Travelodge by wyndham miles city

Overland Park, KS

2012.12.23 08:55 Overland Park, KS

Welcome to Overland Park, KS!
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2012.07.12 02:17 News, events and general randomness for the little town that doesn't matter.

News, events, gatherings, parties, advice, meetups. You name it, if it has to do with Manteca, it's here.
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2016.06.14 04:11 Practical7 Marvel's Spider-Man

Reddit's home for all things related to the game "Marvel's Spider-Man", and its sequels! PC players welcome!
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2023.03.23 22:26 J0SHEY Convince People Irrefutably? Nahh... Let's Choose The Stupidest Way To Do Things🤦

Today's daily text:
Friday, March 24
He viewed the city and wept over it.​—Luke 19:41.
Jesus felt pain of heart because he knew that his countrymen in general had already shown that they would refuse to respond favorably to the Kingdom message. As a result, Jerusalem would be destroyed and any Jews who survived the destruction of the city would be led into captivity. (Luke 21:20-24) Sadly, just as Jesus anticipated, most of the people rejected him. How do people in general respond to the Kingdom message where you live? If few respond positively to your efforts to teach them the truth, what can you learn from Jesus’ tears? Jehovah cares about people. Jesus’ tears remind us of how much Jehovah cares about people. “He does not desire anyone to be destroyed but desires all to attain to repentance.” (2 Pet. 3:9) Today we show that we love our neighbors by persevering in our self-sacrificing efforts to touch their heart with the good news.​—Matt. 22:39. w22.01 16 ¶10-12
My comments: How about fucking convincing people IRREFUTABLY in line with supposedly "not desiring anyone to be destroyed"?
Before anyone even mentions "free will" — the "free will" excuse CAN'T be used because you can have knowledge first BEFORE exercising free will. For example, having absolute knowledge that the army will invade STILL gives the people a chance to exercise their free will — they can choose to defend the city OR flee to the mountains. So nope, free will ain't applicable. The whole account is an unconvincing story just as unconvincing as the "Kingdom message" being preached by JW's today
submitted by J0SHEY to exjw [link] [comments]


2023.03.23 22:25 Negative_Task Is this a good deal?

I found a 2016 Elantra with 150k miles and was owned by a driving school previously should I buy it? The person selling is my dad’s mechanic and he’s only asking 4200 it has minor paint damage in the front but that’s it
submitted by Negative_Task to Hyundai [link] [comments]


2023.03.23 22:24 ILive2Drum How do you guys stay positive in these deathly slow times?

I feel like I’m starting to lose my cool too much. Because it’s slow. Because people are terrible fucking drivers up here. Because I see 3 Dashers come in and out of the same restaurant I am chilling at but I’m fighting to keep this shitty 55 percent AR just to MAYBE get high pay orders. Because I keep having dead miles on the orders I DO take because it’s better than no money at all.
Like I’m more angry than I should at the situation. I keep saying nothing lasts forever but I’m starting to think this is the new norm now- barely scrape by. I mean before I was in an accident in August, 200 days were easy peasy. Now I’m lucky if I get 125 after finally returning last month. I multi app with DD, UE, GrubHub and soon Shipt. And now as I type this shit I see two foreigners riding together in a Prius dashing on their phones.
Coming to the most toxic sub on Reddit can be a pretty bad idea but I figured since a lot of y’all most likely feel my pain, you got a different look on the situation.
Lie to me, tell me it gets better. At all.
submitted by ILive2Drum to doordash_drivers [link] [comments]


2023.03.23 22:22 Bike_Walk_Run_Roll Group Bike Ride Saturday!

Group Ride Saturday! Thanks to Darron and the Red Line Parkway Initiative for setting this up! Roughly a 9.5 mile ride starting from the parking lot South of Pedego by the SUP and including the new Lakeline Park!

Please sign up and ride!

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/lakeline-park-active-transportation-tour-cedar-park-tickets-565753151907
submitted by Bike_Walk_Run_Roll to CedarPark [link] [comments]


2023.03.23 22:21 PepperAntique Wait, is this just GATE? (335/?)

Previous
Writer's note: Tuuurn and face the strange! Cha-Cha-Changes!
Enjoy.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
James trudged as he and Amina walked back to the airship.
Partly because they had, politely yet definitively, been asked to leave Vatria.
Partly because he'd almost single handedly ended the tournament but was NOT the champion of it.
And partly because he and Amina had two tag-alongs following them.
Amina, despite everything else was beaming with pride and a smile as she sat on top of Steve as James guided him through the streets of the capital towards the end of the palace grounds where her sister and the ambassador had docked the air ship. Around her neck was a loosely draped neck-piece made of a combinations of emeralds and sapphires, wrought in a bright silver. It was the tournament's version of a laurel or wreath. She also had a hefty bag of gold and silver stored in her bottomless bag now. Not that she was hurting for money.
On her back was the enchanted hammer that Raend had been using throughout the tournament. She'd stopped by to see the poor mercenary after the fight had concluded, and as the arena healers were busy trying to heal his leg. She'd offered to leave the hammer near him, but the brutally injured man had told her to get the hell away from him, and sworn off fighting for the rest of his life, so she'd held onto it.
James on the other hand, had not gotten off so lucky.
He'd been disqualified for breaking the flight ceiling set in the tournament's rules.
He had also caused an obscene amount of damage to the arena itself.
He'd gained two more penalty flags for how badly he'd damaged Glag, who had needed to be stabilized by several of the arena mages, and fed some of the broken bits of his own body so he could use them to regenerate. The sandstone creature hadn't been disqualified for breaking the ceiling since he hadn't done so of his own accord, but rather as the result of an opponent's attack.
As a result of the damage James had caused, the Arena was temporarily evacuated while it was evaluated to ensure it wasn't going to collapse into its lower passages. This coupled with Glag's , admittedly temporary, injuries meant that the match was over. With two penalty points against him due to injuring Raend as gruesomely as he had, and Amina with only one from when Glag had sent her flying, she had been declared the victor.
And James had been forced to sign a legal agreement to pay for the damages caused to the arena, or else be arrested until such time as restitution could be made on his behalf. The look on both Commander Tyrius's and the Emperor's face when he casually agreed to pay the cost and used his medallion to sign the papers was almost worth whatever drain was about to hit his bank account. he knew he was rich, though he wasn't certain to what extent. But he was fairly certain even HE would feel a bit of sting from this bill.
It didn't matter though. All things aside James was happy for Amina. She'd wanted to win the tournament pretty badly. Additionally, he wasn't a hundred percent certain he could've fought her all out if it had come down to the two of them, and he definitely wouldn't have wanted to see her face Glag alone, without him. Not in her current state.
The thought of that reminded him that they hadn't had a chance to see a life priestess yet. Things here had moved too... unpredictably... for that. But she was still getting the morning sickness, so there was that.
"Glag. Glag glag glag." The little rock monster said, seemingly happily, as he walked next to and just behind James. Even though he was wearing his medallion, and had been the entire final match, James still didn't understand him. Or it..... or.... whatever the hell Glag was.
After James had been reprimanded and signed the agreement to pay the bill for the arena, Glag had come rushing over from out of the fighting area. It had practically bowled both the Arena official and Commander Tyrius over as it ran to him. It had excitedly grabbed at his hand and jumped up and down. Exclaiming, as always, "Glag!" Excitedly.
James hadn't been able to convince the sentient sedimentary stone creature alone to leave him alone since then. Though he had managed to get it to understand that he didn't need to hold its hand as they walked which it had insisted on doing for the first mile or so.
Still. He didn't have it that bad. At least Glag, while talkative, didn't exactly expect conversation or make demands.
He peered over his shoulder at the large, dagger packing, centaur that was walking alongside Steve.
No amount of protest or debate had convinced Gorna that Amina didn't want anything to do with her. And the centaur woman had vowed to follow Amina until she had made her decision as to how she wished to fulfill her proposal requirements serving as a servant until that time.
Now she was doing her best, medieval fantasy world version, impression of a member of the secret service. And her president was Amina.
He.... REALLY... hoped that she at least understood the boundary of a bedroom door.
For that matter he hoped Glag did too. And he kind of hoped that Glag didn't view him as some kind of spouse now. He'd have to ask Veliry if she understood rock monster whenever they got back home.
Amina was doing everything in her power to ignore the very existence of the centaur as she rode Steve, smile on her face, waving at the people who greeted her as they passed.
The same people that looked at James like he was a leper and seemed to part for him like the red sea.
At least.... He thought as they rounded a street corner and saw the entrance to the Palace that they needed to use. This place wasn't boring.
----------------
Vickers and De'Lius had just finished setting up the twin bedrooms and storing the two bottomless bags full of food for Five and Driscoll, when the front door of the house resounded with knocks.
"The two that are doing the biting?" Vickers asked. He could smell them, but he knew the Outer Light Commander could smell them better.
"Aye." He said. "I'll finish here. Go ahead and greet them.
Vickers followed the directions without even thinking about it.
On the other side were two people whose appearances he hadn't expected.
One was a tall.... very tall... lightly red furred man(?) in a set of robes that made Vickers think of catholic clergy, if a bit less ornate. He locked eyes with Vickers and his head cocked in a way that seemed utterly alien to him. Then, silently and swiftly he stepped past Vickers and into the house, still looking at him. Vickers backed up unconsciously as his, admittedly muted, animal instincts told him not to take his eyes off the man.
"A night brother." He said in a voice that was deeper than his slender build implied. "You are the one the Council letters told us to meet here."
"Name's Vickers." The SEAL said as he reached out his hand for a shake. The Fox man instinctively pulled back a bit as he stared at the hand. Then he gingerly took the hand and shook.
"Don't mind him." Said a warm, and somewhat old sounding, and rather plump, woman with large eyes and puffy cheeks. Even in her mostly human form she had a massive, bushy, tail. She was wearing an set of coveralls that were coated in flour and bits of food and he got the impression that she was a baker. She practically jittered with manic amounts of energy as she rapidly looked around the room, her massive tail twitching spasmodically.
When she hugged him it both took him by surprise, and made him a little uncomfortable.
"I'm Brin." She said with a smile that revealed a set of oversized buck teeth dominating her otherwise human mouth. "It's nice to meet you Mr. Vickers. Are the people we're converting already here?"
"Not yet." He said. "They should be showing up within the next hour or so. It's.... difficult to move them. Thank you for coming."
"Of course." The fox man said. "I cannot speak to Ms... Brin's... experience. But like the two you requested conversion for, I was saved by being converted."
"Oh I just converted so I could keep up with the man I ended up marryin'." Brin said cheerily.
Vickers nodded awkwardly at the two short stories. "Well. Thanks anyways." He said. "The Commander and I are still putting the finishing touches on the rooms for 'em. Take a seat, get comfortable. I imagine we'll know when they get here."
A little over forty five minutes later Vickers was proven right.
A loud rumbling preceded the wagons that were being used to transport the two muck marchers. They'd been encased in a pair of heavy duty gurneys that had rigid plastic canopies over them, keeping out the germs of the world around them.
"Oh my." Brin said as she nervously followed Vickers outside to greet them.
The wagons stopped just short of the door and the three remaining Toolies, accompanied by several out of uniform Earth soldiers and a pair of Petravian guards that had their restraint controls, began helping them get the gurneys down. A few minutes later they were being wheeled into the building.
"What are they?" The fox man, who had never given Vickers his name, asked.
"They're human." Commander De'Lius said as he looked at them curiously. "And....." His head cocked to the side, putting his left ear closer to the two pods. "Machines. And they are dying. Just as Chief Vickers' entreaty said."
"I wasn't lying." Vickers said defensively.
"I did not say you were." The old wolf said absently. "But you were most assuredly understating. How do they live?"
"We stick around talking much longer and they probably won't." Vickers said somewhat testily. "Let's get this done."
The lead Toolie, an older man by the name of Andrei Piotris stepped forward.
"Chief. Are you sure about this?" He asked with his hands up to stop Vickers. He looked over at the fox and squirrel. "I mean. Are you sure this is the best move?"
Vickers was about to reply, even reaching up to press the mans hands back down and gently move him aside. Then a hand weakly tapped at the inside of one of the pods.
Five was looking at the toolie.
"It's all good P." She said so softly that even Vickers' keener than normal hearing barely picked anything up. But the shaky thumbs up she held up was signal enough.
Then the hand fell back weakly as Five's eyes glassed over again.
Piotris seemed to deflate.
Vickers placed a hand on his shoulder.
"It's a shot at living." He said as the toolie looked at him. "The only shot really." He turned back to the Commander. "Help me get em out of the pods and into the rooms?"
De'Lius looked at him curiously for a moment. Then nodded.
"Poor things." Brin said. "Barely even living. Cut in half like that."
"It is a grotesqueness that I am amazed the gods even allowed to exist." The fox agreed, though Brin's glance at him implied that that was NOT what she had meant.
Less than ten minutes later and as the wagons, now filled only with the Earth and Petravian soldiers and the empty gurney pods, returned to the castle. Vickers and the other were-folk present, listened to the two Muck Marchers screaming as their bodies began attempting to violently rearrange themselves.
Vickers regretted the keen senses he'd been given.
A simplified shotgun, made with some spare parts from the little mage's supplies, sat on his lap. Four impromptu shells loaded with silver buckshot, made of chopped up silver coins, sat on the small table next to him.
Just in case.
submitted by PepperAntique to GATEhouse [link] [comments]


