luxury. So go. Leave. I will raise our baby, be they a boy or a girl, and ensure they know what a great man their father was."
José lowers his head. As he stares at the ground, his chest begins to ache. Tears fill his eyes. He furiously wipes them away, while choking back a sob.
"Great man... great man! What a joke. A great man wouldn't abandon his family. A great man wouldn't run away, praying for grace from those above him. A great man would stay and fight!"
"No. An idiot would," Evelyn says, laughing wryly. "Please stop, José. You're only hurting me the longer you drag this out. Do you want me to suffer and cry the whole time you're gone?"
The Terran wipes his eyes again, this time keeping his fingers atop his eyelids for several seconds while he tries to control himself.
"...I know. I'm sorry, Evelyn. I'm so, so sorry. I'll... I'll be stronger. For you. For us."
José shakily wipes away his tears.
"But... if Command does return to this world... if they come back in spite of my sacrifice... I swear, I'll make sure they regret that decision."
Evelyn sighs. She takes a step forward, drapes her arms around José's neck, and nuzzles her face against his.
"I'm sure you will. That's what I love about you, José. If anyone hurts the people you love... you'll never show them mercy. Even if it means becoming a demon in their eyes."
"Haha..." José laughs, his voice choked with emotion. "I wouldn't go that far."
"That's good. I don't want you to forget your humanity, José. Even if the worst were to happen to me, you must always remember who you are and what you stand for. Your mission is noble. If it weren't for you, my world would still be in the throes of thralldom, ruled by the tyranny of demonkind. You've given us hope. You've become our Lightbringer."
Sadness lingers in José's eyes. However, his wife's words still manage to make him smile.
"You always know how to lighten the mood."
"I'm doing the best I can," Evelyn replies. "Now go. Return to your people. I will live a long and healthy life, thanks to you. I will rear our child and raise it to become a mighty warrior... just like you."
Hearing Evelyn mention his child, José's body loses some of its strength. He staggers slightly as disorientation envelops his mind.
Behind José, a mountain of a man, a dark-skinned fellow with thick black facial hair, walks over.
"Yo, Jojo. It's time to go, bud. The portal will open in three minutes."
José rubs his fist against his forehead as he tries to stymie the helplessness plaguing his heart.
"...Wait. Evelyn. Before I go... I don't want my baby to never hear his father's voice."
Evelyn raises her eyebrows. "What do you mean?"
José stretches out his hand. He touches a heart-shaped locket attached to a chain around Evelyn's neck, then pops it open.
With a tremendous strain, José begins forcing nanites out of his bloodstream, congealing several million of them into a few tiny grams of metal. The metal takes shape, becoming a computer chip stuck inside the locket's interior.
"Haah... haah..." José gasps, struggling to swallow air. "That was... ex... exhausting. Whew."
After finishing, he closes up the locket and presses it against Evelyn's chest.
"This is for our child. When he... or she... grows up... give it to them. Then I'll always be with them."
The black man behind José stiffens. "Jojo... what are you doing? We're not supposed to share technology with primitive civilizations. If the higher-ups find out-"
"I don't care," José says, smiling. "This is my one and only act of rebellion against Ramma. You won't tell anyone, right, Nicky-boy?"
The other Terran shakes his head and chuckles. "Nah, bud. You know I've got a soft spot for you."
After saying their goodbyes, José and Evelyn split apart. She stands still and watches as an eruption of energy tears into the space atop the mountain plateau, opening up a rift in space.
"José!" Evelyn calls out.
Her husband turns to look at her for the last time.
"I know, Evelyn. I love you too. Forever and always."
Then, he disappears.
The portal closes behind him, leaving only the stillness of a summer night in his wake.
A hissing of air.
Slowly, José Rodriguez opens his eyes. He blinks several times, trying to clear away a dense film covering his vision.
The sounds of distant beeping noises grow ever clearer. Slowly, his vision comes into focus, revealing to him a strange room, one that appears partly foreign, and partly familiar.
Exosteel walls. Medical equipment. A one-way mirror, allowing him to see a hallway outside, but preventing others from looking inside.
José drawls, but his mouth doesn't quite work properly.
"Whuhh... whurr am I?"
The groggy-headed Terran coughs a few times, expelling thick, viscous blue liquid from his mouth and nose.
At that moment, a blinding beauty appears; a blond-haired woman with an oddly symmetrical face. She wears a white doctor's gown, looking to José like an angel descended from the heavens.
"Ah! You are awake. How do you feel, José Rodriguez?"
José stares vacantly at the woman. Her face appears familiar, like a wonderful dream. Her hair isn't quite the right color, but the size of her nose, the distance between her eyes... everything else seems to match up to his memory.
"E... Evelyn? Is... is that you?"
The Terran smiles faintly, as a comforting feeling envelops his heart. He lifts his hand to caress the face of the woman he loves, ignoring the blue liquid stuck to his skin.
However, when his hand touches Evelyn's face, he blinks in confusion.
For some unknown reason, her body feels extremely cold to the touch, like a piece of iron left in the fridge for an hour.
"My apologies, José Rodriguez," the woman says. "My designation is Penelope. I am a holographic entity serving aboard the UTC Bloodbearer. You have just awoken from a... complicated medical procedure."
"Muh... medical... procedure?" José asks, his head still swimming. "Bloodbearer? Wait... that's right... I remember now."
Penelope smiles, her expression appearing somewhat plastic compared to a genuine human. "Yes, please speak frankly. I would like to know where your memories start and end. What is the last thing you recall?"
The Terran pauses to collect his thoughts.
"Alpha Centauri Starbase IV. We... we were headed there. The whole crew. I entered stasis. Before that... I chatted with Nicky-boy. Did we make it to our destination? Did something happen to me during my stasis-sleep?"
The more José talks, the more his vision becomes clearer. He starts to look around the room, while Penelope reveals a pained look.
"I see. It appears that, as expected, you have lost your memories. That is unfortunate."
"My memories?" José asks, still gazing around the room. "What do you mean? Wait, hold on... is this a joke? A practical joke? Oh, come on! Don't tell me Nicky-boy put you up to this!"
José cracks a huge grin as he shakes his head. "That guy. He's always pulling this crap on me. Alright, alright! Where are ya, Nick? Come on, show yourself! We've all had a good laugh!"
However, even as José smiles, Penelope's expression only dims further.
"Admir- no, err, Private Rodriguez. There are a great many things I need to speak with you about. Um. I must inform you that this is... this is not a practical joke. You have suffered a serious injury, and the procedure I had to use was one that came with many after-effects."
José's grin fades slightly, but he flexes his arm. "Procedure? Whatever you did, you sure did a good job! I've never felt better in all my life! I feel like I'm ten years old again! By the way, why are you here and not Doctor Bashir? Isn't he usually the person in charge of big operations? Kind of weird he'd send a hologram here instead of coming in pers-"
Suddenly, while José speaks, he stops mid-sentence.
His eyes fall upon a medical table off to the far side of the small chamber, one resting within a somewhat darker area than the rest of the facility.
It doesn't seem to command any attention, yet José's eyes still adhere to it as if he's seen a ghost.
"What... what the hell? What in Ramma's name?!"
Pins and needles crawl up José's feet, through his spine, and into his brain. The Terran takes a step forward and nearly falls to the ground, but Penelope manages to reach out and grab his shoulder, steadying him. The holo-doctor follows his gaze and sighs despondently.
"...I apologize, Private Rodriguez. I..."
José sucks in a long, deep breath. "That's... that's me?!"
On the table, a dead, lifeless corpse rests, its face and body a perfect facsimile of José himself. Numerous cuts and slashes line the corpse's skin, as if its original owner fought in a terrible battle, only to end up succumbing to his wounds.
Realizing something, José scans the medical room more thoroughly.
"Wait... this facility... Psionics? The Bloodbearer's Psionics bay?"
Penelope purses her lips, then nods.
"But... that body over there; it's me? I died?!"
Helplessly, the holo-entity sighs, revealing her complex programming which is more than capable of emulating basic human emotions.
"You did. I was going to wait to tell you, but you woke up unexpectedly. I was unable to cover the body in time."
Hearing her words, José stands up, turns around, and gazes at the strange metal tube he just exited.
"...A cloning capsule. It's for Ramma's Chosen only."
Penelope nods again. "You are familiar with Psionic technologies, it seems."
The Terran shakes the disorientation out of his head, then looks down at his naked body, examining himself.
"Oh my god. Ramma's Chosen can only revive once. When we do... it means..."
"You fell in combat," Penelope says, pursing her lips. "Unfortunately, your last brain scan was out of date. Very much so. Because of your Psionics training, we were able to capture your soul before it entered the Great Beyond and place it into a clone body. However, your brain was too damaged for us to recover any memories."
The more Penelope talks, the more questions that appear in José's mind. He glances around the room again, frowning.
"Wait a minute. Hold on. Where is everyone? Seriously, where is Doctor Bashir? Where are the other aides? Assuming I met some terrible end, there should be dozens of personnel in this facility tending to my needs. Why is only one holo-crewman here?"
Penelope smiles. "José Rodriguez. You have just undergone a life-threatening operation. Please, step into the sonic shower, clean yourself off, put on some clothes, and take a seat. I have been personally assigned to ensure your rehabilitation goes smoothly."
"Rehabilitation?" José echoes. "Uh... forgive me for being rude... but... how many memories did I lose? What happened to me? How did I die? Where the hell is everyone?"
Penelope's expression turns stern. "Private Rodriguez. I am your psychologist, as of this moment. That means I am your commanding officer. You are not going to be a poor soldier and disobey my direct orders, are you?"
José blinks. "Err, no. Of... of course not. I'm just confused, is all. Can't you answer a few of my questions?"
"I can, and I will. But for now, you will follow my commands. Nobody will interrupt us, and you are not allowed to leave the Psionics bay until I have relayed to you in full everything which has transpired during your memory gap. Do you understand what I am saying?"
Finally, José relents. His shoulders sag as he glances out the window, confused by the completely barren hallway outside.
"...Alright. I'm sure you have a good reason for... all of this. I do expect answers though, Evelyn."
"Penelope," The holo-female says. "My designation is Penelope. But if you would like, I can change my designation to Evelyn."
"Oh, um, sorry... no. That's not necessary."
José chuckles wryly. He turns toward the medical bay's showering room and steps inside while closing the door behind himself.
Once the Terran leaves the hologram's view, a surge of despair wells up in his heart.
Confusion. Anger. Distrust.
"What the fuck is going on..." José mutters, as he activates the sonic shower, allowing its sound-waves to beat the grime from his body. "Something isn't right. It's not right at all, not one bit..."
He closes his eyes, allowing the cloning fluid to dissipate from his face and chest.
"Nick. Nicky-boy... where are you man? Please tell me this is just another one of your sick jokes. Please..."
Next Part
Author Note:
If you enjoy what you've just read, please consider subscribing to my Patreon! I am very poor and presently jobless due to Coronavirus, so every dollar helps. You get access to Cryopod artwork, and plenty of other exclusive posts, with more to come soon.
Also consider reading The Cryopod to Hell, the primary story in the Cryoverse! Both stories are part of the Cryoverse, so they're deeply interlinked. You don't wanna miss them!
Thank you!
submitted by Klokinator to HFY [link] [comments]

2020.10.24 08:09 l_exaeus High latency on a Xbox One S gamepad over bluetooth

Hello everyone, I've been struggling with my gamepad since it has a too high latency while connected over bluetooth, making gaming impossible. It is a Xbox One S gamepad and sometimes it takes a few seconds to register my input.
I'm using Void Linux, XFCE, Bluez 5.55, Blueman 2.1.3, Linux Kernel 5.8.16_1, my system is up to date. My desktop does not have wi-fi boards. I have a 2.4GHz and a 5GHz wi-fi router on the other room.
I have a UGreen USB 4.0 dongle bought on AliExpress, it is sticked on the frontal USB port of my CPU. I've held some test keeping my gamepad one meter away from the dongle. I get this outputs with sudo l2ping:
Ping: EC:83:50:B1:2C:F0 from 00:1A:7D:DA:71:11 (data size 44) ... 44 bytes from EC:83:50:B1:2C:F0 id 0 time 114.78ms 44 bytes from EC:83:50:B1:2C:F0 id 1 time 11.15ms 44 bytes from EC:83:50:B1:2C:F0 id 2 time 13.59ms 44 bytes from EC:83:50:B1:2C:F0 id 3 time 12.43ms 44 bytes from EC:83:50:B1:2C:F0 id 4 time 11.06ms 44 bytes from EC:83:50:B1:2C:F0 id 5 time 15.02ms 44 bytes from EC:83:50:B1:2C:F0 id 6 time 24.57ms 44 bytes from EC:83:50:B1:2C:F0 id 7 time 14.01ms ^^^^^^ while idle ^^^^^^ 44 bytes from EC:83:50:B1:2C:F0 id 8 time 27.43ms 44 bytes from EC:83:50:B1:2C:F0 id 9 time 26.99ms 44 bytes from EC:83:50:B1:2C:F0 id 10 time 20.03ms 44 bytes from EC:83:50:B1:2C:F0 id 11 time 34.97ms 44 bytes from EC:83:50:B1:2C:F0 id 12 time 26.04ms 44 bytes from EC:83:50:B1:2C:F0 id 13 time 28.59ms 44 bytes from EC:83:50:B1:2C:F0 id 14 time 27.42ms 44 bytes from EC:83:50:B1:2C:F0 id 15 time 26.04ms 44 bytes from EC:83:50:B1:2C:F0 id 16 time 27.64ms 44 bytes from EC:83:50:B1:2C:F0 id 17 time 21.01ms ^^^^^^ while moving one axis ^^^^^^ 44 bytes from EC:83:50:B1:2C:F0 id 18 time 12.43ms 44 bytes from EC:83:50:B1:2C:F0 id 19 time 12.59ms 44 bytes from EC:83:50:B1:2C:F0 id 20 time 13.47ms 44 bytes from EC:83:50:B1:2C:F0 id 21 time 11.36ms ^^^^^^ while idle ^^^^^^ 
So I've tried setting the gamepad bluetooth device to slave (it's currently a master) with hcitool but I keep getting a Input/Output error that makes impossible to switch roles.
This gamepad works fine over bluetooth with my windows 10 notebook, but I can't test how this dongle performes on windows since I only have linux on my desktop.
I will provide any information needed, thank you for your attention.
submitted by l_exaeus to linux_gaming [link] [comments]

2020.10.24 03:41 sodomy 33 [M4F] OH/Anywhere - Dominant Chameleon ISO anything, anywhere.

I've come to the conclusion that you need to make an impression with these sort of things, so I'm going to just let my words flow freely. So here we go:
Height: 5'7
Weight: 160, could stand to lose a few lbs to get my abs back.
Eyes: Brown eyes.
Hair: Long curly brown hair (think Slash Rose's illegitimate son.)
Race: White.
Ethnicity: Hispanic (Cuban).
Languages: English, and Spanish.
Profession: IT guru with over 10 years experience in Technology; primarily focusing on Networking, and Systems Administration.
Religion: Agnostic.
A little about me:
I like long walks on the beach, sunsets, oh did I mention that I'm a sadist, and that I'm utterly insane?
I've been called a silver tongued devil; Quick witted, charismatic, with just the right amount of sarcasm.
Hobbies: Not being bored, it's a lot harder than it sounds. I enjoy learning/conversing about The Universe/space, science, and technology. I was quite nomadic in my 20s, having visited two different countries, lived in over 11 states, visited over 30.
Music: I'm more of a rhythm of the beat type of person vs. lyrics, but generally I've found myself to enjoy electronica. Definitely like a lot 80s synth pop, but again, this is just the preference, not really against the rest of the genres.
Shows: Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Board Walk Empire, Billions, Rome, Deadwood, Halt and Catch Fire, The Sopranos, South Park, Ozark, True Detective, Mad Men, Dexter, Better Call Saul, just to name a few.
Movies: Almost anything Marvel, Beetlejuice, Fight Club, Brain Scan, The Quick and the Dead, Death Proof, The Devil's Rejects, Dreamcatcher, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, Falling Down, Blood Work, Slience of the Lambs. I'm going to stop there, I honestly have nearly 1,000 movies; I have a wide ranging taste.
Who, where, why, and how.
"Where are you looking for this to occur?" Online, long distance with the possibility of IRL, obviously the latter is preferred, but I'm not going to disregard online in favor of the "real world", if you never want to meet I'm fine with this, just don't waste my time, and I shall not waste yours.
"What are you looking for?"
Well I can encompass a Master, a Dominant, or a Daddy, so it's really what can I provide for you?
"How is such a thing possible?" Antisocial Personality Disorder (3.4 for those interested.)
"Why was it necessary to mention that?" To give credence as to how I can, and have been all aspects of Dominance.
"Monogamy or polyamory?" Favoritism towards polyamory, but seeing as it's rare to find multiple partners that allow me to explore my more sadistic side without tension, and/or drama, I'd go with monogamy if the individual allowed me to be depraved.
Preference in the following order: Slave, submissive, little (I will explain further below.)
Kinks: Sadism, TPE, CNC, bondage, degradation, humiliation, knife play, rope play, rape/abduction play, choking, impact play, spanking, hair pulling (I think you get the idea by now, there are still far more, here's a more comprehensive list.)
Experience: 12+ years.
So about that whole preference thing, as I am on the ASPD spectrum I'm capable of fulfilling whatever role(s) are required of me to get what I want. So let me explain further, I'm openly telling you far ahead of time that I lack emotions and empathy, with the hopes that me giving you the illusion of whatever it is you require, will be met with reciprocation of the kinks we can agree upon. This is where the waters get muddied for little's, I can definitely treat you like the princess you want to be, without all the douche-baggery you'll deal with as people tugging at your heart strings. Plenty of people around here pretend to be Daddies and will leave you absolutely heartbroken. Tired of games? Tired of bullshit? Well here's someone willing to give you all the care, attention, and affection you desire without any hassles.
"Why would you want to be a Daddy Dom given your lack of emotions, and empathy?"
I am a social chameleon. I've been perfecting my art for the majority of my life, I like the challenge. I like to learn people and, give them what they want with the idea that I get what I want in the end, it's called a social transaction. I know what respect is, and I believe I need to write a little about this. Once we've discussed clear limits, and terms, they shall not be crossed, it's counter productive for me to lose my play thing(s). I can be fiercely territorial of all my possessions, that includes the individual(s) I'm involved with, what is mine will be protected, whether you're a slave, a submissive, or a little.If you want someone to completely treat you like trash, I'm more than willingly to oblige, if you need a savior and a protector, well I can do that too. I'm able to encompass what is required; a means to an end.
"What are you looking for in a submissive?" I'd like it to extend outside of the bedroom, but if it doesn't, whatever, I'm not going to repeat myself, so hopefully you've read this in it's entirety.
"What are you looking for in a slave?" Mostly aesthetics, and objectification. Of course I'd expect loyalty, servitude, and there's a plethora more, but I don't feel I need to be too descriptive on this part.
Now that I've written a fucking novel about myself, let's get to you....
Age: I prefer them younger (18+) , but have dated women as old as 45; generally if I find you attractive, I won't care.
Height: the shorter the better, but I've dated women taller than myself, not a deal breaker.
Weight: I'd like someone on the smaller side, a few extra pounds will be acceptable, but no one overweight please, just not my thing.
I will list things below in order of preference, not necessarily a disqualifier. (This is only opinion, not a rating system.)
Race: White, but as long as I'm attracted I won't care, I don't discriminate.
Ethnicity: N/A read above.
Language(s): The more the merrier, accents are a huge plus, whether a southern drawl, or other.
Religion: I'm completely open to allowing you to practice whatever you'd like, just don't expect me to participate; I can be respectful of your beliefs, as long as you're respectful of mine, I am a man of science, The Universe is my religion (so to speak.)
Eyes: Blue, green, hazel, brown (If you have Heterochromia iridum you move to the front of the line, I like mutations.)
Hair: The longer the better, no preference as to style, as for color: I prefer true blondes, redheads, dirty blondes, and then brown.
Tattoos: Sure, whatever, as long as it's not overwhelming or flat out tacky, in this day in age it's harder to find someone with none, so as the trend follows above.
Piercings: Depends, some people can pull off septum piercings, but I personally dislike them, so if it compliments your facial features, sure why not. But there is definitely a breaking point where it becomes overwhelming and you just look like Hellraiser.
Education: Strong preference towards educated women, this does not necessarily mean academics, open to all.
Profession: No preference, but I do tend to like women in psychology (I have my reasons.)
Personality: If I have to learn "your" pronouns, or apologize for my "white male privilege" you can fuck right off; I don't care about politics.
Children: Strong preference in favor of not having them, unless we never intend to meet, or you don't expect a level of commitment from me to them, then I don't readily care, non-factor. To explain a tad bit, it isn't that I can't, I just would rather not raise children, I have too many plans in life that children would derail, maybe later.
If you're interested in communicating further, I prefer talking on these platforms and in this order: Discord, WhatsApp, Reddit Chat\, Skype, Kik,* open to other forms of contact.
\Reddit Chat isn't the same thing as their mailing system, just an FYI.*
Go ahead and shoot me a message, I'm waiting.
submitted by sodomy to r4r [link] [comments]

