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    • AquilaTempestas

      Posting Video Links   01/23/2016

      Please make sure the video shows up before posting (as in, the link turns into a video instead). If the link is not showing properly, highlight it then click 'Remove Formatting' (that's the Tx)
    • AquilaTempestas

      Chat Room   05/10/2016

      Unsure of how to access the Chat Room after reaching 10 posts? Look for Browse in the upper right hand corner. Hover your cursor over it and you will see Chat. Click on it. 

Blogs

Our community blogs

  1. onewiththewheels
    Latest Entry

    So, as the title states, I'm taking a bit of a break from this blog. Not because I don't like it mind you, but because I'm taking a break to work on other projects, such as the currently active Holly Rising. There's also the fact that what I intend to do with this blog has changed, and whether it stays here gets ported to other sites is still up for debate.

    Rest assured I have not abandoned this.

    It's been a very interesting journey so far, with a different style writing the one I'm used to, and I'd hate to see it end. So whenever adventure strikes again, I will journal here. Knowing me, adventure will strike before long.

    But for now, the journeying wheeling gamer takes a rest, as I detail the chronicles of other lands.

    Goodbye for now, blog. I'm sure I will see you again in a while.

  2. Another week has passed and I have to say that I didn't expect myself to be able to be constant in this, but I did and its feels great.
    This week wasn't as good as the first as I found myself to be kind of tired, but despite that other complications have taken their toll on me, I don't know how or why but I had an infection and the pain was quite distracting to say the least, in fact I had to take a couple of days off while on other days I did two drawings at once because I couldn't handle it. Fortunately its healing and its good.
    Still I made it through despite everything and I look forward to continue this, hopefully with no more complications.

    Day 9
    Kite Tenjo from Yu-gi-oh Zexal
    A pretty recent anime I saw a few years ago. He was one of the main characters and a former number hunter, he was collecting numbers in order to help his father to heal his sick younger brother Hart. In the first sagas he was the main antagonist and he's the only one that didn't lose to Yuma and Astral (the main characters).
    Once his brother was cured he became friends with Yuma and his group and assisted them during the Interdimensional War between the Astral World and Barian World. Always during it he succumbs but he's later revived by the Numeron Code.
    Nothing to say about this one, fairly easy, even though the hair gave me some troubles.

    Inktober 2017 Day 9 - Kite Tenjo by SakuraAlexia

    Day 10
    Lusamine from Pokemon Sun and Moon
    Most of us know her right? The main antagonist of Pokemon Sun and Moon, and we've yet to see what she will do in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon.
    President of the Aether Foundation and mother of Gladion and Lillie. We know how it goes from here no? In the games she uses the power of Cosmog to open Ultra Wormholes in the entire Alola, then later on we find her in Nihilego's world where we all know she merges with in order to battle the player, and once she loses and turns back to normal she falls victim of Nihilego's poison, which leaves her in a comatose state.
    It is speculated that before becoming obsessed with Ultra Beasts that she was a very nice woman that sincerely loved her children, and that possibly she tried to open the Ultra Wormholes in an ill attempt to try and get back her husband that disappeared years before in game in one of those.
    Lots of theories were made on her motives, and I hope something more will be explained in the games that will be out in a month. I personally love this character, her story is interesting and I really want to see where it will end up to.
    Loved to make this, though her hair are hell, I added a touch of color because it would have been way too white otherwise, with her dressed in white and being blonde.

    Inktober 2017 Day 10 - Lusamine by SakuraAlexia

    Day 11
    Hidden Phantom from Mega Man Zero
    One of the Four Guardians of Copy X, he is the leader of the Cutting Shadow Squadron, his abilities come from X's stealth capabilities. He's extremely quiet and extremely loyal to Copy X, even willing to die for him after he gets defeated by Zero by making himself explode in an attempt to take Zero with him in the first game.
    After he can make and appearance in the third game in a special level. While in the ZX series his spirit appears as a Biometal just like his siblings.
    He's also the first boss than when met has to be battled at the begginning of a level and not at the end.

    Inktober 2017 Day 11 - Hidden Phantom by SakuraAlexia

    Day 12
    Gaige from Borderlands 2
    Gaige is a Mechromancer. She is the fifth playable class in Borderlands 2. Gaige was a high school student from the planet Eden-5. She originally created Deathtrap (her robot), DT for short, as a science fair project to combat bullying. Her rival, Marcie Holloway, was a contestant in the science fair as well, and used her father's money to buy her way through the competition. Marcie apparently stole Gaige's DT designs and sold them to Eden-5's police force.
    On the day of the science fair, Marcie's father bribed the judges, helping win her first place with a defective robot based on Deathtrap's blueprints. Gaige placed third. Marcie then shoved Gaige, causing Deathtrap to identify her as a hostile. Deathtrap attacked with its claws, causing her to explode due to a miscalibration by Gaige. Gaige faced expulsion and arrest for accidentally murdering her rival. She called her father to create a distraction to help her evade arrest, and bought a ticket to Pandora.
    Her action skill is indeed calling Deathtrap to her aid on the battlefield. Given her skill trees she can be both the easiest and the hardest character to play as.

    Inktober 2017 Day 12 - Gaige by SakuraAlexia

    Day 13
    Inuyasha from Inuyasha
    Main character of the series (you would have never guessed XD), anyway Inuyasha is a half-demon, half human and half dog demon, which gives him superhuman capabilities, and even though he looks 15 he is actually over 200 years old.
    In his early years he fell in love with a priestess named Kikyo, who was entrusted to guard the Jewel of Four Souls, which he sought in order to become a full demon, the two fell in love with each other and he gave up trying to get the jewel. But another half demon, Naraku, who also wanted the jewel managed to trick them both into betraying each other. Disguised as Inuyasha, Naraku attacked Kikyo and attempted to steal the jewel from her, wrongly Kikyo attacked the true Inuyasha, with a sacred arrow she pins him to a tree and sends him into an endless sleep, before succimbing to the wound she received.
    Years later Kagome finds him and removes the arrow from him, awakening Inuyasha once more, and starts the adventures of the series.
    Here I decided to portray him in his demon form as I though he would look cooler like this, hence the re eyes and the markings on the cheeks.

    Inktober 2017 Day 13 - Inuyasha by SakuraAlexia

    Day 14
    Word Paynn from Dragon Booster
    Word Paynn is the 50 year old father of Moordryd Paynn and the main antagonist of the series. He has a vast knowledge of the legends of the Dragon-Human War, and it is he who wants another war to start so he can control the world.
    Throughout the series, he plans much in the way of stealing the dragon of legend, Beau,  He almost succeeds several times at obtaining him, but is always stopped at the last minute. Word is also the CEO of his own company, Paynn Incorporated, which is a world famous company for manufacturing battle gear. The company is referred to as the largest gear manufacturer on the planet, making Word a millionaire.
    I wish that I could show his clawed hand better but I ran out of space, shame on me.

    Inktober 2017 Day 14 - Word Paynn by SakuraAlexia

    Day 15
    Lilith from Borderlands
    She is originally from the planet Dionysus and is one of six Sirens, a group of women with unbelievable powers.
    Lilith plays a noticeable role as NPC in Borderlands the PreSequel. After the opening of the Vault and the defeat of General Knoxx in the first game, Lilith and Roland traveled to Pandora's moon Elpis on a vacation trip. When they met Jack for the first time, who asked them for help against Colonel Zarpedon through the Vault Hunters, they didn't want to have anything to do with that at first, but they ended up helping when they realized the true danger behind the attacks. So, they cooperated with Jack and the Vault Hunters to recover the Helios station and its main weapon, a giant laser, until they saw how Jack killed three scientists throwing them into space on the suspicion that one of them might be a spy.
    They keep helping him still but, with Mad Moxxi's help, at the end they destroyed the laser and almost the entire Helios station to avoid further destruction. Later, Jack found the Vault he was looking for on Elpis and obtained an Eridian relic that granted him some visions of The Warrior's existence, but Lilith, who had been following him, appeared and destroyed the relic, creating a blast of energy that branded Jack's face with a Vault emblem.
    Lilith and Roland returned to Pandora as Hyperion began its rise. Lilith's powers grew substantially from absorbing Eridium, the element released after the defeat of the Destroyer. She was one of the founding members of the Crimson Raiders to fight against Hyperion (Jack's company).
    At some point in Borderlands 2, when Sanctuary became unshielded, as Hyperion attacked, Lilith doped herself with a large amount of Eridium to strengthen her powers. She was able to move the whole city in the sky with her powers. Sanctuary became the current flying city.
    Later, Lilith was told to stay and defend Sanctuary during the assault on Control Core Angel, but defied both Angel's insistence and Roland's orders to stay away. With Angel dead, Roland went to retrieve the Vault Key, but was shot from behind by Jack himself. Lilith attempted to attack him, but was restrained by Jack through some kind of artifact that gave him control over her powers, to replace his dead daughter to charge the Vault key.
    She then was taken to the Vault of the Warrior, where she became the catalyst to charge the key against her will, while undergoing torture from Jack. The Vault Hunters found her there, along with Jack, who fought them, but while fighting the key became fully charged, so, even defeated, Jack summoned and controlled the Warrior. Anyway, the warrior was defeated as well and Lilith was fred from his control, and even able to kill Jack herself if the player allowed it.
    Lilith's action skill is called Phasewalk (which is the mane of her Siren powers), which lets her turn invisible to enemies, move much faster, and cause a damaging shockwave.
    One of my personal favorite characters, love her and her powers.