2023.03.23 22:20 kenacstreams Electrical Question

Cruising down the road today and my '87 just kills. Pulled over to investigate and discovered the fuel pump wasn't working in the tank. Pulled the ECM1 fuse and it was melted.
Popped a new one in it and went on my way another 5 miles or so to work.
Now I'm researching why that fuse let the smoke out while just driving down the road. I'll look harder at it this weekend for shorts etc but I assume I don't have any wires melted anywhere because the fuse didn't blow when I cranked the truck back up with a new one it just ran and drove great.
Here's where it's a little bit of a mess, the history of the truck to the best of my knowledge:
Original TBI motor
Engine swapped by previous owner and switched to carb
Purchased by me and swapped to Edelbrock EFI system
So the entire original injection system, run by the ECM, is unused. But it was never properly deleted just unplugged as needed.
Previous owner wired the fuel pump to run on ignition power. An oil pressure switch isn't being utilized it just runs constantly with key-on power. I need to find out where they are getting that power exactly.
I see lots of posts online talking about pink wires being ones controlled by the ECM. The original gauges have been swapped and the original harness, which had quite a few pink wires in it, is all cut up but all the unused wires were properly capped off so there shouldn't (key word shouldn't) be a short in the dash.
My question is - what else should I be looking at as far as a now unused, and unplugged, sensor or sensor connector that could be a culprit?
I put the EFI on it months ago. It's been cranked, run, driven 50 times since then for a couple hundred miles, including a couple of hour long 50ish mile drives.
Weirdly enough I got it in a "running when I parked it, won't crank now" state that was a blown ECM1 fuse so no fuel pump. Now, after nearly a year it randomly popped again. Whatever it is is very intermittent.
Any guidance would be appreciated!
submitted by kenacstreams to squarebodies [link] [comments]


2023.03.23 22:19 Surfacing555666 Big increase in MPG following purge valve recall work

Just wanted to share my experience in case anyone is having a similar issue.
My car threw my first CEL at 138,000 miles! It was a p144c, purge valve code. I had not yet had the recall work done on my 2014 ST.
Replaced the valve and cleared the code, but the PCM had a “permanent” code in it, the same p144c, that refused to clear after a month of driving. I also noticed over the last year or so, my mpg slowly started to drop from around a 27 average to 23.3 with no difference in driving habits whatsoever.
Now, after the recall work (flash of pcm), it’s averaging 28mpg and still going up little by little. The “permanent” code is also gone. So if your noticing a drop in mpg, get a CEL, the recall seems to do the job.
Thankfully I had no deformed tank, no charcoal canister issues, just a new purge valve and the flash. Up 5 mpg!
submitted by Surfacing555666 to FocusST [link] [comments]


2023.03.23 22:19 PepperAntique Wait, is this just GATE? (335/?)

Previous / First
Writer's note: Tuuurn and face the strange! Cha-Cha-Changes!
Enjoy.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
James trudged as he and Amina walked back to the airship.
Partly because they had, politely yet definitively, been asked to leave Vatria.
Partly because he'd almost single handedly ended the tournament but was NOT the champion of it.
And partly because he and Amina had two tag-alongs following them.
Amina, despite everything else was beaming with pride and a smile as she sat on top of Steve as James guided him through the streets of the capital towards the end of the palace grounds where her sister and the ambassador had docked the air ship. Around her neck was a loosely draped neck-piece made of a combinations of emeralds and sapphires, wrought in a bright silver. It was the tournament's version of a laurel or wreath. She also had a hefty bag of gold and silver stored in her bottomless bag now. Not that she was hurting for money.
On her back was the enchanted hammer that Raend had been using throughout the tournament. She'd stopped by to see the poor mercenary after the fight had concluded, and as the arena healers were busy trying to heal his leg. She'd offered to leave the hammer near him, but the brutally injured man had told her to get the hell away from him, and sworn off fighting for the rest of his life, so she'd held onto it.
James on the other hand, had not gotten off so lucky.
He'd been disqualified for breaking the flight ceiling set in the tournament's rules.
He had also caused an obscene amount of damage to the arena itself.
He'd gained two more penalty flags for how badly he'd damaged Glag, who had needed to be stabilized by several of the arena mages, and fed some of the broken bits of his own body so he could use them to regenerate. The sandstone creature hadn't been disqualified for breaking the ceiling since he hadn't done so of his own accord, but rather as the result of an opponent's attack.
As a result of the damage James had caused, the Arena was temporarily evacuated while it was evaluated to ensure it wasn't going to collapse into its lower passages. This coupled with Glag's , admittedly temporary, injuries meant that the match was over. With two penalty points against him due to injuring Raend as gruesomely as he had, and Amina with only one from when Glag had sent her flying, she had been declared the victor.
And James had been forced to sign a legal agreement to pay for the damages caused to the arena, or else be arrested until such time as restitution could be made on his behalf. The look on both Commander Tyrius's and the Emperor's face when he casually agreed to pay the cost and used his medallion to sign the papers was almost worth whatever drain was about to hit his bank account. he knew he was rich, though he wasn't certain to what extent. But he was fairly certain even HE would feel a bit of sting from this bill.
It didn't matter though. All things aside James was happy for Amina. She'd wanted to win the tournament pretty badly. Additionally, he wasn't a hundred percent certain he could've fought her all out if it had come down to the two of them, and he definitely wouldn't have wanted to see her face Glag alone, without him. Not in her current state.
The thought of that reminded him that they hadn't had a chance to see a life priestess yet. Things here had moved too... unpredictably... for that. But she was still getting the morning sickness, so there was that.
"Glag. Glag glag glag." The little rock monster said, seemingly happily, as he walked next to and just behind James. Even though he was wearing his medallion, and had been the entire final match, James still didn't understand him. Or it..... or.... whatever the hell Glag was.
After James had been reprimanded and signed the agreement to pay the bill for the arena, Glag had come rushing over from out of the fighting area. It had practically bowled both the Arena official and Commander Tyrius over as it ran to him. It had excitedly grabbed at his hand and jumped up and down. Exclaiming, as always, "Glag!" Excitedly.
James hadn't been able to convince the sentient sedimentary stone creature alone to leave him alone since then. Though he had managed to get it to understand that he didn't need to hold its hand as they walked which it had insisted on doing for the first mile or so.
Still. He didn't have it that bad. At least Glag, while talkative, didn't exactly expect conversation or make demands.
He peered over his shoulder at the large, dagger packing, centaur that was walking alongside Steve.
No amount of protest or debate had convinced Gorna that Amina didn't want anything to do with her. And the centaur woman had vowed to follow Amina until she had made her decision as to how she wished to fulfill her proposal requirements serving as a servant until that time.
Now she was doing her best, medieval fantasy world version, impression of a member of the secret service. And her president was Amina.
He.... REALLY... hoped that she at least understood the boundary of a bedroom door.
For that matter he hoped Glag did too. And he kind of hoped that Glag didn't view him as some kind of spouse now. He'd have to ask Veliry if she understood rock monster whenever they got back home.
Amina was doing everything in her power to ignore the very existence of the centaur as she rode Steve, smile on her face, waving at the people who greeted her as they passed.
The same people that looked at James like he was a leper and seemed to part for him like the red sea.
At least.... He thought as they rounded a street corner and saw the entrance to the Palace that they needed to use. This place wasn't boring.
----------------
Vickers and De'Lius had just finished setting up the twin bedrooms and storing the two bottomless bags full of food for Five and Driscoll, when the front door of the house resounded with knocks.
"The two that are doing the biting?" Vickers asked. He could smell them, but he knew the Outer Light Commander could smell them better.
"Aye." He said. "I'll finish here. Go ahead and greet them.
Vickers followed the directions without even thinking about it.
On the other side were two people whose appearances he hadn't expected.
One was a tall.... very tall... lightly red furred man(?) in a set of robes that made Vickers think of catholic clergy, if a bit less ornate. He locked eyes with Vickers and his head cocked in a way that seemed utterly alien to him. Then, silently and swiftly he stepped past Vickers and into the house, still looking at him. Vickers backed up unconsciously as his, admittedly muted, animal instincts told him not to take his eyes off the man.
"A night brother." He said in a voice that was deeper than his slender build implied. "You are the one the Council letters told us to meet here."
"Name's Vickers." The SEAL said as he reached out his hand for a shake. The Fox man instinctively pulled back a bit as he stared at the hand. Then he gingerly took the hand and shook.
"Don't mind him." Said a warm, and somewhat old sounding, and rather plump, woman with large eyes and puffy cheeks. Even in her mostly human form she had a massive, bushy, tail. She was wearing an set of coveralls that were coated in flour and bits of food and he got the impression that she was a baker. She practically jittered with manic amounts of energy as she rapidly looked around the room, her massive tail twitching spasmodically.
When she hugged him it both took him by surprise, and made him a little uncomfortable.
"I'm Brin." She said with a smile that revealed a set of oversized buck teeth dominating her otherwise human mouth. "It's nice to meet you Mr. Vickers. Are the people we're converting already here?"
"Not yet." He said. "They should be showing up within the next hour or so. It's.... difficult to move them. Thank you for coming."
"Of course." The fox man said. "I cannot speak to Ms... Brin's... experience. But like the two you requested conversion for, I was saved by being converted."
"Oh I just converted so I could keep up with the man I ended up marryin'." Brin said cheerily.
Vickers nodded awkwardly at the two short stories. "Well. Thanks anyways." He said. "The Commander and I are still putting the finishing touches on the rooms for 'em. Take a seat, get comfortable. I imagine we'll know when they get here."
A little over forty five minutes later Vickers was proven right.
A loud rumbling preceded the wagons that were being used to transport the two muck marchers. They'd been encased in a pair of heavy duty gurneys that had rigid plastic canopies over them, keeping out the germs of the world around them.
"Oh my." Brin said as she nervously followed Vickers outside to greet them.
The wagons stopped just short of the door and the three remaining Toolies, accompanied by several out of uniform Earth soldiers and a pair of Petravian guards that had their restraint controls, began helping them get the gurneys down. A few minutes later they were being wheeled into the building.
"What are they?" The fox man, who had never given Vickers his name, asked.
"They're human." Commander De'Lius said as he looked at them curiously. "And....." His head cocked to the side, putting his left ear closer to the two pods. "Machines. And they are dying. Just as Chief Vickers' entreaty said."
"I wasn't lying." Vickers said defensively.
"I did not say you were." The old wolf said absently. "But you were most assuredly understating. How do they live?"
"We stick around talking much longer and they probably won't." Vickers said somewhat testily. "Let's get this done."
The lead Toolie, an older man by the name of Andrei Piotris stepped forward.
"Chief. Are you sure about this?" He asked with his hands up to stop Vickers. He looked over at the fox and squirrel. "I mean. Are you sure this is the best move?"
Vickers was about to reply, even reaching up to press the mans hands back down and gently move him aside. Then a hand weakly tapped at the inside of one of the pods.
Five was looking at the toolie.
"It's all good P." She said so softly that even Vickers' keener than normal hearing barely picked anything up. But the shaky thumbs up she held up was signal enough.
Then the hand fell back weakly as Five's eyes glassed over again.
Piotris seemed to deflate.
Vickers placed a hand on his shoulder.
"It's a shot at living." He said as the toolie looked at him. "The only shot really." He turned back to the Commander. "Help me get em out of the pods and into the rooms?"
De'Lius looked at him curiously for a moment. Then nodded.
"Poor things." Brin said. "Barely even living. Cut in half like that."
"It is a grotesqueness that I am amazed the gods even allowed to exist." The fox agreed, though Brin's glance at him implied that that was NOT what she had meant.
Less than ten minutes later and as the wagons, now filled only with the Earth and Petravian soldiers and the empty gurney pods, returned to the castle. Vickers and the other were-folk present, listened to the two Muck Marchers screaming as their bodies began attempting to violently rearrange themselves.
Vickers regretted the keen senses he'd been given.
A simplified shotgun, made with some spare parts from the little mage's supplies, sat on his lap. Four impromptu shells loaded with silver buckshot, made of chopped up silver coins, sat on the small table next to him.
Just in case.
submitted by PepperAntique to HFY [link] [comments]


2023.03.23 22:19 ianthekorean_ [OC] What an Expanded 24-Team WBC Could Look Like

The 2023 World Baseball Classic came to a thrilling end on Tuesday with Japan taking the crown, and the tournament has been an undoubtable success in its ability to spread the popularity of baseball to a broader global audience. The MLB clearly knows this, and probably wants to expand the WBC so it can become a more global tournament. With the excitement of international baseball still fresh on people's minds, I wanted to try taking a stab at creating a viable format and schedule for an expanded, 24-team WBC for its 2026 iteration.
If you don't want to read all the explainer below, here's the TL;DR version of the whole spiel:

Expansion Qualifiers

Since 16 out of the 24 teams in the next WBC was already decided based on the results of this year's Group Stage, we will need to fill out the 8 remaining spots with the upcoming qualifiers.
Following the 2013 and 2017 WBC's qualification process, the 2026 WBC Qualifiers should take place in 4 groups of 4 teams in a double-elimination tournament, except this time TWO teams from each group qualify for the Group Stage. Although I personally believe a round-robin format is probably more appropriate, I am presuming that the organizers of the WBC Qualifiers have their own reasons (e.g.: logistics) for sticking to the double-elimination format.
I've seeded the qualifiers based on the most recent WBSC World Rankings as well as geographic considerations, with preference given to countries that have a prior history of playing in previous WBC Qualifiers:
Pool A (Asia) Pool B (Latin America) Pool C (EMEA A) Pool D (EMEA B)
Taiwan (Host) Nicaragua Germany (Host) Spain (Host)
China Brazil (Host) Belgium France
Pakistan Argentina Austria South Africa
New Zealand Colombia Ukraine Croatia

Group Stage (First Round)

Format

For the First Round, the 24 teams will be split up into 4 groups of 6 teams each, where every group will have 4 teams that automatically qualified for the 2026 WBC and 2 teams that made it from the Qualifiers. The top FOUR teams of each group will qualify for the Second Round, and much like previous WBCs, the last-placed team in each group will be relegated down to the Qualifiers.
While one can certainly argue that 6 groups of 4 teams (like the Euro's Group Stage) is a better-suited format for a 24-team tournament, I believe the proposed format is better since it offers a more diverse array of matchups between different countries. As well, the increase in number of matches played in the Group Stage provides a larger sample size that should better reflect the skill level of each team, meaning there is a lower chance of standings being decided by ridiculous tiebreakers like Group A this year.
Speaking of tiebreakers, any ties in standings should be resolved by run differential (Team Quality Balance) instead of least runs allowed if head-to-head is not an option.