2020.10.20 04:14 ILikeMultipleThings Lord of the Rings Forward and Concerning Hobbits

This tale grew in the telling, until it became a history of the Great War of the Ring and included many glimpses of the yet more ancient history that preceded it. It was begun soon after The Hobbit was written and before its publication in 1937; but I did not go on with this sequel, for I wished first to complete and set in order the mythology and legends of the Elder Days, which had then been taking shape for some years. I desired to do this for my own satisfaction, and I had little hope that other people would be interested in this work, especially since it was primarily linguistic in inspiration and was begun in order to provide the necessary background of 'history' for Elvish tongues. When those whose advice and opinion I sought corrected little hope to no hope, I went back to the sequel, encouraged by requests from readers for more information concerning hobbits and their adventures. But the story was drawn irresistibly towards the older world, and became an account, as it were, of its end and passing away before its beginning and middle had been told. The process had begun in the writing of The Hobbit, in which there were already some references to the older matter: Elrond, Gondolin, the High-elves, and the orcs, as well as glimpses that had arisen unbidden of things higher or deeper or darker than its surface: Durin, Moria, Gandalf, the Necromancer, the Ring. The discovery of the significance of these glimpses and of their relation to the ancient histories revealed the Third Age and its culmination in the War of the Ring. Those who had asked for more information about hobbits eventually got it, but they had to wait a long time; for the composition of The Lord of the Rings went on at intervals during the years 1936 to 1949, a period in which I had many duties that I did not neglect, and many other interests as a learner and teacher that often absorbed me. The delay was, of course, also increased by the outbreak of war in 1939, by the end of which year the tale had not yet reached the end of Book One. In spite of the darkness of the next five years I found that the story could not now be wholly abandoned, and I plodded on, mostly by night, till I stood by Balin's tomb in Moria. There I halted for a long while. It was almost a year later when I went on and so came to Lothlórien and the Great River late in 1941. In the next year I wrote the first drafts of the matter that now stands as Book Three, and the beginnings of chapters I and III of Book Five; and there as the beacons flared in Anórien and Théoden came to Harrowdale I stopped. Foresight had failed and there was no time for thought. It was during 1944 that, leaving the loose ends and perplexities of a war which it was my task to conduct, or at least to report, I forced myself to tackle the journey of Frodo to Mordor. These chapters, eventually to become Book Four, were written and sent out as a serial to my son, Christopher, then in South Africa with the RAF. Nonetheless it took another five years before the tale was brought to its present end; in that time I changed my house, my chair, and my college, and the days though less dark were no less laborious. Then when the 'end' had at last been reached the whole story had to be revised, and indeed largely re-written backwards. And it had to be typed, and re-typed: by me; the cost of professional typing by the ten-fingered was beyond my means. The Lord of the Rings has been read by many people since it finally appeared in print; and I should like to say something here with reference to the many opinions or guesses that I have received or have read concerning the motives and meaning of the tale. The prime motive was the desire of a tale-teller to try his hand at a really long story that would hold the attention of readers, amuse them, delight them, and at times maybe excite them or deeply move them. As a guide I had only my own feelings for what is appealing or moving, and for many the guide was inevitably often at fault. Some who have read the book, or at any rate have reviewed it, have found it boring, absurd, or contemptible; and I have no cause to complain, since I have similar opinions of their works, or of the kinds of writing that they evidently prefer. But even from the points of view of many who have enjoyed my story there is much that fails to please. It is perhaps not possible in a long tale to please everybody at all points, nor to displease everybody at the same points; for I find from the letters that I have received that the passages or chapters that are to some a blemish are all by others specially approved. The most critical reader of all, myself, now finds many defects, minor and major, but being fortunately under no obligation either to review the book or to write it again, he will pass over these in silence, except one that has been noted by others: the book is too short. As for any inner meaning or 'message', it has in the intention of the author none. It is neither allegorical nor topical. As the story grew it put down roots (into the past) and threw out unexpected branches: but its main theme was settled from the outset by the inevitable choice of the Ring as the link between it and The Hobbit. The crucial chapter, "The Shadow of the Past', is one of the oldest parts of the tale. It was written long before the foreshadow of 1939 had yet become a threat of inevitable disaster, and from that point the story would have developed along essentially the same lines, if that disaster had been averted. Its sources are things long before in mind, or in some cases already written, and little or nothing in it was modified by the war that began in 1939 or its sequels. The real war does not resemble the legendary war in its process or its conclusion. If it had inspired or directed the development of the legend, then certainly the Ring would have been seized and used against Sauron; he would not have been annihilated but enslaved, and Barad-dûr would not have been destroyed but occupied. Saruman, failing to get possession of the Ring, would in the confusion and treacheries of the time have found in Mordor the missing links in his own researches into Ring-lore, and before long he would have made a Great Ring of his own with which to challenge the self-styled Ruler of Middle-earth. In that conflict both sides would have held hobbits in hatred and contempt: they would not long have survived even as slaves. Other arrangements could be devised according to the tastes or views of those who like allegory or topical reference. But I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations, and always have done so since I grew old and wary enough to detect its presence. I much prefer history, true or feigned, with its varied applicability to the thought and experience of readers. I think that many confuse 'applicability' with 'allegory'; but the one resides in the freedom of the reader, and the other in the purposed domination of the author. An author cannot of course remain wholly unaffected by his experience, but the ways in which a story-germ uses the soil of experience are extremely complex, and attempts to define the process are at best guesses from evidence that is inadequate and ambiguous. It is also false, though naturally attractive, when the lives of an author and critic have overlapped, to suppose that the movements of thought or the events of times common to both were necessarily the most powerful influences. One has indeed personally to come under the shadow of war to feel fully its oppression; but as the years go by it seems now often forgotten that to be caught in youth by 1914 was no less hideous an experience than to be involved in 1939 and the following years. By 1918 all but one of my close friends were dead. Or to take a less grievous matter: it has been supposed by some that 'The Scouring of the Shire' reflects the situation in England at the time when I was finishing my tale. It does not. It is an essential part of the plot, foreseen from the outset, though in the event modified by the character of Saruman as developed in the story without, need I say, any allegorical significance or contemporary political reference whatsoever. It has indeed some basis in experience, though slender (for the economic situation was entirely different), and much further back. The country in which I lived in childhood was being shabbily destroyed before I was ten, in days when motor-cars were rare objects (I had never seen one) and men were still building suburban railways. Recently I saw in a paper a picture of the last decrepitude of the once thriving corn-mill beside its pool that long ago seemed to me so important. I never liked the looks of the Young miller, but his father, the Old miller, had a black beard, and he was not named Sandyman. The Lord of the Rings is now issued in a new edition, and the opportunity has been taken of revising it. A number of errors and inconsistencies that still remained in the text have been corrected, and an attempt has been made to provide information on a few points which attentive readers have raised. I have considered all their comments and enquiries, and if some seem to have been passed over that may be because I have failed to keep my notes in order; but many enquiries could only be answered by additional appendices, or indeed by the production of an accessory volume containing much of the material that I did not include in the original edition, in particular more detailed linguistic information. In the meantime this edition offers this Foreword, an addition to the Prologue, some notes, and an index of the names of persons and places. This index is in intention complete in items but not in references, since for the present purpose it has been necessary to reduce its bulk. A complete index, making full use of the material prepared for me by Mrs. N. Smith, belongs rather to the accessory volume.
  1. Concerning Hobbits
This book is largely concerned with Hobbits, and from its pages a reader may discover much of their character and a little of their history. Further information will also be found in the selection from the Red Book of Westmarch that has already been published, under the title of The Hobbit. That story was derived from the earlier chapters of the Red Book, composed by Bilbo himself, the first Hobbit to become famous in the world at large, and called by him There and Back Again, since they told of his journey into the East and his return: an adventure which later involved all the Hobbits in the great events of that Age that are here related. Many, however, may wish to know more about this remarkable people from the outset, while some may not possess the earlier book. For such readers a few notes on the more important points are here collected from Hobbit-lore, and the first adventure is briefly recalled. Hobbits are an unobtrusive but very ancient people, more numerous formerly than they are today; for they love peace and quiet and good tilled earth: a well-ordered and well-farmed countryside was their favourite haunt. They do not and did not understand or like machines more complicated than a forge-bellows, a water-mill, or a hand-loom, though they were skilful with tools. Even in ancient days they were, as a rule, shy of 'the Big Folk', as they call us, and now they avoid us with dismay and are becoming hard to find. They are quick of hearing and sharp-eyed, and though they are inclined to be fat and do not hurry unnecessarily, they are nonetheless nimble and deft in their movements. They possessed from the first the art of disappearing swiftly and silently, when large folk whom they do not wish to meet come blundering by; and this an they have developed until to Men it may seem magical. But Hobbits have never, in fact, studied magic of any kind, and their elusiveness is due solely to a professional skill that heredity and practice, and a close friendship with the earth, have rendered inimitable by bigger and clumsier races. For they are a little people, smaller than Dwarves: less tout and stocky, that is, even when they are not actually much shorter. Their height is variable, ranging between two and four feet of our measure. They seldom now reach three feet; but they hive dwindled, they say, and in ancient days they were taller. According to the Red Book, Bandobras Took (Bullroarer), son of Isengrim the Second, was four foot five and able to ride a horse. He was surpassed in all Hobbit records only by two famous characters of old; but that curious matter is dealt with in this book. As for the Hobbits of the Shire, with whom these tales are concerned, in the days of their peace and prosperity they were a merry folk. They dressed in bright colours, being notably fond of yellow and green; but they seldom wore shoes, since their feet had tough leathery soles and were clad in a thick curling hair, much like the hair of their heads, which was commonly brown. Thus, the only craft little practised among them was shoe-making; but they had long and skilful fingers and could make many other useful and comely things. Their faces were as a rule good-natured rather than beautiful, broad, bright-eyed, red-cheeked, with mouths apt to laughter, and to eating and drinking. And laugh they did, and eat, and drink, often and heartily, being fond of simple jests at all times, and of six meals a day (when they could get them). They were hospitable and delighted in parties, and in presents, which they gave away freely and eagerly accepted. It is plain indeed that in spite of later estrangement Hobbits are relatives of ours: far nearer to us than Elves, or even than Dwarves. Of old they spoke the languages of Men, after their own fashion, and liked and disliked much the same things as Men did. But what exactly our relationship is can no longer be discovered. The beginning of Hobbits lies far back in the Elder Days that are now lost and forgotten. Only the Elves still preserve any records of that vanished time, and their traditions are concerned almost entirely with their own history, in which Men appear seldom and Hobbits are not mentioned at all. Yet it is clear that Hobbits had, in fact, lived quietly in Middle-earth for many long years before other folk became even aware of them. And the world being after all full of strange creatures beyond count, these little people seemed of very little importance. But in the days of Bilbo, and of Frodo his heir, they suddenly became, by no wish of their own, both important and renowned, and troubled the counsels of the Wise and the Great. Those days, the Third Age of Middle-earth, are now long past, and the shape of all lands has been changed; but the regions in which Hobbits then lived were doubtless the same as those in which they still linger: the North-West of the Old World, east of the Sea. Of their original home the Hobbits in Bilbo's time preserved no knowledge. A love of learning (other than genealogical lore) was far from general among them, but there remained still a few in the older families who studied their own books, and even gathered reports of old times and distant lands from Elves, Dwarves, and Men. Their own records began only after the settlement of the Shire, and their most ancient legends hardly looked further back than their Wandering Days. It is clear, nonetheless, from these legends, and from the evidence of their peculiar words and customs, that like many other folk Hobbits had in the distant past moved westward. Their earliest tales seem to glimpse a time when they dwelt in the upper vales of Anduin, between the eaves of Greenwood the Great and the Misty Mountains. Why they later undertook the hard and perilous crossing of the mountains into Eriador is no longer certain. Their own accounts speak of the multiplying of Men in the land, and of a shadow that fell on the forest, so that it became darkened and its new name was Mirkwood. Before the crossing of the mountains the Hobbits had already become divided into three somewhat different breeds: Harfoots, Stoors, and Fallohides. The Harfoots were browner of skin, smaller, and shorter, and they were beardless and bootless; their hands and feet were neat and nimble; and they preferred highlands and hillsides. The Stoors were broader, heavier in build; their feet and hands were larger, and they preferred flat lands and riversides. The Fallohides were fairer of skin and also of hair, and they were taller and slimmer than the others; they were lovers of trees and of woodlands. The Harfoots had much to do with Dwarves in ancient times, and long lived in the foothills of the mountains. They moved westward early, and roamed over Eriador as far as Weathertop while the others were still in the Wilderland. They were the most normal and representative variety of Hobbit, and far the most numerous. They were the most inclined to settle in one place, and longest preserved their ancestral habit of living in tunnels and holes. The Stoors lingered long by the banks of the Great River Anduin, and were less shy of Men. They came west after the Harfoots and followed the course of the Loudwater southwards; and there many of them long dwelt between Tharbad and the borders of Dunland before they moved north again. The Fallohides, the least numerous, were a northerly branch. They were more friendly with Elves than the other Hobbits were, and had more skill in language and song than in handicrafts; and of old they preferred hunting to tilling. They crossed the mountains north of Rivendell and came down the River Hoarwell. In Eriador they soon mingled with the other kinds that had preceded them, but being somewhat bolder and more adventurous, they were often found as leaders or chieftains among clans of Harfoots or Stoors. Even in Bilbo's time the strong Fallohidish strain could still be noted among the greater families, such as the Tooks and the Masters of Buckland. In the westlands of Eriador, between the Misty Mountains and the Mountains of Lune, the Hobbits found both Men and Elves. Indeed, a remnant still dwelt there of the Dúnedain, the kings of Men that came over the Sea out of Westernesse; but they were dwindling fast and the lands of their North Kingdom were falling far and wide into waste. There was room and to spare for incomers, and ere long the Hobbits began to settle in ordered communities. Most of their earlier settlements had long disappeared and been forgotten in Bilbo's time; but one of the first to become important still endured, though reduced in size; this was at Bree and in the Chetwood that lay round about, some forty miles east of the Shire. It was in these early days, doubtless, that the Hobbits learned their letters and began to write after the manner of the Dúnedain, who had in their turn long before learned the art from the Elves. And in those days also they forgot whatever languages they had used before, and spoke ever after the Common Speech, the Westron as it was named, that was current through all the lands of the kings from Arnor to Gondor, and about all the coasts of the Sea from Belfalas to Lune. Yet they kept a few words of their own, as well as their own names of months and days, and a great store of personal names out of the past. About this time legend among the Hobbits first becomes history with a reckoning of years. For it was in the one thousand six hundred and first year of the Third Age that the Fallohide brothers, Marcho and Blanco, set out from Bree; and having obtained permission from the high king at Fornost, they crossed the brown river Baranduin with a great following of Hobbits. They passed over the Bridge of Stonebows, that had been built in the days of the power of the North Kingdom, and they took ail the land beyond to dwell in, between the river and the Far Downs. All that was demanded of them was that they should keep the Great Bridge in repair, and all other bridges and roads, speed the king's messengers, and acknowledge his lordship. Thus began the Shire-reckoning, for the year of the crossing of the Brandywine (as the Hobbits turned the name) became Year One of the Shire, and all later dates were reckoned from it. At once the western Hobbits fell in love with their new land, and they remained there, and soon passed once more out of the history of Men and of Elves. While there was still a king they were in name his subjects, but they were, in fact, ruled by their own chieftains and meddled not at all with events in the world outside. To the last battle at Fornost with the Witch-lord of Angmar they sent some bowmen to the aid of the king, or so they maintained, though no tales of Men record it. But in that war the North Kingdom ended; and then the Hobbits took the land for their own, and they chose from their own chiefs a Thain to hold the authority of the king that was gone. There for a thousand years they were little troubled by wars, and they prospered and multiplied after the Dark Plague (S.R. 37) until the disaster of the Long Winter and the famine that followed it. Many thousands then perished, but the Days of Dearth (1158-60) were at the time of this tale long past and the Hobbits had again become accustomed to plenty. The land was rich and kindly, and though it had long been deserted when they entered it, it had before been well tilled, and there the king had once had many farms, cornlands, vineyards, and woods. Forty leagues it stretched from the Far Downs to the Brandywine Bridge, and fifty from the northern moors to the marshes in the south. The Hobbits named it the Shire, as the region of the authority of their Thain, and a district of well-ordered business; and there in that pleasant comer of the world they plied their well-ordered business of living, and they heeded less and less the world outside where dark things moved, until they came to think that peace and plenty were the rule in Middle-earth and the right of all sensible folk. They forgot or ignored what little they had ever known of the Guardians, and of the labours of those that made possible the long peace of the Shire. They were, in fact, sheltered, but they had ceased to remember it. At no time had Hobbits of any kind been warlike, and they had never fought among themselves. In olden days they had, of course, been often obliged to fight to maintain themselves in a hard world; but in Bilbo's time that was very ancient history. The last battle, before this story opens, and indeed the only one that had ever been fought within the borders of the Shire, was beyond living memory: the Battle of Greenfields, S.R. 1147, in which Bandobras Took routed an invasion of Orcs. Even the weathers had grown milder, and the wolves that had once come ravening out of the North in bitter white winters were now only a grandfather's tale. So, though there was still some store of weapons in the Shire, these were used mostly as trophies, hanging above hearths or on walls, or gathered into the museum at Michel Delving. The Mathom-house it was called; for anything that Hobbits had no immediate use for, but were unwilling to throw away, they called a mathom. Their dwellings were apt to become rather crowded with mathoms, and many of the presents that passed from hand to hand were of that sort. Nonetheless, ease and peace had left this people still curiously tough. They were, if it came to it, difficult to daunt or to kill; and they were, perhaps, so unwearyingly fond of good things not least because they could, when put to it, do without them, and could survive rough handling by grief, foe, or weather in a way that astonished those who did not know them well and looked no further than their bellies and their well-fed faces. Though slow to quarrel, and for sport killing nothing that lived, they were doughty at bay, and at need could still handle arms. They shot well with the bow, for they were keen-eyed and sure at the mark. Not only with bows and arrows. If any Hobbit stooped for a stone, it was well to get quickly under cover, as all trespassing beasts knew very well. All Hobbits had originally lived in holes in the ground, or so they believed, and in such dwellings they still felt most at home; but in the course of time they had been obliged to adopt other forms of abode. Actually in the Shire in Bilbo's days it was, as a rule, only the richest and the poorest Hobbits that maintained the old custom. The poorest went on living in burrows of the most primitive kind, mere holes indeed, with only one window or none; while the well-to-do still constructed more luxurious versions of the simple diggings of old. But suitable sites for these large and ramifying tunnels (or smials as they called them) were not everywhere to be found; and in the flats and the low-lying districts the Hobbits, as they multiplied, began to build above ground. Indeed, even in the hilly regions and the older villages, such as Hobbiton or Tuckborough, or in the chief township of the Shire, Michel Delving on the White Downs, there were now many houses of wood, brick, or stone. These were specially favoured by millers, smiths, ropers, and cartwrights, and others of that sort; for even when they had holes to live in. Hobbits had long been accustomed to build sheds and workshops. The habit of building farmhouses and barns was said to have begun among the inhabitants of the Marish down by the Brandywine. The Hobbits of that quarter, the Eastfarthing, were rather large and heavy-legged, and they wore dwarf-boots in muddy weather. But they were well known to be Stoors in a large part of their blood, as indeed was shown by the down that many grew on their chins. No Harfoot or Fallohide had any trace of a beard. Indeed, the folk of the Marish, and of Buckland, east of the River, which they afterwards occupied, came for the most part later into the Shire up from south-away; and they still had many peculiar names and strange words not found elsewhere in the Shire. It is probable that the craft of building, as many other crafts beside, was derived from the Dúnedain. But the Hobbits may have learned it direct from the Elves, the teachers of Men in their youth. For the Elves of the High Kindred had not yet forsaken Middle-earth, and they dwelt still at that time at the Grey Havens away to the west, and in other places within reach of the Shire. Three Elf-towers of immemorial age were still to be seen on the Tower Hills beyond the western marches. They shone far off in the moonlight. The tallest was furthest away, standing alone upon a green mound. The Hobbits of the Westfarthing said that one could see the Sea from the lop of that tower; but no Hobbit had ever been known to climb it. Indeed, few Hobbits had ever seen or sailed upon the Sea, and fewer still had ever returned to report it. Most Hobbits regarded even rivers and small boats with deep misgivings, and not many of them could swim. And as the days of the Shire lengthened they spoke less and less with the Elves, and grew afraid of them, and distrustful of those that had dealings with them; and the Sea became a word of fear among them, and a token of death, and they turned their faces away from the hills in the west. The craft of building may have come from Elves or Men, but the Hobbits used it in their own fashion. They did not go in for towers. Their houses were usually long, low, and comfortable. The oldest kind were, indeed, no more than built imitations of smials, thatched with dry grass or straw, or roofed with turves, and having walls somewhat bulged. That stage, however, belonged to the early days of the Shire, and hobbit-building had long since been altered, improved by devices, learned from Dwarves, or discovered by themselves. A preference for round windows, and even round doors, was the chief remaining peculiarity of hobbit-architecture. The houses and the holes of Shire-hobbits were often large, and inhabited by large families. (Bilbo and Frodo Baggins were as bachelors very exceptional, as they were also in many other ways, such as their friendship with the Elves.) Sometimes, as in the case of the Tooks of Great Smials, or the Brandybucks of Brandy Hall, many generations of relatives lived in (comparative) peace together in one ancestral and many-tunnelled mansion. All Hobbits were, in any case, clannish and reckoned up their relationships with great care. They drew long and elaborate family-trees with innumerable branches. In dealing with Hobbits it is important to remember who is related to whom, and in what degree. It would be impossible in this book to set out a family-tree that included even the more important members of the more important families at the time which these tales tell of. The genealogical trees at the end of the Red Book of Westmarch are a small book in themselves, and all but Hobbits would find them exceedingly dull. Hobbits delighted in such things, if they were accurate: they liked to have books filled with things that they already knew, set out fair and square with no contradictions.
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2020.10.19 19:38 partypastor Unreached People Group of the Week - Wolof in Senegal