    Inktober 2017 Day 15 - Lilith by SakuraAlexia

    As usual I hope you like them and who is your favorite this time?

  3. Sometimes on Overwatch maps, I can catch enough of a break to take a fun screenshot.
    Today I have a use for them. A game called "Where did Bunny end up" (BTW, I love D.VA's giggle emote)

    Just name the map (If you want you can name where too)
    @Mr Selfish @Lady Mechanika @TheWaffleKing @Exelior

    Image 1:

    22426170_1720821631283675_46891568649250 

    Image 2:

    22383962_1720821634617008_63915585009552 

    Image 3:

    22424245_1720821497950355_47986834543840 

    Image 4:

    22339474_1720821491283689_25698597642558 

    Image 5: 

    22424454_1720821494617022_87775728127849 

    Good Luck!

  4. AquilaTempestas
    Latest Entry

    ~PROLOGUE~

    He curled his fingers into a fist as he drove it into his opponent’s jaw. The man staggered backwards, hand resting on his injured chin, too shocked to even speak. Before the man could attempt to find a weapon of his own to defend himself with, he was pushed up against the counter, a steel blade at his vulnerable throat.

    “Be gentle, Jacob,” a woman said, features concealed by her hood. “We need this man alive.”

    Jacob loosened his grip on the man’s shirt, but didn’t remove the blade. “How many gangs are there? Seven? Three? Nine? More than ten?” he demanded.

    His victim stared up at him with a defiant gaze, blood trailing down the right side of his mouth. “Why would I tell you?” he spat, pushing aside a loose strand of platinum blond hair away from his right eye. “You think you can be a hero by stopping us? Our leaders maintain the peace. Without us, there would be total chaos in the streets! Is that what you want? Chaos?” The man forced a sardonic laugh.

    Jacob punched the man in the face again. The laughter ceased immediately. “There are people around here that aren’t even getting paid while there are others that have mountains of coin. Under Templar control, the difference between the poor and rich has never been greater.” He pressed the blade up against the man’s throat, but still not deep enough to cut the skin. He wanted to make the man squirm first.

    “Steal from the rich and give to the poor. Still makes you a criminal,” the man said. “You people claim to live by a set of moral rules yet here you are. I’m sure you’ve killed more people than I have, Assassin. Maybe you hate us so much because we remind you of the worst parts of yourself,” he said, tone laced with distaste. 

    Jacob didn’t waste another second. He drew his arm back as he plunged his hidden blade into the man’s chest. A surprised gasp left the man’s throat, but there was nothing he could do. Blood seeped through the white cloth he wore as Jacob withdrew his blade. Another man dead and it was only the second day of the new week.

    “Was that really necessary?” a man said from behind. “We could’ve used him for information.”

    Henry Green, a family friend, and a member of the fallen British Brotherhood. It was Henry who summoned them here to London to help out with the Templar problem, however he disproved of their methods. His preferred method of solving conflict was to discuss it with the opposing party. It was for that reason alone Evie had invited him to come along – she had hoped to use his diplomacy skills to obtain information from the Templar ally, yet Jacob had other ideas.

    Withdrawing the hidden blade, Jacob turned around and shrugged. “He had nothing useful to say,” he said, wiping off the blood on his coat. Henry looked to the woman, but she didn’t say a word. With a sigh, Jacob added, “No need for the long face, Henry. We’ll find someone else more willing to talk. I’m sure someone will give us the locations of the Templars we seek.”

    “Evie,” Henry started, looking towards the woman.

    She shrugged. “We will find someone else.”

    Jacob grinned. “See? Nothing to worry about. Now I’m heading home. See you both later.” Pulling back his hood, he walked over to the nearby table, and grabbed his black top hat. When the deed was done, he needed to blend in with the rest of the people as to not draw suspicion to him. No one would suspect a thing.

    He was aware that his sister was glaring at him, but he didn’t stop to talk to her. He’d listen to her lecture later when he had a chance to clean up after today’s events. She was angry – he could tell without even having to look at her – but he’d deal with her later. Right now he wanted to sit back and relax. Without saying another word, he exited the building.

     

    Evie crossed her arms over her chest, glaring at the entrance of the bar. Seconds earlier, her brother had just walked out without even bothering to offer an explanation. As per usual, she was left behind to clean up his mess. She loved him dearly, but sometimes his actions caused more problems than solved. This was one of those times.

    She turned her attention towards the corpse of a bartender now lying in a pool of blood on the floor. The man wasn’t a Templar himself, but he did spend an awful amount of time walking down the same routes. She suspected he was a messenger for the Templar leaders, delivering messengers between the various factions. It was unfortunate her brother had killed him, but that’s generally how he dealt with problems.

    Fortunately, it was night. Midnight to be precise. The local townsfolk were fast asleep, and all the bars were closed in the district, meaning there’d be no stragglers walking around. Finding the Templar supporter had been easy – the man had exited from a nearby bar making him an easy target to disarm. Her brother had made short work of him – a punch in the stomach and a fist to the head, and the man was brought to the ground. Now they were here inside an abandoned bar with nothing but rats to keep them company.

    “We’ll have to remove the body. This bar might be abandoned but people, especially children, like to snoop around,” Henry pointed out, moving to the opposite side of the man, glancing down with disappointment. “Now we’ll have to find someone else.”

    If the man had been her victim she would’ve released him and tracked him. Unfortunately, her brother’s inability to control his anger meant she had to think up of any other plan of finding the hideouts of the Templar leaders. “I’ll keep a lookout tomorrow. Help me move the body please,” she said, gesturing to the corpse on the floor. Henry was right – despite the place being abandoned, it didn’t mean it was safe to hide bodies behind the broken barrels in the shadows.

    Henry dropped to his knees and placed his hands beneath the man’s arms. Evie grabbed the legs and together, the two Assassins lifted the body up from the floor. “We’ll dump the body out the back, and I’ll send some of me men to rid the body during the night when there are less people about.”

    Evie didn’t like the idea of leaving a body in the sewers until nightfall, but who explored that area anyway? “All right.” They carried the body out through the back door towards the sewer system to dispose of the body. A few rats scurried past along the cobblestones, but they were harmless. Once done, they covered the entrance with some garbage then headed back inside to clean up the remainder of the mess.

    “You’re going to have to keep an eye on him,” Henry said, searching for a brush to scrub the floor with. “Your brother, that is. If this continues, the Templars will be the least of our problems.”

    He was referring to the police force. Their job was to patrol the streets and ensure the people were safe. So far, the police hadn’t been a problem, but things could easily change. She glanced up from the floor. “You and I both know that my brother can’t be controlled. He wants nothing more than to run wild on the streets.” That made him a liability. Jacob had a knack for finding himself in difficult situations and seemed to thrive on it. Despite being raised as an Assassin, her brother cared little about stealth.  In fact, he seemed to care little about the teachings of the brotherhood itself.

     “I’ll be back shortly. This mess isn’t going to clean without water,” Henry replied, turning his back to head to explore the kitchen area of the bar.

    Evie glanced down at the fallen Templar ally and sighed once more. If only her brother had better self-control then they wouldn’t be in this situation. But chaos made him happy, and he was happiest when he was right in the middle of the fight, using nothing else but his fists to gain the upper advantage. He had all the makings of being the perfect Assassin, better than herself in fact, but for whatever reason he simply didn’t care. He lived by his own set of rules and guidelines and that made him dangerous.

    Henry returned with two scrubbing brushes and a bucket of hot soapy water. “You are the only one he listens to, Evie. Your brother wishes to eliminate the Templar presence here in London.” He lowered himself down to the floor and began to scrub away at the blood. Evie picked up the other brush, dunked it into the water and started scrubbing. Fortunately, the blood was still fresh.

    “And he has my full support,” Evie replied, dunking her brush into the water. Within moments, the water in the bucket had turned a dark red. She tapped the brush on the bucket’s rim several times then continued to scrub away at the floor.

    “You are but two people trying to take back control from multiple gangs of Templars. We don’t even know how many of them there are out there yet,” he advised, pausing briefly. She tilted her head to the side, an eyebrow raised. He cleared his throat and continued. “Your father taught you both well, but that alone won’t help you win.”

    Evie scrubbed harder. “We’ll find a way to gain the advantage.” It would take a bit of time, but all legends started with nothing. All they needed was names of the faces of their enemies and the takeover would commence. “Assassins before our time managed to find a way to overcome the Templar Order – What makes you think we can’t achieve the same results?”

    “The Assassins failed before, Evie.”

