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2019.07.11 21:13 mozartcultures Our mission and vision is to spread the light of knowledge and art.

We are an art-culture-science formation established in 2017. Our mission and vision is to spread the light of knowledge and art.

2023.06.10 17:02 memolymoss Help! Having such a hard time nailing down which direction I want to go

Help! Having such a hard time nailing down which direction I want to go
I am having SUCH a hard time narrowing things down since I like elements of each of these. I'm still not sure if I've found "the one" dress-wise yet and would love some feedback from people outside friends and family. Would love some brutal honesty. I know I will be adding a bow to the back of any dress I choose because thats the one element that gets me every time, thats my one non-negotiable 😅 My wedding is going to be at a barn/vineyard in late August next year. I'm going for "queen yet free-spirited" vibes, and the wedding is 70s/retro themed for reference. Here's my personal thoughts on each one so far: 1) I don't feel "bridal" in it, but that may be because of the spaghetti straps. I wear spaghetti straps all the time and they just don't feel special to me. Can't get this one out of my head though, the slip underneath was so comfortable and I love love love the beading pattern, it just feels so "me"! Would consider adding some sort of sleeves to it to make it feel more bridal. 2) THIS is the one that made me tear up when they put the veil on. The top runner so far. I love the sparkle tulle, the beading in the bodice, the subtle blush color...I just feel like I don't have the boobs to pull this one off lol. I also prefer sweetheart or plunge necklines instead of the scoop neckline because it just makes me feel like I actually have cleavage, whereas this dress doesn't really do my chest justice. This is one other people like, but when I show them other dresses they like those more... it makes me a little sad friends and family would be more wowed seeing me in something else. 3) This is the one that wows pretty much anyone that I've shown. I like that its timeless and elegant, yet modern with that mega plunge. LOVE the basque waist, the boning, the sleeves....BUT clean dresses are just SO not me though lol. I'm going to be honest here; I hate the feel of the fabric. It's just so bulky and the texture reminds me of event tents 😬 I really wanted to fall in love with this one, its just missing the free-spirited aspect and is HEAVY. And honestly I love the craftsmanship that goes into the lace, beadwork, SPARKLE, etc of other dresses and I feel like I'm missing out on that by choosing this one. 4) IT HAS BIRDS ON IT. It feels so "me" and is actually way more affordable than any of the other dresses I've tried on. The sample I tried on was way too big, but was still comfortable and would probably look even better if in the proper size. I feel elegant yet flowy, which is what I'm going for. Not sure if it has enough "wow" factor though when walking down the aisle? 5) I would not be going with this specific dress, but would seek out similar all-lace styles. Found it at a consignment shop. This one was just way too small (couldn't button up the back) and hemmed too short for this tall girly. The sleeves are amazing, I love that they flare out at the end! The all over lace and the little bell sleeve just gives all the romantic yet 70s vibes, and I'm here for it. With the a-line cut I'm concerned about something like this looking too nightgown-ish? Is it worth looking for more dresses in this style? Or does it just not do me any justice compared to other styles? 6) this one fit nearly perfectly, would likely require minimal alterations. I feel bridal in it, and the slip was as comfortable as the one from dress #1. Don't know how I feel about sleeveless though, like dress #1 I would consider some detachable illusion lace sleeves (maybe similar to the sleeves of dress #5?). I feel elegant, flowy, and comfortable; but like dress #2 im concerned its not doing my chest enough justice. Also concerned its not "unique" enough.
submitted by memolymoss to weddingdress [link] [comments]

2023.06.10 17:00 SourPrivacy Hopper SATURDAY EXCLUSIVE DEAL- $25 + Chance at a Free Vacation (READ MORE)

Message to All !!

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submitted by SourPrivacy to HopperCodes [link] [comments]

2023.06.10 16:59 AffectionateSet4608 Options for organizing against building-wide 30+% rent increase?

I live in NYC and have been in my apartment for just over 2 years. My lease comes up in September, but my upstairs neighbor's lease is up this month and the landlord told her that he's increasing everybody's rent in the building an insane amount - over 30%. I have a very hard time believing anybody will pay that much for these apartments, but here we are.
If we do get the official notice, is there anyway we can organize? The building is not rent stabilized so it seems like as long as he gives us the proper notice under NYC law he is acting lawfully. I have half a mind to organize a rent strike but it is only a 4 unit building. He has other buildings but I'm unsure how to find those tenants.
Any other ideas on how we might organize against this? And if we were to rent strike, does that negatively impact our ability to rent in the future, our credit, or anything else?
submitted by AffectionateSet4608 to TenantUnion [link] [comments]

2023.06.10 16:56 TechnicianGlum1297 Deleted credit history

I have a credit history of 15 years, and last year a credit score in the 820s. Always paid on time. Last year I pulled my credit to get a mortgage which was approved. Didn’t check my credit until I just applied for the chase preferred and it was a 629 and denied. I checked the chase app and it said I only have a years worth of credit history starting from the mortgage. The only two credit lines I have listed was the mortgage and an amex I opened in January. All my other credit lines disappeared even though i have school loans, and other credit cards that I still use and used to be on my report that are still active. What do I do???? What happened?
submitted by TechnicianGlum1297 to CRedit [link] [comments]

2023.06.10 16:54 jamesofthedrum This week's archaeological news: New Nazca geoglyphs, 250 newly discovered carvings, and the oldest burials in the world (Homo naledi!)

Hi folks, here are this week's Top 5 ancient headlines:
Hope you enjoyed this abridged version of Ancient Beat. Have a great weekend!
submitted by jamesofthedrum to archeologyworld [link] [comments]

2023.06.10 16:53 jamesofthedrum This week's archaeological news: New Nazca geoglyphs, 250 newly discovered carvings, and the oldest burials in the world (Homo naledi!)

Happy Saturday, folks! Here are this week's Top 5 ancient headlines:
Hope you enjoyed this abridged version of Ancient Beat. Have a great weekend!
submitted by jamesofthedrum to StrangeEarth [link] [comments]

2023.06.10 16:53 AutoModerator [] ✔️ Tanner Henkel and Jerrod Harlan – 7-Figure Email Machine ✔️ Full Course Download

[] ✔️ Tanner Henkel and Jerrod Harlan – 7-Figure Email Machine ✔️ Full Course Download
Get the course here: [] ✔️ Tanner Henkel and Jerrod Harlan – 7-Figure Email Machine ✔️ Full Course Download

How Two Normal Guys Made $5,286,115 Writing & Testing Simple 120-Word Emails
Discover the simple 4×4 Email System 7, 8, and 9 figure companies like Natural Health Sherpa, V Shred, and Credit Secrets use to increase “hidden” email profits by up to 227%…
And how you can use this step-by-step system to double, triple or even quadruple your freelance or business income.

Courses proof (screenshots for example, or 1 free sample video from the course) are available upon demand, simply Contact us here
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2023.06.10 16:53 AutoModerator [] [Get] RY Schwartz – Coaching The Conversion CTC Circle (10/2022) - Full Course Download

[] [Get] RY Schwartz – Coaching The Conversion CTC Circle (10/2022) - Full Course Download
Get the course here: [] [Get] RY Schwartz – Coaching The Conversion CTC Circle (10/2022) - Full Course Download

What You Get:

Program #1

CTC Launches

(to master your launch and funnel sequences)
10X Launches is the first copywriting program fully engineered to speed up the execution and amplify your results of your emails no matter what kind of funnel or launch strategy you’re rolling out.
It’s built not only for best-in-class launch copywriters…
But for coaches, consultants, course creators, and ANYONE who stands to benefit from nailing down their launch and funnel copy faster and with more genuine impact.