Sorry about this being late. My coffee maker broke, so it was a tragic morning.
How Unreached Are They?
The Wolof are 0.01% Christian. That means out of their 5,620,000 people, there are roughly only 500 believers. Thats only 1 believer for every 10,000 unbeliever.
There is a New Testament in their language
What are they like?
Typical qualification that all people groups can't be summed up in small paragraphs and this is an over generalization.
Traditionally the Wolof were divided into three classes: the freeborn, those born into slavery, and the artisans. The freeborn class ranged from high-ranking noblemen to common peasant farmers. The slave class was made up of the Wolof whose parents were slaves. They were born into slavery and continued to serve their parent's masters. Finally, the artisans were considered a low class in Wolof society. This group included blacksmiths, leather workers, and musicians. Intermarriage among the three classes was a very rare occurrence.
However much of this class distinction is disappearing among the Wolof. For example, former president Abdou Diouf of Senegal was actually from the blacksmith class.
The Wolof, particularly the women, are known as being very beautiful. They dress fashionably and wear sophisticated hairstyles. In fact, they are often the fashion-setters for others around them. While many of the Wolof have settled in cities and work as merchants, teachers, or government officials, most of them still live in rural areas and work as peasant farmers.
The main cash crop for the peasants is peanuts. Huge sacks of them are sold to traders, and the earnings are used to provide new clothes, household utensils, blankets, and tobacco. Okra, peppers, beans, and tomatoes are also planted in gardens around their houses. Their basic dietary crops include sorghum and millet. For breakfast, grains are prepared as thick porridge. In the evening, grains are prepared as a steaming dish covered with either peanut and tomato sauce or meat and bean sauce. Wolof generally do not like change and are content with the same daily meals.
A typical Wolof village consists of several hundred people living in compounds that are grouped around a central village square. The compounds contain houses made of mud or reeds. Fences are built just inside the compound entrances to block the view of strangers. Public events, such as dancing and wrestling, take place in the village square. A platform used for public meetings is usually located in the center of the square, and a mosque is located on the square's east side.
When outside the village, the Wolof must wear clothing suitable for the occasion and according to one's role in society. While in the public eye, they must look, move, and talk in the appropriate manner, even while shopping in the market. Joshua Project
History Lesson
Hundreds of years ago, the Wolof conquered many tribes in the northwestern Senegal area. By the end of the 1300s, the Wolof had grown into a large empire of separate, self-governing states. By the 1500s, the empire had split into four major Wolof kingdoms.
The French expanded into Senegal during the 1800s, making it a colony of French West Africa. In 1946, the Wolof of Senegal were awarded French citizenship, and today, many Wolof have their homes in France. In 1968, Senegal gained its independence. Joshua Project
What do they believe?
Virtually all of the Wolof claim to be Muslims. Islam is centered on five basic teachings or "pillars." (1) A Muslim must affirm that "there is no god but Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet." (2) Five times a day he must pray while facing Mecca. (3) He must give an obligatory percentage (very similar to tithes) on an annual basis. (4) He must fast during Ramadan, the ninth month of the Muslim year. (5) He must try to make at least one pilgrimage to Mecca in his lifetime.
Wolof believe in bad and good spirits, as well as witches. They think that all of these live in their villages. Bad spirits live in tall trees or grassy areas. The Wolof wear amulets to protect them from the bad spirits. A marabout, or spiritual leader with supernatural powers, is contacted when making important decisions. Joshua Project
How Can We Pray For Them?
Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. (Romans 10:1)
Here are the previous weeks threads on the UPG of the Week for Reformed
People Group Country Date Posted Beliefs
Wolof Senegal 10/19/20 Islam
Turkish Cypriot Cyprus 10/12/2020 Islam
Awjilah Libya 10/05/2020 Islam
Manihar India 09/28/2020 Islam
Tianba China 09/21/2020 Animism
Arab Qatar 09/14/2020 Islam
Turkmen Turkmenistan 08/31/2020 Islam
Lyuli Uzbekistan 08/24/2020 Islam
Kyrgyz Kyrgyzstan 08/17/2020 Islam*
Yakut Russia 08/10/2020 Animism*
Northern Katang Laos 08/03/2020 Animism
Uyghur Kazakhstan 07/27/2020 Islam
Syrian (Levant Arabs) Syria 07/20/2020 Islam
Teda Chad 07/06/2020 Islam
Kotokoli Togo 06/28/2020 Islam
Hobyot Oman 06/22/2020 Islam
Moor Sri Lanka 06/15/2020 Islam
Shaikh Bangladesh 06/08/2020 Islam
Khalka Mongols Mongolia 06/01/2020 Animism
Comorian France 05/18/2020 Islam
Bedouin Jordan 05/11/2020 Islam
Muslim Thai Thailand 05/04/2020 Islam
Nubian Uganda 04/27/2020 Islam
Kraol Cambodia 04/20/2020 Animism
Tay Vietnam 04/13/2020 Animism
Yoruk Turkey 04/06/2020 Islam
Xiaoliangshn Nosu China 03/30/2020 Animism
Jat (Muslim) Pakistan 03/23/2020 Islam
Beja Bedawi Egypt 03/16/2020 Islam
Tunisian Arabs Tunisia 03/09/2020 Islam
Yemeni Arab Yemen 03/02/2020 Islam
Bosniak Croatia 02/24/2020 Islam
Azerbaijani Georgia 02/17/2020 Islam
Zaza-Dimli Turkey 02/10/2020 Islam
Huichol Mexico 02/03/2020 Animism
Kampuchea Krom Cambodia 01/27/2020 Buddhism
Lao Krang Thailand 01/20/2020 Buddhism
Gilaki Iran 01/13/2020 Islam
Uyghurs China 01/01/2020 Islam
Israeli Jews Israel 12/18/2019 Judaism
Drukpa Bhutan 12/11/2019 Buddhism
Malay Malaysia 12/04/2019 Islam
Lisu (Reached People Group) China 11/27/2019 Christian
Dhobi India 11/20/2019 Hinduism
Burmese Myanmar 11/13/2019 Buddhism
Minyak Tibetans China 11/06/2019 Buddhism
Yazidi Iraq 10/30/2019 Animism*
Turks Turkey 10/23/2019 Islam
Kurds Syria 10/16/2019 Islam
Kalmyks Russia 10/09/2019 Buddhism
Luli Tajikistan 10/02/2019 Islam
Japanese Japan 09/25/2019 Shintoism
Urak Lawoi Thailand 09/18/2019 Animism
Kim Mun Vietnam 09/11/2019 Animism
Tai Lue Laos 09/04/2019 Bhuddism
Sundanese Indonesia 08/28/2019 Islam
Central Atlas Berbers Morocco 08/21/2019 Islam
Fulani Nigeria 08/14/2019 Islam
Sonar India 08/07/2019 Hinduism
Pattani Malay Thailand 08/02/2019 Islam
Thai Thailand 07/26/2019 Buddhism
Baloch Pakistan 07/19/2019 Islam
Alawite Syria 07/12/2019 Islam*
Huasa Cote d'Ivoire 06/28/2019 Islam
Chhetri Nepal 06/21/2019 Hinduism
Beja Sudan 06/14/2019 Islam
Yinou China 06/07/2019 Animism
Kazakh Kazakhstan 05/31/2019 Islam
Hui China 05/24/2019 Islam
Masalit Sudan 05/17/2019 Islam
As always, if you have experience in this country or with this people group, feel free to comment or PM me and I will happily edit it so that we can better pray for these peoples!
Here is a list of definitions in case you wonder what exactly I mean by words like "Unreached
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2020.10.19 19:25 3lijahlee Muriel Tramis The First Black Female Game Designer

The following is a post from my blog that I decided to post here. You can read the post on my website here ( formated better than reddit)
Took me over 6 months of research to find her. This post also contains our full interview. I hope you enjoy the story.
EDIT: Thanks for the gold! Never happened before 🙂

In February of this year, I decided to do a list video that would highlight the contributions made by people of color to the video game industry. The video was meant to go up during black history month. It did not.

Halfway through the list, I realized I only had black men. So, I wanted to include women, and then a thought came to me, “Who was the first black woman to work as a game designer?” I didn’t know the answer, so naturally, I went to Google.

(imagine an image of a google search here)

Yup, I googled “First black female game designer”, and Carol Shaw was the top result, the answer that Google with its sophisticated algorithm decided was the best fit for my query. I entered multiple variations of my search, even trying advanced searches, and yet, Google had no answers.

To be clear, Carol Shaw is an amazing woman and certainly deserves all of her accolades – and then some – for being the first female game designer. However, she wasn’t the person I was looking for.

I was shocked when Google had no answers, and furthermore, I didn’t even see anyone asking the question. How could this be? It seemed like such a simple question, but then, I had to take a good long look at myself, too. I pride myself on my knowledge of gaming facts and information, but I didn’t even know the answer and hadn’t thought to ask until now.

After Google let me down, it was time for some good old-fashioned research. I grabbed a few books, one of which was Women in Gaming: 100 Professionals of Play by Meagan Marie, which is a series of interviews with and facts about women in the gaming industry. My fiancée went through and highlighted all the women of color in the book, while I went online to find a lead. I started my search by looking into companies from the 1970s through to the 1990s. I went through the company photos from the various video game studios, looking for black female employees. I went through page after page of lists of employees who worked at these companies, checking nearly every name and cross-referencing them with a list of known black IT graduates. After that, I looked up each name to see who they were and what they did. Originally, I was only going to look up feminine sounding names, but a combination of FOMO and paranoia had me look up every name, just to be thorough.

A couple of months later, and the only lead I had, was from the book I mentioned earlier, Women in Gaming. My lead was a woman by the name of Muriel Tramis. The beginning of her career was the earliest date I could find of any other black woman working as a game designer anywhere. I was fairly confident she was the first at this point, but I needed to be sure. My worst fear was overlooking someone.

I decided I needed help. I got in contact with Ed Smith, one of the first black men to work on a gaming console, by reaching out to Benj Edwards who wrote a magnificent article about Smith and the Imagination Machine.

Ed and I exchanged emails, and I asked him if he was aware of any black women working in the industry as a developer or designer at the same time he was. Unfortunately, he did not, so my next step was to reach out to to others who specialize in gaming and technology.

At this point, I have to take a moment to thank Tanya Depass the founder and director of I Need Diverse Games, an organization that supports projects, research, and creative works by marginalized people. I was starting to get some pretty heavy impostor syndrome and didn’t think I was qualified enough to handle this story. Her advice really helped me through that.

Tanya also suggested that maybe there was already information on the first black female game designer, and it may just be behind some university’s paywall. So, I reached out to several professors who specialize in either gaming, communications, or technological history. Dr. Kishonna Gray was particularly helpful. She went above and beyond, quickly responding to my emails and even asked people she knew that work in the gaming industry for help. Mind you, this happened right after the tragic murder of George Floyd, and I, like the rest of the black community, was physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted. So, I can’t put into words how appreciative I was of her hard work.

After my extensive research and reaching out, all the information I gathered pointed back to Muriel Tramis, so much so that I am now confident in saying she was the first ever black woman to work as a game designer. I started to read more into her life and various projects, and I have been impressed beyond belief.

You can watch us summarize Muriel’s career with excerpts from this interview in this micro-documentary.
Muriel’s story began on the Caribbean island of Martinique. From a young age, she loved board games and eventually became interested in games that were based around strategy, like chess, go and Monopoly. It didn’t take her long, however, to realize that she’d rather be the one making the games than the one only playing them. So, she started creating her own games, such as authoring crossword puzzles and eventually, moving on to more elaborate things, like planning murder mystery parties for her friends.

After graduating high school, Muriel left Martinique to pursue a degree in engineering at the Higher Institute of Electronics in Paris (Institut Supérieur d’Electronique de Paris). She then landed her first job out of school working for Aerospatiale, an aerospace company where she was responsible for optimizing maintenance procedures for UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles). However, Muriel eventually realized this wasn’t what she wanted to do.

After 5 years with the company, Muriel left Aerospatiale, took some time to study marketing, and then got a job at Coktel Vision, a video game development company that, at the time, was just starting up. Quickly recognizing her talents, Coktel Vision had Muriel start to design what would become her first video game: Méwilo.

To help write the story, Muriel collaborated with French writer and longtime friend, Patrick Chamoiseau. For the story, they looked to home and decided to base the game off “The Legend of Gold Jars”, an old Martinican legend. In the legend, it is believed that during the slave revolts, the masters of the plantations would hide their gold by telling a slave to place it in a jar and bury it. Once the holes were dug, the slaves were killed and buried with the gold, so their restless spirits would keep outsiders away.

The game is a first-person point-and-click adventure that has you play an expert in the paranormal on May 7, 1902, a day before the eruption of Mount Pelée, which was a real-life occurrence that killed approximately 29,000 people, making it the deadliest eruption of the 20th century. In Méwilo, the goal is to learn about the history of the island by investigating different areas, solving puzzles, and interrogating people who live there.

The following year, in 1988, the same year Super Mario Bros. 2 was released, Muriel released her second game, Freedom, a game about slaves fighting their masters.

Phil Salvador of The Obscurity said it best when he states:

“Freedom still shocks today, and that it debuted the same year as Super Mario Bros. 2 is almost unfathomable in the traditional framework of game history and culture.”

This isn’t to say that Mario and the other games of the time weren’t amazing and groundbreaking. To the contrary, those games were (and still are) excellent and deserve their praise, but an argument could be made that because they are so popular, they helped form the idea that video games were only for children and the child at heart. Even today, we still debate if video games are a medium that can handle serious topics appropriately.

Though recently games like the Last of Us, Tell Me Why, and a handful of others are just now in the last decade bringing heavier and more serious themes and topics to video games, Muriel in a way foreshadowed that just because it is a video game, doesn’t mean its story can’t be taken seriously and handled appropriately in a mature manner.

Muriel worked at Coktel Vision for many years, arguably helping to develop the company’s most recognizable games. But in 2003, after over a million copies of the games she helped work on had sold, Muriel left Coktel Vision and started her own company, Avantilles, a company that develops and publishes 3D and virtual reality products.

Though the video game industry still remains quite non-inclusive to women and people of color, Muriel counts herself lucky to have worked at a company that was as diverse and supportive as Coktel Vision.

Despite not facing discrimination as a woman or person of color in the early days of her professional career at Coktel Vision, Muriel realizes that women are still underrepresented in the fields of technology and science. So, for years, Muriel has traveled to advocate for and speak to young women to encourage them to consider careers in science and technology, stating that:

“Young girls are still too often pushed into so-called female jobs in art, psychology, or communications, while young boys are pushed into hard sciences. And We should work on girls’ ambition from an early age”

She has also worked to put a focus on prominent people of color in these fields to help show young people positive role models in order to inspire them by allowing them to see someone who looks like them do something that they want to do, making it a little less scary and little more encouraging because they have a reference for success.