    “Things are going to be different now. My brother and I are here.”

    Henry’s expression remained neutral. “I wish I shared your optimism, but I don’t see how it’s possible. The Templar force is far too great and their influence is widespread. Merchants, carriage drivers, and the wealthy districts all support the Templar cause. By taking on the Templars, you are creating civil war.”

    She detected the bitterness in his tone. Although Henry had been their friend for over a decade now, he was still a mystery to her. He never spoke of his time during the peak years of the British Brotherhood – that topic was avoided at all costs. When someone brought it up, Henry would change the topic. Whatever had happened during that era must’ve left deep wounds. She didn’t question him about it. He’d speak of it when the time was right and she would listen.

    “The working class has suffered long enough. Something needs to be done.”

    He sighed. “I can see that you’ve made up your mind, and I won’t be able to change that. I only ask that you remember the oath you swore when you became part of the Order, Evie. Stay your blade from the flesh of an innocent, hide in plain sight and be one with the crowd, and never compromise the Brotherhood.”

    She nodded. “I never break my promises, Henry. You have no reason to fear that I will stray from our Order’s teachings.”

    “And your brother? You and I both know he pushes those boundaries. I fear to think what will happen if those boundaries are overstepped.”

    She paused then nodded again. “I’ll keep a watchful eye on him.”

    There was silence until Henry spoke again. She knew he wasn’t convinced, but she also knew when to drop the debate. “You should head home and speak to your brother. I’ll clean up the rest of the mess here.” She looked at him, an eyebrow raised. “Go on, Evie. I’ll be fine. I’ll let you know if I have any leads.”

    She climbed to her feet. “You know where to find me.” Henry resumed scrubbing, and Evie headed towards the door, pulling her hood over her head.

  5. So it's been a month since school started. It's still not the best, but it could definitely be worse.

    My French teacher seems to have a weak immune system, as she's been absent for over a week. Maybe even two... I absolutely adore my English teacher, she is so kind and cares so much. And she makes class nice and fun, and we don't get a lot of homework, and homework was a problem for me in English last year. PE... well, we finished our weights unit last week, and good thing too, those were making me feel sore. That's the class where I actually made the most friends (two). Then I have lunch, where I have been sitting with my bro, and sometimes one other friend of mine comes along. After that, it's Math, which is... okay, to be honest. I always feel really tired in that class, maybe because it's right after lunch? And I don't like doing homework, and I forget, so I have quite a bit of zeroes already... darn. My uncle was mad at me today because of it. Anyway, World History is nice too. Easy stuff for me to remember, and it's a pretty bright classroom. And finally, Astronomy, the study of stars and space and all that cool stuff. :lol: It's fun and interesting, and the teacher is pretty fun too!

    Okay, right now, I'm in... four clubs. Oh dear God...

    First is that E-xchange I was talking about in another post. We refurbish old electronics and make them so they're compatible with the current times. We then send them to other high schoolers who don't have access to the technology necessary to succeed in school. We even hold drives and stuff! I go there on Mondays.

    Next, we have the eSports club, also known as electronic gaming (I think). My brother goes with me to that one. They participate in official gaming tournaments hosted by the official eSports company or whatever. This season, it's League of Legends and Counter Strike: Global Warfare. The winners of those can get scholarship money of around 2000 dollars! That's crazy! We are also hosting an in-school Super Smash Bros. tournament after school, and the winner has the opportunity to win over $100, since so many people are participating. There are so many kids in the club... there usually aren't enough seats for everyone... We go there on Wednesdays.

    I also go to the Anime Club at my school. It's actually pretty great, since we've been able to watch the first episodes of anime that's come out over the summer, and which have less than a dozen episodes right now. We've also done a couple of competitions. The one we're doing right now is a drawing competition, due in a week and a half from now. So I'm excited! I might lose, since some kids are waaaay better than me, but still. Seems fun! I go there on Fridays.

    Recently, I joined the Animal Best Friends Club, which is dedicated to helping all the poor animals that get killed in shelters before they get a chance to find a home. I might actually have to quit though, since I don't think I can handle so many clubs, and that one isn't particularly my passion. My friend had just really wanted me to join...

    My English teacher (the really nice one) thinks I'd be good in Academic Decathlon, which I was so surprised to hear her say. All GPA levels are allowed to participate, since they split the competitors that way too. Everyone has a chance. It's like an academic competition! My teacher is giving me the chance to think if I want to participate or not, and she thinks I'd do good in the English and Literature section. Now, to be completely honest, I've never really hated school. At least, not in my heart. Especially in the past, I actually really enjoyed and a lot of the things I did there. Back then, I felt extra motivated, and I had quite a few friends who'd support me and who I loved to hang out with. My life was at an all-time high, and I got pretty much the best grade in the school! I'm not kidding, I got a totally unexpected reward for it at the end of 8th grade.

    But when I moved... oh dear. What with my family being split somewhat, things got hard. I had no friends. ASB was a pain in the butt, actually. Though it did have its perks and good times... My mom was no longer around to make breakfast, make sure we're up, drop us off at school, pick us up from school too, and most importantly, she wasn't there while we did homework. That was what affected me the most. I no longer had any motivation to do the homework assigned to me, which caused a huge grade drop in math (but I was able to survive, since I did at least okay on my tests), and I was dropped from both Honors English and Honors Bio, moving to the college prep classes. I had to go to zero period to make up the first semester of Bio, and I was able to survive the second semester as well. And I had to take English over the summer, heheh... and I still have two essays I have to make up, which I keep forgetting about...

    Anyway, I'm getting way off track here! Now, I really wouldn't mind being in Academic Decathlon. On Wednesdays, they meet to study for the competitions. Like I said, I never hated school. Maybe dislike it sometimes (more now than in the past), but I would still be willing to participate and stuff, especially if a teacher I trust recommended it for me. And who knows? I might just get the motivation I need.

    My English teacher has been nothing but kind to me, and she's been to help me ever since I even arrived at the school. When she said she thought I'd be great, I felt some tears in my eyes. She saw what I was capable of, and was happy to offer me a choice that can help me. It's not like I wasn't thinking about joining beforehand; I had been thinking about it, but it eventually slipped my mind. Which is just like me, lol. I was happy that she was willing to help me so much. Gosh darnit, she makes me feel like I'm back in middle school (which is a good thing by the way).

    Wow, I really didn't mean to ramble off like that! Ah well, too late now.

    Oh! But there is one ting... both Academic Decathlon and eSports are on Wednesdays after school... which is what makes it harder. But my bro said that he could inform me of what happens in the meetings and stuff while I go the the academic clubby club. Sometimes, he can be kind and just the solution for me. Only sometimes though. :P Don't tell him I said that. Hahahaha...

    Gosh, I'm hungry! Guess I didn't eat much today... darn.

    On another happy note, I was texting my cousin, and he said he's gonna be able to visit next week! Wow. I was totally surprised. And he says he wants to see my drawings! He's the only cousin I've ever been close to, and even then, we weren't that close. I mean, he's quite a bit older than me. But still the closest cousin.

    Well, I should go now, it's been a long day, and I almost fell asleep at my computer, heheh.

    Bye! :) 

  6. Woke up at 9:00 am this morning. At least it isn't 7 or 8. ^_^ 

    Though I may have stayed up late last night playing games and watching anime... heh. 

    Today, we get to go to Sioux Falls. There must be some sort of scenery there (or a waterfall; that would be cool). I think it takes, like... 5 hours or something? Let me check... 

    Yep, 5 hours. Not that bad compared to the other parts of the trip. 

    There were some clouds on our way there. Oh, it's raining a bit. 

    It stopped pretty quick, actually. 

    Wow, there are actual plains here. Just how I imagined them to be. Green plains to be precise. 

    Played some Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon. We went through a few floors, but my brother got tired of it. 

    Made it to Sewing level 13. Two more to go. *sigh* This'll take a while. 

    Got a Discord account for a game on my phone. Seems some of the members had wanted an external chat, and they ultimately decided Discord. Someone wanted Line, but supposedly there are a lot of issues with it at the moment... 

    Hopefully, this chat will let the members be more active. Kingdom Hearts: Unchained X is a game where the members of each party work together to be at the top. The higher you and your party is in the rankings, the more and better rewards you get that help you in the long run. 

    Our party isn't the most active. A lot of people only play for a few days before they don't play again. And some of our most active players are no longer active and haven't been for months. 

    Hopefully, this chat will help motivate them to play more. Our Union sometimes gets last sometimes, when we used to be 3rd, and occasionally even 2nd. Let's see... Usually, it's Vulpes, Unicornis, the Serpent, Leopardus, and Ursus in that order. 

    ...

    Sorry I forgot to write here afterwards. :P So I'll just summarize the important points.

    So really, it took around 5 hours to get to Sioux Falls. We spent the rest of the day in our hotel room. Actually, the room came with 3 rooms, two of which were bedrooms. And each bedroom came with its own bathroom, which is really a rarity. 