2 “Core” Modules

That will initiate you into the “Coaching The Conversion™ method, and how to leverage a new, more empowering definition of “direct response” that opens up the floodgates to greater intimacy, empathy, and conversions.

5 “Launch” Modules

breaking down every single phase of your launch or funnel in full detail (including some you didn’t even know existed). You’ll learn exactly what’s at play during the Segmentation & Confirmation, Pre-Launch, Launch, Sales and Closing phases of your funnel and how to quickly craft the messaging that coaches your prospect into the final conversion in a powerful, non-sleazy way.

25+ Email Templates

None of that BS “plug’n’play” or “swipe and deploy” stuff that shoehorns your message into lifeless boxes that robs it of all life and power.
Instead, you’ll get FULL breakdowns and walkthroughs of the go-to templates I turn to over-and-over again in 6 and 7-figure launch campaigns.
Meaning, you get to craft your OWN high-converting launch emails in about 25 minutes flat and fire them into ConvertKit, ActiveCampaign (or wtv you’re using) while your coffee’s still hot.

Program #2

CTC Sales Pages

(to master your long form sales page)
This is it.
It’s where the best paid copywriters, coaches and course marketers on the planet earn their keep.
It’s where the conversion either happens or it doesn’t. In cold hard numbers that don’t care how many Clif bars you stress-ate in the process.
It’s where the most admired online business owners transform interest, desire, and engagement and into what you actually want: Sales.
So what is “it”?
It’s your long-form sales page.
And the truth is… most copywriters and marketers avoid long-form sales pages like the plague… treating it like a close-talking lepper with coffee breath… instead of the 24/7 salesperson your sales page – that final step in your marketing funnel – should be.
So why do marketers (and even pro-level copywriters) avoid sales pages?
Because writing a long-form sales page is intimidating AF.
It’s the Night King of the Whitewalker army.
It’s the Beef Wellington on Hell’s Kitchen.
It’s the Lord Voldemort of your marketing funnel – aka the funnel asset that shall not be named.
A long-form sales page is where you’ll spend dozens of hours writing THOUSANDS of words that will either confirm your claim as a top player in your space…
Or will tell you with Gordon-Ramsay-esque candor that your marketing wasn’t as good as your business coach told you it was.
There’s real pressure in that.
But there’s even real-er payoff in being able to do it faster – and more profitably – than anyone else in your industry. A payoff that even affords you the right to make up words like real-er
Confronting, yep? Conquerable. Absolutely.
In CTC Sales Pages, you’ll go through the exact process I’ve used to write over twenty 6 and 7-figure sales pages for the likes of Amy Porterfield, Copyhackers, and many more.

Program #3 & #4

Six Figure Emails & Seven Figure Emails

(for even more email conversion badassery)
Welcome to the “Johnnie Walker Blue” of our email template series.
This is the premium blend for more advanced marketing palates.
All pulled straight from my highest-performing launches for industry titans like Amy Porterfield, Todd Herman, Traffic & Funnels, and Copyhackers.
What you’re getting are 13 advanced email templates that you can use in a pinch when you need to write a standalone sales email, a webinar invitation, a post-webinar replay, downsell, or flash sale.
To be clear, these aren’t those sketchy and lifeless “swipe and deploy” templates you may have seen swimming around the shadier parts of the online marketing cesspool.
These are loose, flexible templates that guide you through deep-dive masterclasses teaching you the advanced psychology behind each one.
Meaning, you actually understand WHY they work, and are fully empowered to engineer them to best serve your audience.

Program #5

Minimum Viable Launch 2.0

(to quickly rock profitable and lean email launches)
We’ve taken the single most impactful part of 10x Launches; the part that countless students have credited with producing game-changing ROI in record time…
And given it a fresh-for-2022 facelift.
Not only will you be getting access to a stack of NEW templates that we’ve added to the stack based on repeated tests and real-world results.
But we’ll be offering you the one-click automation uploads to bring the whole sequence straight into your ActiveCampaign to save you and your team about 5+ hours of heavy-duty integration time.

Program #6

Application Funnel Amplifiers

(for creating powerful pre-call enrollment experiences)
Fact: The enrollment experience begins the moment your prospect books a call.
If you mail it in for those 12-72 hours between when they book the call — and show up to it, you’re missing a golden opportunity to begin coaching the necessary transformations.
In this brand new program, you’ll learn how we to consciously engineering your entire application experience to pre-empt objections, create magnetism, and stack the odds in favor of having a successful enrollment conversation
You’ll get practical answers to:
  • When you should be transparent about your pricing BEFORE a sales call
  • How to strategically structure your application questions in a way that actually coaches your pre-customer into your program (yes, the questions are copy)
  • What to put on your booking confirmation page to create incredible momentum and a “point of no return” into your program
  • What tools and systems we use to create a seamless application and booking experience

Program #7

Next-Level Automation & Optimization Stack

(upcoming and ongoing automation tutorials)
As the CTC Membership evolves, our resident Wizard, Philip Powis will be actively adding a library of importable one-click automations (into ActiveCampaign), leveraged software playbooks, and a running list of the most advanced (and cost effective) tools and systems that he recommends for fast-scaling course and coaching businesses.

Courses proof (screenshots for example, or 1 free sample video from the course) are available upon demand, simply Contact us here
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2023.06.10 16:51 badbRM04 What do you think of these loglines?