Though many of us in the States may not have heard of Muriel’s groundbreaking hard work, her dedication to video games and activism have not gone unnoticed. In 2018, Muriel was appointed a Knight of the Legion of Honor (Légion d’honneur) in France, which, if that sounds impressive, that’s because it is. It is the highest order of merit for civilians and military in France. This made Muriel the first female and second ever game designer to receive the merit.

We’ve put together a micro-documentary if you’d like to learn a bit more about Muriel. Also, at the end of the interview in this article, there are links to other resources, so you can find out more about Muriel and her incredible story.

What follows is an interview between Muriel and I that was conducted in August of 2020 in which we go over everything from the upcoming game release she’s most anticipating to her take on the Black Lives Matter movement.

An Interview With an Icon
Editor’s Note: Muriel Tramis’s answers have been transcribed and translated from French to English, and we have lightly edited them for clarity and grammar.

The Icon: When did you first start to suspect you were the first black female game developer?

Muriel Tramis: Well, it was very late, when I was given the opportunity to be a Knight of the Legion of Honor in 2018.

So, I will explain what the Legion of Honor is. It is a medal of honor in France, so I’m not sure if it would be known outside of France. The medal is given to decorate people who are considered most deserving. Initially, it was mostly for people in the military and then it became for civilians, too.

So, in my case, the Ministry of Culture [Ministère de la Culture] nominated me. In fact, I received nominations from all the existing French Ministries that submit nominations to those they find deserving, and then the Chancellery chooses the candidates. So, my nomination coming from the Ministry of Culture means that my video games have been considered a ‘cultural tool’.

So, there it is, I found out I was the first woman – a pioneer so to speak – in the video game industry to design video games [in France] since my career started in 1987.

TI: Have you ever spoken about being the first black female game developer?

MT: Only the American media tells me about my Afro-descendant origins probably because the concerns of the community are widely accepted in the US; whereas in France, there is more reluctance to talk about this aspect. The French media has mentioned my Martinican origins, but they have mostly focused on my gender because the digital industry is predominantly male.

TI: What would it mean to you if when someone googled, “first black female game developer” that your name and picture appeared?

MT: You can speak in the present tense, since it still happens if you google it in French. I’m very proud of my family, my friends, my engineering school and my country of origin (Martinique).

If it appeared in English as well, I would be very proud for all the sisters (and brothers) in the world.

TI: Initially, what got you interested in technology and video games?

MT: First, I have a degree in basic computer engineering. I really started my career in armaments [i.e. military weapons and equipment]. Back then, I was programming military drones, which now drones are really trendy. And voilà, I started in the military field. After 5 years doing this work, it became far too much. I started to feel conflicted.

I wanted to change my field of work. I wasn’t sure where to go, but I was sure that I didn’t want to spend my entire professional career in that field. So, at that time, I took training in marketing to develop a complimentary skill because I didn’t want to be stuck solely in tech. After completing this kind of training [in marketing], you always have to do an internship to apply your new skills.

The school wanted the students to find an internship for themselves that would hire them afterwards. When looking for this, I was already starting to play video games. While doing my research, I came across a game development company that was starting to market educational games. Then someone told me about this small start-up company called Coktel Vision.

So, at the beginning I did a marking ad for them. This allowed me to see how they worked, to meet the different employees, and I liked it. At the end of my internship, I proposed to program a video game about the history of the West Indies [les Antilles].

TI: Do you have or have you had any mentors that you look up to?

MT: Yeah, I do have mentors, not really mentors, but people I admire from history. Also, I’m still sensitive to black people’s fight for civil rights. For example, like many black Americans, I admire Martin Luther King, Jr. and also Mandela from South Africa who both fought for black people’s rights. There are more people I admire in France, such as Christiane Taubira, though I do not believe she is well known in the United States.

TI: This is a bit of a personal question. You said that you didn’t want to program the drones anymore. What made you conflicted about whether or not you wanted to do that? Was it that you had a moral objection to it, or was it something you were no longer interested in?

MT: Well, it was both actually. It was already a moral question because I was around arms dealers whose mentality, I didn’t like at all. Secondly, I did not find this field of work creative enough, though really I hadn’t realized it at the time. It was afterwards, in retrospect, that I realized I wanted to create my own material and not program things I was forced to do.

TI: You once said you were spared from dealing with any real sexism or racism in your career in video games. Does that still hold true today? If so, how have you avoided such issues?

MT: Ever since I finished my studies, I have only worked in a male dominated universe. So anyway, I’m used to being an exception. I was confronted, not with sexism, but with the astonishment of the men around me that I was a minority and I had this label of ‘engineer’, so I asserted myself through my skills. Thus, I didn’t have to deal with sexism or racism at least during all that time working in weaponry.

After that, I spent 15 years with the company that produced educational games [i.e. Coktel Vision]. I stayed with that company for 15 years because the atmosphere was cosmopolitan, meaning that all the employees came from different backgrounds. I think this was mostly because the CEO of that studio was very open-minded, so there were people of all colors.

TI: I see, so it just goes to show why it’s so important that companies do create a safe space for people of different ethnicities and different genders.

TI: Many of your games deal with sexuality and slavery. Because the industry was in its infancy when you started, did you feel the need to pioneer these issues as a way of setting the industry on the right course as a place for telling adult-themed stories that celebrated diversity?

MT: I would say that video games are similar to cinema, like film d’auteur. I wanted to propose my own scenarios, like a movie director who desires a subject to be about something pleasing and motivating to them and makes them want to put it into cinematic pictures. Well, it’s a bit the same in video games with the themes that I wanted to explore, like sexuality or slavery. These are difficult subjects on which I wanted to experiment, and I had a way, a medium that allowed me to express myself.

TI: Not only is there a push for diversity in the video game industry, there is also a push for it in Hollywood. If cinema fully embraced diversity, do you think that would also help the video game industry?

MT: Yes, I think that would help, given that video games are a very close medium to cinema. Moreover, video games use the same language as cinema in narration, in the staging, in everything, even actors. One can find film actors in video games, like Keanu Reeves from The Matrix is going to be in an upcoming game. So, yes, the two industries are very, very interrelated.

TI: You talked about the importance of the company that you worked for, that they were diverse, and they were open-minded. Today, there is underrepresentation of people of color and women in video games, both as characters in the games and as employees in the actual industry. As someone who has fought for diversity most of her life, what steps do you think the industry can take to help improve its issues with diversity?

MT: I think it’s comparable to cinema. I find it is a comparable medium. Even today, there are not many black people in films or on the other side of the camera directing them. And, I think it’s the same in video games.

A change is coming. The actions we can take are those I have been taking from the beginning, like actively joining associations that will raise awareness among young people. For example, I am in an association here in France called “Women in Games” that works to promote careers in the video game industry to young women, though it is not specifically about cultural diversity.

Also [here in France], there is help from the CNC [Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée] for information and awareness about video games. It is an organization that is under the Ministry of Culture and helps both the cinema and video game industries. The CNC has a special diversity branch.

Voilà, these things should encourage authors to create video games and films concerning diversity with more diversity in the cast and the scripts.

TI: Do you think games like Grand Theft Auto and Mafia, have helped or hurt diversity in gaming?

MT: I think they have not helped. I think it is the contrary because they only show people as fighting, violent, and delinquent, such as all the theft and robbery. It was similar in cinema and rap music, showing theft, robbery, and violence. It’s like the scripts or scenarios could have been made by a Neo-Nazi. For sports, it’s not as bad. Sports are more uplifting of diversity.

TI: Why do you think it’s important to have more women in the video game and tech industry?

MT: Well, this is going to be a feminist activist response. Women are 50% of the population playing video games, so I think they should be 50% of the video game designers.

TI: I love that answer, and you know what? You don’t have to warn us about being a feminist. We love feminism here at The Icon so be very feminist.

TI: You mentioned before that you loved playing board games and that they inspired you to get into video game design. Do you still play board games? If so, do they still continue to inspire you today?

MT: Yes, I have continued to play letter games, not so much on paper anymore but often on TV, like the show Slam, not sure if you’d be familiar. I also love games on knowledge and quizzing, for example, Question pour un Champion, I’m not ashamed. [laughs] So, these are more game shows rather than board games.

Regarding inspiration, yes, I still get it from games. For example, I was asked to concoct a scenario for a game specifically for learning history, and I was interested in board games that revolved around that same question. I played around with them a bit to find some inspiration. So, yes, it happens that I actually go back and forth between board games and video games.

TI: Do you still play video games today?

MT: Very little, but I do watch what is coming out. However, I don’t like every style. I don’t watch fighting games, “shoot ’em up”, or platform games, etc. I tend to watch adventure games.

TI: Are there any recent video games that have come out that you find interesting, or are you looking forward to any games coming out?

MT: The Walking Dead. [laughs]

TI: How do you feel about the current Black Lives Matter movement?

MT: I was very moved and impressed. I was disgusted by what happened [to George Floyd], to see a murder in action. I was feeling like everyone else in the world, and I think it [the movement] is a reaction of good sense. Even in Martinique, there was action to destroy the statues of racist figures. I don’t know if destroying the statues is the right way to go. I think it would be better to put the statues in a sort-of museum of ‘bad actions’ or something like that, maybe build statues of ‘positive’ figures next to them.

TI: What’s next for you, Muriel? Are there any new projects that you are working on?

MT: I am working on a project, another historical video game. I will again return to the themes of my first two video games concerning the history of the West Indies [les Antilles]… To elaborate a bit, for now, it is called ‘Remembrance’. It is based on memory, on recollection, and you will explore Creole society when Martinique was still a French colony. You will be able to compare two time periods, before and after the abolition of slavery, through a saga over several familial generations, specifically of three characters who have known slavery and their descendants born after its abolition. And the player will understand the origin of “color prejudice”, which is the cause of the discrimination we still suffer today.

TI: Apart from being the first black woman to develop a video game you are also the first female game designer to be appointed a Knight of the Legion of Honor. To say you are a trailblazer, I feel would be an understatement. What lessons and ideas would you hope that a young woman could take away from your life and experiences?

MT: There are two mottos I would like to share: “Don’t dream your life but live your dream” and “She didn’t know it was impossible, so she did it”.

Throughout my career, I have followed my desires and passions to the point of having created my profession. When I started, the digital industry was in its infancy, and the game designer profession didn’t exist. Today, this discipline is taught in schools. There are still a lot of jobs to be invented. Go get ’em, girls!

And one last piece of advice, also valid for boys: increase your scientific culture, develop your critical mind and never forget literature and history.

TI: What advice would you give people of color who are interested in entering the tech and video game industries?

MT: I would not tell them to do things according to the color of their skin, but rather to integrate into the environment with their energy, their ambition.

Muriel’s story is an exceptional one, and it really is far from over. It’s time that we recognize her as being the first black woman to work as a game developer. In a time when very few women or people of color were even working in gaming, she was both. So, I hope you take it upon yourself to learn and share more about her.

It was honestly a joy and an honor to have gotten a chance to interview Muriel. She is truly an inspiration, and I hope her story and interview motivates those reading it to push forward with their passions, whatever they may be. The tech and video game industries are certainly big enough for all of us, and, what’s more, varying perspectives and experiences are needed today to help keep those industries evolving.

It’s diversity that makes our world and those industries amazing.

I spoke earlier about how seeing someone who looks like you, doing something you want to do can inspire you. Be inspired and in turn be someone else’s inspiration. The world will thank you for it.
submitted by 3lijahlee to truegaming [link] [comments]

2020.10.18 23:28 MudassirMEMD Blasphemy punishment in Islam: Sharia, Hadith, and Quran verses

Hanafi – views blasphemy as synonymous with apostasy, and therefore, accepts the repentance of apostates. Those who refuse to repent, their punishment is death if the blasphemer is a Muslim man, and if the blasphemer is a woman, she must be imprisoned with coercion (beating) till she repents and returns to Islam.] Imam Abu Hanifa opined that a non-Muslim can not be killed for committing blasphemy. Other sources say his punishment must be a tazir (discretionary, can be death, arrest, caning, etc.).
Maliki – view blasphemy as an offense distinct from, and more severe than apostasy. Death is mandatory in cases of blasphemy for Muslim men, and repentance is not accepted. For women, death is not the punishment suggested, but she is arrested and punished till she repents and returns to Islam or dies in custody. A non-Muslim who commits blasphemy against Islam must be punished; however, the blasphemer can escape punishment by converting and becoming a devout Muslim.
Hanbali – view blasphemy as an offense distinct from, and more severe than apostasy. Death is mandatory in cases of blasphemy, for both Muslim men and women, and repentance is not accepted.
Shafi’i – recognizes blasphemy as a separate offense from apostasy, but accepts the repentance of blasphemers. If the blasphemer does not repent, the punishment is death.
Ja'fari (Shia) – views blasphemy against Islam, the Prophet, or any of the Imams, to be punishable with death, if the blasphemer is a Muslim. In case the blasphemer is a non-Muslim, he is given a chance to convert to Islam, or else killed

Hadith and Quran sources:

The following are 3 Hadiths where Muhammad gave the OK to kill people who "maligned" him, "disparaged" him, and hurt him with evil statements about his family.
1) Sahih Muslim Book 32, 146 -
TLDR: Muhammad ordered the murder of someone who had said bad things about him, and he even told one of the target's former friends that it was OK to tell lies in order to do it.
It has been narrated on the authority of Jabir that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: Who will kill Ka'b b. Ashraf? He has maligned Allah, the Exalted, and His Messenger. Muhammad b. Maslama said: Messenger of Allah, do you wish that I should kill him? He said: Yes. He said: Permit me to talk (to him in the way I deem fit). He said: Talk (as you like). So, Muhammad b. Maslama came to Ka'b and talked to him, referred to the old friendship between them and said: This man (i. e. the Holy Prophet) has made up his mind to collect charity (from us) and this has put us to a great hardship. When be heard this, Ka'b said: By God, you will be put to more trouble by him. Muhammad b. Maslama said: No doubt, now we have become his followers and we do not like to forsake him until we see what turn his affairs will take. I want that you should give me a loan. He said: What will you mortgage? He said: What do you want? He said: Pledge me your women. He said: You are the most handsome of the Arabs; should we pledge our women to you? He said: Pledge me your children. He said: The son of one of us may abuse us saying that he was pledged for two wasqs of dates, but we can pledge you (cur) weapons. He said: All right. Then Muhammad b. Maslama promised that he would come to him with Harith, Abu 'Abs b. Jabr and Abbad b. Bishr. So they came and called upon him at night. He came down to them. Sufyan says that all the narrators except 'Amr have stated that his wife said: I hear a voice which sounds like the voice of murder. He said: It is only Muhammad b. Maslama and his foster-brother, Abu Na'ila. When a gentleman is called at night even it to be pierced with a spear, he should respond to the call. Muhammad said to his companions: As he comes down, I will extend my hands towards his head and when I hold him fast, you should do your job. So when he came down and he was holding his cloak under his arm, they said to him: We sense from you a very fine smell. He said: Yes, I have with me a mistress who is the most scented of the women of Arabia. He said: Allow me to smell (the scent on your head). He said: Yes, you may smell. So he caught it and smelt. Then he said: Allow me to do so (once again). He then held his head fast and said to his companions: Do your job. And they killed him.
See also:
2) Sahih Bukhari Book 64, #185 -
TLDR: Muhammad asks Muslims to "relieve" him of a man who said "evil statements" about his family.
…So, on that day, Allah's Apostle got up on the pulpit and complained about 'Abdullah bin Ubai (bin Salul) before his companions, saying, 'O you Muslims! Who will relieve me from that man who has hurt me with his evil statement about my family? By Allah, I know nothing except good about my family and they have blamed a man about whom I know nothing except good and he used never to enter my home except with me.' Sad bin Mu'adh the brother of Banu 'Abd Al-Ashhal got up and said, 'O Allah's Apostle! I will relieve you from him; if he is from the tribe of Al-Aus, then I will chop his head off, and if he is from our brothers, i.e. Al-Khazraj, then order us, and we will fulfill your order.' …
Doesn't this sort of hadith encourage Muslims to defend Muhammad's honor at all costs?
3) Sunan Abu-Dawud Book 40 #11 -
TLDR: Muhammad said it was OK when a man killed his pregnant slave wife for slandering Muhammad.
Narrated Abdullah Ibn Abbas: A blind man had a slave-mother who used to abuse the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) and disparage him. He forbade her but she did not stop. He rebuked her but she did not give up her habit. One night she began to slander the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) and abuse him. So he took a dagger, placed it on her belly, pressed it, and killed her. A child who came between her legs was smeared with the blood that was there. When the morning came, the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) was informed about it. He assembled the people and said: I adjure by Allah the man who has done this action and I adjure him by my right to him that he should stand up. Jumping over the necks of the people and trembling the man stood up. He sat before the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) and said: Apostle of Allah! I am her master; she used to abuse you and disparage you. I forbade her, but she did not stop, and I rebuked her, but she did not abandon her habit. I have two sons like pearls from her, and she was my companion. Last night she began to abuse and disparage you. So I took a dagger, put it on her belly and pressed it till I killed her. Thereupon the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: Oh be witness, no retaliation is payable for her blood.
Quran 33:57-61:
Those who annoy Allah and His Messenger - Allah has cursed them in this World and in the Hereafter, and has prepared for them a humiliating Punishment.
And those who annoy believing men and women undeservedly, bear (on themselves) a calumny and a glaring sin.
O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women, that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when abroad): that is most convenient, that they should be known (as such) and not molested. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
Truly, if the Hypocrites, and those in whose hearts is a disease, and those who stir up sedition in the City, desist not, We shall certainly stir thee up against them: Then will they not be able to stay in it as thy neighbours for any length of time:
They shall have a curse on them: whenever they are found, they shall be seized and slain (without mercy).
What exactly does it mean when it says that Allah "curses them in this world"? Some Muslim scholars have taken this to justify punishments of blasphemers.
Quran 5:33
Muslim scholars have also used verse 5:33 to justify the punishment of blasphemers:
The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter; Except for those who repent before they fall into your power: in that case, know that Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful
Note: These are the Yusuf Ali translations (possibly most popular translation in the world). For other translations you can go to: and click the other translations on the top left.
submitted by MudassirMEMD to exmuslim [link] [comments]

2020.10.18 00:19 AvaAelius Zurin Arctus or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bot

The Rules

In a recent thread, there's been a lot of discussion about what exactly happened with Tiber Septim and the Numidium. I hope to make that clearer here, with one stipulation to appease people who are much too annoyed by Michael Kirkbride to consider whether or not what he says is in line with the tone, themes, and mechanics of the rest of the series. It, as such, is that I can't use any unofficial sources, that is to say no sources from anywhere but Elder Scrolls games and stories put out by Bethesda or Zenimax. To be clear, I think this is generally not a great thing to do, but I'm also not interested in continuing the years-long arguments over what canon is. So for the sake of simplicity, I'm using a more conservative limit.
That said, I think it's important to give a general understanding of what the Numidium is, what it does, why it was made, and how it had been used prior to its acquisition by Tiber Septim.