    The next day, we met our great aunt and uncle, and we listened to an old fashioned band, and supposedly it was their first time back together in years. They played some nostalgic songs to, like Over the Rainbow, Turkey in the Straw, and and Home on the Range. 

    After that, we spent a few minutes inside a small Indian museum before heading to Sioux Falls. They were in a park. 

    The park was extremely green (way more than in California), and the picnic table we sat at was under some nice shade. There were some ducks and geeses walking around the park too. 

    We ended up having some Popeyes chicken for lunch before we finally saw the falls.

    Despite the clean and pure park, the water at the falls was surprisingly brown and dirty. But it was still pretty neat, and I got sprayed by water a bit at one point, lol. 

    We checked out a large and pretty church before we went to a Japanese garden. It was next to a very pretty river. 

    Then, we saw our cousin. We talked about some stuff (anime, video games, other irrelevant stuff :P). 

    We went to a Vietnamese restaurant, and it was pretty good! 

    We said bye to him, and back to the hotel.

    He met us at the hotel while we were eating breakfast, talking about other stuff. 

    We said one last goodbye before setting off towards Las Vegas. Or so I had thought. 

    My grandma was paranoid, thinking that she'd miss her flight the next day no matter what. So my dad decided against staying in another hotel and he thought it would be best to drive straight home.

    I stayed up during the night, trying to watch anime. I wanted the trip to last as long as possible, since school was going to start as soon as it was over. 

    The trip back home took 25 hours. My dad drove most of that time. 

    We had gotten back at 9 in the morning, while my grandma's flight was at 5 pm. So once we were home, I fell asleep. 

    But I had to get back up at 12 because of a goodbye dinner for her. Went to my uncle's house. 

    And then she left, we went home, and rested...

    All in all, I loved this trip so much. Though it would've been nice without my grandma, it was still extremely enjoyable. I was so happy when we left, I love traveling. 

    Bye! Thanks for hanging in there! :)

  7. Well, after Aquillas post about having your own book published, I've been giving it a lot of thought.  A lot!!!

    I have actually checked with several printers in my area, though they all require a minimum order amount.  Some have page limitations (300 pages only), while others offer free shipping with orders over a certain amount.

    I still have more digging to do but the idea of self-publishing my own book has become a very enticing proposition.

     

    ~Bel

  8. I have to be honest, I hate confrontation. Because it is one of those affairs where no one comes out a winner, in fact, it would be accurate if I were to say that both parties come out scarred, in one form or another.

    As I write this, I have been involved in two confrontations today (technically they're one since they are with the same person), these both instances have left me very disturbed and somewhat depressed. I loved this person a lot and after a very nasty affair I decided to leave them and go separate ways. I came across this person every now and then, and I avoided him just to avoid confrontation itself.

    This person was my teacher, he was a qari in our native language. Someone who teaches us Quran - how to recite it, how to properly execute the pronunciation of the words, it's meaning etc.  Now since he is basically teaching us religious studies then he must be lenient, right? Well, not quite.

    See in our country (I don't know about other Muslim countries) these qaris tend to be strict, sometimes their strictness is warranted for the students do not really dedicate in reading Quran, its our holy book so of-course dedication is a prerequisite. But on the other hand, sometimes this strictness is too much, it is sometimes imposed upon students, kind of like military training. Case in point, I guess me.

    Look, I'm not saying that I hate strictness, I love it to some extent. I love it when I am rightfully criticized for my mistakes, be it in writing, studying or any aspect of life. But too much of this strictness, which sometimes is too harsh, can weaken you. I has weakened me. I am starting to get grumpy, I'm basically a guy who hasn't even reached the legal age of adulthood and already I snip off people for petty reasons! But this all isn't without reason and asides from my lack of tolerance, I also blame others for it as well.

    My qari in a way, tried to impose religion on me. I love Islam. Islam is my life and I love everything it has to offer, because wherever I see in Islam, I see peace, serenity, leniency, love and tenderness. Islam is a proponent of peaceful solutions and does not, does not adhere to any type of force unless really, really necessary. See all the stresses? They are true, yet this stigma of Islam has garnered a lot of negative attention to it (which is the fault of not only us, but them as well.)

    I was feeling imposed, my qari was nice. He'd call me "peer sahab" which is what is called to saints in our religion. And yet, he told me not to visit the shrines of saints. What was this dilemma? I ignored it, once, twice, three times, so on. Until I started to get a bit tired of it, I am a man who finds peace in listening to the marvels of saints (all given by Allah) and their wonders (all given by Allah) and their amazing powers which were not accepted by the ordinary and let me say, conservative minds. (again, all given by Allah)

    So what was his problem? These saints were the very righteous men who worshiped Allah and did good deeds. I visited their shrines and still do because I prayed to Allah that through these men, I can get connected to Allah. It's kind of hard to explain, I know. Maybe that's what bothered him.

    Nonetheless this continue on for sometime until I had enough and left. I was probably his favorite student and yet I was the one who walked out on him, simply because he didn't let me be me.

    I was furious, I left him and decided to never want to see his smug face again. Until today. Today, he met me, and he called me a "rebel" for leaving him. I was stunned, I was with my sister at the time. He would beat students with a fucking pipe and ask me to do so (I declined so many times but reluctantly did so at very rare times, just to save my own ass....), he would let people who are real rebels, who are real assholes and who are real jerks come regardless if they left for a day or six months, because they did things for them. And those kids, oh don't get me started, were total assholes and took advantage of my rather introvert personality. Boy this is one crazy "reality check blog and venting out double entrande" eh folks? But this is how I feel.

    Luckily, my sister was my saving grace as she openly criticized his methods and attitude, I wasn't. She defended me, I was not. And this broke me, I was utterly lost and down. I wasn't able to defend myself against him. Not against such as asshole. This deeply disturbed me. I'm a guy who writes lemons and yet I cannot defend myself in a confrontation...

    In a confrontation...

    Maybe I'm not the confrontation-type, I abhor the idea of making anyone as well as myself upset. But this selfless attitude has not met with any real favorable fruition for me thus far. maybe that's why I avoid confrontations. Maybe that is why I am such a peace loving person. Maybe that is why I may be a whimp...

    Yes, you heard me. I am being called a whimp for my non-confrontational methods. How lovely.

    I guess I need to start being open at times, I guess I need to start being "confident", which in our society means, to be a complete asshole and have the justification for your action, eve if they are wrong, putrid and disgusting. I believe I will be confident, I believe I will be the confident one who tends to employ silence in confrontations. He who lets the idiots steam out and says nothing but good. The one who is not an asshole and does not like to garner any sort of attention towards him. It'll take time, lots of time. But no sympathy. Because sympathy will spruce out justifications for actions, which will lead to the eventual "asshole-type confident" scenario.

    No, I will be confident. The silent confident. Because Islam itself teaches test smart people always stay quiet. Right qari sahab?

  9. Words simply can't describe how I feel today. 

    I woke up and immediately checked the forum and noticed @MasKaiHilFantic's status update about Chester Bennington found dead. I told myself that this had to be some hoax and it was just some lousy media outlet trying to hype themselves up a little. I checked Linkin Park reddit and noticed Mike Shinoda had confirmed it on his Twitter page.

    My heart broke. I don't normally get too upset over celebrity deaths, but Chester's death hits me so hard, it's actually a struggle to write this.

    I've been a fan since Hybrid Theory. Since 2000. That's 17 years of loyalty towards a band that helped so many people around the world find the will to cope and survive each day. Their blend of rap with rock and heavy vocals was reason I got into rock/metal and I loved their meaningful lyrics. What I loved best was how relatable they were. The songs that capture your feelings in your darkest moments but you're too afraid to admit them out aloud. I'm so glad I had the privilege to see them live in 2014 here in Australia. They were fantastic live - very energetic and got the crowd singing along to every song. Such great energy and looking at those photos now only makes this news so much worse. I watched the band evolve since their beginnings to their most recent effort. Every album brought something new to the table. Some changes I didn't like, but the core of the band never changed. They were always genuine about what they did. 

    Listening to their songs now just feels so different. I always knew their songs were about sad matters and such, but I can't help but think Chester was always thinking of committing suicide sometime in the future. Chris Cornell's death by suicide seemed to push him over the edge (to the point he chose to die on Chris's birthday). No matter what anyone says, I will never believe that suicide is a weakness and selfish. Yes, he left his wife and six kids behind, but he was consumed by his own inner pain, he probably thought they'd be better off without him. It's awful to think of how many people in this world are also in the same boat, that are suffering in silence because no one will listen to their desperate cries for help.

    God, what an awful day.

    Some LP lyrics:

    "Should've stayed, were there signs, I ignored? Can I help you, not to hurt, anymore?"