Host Cities

With each group now having 6 teams and 15 games to be played amongst each other, having all the group stage games in one venue is simply unviable given the constrained schedule of the tournament. As such, each group will now be hosted by two host stadiums, with what I believe are the most viable venue groupings listed below:

Tokyo, Japan and Fukuoka, Japan

With Tokyo Dome being an absolute lock because Tokyo Dome, I was debating between Fukuoka and Sapporo but ultimately went with Fukuoka, who have previously hosted the 2013 WBC Group Stage.
I personally prefer Sapporo over Fukuoka since they have the Sapporo Dome (Capacity: 42,270) and the newly-built Es Con Field (Capacity: 35,000), Fukuoka is probably a better location due to their warmer and not snowing March weather and better accessibility from other parts of Japan. That said, Toronto's Skydome Rogers Centre (Capacity: 41,500) has hosted the 2009 WBC Groups despite being a winter city, so you can certainly make an argument for Sapporo.

Taichung, Taiwan and Taoyuan, Taiwan

With Taichung and Taoyuan having the highest-capacity baseball stadiums in Taiwan, these two were going to be the obvious choices. Should the delay-plagued Taipei Dome finally be completed by this year as officials claim, however, the venue would replace Taoyuan as the second host venue.
But What About Korea?
Although it would be great to have Korea return as a WBC host, Seoul's Gocheok Sky Dome (Capacity:16,744), which last hosted in the 2017 WBC, feels too small to justify giving hosting rights to a growing tournament. More importantly, it is simply too cold to play outdoors baseball at March in Korea -- without another domed ballpark with a larger stadium capacity, Korea unfortunately doesn't seem viable as a host country. Thankfully though, there are plans to build more domed ballparks including a 35,000-seat domed stadium in Seoul and one in Incheon with at least 20,000 seats.
So while Korea will be missing out hosting rights for the 2026 WBCand probably knockouts too seeing how dogshit they've been the past three tournaments AAAAAAHHH I'm fine I swear , they should be considered as a host nation for future iterations of the tournament.

Phoenix, Arizona and San Diego, California

I don't think I need to do much explanation here -- both Pheonix and San Diego have an extensive history of hosting WBC games, and they have the added benefit of being close to Spring Training facilities and players.
If the tournament was to ever expand beyond 24 teams, it would be great if the MLB considered Seattle and Toronto as future hosts. With Seattle capturing the Canadian audience coming from Vancouver and Toronto covering the American crowd coming up from the Midwest and possibly the Northeast, the two cities would be a great opportunity to bring the WBC to the north.

Arlington, Texas and Houston, Texas

Probably the most wild selections in this list, I think Texas have been slept on as potential hosts for far too long, and with the expanded WBC, now is the perfect time to bring international baseball to the region. Houston and Dallas are both homes to some of the largest Hispanic and Latin American communities in the US, and there is no reason why Texas wouldn't be able to replicate the attendance levels seen in California.
But What About Miami or Latin American Cities?
A notable omission is Miami, which hosted the 3 previous WBCs including all stages of the 2023 WBC. Rest assured, LoanDepot Park (Capacity: 36,742) will be included in the later rounds. Although Miami would've also been great hosts for the group stages as demonstrated by this year's WBC, the city suffers from the same problem as Korea where they don't have a city with another domed stadium within its vicinity (and no, I'm not considering Tropicana Field (Capacity: 42,735 25,000) as an option). Whenever the Tampa Bay Rays decide to finally deal with their stadium issue, Miami and Tampa should be obvious locks as future hosts.
I know a lot of people wants to see Latin American cities come back as hosts, but I'd presume the MLB prefers hosting WBC in US cities with large Hispanic and Latino communities over hosting in Latin America since they're able to charge more per event in higher-capacity stadiums. That said, if the WBC were to return, there are no shortage of options available, namely Estadio de Béisbol Monterrey (Capacity: 27,000), Estadio Hiram Bithorn (Capacity: 18,264, Estadio Quisqueya (Capacity: 14,469), or even Estadio Alfredo Harp Helú (Capacity: 20,062) in Mexico City for some Coors Field-style chaos.

Seeding

Unlike the FIFA World Cup, where teams are seeded based on FIFA Rankings, the MLB used the following criteria to determine the Team Rankings for each group in the 2023 WBC:
  • First, the Federation representing each Pool’s host country will be assigned.
  • Second, the team(s) that participated in the final four of the 2017 World Baseball Classic will next be assigned as top seeds for each Pool
  • Finally, the remaining teams will be assigned based on December 31, 2021, WBSC rankings in order to guaranteed competitive balance. Commercial, geographic and geopolitical considerations may also be applied to this process.
Basically, it's pretty much full of shit and almost completely up to the Commissioner's discretion. Regardless, I tried drafting up what the groups could possibly look like based on the criteria above:
Group A (Taiwan) Group B (Japan) Group C (PHX, SD) Group D (DAL, HOU)
Cuba (Final Four) Japan (Host; Final Four) Mexico (Final Four) United States (Host; Final Four)
Taiwan (Host; Qualifier #1) Netherlands Puerto Rico Venezuela
Korea Australia Canada Dominican Republic
Italy Great Britain Panama Israel
Czechia Qualifier #1 Qualifier #1 Qualifier #1
Qualifier #2 Qualifier #2 Qualifier #2 Qualifier #2
Note: For the purposes of this grouping, I assumed Taiwan would be able to make it through the 2026 WBC Qualifiers. In the extremely unlikely event that Taiwan fails to qualify, I would suggest Korea as alternate hosts for Group A.

Knockout Qualifiers (Second Round)

Format

All three previous WBCs featured a Second Round after the group stages, where the remaining 8 teams were split into 2 groups of 4 to compete in a Double-Elimination Tournament (2009, 2013) or another Round Robin (2006, 2017). With the Second Round expanded to 16 teams, however, playing another 3 games on top of an expanded group stage may present some scheduling issues and probably draw the ire of MLB teams hoping avoid any player injuries from the tournament.
To resolve this issue, I propose using the "Play-In" Format used in the NBA Play-In Tournament, which works like a Double-Elimination Tournament but the bottom 2 teams are seeded into the Loser's Bracket and both finalists qualify. I recommend reading the linked article to get a better explanation on the format, but here is what a list of games in a bracket might look like:
  1. Group A #1 (Home) v. Group B #2 (Away) - winner advances to knockouts
  2. Group A #3 (Home) v. Group B #4 (Away) - loser eliminated
  3. Match 1 Loser (Home) v. Match 2 Winner (Away) - winner advances to knockouts; loser eliminated
As much as I would prefer to have another round of Round Robin for the Second Round, I believe the "Play-In" format is best-suited since each team only has to play an extra game or two compared to 3 additional games under a Round Robin format. As well, each group only needs to play 3 games in total which contrasts with 6 total games with Round Robin, which can go a long way in reducing the number of days required for this round in the constrained tournament schedule.

Host Venues

The list of hosts is basically a trimmed-down version of the Group Stage host venues, but with the addition of Los Angeles and Miami.

Seeding

As a reminder, the top TWO teams of each group advance to knockouts.
Group E (Taichung) Group F (Tokyo) Group G (Los Angeles) Group H (Miami)
Group A #1 Group B #1 Group C #1 Group D #1
Group B #2 Group A #2 Group D #2 Group C #2
Group A #3 Group B #3 Group C #3 Group D #3
Group B #4 Group A #4 Group D #4 Group C #4

Knockout Stage

Similar to this year's WBC, the Knockout Stage is an 8-team Single-Elimination bracket, with the games and host cities listed below:
  1. QF: Group E #1 v. Group F #2 (Tokyo)
  2. QF: Group F #1 v. Group E #2 (Tokyo)
  3. QF: Group G #1 v. Group H #2 (Los Angeles)
  4. QF: Group H #1 v. Group G #2 (Miami)
  5. SF: Match 1 Winner v. Match 3 Winner (Los Angeles)
  6. SF: Match 3 Winner v. Match 4 Winner (Miami)
  7. Grand Finals (Miami)

Hypothetical Schedule

With all that said, here is what the 2026 WBC could look like under the proposed format:
As you can see, we would only have to add an extra week to the existing WBC schedule and still provide enough buffer room to give players time to rest up before Opening Day. The teams would be playing a maximum of 10 games, which is only a 3-game increase from the current WBC format.
What do you think? I would love to hear more about your thoughts on an expanded WBC! Rob Manfred please hire me
submitted by ianthekorean_ to baseball [link] [comments]


2023.03.23 22:19 BrightLove5460 Protest for Trans Rights - Wed. March 29 @ 2 - State Capitol

Received this email today from PROMO:
A certified public accountant, a cattle rancher, and a family-farm operator decided they know better than every major medical association in the country when it comes to gender-affirming healthcare. Today, the Missouri Senate joined them with the passage of Senate Bill 49. This action demonstrates their motivations of using transgender bodies as political pawns and their false belief of having the expertise to ban lifesaving healthcare for children in the State of Missouri.
Over the past 72 hours, egregious and outright lies about surgery on minors have spread while the bill filer and sponsor himself has publicly acknowledged he cannot account for one single surgery having occurred in Missouri. The reason is simple — surgery for trans youth is not part of any recommended standards of care or guidance. In fact, most adolescents receiving care in Missouri are not currently on puberty blockers or gender-affirming hormones. The majority are seeing mental health professionals to work on feeling more comfortable in their bodies, and, most importantly, are in communication with expert professionals about keeping access to various pathways of care open.
THIS FIGHT IS FAR FROM OVER
We are grateful to the hundreds of transgender youth and adults, medical professionals, parents of transgender youth, and supporters of healthcare access who have shown up week after week this session. Your courage and bravery are the brightest light in this national fight against legislative and administrative attacks fueled by transphobia and funded by alt-right hate groups. When SB 49 and SB 39 receive a public hearing in the House, we will fill the room and an overflow room just as we have every week so representatives hear the real impact this bill would have on the lives of Missourians – the lives of the constituents they are elected to represent and serve.
Today, we ask all LGBTQ+ Missourians and our allies to come to the Missouri State Capitol on Wednesday, March 29 at 2 p.m. for our “Protest for Trans Rights.”
We are joined by our partners:
• ACLU of Missouri
• Clergy & Faith Leaders from across the Region
• Episcopal Diocese of Missouri
• Holy Communion Episcopal Church
• Kansas City Center For Inclusion
• Metro Trans Umbrella Group
• Missouri Equity Education Partnership
• Missouri Family Health Council, Inc.
• MO Ho Justice
• NCJW STL
• PFLAG Greater St. Louis
• PFLAG of the Central Region
• Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri
• Pro Choice Missouri
• St. Louis Queer+ Support Helpline
• Transformations
• TransParent
• Youth In Need
****** Follow this link for more information including transportation assistance, how to volunteer, and social media posts you can reshare. ******
With love, rage, hope, and gratitude for this community,
Katy Erker-Lynch (she/they) Executive Director, PROMO
submitted by BrightLove5460 to MissouriPolitics [link] [comments]


2023.03.23 22:19 ChromeShadows9 Astraea Record Light Novel 3: A New Mightiest

"Zard...lost?"

Valletta was also stunned.

"Wait, what the hell...no way, it's impossible...."

Her bewildered voice soon transformed into a frantic scream.

"....This can't be happeninggggg!?"

The distraught woman glared at the boaz standing in Central Park, and ordered with a large yell.

"Tamers! Order all of the monsters to crush that dying boar in the center!!"

The tamers who received that instruction quickly obeyed, brandishing their whips and leading their large monsters with a ruby embedded in them to move the group of monsters.

Right towards Central Park, where flames were still raging.

"Oooooooooohhhhhh!!"

"...!"

Ottar grimaced, the fierce roars covering him from all sides.

There was no part of his body that wasn’t wounded. It was a miracle that he was still standing at all.

While other adventurers were trying to stop the monsters, the wall was shattered by the final blow that Ottar had unleashed, making them unable to halt the monsters' advance from every direction.

"Damn it...Ottar!"

Allen, who had been protecting the park with his circling dash until just now, had also reached his limit.

The cat-man squatting on top of the rubble glanced towards Central Park where monsters were continuously entering.

At that moment.