A Mushroom Cloud and a Perchance Acorn

The Mundus is, to some degree, made constant by the presence of metaphysical constructs called Towers. While much has been written about them outside official sources, their existence and the existence of their power sources(Stones) have been confirmed officially. In Aurbic Enigma 4, we're given a pretty succinct explanation of how they work. Direnni Tower established the rules for all the Mundus and its Earthbones, and the other Towers were constructed to make more stories with rules building on those set by Direnni. We're also told about an artifact, the Staff of Towers, made to resemble the rules of the Towers in one object.
Before we delve further into the Staff, I think it's important to consider first its creator, King Anumaril. According to The Whithering of Delodiil, Anumaril was the lord of the city Abargalas and pledged to Molag Bal. It was under him that a siege was to be undertaken against a rival city, Delodiil, which was pledged to Meridia. Anumaril was insulted by the lack of interest the people of Delodiil had in his temple to Molag Bal, so he went to war with Delodiil. He failed, and Abargalas was destroyed.
As worshiping Molag Bal might suggest, Anumaril and Abargalas as a whole gained prominence through domination. Renowned mercenaries populated the city. But domination seeped further into the cultural ethos of the place. Or at least, further into the heart of its lord. Anumaril was a master architect. However, it was even present in his creations, including the Staff of Towers. The Staff was split into segments which bore the stories of the Towers they mimicked, though strangely, there was one fragment that mimicked a Tower that hadn't yet been made. A brass segment was among the other pieces of the staff, for the brass Numidium who was yet to be.
Though, it's not necessarily clear that Anumaril knew about Numidium. Instead, I think it's more likely that Anumaril's combined knowledge of architecture and will to dominate led him to the same place the Dwemer would someday reach. The Aurbic Enigma is useful again here, which I will leave to its own words:
For Anumaril had hoped to convert Green-Sap into White-Gold, and thereby make the Heartlanders' realm anew. However, Anumaril did not know, and was not able to know, why his plan went awry. You see, Ayleid magic is about Will, and Shall, and Must—but under Green-Sap, all is Perchance.
Anumaril was forced to flee with many other Ayleid after Alessia's revolution, and Anumaril trusted other Ayelid with fragments of the Staff of Towers. They took them to the corners of Tamriel. Though his, the White-Gold fragment, was taken with him to Valenwood, where he chose to flee. His goal, as stated in the Enigma, was to force reality to grant him his homeland again, how he wanted it. Where he was at the top. To transcend to a point where no one could deny his will. But the stories were incompatible, and so he sat, arranging his bones into the world he wanted, until the Second Era.
During the Interregnum, his heart was disturbed, and almost used to subjugate minds of the people of Valenwood. These events on their own aren't massively important here, though it shows what the core of Anumaril's spirit was, and why he would make the Staff of Towers to begin with. The Staff would later come into the possession of the Psijics, to keep its power of domination from being used.
Regardless, Anumaril's will endured in others, inspired by the laws dictated by the Towers. And, like Anumaril, some of them realized that to enforce one's will on another is to deny them their own. That is where Numidium was born.

I am become NM, the Denier of World

The Dwemer, delving deep into Red Mountain, found the spot where Lorkhan's Heart had been sunk at Convention. Sacrilegious as their culture was, they began work on utilizing the Heart of the world as a source of power. Faith in what could be wasn't the style in their deep halls. Reason, separating what was and what wasn't to achieve power, was the consensus domain of the Dwemer scholars. And the Heart was powerful. But the Dwemer, at least on the surface, were not.
The Nords, at this time, had established their First Empire, spanning from High Rock to Morrowind(but not Vvardenfell). Near the end of the First Empire were the days when the Heart project were coming to fruition: the Numidium was created. There are few then who can speak for what things were like for the Dwemer whose words can reach us, though among them is Yagrum Bagarn. Bagarn is a corprus-infected Dwemer who only survived the mysterious fate of his culture through not being present in the Mundus when that fate manifest. He was a master crafter under the architect of the Numidium, High Priest and Magecrafter Kagrenac, and he was involved in the creation of Numidium. On Kagrenac, he has this to say:
I could not match the genius of Lord Kagrenac, but what he could envision, I and my colleagues could build. All of that is gone forever. I still retain my cunning, but my hands and eyes fail me, and my memories have long faded. My only consolation is each day to mock the gods who destroyed my race, and condemned me to this bleak existence.

Kagrenac and his tonal architects, among them Bthuand Mzahnch, believed they could improve the Dwemer race. Others argued that the attempt would be too great a risk. The war with Nerevar and the Dunmer may have led Kagrenac to carry out his experiments prematurely. Although this book argues that nothing disastrous could result, the disappearance of my race argues otherwise.

Kagrenac recorded every step in his manufacture and testing of enchanted items. His journals will record any modifications or enhancements made to his original designs.

Kagrenac carefully planned all his projects in advance. His planbook will have all his original designs. I don't know where the planbook might be.

Lord Kagrenac, the foremost arcane philosopher and magecrafter of my era, devised tools to shape mythopoeic forces, intending to transcend the limits of Dwemer mortality. However, in reviewing his formulae, some logicians argued that side effects were unpredictable, and errors might be catastrophic. I think Kagrenac might have succeeded in granting our race eternal life, with unforeseen consequences -- such as wholesale displacement to an Outer Realm. Or he may have erred, and utterly destroyed our race
This paints an image of a person not unlike that long gone Ayleid king. Someone brilliant enough to replicate the stories that govern the world, down to meticulous detail. Someone who wanted to transcend the limits placed on his people. A thinker few could ever have rivaled in his day, with a will to enact their visions for the world on it. And yet, a failure. Bagarn's hope that he succeeded is betrayed by his grief-filled curses to the gods he and his comrades abandoned.
While it's not too uncommon to hear about Numidium being a Tower, I think it's also important not to neglect its original location. Red Mountain is, itself, another Tower. I doubt this was lost on Kagrenac, and though he didn't have something that could manifest the effects of any Tower at a smaller scale, he did have two proper Towers to himself. One Tower to enforce the story of Resdayn, that the Nords hadn't yet taken from them. And one Tower to deny the Nords, or the Orcs who fought with them, or even the Chimer that helped to defend Resdayn any hold over the fate of the Dwemer. There could be no god to stand in their way, for Kagrenac and the master crafters had made their own god, to deny the power of any and all who could oppose them.
... or at least, that's the common belief. Some might say, perhaps out of spite or maybe out of resistance, that Walk-Brass is not the ultimate denial. Kagrenac's desperate attempt to utilize the Tower to save his people at the eleventh hour, which then seems to have backfired, may not be a direct consequence of the power of Numidium.
I have, in previous discussions, seen people who would like to assume that Numidium does not deny simply because Michael Kirkbride says it does. They say they would like an official source that directly says this is what Numidium does, and when presented with examples that don't directly state this function of the Numidium but do demonstrate it, they deny the source is being interpreted correctly. They are, to put it simply, wrong. There is nothing to help them build their case, and they have nothing but stubborn denial towards some unofficial writings they dislike. So they deny that there could be anything in-line with those writings in canon. I will, however, show that they're wrong.

Kagrenac's Monsters

Back before that Red Day, for centuries, Tamriel had entered an extremely unstable period. Southward, particularly in Cyrodiil, a singularity of thought had gained prominence in the Alessian Empire and was enforced brutally. This singularity of thought was embodied in the beliefs of the monotheist Alessian Order. While many of their individual doctrines are unknown to us, we do know that there was thorough anti-mer sentiment to them. A particularly highly ranked faction within the Order, the Marukhati Selective, became particularly concerned with this. Their Exclusionary Mandates, co-equal principles that governed their order, describe opposition to their ideals as Aldmeri. And to expunge the meri influence from their one god, Akatosh, who revealed himself to Alessia, they broke the bindings on him.
This was the start of the Middle Dawn. The thought of the Selective was that Akatosh had been sullied and corrupted into Auri-el, a blight on the world made manifest in every elf. Their chants make clear their thought on what is to be done about elves.
The Archimonk's Dream
To sleep, to dream, of Tamriel
Unsullied by Anui-El.
Man-ape, tell us.
Maruhk, guide us.
What child of Man could fail to be
In bliss if Nirn were Elven-free?
Man-ape, tell us.
Maruhk, guide us.
We willing march to heed your call,
Devoted, pious, one and all.
Man-ape, tell us.
Maruhk, guide us.
Your mandates we embrace.
And in another, they unify around their sacred hatred.
My very inner organs swell
When I am called upon to tell
Of glory in expunging Taint
In honor of our blessed Saint
Alessia, all praise to her
Who freed Men from the hated Mer.
Thrice-bless'd are those who emulate
Her sanctified, uplifting hate.
This, this, never that.
This, this, never that.
To deny mer the chance to ever, in their minds, taint the world, the Selective began a Dragon Break. An Arch-Prelate of the Selective justifies doing so in his Vindication for the Dragon Break. Using the Staff of Towers, they began a one thousand eight year long Dragon Break, or one whose boundaries are at least that far apart. But why would they use such an object to cause a Dragon Break?
Each Tower corresponds with the story of the area around it, and Direnni the story of the world. With the brass segment, they could push at each story. This, this, never that. Men are freed from the hated mer. Woven into the story of the world, that there would be bliss if men were free. This, this, never that. The Dragon Akatosh, pure and untainted, free to run as he will until all time is expunged of the elves.
The Numidium was activated just before this period. Given the manifold stories about what occurred in that Red Moment, I think it's clear that the Numidium caused another Dragon Break, which may have influenced the one caused by the Selective. The wish of the Dwemer to deny their own mortality and their subsequent disappearance would be a strong validation to the Selective that all mer could be denied a place in the creation of Shezzar. Eventually, the Brass Tower was silent, and its fragment scattered from the complete Staff along with the others. The Order fell, and the Dwemer were gone. Both denied a place in the world they tried to make, and denied the power they sought over it, just as Anumaril had been so long before.

To Put an End to War

The First Era ended, in blood and death. And in blood and death the Second Era was born. The Reman Dynasty, and then the Akaviri Potentate, had both ended and rid Tamriel of the Second Empire. But many, especially those in the West of Tamriel, thought to install a new Empire, and brought the continent to its knees in the conflict. As ever, the people of Tamriel fought one another instead of unifying to oppose the invasion of Molag Bal, who tried to force the Mundus into himself. But these and other trials were eventually ended. A new star was rising.
Regardless of his history and historicity, someone who eventually became Tiber Septim swept through the continent and subdued most of its peoples under him in rapid succession. But eventually, his sights set on Morrowind, which at the time was experiencing some political issues that would be easy for the Emperor to turn in his favor. But instead of doing so, the Tribunal signs the Treaty of the Armistice, admitting Morrowind as a province of the empire with self-governance in exchange for the Numidium.
When talking about Tiber, it can be difficult to figure out what is fact and what is legend. While I have some reservations about The Arcturian Heresy, I think there are some important things it touches on that are worth looking at. From the Heresy:
The Underking continues to press on Tiber Septim the need to conquer Morrowind. The Emperor is not sure that it is a wise idea. ...The Underking wants his vengeance, and reminds Tiber Septim that he is fated to conquer the Elves, even the Tribunal. Arctus advises against the move but Septim covets the Ebony in Morrowind, as he sorely needs a source of capital to rebuild Cyrodiil after 400 years of war. The Underking tells him that, with the Tribunal dead, Septim might steal the Tribunal's power and use it against the High Elves (certainly the oldest enemies of Lorkhan, predating even the Tribunal). Summerset Isle is the farthest thing from Tiber Septim's mind. Even then, he was planning to send Zurin Arctus to the King of Alinor to make peace. The Ebony need wins out in the end. The Empire invades Morrowind, and the Tribunal give up. When certain conditions of the Armistice include not only a policy of noninterference with the Tribunal, but also, in the Underking's eyes, a validation of their religious beliefs, Ysmir is furious.

Pieces of Numidium trickle in, though. Tiber Septim, always fascinated by the Dwarves, has Zurin Arctus research this grand artifact. In doing so, Arctus stumbles upon some of the stories of the war at Red Mountain. He discovers the reason the Numidium was made and some of it's [sic] potential. Most importantly, he learns the Underking's place in the War.

While Zurin Arctus is raving about his discovery, the prophecy finally becomes clear to Tiber Septim. This Numidium is what he needs to conquer the world. It is his destiny to have it. He contacts the Underking and says he was right all along. They should kill the Tribunal, and they need to get together and make a plan.
To summarize, Tiber's interest in the Numidium grows as he discovers more about it, and he supposedly sets it up such that Wulfharth thinks he'll use it as revenge on the Dunmer for Red Mountain. However, I'm not sure that whose soul is used for fueling the Mantella actually matters here, so I won't touch on it.
Zurin Arctus was able to learn about Numidium, and raved about why it exists to Tiber Septim. We don't see anything here about the Staff of Towers, but the brass fragment likely exists for the same mythopoeic reason as the Brass Tower. This is huge for Tiber, as he's in a very similar place to both the Alessian Order and the Dwemer.
First, in the case of the Order, there's a pretty major similarity: Tiber Septim worshiped their god. In The Real Barenziah, we learn that Tiber Septim restored their temple to the One, their version of Akatosh, and was a believer in him. I'm not sure if that necessarily means he bought into all of their perspectives on mer(especially considering his relationship with Barenziah), though the First Edition of the Pocket Guide to the Empire claims that his racism towards Orcs was pretty famous. I doubt that Tiber didn't at least buy into some of their claims, considering he specifically worshiped the One rather than the more cosmopolitan Akatosh who had developed by his time. As for more obvious similarities that are maybe less major, he had a pretty significant, mostly human(at this point) empire. He wanted to expand it, and his hegemony, making the Numidium an appealing prize.
Second, for the Dwemer, Tiber himself as mentioned as having a fascination with them and their craft. Maybe he felt like a kindred spirit? Surrounded by enemies, left only to transcend through his cunning and craft, which even the Greybeards were said to admire, a brilliant strategist... The man might have made a good scholar if he'd been dealt different cards. But he wasn't, and Zurin was the one who got to have fun taking apart and putting back together the big metal man instead. The passion in Zurin's explanation of the purpose and design of the automaton weren't lost on Tiber, even if he didn't have time to enjoy them himself.
So, knowing how the Brass Tower could deny his foes a world in which they would prevail him, and knowing his only foes left were the nearest to the epitome of the people his religious predecessors wanted to see gone from the world, Tiber's goal was clear.

A Weapon in the Arsenal of Righteousness

In Where Were You When the Dragon Broke? , several accounts of the Middle Dawn are provided. However, there's one account mentioning the Dragon Break we'll soon be discussing, as well as one further ahead. This account is given by R'leyt-harhr, a tender of the Mane.
Do you mean, where were the Khajiit when the Dragon Broke? R'leyt tells you where: recording it. 'One thousand eight years,' you've heard it. You think the Cyro-Nordics came up with that all on their own. You humans are better thieves than even Rajhin! While you were fighting wars with phantoms and giving birth to your own fathers, it was the Mane that watched the ja-Kha'jay, because the moons were the only constant, and you didn't have the sugar to see it. We'll give you credit: you broke Alkosh something fierce, and that's not easy. Just don't think you solved what you accomplished by it, or can ever solve it. You did it again with Big Walker, not once, but twice! Once at Rimmen, which we'll never learn to live with. The second time it was in Daggerfall, or was it Sentinel, or was it Wayrest, or was it in all three places at once? Get me, Cyrodiil? When will you wake up and realize what really happened to the Dwarves?
Now, R'leyt-harhr doesn't specifically say that the Numidium was used at Rimmen by Tiber Septim, though there's no other point in what he says where it could be used. Of the three and maybe one more Dragon Breaks we know of, three are mentioned in this passage. So it's pretty clear, at least to me, that when R'leyt-harhr says Rimmen will never learn to live with what happened there involving Numidium, he's referring to what Tiber Septim used it for: the Siege of Alinor. In line with this thriving grief in Elsweyr, the Third Edition of the Pocket Guide to the Empire says this of Summerset:
The conquest and assimilation of Summerset into the Empire is remembered by many a living Altmer with horror only partially diminished by time.
It's unclear exactly what Tiber Septim did with Numidium that would allow him to stage it in Rimmen and attack in Summerset, though conventionally stomping on boats with the big robot is probably out of the question. Numidium is big, but it's not that big. This attack, to me, seems to have been one at a much less physically violent level. Every challenge to the Aldmer was wrapped up in this attack. The Nedic slaves rising, and then trying to unravel the Aldmer from time. The Dwemer throwing off the shackles of the ancestors and trying to steal heaven with a god made in their image. The man who would take the place of misguided Shezzar in the Imperial Pantheon as Champion of Men, and of the Empire he spawned. All aligned with their sights on the Isles.
Certainly, the pride of the people has never recovered.
Proud Altmer, inventors and patrons of the arts, of governance, of architecture, of magic? Or snobs, who look down on everyone else as lesser imitators, who wouldn't know real culture if it bit them on the ass? I think this line from the Pocket Guide, paired with the sentence before it(here also quoted before it) unintentionally touches on what Tiber's attack was and did. Altmeri culture was thoroughly destabilized, almost to the point of nonexistence, by Numidium. But the Altmer hold on for dear life, quietly and proudly refuting the NO that thrums in the Mundus, washing against their shores even into the Third Era. The cling to their achievements, which the Numidium would have ripped away from them completely if they hadn't surrendered to Tiber Septim.
Several cultures in Tamriel have had journaling as an important aspect of daily life. In The Onus of the Oghma, Xarxes as stated as saying:
As ye are true Children of the et'Ada, thou shalt honor us by honoring thy own lives. For in each of you is housed the Divine Spark, and thus the record of thy actions is a sacred duty. Keep, therefore, each and every one of you, an Oghma, an everscriven scroll which shall memorialize thy brief lives. Thus in at least this way shalt thy Spark be Immortal.
The text ends with the rather ominous warning:
So, students, do not groan and complain of the burden, carping and caviling when your parents and teachers ask if you have written today in your journal. Because to do so is a right for which your ancestors paid in blood.
Now, this text is from prior to the Tiber's attack, so the last bit doesn't refer to that directly. But by that point, recording one's life so that it might live on was a common enough thing in Altmer culture that parents and teachers would make sure young people did it. So, when Tiber eventually did attack, the people of the Isles tried to make Tamriel into their Oghma. To make sure everyone would know of their accomplishments, of the fact that they existed and would continue to exist despite the Brass Tower trying to make no place for them, or the gods and principles they believed in, or their (at least, spiritual) resistance to the Empire.
What we see in most of the games from many Altmer then, is a group of people facing a unique challenge in a way that makes them come off as arrogant and snide. Many probably are arrogant and snide. Though the pressures on Altmer that have developed over the course of the Third Era are ones of grave import to their culture: be thoroughly destroyed by imperialism, or be hated even at a cosmic level for your insistence that you are and you have done things. It's the struggles of a people stuck in a Dragon Break, trying to solidify a steady progression of events for themselves while the rest of the world only gets a hint at the horror.