    "Oh I'll be sorry for now That I couldn't be around There will be a day That you will understand You will understand"

    "I was not trying to tear you down The words that I could've used I was too scared to say out loud"

    "And you're angry, and you should be, it's not fair Just 'cause you can't see it, doesn't mean it isn't there"

    "I can't hold on/To what I want when I'm stretched so thin/It's all too much to take in/I can't hold on/To end things watching everything spin/With thoughts of failure sinking in"

    "When my time comes/Forget the wrong that I've done/Help me leave behind some/Reasons to be missed/And don't resent me/And when you're feeling empty/Keep me in your memory/Leave out all the rest/Leave out all the rest"

    "I don't know what's worth fighting for/Or why I have to scream/I don't know why I instigate/And say what I don't mean/I don't know how I got this way/I'll never be alright/I'm breaking the habit tonight"

    It is almost as if he already knew he was going to die soon. This happened after Chris's death.

     

    And there's so much more. It's like reliving the time when Paul Grey of Slipknot and the Rev of Avenged Sevenfold died.

     

     

  10. This was supposed to be part of a multi-chaptered series of Dark Souls 2, but I kinda gave up and got bored. This is unedited.

    Decades have passed since the battle against the Giants, but peace is short lived. Rumours of a dark chaos spread across the region, and once again the people of Drangleic find themselves on the brink of war. But unlike the previous time, this is a battle they may not possibly win.

    .

    Prologue

    Captain Drummond sprinted through the bloodied streets, his shield and shield raised, protecting himself from the arrow fire. He had to reach the main bulk of his forces and give the order to retreat. There were too many giants, and too few men. This was a slaughter, and the people of Drangleic were unprepared.

    Years ago Vendrick had led an invasion against the giants, forcing them off the land. The giants retreated, and disappeared for years, making many believe they had travelled to some other land. However, they had been wrong. The giants had returned. Led by the Giant Lord, the army traipsed across the land, destroying and pillaging all that was in their path.

    The Cardinal Tower was the last defensive outpost. Vendrick had ordered his army to gather there and do their best to hold off against the invasion while he waited for his allies to arrive. Word had been sent to the other three kings for assistance. Only time would tell if the armies would arrive in time.

    “Captain Drummond!” a soldier called, running towards him. Dried blood coated his armour.

    Drummond came to a halt. “Retreat at once! Return to the walls!”

    The ground shook. Drummond held his arms out to the sides to steady himself as he waited for the vibrations to pass. Glancing up, he noticed that one of the fortifications had been struck by a boulder. Parts of rubble crashed down to the ground. One of his soldiers cried out in pain as he was buried alive beneath the debris. Another soul lost.

    Drummond gave his soldier a push. “Go! Warn the others! If we’re going to die today then we’re going to take as many giants down as possible, and we can’t do that on the ground!” he ordered. The man nodded and sprinted towards the eastern wall. Drummond glanced over his shoulder. He could see the giants advancing through the streets. One giant wielded a large club. Two smaller giants of a pale brown colouring flanked his sides.

    Another boulder sailed through the air, colliding into the western part of the wall, taking another chunk out of their defence. Someone screamed. Drummond looked to the right. One of the smaller giants had picked up a soldier and was now holding him in its hand, crushing the man’s bones with little effort. The man screamed again. The screams came to an abrupt halt when the giant threw the frail body against a wall. Drummond winced upon the impact. How many more men were going to die in this pointless war?

    Any sane man would leave whilst they had the chance. You’d have to be an outright fool to believe this war could be won. But Drummond was a faithful servant of the King, and he was no coward. Better to die fighting for something you believed in than die with your back turned to your kingdom. Whatever the result here today, it would be remembered for future generations to come. Maybe future lords would learn something from this.

    Another soldier approached him. There were blotches of blood splatter on his helm. “Captain Drummond! The northern wall has fallen! The giants are pouring in! The men are beginning to panic! They believe that all hope has been lost!”

    Drummond swore, spitting at the ground. They were trapped in here like animals, and still there was no sign of the allies. Perhaps they had heard word of their troubles and decided to retreat condemning them to their fates. “Listen to me,” Drummond said, placing his shield on the ground, to grab the man’s right shoulder.  “As long as we are still breathing then there is still hope that we can emerge from this victorious! Rally up the men and head to the eastern wall. Load up the ballistae. Tell the archers to get into position, and have the remaining men standing near the openings!”

    “At once, captain!” The man turned away and hurried off to inform the remaining men.

    Though he did not feel hope in his heart, he could not allow the men to lose hope. Their confidence would be shattered, and they’d allow the giants to enter without a fight. Better to give the men some belief even if he did not believe himself. He sprinted towards the ladder on the wall. His run was cut short when a boulder smashed into it, creating a big dent in the fortification. The ladder toppled to the soil.

    Fortunately, there was still another way to gain access to the upper wall. He changed directions, and headed towards one of the undamaged buildings, dashing through an open door. He found a few of his men inside. Some of them were on the ground, wounded. One was missing a leg. Another without his right arm. “Captain Drummond,” one of the healthy soldiers said, acknowledging him with a bow. “Our forces are divided. There’s an elite giant separating our men. The wounded can’t access the help they need.”

    Elite giants. As if the normal ones weren’t difficult enough. The elite giants were easily spotted in the crowd as they towered above the rest. Their skin was a pale blue colour, and they wielded massive clubs, which they used to demolish buildings. The bulk of the army consisted of two other giants – ones that had mastered the art of pyromancy and ones that defended them. Pyromancers were identified by the shaggy hair that clung to their faces.

    “I’ll deal with him. Just take care of the men here then report to the eastern wall when you’re ready.”

    “But Captain, the giants are too strong.”

    “I’ll figure out a way.” He moved on past the men heading towards the opposite opening. Green grass awaited on the other side. It was the last patch of grass untouched by the giants that lay before the river which now served as dumping site for bloodied and battered bodies. Corpses floated down the river, many of them missing various limbs. The water itself had turned red.

    Two-handing his sword, Drummond stepped out onto the grassy patch, and turned to his left. There was a flight of stairs leading up to the upper level. Cautiously, he made his way up, keeping his eyes peeled. You never knew when a boulder or a fireball could come your way. He walked up the flight of stairs then turned right. That’s when he saw it. Through the narrow alleyway, he spotted the unmistakable bulk of an elite giant. Behind the creature, he saw ash clouds. The smell of burning straw reached his nostrils.

    Once again the ground shook. The giant swung his club. Some soldiers ducked, whilst those who failed were struck. The sounds of bones being shattered would forever remain in his head. He kept charging forward. Elite giants could be defeated. There had to be a way to bring down something so large. Maybe if he used the creature’s own bulk against it, he’d gain the upper hand. He charged down the street. Every so often he’d be knocked aside as the ground vibrated. Cracks appeared in the walls surrounding him. With each quake, the cracks deepened. It wouldn’t be much longer before the buildings crumbled.

    Tightening his hands around the hilt of his sword, Drummond charged. He ran for as long as his legs could carry him, heading directly for the space beneath the giant’s legs. Giants were slow. There was always a bit of a delay between each swing of the club. That was the perfect time to set up an attack. “Captain!” a man screamed.

    The giant raised a leg and brought it crashing down. Again, the ground shook, and Drummond almost lost his footing. Fortunately, he now had enough practice to retain his balance. He swung his sword with all his might, steel clashing with the rock hard skin of the giant’s leg. He hit with enough force that he was thrown backwards. Scrambling to his feet, he glanced at the spot he had struck. Nothing but a scratch, but it was something. It showed the giant had a vulnerable spot.

    “They might be large and powerful, but even something so big can be brought down!” Drummond called over the sounds of battle. He slashed at the leg again. Another scratch, but deeper. With enough strikes the giant would eventually fall to the soil. “Strike at its legs! When the giant falls, it’ll be unable to defend itself!”

    “Understood, captain!”

    A soldier rushed forwards and slashed at the giant’s leg. Uttering a monstrous roar, the giant lifted its leg again. “Move out of the way!” Drummond bellowed, throwing his body to the side to avoid the stomp. He glanced to his right to check if the other soldier was fortunate. The man lay on the ground about a metre away, uninjured.

    “Fire your arrows!” another man cried.

    Two archers raised their bows and released. Two arrows flew forwards striking the giant’s leg. “Move now!” Drummond ordered, just as the giant roared. Club raised, it made a horizontal swing. Thanks to his warning, the soldiers were able to evade the giant’s attack, taking a few steps back so they were out of range.

    He slashed at the leg again. Each swing of the sword deepened the cuts. Eventually, he’d break through the thick layer of skin and make the giant bleed. Again and again he struck, every so often rolling to the side to avoid being crushed beneath the foot. Each roll drained him of energy, but motivation spurred him on.

    “I think it’s weakening, captain!” the soldier said. A few more charged forward and slashed at its legs. “Look! I see blood!” At least, that’s what he assumed it was. Green liquid seeped through the cuts, trailing down its legs. The giant raised its legs again and stomped the ground, but by now the soldiers had understood its pattern of attack.

    The battle seemed to be turning in their favour when a fireball exploded nearby. A bale of hay became consumed in fire. In the near distance, Drummond spotted one of the pyromancer giants approaching. He swore. Just what they needed when they were so close to defeating the elite giant. “Captain, what do we do now?”