Click-clack

The elegant sound of high heels, an unusual occurrence in the midst of a battlefield, resonated.

"Endure it, Ottar. You aren’t allowed to kneel."

"....! Freya-sama..."

The goddess of peerless beauty appeared, with her beautiful silver hair swaying.

Until now, she had just been in Babel.

The goddess, Freya, had walked to Ottar's side, and looked up at him with her sharp eyes. She had come all the way from the great tower to the center of the park, not even caring about being surrounded by a sea of monsters.

"You have won. You have become a true 'King'."

"..."

"No matter how hurt or wounded you are, keep standing. Show that glory to the city."

"....Yes. Freya-sama."

Without hesitation, the follower responded to the order of his goddess who imposed the duty of the winner onto him.

His pained expression disappeared, and Ottar straightened his back, displaying his rock-solid build.

"I will update your Status. All you have to do is glare at the enemy until the end."

Freya stood behind Ottar and updated his Status, giving him her divine blood while ignoring the tattered battle clothes that had fallen off his body that showed the signs of the intense battle.

Among his equipment, the battle cloth, was severely damaged, holes everywhere, exposing a large part of his back.

A multitude of sacred hieroglyphs shining in the forefront appeared as Freya gave her divine blood and updated his Status. Her silver eyes narrowed.

"...The 'feat' you have accomplished has been updated . Hold your sword, Ottar."

Silently, Ottar grasped his greatsword.

"Can you deliver a 'strike'?"

"Yes..."

"Can you show that you are at the 'top'?"

"Yes...!"

Ottar accepted his goddess’s words with a voice that showed his drive to obey her will.

"Then, destroy them. All of those hideous monsters coming towards us."

"As you command."

At Freya’s order, Ottar twisted his waist like a large tree, expanded his muscles, and prepared to strike with his sword, holding a stance, with himself and the goddess at the center.

"OOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHH!!!"

The howls of beasts, the snapping of twisted birds, and the roars of dragons all came at once.

Ottar swung his sword, not even letting out a single cry.

As if putting everything into his fight against the "Conqueror," the warrior simply unleashed a powerful blow in a single flash.

What followed after….was simply destruction.

Even the death wails of the monsters were not allowed.

The one slash he had unleashed cut through every monster that had entered Central Park without exception.

"What?!"

From the southwest, Valletta saw the scene and gasped in amazement.

The sound of large monsters repeatedly collapsing to the ground. A funeral melody of monsters returning to ashes as their "magic stones” were severed into pieces.

The powerful attack that was unleashed had ended it all.

"He took down the entire horde of monsters with a single blow...!?"

And it wasn’t just Valletta who was in awe. Adventurers also stared in disbelief at the blow.

"That overwhelming power...No doubt about it!"

"Lv.7!!"

Asfi and Falgar were convinced.

The power of that attack was proof that he had risen to a new level.

"In both name and reality, the 'King' has become the true strongest!"

Shakti sensed that a new king had just been born, rivaling Zard's Status.

The title of "Strongest" is the most powerful weapon on the battlefield. Simply by standing there, Ottar had become a large existence who could intimidate Evilus.

"Finish off the remaining forces of Evilus and their monsters!"

Immediately after Finn's command, he raised his spear high, intending to break through the weakened enemy forces.

"The enemy's morale is lowering! Everyone, push on forward!"

"OOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHH!!!"
submitted by ChromeShadows9 to DanMachi [link] [comments]


2023.03.23 22:18 wakanaman Bel Monte 50-miler race report

Ran my first ever 50-miler at Bel Monte two weeks ago. TL;DR: Awesome organizing team, beautiful trails, well-stocked aid stations, and overall great vibe. Will totally do it again next year. (Last year I ran my first-ever 50K at the same race so I'm growing attached to it.)
Race prep. I have been loosely following Krissy Moehl’s plans (what an awesome book) but the endurance phase in her 50-mile prep kicked my ass, so I got into Jason Koop’s book and worked up an adjusted plan using his approaches. It maxed out at about 50mpw with 90% or so on trails and with moderate-hard intensity. I had to sacrifice plenty of long runs due to a heavy travel schedule - I work in Equatorial Pacific countries where the weather is hot and humid, so not really great to go over 15 miles, plus there are feral dogs all over the place. Instead I tried squeezing in two-per-day runs during my travels and supported it all with plenty of hiking on challenging trails. I did a gradual (50% / 30% / 20%) 3-week taper leading up to the race, which I complemented with light-moderate cross-training (rock climbing, ice skating) and lots of walking. We stayed at a condo on the campground next door to the race (Sun Retreats Shenandoah) and it was really nice to just walk to the starting line in the morning and pick up the race packet a few minutes before the gun went off - starting the race feeling fresh and ready to rock (if a bit jittery).
Race day. The weather in Shenandoah is always a wild card: last year we started out in blowing snow, while this year fierce winds and subfreezing temps greeted us in the morning. The weather slowly warmed up as the day went on, hitting lower 40s in the afternoon so it wasn't too bad overall. I was running in my Alta Lone Peak 6s, wearing a Nathan Tempo Quarter Zip sweatshirt combined with Patagonia Houdini against the wind, and a Nathan VaporAir hydration vest. I started eating about 45 minutes in to the race, and continuing every half hour. I alternated between Snyders mini-pretzels and Clif Bloks, gulping down Gatorade with every mile reached plus with every food intake. This "system" of about 50-60 grams of simple carbs per hour served me well as I managed to avoid hitting the wall and / or cramping (though for sure I don't want to see pretzels or Clif Bloks for a few months). A couple of highlights:
Overall this was a fantastic and very well organized race - all aid station crews were just amazing, and generally the event had a really nice and chill vibe. I felt absolutely no pressure throughout the race, I just wanted to run as far as I possibly can - and was elated that I managed to complete the distance (my watch actually clocked 53.5 miles).
Recovery. I am about done with a 2-week recovery period post-race and I think it has been going reasonably well. I was hurting for a few days, but not too much. I think it was important that I was up and walking a few miles already the next day, plus I would also like to think my vegan diet helped. I did a lot of stretching and some yoga in the first couple of days, and used a massage stick every few hours during the day. I went back to climbing the second day, and gentle running on the fifth day or so. Some nagging pain still haunts me from what seems to be an injury to my left big toenail (which I guess I'll lose at some point). I should be able to gently settle back in to the next training cycle next week or the week thereafter - for the CIA / OSS night 50-miler in June!
Stats. Not that they matter... but I ran 11:41: 51 finishing at 16th place overall (out of 30 finishers) - which I feel pretty good about (especially for a first 50-miler).
submitted by wakanaman to Ultramarathon [link] [comments]


2023.03.23 22:18 jamedi_ [Review] The Sword of Mercy and Wrath, by NC Koussis

[Review] The Sword of Mercy and Wrath, by NC Koussis

https://preview.redd.it/bt59nk032kpa1.jpg?width=1200&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=015e62d00f4b9cd2f900c9d44a1cd8147a34b392
Full text review: https://jamreads.com/reviews/the-sword-of-mercy-and-wrath-swords-of-dominion-1-by-nc-koussis
"Her temple and ear wracked with a sharp pain as they slapped against the ground. In a daze, she thought she heard people shouting. She rolled over with a groan. Claws dug into her left arm. Agonizing, blinding pain ripped through her very core"
The Sword of Mercy and Wrath is the initial book of the Swords of Dominion series by the Aussie writer NC Koussis, and it's an excellent grimdark novel, that at the same time does a great job portraying a myth such as the werewolf one in a different kind of light, while creating a huge world which I hope to continue exploring on the next books of the series.
First of all, let me make the clarification that this is a review focused on the rereleased edition of TSoMaW, which includes 150 extra pages. I read the first edition, and liked it; but personally, I think this edition enhances and improves many aspects, bringing the novel to a whole new level, especially diving into the transformation of Selene.
TSoMaW follows two different stories, alternating the timelines until they met again due to the force of circumstances. And both are at some point faces of the same coin, a coin that surprisingly ends up not being as simple as we could think.
Selene's life is far from ideal, but it definitely gets wrecked after the attack of her monstrous father, which was a werewolf, letting her at the border of death; losing her left arm as a consequence. Scarred and broken, she swears vengeance against those beasts, joining the Order. I find really interesting and accurate how Koussis portrays the process of the catchment, and how a cult operates to get more adepts that will follow blindly their orders; Selene is the perfect victim, as she's broken, with vengeance as the only remaining feeling on her. She's an easy target to manipulate and radicalize, and the Order plays its cards in order to make her a fanatical, a monster who will follow all its orders blindly. Practically Selene gets dissociated from who she used to be, something signaled by the change of name to Selene. The newly named Diana quickly escalates in the organization, not without getting attacked by her mates, in brutal ways; but she becomes the perfect Inquisitor, and she doesn't really think about her actions until she has to capture a particular werewolf.
"Demons organize in packs. Such hives of devilry and malice must be rooted out and eliminated with extreme prejudice. -Lord Notarius Gian Adalla"
Tristain acts as a squire for Leon the Strong, serving the imperial army, with the hope he will at some point get enough prestige to retire and live serving as a home guard, and hopefully meet again Selene. But after a traumatic encounter, he discovers that there's a beast inside him; he can transform into a werewolf. While still serving in a war that seems kinda unproductive, we get to see how Tristain puts his life in danger multiple times, while at some points letting his true nature unleash. But if with Selene we get to see a brutal nature, with Tristain we get to observe how all that the Order says about those creatures might not be true.
"Doubt means death. When the fighting's thickest and you're grasping a sword, knowing that dropping it means a quick end, there's no room for hesitation. When you're stab-stabbing, hands numb, face numb, eyes streaming with sweat"
And the culmination of this story appears when Diana's obligations and Tristain's nature clash, because she's tasked with retrieving a living beast for Citadel's matters. Diana's convictions get challenged, putting her between the sword and the wall; more once part of the truth about Order's acts gets revealed. I don't want to spoil much more, but all the setting done with the two timelines gets a payoff in an explosive ending, letting all ready for a second book.
The world of TSoMaW is dark and brutal, as the grimdark genre dictates. We are direct spectators of violence and atrocities, showing the worst aspects of humanity; the Continent is under war and that shows. The Order is a religious cult that tries to create fanatics, and their process with the novices is the best example of it. If you look closely, you can see the Greek and European influences in this world, in small details such as names, places, and some of the structures; while we explore just some places, I want to travel to more cities in this world.
Koussis's prose is excellent, shining especially in two kinds of scenes: action scenes, where it becomes especially cinematic and spectacular (watching Diana fighting against werewolves is an absolute delight); and those where we met better the characters, transmitting how they feel perfectly.
This new edition of TSoMaW is what any fan of grimdark could ask for. A brutal world, morally grey characters, and a reality that is more complex than what plain sight could see. Can't wait to see Pyres of Vengeance.
submitted by jamedi_ to Fantasy [link] [comments]


2023.03.23 22:17 wrathandweeping Nope - Symbolism / Ending Questions

Watched Jordan Peele's Nope [2022] on Prime last night and mostly really enjoyed it... had some poignant and incisive things to say about Hollywood exploitation and spectacle without the heavy-handedness of some of his other films. I'd place it below Get Out but miles above Us.
I especially liked the symbolism of Jean Jacket and its parallels with Gordy, but am kind of stuck on my analysis of it, and think Peele might have intentionally overlaid several potential routes of analysis without fully working through all of them.
Jean Jacket's parallel with Gordy - make a deal with the beast and play by its rules rather than forcing it into narrow human parameters - is clear. OJ is able to do what Jupe is not due to this understanding... but then uses this understanding to kill and exploit it just like Hollywood did with Gordy and African Americans? (I think it's meant to be ambiguous as to whether or not this is "justified," like when Angel asks if what they're doing is morally righteous and they respond ambivalently, but the ending has such a triumphant tone... like yeah he did kill their horses, but he was just eating what was fed to him by Jupe, and killing their dad was an accident, right?) So my first question is what your thoughts on the moral valence of this is.
The second is that Jean Jacket is supposed to be an animal, which the movie presents as deserving as sympathy, but it's also like 80 other things? A cowboy hat, a vagina, a camera? The camera imagery is overwhelming, as is the "sucking you up and spitting you out" behavior, which screams "this is a metaphor for Hollywood" - but then this seems not to work with the "this is an animal that was exploited like Gordy" parallel? It's the being doing the exploitation and being exploited? It's the Hollywood oppressor and the Hollywood victim?
Is the takeaway here that everything in the entertainment industry winds up an "Ouroboros, serpent-eating-its-own-tail, we're all complicit in the systems we engage in, what we hate we become" monster? OJ and Em are exploited but then also exploit to survive or even the playing field? The more I think about it and try to resolve the seeming contradictions, this seems to be the best answer, but obviously there's a multiplicity of signification here that invites several distinct and potentially overlapping readings.
What do you think?
submitted by wrathandweeping to horror [link] [comments]


2023.03.23 22:15 longbonginmythong Did I overdo it?