A Tragedy to Never Be Repeated

The rest of the world, however, hadn't ever had to experience Numidium in the same way. Sure, the Khajiit would have to deal with the after effects of it being used there, but even those long lasting effects are nothing compared to what the Altmer probably still have to do to survive. But, as they have before, upstart lords think themselves capable of taming the automaton. And so, the Warp in the West occurs.
Somehow, several kingdoms in the Illiac Bay, Orsinium, and Uriel Septim VII all simultaneously use the Numidium to crush one another, while the Underking takes back the Mantella and Mannimarco uses it to become a god. As has happened before, a Dragon Break occurs. This one is much more localized, and also lasts for much less time. My suspicion is that this is the case because the Numidium probably hasn't been receiving much maintenance since Zurin fixed it up back in the day, and so has deteriorated in a way other Towers don't seem to. As for why or how this occurs, I have no idea, and I don't know that anyone could have an idea right now if we're only allowed to use official sources. Nonetheless, we get to something here that has been fairly elusive up until now: direct confirmation of something being erased as a result of the Numidium breaking the Dragon.
A collection of reports from the Blades called The Warp in the West(hereafter the Reports, so as not to confuse them with the event) describe the clearest scene of the effects of Numidium's usage we've been presented with in the series. 10 Frostfall 3E 417 seems to have been erased in the Illiac Bay. In the style of King Crimson from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Vento Aureo, only the effects of that day remain. The mutually exclusive, yet simultaneous events that would have happened on that day disappeared, leaving only their aftermath. A Blades agent remarks on it.
There had been an attack, but no one had seen it, only the invasion that followed it. The soldiers of Queen Akorithi of Sentinel refused to be interviewed about how they had accomplished this sneak attack, but I came to learn that the whole of northern Hammerfell now belonged to them. Even stranger, I discovered that my walk from sunrise to sundown had not taken me not one day, but two. It was now the 11th day of the month, not the 10th. I had lost a day somewhere, and so apparently had everyone else... except Akorithi's soldiers, who somehow were aware of the correct date.
The beginning of the Reports, which provides some smaller background, also says that mass disappearances were common during the Warp. The Numidium is capable of erasing time and people, and did both during the Warp in the West.
Fortunately, at least it would seem fortunate, the Numidium disappeared after the Warp in the West. For the near future, it would seem that no other fools could use it to take hold of power they would be better off never knowing. Kirkbride's writings are less optimistic, unless Landfall is averted, though of course it's unclear what Bethesda and Zenimax have planned for Numidium(if anything) going forward.

Miracle of Peace, or tl;dr

So, at the end of this series of horrible events, how can we summarize the deal with the Numidium and what Tiber did with it? Well, the Numidium is a Tower whose rule is to deny, as demonstrated most clearly for us in the Warp in the West. It's based on Ayleid and Dwemer architecture and Tower manipulation, and generally tends to be used by people who want to actively deny power to others for their own power. Tiber Septim was one of these, and used it to cause a Dragon Break that almost denied the existence of the Altmer. The effects of his usage of the Numidium remained in only tangentially-effected areas as late as the Third Era, if not later, so it's likely that time still hasn't fully settled back into linear flow in the Summerset Isles(which was directly effected) for at least as long. The Numidium disappeared after the Warp in the West, sparing Tamriel of its horrors. We don't know if it will ever come back in official material.
submitted by AvaAelius to teslore [link] [comments]

2020.10.17 21:55 melbogia mariadb database voes

I am using mariadb for Zabbix and I keep seeing these errors in zabbix server log
15573:20201017:124922.279 database is down: retrying in 10 seconds 15573:20201017:124932.280 database connection re-established 15573:20201017:124932.298 [Z3005] query failed: [2006] MySQL server has gone away [select key_ from 15573:20201017:124932.301 database is down: retrying in 10 seconds 15573:20201017:124942.301 database connection re-established 15573:20201017:124942.322 [Z3005] query failed: [2006] MySQL server has gone away [select key_ from 15573:20201017:124942.324 database is down: retrying in 10 seconds 15573:20201017:124952.325 database connection re-established 
There is nothing in mariadb log. Max connections count is not define in /etc/my.cnf and, AFAIK, the default is 150. show processlist shows 25 rows. Does anybody know what the issue might be? Here's a global status, if it helps.
MariaDB [(none)]> show global status; +------------------------------------------+-------------+ Variable_name Value +------------------------------------------+-------------+ Aborted_clients 820 Aborted_connects 0 Access_denied_errors 0 Aria_pagecache_blocks_not_flushed 0 Aria_pagecache_blocks_unused 15737 Aria_pagecache_blocks_used 268 Aria_pagecache_read_requests 3173739 Aria_pagecache_reads 415 Aria_pagecache_write_requests 142431 Aria_pagecache_writes 0 Aria_transaction_log_syncs 0 Binlog_commits 0 Binlog_group_commits 0 Binlog_snapshot_file Binlog_snapshot_position 0 Binlog_bytes_written 0 Binlog_cache_disk_use 0 Binlog_cache_use 0 Binlog_stmt_cache_disk_use 0 Binlog_stmt_cache_use 0 Busy_time 0.000000 Bytes_received 46582433 Bytes_sent 572716691 Com_admin_commands 1 Com_alter_db 0 Com_alter_db_upgrade 0 Com_alter_event 0 Com_alter_function 0 Com_alter_procedure 0 Com_alter_server 0 Com_alter_table 0 Com_alter_tablespace 0 Com_analyze 0 Com_assign_to_keycache 0 Com_begin 53895 Com_binlog 0 Com_call_procedure 0 Com_change_db 544 Com_change_master 0 Com_check 0 Com_checksum 0 Com_commit 51618 Com_create_db 0 Com_create_event 0 Com_create_function 0 Com_create_index 0 Com_create_procedure 0 Com_create_server 0 Com_create_table 0 Com_create_trigger 0 Com_create_udf 0 Com_create_user 0 Com_create_view 0 Com_dealloc_sql 0 Com_delete 547 Com_delete_multi 0 Com_do 0 Com_drop_db 0 Com_drop_event 0 Com_drop_function 0 Com_drop_index 0 Com_drop_procedure 0 Com_drop_server 0 Com_drop_table 0 Com_drop_trigger 0 Com_drop_user 0 Com_drop_view 0 Com_empty_query 0 Com_execute_sql 0 Com_flush 0 Com_grant 0 Com_ha_close 0 Com_ha_open 0 Com_ha_read 0 Com_help 0 Com_insert 22814 Com_insert_select 0 Com_install_plugin 0 Com_kill 0 Com_load 0 Com_lock_tables 0 Com_optimize 0 Com_preload_keys 0 Com_prepare_sql 0 Com_purge 0 Com_purge_before_date 0 Com_release_savepoint 0 Com_rename_table 0 Com_rename_user 0 Com_repair 0 Com_replace 0 Com_replace_select 0 Com_reset 0 Com_resignal 0 Com_revoke 0 Com_revoke_all 0 Com_rollback 2277 Com_rollback_to_savepoint 0 Com_savepoint 0 Com_select 82761 Com_set_option 6194 Com_show_authors 0 Com_show_binlog_events 0 Com_show_binlogs 0 Com_show_charsets 0 Com_show_client_statistics 0 Com_show_collations 0 Com_show_contributors 0 Com_show_create_db 0 Com_show_create_event 0 Com_show_create_func 0 Com_show_create_proc 0 Com_show_create_table 0 Com_show_create_trigger 0 Com_show_databases 0 Com_show_engine_logs 0 Com_show_engine_mutex 0 Com_show_engine_status 0 Com_show_errors 0 Com_show_events 0 Com_show_fields 0 Com_show_function_status 0 Com_show_grants 0 Com_show_index_statistics 0 Com_show_keys 0 Com_show_master_status 0 Com_show_open_tables 0 Com_show_plugins 0 Com_show_privileges 0 Com_show_procedure_status 0 Com_show_processlist 0 Com_show_profile 0 Com_show_profiles 0 Com_show_relaylog_events 0 Com_show_slave_hosts 0 Com_show_slave_status 0 Com_show_status 4 Com_show_storage_engines 0 Com_show_table_statistics 0 Com_show_table_status 0 Com_show_tables 2349 Com_show_triggers 0 Com_show_user_statistics 0 Com_show_variables 0 Com_show_warnings 0 Com_signal 0 Com_slave_start 0 Com_slave_stop 0 Com_stmt_close 0 Com_stmt_execute 0 Com_stmt_fetch 0 Com_stmt_prepare 0 Com_stmt_reprepare 0 Com_stmt_reset 0 Com_stmt_send_long_data 0 Com_truncate 0 Com_uninstall_plugin 0 Com_unlock_tables 0 Com_update 9508 Com_update_multi 0 Com_xa_commit 0 Com_xa_end 0 Com_xa_prepare 0 Com_xa_recover 0 Com_xa_rollback 0 Com_xa_start 0 Compression OFF Connections 3306 Cpu_time 0.000000 Created_tmp_disk_tables 367 Created_tmp_files 6 Created_tmp_tables 5002 Delayed_errors 0 Delayed_insert_threads 0 Delayed_writes 0 Empty_queries 29368 Executed_events 0 Executed_triggers 0 Feature_dynamic_columns 0 Feature_fulltext 0 Feature_gis 0 Feature_locale 0 Feature_subquery 688 Feature_timezone 0 Feature_trigger 0 Feature_xml 0 Flush_commands 2 Handler_commit 143500 Handler_delete 25278 Handler_discover 0 Handler_icp_attempts 178872 Handler_icp_match 164645 Handler_mrr_init 0 Handler_mrr_key_refills 0 Handler_mrr_rowid_refills 0 Handler_prepare 0 Handler_read_first 5383 Handler_read_key 9392107 Handler_read_last 11 Handler_read_next 14634171 Handler_read_prev 21503 Handler_read_rnd 1381913 Handler_read_rnd_deleted 207 Handler_read_rnd_next 3976159 Handler_rollback 0 Handler_savepoint 0 Handler_savepoint_rollback 0 Handler_tmp_update 2404 Handler_tmp_write 1808012 Handler_update 37651 Handler_write 349084 Innodb_adaptive_hash_cells 276671 Innodb_adaptive_hash_hash_searches 14229132 Innodb_adaptive_hash_heap_buffers 266 Innodb_adaptive_hash_non_hash_searches 5668034 Innodb_background_log_sync 6143 Innodb_buffer_pool_bytes_data 129826816 Innodb_buffer_pool_bytes_dirty 30949376 Innodb_buffer_pool_pages_data 7924 Innodb_buffer_pool_pages_dirty 1889 Innodb_buffer_pool_pages_flushed 146123 Innodb_buffer_pool_pages_free 0 Innodb_buffer_pool_pages_LRU_flushed 829 Innodb_buffer_pool_pages_made_not_young 0 Innodb_buffer_pool_pages_made_young 35959 Innodb_buffer_pool_pages_misc 267 Innodb_buffer_pool_pages_old 2905 Innodb_buffer_pool_pages_total 8191 Innodb_buffer_pool_read_ahead 0 Innodb_buffer_pool_read_ahead_evicted 0 Innodb_buffer_pool_read_ahead_rnd 0 Innodb_buffer_pool_read_requests 54851401 Innodb_buffer_pool_reads 11197 Innodb_buffer_pool_wait_free 0 Innodb_buffer_pool_write_requests 1454196 Innodb_checkpoint_age 1410471 Innodb_checkpoint_max_age 7782360 Innodb_checkpoint_target_age 7539162 Innodb_current_row_locks 0 Innodb_data_fsyncs 16842 Innodb_data_pending_fsyncs 0 Innodb_data_pending_reads 0 Innodb_data_pending_writes 0 Innodb_data_read 365318656 Innodb_data_reads 22175 Innodb_data_writes 162107 Innodb_data_written 4868634624 Innodb_dblwr_pages_written 146123 Innodb_dblwr_writes 2211 Innodb_deadlocks 0 Innodb_descriptors_memory 8000 Innodb_dict_tables 168 Innodb_have_atomic_builtins ON Innodb_history_list_length 714 Innodb_ibuf_discarded_delete_marks 0 Innodb_ibuf_discarded_deletes 0 Innodb_ibuf_discarded_inserts 0 Innodb_ibuf_free_list 208 Innodb_ibuf_merged_delete_marks 1 Innodb_ibuf_merged_deletes 1 Innodb_ibuf_merged_inserts 33899 Innodb_ibuf_merges 12308 Innodb_ibuf_segment_size 210 Innodb_ibuf_size 1 Innodb_log_waits 0 Innodb_log_write_requests 165361 Innodb_log_writes 11698 Innodb_lsn_current 5068884331 Innodb_lsn_flushed 5068884331 Innodb_lsn_last_checkpoint 5067473860 Innodb_master_thread_1_second_loops 6853 Innodb_master_thread_10_second_loops 685 Innodb_master_thread_background_loops 1 Innodb_master_thread_main_flush_loops 1 Innodb_master_thread_sleeps 6852 Innodb_max_trx_id 23263528 Innodb_mem_adaptive_hash 6592112 Innodb_mem_dictionary 1774806 Innodb_mem_total 137756672 Innodb_mutex_os_waits 159 Innodb_mutex_spin_rounds 11736 Innodb_mutex_spin_waits 5256 Innodb_oldest_view_low_limit_trx_id 23263528 Innodb_os_log_fsyncs 12415 Innodb_os_log_pending_fsyncs 0 Innodb_os_log_pending_writes 0 Innodb_os_log_written 80101888 Innodb_page_size 16384 Innodb_pages_created 2943 Innodb_pages_read 22163 Innodb_pages_written 146123 Innodb_purge_trx_id 23263521 Innodb_purge_undo_no 0 Innodb_read_views_memory 2392 Innodb_row_lock_current_waits 0 Innodb_row_lock_time 0 Innodb_row_lock_time_avg 0 Innodb_row_lock_time_max 0 Innodb_row_lock_waits 1 Innodb_rows_deleted 25278 Innodb_rows_inserted 349081 Innodb_rows_read 19531223 Innodb_rows_updated 37650 Innodb_s_lock_os_waits 1383 Innodb_s_lock_spin_rounds 88108 Innodb_s_lock_spin_waits 5393 Innodb_truncated_status_writes 0 Innodb_x_lock_os_waits 217 Innodb_x_lock_spin_rounds 35218 Innodb_x_lock_spin_waits 2222 Key_blocks_not_flushed 0 Key_blocks_unused 107171 Key_blocks_used 0 Key_blocks_warm 0 Key_read_requests 0 Key_reads 0 Key_write_requests 0 Key_writes 0 Last_query_cost 0.000000 Max_used_connections 30 Not_flushed_delayed_rows 0 Open_files 21 Open_streams 0 Open_table_definitions 199 Open_tables 158 Opened_files 1718 Opened_table_definitions 166 Opened_tables 132 Opened_views 0 Performance_schema_cond_classes_lost 0 Performance_schema_cond_instances_lost 0 Performance_schema_file_classes_lost 0 Performance_schema_file_handles_lost 0 Performance_schema_file_instances_lost 0 Performance_schema_locker_lost 0 Performance_schema_mutex_classes_lost 0 Performance_schema_mutex_instances_lost 0 Performance_schema_rwlock_classes_lost 0 Performance_schema_rwlock_instances_lost 0 Performance_schema_table_handles_lost 0 Performance_schema_table_instances_lost 0 Performance_schema_thread_classes_lost 0 Performance_schema_thread_instances_lost 0 Prepared_stmt_count 0 Qcache_free_blocks 0 Qcache_free_memory 0 Qcache_hits 0 Qcache_inserts 0 Qcache_lowmem_prunes 0 Qcache_not_cached 0 Qcache_queries_in_cache 0 Qcache_total_blocks 0 Queries 234972 Questions 234971 Rows_read 19532163 Rows_sent 4618749 Rows_tmp_read 3063069 Rpl_status AUTH_MASTER Select_full_join 512 Select_full_range_join 0 Select_range 19672 Select_range_check 0 Select_scan 15488 Slave_heartbeat_period 0.000 Slave_open_temp_tables 0 Slave_received_heartbeats 0 Slave_retried_transactions 0 Slave_running OFF Slow_launch_threads 0 Slow_queries 0 Sort_merge_passes 0 Sort_range 10472 Sort_rows 1384587 Sort_scan 2972 Ssl_accept_renegotiates 0 Ssl_accepts 0 Ssl_callback_cache_hits 0 Ssl_cipher Ssl_cipher_list Ssl_client_connects 0 Ssl_connect_renegotiates 0 Ssl_ctx_verify_depth 0 Ssl_ctx_verify_mode 0 Ssl_default_timeout 0 Ssl_finished_accepts 0 Ssl_finished_connects 0 Ssl_session_cache_hits 0 Ssl_session_cache_misses 0 Ssl_session_cache_mode NONE Ssl_session_cache_overflows 0 Ssl_session_cache_size 0 Ssl_session_cache_timeouts 0 Ssl_sessions_reused 0 Ssl_used_session_cache_entries 0 Ssl_verify_depth 0 Ssl_verify_mode 0 Ssl_version Subquery_cache_hit 18821 Subquery_cache_miss 67940 Syncs 0 Table_locks_immediate 142765 Table_locks_waited 0 Tc_log_max_pages_used 0 Tc_log_page_size 0 Tc_log_page_waits 0 Threadpool_idle_threads 0 Threadpool_threads 0 Threads_cached 0 Threads_connected 25 Threads_created 3305 Threads_running 1 Uptime 6146 Uptime_since_flush_status 6146 +------------------------------------------+-------------+ 413 rows in set (0.00 sec) 
submitted by melbogia to sysadmin [link] [comments]