    “We move out of harm’s way,” Drummond replied, backing away from the elite giant. The giant swung its club once again, this time smashing it into the nearby wall. Bits of rubble fell to the ground, the impact throwing a few soldiers off their feet. The pyromancer hurled another fireball. This one scorched the ground just a few metres away.

    “How do we stop it? We can’t get close!”

    A good question. He thought hard, examining his surroundings. The elite giant was struggling to stand properly now, often staggering to either side each time it took a step. Perhaps if he could get the giant to attack one of the buildings near the pyromancer and cause it to crumble… “I have a plan. I need you men to stay back in case this does not work properly.”

    Drawing in a deep breath, he uttered a silent prayer to the God of War, Faraam. Here goes nothing, he thought.  He dashed forwards heading towards the pyromancer, making sure to sprint through the elite giant’s legs. The giant roared. As expected, it pursued him, and swung its club. Drummond willed his legs to move faster. He lunged forward just to be safe, narrowly missing the tip of the blunt weapon.

    The smaller giant released a cry of pain as it was clubbed in the head. It staggered backwards, emitting a low groan as it collapsed in a heap. The flame in its right hand faded. Dead? It was hard to tell with the giants. Panting, Drummond rose to his feet. The elite was still standing, but weakening fast.

    It took a step forward and raised its club above its head to make a vertical swing. However, the giant’s legs gave way, and it collapsed on the spot, club rolling out of its hands. It emitted a low groan. Drummond drew in a deep breath. Victory. So the brutes could be defeated after all. Perhaps there was hope.

    “We defeated the giant!” the men cheered.

    “There is hope after all!”

    Drummond straightened, a smile spreading across his face. It was the first time he had spared a grin since this bloody war had started. But there was no time to celebrate yet – there were still other elite giants to defeat. “That’s one giant defeated, but there are many more to be found.” He raised his sword high to inspire the men.

    The men rallied together behind him, their swords drawn, and their shields raised. Together, they marched through the streets, keeping an eye out for more giants. As they searched the streets, Drummond took note of the devastation surrounding them - damaged walls, burning straw roofs, broken fortifications, and hundreds of wounded bodies and corpses on the streets. It would take years to repair the defences, but would anyone want to live here knowing how much blood had been shed?

    That’s when he saw it. A towering lumbering giant with a crown atop its head, smashing a building with its giant sword. It was taller than the main keep, and twice the size of an elite giant. The King of Giants. The one who had led this invasion. Drummond froze in his path. The soldiers came to an abrupt halt behind him. Drummond saw two of his men hurled through the air. They screamed as they came hurtling back down to the ground, their swords pointing downwards. Drummond visibly cringed. A painful way to die.

    “What is that thing?”

    “The King of Giants,” Drummond said. The King moved closer towards the fortress centre, destroying everything in its path. It swung its hand on a nearby roof, picking up a handful of soldiers, and throwing them aside as if they weighed nothing at all. “We need to alert Vendrick. Tell him… tell him we have to sound the retreat.”

    “But Captain-”

    Drummond raised a hand. “Just find the King.” He looked to the other men. “Find survivors. Pull them back. The King must be protected. Now go – carry out your duties that you swore upon when you picked up your swords.” The men didn’t argue. They did share worried glances, but none were brave enough to argue with their captain. Turning their backs, they left, leaving Drummond alone.

    Once they were out of sight, Drummond headed towards the Giant Lord. Suicidal perhaps, but he had to save whatever men he had left remaining. He was their Captain, and it was his duty to look after them as best as he could. Tremors rocked the earth. More cracks in the walls. Spider cracks on the ground. It was almost as if the entire world was splitting apart.

    He drew closer to the Giant. The closer he came, the larger and more menacing the King of Giants appeared. Every time it swung its sword, it made a deep roaring sound. Some of his men fled the scene. Two of them rushed towards him, but only one made it. The other soldier was scooped up by the Giant Lord and crushed. The body dropped to the floor.

    The same tactic he had used against the elite giant would work against this one as well. As big as it was, the giant was still a cumbersome being. If only he could get close enough, but the Giant Lord was flanked by a number of other lesser giants. Charging at the creature would be suicide, and he couldn’t serve his people if he was dead.

    He waved his hands in the air, motioning for his soldiers to come over. Those that were within range, sprinted towards him, abandoning their swords and shields. “Captain! We’ve lost this part of the wall! The giants are too many and too strong!” a soldier exclaimed in between gasps.

    “Head to the eastern wall. That’s where the rest of them will be. That is where we will stage our final attack,” Drummond ordered, placing a hand on the man’s shoulder, looking him squarely in the eyes. “Go, and don’t look back.” He released his grip and gave the man a forceful push. With the men gone, Drummond moved closer. The Giant Lord was still hacking away at buildings, turning them into rubble.

    So this was how the world was going to end. He always knew that one day their luck was going to run out, but why had the giants returned? It almost seemed like they were after something or someone, having specifically chosen to attack Vendrick’s main defensive outpost. Caught up in his thoughts, he was oblivious to a falling piece of rubble. When he recognized it, it was too late. He tried to jump out of the way, but tripped, landing face-first on the ground.

    Nothing. Then… an implosion of overwhelming pain. Glancing down, he noticed one of his legs had gotten caught beneath the stone. Gritting his teeth, he tried to pull his leg free, but it wouldn’t budge. In the corner of his eye, he spotted the Giant Lord approaching. Again, he tried to pull free, but his attempts proved futile.

    He lay his head on the ground and squeezed his eyes shut, doing his best to ignore the pain in his left leg. His new plan? Pretend to be dead and hope the Giant Lord didn’t notice. He lay motionless, and waited. The sounds of footsteps became louder as the enemy drew closer, each step creating a mini shockwave.

    He dared himself to open an eye. The giants were only several feet away and thankfully they were looking at the road ahead. Did giants even have the capacity to think and reason like humans, or did they just rely on their instinct? It was hard to tell, but he doubted they experienced emotions like people. They continued to walk on past heading towards the fortress centre where the bulk of his men were stationed.

    “Turn back at once!” said a voice.

    Drummond opened his other eye. Up ahead, he spotted his King wielding a great sword with two hands, dressed in the finest armour you could find. The golden crowd sat on his head of dark brown hair that reached the base of his spine. The King had arrived, but where was his army? All he could see was Vendrick himself and his Queen, the mysterious Nashandra. The King was strong, but how could he hope to defeat the Giant Lord and a handful of lesser foes?

    The Giant Lord shook its head. It brought its sword forwards, pointing the tip at Vendrick. “Then you choose defeat. So be it,” Drummond heard Vendrick speak, “Nashandra, you know what to do.”

    Nashandra stepped forwards, long blonde curls falling around her shoulders. She raised her hands above her head, the palms exposed outwards. Strange oval objects with a black aura emerged up from the ground, floating in mid-air. As small as they were, the giants stopped. Drummond was surprised. Nashandra was a hexer? And all this time he had thought of her as an innocent woman incapable of fighting.

    Whatever the black objects were doing it seemed to stop the giants from moving forwards. It was like they were hesitant to continue on pass Nashandra’s spell. Was it a boundary of some sort? Never had he seen anything quite like it in all his years of service. Vendrick moved forwards, sword raised. “I gave you the chance to surrender and return to your homes, but you insist on staying. I do not have what you seek. It was lost during that battle.”

    More confusion. So the Giant Lord was searching for something and believed Vendrick had whatever it was. Was it drawn to the object’s power? If so then Vendrick was obviously lying otherwise the Giant Lord wouldn’t be here. He supposed he was trying to outsmart it, but would it be fooled? Somehow, he didn’t think the giants would just turn around and walk away.

    “They’re not going to leave, Vendrick. They believe you have the item they seek,” Nashandra said. Either she could read minds as well, or she could understand giant communication. “We have to finish them. Kill the leader and the giants will fall apart. They’re nothing without their King.”

    “Very well,” Vendrick said. The Giant Lord raised its free hand. The other giants took several steps back. Spectators to a duel between two kings. Drummond could only hope the rightful king would claim victory. Despite being only a fifth of the size of the Giant Lord (perhaps less than that), Vendrick charged, showing no fear.

    The two clashed. The Giant Lord made a vertical swing at the ground. Vendrick evaded the blow and rushed to the space beneath the lord’s legs, and hacked away at the thick skin. Angered, the Giant Lord released a guttural roar, and raised a leg only to bring it crashing back down. Vendrick rolled out of harm’s way, and again slashed at the leg.

    Nashandra joined in the fight. She raised a hand, conjuring a white beam from the palm. The beam struck the giant in the chest, making it stagger backwards. The giant howled, and slashed at the ground, aimlessly. Vendrick’s much smaller stature made it far easier to dodge the slow strikes. He continued to attack the leg until the giant toppled over.

    Nashandra strolled up to the giant, taking her place at Vendrick’s side, her beam still activated. It was hard to believe that this woman – a woman with a slender frame with luscious blond curls and bright blue eyes – could have such power. There was coldness in her eyes that sent a shudder racing down his spine. No wonder Vendrick had taken her to be his Queen after the first invasion.