Hey everyone. I started going on a course in another city and I met one guy that's also from my city going to course. In short sentences, he saw me twice, after third time he said he loved me and that he wants relationship. I just got out of 1 year relationship and I told him I need some alone time. He made me really uncomfortable with calling me after I just told him I'm not interested. He tried manipulating me by saying his heart is broken and that he cried because of me having feelings for my ex. I told him many times I need more space and he kept pressuring me. Here are some weird things he said to me that I take as red flags; (my parents are divorced because my dad cheated) he said that's not enough reason for divorce, followed by "men in marriage lack sex and they have the right to have two women besides their wife"...He told me it doesn't matter that he doesn't know me for who I am as a person...He grabbed my money without my permission... Made a scene in the class, fist bumped the wall after I told him not to expect anything from me... Next week (today) I didn't want to talk to him, I was very nervous and anxious. In short I was very cold towards him. He told me he was in trouble with police and if I had any food at my place (?) after that asked me if I can give him food (he has a place to stay and works like any normal person) Kept asking me why I didn't want to speak with him, I told him he made me feel uncomfortable last time in the class and he followed by "you need to tell me when I misbehave" to which I replied "I am not your mother, you should know that already " He also said I'm his only friend...he lives in this city 4 years longer than me... Asked me if I wanted to go out with him on next Monday... I'm feeling really terrible at the moment because I was really mean to him but at the same time, I felt like I needed to protect myself from him...My dad came to pick me up and last three times this guy would go with us, today he left before and went with the train...
I'm thinking now, what if he's really hungry, he said he has no money...I mean I do have but I can't spend it since I'm moving out in August and I have to save the money...I don't want to text him, he will think I still want something with him.. What should I do? I feel guilty...
submitted by longbonginmythong to TrueOffMyChest [link] [comments]


2023.03.23 22:13 Cereborn The Dream Drive [11 CY]

[You’re listening to The Stranger Side of Science, an award-winning starcast. This episode may be supported by advertising in your local system.]
Space, as a rule, is very big. One might call it vast, or even unimaginably vast (and I can imagine a lot of vastness). This means, of course, that any serious interstellar travel requires being able to cross these vast distances quickly — much more quickly than conventional physics suggests is possible. Physics be damned, that is what we did. Centuries of theory and decades of engineering eventually led to the hyper-gate, and then the warp drive (already discussed in detail in episode four). Some might say that any form of FTL is tantamount to magic. That may be correct, but I would contend that some forms of FTL are more magical than others. And the subject of this episode is very magical indeed.
Quite apropos to our title, it began with a dream. Brightshadow was a Dendraxi who had lived her whole life on the back of the Chelys Astronomica they called Great Tau’uun. By the time she sprouted, there was a vibrant community already living on the back of the space turtle. But Brightshadow, quite uncharacteristically for the Dendraxi, was not very gregarious. She liked spending her time alone at the edge of the shell forest, close to Tau’uun’s head. For years she repeated these journeys, sharing her thoughts and feelings, hoping that Tau’uun could hear her. Then Tau’uun returned to pass by Treegard, and Brightshadow spotted the homeworld for the first time in her life. That night, she had a dream.
BRIGHTSHADOW: The voice of Great Tau’uun came to me. At first the notes of his tremendous voice were too long and low for me to interpret. But then they coalesced into what sounded like a groan of pain. Then the voice became clearer. He asked me to help him. He said to go underneath. Then the voice became more distorted, but he said something about shards. Shards, shards, shards. He repeated it until I awoke from my rooting.
A number of new inhabitants had come to join the shellback city as it passed over Treegard. Among them was an Orcish scientist named Turrox, who was there to establish the first official branch of the Bureau of Exploration on the back of Tau’uun. Brightshadow ventured down from the forest and into the city, where she rarely ventured, in order to find him, hoping for some assistance. She was fortunate that Turrox was well-studied in the history of Tau’uun and knew previous stories of him speaking directly to people, so he was receptive to her.
BRIGHTSHADOW: Great Tau’uun is in pain. He spoke to me. He trusted me with this mission. I have to go underneath and find the shards. … Unfortunately that is all I know.
TURROX: I will soon be launching a new survey to conduct a full 3D mapping of Tau’uun to compare it with the results from 44 years ago. You may accompany us, and we will see if we can find the reason for this dream.
And so, Brightshadow joined the survey team, which departed the next day in a shuttle to circle Tau’uun. She was the only Dendraxi on that particular team, which made her stand out. Inside the shuttle, she was notable for her slender, willowy form compared to the much bulkier Orcs. Once they put their suits on, it was different. Because Dendraxi respire through their skin, their environmental suits provide airflow around their entire bodies. That meant that once suited up, Brightshadow was puffed out a bit like a marshmallow woman. It was an unfamiliar and unpleasant experience for her, and she understood why Dendraxi didn’t usually go on spacewalks.
Discomfort was soon put out of mind, as scanners picked up something anomalous along the underside of Tau’uun’s neck. The astronauts disembarked for a closer look. There, in the light of Ferroflora Sol, the space turtle’s neck glittered in a colour that could only be described by observers as a “fluorescent greenish yellow-purple”. Closer inspection showed that the glittering was the result of thousands of crystalline fragments embedded in the skin. Upon seeing this, Brightshadow was struck with a vision, much stronger than the dream.
BRIGHTSHADOW: Tau’uun speaks! We have to remove these shards!
The removal process took weeks. The alien crystals were carefully removed and even more carefully stored away, no one knowing precisely what they could do. The smallest among them were 3 cm long and 0.4 cm wide. The largest were 128 cm long and 35 cm wide. There was no evidence that any of them had been there 44 years earlier. Their precise composition also didn’t match any known compound yet catalogued in Sideris. That raised the question of how, precisely, they got here, and why haven’t they been detected on anything else? The Bureau of Exploration began a widespread search of planets, moons, and asteroids along Tau’uun’s orbit, but found no other evidence.
They received some answers, and even more questions, when these crystals began vanishing from containment.
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It was only the smallest crystal fragments that disappeared from containment. But they all disappeared from containment around the same time, in facilities on Treegard, Passerai, and the shellback city. Almost immediately after the disappearance was noted, doctors were suddenly getting Dendraxi patients coming in with complaints of sharp pains, usually on the neck or along the spine. When doctors investigated, they discovered crystal fragments embedded up to 2 cm in the skin. The existence of the crystal fragments recovered from Tau’uun was not officially secret, but had not yet been widely publicized. That meant the doctors had no idea what they found. By the time BoE officers managed to track down the doctors to recover the fragments, many of them disappeared a second time.
Two observations were made. One is that the fragments recovered from patients did not precisely match the crystals that had disappeared from containment. They weren’t being transported as discrete units, but rather disassembling and reassembling. The second was that all the Dendraxi patients had high scores on the Gaaten-Hoffrik test. A hypothesis was formed that this substance crystallized around strong sources of magical energy.
Powerful Dendraxi mages (those with a GH quotient of 175 or higher) were gathered together to try to understand the nature of the crystalline substance. However, when in the presence of multiple magic users, crystals in containment began rapidly losing mass, and mages quickly found themselves assaulted with tiny fragments, appearing seemingly out of nowhere. A magical containment solution was necessary. It was a geomancer named Silversilk who finally developed the method.
SILVERSILK: This alien mineral, which I have begun calling Octarite, has a powerful need to seek out sources of magic. It is highly resistant to containment. What I discovered is that we can’t simply force it to stay contained. What we have to do instead is deceive it. My Octarite containment field is not exactly a barrier, but more of a cloaking field. There is a magical signature that moves constantly around the spherical field, and so the Octarite, instead of breaking outward, constantly chases after it. There is certainly an equation for the precise relationship between strength and proximity that causes the Octarite to choose its target, but I will leave that for the physicists. I will simply continue experimenting.
Silversilk’s discovery was not just useful for keeping the Octarite from breaking free and injuring people. Once she had cracked the idea that the mineral’s behaviour could be manipulated, it opened up the question of, just how much? Experimentation continued, and the next result was much more startling.
SILVERSILK: The intention of our experiment was to see if we could manipulate crystal formation within the containment field, or if the Octarite could only exist in a nebulous state. We input a strong magical pulse to the containment field to see if that would overwrite the magical signature on the barrier to cause a crystalline structure to form. We were not prepared for the results. The Octarite, and the containment field, disappeared. Disappeared without a trace. We did find it, eventually, still perfectly contained within the sphere, on a beach 26 kilometres away.
That distance, 26 km, is significant to anyone familiar with the Hazen-Markoff test, the lesser known cousin to the Gaaten-Hoffrik test. Instead of measuring magical potential within a person, the HM test studies the effect on the environment. Whenever magic is used, there is an exchange of energies in the environment, and 26 km is the maximum distance at which this disturbance can be read. No one has ever been able to determine what effect, if any, this exchange of energy has on nearby lifeforms, but these energies seem to exist on the same wavelength that Octarite travels.
And that brings us to the Dream Drive.
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Realizing that Octarite could transport its own containment field, naturally the next question was whether it could transport something else. The technique was to create a dual containment field. The inner field kept the Octarite stable and contained, while an outer field contained psychical objects. There would be conduits between the two fields to keep them connected. For reasons that no one understood, the ideal number of conduits was 17. Experiments continued, transporting rocks, then cut wood, then a living plant, then several small animals. Lifeforms showed no signs of harm, and so Silversilk and her Mycova became the first sapient subjects, dropping without harm into the ocean.
The obvious problem was that in all these experiments, the destination was always a random point 26 km away. The solution to that problem came from an Orcish scientist named Kashumel, who had done a lot of experimentation with magical-assisted navigation.
KASHUMEL: It was a process called Deep Reading. In the same way that a synthetic lifeform is capable of downloading knowledge directly into its brain, Deep Reading involves absorbing information at a metaconscious level, which forges a connection between it and the user. Naturally occurring clairvoyance is extremely rare among Dendraxi. But any Dendraxi mages who successfully deep read a sufficient amount of hard scientific navigation data about a given location (about 4.6 Terabytes) were then able to observe that location in real time. I was just beginning to work on experiments on interstellar distances when I got brought into the Octarite project.
And so the deception continued. If the mage who was inputting energy into the containment field could hold a destination in their metaconscious, the Octarite would go there, traversing distances much further than 26 km. Deep Reading was a difficult task to master, however. It was not nearly as simple as focusing one’s conscious mind on the image of a place. One had to truly absorb the information. Kashumel and Silversilk worked together on this for years before finally developing an official prototype.
The Octarite Drive, as it was then called, had its maiden voyage in the year CY 7, travelling the short hop between Treegard and Passerai. Neither of the geniuses responsible for devising it were allowed to be onboard, in case something went wrong, so two brave volunteers stepped up. As Kashumel and Silversilk triggered the launch from outside the vessel, tragically, nothing happened.
It took weeks to run tests, but eventually they all came to the same conclusion. The drive could not be operated from the outside. Since Silversilk was the only person qualified to operate the experimental device, she had to take the maiden voyage after all. This time, their vessel zapped its way from Treegard to Passerai without any problems at all.
SILVERSILK: It felt like the experiment was over before it began. At first I didn’t even realize we had moved, except that I felt strangely uplifted. The other two volunteers with me said they felt it too. It was the most relaxing space jump I’ve ever taken.
The next major test occurred the following year, this time travelling between Treegard and the colony of Colossa at the edge of the solar system. This new vessel was built in the Dendraxi fashion. That means that it was a living ship: a tree grown around a frame and reinforced by magic. These vessels could not support the existence of a conventional Orcish warp drive, so if they could be paired with an Octarine Drive, they could finally reach outside the bounds of the Ferroflora System. Silversilk boarded with an experimental crew of eight this time. She fired the drive, and they moved to Colossa the next instant. Again, they all reported feeling a sense of calm or happiness upon arrival.
Such a short distance, however, wasn’t sufficient to test whether the Octarine Drive was truly instantaneous, or whether it was limited in a similar way as the conventional Orcish warp drive. So a new ship was constructed, one of the largest tree ships their system had seen, outfitted with a crew of 20 and stocked with provisions. Among the travellers on this vessel were Brightshadow herself, and Turrox, who put faith in her. Since they had begun this strange journey, they were given the chance to see it to its conclusion.
The final prototype test happened in 11 CY. The new vessel, dubbed Tau’uun’s Hope, was to travel from Treegard to the Yondra System, 15 lightyears away. At the same time it left, an Orcish ship would travel to the Yondra System by hypergate, to judge how quickly the Octarine Drive made the journey. Meanwhile, a third ship would travel alongside with an Orcish warp drive.
Silversilk spent a long time perfecting her Deep Read of their coordinates, and she was ready. They all got the countdown, and she activated the drive. The first companion vessel travelled through the hypergate, and its crew caught sight of Tau’uun’s Hope appearing at the destination before the gate even closed behind them. That proved that the Octarine Drive was actually instantaneous. However, the passengers on that vessel had a different report of events.
BRIGHTSHADOW: I want to say … six hours. We were all standing on the main deck when the drive fired. We looked out the windows to see the stars had vanished and we were in a sort of tunnel. The colours were swirling around us, a sort of fluorescent greenish yellow-purple. I took a long walk around the ship, and then I heard Tau’uun’s voice again. And then he was there. A small version of him, about my size. I could see the great forest on his back, and all the buildings of the shellback city. We sat in my room and talked for hours. Then Turrox came in.
TURROX: At least eight hours. Maybe twelve. I got a sudden urge to run. I used to be very active when I was a younger Orc, but I haven’t kept up with it very well at my new post. But I just started running, as hard and as fast as I could, I should have started feeling the strain after a few minutes, but I didn’t. I didn’t feel tired or sore at all. I just kept moving. I think I ran for hours and felt nothing but spectacular. Then I decided to stop by Brightshadow’s room and ask her if she was feeling similarly. Then I saw she was with a tiny version of Tau'uun, and I started to think that maybe I was dreaming.
SILVERSILK: Two hours, I think. After the drive fired, the inner containment field turned pitch black. I’d never seen that before on any of the tests. I went to the navigation console to see where we were, and we didn’t appear to be anywhere. I didn’t exactly feel worried, though. I was a bit confused, but I had this sense that everything was going to work out. So I went down to the main deck, and there was some wonderful music playing. It was my favourite song from my childhood. My Mycova was bouncing around and wanted to dance. So I started dancing. And then he began to grow, standing up on two legs, until he was big enough to take me in his arms and swing me around. Oh, it was marvelous. … But then I was back standing in front of the drive, and the containment field wasn’t black anymore, and the navigation console told me we were in the Yondra system.
BRIGHTSHADOW: Tau’uun said goodbye to me, waving a flipper, and suddenly I was standing on the main deck with the other passengers again, and there were stars out the window. The main thing I remember is how happy I felt, reflecting on my conversation with Tau’uun.
TURROX: By that point I had started running again. I remember I was on the top level, and then I just started to fly. Only for a few moments, and then I was back standing on the main deck with everyone else. And I felt content.
These reports caused a lot of puzzlement after the trip. While Tau’uun’s Hope had travelled instantaneously, according to outside observers, the passengers within experienced a time duration of between two and 12 hours. Every single passenger reported some version of the same experience, most of them with something unlikely or even impossible happening. Yet any time when passengers interacted, their versions of the event were the same. They all entered a shared dream state as part of the journey, and they all returned to their original positions at the end. And none of them felt at all distressed by the experience. To the contrary, they felt relaxed and uplifted.
This side-effect was unexpected, but since it didn’t appear to have any real negative consequences, the vessel made the same trip back home. Every passenger’s experience was different on the second trip, but they all reported entering this shared dreamspace inside the strange tunnel, and having everything revert back to the way it was once they finally appeared at the destination.
Silversilk recommended renaming the device to The Dream Drive after this peculiarity, and the name quickly stuck.
Treegard is currently in the process of building a new line of Dream Drives and training a squad of Dream Drive pilots to operate them. It’s hard to say exactly how long it will take for this technology to become widespread. There is also the issue of the Octarite needed to power it, which is finite right now. But if our understanding of Octarite is correct, that might mean that anywhere in Sideris with a strong magical energy might find itself with Octarite shards poking into it.
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2023.03.23 22:13 theverywetbanana WM104 Motion to Support Rejoining the European Union Motion Vote