2020.10.17 16:06 MatthweMetho [Into the world of corruption] - chapter 3

  1. Royal research and Magic of Knowledge
On the next day, she left before I woke up. She probably didn't know what to do in this situation. She would need some time to get past the confusion.
My training has begun before noon. I'm not an early bird, but is it my fault that no one woke me up?
It was like going back to school. Swordsmanship, hammer-wielding, archery, or even using a cane was not in my blood. Those masters were experts and knew that from the beginning. Nevertheless, I had to keep up with their spartan training. The method chosen to teach me was a short preparation with the current arm, and then the clash with one of their students. I was beaten fair and square, but I had no broken bones or bruises due to healing that followed the duels. I could barely move in the evening, and with the last bits of my strength, I took a bath and went to sleep.
The next day was the Spear, gauntlet, claw, halberd, and ax training. Unfortunately, with the same results. Someone even offered me a slingshot as an actual weapon. I don't think it will be useful unless I unlock a crazy critical-based skill. I don't believe standard weapons have something like that, but… This world is full of mystery.
On the break, Iyo brought me dinner. She was still a little mixed about the other night: mumbling, heavy breathing, and blushes on her cheeks. Just to be sure if she isn't coming down with something, I put my forehead against hers to measure her temperature, but everything seemed fine.
Later that day, I had a study in tactics that I find easy to understand but impossible to implement in actual combat. For example, commanding an army is very hard if you consider that one mistake could kill thousands of people. Even without that said mistake, hundreds would die. On the other hand, if you duel in close combat, then tactics are less important than reading your opponent and overall knowledge of their skills. Although this might be some sort of tactic, yet term practical improvisation suits it better…
On the third day, I had to learn about magic. Apparently, you need to have the necessary knowledge to access your mana. Well, this rule only applies to ordinary people, and heroes were an exception, thus stormed out without any second thought. Every living being has mana, some more, some less, but it's everywhere. Even in nature, all around. There are also natural sacred places that boost one's magic ability and mana, but that's not important for now.
I was led to a round room at the roof of the castle by two guards. Small auditorium with nine wooden platforms and a simple chair in the middle; I wonder what purpose this room has. The doors I went through seemed to be an entrance, yet it was only a back door. A couple of steps in, and I was standing near my tutor. An old man was sitting in a cozy chair in front of his desk, with a wardrobe to his right; he seemed busy writing something down, so I didn't bother him and just observed.
Long white hair standing astray and a beard wrapped around his neck like a scarf, he must be at least seventy. Knowledge is the key to power; maybe that's why he is still a master of the mages guild here. Dressed in long purple-grey robes, he immediately noticed my presence.
"Why are you creeping right next to me? Don't you have something to say?"
"I'm here to learn about magic. My name is Hideyoshi; I'll be in your care."
"Blah, blah, blah. I don't do lessons for newbies..." He took a look at me, curious by my unusual appearance; his left eye shone with a golden luminosity. "Hmm..."
"The King sent me here, so I thought that was planned before. If you don't have time now, maybe we can arrange it for another time."
"No, no, it's alright." His eye turned back to normal, green tint. "I do have some free time."
He showed me to the middle with a gesture and made me sit while he occupied the platform in front of me.
"There are seven core types of magic: fire, water, earth, wind, lightning, darkness, and light. Some of them can mix with your partner's magic power and create a different type in a child; some cannot. For example, if you mix the specimen "A" with fire and water affinity, with specimen "B" with light and earth. The result might be specimen "C" having either fire, water, magma, or holy affinity or something different not included in the calculation. May I add this is a sporadic occurrence? Probability is one in a thousand or so. This is also the reason breeding mages aren't very rewarding."
My professor seems to be a bit displeased with that. I can sense a bit of a mad scientist in him.
"To cast a spell, you need to decipher the ancient texts written in the magic language. Don't worry; your mana does it for you if you have it enough. Those writings are found all over the world, in runes, sacred temples, and chronicles. As one becomes more proficient in using them, he can recite them from memory or even create their own incantations. I think that's a little too much for you, though. Now! Let's see what you are good at! I'm very excited! Godly spirits that surround me! Let me peek in this soul's deepest parts and unfold his secrets! I've seen the power and bent it to my will! Divine sight!"
He cast a spell without any warning, and a glowing green ring appeared under my feet, emitting aquamarine and crimson sparks. As I was surrounded by a swarm of lights, a dark mold covered the runes left on the floor and extinguished the illuminations. With a blast of black waves, everything in the room was thrown against the walls except the Archmage, who stood tall with a light-blue force shield around him.
"Did it work? It looked strange."
"Bizzare indeed! Hahaha! It looks like darkness but not a glimpse of mana! Even demons have some but can't use it very well. Hahaha! Are you perfect for nothing?"
"Hey, Grandpa! Cut it out! What does it mean for me?"
"It's simple. You are the only being that I know of that has literally no, zero, null mana! Hahaha! Truly interesting and marvelous but… useless."
He told the last part in a serious tone. He seemed baffled and intrigued. I understand that my person must be fascinating to him, but why don't you mind my feelings a little…
"I guess I have to find my own way out of this mess."
"It seems that way, Useless-san. Hahahaha!"
"By the way, grandpa. I think you are an adequate person to ask."
"What's on your mind, Voidling? How can this old man help you?"
"I would like it if you could stop with those nicknames… Anyway, how about sending me back? Is it possible?"
"No, I don't think so… Unlike Heroes, who could be sent back all at once, you are somehow bound to this world. You are stuck here for a long time, Hollow-san! Hahaha!"
"I asked you to stop…"
That creative bastard! I'll show him, but… right now, even a simple peasant with basic training could best me. I wished, but the truth is I could be obliterated even by a child.
Going back to my chamber, I thought about my overall situation, discovering a quite pleasing fact. My overall health felt different. I had two days of heavy physical training and still pulled through. Did the teleportation have that effect? Or just the air here is purer.
Why? Did I suffer from an illness before?
As for today, the "research" was done, and the rest was up to me. Maybe I can look a little around and formulate some sort of a plan? I would really like to explore this world. Magic, demi-humans, demons, is there any place more perfect for me?
Anyway, the night passed by, and before I could even notice, it was already morning. Although all the information we acquired these past days confirmed my lack of strength, I had one more thing to do before I can leave. Namely, Gorou wanted me to see the demon heart tomorrow. It is said that with the powers of the Heroes, they can bring it into submission and see the exact date of the next "horde". And as I'm irregular, he was curious about what effect I might have on it.
Laying on the bed, I was going through my notes about magic. It is the thing that I was most excited about and yet, denied. I won't accept it!
Mana, magic tongue, chant, cast, darkness… By reading some of those ancient texts, I could learn a couple of spells, but it would be only a gibberish without mana. Maybe I can start by copying that crazy old guy? What did he say?
"Godly spirits that surround me! Let me peek in this soul's deepest parts and unfold his secrets! I've seen the power and bent it to my will! Divine sight!"
I saw a small movement in the air, but nothing more. As I thought, it's pointless. Maybe my lack of mana was the issue here, or I improperly learned the spell? Why can't it be as easy as in my world? Applying heat to the fuel in the presence of oxidant and combusting. You can generate heat from the energy of separate atoms. If there is something flammable nearby, it will catch fire if the temperature is high enough. I was fiddling with a candle in my hand while strange runic symbols appeared.
"Cost: Cold"
As I read it in my thoughts, the candle became lit. I think it skipped a couple of stages of the standard magic casting I was taught, but It was extraordinary for me nevertheless. About the cost… my hand got really cold and started to warm up after a couple of seconds. Does the power of the effect dictate the cost? Let's see…
This time I thought about covering the whole candle in flames and melting it and, precisely, that happened. Melted wax spilled on the sheets as the blaze enveloped my hand. Although the fire, I wasn't burned, instead my arm was freezing. The same as last time, the feeling went by rather quickly.
I need to test it further. This time with the smallest amount of power possible, I cast "flame" in rapid succession. This resulted in a slight chill that stayed for a couple of minutes. It seems that the effects don't stack, but time extends with every spell. I need to find something else to burn. The more information I have, the better.
In the time I was rummaging through the room Iyo came in with breakfast on the silver tray. Two muffin-like buns with butter on the side and something that looked like grapefruit cut in half? The inside was pink, but the pulp wasn't even remotely close to the thing I know. It resembled thick liquidized ham with onion bits. Is it even edible?
"Good morning Hero-sama, Did you sleep well? I brought you breakfast."
"Good morning Iyo. Yeah, I've slept well. Thank you."
"Are you looking for something, Hero-sama? If I could be of any assistance…"
"It's fine. I was just… testing something…"
Should I tell her about that? I still don't know what that power is, and taking this situation into account… Strange magic could be connected to the fiend that terrorizes this land in a blink of an eye. If it's just her, then it should be fine…
The tray was calling for me as I was in scientific fervor. I'm sure something can be done with it. I could melt it, but bringing it even close to a thousand degrees could be out of my range right now. Putting the dishes aside, I took it in my hands and fiddled with it a little, thinking about what to do.
"May I ask, what are you doing? Humufruts are better when eaten warm."
"Yeah, I will eat in a while, thanks. Want to see something cool? But you'll have to keep it a secret!"
The structure of the metals should be the same here as in my world. If I pump it full of energy, the atoms should be thrown into disarray and create an opening.
"Cost: Numbness"
With that, the tray started to disappear in the thin air. Iyo looked in amazement at me. I shook my hand a little, but it can't be helped. The feeling won't go away soon. If I could master this magic, I could create things out of nothing just by messing with atoms' numeric values. The power to bend the nature of the universe! That's more like it!
"W-w-what happened?" She stuttered
"Well, it looks like magic."
"Yeah, but how? Where is the chant? Where is the cast? What about mana? I thought Hero-sama didn't have any. Eh?"
So the word about me being useless spread fast…
"First of all, Hideyoshi. Don't call me something I'm not. And about the spell, I used the form of magic that was present back in my world. We call it science, but here it works a little differently."
It's still early, maybe we can go to the town to look around a little. As I'm a King's guest, I should be able to buy a couple of things that would prove useful to me. Gorou gave me a pouch with an amount close to a hundred silver coins. If the concept is the same as in the games I played, then one silver coin should be worth a hundred copper coins. I don't know the prices here yet, but I hope it will suffice.
"Hey, Iyo. Do you know this town?"
"Unfortunately, Hero-sa… "
I glared in her direction.
"I meant Hideyoshi-sama. I know of this town very little, and I'm afraid I'm not going to be of any use…"
She looked down with eyes full of sorrow. Sure, being a demi-human in a human supremacy country must be hard. Taking into consideration, she is also a slave… She rarely leaves the castle.
"Don't concern yourself. Even a little knowledge is better than none. I would be grateful if you could show me around."
"I will do my best to meet Hero's expectations."
We will have to work on that a lot. To be truthful, I don't believe I'm a hero in this world. As much as I would like to help everyone and have a fantastic tale of adventures and great deeds sung by the people, the real heroes are already on the way to glory. With Legendary Weapons in hands while I have a power of imagination… Maybe I will become one, but that has to be proven first; now, those are just empty words.
I ate cold humufruit with bread, and we went out. The significant settlement built around a castle split into three districts. First was in the center with a castle and barracks. Dedicated mostly for the military, training of the knights, and magic university… Nothing really to see except the fort that we left behind.
Next is the Noble area, mansion on a mansion. People with the most influence live here. There is also a high amount of expensive shops for jewelry and clothes. You can feel the splendor in the air, but for some reason, there is also something sour, like rotting compost. Probably because of my impression of the ones I know so far.
Third and the largest part is for regular citizens and adventurers. Smiths, magic shops, alchemists, and herbalists; this amount of shops attracts adventurers to the capital. A market full of exotic fruits, vegetables, and goods, is as crowded as one would expect. There should be an adventurers guild somewhere close to it, but I don't really have any intention of going there right now.
We walked around the last area most of the day. I enjoyed our stroll. We went to the apothecary first to get some necessary equipment and books to learn how to make medicines. Next is herbalist, where I bought a book about vegetations in this world. It all cost about seventy silvers, I think. Expensive, but I'll make fair use of it. Perhaps I should buy some combat gear, but I can do it when I decide to leave the town. What type of equipment would I use? Plate armor would restrain me a fair bit, and I'm not precisely a mage, so would I benefit from robes?
The sun was starting to set when we got through the gates. We sat down on a small hill just before the walls. A beautiful sight, Iyo was filling herself with. She indeed does not have many things to appreciate in her current state, well, at least to this point. I'm going to change it soon, and then the world!
"Thank you for today, Iyo. You helped me a lot!"
"I'm only fulfilling my master's wishes."
"Maybe that is true. Still, I'm grateful. The last three days were a pain, and nothing worked out so far… "
I looked down at my feet. My magic break-through was a great thing, but still… Fear of the unknown, I guess…
"Don't worry about it. I will do my best to save this world, this way or another."
"I think that hero-sa… Um, I mean, Hideyoshi-sama is a good person. Caring about the world and its people that he doesn't even know. If it's Hideyoshi-sama, I'm sure he can do it. And for that reason, I will do my best to help!"
I stood up and stroked her hair. I have never seen her with a smile so bright as now. I know her only for four days, but it feels like forever.
"Now then, let's go back. It's getting dark."
In the room, I took off my clothes and prepared to sleep. When I lay in bed, I saw Iyo walking in dressed in the same brown cover from the second night.
"You know you don't have to do it anymore, right?"
"I… Right… Good night, Hideyoshi-sama."
"Good night."
Good grief. Iyo left the room with a strange expression on her face. Being a slave is tough, but while she is my maid, I guess it will be okay. Later I will try to persuade the king to "lend" her to me as a companion on my adventures, thus setting her free. And then what? Will she be okay on her own in this country? Or rather, will she leave? I think it's up to her to decide.
submitted by MatthweMetho to redditserials [link] [comments]

2020.10.17 02:37 GunnerRecall__ A lesson to never forget about stored magic items! [possible multipost..]

SPOILER DISCLAIMER: If the Deck of Fortunes, Lodimesm Kimaid’r, or an idiot named Smith have any association with you, leave this post immediately, in the slim chance any of this ever actually gets used. Thank you.
I ran an open-ended homebrew campaign that spanned about 8 years. It was very satisfying but dissolved from life paths and left a gaping hole in my soul. An attempt to revive the campaign was out of the question, as it had grown to be too large of a daunting monster to reign in and would likely be very short lived.
However, there was a last-ditch effort to start a new campaign with about half of the previous players and some new ones, but that proved to be short lived as well for the same reasons. Unfortunately, I and my brother had developed a storyline that would have been quite satisfying and I had no plan of it just NOT HAPPENING. So, finding this will hopefully bring a bit of closure.
I'll start with giving a bit of backstory of the old campaign and the events that led up to what would have been the present.
[DM DISCLAIMER: all permission to use any previous characters were granted by their players in conversations with them long before any of the revival began development.]
-HUMPHRY (old party PC): Elf Wizard that had a very timid personality that later split to show signs of a dark and foreboding coldness at times. [Relevance to this post: He had always been in possession of a magical gold piece that was sentient, and claimed to be an imprisoned dragon. Humphry had come to believe it was some sort of godlike master and was very susceptible to its suggestions.]
-STRIKE (old party PC): Human Rogue that was very much an operative of survival. He fell into the group solely as a means of security, but later appeared to grow real friendship-like respect with a couple of the party members. [Relevance to this post: Behind the scenes, Strike was a serial murderer, targeting those that seemed to challenge his personal authority or he felt was more powerful than himself. Keeping this behavior in check for the majority of the campaign out of professional necessity, he did let himself go a couple times and even killed an employer they had right after the adventure he hired them to go on.]
-DRAUNCLIN (old party PC): Elf Ranger that was very much your typical lone wolf, and his personal involvement with the party was never really explored. The first session he rescued a Lorynxic Plain Wolf (a homebrew subtly magical species that retained a higher intelligence and minor abilities) named Rithix. Being adopted as an animal companion, Rithix grew to be a very center piece to the party, much like a PC, and the bond between he and Draunclin was VERY strong. [Relevance to this post: Draunclin was played by my brother, who came on to be a co-DM in the new campaign. His character plays in some heavy elements in what would be the campaigns later story progression.]
-KYRNYN (old party NPC): Half-Elf Cleric created to fill the healer role needed by the party. Indebted to the PCs, he continued traveling with them and had become very good friends with them throughout the campaign. Humphry, who had become a very good friend to the cleric, employed him at their Keep that they had established as a trading and manufacturing business to oversee its operation. [Relevance to this post: Kyrnyn accompanies that party to participate in the major story arc, and has very involved roles in the aftermath.]
-CHRISTOPHER ALAMAND (NPC, later BBEG2): The head of the thieves guild The Shadowfists of Thamoor in the southwest portion of the continent. Extremely skilled and intelligent, he is a master manipulator and makes himself very well connected to every one possible that could benefit him, and works his way into gaining any sort of power over them that he can use them in his endless aspiration for control. [Relevance to this post: Originally beginning investigating the party during the old campaign, he never got a chance to become involved. However, he is a major player in the new campaign, as noted by BBEG2.]
-RIVLITOK (BBEG1): Half-fiend bugbear inadvertently released from his prison by the party. [Relevance to this post: Um, the BBEG.]
Early on in the game, their 2nd adventure, they were employed by an old elven wizard to search for clues regarding an ancient artifact. He directed them to an abandoned underground dwarven temple to Dennari that had been cleared out long ago and used as a home to a more monstrous populace. While searching the temple, they had come across a curious item that had an undecipherable magical aura. It was a soft clay chain that was bound into its malleable form, and handling the item was risky as it required a Dexterity check each time it was handled else the links in the chain would come apart, and potentially lose its magical qualities.
Unable to take the time to properly study the item, Humphry was able to create a magical floating disk to transport it safely to a local bank with minimal handling. He paid to have it stored in a safety deposit box, and continued on in their adventures meaning to return to retrieve it at a later date. Years passed and the chain was apparently forgotten.
While in Linden, the capital city of the northern half of the realm, to legitimize property license and ownership of a small keep that had been inherited by Draunclin, the bank in which Humphry had left the chain was robbed, ransacked and burned to the ground in the process. The chain had been broken, and its magical component lost. It had served as the binding material necessary to hold the formed prison-like bars trapping a beast in a lower cavern under the temple that was used as a natural water drain for the complex. At the time, the party had come across the drainage grate and knew of the beast, later to be revealed as Rivlitok BBEG1, to be down there locked away and trying to convince and passersby to aid him in breaking the curses placed on him by the evil priests. Not wanting to take the risk, the party paid him no heed.
With the chain broken, his trapping bars crumbled away, Rivlitok finally had his freedom. He spent the next year reestablishing his dominance over the giants and goblinoids of the local region and began building his army he would use to force his way into creating his own empire. When he felt his force was strong enough, he rapidly pillaged any and all villages and town in the surrounding area, his monstrous army growing larger and stronger all the while.
Being on the other side of the continent establishing a trading and manufacturing business and shipping route from the east and western regions through their keep, they had no knowledge of the exploits of Rivlitok’s forces, who had come to be known as the Dark Hand. No knowledge at least until the wizard that employed them to delve into that temple sought them out, explaining the situation and convincing them that they were solely responsible, and that now was the time to act.
It had been learned of Rivlitok’s next target, the large city of Tamin. Tamin was once large city that had been relatively destroyed because of its location, bring right in the middle of the battleground in the War of Giants a century earlier. Suffering great losses in the war between the giant tribes and never wanting to do so again, the large majority of Tamin had fled farther to the south and established a new “sister” city of Rammus. Over the years some of the citizens of Rammus had returned to join the people that remained in Tamin to rebuild their home. Tamin having much of its defensible qualities intact or repairable, the low population made it a prime target for Rivlitok to make quick work of it and utilize it as a central location for his eventual empire.
The party made quick preparations and returned to Tamin before the Dark Hand had arrived, and found them far too defenseless against what was to come. The only hope would be to travel down to Rammus and plead to their ruling council for aid. They were successful, though it was a session of significant and lengthy political negotiations before reaching their desired outcome. With the assistance of the sister city, the party took charge organizing strategies and defense tactics as best possible to combat the siege. Their plans were impressive, but the last session of the game stopped the night before the entire thing began. And it was never played again.
As stated in the beginning of the post, reviving the campaign was decided against, and the remaining original players agreed to start brand new. The new party began on the wrong end of a slave trade ship, and had to organize their escape once an opportunity presented itself. They were on board for months and had no knowledge of where they were once freed. A few sessions were played doing minor introductory adventures and learning a little detail about the area, but they would soon learn of the truth of the realm they were in.
All the new PCs had been branded by the slavers, and “saved” from being seen as fugitives and indenture dodgers in the local society by joining a small guild of slave refugees name the Green Willows, and voluntarily accepting the groups ownership brand as evidence.
Enter Christopher Alamand, who introduced himself as their true employer at the end of their 3rd adventure. He approached the group as they were leaving the old tomb they were exploring and asked them to do a second job for him before he released them from servitude. He needed them to investigate a string of murders that had seemed to be targeting his employees, and the last known victim was in Gorgwich Pass, a trading settlement within a mountain pass nearby. And all the while during their conversation, it was noted that Christopher was fumbling around with an odd-looking gold piece, one emblazoned with the head of a snarling dragon in a much more pristine condition than one that would be in regular circulation.
If the murder investigation wasn’t a tip off to Stike’s player, the gold piece was a clear easter egg to all the returning players. They were genuinely surprised to learn and eventually confirm that they were playing in the same realm and timeline of their previous campaign, albeit ten years after the battle they had prepared for previously- but never began- had occurred anyway. And apparently to the unfortunate end of their previous characters who had all been horribly slain in the fight, or so it was widely believed.
In truth, the PCs that were no longer part of the game had truly been killed off, as they wouldn’t be rejoining anyway. The returning players, knowing nothing more than their original characters were dead, had no idea that they were instead tied into the plot of the new campaign.
[and this is where that campaign dissolved, to my great disappointment. But my brother and I had much grander plans if the story had continued...]
Investigating the murder in Gorgwich Pass would leave the party doing their best to investigate the most recent victims' residence, but little else to go on. The point of interest here was to confirm to Strike’s player that the true identity of the murderer was indeed his old character, as told by the signature symbol left on a note hidden within the room of the scene. A great twist for him as nobody from the original party had any knowledge of the murderous side of Strike.
Christopher would also give them a tip that he believed he had a suspect, and would set the PCs to eavesdrop on a meeting between the leader of a local mercenary outfit, naming themselves the “Brunton Gang”, and a few of his Shadowfist operatives posing as potential recruits.
The truth of it was that Christopher believed one of those operatives to actually be Strike, and catching on to Stike’s M.O., the whole point of the meeting was to draw him out by placing him in a position of weakness. The meeting takes place and is surveilled by the PCs. The man leading the meeting claimed to be the leader of the Brunton Gang, but in actuality the true leader was the masked man in his entourage.
Strike was indeed in the set of Shadowfists in the meeting, and he clearly caught on to the subtle cues the masked man was giving to the supposed leader. Under past circumstances Strike would have overlooked the incident much easier, but his life was drastically different after the staggering defeat in Tamin’s downfall. His need for validation of strength and influence called to him more and more as time went on.
The PCs, being good in nature, would gladly appease the suggestion of warning the gang leader in an effort to plot an ambush to apprehend the killer and release them from under Christopher's authority. They could set up a meeting with the leader without too much trouble. In the backroom of the tavern they used for correspondence, the Brunton Gang leader does meet with the PCs to hear their plea. During which, a large commotion erupts in the hall, and Strike uses the distraction to sneak in through the open window and sever the true gang leaders' spinal vertebrae. The man falls immediately to the ground, his mask dislodging in the motion. Strike had no way to prepare for the pit that open up in his stomach as he caught the man's face when he fell. A face he recognized.
The horror Kyrnyn experienced in Tamin haunted him. He returned to the keep of his beloved friends, to find the place nothing more than a charred skeleton of the promise it once held. The decomposed bodies of its employees littering the courtyard and stables. An anger and guild he could not bear, he formed what memorials he could for his friends and denounced his divine faith. That however did not stop him from doing what he could to recruit a militant force that might be able to dethrone Rivlitok.
Strike was nearly frozen as his entire reality seemed to come crashing down around him. He joined the Shadowfists with the same precepts as he did with his old friends, and eventually he plotted to take Christopher's place. But was Christopher so far ahead of him that he even manipulated the assassin to kill off any of his friends he already believed to be dead? Strike staggered back to the window and leaped, only to be intercepted by Christopher a few blocks down. The man was too smart. Strike had been truly beaten in the worst way possible. With no fight left in him, he finally submitted fully to his better, and gave the truest fealty he never thought possible.
[Well that’s what I have had time to post thus far. But with the length of the rest of it, I figured I'd give SOMETHING. Cheers.]
submitted by GunnerRecall__ to dmdivulge [link] [comments]