    Vendrick walked up to the giant’s face and stabbed his sword through the gaping hole. It thrashed in place for a few moments then stopped moving. Realizing their leader was now dead the other giants turned their backs and fled the scene. Nashandra deactivated the beam and lowered her hand, once again looking like the innocent woman Drummond had come to recognize her as. But today, he had seen another side to her. Something mysterious and powerful.

    “Drummond, are you all right?” Vendrick said, kneeling down beside him.

    “My leg… is caught,” Drummond replied through pained gasps. He could feel blood trickling down his leg. Vendrick looked at Nashandra who nodded. She raised her arm again, activated the beam and split the stone pinning his leg down in half. With a startled cry, he pulled his leg free. He looked up at Nashandra. “Thank you.”

    “Thank your King, Drummond.”

    He did. Vendrick smiled. “We have won a great victory here today, Drummond. The giants have been defeated, and we will be known as the most powerful empire in the region.” He offered a hand. “Can you walk?”

    He tested his leg. It was numb and painful, but he could still move it surprisingly. He took Vendrick’s hand and helped himself up to his legs. He almost lost his balance but the king was there to support him. “I’m fine.”

    “I’ll take you to Chancellor Wellagher. He’ll be able to heal your wounds, and fix your leg before it becomes infected.” Drummond leaned on him for support, slipping a hand around the neck to keep himself up right. “Let us leave. The soldiers will want to hear the good news.”

    Perhaps there was hope after all.

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    Fandom: Lady Mechanika

    "Will it ever be the same as an arm? You know, a real flesh and blood arm?"  She flexed the mechanical limb, feeling the tension in the metal socket and hearing an unmistakeably metal squeal as the parts worked against each other.  Even the light bouncing off it looked strangely unnatural,  casting dancing lights around the laboratory. 
     

    "Well...yes and no..."  The man who had been there as she came round had the precision of a scientist paired with the whimsical air of an inventor. 

     

    "And the eyes?"  She caught her reflection in the base of a burnished lamp.  Her breath caught in her throat at the sight.  She was a monster with rods and wires where once there was a fragile framework of bone overlaid with muscle. 

     

    "Now they're something much better than organic eyes!"  He coughed in a self effacing way "I actually helped develop the retinal components when I was a postgrad at university".  A blush spread over his features, severely clashing with the scruffy ginger hair and sideburns.  "In fact my thesis was..."

     

    The mechanical lady gave him a look that from an ordinary woman with ordinary eyes would have said "stop talking".  But the red glow from the disturbing optical implants punctuated the unspoken epithet with "before I kill you". 

     

    "It's not important" the enthusiasm in his voice faded to a stilted silence directed at his boots. 

     

    "I didn't catch your name".  She raked over him with her red gaze.   

     

    "Lewis ma'am" he bowed elaborately, passing close enough to allow her to catch the whiff of scotch and smoke "engineer, mercenary, jack of all trades". 

     

    "And master of none, I expect"  She stood unsteadily.  Nothing in her body worked as it should and she would have to find a new way of persuading an cluster of foreign objects to co-operate.  Hinges, bolts, screws , flesh, blood, bone, cogs and clockwork.  She was just the sum of her parts which would somehow have to learn to live with each other.

     

    1732165-lm_1_2.jpg

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    MasKaiHilFantic
    Latest Entry

    There she sat in a corner, crying like she had never cried before. Her tears streamed down her once rosy red cheeks; her mascara, her blush, her lipstick, all smudged over her face, they were further being complimented by the black and blue wounds over body. Her torn clothes were showing her body from places, thankfully not from her indecent places. Her lips were swollen and blood was trickling down from the side of them. Bite marks all around her neck, over her shoulders, her broken bangles just scattered there besides her, what a nightmare she had to go through.

    But then again she goes through this nightmare every single night…

    Flashback, five years ago….

     

    “Aroma, Aroma!” A very motherly voice calls down downstairs.
    “Coming mother!” A much sweeter voice replies.. Aroma, a 21 year old young village girl who is the only child to the village’s school master and a simple housewife, gets prepared for yet another busy day around the house. Her love for flowers and beautiful fragrances made her parents change their name to “Aroma”. She gets up, stretches against the bright sunny morning, and then bathes. Cleaning herself up, she puts on her favorite orange saree, which would be very well complimented by the small red rose she would put in her hair as a decoration. She then wears her gold bracelet, before heading downstairs to attend her mother and her daily need of chores.

     

    Aroma, the only daughter of two very loving parents, was poor. Life in the village wasn’t that easy: no education, no electricity, no gas, danger of getting robbed. Nonetheless, all these dangers did not stop the extroversive Aroma from going out and having fun. She would fill up the water for the house from the local water pump, she would sweep around the house, mop it, she would even sometimes cook dinner for her family, though it wasn’t always good, but it made her parents proud of her very much that she was so hardworking. And she would be the perfect ideal housewife, everyone thought. And that was the biggest problem.

     

    Whenever it came to her marriage, she would be backing off. She was introduced to many nice young and handsome men, but she would deny their request of matrimony. Simply because she did not” feel the vibe” in them. So time went on, now 23, she was to be immediately married, as it was a family tradition for the family woman to be married by the age of 24.

    Desperately, she grabbed a knife near-by. She was locked in her room, with everything broken, the bed was wrecked, the curtains were torn, her makeup and chest of drawers all smashed up, all of her clothes, even the ones in her closet were torn into rags and her windows were smashed too. She saw a very sharp piece of glass in one corner. Without second thought, she crawled towards it on all fours, and picked it up. She looked at it, her tears fell on the sharp and crystal-clear glass, she was going to do.
    “This is no life to live… THIS IS NO LIVE TO LIVE!!” She cried out as she took the glass and swung it above, before plunging it down towards her veins in her arm, but in sheer instinct, she turned her wrist slightly, and ended up stabbing the glass into the upper side of her wrist. The pain was too much, not the pain of being stabbed, but the pain of having no control over her life to such an extent that she could not even end it if she ever wanted to…

     

    Desperate and broken, she collapsed on the floor, crying and sobbing, her cries echoed throughout the room with a loud desperate roar. Her tears and her blood flowed down on the ground, as she laid there, completely helpless… completely hopeless…

    Aroma walked through the rich wheat fields while carrying a pitcher of water over her head. She then saw a few girls who were chittering-chattering and sharing giggles and scuffles. Intrigued, she asked, ”What’s all the tittle-tattle about?”
    One of them replies,” What, you don’t know the rumors?”
    Aroma shook her head.
    “Oh come on! Don’t lie, Aroma! You must know.” She playfully said.
    “No, I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Aroma replied, confounded.

     

    “There’s this young army recruit who came to this village for a visit. His parents lived here for a long time before moving to the city after collecting enough money to educate their son.” One of the girls, Flora, said.

     

    “He got educated and was recruited into the army. He’s just finished his training and drills, and is on vacation.” She finished.

     

    “So that is why he is coming over here.” Aroma supposed.
    “Why, of course Aroma! Don’t be dumb, his parents want one of the girls of this village to marry him.” Flora said.
    “Wait, why they won’t pair him up with one of the city girls?” Aroma once again wondered.
    “Beats me, but I’m sure that I will marry him!” Flora stated, swinging side to side in wonder.
    “No chance, he’s mine!” The first girl said.
    “No, I heard he’s handsome, so I’ll marry him!” Another argued, which ensued into a free-for-all. Aroma simply shrugged and carried on her path.

    Her pain made her instantly fall down in prostration. Her tears, he muffled cries and the constant jerking of her body screamed out her broken fairy-tale – this was not what she had thought for, let alone want it. Her deplorable condition screamed out only one thing…..

    End my life, dear Lord, end my life…

     

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    Shizophrenia
    Latest Entry

    This pis was drawn for @AquilaTempestas. Here's the drawing process xd

    Firstly, of course, sketch plus references (if you need them) :

    afi_I3EWxKs.jpg

    (I redrawed Lyra's hand then, just didn't take the screen of it)

     

    Then understandable line:

    T8TftrBmrrc.jpg

     

    Now to C&S! I used the colour picker and my reference pics, so that I wouldn't mess up with colour scheme:

    Hair:

    JLJRzdC6qzY.jpg

     

    Skin+eyes:

    tinkqf__0PQ.jpg

    X1jtVtAnvAk.jpg

    1oY0coJurMM.jpg

    (When I was searching for Lance's eye colour I found a lot of pics where his eyes were or green, or black, or red (I was like "lol wut"); so I just made them dark-red xd)

     

    And clothes:

    N4z49TsxtzA.jpg

     

    Now for BG and FG:

    For BG I used the same background as on reference pic, which Aquila sent me; And for FG I found a pic of photograph's screen and redrawed several icons from there.

    0bjYsJuOFYo.jpg

     

    So, here we have the completed variant :з

    81sDnVLYscc.jpg

  11. So for the college mag I was asked to write a Halloween-themed spoof article. My initial topic was Urban Legends, but I scrapped it and wrote this at the last minute because I felt the old topic was more like a buzzfeed video.