Motion to Support Rejoining the European Union To move–that the Senedd Cymru recognises
(1) That Wales while in the European Union received over £4,000,000,000 in funding from 2000 until we left;
(2) That investment in Wales from the European Union supported–
(a) 230,000 people to gain new qualifications;
(b) 72,000 people to enter the workforce;
(c) the creation of 37,000 new jobs;
(d) the creation of 11,000 new businesses.
(3) This funding is no longer possible because of campaigns built on deceit;
(4) That continued funding through the block grant cannot make up for the shortfall in additional funds which came from the European Union.
Therefore–the Senedd Cymru calls upon the Government to
(1) Advocate for a return of Wales to either–
(a) the European Union;
(b) the European Economic Area;
(c) or the Single Market.
(2) Call upon the Westminster Government to enter into negotiations to rejoin the European Union;
(3) Further dialogue with European Union partners to facilitate the continued development of Wales.
This motion was written by the Rt. Hon. Sir model-kyosanto KD MS, on behalf of Volt Europa.
Llywydd,
It is beyond time we recognise that it was an absolute mistake and travesty that we left the European Union, we are still reeling financially from what has been a disaster that has left millions of Welsh residents worse off, it stifled investment into our country, and has led to a severe reduction in our ability to better the nation.
When you travel around the nation you see signs plastered with “Cronfeydd yr UE: Buddsoddi yng Nghymru”, that is EU Funds: Investing in Wales. From motorways to universities, from villages to cities, these monuments to the enormous financial benefit that being in the European Union gave to us remain, but the money does not.
This also does not even begin to mention the immense negative impacts our exit with the European Union has had on our local businesses, on our farms, we are now faced with mounting costs exacerbated by the rising cost of living which is driving hard working people and their families out of business, and will continue to send people into poverty.
The campaign to leave the European Union was devoid of logical debate and sought to harness right wing populism to scare people into voting leave. The referendum to leave the Single Market strongly revolved around the coming of a socialist revolution on the left, and the same racist dog whistles on the right. Facts and figures were ignored, and pushed to the sidelines so we could have a debate predicated on rhetoric and insults.
We now know how things have turnt out, we are worse off for being out of the European Union, we face high tariffs, border controls, low levels of investment, and our economy is suffering at a greater rate than the rest of the world. It is clear that our experiment has failed and it is time to finally recognise that.
This motion seeks to demonstrate that the democratically elected representatives of Wales want us to be back in the Union, want investment in our nation, want investment in our research, and want the cooperation and trade we had with the continent back. We cannot be insular, we are a globalised economy that is ever increasingly reliant on trade and freedom of movement with more and more nations. We shunned this half a decade ago, and we are suffering for it.
Llywydd,
I understand the apprehension many may have with supporting this Motion, but we can all see that we are better than empty rhetoric, we know the facts and we know the figures. We were better off in the European Union, and we would not be facing the same economic pressures we are now if we were still in the Union. We are better than dog whistles and blind nationalism, we are a world player, increasingly connected and we deserve to be in a Union that embodies liberal ideals. I urge all to support Volt’s mission to return us back to the EU. Diolch!
Voting on this Motion will end on Sunday 26th March 2023
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2023.03.23 22:12 UsuallyDemanding I got an interview for a senior level position in a male dominated industry with 6 months of experience. I want this job so bad

I’m 23 and I came into the securities industry as an accounting/financial analyst with no experience or knowledge. Fast forward 6 months, I’ve gotten 3 industry licenses, I’m handling 95% of the accounting duties by myself, I’m back in school to get my CPA, and I make great money. I would like to be CFO eventually
Earlier this week my boss showed me one of our clients (a firm) posted a senior financial analyst role and he told me in about a year from now I should look to apply for roles like that because it’s a great company but I don’t have the experience yet
I went ahead and applied today anyway for the heck of it. I put $110k as my salary expectation and I gave a bomb answer to “Why this company?”. They reached out to me via email a few hours later to set up a phone interview!!!!!!!!! And they made it clear that they encourage women to apply even if they think they’re under qualified. They also stress that each role is equally important within the firm-I love that! Rated as one of the best companies to work for in the city, amazing culture, great benefits, and amazing step up for me if I could get this opportunity
I know I’m killing it so far in my career and I’m so proud to do it as a woman and change the status quo!!
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2023.03.23 22:12 HeadOfSpectre Faerie Tale Eighth Entry

First Entry
Second Entry
Third Entry
Fourth Entry
Fifth Entry
Sixth Entry
Seventh Entry

Journal of Camille Lambert - April 13th (Part 2)

The mist rolled in from the edge of town, swallowing buildings, tents, and trucks as the klaxon alarm sounded. I looked up and saw the sky beginning to fade into absolute darkness, even though it should have been hours before dusk.
“Fascinating…” I heard Dr. Di Cesare say beside me, although she was the only one who seemed to think so.

Milo stared into the mist with a look of dread as flashes of gunfire began to go off deep inside, briefly illuminating the moving shadows as the screams of dying men and impossible monsters filled our ears.
“Kallas, Valentine, the refugees! Get them out!” He ordered. Neither of them needed to be told twice. The words were barely out of his mouth when they took off at a sprint toward the tents, guns already drawn.

“Gretchen, how do we drive them off?”
“They circumvented my runes… how…” She said under her breath, sounding more annoyed than anything else.
“Gretchen!” Milo snapped, and she seemed to be pulled out of her train of thought.
“Uncertain. I need to get back to my lab. Everything I could use would be there!”
She took off like a shot, and as she ran, the mist overtook us, turning her into little more than a shadow ahead of us.

“Stay close!” Milo ordered, going for his pistol, although we could barely see him through the mist either. I felt Dom reaching for my hand and looked over to see his shadow, pistol drawn and trying to keep up with Milo and Gretchen. Her white RV hadn’t been parked that far away, but it might as well have been miles.

The chorus of gunfire and screams roared in my ears. I could hear inhuman screeches as men were torn limb from bloody limb. As Dom led me behind Milo, I couldn’t help but look over and pray that our people were managing, somehow. Through the mist, I could see a shadow racing toward us. At a glance, I almost thought that it might be a man on a horse but… no. The sigil of an eye burned onto its forehead made that very clear.

“LOOK OUT!” I called in the moment before the horseman raced toward us. I could see Milo diving out of the way while Dom pulled me back. He fired two shots at it, and though I did not get a good look at the creature before us, I saw enough to know that it wasn’t a horse and a rider… it was one creature. A pale, blood soaked thing with claws like scythes and eyes crowned around its head like a wreathe. It slashed at Dom who dove out of the way, before rearing up on its hind legs and unleashing a scream that sounded like a man in pain.

I could see Milo firing at it as well, but the bullets might as well have done nothing to it. Just like the last Sigiled Nightwalker, it barely even seemed to notice.
“You made your choice to stay here…” A raspy voice echoed from the creature, and I knew that it was Calhoun speaking to us. “Now look what you’ve made me do.”

The Nightwalker came for me next, and I dove to the ground, scrambling away as its claws raked against the asphalt road. The red eye sigil focused on me, and on the creature's face I could see a gaping maw underneath that eye, dripping with wet saliva and filled with long, jagged teeth.

It reared up again, and I could do nothing but wait to be crushed beneath its hooves when the deafening echo of a gunshot rang out. The Nightwalker screamed. Chunks of its head were ripped away from it and a new, pinkish steam rose from the mess that was left. It collapsed onto its side, still twitching in death.
I looked over to see the shadow of Dr. Di Cesare, holding that revolver of hers.
“Most interesting… assuming direct control over certain Nightwalkers.” She said. “Come There are certainly more.”
Dom helped me to my feet and we took off toward the RV again.


Through the mist, I could see the RV up ahead. Dr. Di Cesare threw the door open and quickly ushered us inside. As soon as it was closed again, I watched her take a knife from her coat and roll up her sleeve. Without so much as a wince of pain, she drew the blade across her hand, then using one finger, began to hastily draw a sigil on the door.
“Should keep them out… should…” She murmured, and once she was done she tore past us, deeper into the RV.

There seemed like she’d been using it as some sort of makeshift lab. I could see counters littered with old books, jars full of strange ingredients, and a small altar with scattered journal pages laying around it. I could see photos and diagrams of strange flowers that seemed to be every color at once and none of them at the same time, and crude anatomical sketches of flower-headed creatures.

On a small work desk pressed into one corner, I heard a walkie talkie crackle to life.
“Can you hold them back? We’re still loading the trucks!”
I recognized the voice on the other end as Kallas.
“Well move your fucking ass! We’re losing ground here!” Came the reply and it sounded like it was coming from Nina.

Milo ran toward the desk, grabbing the radio off of it.
“Valentine, Kallas, what’s going on out there?” He demanded.
“Everything’s gone to shit!” Valentine replied, “We’re falling back to the Church!”
“Already?” Milo asked, breathless. “Gretchen, how long before you can-”

“And who’s this I’m hearing now?” A new voice asked. It sounded like an older man, although I knew it wasn’t Calhoun.
I looked over at Dom, wondering if maybe he recognized it. Judging by his expression, he did.
“Who the hell is this?” Milo demanded.
“I’m the man watching you folks get your asses beat. It’s kinda funny, actually. You people come in here, throwing your weight around all high and mighty only to crumble the moment we give you anything more than a little love tap. Name’s McClellan. I suppose you could say that I’m the Sheriff around these parts.”

“Oh for fucks sake, are they on our goddamn channel?” Nina asked.
“Thought I’d tune in, see how things were going. Governor Calhoun was kind enough to spare me and my boys the hassle of dealing with you personally. Least we can do is enjoy the show.”
“Oh God… he’s monologuing!” Nina whined.

“You folks have kicked the beehive. Now you’re gonna get stung.” McClellan crooned. Everything he said ended in an upward inflection and it had already gotten annoying.
The Governor wasn’t too happy to have to clean out the other towns, but you forced his hand. And what he’s gonna do next… you should be held accountable for that too.”

“Next?” Milo asked warily although before he could get his answer, something hit the RV, rocking it violently from side to side. Dr. Di Cesare almost fell over, before bracing herself against the counter and going through her books. She glanced at one of the flower diagrams before violently shaking her head and tossing it aside. Over the radio, I could hear McClellan laughing.
“Gretchen?” Milo asked, “Please tell me you’ve got something!”
“Patience…” She urged, “Extant research only addresses killing these things one at a time, not as an army.”

The RV rocked again and I ran to the window to look out. I could see something move past, something a hell of a lot bigger than the one the Doctor had just killed. Through the mist and the darkness, I could see the glow of a fire flare to life somewhere in the distance. Somehow, I got the feeling that Nina was behind it.
“Just tell me what we need to do to kill these goddamn things!” Milo snapped as the RV was hit again. I saw something in the opposite window, vacant black eyes and flat, chitinous mandibles that clicked together, only barely hiding the incomprehensible mouth behind them.