I want to share some loglines I've come up with and see which one people think is the best or top 2/3. Unsure of what to work on next and I know nobody can tell me that and I should just choose which one I feel most passionate about but I'm indecisive and just think it would be cool to get the opinions of others.
SO, YOU THINK YOU CAN SURVIVE A HORROR MOVIE? (Slasher) A reality show spoofing summer camp slashers turns deadly when one horror hating counsellor discovers the killings are real.
Comps: The Cabin in The Woods, Scream , Friday the 13th, The Final Girls
WAYWARD SONS (Action-Horror) A pair of delinquent brothers must pull of a brazen escape plan from a home for troubled youths where the sadistic staff enforce cruel and inhuman behavior modification practices, pitting them against staff and students alike in a fight for their lives!
Comps: Girl Interrupted, Assassination Nation , One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Prison Break
BEAUTIFUL (Horror-Comedy) A teen beauty queen enters her town's local pageant where she must stop a tribe of vampire nomads on a road trip to complete the entire small town American pageant circuit.
Comps: The Lost Boys, Jennifer's Body, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
PLAYING THE FIELD (HorroComedy) A closeted jock takes on toxic masculinity as he discovers the football players are Incubi stealing girls' souls via sex, resolving to stop them when it seems as though his sister might be next.
ORACLE (Mystery) A precognitive cheerleader dreams about her school falling victim to a shooter leaving it up to her to figure out who amongst her peers intends to commit mass murder and avert the course of fate.
Comps: Carrie, Brick
DELINQUENTS (Drama) The intertwining tales of a group of disadvantaged youths residing in a neighbourhood with the highest crime rate in America and attending what is regarded as the worst school in America where instead of cliques the kids are segregated in gangs.
Comps: American Graffiti, Rebel Without a Cause, Kids
EVERY GREAT MAN (Black Comedy) In order to secure a move to an affluent gated community, a neurotic housewife murders her hapless husband’s work rival which gets him a coveted promotion but she insists he bear the burden of covering up the crime – after all, she killed for love.
Comps: To Die For , Gone Girl, American Beauty, Desperate Housewives
AMERICAN ANARCHIST (Black Comedy) An out-of-control teen rebel must stop her similarly mutinous boyfriend who’s been convincing kids at school to kill their parents – just like he did his.
Comps: Heathers
LATE BLOOMER (Black Comedy) A vacuous mean girl must try to get away with murder after she offs her best friend when her physical changes pull focus from her.
Comps: To Die For, Jennifer’s Body , Mean Girls, Jawbreaker
METHOD (Psychological Thriller) A stressed student at a cutthroat performing arts college attempts to enact a very complex frame up after going method to effectively play the role of a notorious serial killer.
Comps: American Psycho, The Talented Mr Ripley, The Silence of The Lambs
RAT (Crime Thriller) A cult escapee struggles to protect her family when the cult's enigmatic leader breaks out of prison to hunt down those who betrayed him.
Comps: The Silence of The Lambs, Cape Fear
PULP (Psychological Thriller) After the rape and subsequent murder of her daughter, a woman begins losing her grip on reality and suffering from increasingly paranoid delusions that her neighbour is the pedophile who killed her.
Comps: Rear Window, Shadow of a Doubt, American Beauty, The Lovely Bones, Gone Girl
NEPO (Psychological Thriller) A struggling actor tries to retain his moral fibre whilst he leans into the dark side of Hollywood after murdering his nepotism baby best friend to snag a huge role.
Comps: The Talented Mr Ripley, Sunset Boulevard, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
submitted by badbRM04 to Screenwriting [link] [comments]

2023.06.10 16:48 jamesofthedrum This week's archaeological news: New Nazca geoglyphs, 250 newly discovered carvings, and the oldest burials in the world (Homo naledi!)

Happy Saturday! Here are this week's Top 5 ancient headlines:
Hope you enjoyed this abridged version of Ancient Beat. Have a great weekend!
submitted by jamesofthedrum to ancienthistory [link] [comments]

2023.06.10 16:48 TheBlackCycloneOrder If You Gamble Against a Man With a Hat for a Face, Know What Your Wager Is

All I ever wanted was for my wife and I to live comfortably. But the longer we stayed together, the higher our bills increased. We’d already fought off debts from college, barely scraping by. Even after we paid them off, we were only able to afford a tiny apartment on the outskirts of New York City.
Sidewalks laid cracked everywhere while condemned buildings sat sadly against their crooked foundations. Crooked lampposts would hang only by electrical wires. Graffiti marked every street corner in bland art that existed without rhyme or reason. Homeless people could be found on every street corner, a constant reminder of what would happen if my wife and I failed to keep up with our payments.
However, I managed to make somewhat decent money as a plumber. But even then, it sometimes wasn’t enough to deal with loan sharks, the hefty utility bills, food prices, and gas money. I was willing to do anything to get us out.
And that is where I encountered gambling. I was willing to take the risks. I’d take any chance to obtain a reward, even just a small one. It started out with just a handful of poker games. Then I moved on to scratch tickets and slot machines. All I needed was enough to get by. Unfortunately, obtaining a payday from the casinos was impossible. I started growing desperate, which only led to more debt. The whole cycle sucked me down like Odysseus’ ship in Charybdis’ maw. And just like that, my relationship with my wife began to tear us apart.
My wife and I were once so close together. Before we married, there would be days where we’d work together at wood shops, creating 3D prints of various sci-fi characters and video games. Other times we’d study the components of circuits and use them to create elaborate lighting displays whenever Christmas arrived. Our wedding day was supposed to be the greatest day of our lives. Instead of relying on the help of others back like we did in college, we relied on ourselves.
But my actions tore all that apart. I didn’t know what else to do, either.

A few nights ago, I arrived at my shitty apartment, having completed a ten hour shift fixing the drains of several upper class folks. I rested my hand on the knob, expecting the worst from my wife. Sighing, I pushed the door. The moment I did, she was already in the front hall. Her eyes were scrunched and she was holding a bank statement, smacking it for emphasis.
“Care for an explanation?” She demanded.
I rubbed my temples, removing my scum covered overalls and plopping them right into the nearest laundry hamper. We locked eyes. Breaking eye contact with her would only ignite her anger further. She was holding another piece of evidence of my failures. My failure to strike it rich. All I could do was stand there sheepishly, tail tucked behind me, and wait to get ripped a new one. No words could come out of my mouth.
She marched up to me, holding it in my face. “Frank, you wasted three-thousand dollars at the casino AGAIN?!” my wife bellowed.
I set my tool box down and washed the pipe gunk from my hands, looking down just for a bit.
“Turn around and look me in the eyes.”
Resting a hand on my eyes, I glanced over at her petite frame. Then, I began to speak. “We can live comfortably if you just give-“
“Enough of the excuses! We nearly lost our apartment twice by you betting on slots, you wasted our heating money on roulette, and now this!”
I held up my hands reassuringly. “Look, just let me figure this out! I’ll think of some way to get the money!”
“You’d better. Otherwise we’re getting a divorce. Got it?”
Without another word, I put on a casual outfit, exiting for some fresh air. Shutting the door behind me, I gazed back at the unpolished apartment number on the frame. Wincing, I clenched a fist and descended the rickety stairs. Eventually, my boots hit the cracked pavement, and I headed off.
I had only made it a few blocks from my apartment, when I noticed shadows lurking in one of the alleyways. Picking up my stride, I try to evade the figures. They drew closer and closer. My stride changed into a sprint. Another alleyway comes into my sights. I make a break for it, hoping for an opportunity to escape. Only a dead end greets me. Before long, the figures cornered me. The light from a street lamp illuminated two shady faces. Loan sharks. Before I could react, the duo held me up by my throat.
“What the hell are you guys doing?!” I strained, feebly kicking back one of the thugs. He jammed a fist right under my rib cage. My lips pursed as I lost my breath. The other grabbed me by the chin, grinning like a maniac and revealing his tobacco rotted jaw. I gulped.
“Frank, calm down. Take it easy,” every word he said ground my inner ears. Brown saliva sprayed on my cheeks. “We just want to have a little talk…” I didn’t have the courage to speak up. All I could do was let them tell me everything.
“Your landlord is getting rather impatient with your payments. We just came to send a little message. He has some demands.” The other guy snarled.
I tugged on my collar. “What…demands?”
“The landlord wants you to cough up $18,000 for your next payment!”
My hands grew clammy. Were they out of their minds? I was a plumber, not a heart surgeon! I didn’t have that kind of money! Besides, the rent was only $500 a month.
“You have until the end of the month,” one of the goons croaked.
That was only two weeks! I couldn’t have made that kind of money with such constraints! I’d barely be able to afford food and electricity! Negotiating was out of the question. God knows what would have happened to me if I dared speak up.
“The landlord has given you chance after chance to pay up. But you’ve never followed through. He’s let it slide for three months. You haven’t paid shit in that time frame. Do you realize how much he has to pay for his own apartment? If you fail to pay at that time, there will be consequences…” He makes a capiche gesture.
I nodded. The moment I complied, they released me, disappearing into the smog.