    I must say my editor did an absolutely golden job. Kudos, mate :)

     

    CREEPY CLOWN SURVIVAL GUIDE

     

    When the night is young, and the fear runs deep,

    those who fear will find the creep!

    So check your bathroom and check under your bed

    For the devil is here, and he wants your head!

    So, it’s that time of the year again- international cosplay week- i.e. Halloween! Horror movies all day in the theaters. Horror movies all night on TV. People dress up as poltergeists, devils, witches, warlocks, clowns and whatnot.  Kids run from door to door collecting candy. All in all, it’s fun- unless, of course, you happen to live in India and all you get for Halloween are weird looks as people close the doors in your face. (Refer “Halloween In India”for longer rant).

    Anyways, back on topic.

    Sure, not all horror movies are scary. Sometimes, they’re just pure cliché. Typical scared teenagers running from a typical psychopath armed with a typical chainsaw. Sometimes the psychopath kills everyone, sometimes his plans are foiled and he dies.

    So, what would you do if you were being chased by some kind of supernatural spirit or bloodthirsty psychopath? Would you die at his hands, or face him down and survive? Would you be the hero who saves everyone or the slowest runner of the group?

    Take the case of the creepy clown sightings in North and South Carolina. The residents there might find themselves in such a situation. Who knows, one day even you might, right? In any case, it’s better to be prepared, isn’t it?

    So here we go:

    HOW TO SURVIVE A PSYCHOPATH

    Step 1:

    Don’t be an idiot.

    Really now, how hard could it be? So many deaths could have been avoided if the characters used a little common sense while facing down or running away the psycho.

    -Hear a creepy sound? Don’t go to check it out. It’s a trap. Don’t go calling “Hello? Is someone there?” It’s not going to work out for you, because, yes, there is someone there.

    -Is the place dark? Don’t go to check it out. It’s a trap. Assume the worst-case scenario in every situation. There is a killer out to get you who knows where you are every moment. Going into a dark area is like signing your own death certificate.

    -Stick together at all times. Because it’s obviously not a good idea to split up for any reason when you’re being chased by a machete-wielding clown.

    -Keep your phone on silent. Because the worst way to die is by a phone call from your mom. Do you want to die a clichéd death?

    -Don’t hide under the bed. Really, it’s the first place anyone would look.

    -Keep your eyes open, and don’t trip and fall like that blonde girl running in heels in all the movies.

    Step 2:

    Learn to read the signs.

    There’s a reason there are ‘Danger’ and ‘Keep out’ signs everywhere, you know.

    -If people keep talking about the haunted house, don’t go to check it out. You’re just tempting fate if you do.

    -Don’t be in places you’re not supposed to be in. If you do end up in one, try to get out as soon as possible. (I know this sounds obvious, but you'd be surprised.) 

    -If people say “Don’t chant Bloody Mary in front of the mirror, or she’ll come and brutalize you.” Then don’t chant Bloody Mary.

    And by signs, I don’t just mean the physical ones. You should be able to read the situation and decide when to run.

    -If the room’s lights are flickering, run.

    -See someone or something in a reflection that’s not supposed to be there, run.

    -If the previous owner of the house was murdered or killed himself, run.

    -If things start floating by themselves or change positions by themselves, run.

    -If there’s no cellphone reception, run.

    -If you find random bloodstains, run.

    -If the dolls turn their heads to give you creepy looks, run.

    -If you start having hallucinations of ghosts and ghouls, run.

    -If you hear things banging doors, windows and making noises, run.

    -If you see shadows in the mist, run.

    -If the dog won’t stop barking, run.

    -If– never mind that, just RUN.

    Remember, there’s no need to stick around before the psycho makes his appearance. Run before all hell breaks loose.

    Step 3:

    Stay on the defensive

    What do you do if you’re being attacked, and attacking back is not an option? Defend yourself and your fellow scared teenagers.

    -Figure out what weapon the killer is using. If it’s a gun, and you’re in America, first make sure it’s not your father coming to call you for dinner. If not, you’re probably screwed. Hiding is your best option. If it’s a melee weapon like a machete or a chainsaw, as is in most cases, then you have a chance.

    -If it’s a gun, just run (preferably not in a straight line.)(We’re looking at you, Rickon.) Try to stay hidden. Don’t bother trying to play the hero and sneak up on the killer.

    -If it’s a melee weapon, you have several options. Find something that can work as a makeshift shield.

    -If running is not an option, then barricade yourself in.

    -Always have an escape route in mind. Wouldn’t want to box ourselves in, would we?

    -Try to outrun the guy. In most cases, you’d be able to do this if you were at least moderately physically fit. I mean, do you know how uncomfortable it is to run in a clown suit? Not to mention having to lug around a massive chainsaw would slow him down even further.

    Step 4:

    ATTACK!

    Well this obviously might not be applicable in every situation, but they do say a good offense is the best defence.

    -Size up the killer. Is he extremely strong? What are his weaknesses? Is he wearing a mask that limits his field of vision?

    -If it’s something like the creepy ghost girl from The Ring or Chucky the doll, sure, they may be creepy, but they’re small and weak. Hold ‘em down and kick some arse.

    -Set up traps. It could be as simple as sticking out your foot in a doorway, but once he’s down, he’s out.

    -If you outnumber him, attacking could be the best strategy. Rush him all at once- not much he  can do then.

    -Arm yourself with whatever you can find. Pipes, knives, sticks, anything.

    -Coordinate with your friends. Don’t trickle in one by one, or he’ll take you all out, one by one.

    -Once you’re done with beating the lights out of him, make sure he is really down.

    -Tie him up and lock him up and have two people on guard at all times.

    -Call the cops if you haven’t already (what were you doing all this while)

    General Tips

    -Never try and take him on one-on-one. Even if you want to play the hero and impress the pretty girl.

    -Don’t take knives to a gunfight.

    -Never stay still unless you’re sleeping.

    -If you are sleeping, then have at least two people keeping guard.

    -If you’re alone, then don’t sleep.

    -Even after a victorious counter-assault, remember: they never die the first time.

    -Try and keep yourself outdoors- you have everywhere to run, and everywhere to hide, and you can see the killer coming at you from a mile away.

    -Daytime is your friend. Praise the sun.

    -Chanting prayers and throwing holy water isn’t going to be enough to save you. Don’t waste your time and breath doing so, just run.

    And that’s all, folks.

    To conclude…. Don’t die, or I would’ve have wasted all my time typing out this article, and that would make me mad. Like Clown-Suit mad.

    Tiptoe, by the window, by the window, that’s where I’ll be~

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    Lady Mechanika
    Latest Entry

    This is something I wrote for with a former member.  Eventually I got annoyed as my co writer  and I had very different ideas of how we wanted the characters written and I felt like I was getting the crap end of the deal and writing the bulk of it. So I called time on it.

    This is my contribution. Its completely non canon with the characters in question being about 70 years or so apart. But to me they gel so well together in terms of personality I felt I had to write this.

    It looked like a nice enough place, Evie thought. Warm, comforting, welcoming in the Parisian dusk. It'd be nice if the British Order had somewhere like this. She smiled wryly, thinking of the juddering train she and Jacob had appropriated for their base. Something, anything stationary and not perpetually in motion would do nicely.

    She pushed the door open a fraction and slipped in quietly, briefly relishing the soft fragrance of coffee, leather and armagnac that permeated the cafe. There was a production of some sort underway on the stage. She noted with some surprise that Arno was not in the centre of the bustling crowd. The nature of their first meeting had made her assume he was an attention seeking flirt, hungry for the limelight and constant approval. 

     He emerged from one of the couches at the side of the bar and approached her with a slight smile. It was such a warm, open expression that Evie found herself smiling back, in spite of herself.

    "Mr Dorian" she said "I hope that I have no cause to reprimand you tonight".

    "I don't think I could cope with any further censure from you Miss Frye". 

    "I'm sure you'd bear up admirably" she smiled. She cupped his chin gently, tilting it up. "No damage done it seems. Your face appears unscathed". She could feel dark stubble, prickling through her gloves. Abruptly, Evie pulled her hand away, blushing under her freckles at how forward she had been.

    "Would you care for a drink, Miss Frye? My apology for being so infuriating" His hood was down and the warm light of the cafe was kind to his strong featured face, softening the sharp cheekbones and nose . Evie inclined her head in response and in return Arno drifted a hand down to her waist, to guide her to the bar.

    His hand on her was comforting and Evie found herself leaning into him slightly as they walked across to the bar. 

    "A coffee or would you prefer something stronger?" 

    "The latter. Whisky, if you have it". Evie raised an eyebrow challengingly, wondering if he would rise to the occasion. At the innuendo her mind silently formed, her blush deepened even more. Professionalism be damned for one night. The order wouldn't fall if she had fun for an evening.

    If you like this let me know. I have a longer story with the pairing. Or I could be persuaded to continue this in it’s own right.

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