2020.10.16 20:05 badazzdawgz69 Primal Instinct

Passion. Fear. Secrets. Lust. Needs. Love. Anger. Jealousy. Wants. To be in control. To be controlled. It’s about primal instinct.
Hi, I’m Connor Stephens. I live in a typical subdivision in Paradise Valley, just outside of Phoenix. My day job is an X-Ray technician for an orthopedic center in Phoenix . I do freelance photography on the side. Trust me, I get the babes. I’m fifty-seven years-old, but most who know me, tell me I look like I’m in my mid forties. I stand around five feet nine inches and weigh around one-hundred fifty-five pounds (plus or minus). My body is toned with some cuts. My eyes are brown. I have a military style haircut with scruff on my face. I’m Caucasian sporting a tan. My reputation precedes me. I’m the neighborhood horn dog. I earned that title due to the wives who lived close by. Two are heavy into the neighborhood gossip. I call them Gladys and Nellie. I fucked three lonely housewives who live within a block of me. I still fuck two of them on occasion. The other one moved due to a nasty divorce. One day I received the stink eye from Bill who lives four houses down from me. He caught his sixteen year-old daughter hitting on me. Yes, she was coming onto me! I was using diplomacy techniques with her. She’s sixteen. I told her it’s a deal. I’ll take her out on a date when she turns eighteen. Probably, by that time she’ll be screwing around with a frat boy at ASU. This story is very sexual in content. If you are offended by this subject or under legal age, I suggest we stop here and end it now. If this for you, let’s continue on.
You see, about five years ago I was acquainted with Jay, who lived five houses down from me. We got along well. Oftentimes we would hang out with a couple of other neighbors down the street for some beers or something of that nature. Just casual get togethers. Barbecues, pool parties, block parties...shit like that.
Everything stayed pretty much the same on the exterior until late one night eight months ago. It was a beautiful mid October night. I was sitting outside on the patio watching videos on UTube enjoying a nice cold beer. All of a sudden I heard a knock at my front door.
I open the front door and I see Jay. He was drunk. My guess was as good as gold. He had another argument with his wife, Lena. In my attempt to be a good neighbor I let him in, so he can have someone to listen to him. He follows me to the kitchen and being the good host I am, I offer this lush a beer. Of course he accepts my offer. Free beer to a guy who’s drank half a distillery? Come on! We walk outside and offer him a seat. I shut the kitchen sliding glass door. I don’t want my woman to hear us talk. I forgot to mention, Gida moved in about two years ago. She works long hours in a intensive care unit at a major medical in Scottsdale. Her sleep is very precious. We sleep in separate bedrooms because of her hours. She is a light sleeper when it comes to my snoring. I sit across from him. As I sit I like to manspread. It’s comfortable. I’m freeballing in my board shorts. I’m home alone and wasn’t planning to have company. Jay is uptight. My numerous attempts to take his mind off his problems prove fatal. So I had to take it for the team and listen to his sob stories. I was expecting some country music to play in the background. I hate drama and whining!
Jay stood around 6’ and weighs approximately 200 pounds. He works out at the gym. He’s definitely athletic built, muscular ,and handsome too. This stud has brown hair, medium length, sports a goatee and the rest of his face is covered in a five O’clock shadow. He has brown eyes. I think he’s around 35 or 40. He’s fit and sexy looking. Jay tends to be cocky and can be a bit on the arrogant side. I like that about him. I think that’s why we get along so well. Like I said, Jay is just a neighbor I’m acquainted with.
I’m feeling out the vibes. Assessing him. Studying him out so I can get a grasp on what he’s saying. You got me? He’s bouncing around subjects. His speech is slow and slurring his words. No brainer. He’s drunk as a skunk! He gets flustered when I stop him to clarify something I am unsure about. Look! I make attempts to be a good listener. I am half way to Jay’s condition. I’ve been nursing on a few beers already. As I continue listening to Jay explain his predicament, I notice Jay was acting different. A lot different. He randomly repeated himself about how his wife Lena would never speak to him again. How she told him to get out of the house. She berated him about how he failed her as a husband. She attacked his masculinity telling him he was no longer a real man. Too many things weren’t adding up to his story. I asked him questions like, did he love her. So he could answer himself.
Albeit! I think I caught on to what was so different in his behavior that night. I was adjusting my basket and I caught him staring at it. I had to do a double take about this. So I blew it off. Following that moment, there was silence. He took a few gulps of his beer. I looked at the night sky. I made a comment about how peaceful it was outside.
Jay began slurring his words and repeating himself as he continued to apologizing about his unannounced late night drunk visit. He couldn’t help himself telling me about his four hour binge drinking . Tying one on at Dave’s Brewery and how he couldn’t go home that night. Now I knew I have a visitor for the night. I wasn’t sure if Gida was going for that. Finally the monkey comes out of its sleeve! He blurts out she walked in on him jerking off to a porn site. I asked him what’s the big deal. Gida knows I masturbate to porn now and then. He fumbled around and reluctantly confessed he was watching gay porn. He continued on about his fascination with looking at other men’s penises.
At that moment, I was getting aroused. I love receiving head and my dick is as amoral as it comes. It loves a wet hole. Women or men. My rod loves long sessions of pleasure. Unfortunately, Gida can only provide me with so much. That’s why I fucked several women in this neighborhood plus others. On and off, I have messed around with swingers. I’ve played the bull for wives of cucks.
When he made his confession about his lusts for cock, I subconsciously adjusted mine. I was growing an erection. I caught him staring at my crotch again. Upon eye contact, his eyes lit up. I knew he wanted my dick. As he continued telling me about his remorse, all I could think about was his lips wrapped around my throbbing cock.
Then out of nowhere he said he wanted to suck my dick. I was stunned. There was silence. I sat in my chair mandspreaded watching him get out of his chair. I could tell the alcohol made him less inhibited. He cautiously approached me. I sat there watching him. When he stood in front me, he was extremely nervous. I could make out the beads of sweat on his forehead. His eyes showed fear. Then, he slowly got on his knees in front of me. My adrenaline kicked in and I stood up. He looked up at me. Waiting for my approval. We kept eye contact.
I slowly pulled out my throbbing tool and he lightly began stroking my manhood. The sensations were electrifying! His touch was light and tender. My cock was aroused and seduced by his touch. My dick begged for more attention as he teased it. I watched him and his eyes revealed his true self. He was controlled by my dick! He was telling how beautiful my cock was and telling me he wanted to taste me. Jay was mesmerized by throbbing tool. He was drawn in like a magnet. His strokes increased as his other hand was exploring my balls. Then shifted from my ball sack to massaging my butt cheeks. More skeletons fell out of his closet. He masturbated to fantasies about taking hikes with me. Just he and I. I would stop, pull out my dick and pee. I would catch him staring out it, to be followed by him taking my dick. He talked about other scenarios such as coming over to my place and catching naked with a towel wrapped around me. I would take off my towel to get dressed. I would catch him checking me out. I would humiliate him. Afterwards Jay worshiping my cock.
Jay mentioned about what triggered him. It was, about two years ago, five of us spent three days camping near Mt Lemon. We hiked a few trails including the one up to Mt. Lemon. Along the hike, some of had to go. I too stopped to relieve myself. Jay followed me and stood beside me as we relieved ourselves. He mentioned that was the first time he saw it. He told me he loved how smooth it was. The shape of it. He described my dick in detail. Even the two freckles on my shaft. I was blown away. From that moment on, he wanted to see it again and again and again. He would take advantage of any opportunity he could to see it. As time passed by his desires kept growing and stirring up inside him. He began fantasizing about sucking me and fucking him more and more. He wanted my cock.
All of a sudden! There was a the sound of a sliding door opening up. We stopped what we were doing. My dick hanging out of my shorts. Jay on his knees with my package in front of his face. There’s no talking ourselves out of this one. If that was Gida, we’d both be out of our relationships. I heard the garbage can open up and the neighbor’s eight-year-old daughter talking. I quickly crammed my muscle into my board shorts and Jay remained on his knees. I silently watched the wall towards our neighbor’s backyard to see if anyone saw us. Fortunately, the coast was clear. Nobody saw us. It was one O’clock in the morning! What the fuck is an eight-year-old taking out the garbage at this time of night! As I was standing outside finishing up my cigarette, I tell Jay, “Let’s grab our things and follow me to my bedroom for privacy.”
As we returned to the house, I told him to be quiet because Gida was asleep and she would wake up in a few hours for work. I grabbed a couple of more beers and we walked upstairs to the guest room.
We usually sleep in separate rooms because of my snoring. The only time we sleep together is booty calls. She’s crazy in bed. However, she’s not into anal sex at all! She will suck my dick, but it’s out of foreplay. She hasn’t sucked me to completion in years. I miss that. I’ve been craving for a lady with a tongue of gold for a long time. Could Jay be the one? I don’t have any feelings for him. He doesn’t for me. He craves my dick and I am driven to have my needs met with oral and anal sex. He can be my sex toy. I can use him as a cumrag and he can use me for my cock. We’re helping each other out. I love my woman and won’t cheat on her emotionally. I haven’t had outside relationships with anyone. Just Gida and I. I fucked around with a few, but they were all meaningless. This goes for Jay as well. Besides being sexually aroused about his desires, I was disappointed and angry at Jay for his motives. He was close friends with Dave and James. He chose to come to me instead. I thought he was after a friendship. Instead Jay had ulterior motives. All he wanted was my dick.
From that night on, he changed the course of our relationship. We were no longer acquaintances. He was my cocksucker and I was his feeder. I was his master and he was my sex slave. He was no longer to contact me. Only I would initiate contact. He had to come over to service me upon my requests.
We quietly walked up the dark stairwell towards my room. I open the door and silently motion my eager cocksucker into his first playroom. As a responsible feeder, it’s my responsibility to train him how to pleasure me.
To be continued...
submitted by badazzdawgz69 to GaybroReads [link] [comments]

2020.10.16 03:20 Leavex Sound entirely broken after recent update (kubuntu)

Hello, i've been having some issues with sound not working at all (in any capacity), and i'm starting to feel like an idiot.
I am on Kubuntu (using KDE) and the issue came with the most recent apt upgrade. I'm on an AMD Ryzen 3700x machine with a x570 mobo, no dedicated pci sound card. Generally i'm using a usb headset (logitec g35) but that shouldn't matter.
No audio of any kind is generated for any sound card (as far as i can tell).
KDE no longer even sees sound cards, and it has no audio settings (no speaker icon in the system tray, etc).
I typically used the 'Starship/Matisse HD audio controller' with a pair of usb headphones in the past, though all available sound cards worked, and were visible in KDE settings, as well as pavucontrol.
I've made sure the user is a member of the 'audio' group.
I've removed and purged, then reinstalled most alsa packages (linux-sound-base, alsa-base, alsa-utils, etc).
pavucontrol gives the error message: "Establishing connection to pulseaudio, please wait."

I've included the output of some commands:

lspci -v grep -A7 -i "audio"
2d:00.1 Audio device: NVIDIA Corporation GM204 High Definition Audio Controller (rev a1) Subsystem: Corp. GM204 High Definition Audio Controller Flags: bus master, fast devsel, latency 0, IRQ 97 Memory at f7080000 (32-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=16K] Capabilities:  Kernel driver in use: snd_hda_intel Kernel modules: snd_hda_intel 2e:00.0 Non-Essential Instrumentation [1300]: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD] Starship/Matisse PCIe Dummy Function -- 2f:00.4 Audio device: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD] Starship/Matisse HD Audio Controller Subsystem: Micro-Star International Co., Ltd. [MSI] Starship/Matisse HD Audio Controller Flags: bus master, fast devsel, latency 0, IRQ 99 Memory at f7a00000 (32-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=32K] Capabilities:  Kernel driver in use: snd_hda_intel Kernel modules: snd_hda_intel 30:00.0 SATA controller: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD] FCH SATA Controller [AHCI mode] (rev 51) (prog-if 01 [AHCI 1.0]) 

cat /proc/asound/cards (i have tried setting each of these manually in /etc/modprobe.d/default.conf, and also with alsamixer)
 0 [NVidia ]: HDA-Intel - HDA NVidia HDA NVidia at 0xf7080000 irq 97 1 [Generic ]: HDA-Intel - HD-Audio Generic HD-Audio Generic at 0xf7a00000 irq 99 2 [Headset ]: USB-Audio - Logitech G35 Headset Logitech Logitech G35 Headset at usb-0000:2a:00.1-1, full speed 
i looked through the most recent apt upgrade that i did and think one of these might be the culprit? I am still unable to figure out how to roll back an apt upgrade.
alsa-ucm-conf:all=1.2.2-1ubuntu0.3 libpulse-mainloop-glib0:amd64=1:13.99.1-1ubuntu3.6 pulseaudio-utils:amd64=1:13.99.1-1ubuntu3.6 pulseaudio-module-bluetooth:amd64=1:13.99.1-1ubuntu3.6 pulseaudio:amd64=1:13.99.1-1ubuntu3.6 libpulsedsp:amd64=1:13.99.1-1ubuntu3.6 libpulse0:amd64=1:13.99.1-1ubuntu3.6 libpulse0:i386=1:13.99.1-1ubuntu3.6 

When trying to open a music or video file with mpv, i would get this output:
 (+) Audio --aid=1 (mp3 2ch 44100Hz) File tags: Artist: Above & Beyond Album: Acoustic Date: 2014 Title: Sun & Moon (Acoustic ft. Alex Vargas) Track: 6/12 ALSA lib pcm_dmix.c:1089:(snd_pcm_dmix_open) unable to open slave [ao/alsa] Playback open error: No such file or directory [ao/oss] Can't open audio device /dev/dsp: No such file or directory Cannot connect to server socket err = No such file or directory Cannot connect to server request channel jack server is not running or cannot be started JackShmReadWritePtr::~JackShmReadWritePtr - Init not done for -1, skipping unlock JackShmReadWritePtr::~JackShmReadWritePtr - Init not done for -1, skipping unlock [ao/jack] cannot open server ALSA lib pcm_dmix.c:1089:(snd_pcm_dmix_open) unable to open slave couldn't open play stream: No such file or directory [ao/sndio] can't open sndio default [ao] Failed to initialize audio driver 'sndio' Could not open/initialize audio device -> no sound. Audio: no audio Exiting... (Errors when loading file) 

I'm sure i'm missing something really obvious, but at this point i'm going insane and need sleep. I greatly appreciate any guidance anyone can offer, and please let me know if I forgot to include something.

pastebin of alsa-info output
pastebin of a few choice samples in .xsession-errors

edit: [SOLVED] ?
I misattributed this problem to the update, when in reality it was probably due to my installing pulseaudio-equalizer, adding a config file, deciding not to use it, and just not restarting until after the update.
i'll detail what else i've tried and what led to the issue being resolved.
i realized immediately this was the reason for the dbus errors in the pastebins.

sudo alsa force-reload
then kill the pulseaudio server and restart it:
ps -aux grep pulseaudio to find the process id kill once you've found the pid

The lack of system tray applet was caused by plasma-pa getting uninstalled (probably got removed with something else?). reinstall and restart fixed it.
The pastebins are set to expire in two weeks, but I believe I provided enough info for someone who makes the same blunder to correct it. Here is the relevant info (I think) from the .xsession-errors pastebin:
** (/uslib/firefox/firefox:1803): WARNING **: 01:53:08.753: Unable to connect to dbus: Could not connect: Permission denied org.kde.plasma.pulseaudio: context kaput kdeconnect.core: Broadcasting identity packet ** (/uslib/firefox/firefox:2019): WARNING **: 01:53:31.451: Unable to connect to dbus: Could not connect: Permission denied org.kde.plasma.pulseaudio: context kaput 

Like all computer problems, the computer did exactly what it was told, It just had an idiot commanding it. :^)
submitted by Leavex to linuxquestions [link] [comments]