I stood outside a graffiti covered subway station, pacing around, hands in my pockets. My fists constricted as I pounded a nearby wall. There’s no way I would have been able to make that kind of money! Craps were too unpredictable, arcade machines were always rigged, and roulette was too high in stakes. Seeing red, I screamed and kicked a wall as hard as I could. My foot throbbed and once I was done with my fit, I broke down sobbing. The sidewalk darkened with my tears. I pressed my head against it, clawing at it until my fingernails turned crimson.
Then, I felt a tap on my shoulder. Wiping the tears away, I glanced over my shoulder. A card was lying on the floor. Its borders were covered in green dollar symbols. The rest of the card was a silver color shiny enough to reflect my face in it. Written in gold letters were the following:
My eyes lit up. All I had to do was win one game of blackjack, and I’d be rich? Dimples formed on my cheeks and I pumped my fist. I nearly clicked my heels in joy, but decided against it. I’d already caused enough of a scene already, and I wanted to make sure nobody knew my secret. When I flipped it around, it had an address also written in golden letters.
Despite the address being in an unknown area, I still managed to pull it up on my phone’s map and arrived without any struggle. The casino itself was a pigsty, to say the least. Smokers polluted the air in the prison gray interior. Slot machines with broken lights clicked and whirred while cheap dice clattered against tables with peeling felt. Meanwhile, the concrete floor was covered in colonies of roaches while neglected beer bottles sat against the rungs of several tables. The only thing that was kept well was the bar and a room draped with navy blue curtains with golden sashes. Emblazoned above the doorway was the number 777.
This was the first time I had entered a casino smiling. For once, I thought that this was my lucky night.
When I pushed the curtains away, they revealed a room with ornate black wallpaper, an assortment of oak desks and other furniture. The walls were covered in fine Baroque paintings. On the floor was a single blue carpet covered in opulent tapestry. I followed the back wall to a single dealer table coated in green felt. Two seats were present with one patron taking the seat on the left. He was shaking with what I assumed was excitement.
Behind him was the dealer, a trim man with long blond hair and a top hat over his nose and eyes. He wore a dapper tuxedo free of blemishes that shimmered in the light of a single hanging glass lamp. His skin was pure and free of moles, glistening with slight amounts of glitter.
“Why, hello there…” The man spoke in a voice slicker than the gel in his hair. “Are you here to win big?” Unlike the loan sharks, his teeth were cleaner than a freshly washed plate.
“Yup. Deal me in.” I said, straightening my back, shuffling into the last seat. The other player had his jaw locked together. His eyes were drooping and bloodshot. Sweat pooled around his brow like glass beads. Just like him, I always felt nervous about losing, so their reaction was understandable.
“You know the rules of blackjack. I deal out cards. You can say ‘hit me’ if you want more cards. Get closest to twenty one without going over. Dealer only draws two cards. And you can also surrender your cards for half your bet. When you don’t want any more cards, say the word ‘stand.’” The dealer said, shuffling the cards through his hands and manipulating them like a sculptor with a ceramic pot.
I double blinked. Wager? “What do I bet with?”
The mysterious man just focused on passing out his cards. First, he brought out two cards for himself and dealt two more to each player. Instantly, he flipped over his cards. A jack and a king. Twenty.
I clutched the velvet backed cards, seeing what I was dealt.
A ten and a seven of hearts. I forced my face into a neutral smile. My stomach twisted. There was no way I could get twenty one that easily. “Surrender,” I said, pushing my cards to the dealer. All he did was reshuffle the cards and toss me two more. They didn’t even bother looking back up at me during the process.
The other player started clutching his stomach. My smile vanished. I carefully looked over the left guy’s cards. A seven and a two of clubs.
“Hit me…” the guy on the left choked out. An ace of spades. A total of ten. Sweat trickled down his head like a shower in April. His eyes welled up with tears while foam developed around his mouth. I raised a brow, wondering what his deal was.
I knew the stakes of gambling, but my sixth sense kept telling me something was just not right. No. That couldn’t be true. Even if there was some kind of string attached or fine print I didn’t read, I couldn’t risk giving up that money. Besides, this might have been my only chance to obtain such a vast award without much risk.
“Hit me…” The man wheezed. A five of hearts. His teeth chattered.
While I waited for my turn, I stood up and walked around the room, getting a closer look at all the ornate gadgets and such. My eyes focused on a painting on the leftmost wall. It resembled a man in rich military regalia. But something made my hair stand on end. Their upturned white mustache looked damp, and their face sagged like they were crying. Linear, stick-like shadows were cast on the sleeves. Edging forward, they came into focus.
Hands. I followed their forms outward, which extended into oily, dripping arms.
Husssssssssh…” A faint noise echoed from somewhere in the room.
“What?” I mouthed, turning an ear to the source.
Husssssssssh…” It came from the painting. I backed away, hands out at my sides. Was someone dragged in that painting?
“Where are you going? You forgot to pay up!” The dealer yelled back, hands slamming on the table and pulling out a sack of navy blue poker chips.
I double took. “I thought the card said there was no monetary wager needed?”
“There isn’t.”
Then, I looked at the ground. There was a second rug on the ground. The tapestry matched, but its patterns didn’t match with the other rug. It was off center from the rest of the decorations, like someone didn’t even bother setting it up properly. Taking a closer look, I could hear faint whispers coming from it, too. When I looked back up, the guy on the left was gone. I rushed over, checking his cards. A total of twenty five.
Swallowing saliva, I stood in confusion, wondering what to do next. I scraped my fingernails against my palms. I needed that money. If I didn’t get it, I’d lose my wife and my apartment. And what about the loan sharks? Only God knew what would happen to me if I didn’t pay up. What was I going to do? What would happen if I lost? Would I turn into another object just like the other guy? Or would I be in for a worse fate?
“That’s because there isn’t a MONETARY wager. I’m still taking half of what you owe.”