“I can’t just cast a spell and kill them all!” Gretchen replied, “I need more time! Maybe if I can open a door to another pocket we can at least get out of here, but I need time to find a safe one!” I could hear something scraping against the metal roof of the RV and saw it begin to buckle near the corner. Jagged spikes broke through it as whatever was outside began to pry open the RV like a can of soup.
“We don’t have time!” Milo warned.

Dom watched as the Nightwalker began to pry at the roof before looking over through the window and noticing its shiny black eye. Without a moment of hesitation, he fired at it, shattering the window and cracking it like an egg. A thick, black goo dribbled out of it and the Nightwalker shrank back, letting out a screech of pain. It briefly retreated, holding its spikey, crablike claws in front of it defensively. I could hear it making an irate clicking noise and it waited for a moment as Dom fired a few more rounds at it although this time, they just bounced uselessly off its armor.

“Five trucks out. Confirmed that two are at the Church!” I heard Kallas say over the radio, “Six, seven and eight almost loaded. Those are the last ones!”
“You might get these ones out… but there’ll always be more.” McClellan said, “I’ll admit that this has all been a bit of a setback, but there’s a lot of little towns just ripe for the picking out there. And once he gets the rest of the 5000 souls he needs… well, if you think this is bad, wait until you see what he’ll be able to do then.”
“Truck six is away! Three is at the church!” Kallas said, trying his damnedest to ignore McClellan.
“Double time it!” Milo snapped, “Valentine, what’s going on out there?”

“Fire’s keeping them at bay but they’re getting brave!” She warned, “We’re heading back toward the refugees. Milo, where are you now?”
“I’m in Di Cesare’s lab, with Dominic and Camille.”
“We’re gonna need to fall back to the church. Can you meet us there?” Nina asked.
Milo looked over at me.
“Get to the driver's seat, keys are in the ignition. Get us out of here.” He said. I just nodded and did what he asked, listening as he went back to Nina.
“We’re en route!”

Just like Milo had promised, I found the keys in the ignition and turned them. The engine roared to life. Through the mist, I could see the shadows of other Nightwalkers and my blood turned to ice in my veins as I saw the sigils on their foreheads. Crimson eyes, more than I could count at a glance, and each of them watching me.

The RV shook again and from the corner of my eye, I saw a massive claw coming for me. I threw myself to the ground as it shattered the driver's side window. The claw ripped through the cabin of the RV, before prying the roof off completely and tossing it aside.

I watched the Crab Thing as it approached the ruined cabin. One spiky leg came down on the hood of the RV. The Crab’s one remaining eye seemed to fixate on me as it reached for me with a claw, and I scrambled backward, only barely avoiding it. I looked back just in time to see Milo with a look of utter horror on his face. He grabbed me by the arm, pulling me deeper into the RV as the Crab Thing began trying to pry the roof off again.

Behind it, I could see other Nightwalkers drawing near.
There was no running from this.

“Gretchen, either shoot this goddamn thing or do something!” Milo cried, looking over at Gretchen. She glanced away from her research with wide eyes. I saw her reach for her revolver, only to hesistate when she noticed the other Nightwalkers watching us from behind the Crab Thing. I could see her doing the math in her head. Four shots left… not enough to kill the Crab and the Nightwalkers. The gun couldn’t save us. Her eyes settled on the flower diagram she’d cast aside earlier. I saw her grimace before running toward the back window.

“Shaal forgive me…” She said under her breath as she pressed a finger into the cut in her hand and began to hastily paint another sigil on the glass.
“Everybody get under something. It will go for the Crab first. As soon as it does, run. Do not stop.”
“What are you gonna do?” Dom asked.
“I’m opening another door… you’re not going to like what’s about to come through,” She replied and grabbed something off of the counter, hesitated for a moment, and dusted it carelessly on the blood she’d marked the window with. Then, as if she’d just thrown a live grenade she dove under her desk.

Milo scrambled behind a chair, while I pulled Dom behind one of the counters. The Crab Thing peeled the roof up, leaving us completely exposed and for a moment, I wondered if Dr. Di Cesare’s plan had failed.

Then I heard the sound of shattering glass. I looked to see that something had just launched itself through the window. It landed gracelessly on the ground, before stumbling around on coltish legs. It almost resembled a person, or maybe even one of the smaller Nightwalkers. But there was something very different about it. Its skin was an unusual shade of pinkish green, strange luminous flowers like the ones in the photographs Dr. Di Cesare kept in her lab, and moss seemed to bloom from its skin, and I swore that I could see pale yellow eyes in the center of those flowers. Its body seemed to ripple and change. Its hands twisted into gripping claws as it let out a raspy hiss.

Every single eye on it focused on the crab, which paused for a moment before reaching for the new creature. The claw closed around it, and the creature writhed and screamed, its flesh twisting and morphing into sharp tendrils that it slid between the gaps in the Crabs chitin, earning a fresh cry of pain from it. The new creature's head seemed to be split open, sort of like a flower blossoming, unleashing a shimmering payload of what looked like spores into the Crab’s face.

From his position behind the chair, I saw Milo’s eyes wide with terror as he watched this unfold. It was the kind of terror I’d never seen before. Something so deep in his soul that it must have took everything he had not to scream.

Dr. Di Cesare scrambled out from under her desk. She snatched the radio from Milo and without so much as a moment of hesitation ran for the door of the RV.
“Move!” She said, with an urgency that I knew better than to ignore. The three of us abandoned the RV and took off into the mist.

“Mr. Kallas, as soon as the trucks are through, kill the bonfire at the church! Cut off all access to the Calhoun Pocket!”
“What, why?” Kallas demanded.
“The situation has worsened, we need to enact full quarantine measures!” Dr. Di Cesare said, “Do it now!”
“What the hell did you just do?” Nina demanded, “Gretchen, where’s Milo?”
“We’re heading for the refugee area, on foot! Do not wait for us! I repeat, do not wait for us!

I had no idea what the hell the Doctor had just done, but I didn’t think I’d ever hear fear like that in her voice. It was the first time she hadn’t sounded completely composed. The fire was growing closer, and seemed to have spread to most of the town. Buildings burned around us, as did tents. I could see the shadows of other Nightwalkers silhouetted against the inferno, bringing back memories of the last time Puriysk had burned. Up ahead, there was gunfire and I saw one of the refugee trucks skidding onto the road, and away toward the church.

Looking back, I could see shapes pursuing us in the mist. I couldn’t make out what they were, but the sigils on their foreheads told me enough. They were gaining on us, and I could only pray to whatever God was listening that they wouldn’t catch up.

Beside me, I saw the fire grow taller and almost fell over, trying to get away from it. The fire seemed to rise up into the sky before coming down on some of the Nightwalkers that pursued us. I looked over to see Dr. Di Cesare, a hand outstretched and a frantic look on her face. She moved her hands again, pulling more of the inferno onto the road to cover our tracks.
“Don’t stop!” She said, “Keep running!”
And I did exactly what she told me to do.

I could see another car up ahead, an SUV this time tearing onto the road, although, unlike the truck before it, it turned toward us and skidded to a stop just up ahead. Milo reached the SUV first, throwing open the passenger door and getting in. Dom and I were second, with Dr. Di Cesare being the last.

From the driver's seat, I could see Nina looking back at us, making sure that everyone was there before making a sharp U-turn and speeding toward the church, leaving Puriysk and the Nightwalkers behind.

“Are you genuinely insane?” Milo demanded, looking back at Dr. Di Cesare. “Do you have any idea how stupid that was!”
“It was the only spell I could think of that would yield immediate results,” She said. “Every time you open that door, something always comes through.”
“Yes, and there’s a very good reason you don’t open that door, Gretchen! You’re lucky we’re not all dead right now! For Gods sake, you may have just killed us all anyway!”

“What the fuck did she just do?” Nina asked, confused.
Her question went largely ignored.
“We were out of options!” Dr. Di Cesare replied, “We are up against an opponent who will resort to any means to dispose of us! Any means. It is therefore necessary that we do the same!”
“And that gives you carte blanche to unleash that? For Gods sake, we weren’t even equipped to deal with that! That wasn’t even part of the goddamn discussion until you pulled it in!
“Can somebody just explain to me what the hell just happened?” Dom snapped.

Milo looked over at him, then back to Gretchen.
“There are countless other pocket realities in the vast expanse of the void,” She said. “Many serve as havens for various Gods and their followers… I simply opened a door to let one of them in.”
“I wouldn’t call that thing a God, I’d call it a plague!” Milo said.
“Hive mind,” Dr. Di Cesare corrected, “The Prince of Rosen Spring operates as a singular consciousness, it has more in common with fungi than a virus or pathogen.”

“I’m sorry, did you just summon The Fucking Rosen Prince?” Nina asked, and again she was ignored.
“Whatever it is, we have a standing order to burn any trace of that thing we come across,” Milo said. “Why the hell do you even know how to summon it?”
“I don’t work for you!” Dr. Di Cesare replied harshly, “I’m allowed to research whatever topic captures my interest!”
“Well do me a favor and warn me the next time you’re about to unleash a Class 5 Apocalyptic entity!”
“You wanted something that would get them off of us, I delivered! We were exposed and outnumbered, there were no other viable options!”

“Can we go back to the part where you called that thing an ‘Apocalyptic Entity?’” Dom asked. “What the hell did you just bring in?”
“It’s a sort of hive mind,” Dr. Di Cesare explained. “It infects other entities, absorbs them into its shared consciousness, and uses the bodies either as drones, or organic material to construct new bodies for itself.”
“Oh my fucking God…” Nina said under her breath, “And you just pulled that out of your ass? You didn’t try shooting your fucking magic gun?”

“We do not have the munitions to just mindlessly shoot everything that poses a threat! At minimum… the Rosen Prince should distract Calhoun and his Nightwalkers long enough for us to complete the evacuation!”
“Yeah, by absorbing this entire place!” Milo spat. “At this point, Calhoun’s already dead… let the Rosen Prince take care of him!”

“That’s not a gamble we should be willing to take,” Dr. Di Cesare said. “We are not dealing with a man who is trapped here. If this situation becomes untenable, I have zero doubt that he will simply abandon this place and begin again elsewhere, at which point it may become impossible to find him again. Even if we did, factoring in the recent sacrifices, it’s highly probable that he would be exceedingly harder to kill. If you want this man dead, then our window of opportunity is now and it is closing very rapidly!”
“Hey… this may be a stupid question but what happens if the Rosen Prince assimilates Calhoun or the Eldest?” Nina asked.

Both the Doctor and Milo fell silent. Milo’s head slowly turned to look at her.
“Yes, Gretchen. What happens then?” He asked.
Dr. Di Cesare was silent for a moment.
“All the more reason to kill Calhoun first,” She finally said.

Up ahead, I could see the ruins of the church, although the moment I saw them, it was already clear to me that something was wrong. The church was dark. There was no light from the bonfire inside and as we drove past the metal poles that marked the doorway, I noticed no change in the forest around us.
“Oh no…” Nina said under her breath, “Fuck, fuck, fuck fuck…”
She tried to steer the car through the other doorway, but nothing changed.

The doors were closed.

“Good, Mr. Kallas has ensured that nothing can escape."
“Yeah and that includes us, dumbass!” Nina snapped.
“That’s of no concern. I can open another, smaller door. We should shore up inside that church. We’ll get out the same way you did before,” Dr. Di Cesare said.
Nina swore under her breath before driving toward the ruins of the church.

She skidded to a stop, and Dr. Di Cesare was the first one out.
“We need to move quickly, get anything you can burn and get it now. Time is short,” She said.
Nina went around the back of the SUV and pulled the trunk open, taking out a can of spare gasoline before following Dr. Di Cesare inside the church.
“There’s one more in there,” She said to me and Dom. “Grab it!”

I figured that since I had the idlest hands, it might as well be me. I grabbed the gas can from the back of the SUV and took a parting look at Puriysk, which burned brightly behind us. The fire seemed to have consumed everything, and though the sky was dark, the glow from the inferno made it look like twilight. It was both the most beautiful and horrible thing I’d ever seen.

Even from where I stood, I could still hear the screams coming from Puriysk, only now they weren’t the screams of men being slaughtered by monsters… they were the screams of monsters slaughtering each other. I couldn’t help but wonder what was going on in that town… and realized that it might be better if I didn’t know.

I didn’t linger, I took the gas can into the church, following Nina. She was already beginning to dump the contents of the can on the charred ashes of the bonfire. Milo was right beside her, tossing some of the extra firewood that the others had collected to keep the fire alive onto it, to try and give it some new life.

“There’s headlights down the road, somebody’s coming!” Dom called from the doorway of the church.
“More refugees?” Milo asked.
“I don’t think so.”

Milo swore under his breath.
“Gretchen, can you finish up?”
“I need a minute,” She said. “We undid the old runes and ritual circle when we expanded it outside the church. I need to repair them.”

Milo growled in frustration before storming over toward the Church door. Nina tossed her empty gas can aside and went to follow, blowing past Dom and Milo and heading back out to the SUV. I watched her pull open the drivers side door and take something out. It took me a moment to recognize exactly what it was.

It was a rifle. She hastily checked the magazine before looking out at the oncoming headlights. I could make out three cars, most of them older and more worn than the ones Milo’s people drove although the one at the front was a clean, polished muscle car.

I’d seen that car before, and I knew that Dom had too.
It seemed that Sheriff McClellan was here to deal with us personally.

The cars slowed to a stop before us, and the four of us stood at the ready. I reached for the .22 I’d kept holstered, and felt a little guilty for the small sense of relief I felt that my gun might actually be useful for a change.