A sharp pain punched my left side. My left side felt heavier than before, like my veins were replaced with tungsten. I grabbed my fingers around my chest. The area around the pain almost felt solid like a tumor. Brushing around the area, I could make out a cylindrical mass. I tried to inspect it some more, but the pain overwhelmed me, and I crumpled to the ground.
I crouched down on all fours, trying to get back to my seat, but the pain froze me in place. Reaching out a hand, I called out for help. Nothing.
Slithering away, I pulled back the curtains to the entrance of the casino. I spat on the ground from the bludgeoning pain.
“Don’t feel out of luck. You can still surrender once more and you still have two chances left!” The dealer smiled, adjusting his hat. It was only a glimpse, but I caught a look at his upper face. His eyes were on his hat and his forehead was blank. The dealer looked like they were plucked straight out of an Alice in Wonderland book. What or who was this dealer?
“Think long and hard about this. I saw you arguing with your wife. And those ruffians nearly killed you.”
I clambered back to my seat. I still didn’t know what that dealer did to me. Something in me forced me to get back up and keep playing. More questions ate at me the longer I played. How did he know that information?
Then, I remembered feeling a tap back at Grand Central Station. And the card that brought me here. He couldn’t have been human. Was he some kind of demon? I didn’t bother asking. There wasn’t any way he would spill the beans about his nature.
After what seemed like hours, I managed to writhe back into my seat, slumping over the table like I’d just had the worst hangover.
“Ready to try again?” The charming man said, resting his chin on his interlocked hands.
Reluctantly, I gave him a thumbs up. He took back the cards and began manipulating the split deck once more. I analyzed every move he made. None of the cards were tricked. He wasn’t second dealing and didn’t have any aces up his sleeve. Never revealed anything under the table, either. The only thing that brought me reassurance was that he was honest. Still, keeping an eye out was critical.
The dealer revealed his cards. Two tens again. One of spades, one of hearts. His face was harder than diamond and glowed like one, too. Not a pleasing glow, but one that would hex anyone that dared gaze at it for too long.
I looked at my cards. An ace and a seven. Eighteen. Gripping my lower abdomen, I stayed crumpled in agony. The odds of getting a blackjack were slim and the stabbing pain skewed my thoughts.
“Surrender…” I wheezed. The words slipped out of my mouth like the dying breath of a wounded soldier. The dealer smiled, holding a pile of blue poker chips around him. He waved his hand over the mound and made an inaudible chant. Then, they vanished.
I held my hands over my face, bracing myself. Suddenly, the pain doubled, shifting to my right like a mudslide down a hill. Now I knew everything the previous player was going through.
I vomited out something hard and blue. A poker chip. Suddenly, my guts turned and another seven spilled out. My esophagus wound itself into knots more contorted than cobwebs. “I…forfeit!”
The man started to smile. “Without these?” With a thud, the hat faced dealer pulled out a jar filled with a kidney and a piece of liver. They still were oozing with blood that plumed and fit their containers. I remembered how the dealer said that there was no monetary wager. He never said there wasn’t a wager at all. My wager…was my organs.
“You want them back? Win them.” He set them back on the ground.
Now there was no choice. My fate was sealed if I tried to leave. I started to shed tears. If I didn’t get these organs back and fast, I was done for. Even if someone saw me passed out on the floor, finding donors for organs wasn’t guaranteed. And even then, I’d be put further in debt. Nothing would be solved. Then again, was trying to beat this guy even worth it? No. The reward was too great. Taking a few deep breaths, I sat back down. Reluctantly, I asked that he proceed.
The dealer drew out cards just like before. He took the cards and gave them a good shuffle. Plucking two cards out of the stack, he revealed them. A king and a nine. Another poker chip tumbled out my throat. I spat it out in a red and blue plastic heap. Not paying attention to the mess I made, he handed me two cards. A jack and a two. Twelve.
“Hit…me.” An ace. Aces could count as one or eleven depending on what other cards were drawn. I still had a fighting chance.
“Hit me.” A five.
His dead stare tore at my soul. I scratched against the felt, the wounds in my fingers reopening. From the corner of my eyes, I could see him frowning. “Are you going to play, or do you want all that money to go to waste?”
I gritted my teeth. “Shut up…Hit me…” Swallowing saliva, I watched the dealer play out my last card. A queen.
“You lose.” The dealer said coldly, grabbing a pile of poker chips and holding them close. He waved his hand over the mound and made another incantation. Then, they vanished once more. Everywhere at once, burning pain sears my skin, making me blackout.
When I wake up and feel my arms, they are covered in something hard, blue and plastic. My clothes were gone. I examined my extremities and my torso.
My skin was missing and replaced with poker chips. They were shaped to fit every part of my body. Cracks filled with blood gushed out with each slight movement I made. Horrified, I spilled my guts. More poker chips slid out my throat. Piles of skin laid clumped on the side of the table in hideous pink and blood red sheets.
“I think you know what’s at stake now. One try left. Better make it count. You want to end up in an object for an eternity?” He taunted.
The rigidity of my plastic coated skin made each movement expose more of the cracks, searing my muscles. I groaned as I raised myself up. Crimson liquid dampened the table. I pounded at the table. This was it. I either walked out with my money and saved my marriage and tied up all those knots. Or I lost and suffered a fate worse than death. Giving up was not an option. I gave the mysterious man a death glare, not even bothered by his resistance.
He plucks out two cards. A nine and a ten. This was my chance.
Then, my cards were revealed. A ten and a two. Fingers rattling, I took a deep breath and let calmness seep into me.
“Hit…Me…” I sputtered. Another two.
Huffing, I opened my mouth to speak again. The dealer just stared into me, tilting his head like a vulture waiting for roadkill. The poker chips rattled again, grinding against each other.
“Hit…” I paused for a moment, recollecting my thoughts. At a value of fourteen, I needed at least a six to beat the dealer. But an eight or higher would result in disaster. Gulping down another chaser of saliva, I spoke. “Hit…me.”
To my chagrin, a five slipped out of the hand. I was now tied. Staring at the pile of skin and my other organs, I closed my eyes and shook in horror. An ace or a two were the only cards I could draw in order to win. I looked down at my cards, sweat dripping on the table. With a quick glance, I gazed at the eyes on the man’s silk hat.
“Don’t keep me waiting.” The man demanded.
I’d begun hyperventilating. His stare grew more intense the longer I waited. His confident smile turned into a frown of irritation. Eyebrows and mouth twisted into a hideous snarl. He rattled his fingers against the dealing table. The cacophony made my ears go numb.
Then, I whispered my answer.
The man darted up, smiling back in anticipation. “I’m sorry, what was that?”
I closed my eyes, expecting the worst.
HIT ME!” I screamed at the top of my lungs.
Then, the last card was revealed:
A two.
I’d won!
My mouth dropped. The sheets of skin unfurled themselves and flattened over me. Two organ jars spilled over, their contents rising in a beam of white and torpedoing back into my body. Immediately, I yelped at the top of my lungs, skipping my heels and doing a jig. I regained my strength, instantly looking around for traces of my prize. For several minutes, I wasn’t able to uncover anything. Staring directly at the dealer’s face, I asked him to reveal my prize.
“I don’t have it with me.” He said, blankly.
Not listening, I scrutinized every inch of the room, looking behind his station, checking under the table, everything.
I searched everywhere for my prize, my happiness dissipating. With each step I took, my smile faded even further, twisting into a frown. My nose crinkled. “Where is the fifty million?” I demanded, overturning the table, ripping off the ornate paintings and yanking the tasseled rugs off the floor. “You promised me fifty million dollars if I beat you! Do you realize what’s gonna happen to me if I don’t get that money, you charlatan?!”
The strange man just stood there, not even acknowledging my pleas.
“YOU PROMISED ME MONEY! You’re a thief!” I roared, pointing an accusing finger at him. “I only did this for my wife, to save my marriage! I almost gave up my life trying to help my family out! How can you take that away from me?!”
The demon stuck his hands behind his back and shook his head. He rolled his eyes back in thought. Something was up with him. “You aren’t like the other gamblers.” He said.
“Other gamblers?” I said, stepping back.
“They all wanted the money for worthless things. A mansion with fountains and a view, hookers, a trip to Tahiti…” He paced around me. His face was rather relaxed and calm. Never once did he lose eye contact with me. “But you had so much determination to help your wife out that you would risk it all. I admire that. It took me a while to figure out that you were actually a kind hearted person.”
I saw red and tried to punch him. He grabbed my fist, shoving it back.
“Listen to me. I understand your rage. There never was a prize in the first place. It was nothing but a lure to capture those that wasted their lives away. But there is one thing that you don’t understand.”
I saw red and I thrusted my hands back. “You nearly killed me all for nothing?!”
“Yes, but that was before I saw you the way you really were. Listen to my words.”
Slowly, I relaxed my posture, but still remained firm. “Why should I listen to you?”
“I can help you out of your situation.” The man said.
My nostrils flared. “You owe me money you snake!”
“You never needed the money in the first place.”
Taken aback, I retreated. “What do you mean?” My arms relaxed once more.
“You are a plumber, aren’t you? I saw you come home from work, just barely catching a glimpse of your schedule. Forty hours a week for thirty-eight dollars an hour for five days a week. That’s $15200 a week for two weeks. You already have everything you need.”
“But you don’t understand. They need $18000!” I pleaded.
He wouldn’t budge. “Trying to earn this money via dumb risks and chances will not get you anywhere. Look at all the things that you’ve done wrong.”
Tears began to well up. “And I want to change that.” I wiped my eyes. “But what am I supposed to do now?”
“The only way you can earn that money is through grit and spit,” He said, walking around me. “You aren’t going to find solace through good luck alone. You have to work for it. And you already have the tools that some people don’t have. If you give up now, you might as well have lost. Think about it.” With those last words, he raised his hand and snapped it, disappearing without a trace. Slowly, I gathered my things and walked out of the casino, head hanging low.
The following day, I sat outside an old woman’s faucet, inspecting how to fix a leak. I wondered what the demon’s words meant to me. Before I stuck the wrench up to a U trap, I remembered my pay. If I worked the same amount of hours as before, I’d only make $15200. But if I pulled off some overtime and worked several extra hours, I might just be able to pay off my debts.
I started staying up much later than before. Not long after, my wife started to become suspicious. Eventually, she confronted me.
“Frank, you’ve been staying up late. Are you going back to the casinos again?” she asked, hands on her hips.
I closed my eyes. Instead of fear, calmness filled my veins and my blood stilled. “Not this time. I’ve been working overtime.”
Her face loosened up for just a moment before hardening back up. I held my hands up and motioned my palms downward. “Listen, I have been horrible lately. All my gambling did was drown us in deeper debt.”
Her expression began to soften up again, her frown vanishing.
“I want to change things. We used to work so well together, doing everything to help each other. Instead of fighting against each other, it’s time we made peace. And we bring us out of our debt, together.” I held out my hand for her to shake it. She kept her arm pulled back and folded like the pincer of a mantis. Inch by inch, she extended it and took it.
The following day, my wife convinced me to go to therapy to get out of my addiction, which I gladly obliged. Simultaneously, she decided to start up another job working as an electrician. Day by day passed and we pooled all our resources as one. Before our eyes, bills were paid and debt disappeared faster than eye floaters. Our financial status wasn’t the only thing that changed. Her once crusty mood lightened up and she began to smile more. She began to believe my words and began to respect the changes I made.
And then, we paid off our rent. We got a letter from our landlord, saying that we now were even. The moment that letter came in, we embraced each other. The only question now was, what were we going to do with this extra money?
Not too long ago, we ended up earning enough money to create another 3d project, this time of a Companion Cube. Day after day, we created more projects. Although we weren’t as happy as our days back in college, we still could make the best with what we had. In retrospect, the hat-faced man put up a good fight, but I managed to come out of a casino with more than I came in with. It wasn’t exactly money, but it wasn’t worthless, either.
submitted by TheBlackCycloneOrder to WeAreLegion [link] [comments]