The doors of McClellan’s car opened, and I saw him stepping out of the driver's seat. I could see other men getting out of the cars behind him.
“Hell of a mess you’ve caused us…” McClellan said. His black boots sank into the mud beneath him. His wispy white hair seemed to flutter in the wind. I could see a chrome revolver sitting on his hip. “And yet you just refuse to die.”

“You must be the Sheriff,” Milo said coldly.
“And you must be the dumb motherfucker who thought he’d mess around with Governor Calhoun… how’s that working out for you.”
“Well despite everything, I’d say we’ve probably taken fewer losses than you have,” Milo replied. McClellan actually cracked a half smile at that.

“You’re a cocky little shit, I’ll give you that.” He said. “Not sure what the hell you assholes did back there… but I’ve never seen Nightwalkers claw each other to pieces like that before… either way, the fight’s over. And from where I’m standing it looks like you’re running outta here with your tail between your legs.”

“And from where I’m standing, you look like a dead man walking,” Milo replied. “If you’re smart, you’ve come here to leave with us. I don’t know if you realize what’s just been unleashed here, but mark my words in a few days time this place will be nothing but a graveyard.”
“Oh, I can promise that whatever you think you did, isn’t gonna change a damn thing,” McClellan said. “You can run if you’d like. I’ll even let you do it. Either way, once he’s got the rest of the souls he needs the Governor will hunt you down like the rats you are and-”

A volley of gunshots came from beside us as Nina started shooting. I saw a couple of the Sheriff’s Boys behind McClellan go down, while others dove for cover. McClellan himself moved behind his car with surprising speed, only narrowly avoiding Nina’s trigger happy rampage.

“These people talk too fucking much…” She said under her breath as we hid behind the stone walls of the church.
“Open fire boys, let’s clean this up!” I heard McClellan bark from behind his car.

I saw a couple of the Sheriff’s Boys try to peek out from behind one of their cars, and took aim at them, firing blindly. One window of the car shattered, and one of the Boys had time to pull his head back. The other wasn’t so lucky. His head jerked back and he hit the ground dead.

I felt my heart skip a beat, as I realized that I’d been the one who killed him… although there was hardly time to process what I’d just done. The gunfire around me saw to that.
“Reserve units, move in on the Church! We need some backup!” McClellan said, presumably speaking into a radio and not talking to himself. I saw the door of his car open as he tried to crawl back inside. Milo seemed to see it too and fired at the driver's side of the windshield. He only got off a couple of shots before McClellan’s retort blew a fresh hole through the glass.

I heard Milo cry out in pain and hit the ground, clutching at his shoulder. Nina’s eyes widened as she watched him fall, and I ran to his side to check on him. He pressed a hand against the wound, gritting his teeth and trying not to scream.
“I-I’m alright…” He lied, but I knew that he was out of the fight.

“Motherfucker…” Nina spat, before directing her fire at McClellan’s car, putting bullet after bullet through his windshield. I could hear a pained scream from inside and heard the engine turn over. McClellan’s car was launched backward, going in full reverse and slamming into one of the other Sheriff’s Boys cars. It knocked the car back against the boys hiding behind it, forcing them out of cover. A move that Dom was quick to punish. His gun spoke three times, and I saw two men fall, one dead and the other wounded.

McClellan hit the gas again, still in reverse and desperately trying to flee. He only succeeded in pushing the car he’d just hit over the wounded man.

I could see more headlights in the distance, driving through the flaming ruins of Puriysk toward us, although against the fires I could see the shadow of what used to be the Crab Thing coming to intercept them. I watched as it impaled one car on one of its sharp legs and caught another in its pincers, dutifully tearing at it to get to the meat inside. Tendrils like vines seemed to hang off of its body now, and I watched them slither inside the broken car. I consider myself lucky that I didn’t have to witness what they did to the people inside.

With most of McClellan’s group dead, Nina stepped out into the open, firing again at his car. I saw the driver's side door open and watched as McClellan tumbled out, his body bloody and broken.
“Motherfucker…” Nina spat, advancing on him with a bitter, determined purpose. I saw one of the last of the Sheriff’s Boys coming out of cover. Nina raised her rifle at him, but Dom shot first.

It was just Nina and the Sheriff now. She regarded the corpse of the last of the Sheriff’s Boys out of the corner of her eye, before making a beeline for McClellan. I watched as he tried to stand, only for his legs to give out from under him.
“Wait…” McClellan rasped, “Wait…”

Before he could say another word she’d taken aim at him and pulled the trigger, putting four more bullets into his chest.
“Shut up,” She said coldly, before turning away and going back to the church. McClellan lay on the ground, not quite dead but past the point of surviving. He twitched and wheezed out his final breaths before finally going still.

The moment Nina was through that door, she was at Milo’s side again.
“How bad is it?” She asked.
“I’ll live…” He rasped, “It’s… just a flesh wound. Help me up.”
Nina helped him stand, before looking over toward the center of the church.
“Gretchen, how’s that door looking?” She asked.
“Runes are in place… ritual circle is set, I’m almost ready!” She called back.
“Let’s go,” Nina said, dragging Milo over to the columns.

Gretchen set the bonfire alight and as we passed through the columns, I could see that the doors were open again. Faded figures of soldiers and refugees stood by anxiously. I could even see Kallas among them, pacing about with a worried look on his face. The moment he saw that the fire had started again, he looked up, seeming both relieved and even more anxious at the same time.
“I was never much good out in the field…” Milo grunted, “Should’ve stayed on the other side.”
“Don’t talk,” Nina said. “You’re still alive, right? That counts for something.”

He chuckled.
“Suppose it does,” He said.
Dom and I watched as Nina guided him toward the bonfire, then out through the right set of columns, into the version of the church where we could actually see the night sky overhead. As Nina brought Milo through, Kallas was right there to meet her.
“Take him,” She said. “He’s hurt but he’ll live so long as you patch him up right away.”
“Understood,” Kallas said, “Come on, let’s get you through and put that fire out.”

Nina just shook her head.
“No, we’ve still got work to do in here. I’ll hang back with Gretchen until we’ve confirmed that Calhoun’s dead.”
“No can do, Dr. Di Cesare ordered full quarantine measures. We need everyone out!"
“Not until we confirm the kill,” Dr. Di Cesare said. “I require someone with more experience in these things than I have. Take Mr. Durand and get him taken care of. We’ll connect with you later.”
Kallas grimaced and looked over at Milo.

“Do what she says,” He rasped, and I saw a quiet resignation cross over Kallas’ face.
“What about you two?” He asked, looking at me and Dom, “If we close this door, you’re not getting out until Valentine and the Doctor do.”
“That’s fine,” I said. “We still have unfinished business.”
Kallas just shook his head and turned to leave, letting Milo lean on him for support as he did. Milo looked back at us, or more specifically he looked back at Nina.
“Valentine…” He said, “Make me proud.”
She gave him a single nod, before letting him go.

Once she was past the columns, Dr. Di Cesare gave a single wave of her hand and the bonfire flickered and died.

The Church went dark. And we were alone again.

“Doctor, how much can you do to keep those things in Puriysk out of here?” Nina asked.
“Given ten or twenty minutes to modify some of the extant runes, quite a bit,” She replied. “It won’t be foolproof, but-”
“Just do it. Let’s dig in here, wait for the fires to die down, and see if we can’t scavenge anything from the ruins in the morning. The more we can get, the better cuz as soon as we’re set, we’re going to Parsons.”
submitted by HeadOfSpectre to TheCrypticCompendium [link] [comments]


2023.03.23 22:12 One-Olive-3322 It's 3am and someone just tried to broke into my room

This horrifying thing just happened to me We used to live in an apartment complex owned my family A year ago my family built a home just outside the city and we moved there There are no apartment complex or crowded places nearby mostly small houses or trees For few Nights i have been hearing sounds ( i have insomnia) Sounds like someone trying to open/ break my window I told my mother bt she scolded me for staying awake at night instead Today someone try to break into my room throuh my balcony I shouted and my parents wake up Few people ran away I'm so scarred by the fact that i could have killed or worse Posting here coz writing it all out help me to Process
submitted by One-Olive-3322 to offmychest [link] [comments]


2023.03.23 22:12 Historical-Ad7568 Is my boyfriend in love with another woman and doesn't realize it?

My partner and I (39M/37F) have been together 5yrs. He's a very outgoing person with tons of casual friends, whereas I'm mostly a homebody. He spends quite a bit of time without me in social situations (i.e. bars and parties) with women I don't know-- I'm not a jealous person, but admittedly it did take some getting used to.
Most people will tell you my BF is one of the nicest people they know, and he prides himself on being the kind of guy who would drop everything to help someone in need. He was raised by a single mom with 2 younger sisters, has a teenage daughter, and considers himself a feminist. His dad was a cheater and he resented him for it. He's never cheated on a partner himself, I've never heard him talk about women in an objectifying way, he was married before me but the divorce was amicable, he's sexually respectful and generous, etc.
Right before the pandemic he started mentioning a woman (let's call her P) that he'd met through other friends. He started Zooming with P and 4-5 of their mutual friends a few times a week-- it caught my attention because, like I said, he's a social butterfly who's never had one defined friend group. Then when COVID calmed down he began hanging out with these folks regularly. They'd always invite me out but I'd decline (I rarely drink and have a demanding job with a tight schedule), so it was quite a while before I met any of them in person.
I was curious about them, though, and P in particular because he brought her up in conversation a lot. So I did some online investigating, and I was kinda dismayed to see that P was model-gorgeous. I don't think there's a girl alive who wouldn't feel a little threatened by someone THAT attractive spending a lot of time around their BF. They even occasionally hung out just the two of them and I wasn't thrilled about it, but I didn't want to come off as possessive. She came over to our house a few times and seemed nice enough (though we didn't really "click" as friends and she seemed a bit narcissistic and stuck-up).
Eventually he was spending most of his free time with that one group-- traveling hundreds of miles, spending lots of money, taking time off work, staying out all night, even giving up his weekends with his daughter if there was some event they'd invited him to. He was attaching himself to that group of people in a way I'd never seen him do before-- and of course, P was always present at every gathering he attended.
But here's the thing. My BF and I aren't hideous or anything, and of course I find him attractive, but objectively we're both kinda average looking. Put simply, I doubt a girl like P would give my BF a 2nd look in a romantic context, and knowing that made me feel more comfortable about the amount of time they spent together. Also, if there was anything going on I figured my BF wouldn't be inviting her over and encouraging us to be friends. So it was hard to be 100% okay with their relationship, but I tried not to let it get to me.
A couple months back we got into the first fight over her. He does photography on the side, and apparantly P asked him to do a photoshoot of her in some costume she'd bought. So my BF-- who has never in our entire relationship suggested doing a photoshoot with me-- went out and bought expensive equipment, spent all day taking hundreds of pictures of her at her house-- and lo and behold, the costume turned out to be pretty risqué. When I saw the pictures (which, to be fair, he showed me unprompted), I started crying. He got mad and said I was letting my jealousy damage our relationship, he was insulted I'd even think he was that kind of guy, etc. I ended up feeling guilty and didn't bring it up again.
Then on Tuesday a dangerous storm passed through our area. He had plans that night with P and a few other people to bar-hop in a city about 25 miles away, but the news was warning people to stay off the roads. Just as he was getting ready to leave we found out that a big rig had literally overturned on the freeway and traffic was backed up for miles. They also warned of possible power outages in our neighborhood, and I have PTSD so I panic easily.
I asked him to stay, but he seemed annoyed and drove off without even telling me what time he'd be back. Later he texted that he'd "probably be home in a few hours", and then turned off his phone because he said I was "spamming" him. I spent the rest of the night alone and terrified of the power going off while 60 mph winds battered our house. He got back at 2:30am (and I made him a nice little bed on the couch because I was so pissed off). Woke up the next day to read that 5 people were killed by falling trees in our area and more were killed in car accidents-- he literally risked his life so he could go hang out with P.
Today I did another social media deep dive and realized he's been liking her selfies-- and pretty much ONLY her selfies, not any of her other photos-- since they met, and he interacts far more with her online than he does with any of his other "friends" in the group. That was the final straw, and I could no longer pretend that there wasn't anything weird about this.
It seems clear that he's got feelings for her, feelings that probably aren't reciprocated, but I can't help but wonder if he's even aware of it. His identity is wrapped up in this idea of himself as a "good guy" and champion of women-- I'm not sure his guilt would allow him to acknowledge the obvious to himself. In his mind, only a toxic asshole alpha male would chase after a hot girl when he's got a partner at home. He's never made any attempt to hide or sneak around where she's concerned, and they've both made it clear that I'm welcome in their social circle.
That's not the behavior of someone who's actively pursuing her, right? But at the same time, his behavior is pretty clearly the behavior of someone who's enamored with her. I wish I could tell him that I don't want him spending so much time with her, or at least stop hanging out with her one-on-one, but I know if I do that he'll just get upset and say I'm being possessive. Is that unreasonable? Am I in denial about what's really going on?
Please help. This is driving a wedge between us and I don't know what to do about it.
submitted by Historical-Ad7568 to AskWomenOver30 [link] [comments]


2023.03.23 22:11 Lanithane Drove 45 miles to lower the offer by $10 and threatens me to leave…

Drove 45 miles to lower the offer by $10 and threatens me to leave… submitted by Lanithane to ChoosingBeggars [link] [comments]