2023.06.10 16:47 jamesofthedrum This week's archaeological news: New Nazca geoglyphs, 250 newly discovered carvings, and the oldest burials in the world (Homo naledi!)

Hi folks! Here are this week's Top 5 ancient headlines:
Hope you enjoyed this abridged version of Ancient Beat. Have a great weekend!
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2023.06.10 16:39 Nan0Fighter Captain & Rookie Pt. 1 [F4M] [Sci-Fi] [Older Woman] [Confessing Love] [Kissing]

Summary: Since high school, listener is fascinated by Captain Moore. After years of education and training the listener joins the Captain Moore's crew. Captain Elizabet Moore is the founder and one of the key members of the "Expedition Program". Thanks to this program mankind discover new galaxies, resources and new ways to continue life. Captain Moore's ship sets a new course and starts the journey. The listener prepares the reports that the captain wanted and brings them to her room
Usage: You are free to use this script wherever you like as long as you credit me. I would love to listen the finished audio, please don't forget to send a link
(Listener knocks the door)
Come in!
(Listener comes in. He is holding a tablet)
Is there a problem?
(Listener hands the tablet to captain)
Oh, these are the reports I wanted. Thank you but you don't have to bring them to me directly. Just upload it to...
Wait, you are the new guy, right?
(Listener nods)
It's nice to meet you.
(They shake hands)
Sorry, what was your name again?
Oh, right! Now I remember. You wrote that article about next step in human evolution, right?
(Listener nods)
That was amazing. I have to say you have a great background. Especially at your age, achieving all those things must have been exhausting for you.
I'm kind of suprised that you joined us. I mean, with a background like that you could have got yourself a desk job. You don't have to work too hard, comfortable environment and it pays well. Don't get me wrong our ship is big and comfortable but our job is very demanding. Being away from everything and everyone for months is not for everyone. I have seen many people couldn't handle it and they had to give it up. Let's hope that you won't regret it.
Well, I'm glad you are with us. Like I said I was really impressed with you. Having a talented individual like you in our crew is fantastic. I hope to learn new things from you.
Oh, you flatter me. Yes, I am more experienced but sometimes experience is not enough. Sometimes all you need to solve a problem is a different perspective. There are some things I would like to hear from your point of view.
Well, since this is your first mission, would you like me to explain how things work? Or you can listen newcomer program on your tablet and learn everything about protocols, how stuff works, etc.
You want me to explain it to you. Okay, then. Why don't you grab a seat. Get comfortable. Go ahead and sit on the couch over there. Just wait a second while I grab my tablet.
(Captain grabs her tablet from her desk. Comes to the couch and sits next to listener)
First of all, when I need something from you I'll send you a request. Here, let me request the files I've asked again.
See, your tablet just lit up. It means that there is a new request. It might be from me or the other crew members. If you aren't at your room or don't have the tablet with you, your biowatch will vibrate. I'm sure you know how biowatch works.
Yes. Basically, it monitors your stress level, blood sugar, heart rate, oxygen and it informs and notifies you about your daily duties. If any anomaly occurs in your body, if you get sick for example, your biowatch will turn red and send a message to our doctor. In that situation you have to visit Doctor Brown immidiately. The sick bay is on the first floor. After doing a quick check-up doc will give you your prescription. Your biowatch will notify you about your situation. Is everything clear?
Good. Now for the files, reports or any other written stuff that requires my or other crew members permission. You don't have to go to them. Here, let me show you.
(Captain gets closer to listener)
Look, everyone is connected to ship's system. Just find the person you want. In this situation you have to find me. OK, I clicked and opened captain's page. Now, all you have to do is select the files and...
Are you okay? Your biowatch just turned yellow?
It means that your heart rate is increased and you started sweating. Is everything all right? Would you like to see the doctor?
(Listener shakes his head)
Okay, but if this continues, make sure you see the doctor. Now, where were we?
Ah, yes. Sending files. Just like I said after selecting the crew member you want just hit the button and send the files to them. Think this like sending a mail. Just wait a few seconds and...
Look at my screen, it started flashing. Like I said before if I'm away from the tablet my biowatch will warn me. If I'm busy and can't get a chance to look at them, SAM will warn me.
Yes, SAM. Our ship's AI. Ninety percent of the operations are performed by him. Fuel control, food supply, landing, navigation... He is handling it all. I'm sure a smart man like you wouldn't have any trouble doing these but if at any point you get confused about something, you can ask help from SAM. He is very helpful and chatty. Just don't use him as a personal diary, okay?
There was a brilliant guy a few years ago. He was just like you. He literally fell in love with SAM. He was constantly talking and occupiying him. He is not your love interest nor your companion. Don't distract him because we need him to survive. Is that clear?
Good, we have covered the basic stuff. Do you have any question? Any topic that you need an explanation?
Good. Once again it's good to see you among us. I'm glad that you have chosen to work with me and my crew. With a bright mind like yours, I'm sure people will notice and start talking about you very soon.
You'll see. Don't think that people won't take you seriously because you are young. When the situation arises don't be shy to share your opinion. All the projects you've created, all the articles you've written... Don't forget that you are very valuable. You had a master's degree too, right?
Yes. How old are you by the way?
Really? No way! Are you serious?
That means I'm ten years older than you. My god, I am getting old. I hope you are happy now. You made me feel old!
No, you don't have to apologize. I'm just joking.
I remember partying like crazy after getting my master's degree. I drank continuously, non-stop. I think I've tried every alcohol ever known to man. I continued drinking until my body can't handle anymore. I passed out and woke up in a hospital.
Yeah, alcohol poisoning.
I was wild back then. What did you do to celebrate?
Nothing! Wait, you can't be serious.
I can't belive it. You didn't go to anywhere, you didn't drink anything.
I think it's time to change that. Wait here!
(Captain gets up and goes to her desk)
Lucky for you we are at the early days of our expedition. SAM handles most of the stuff and I stay at the backseat.
(Captain opens one of the drawers and pulls out a bottle of whiskey)
I always bring a bottle of whiskey. I know the rules and regulations about alcohol and getting drunk but I'm the captain. Those rules don't apply to me.
(Captain comes back to listener. Opens the bottle and fills two empty cups sitting on top of the table in front of them. Gives one of the cups to listener)
Here, take it. Let's make a toast to your academic success and new job. Cheers!
(They drink the whiskey)
Don't worry, it will help you relax. C'mon finish it.
There you go. Here, let me fill your cup.
(Captain fills the listener's empty cup and sits on the couch)
You seem to be more relaxed. Maybe, now you'd like to tell me the real reason you joined this mission.
C'mon, I know it's not money because I'm sure you got job offers that pay more than this.
Right. So... why are you here? What pushed you to join this mission?
What? You need to get close. Why, are you going to whisper it to my ears? Don't worry, nobody can hear us here.
Okay, fine. Come closer then.
(Listener puts his arms around the captain and starts kissing her. Captain pulls her head away after a few seconds)
What are you...
(Listener pulls the captain to himself and kisses her again)
Can you let go of my body?
(Captain gets up and backs away from listener)
Are you for real? You joined this mission so that you can bang me? What am I to you, an eye candy?
You love me? I can't belive this! I just...
Don't interrupt me! Touch me again and I'll break both of your arms. Do you understand me? I don't care where you come from, what did you accomplish. You can't do that.
Stop apologizing! You are not a ten year old and I'm not your mother. I cannot think straight right now.
Look at me! We are going to keep this between us, okay? Don't tell a single word to crew or SAM. Do you understand me? We have a mission that requires our undivided attention. For now, I'm going to act like all of this never happened. After we finish our mission, we are going to talk about this. Is that clear?
Okay, now go!
Please stop apologizing and just go.
(Listener leaves the room. The Captain's biowatch starts to vibrate)
What is it now! SAM... Yes, I know my heart rate is increased. I just got angry, that's all. No need to report it to doc. I'm coming to main deck in a few minutes.
[Deep Sigh]
What am I going to do?
submitted by Nan0Fighter to ASMRScriptHaven [link] [comments]

2023.06.10 16:29 AutoModerator [] ✔️ Simpler Trading – Stop Missing Hidden Trades Elite ✔️ Full Course Download

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2023.06.10 16:22 skooterpoop Dihada, Binder of Wills Potential Updates for Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle Earth


As promised, here is a spreadsheet of all of my previous posts, as well as what cards I suggested in each. If this is your first time reading one of these posts, know that I attempt to rate them somewhere from B- to S+, leaving out any card that I didn’t feel was strong enough to earn at least that much. Also, while there are many potential ways to build Dihada, I try to rate them specifically on my own themes as explained in the original post. That being said, please leave suggestions if I’ve left anything out!
Lastly, sorry for this being such a lengthy post. In my defense, “legendary” was a theme in this set, so I think it was to be expected. Without further ado, here are the potential updates we’re getting, first from the main set, and followed by the commander deck additions.

Main Set

[[The Battle of Bywater]]: Was this made for us??? For only three mana we get a board wipe for powerful enemies? And then we’re rewarded for surviving it with our indestructible creatures? Definitely a board wipe we can include. S+ Rating.
[[Boromir, Warden of the Tower]]: One does not simply make a Dihada list without Boromir. Having Vigilance is always useful for a deck with a planeswalker commander, and there are definitely times where your opponents might have to worry about his first ability, but I’m looking more at his second ability. For a deck relying on board wipes to gain advantage, Boromir can help swing that advantage way harder. In fact, that’s why I love Odric, Lunarch Marshal, Agrus Kos, Eternal Soldier, and Avacyn’s Memorial (or Avacyn herself). Push that advantage. S Rating.
[[Dawn of a New Age]]: This card seems really cool and can net a ton of value for fairly little resources/risk. Sadly not legendary. A+ Rating.
[[Flowering of the White Tree]]: I’m not sure how this card exists, since it’s a straight buff to pretty much every anthem. I guess it being legendary is supposed to be a downside but let’s be real this is absurd value in a commander deck and is probably going to be a staple in most white commander decks, but especially all Dihada decks since we can grab this from -3. S Rating.
[[Frodo, Sauron’s Bane]]: I largely view 1 drops as unnecessary in Dihada decks, but this is clearly an exception. Three mana for a 2/3 lifelink isn’t great, but considering that the upgrade is instant speed makes it a bit better. Let’s be honest, though, this card is only being considered for the kill condition he has. This card is definitely cool in a deck that has enough ring temptation, but that’s likely not my deck and I don’t see it happening. B- Rating.
[[Gandalf the White]]: I have to admit, even as someone who isn’t a fan of LotR, I think I would find it difficult not wanting to play him if I were to obtain him. But is he good? I think so. I don’t think he really benefits from being in my deck too much, and is similar to how I felt about Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines. However, the Flash aspect is very interesting, and can change how a game plays. By using Dihada’s +2 on him, you are able to avoid enemy board wipes, since Gandalf will survive them and then you can flash out legendaries before your turn. I don’t know if that’s truly worth the slot, but he at least earns strong consideration for a sideboard, if you have one. B rating.
[[Rosie Cotton of South Lane]]: My deck doesn’t focus heavily on token creatures, but it does contain a decent amount of treasure tokens, specifically with our commander. Back in the Phyrexia: All Will Be One post I mentioned the play I’d most prefer with Mondrak being to +2 to defender her followed by a turn five Mondrak into a -3 from Dihada. I never specified what creature I’d want to defend Dihada for this play because I didn’t think it mattered much. Suddenly Rosie Cotton enters the picture and we have a potential 12/12 indestructible Mondrak. But even without Mondrak, she works very well with our commander. S- Rating.
[[Samwise the Stouthearted]]: Not a reanimation card, but not too far off. Yes, putting a card into your hand as opposed to the battlefield is much worse and not really our focus, but I like it because it’s legendary and because it says “permanent card,” meaning it can return most of the things we play. There’s even a world in which we let Dihada die and use Samwise to return her to our hand as to avoid commander tax. Getting him from a -3 means the table will know about him and be weary about losing value to you, which is solid deterring. B+ Rating.
[[Tale of Tinuviel]]: This does a lot of things the deck likes, but I don’t think the card is good enough to take the slot of a better reanimation card, such as Invasion of Tolvada. Besides, the reanimation cards we really want are either legendary or can be cast from the graveyard like Unburial Rites so we can dump it with Dihada without worry. B- Rating.
[[War of the Last Alliance]]: WotC seem to have realized that they’ve printed a lot of legendary legendary-support, and while this is great for us, perhaps it’s also good to print a lot of non-legendary legendary-support, and this is a prime example. TWO tutors? I’d run it even without that last chapter, but I can’t complain. The fact that you can search up both Olivia and Junji and get your reanimation loop going just by playing this card is wonderful. Or you can search for Magda so you can instead search for an artifact like Avacyn’s Memorial. There’s even a world in which you search up Aurelia, the Warleader to play on the turn of that last chapter and kill two people with overwhelming damage. Despite not being legendary, this gets an easy S- rating from me.
[[Isildur’s Fateful Strike]]: Legendary instants and sorceries can be difficult to cast, but probably not for a legendary-themed deck like Dihada. I like to play a few destruction effects but I usually like to have options as opposed to creatures only. That being said, you can grab this from a -3, so it’s hard to complain. The hand limiting effect isn’t bad if it’s done pretty early I suppose, or to counter a large hand (remember that it’s an instant). My biggest problem with this card is actually the flavor. It looks like you’re limiting their “hand” to “four” because you’re cutting off the ring finger, but the art (and movie) clearly show multiple fingers getting sliced off. Weird. Anyway, S- Rating.
[[Lobelia Sackville-Baggins]]: The best thing about playing Dihada is having access to way more cards than anyone else. This card helps this advantage by letting you play more of those cards. Save her for a rainy day and suddenly you’ve got a bunch of treasure, which at the very least can be used for commander tax. Not bad. B+ Rating.
[[Nasty End]]: Again, Dihada’s -3 is usually powerful enough that this is unnecessary, so I wouldn’t put this in my own deck. That being said, there are plenty of non-legendary cards worth drawing, too, so it’s nice that we aren’t forced to discard them. I would probably save this for if my own creature was about to be destroyed anyway to squeeze that extra bit of value from it. B- Rating.
[[One Ring to Rule Them All]]: Self-milling isn’t exactly a bad thing for us, but destroying all nonlegendary creatures is really why we want to play this card. That being said, there are other legendary-themed decks, not to mention that Commanders are all legendary, so I don’t like this effect over general destruction. It’s why I don’t play Urza’s Ruinous Blast, too, and at least that card is grabbable by -3. B Rating.
[[Sauron, the Necromancer]]: I am not a fan of exiling the cards I’m attempting to loop back onto the battlefield, so I can’t say I want to play this card, but I can’t ignore it either. If you’ve got enough Ring temptation in the deck, then keeping the token is nice, but the risk seems unnecessary to me. B- Rating.
[[Witch-king of Angmar]]: This thing’s play pattern seems sick in Dihada. The first and most obvious thing is that it has Flying, which is always welcome, and 5 power to make that keyword a serious threat. The second ability is pretty great for us, too, since it deters people from attacking us (always useful in multiplayer), and should someone actually attack you, not only does it hurt them but it benefits us by increasing our Ring temptations. Lastly, the cherry on top, it can become indestructible! Any legendary card with indestructible capabilities is sure to grab my attention since it can survive my board wipes without requiring a +2 from Dihada, but this also allows it to survive most targeted removal, which people will want to use in order to remove his deterring from the situation. And is it costly to make him indestructible? Not when you have Dihada as a planeswalker and plenty of value cards in the deck. In fact, discarding a card can sometimes benefit us with our reanimation theme. TLDR Literally everything about this card is good for us. S+ Rating.
[[Eomer, Marshal of Rohan]]: Additional combat phase potential on a solid statline card. With Sauron, the Lidless Eye, and Gandalf, White Rider, this set has a decent amount of support for aggression, especially for any Token variants. A+ Rating.
[[Gloin, Dwarf Emissary]]: I put this in a similar category as Mahadi, Emporium Master, and Gadrak, the Crown-Scourge. They’re three drops that can get you treasure, and this is good for us, although I would say that Gloin has much slower potential than the others. So why play him? He’s a Dwarf, and if you’re running Magda, there are definitely going to be games where Gloin gets going. And the goad ability isn’t terrible. B Rating.
[[Rising of the Day]]: As I’ve been saying, I hope to test my Haste cards soon. To reiterate, haste is a great option to follow up board wipes to keep aggression going. The fact that this both gives haste and buffs attackers makes it a pretty solid option for the Token variant. I really wish this were legendary itself, though. B Rating.
[[Spiteful Banditry]]: Not much to say about this. Red Meathook Massacre is obviously very strong, even with its advantages. For instance, the damage won’t kill our indestructible creatures while Meathook could, and treasure has synergy with a lot of the cards in our deck. But Meathook is legendary, which probably makes it better, but why the hell am I choosing one in the first place? Sure it’s a tight deck but surely it has room for both. S Rating.
[[There and Back Again]]: This is not a legendary card, and I don’t think I would call this legendary-support, either. But I look at those 14 treasures and think about all the things I could cast after a Dihada -3, or even being able to pay for more commander tax. The problem is fitting it into the deck. B- Rating.
[[The Balrog, Durin’s Bane]]: A huge threat in any deck, it’s a 7/5 haste that will be difficult for many decks to block, and even if they do, that’s okay. But none of this is particularly Dihada-related, so why play him? The cost reduction works with treasure tokens, my dudes. S- Rating.
[[Eowyn, Fearless Knight]]: This card hurts my brain. It has midrange stats, a control effect, and aggro potential, so it could probably be put into most decks I imagine, and ours is no exception. In most cases, hitting a commander is the best option, but there are definitely exceptions to avoid, but this in no way devalues the card. S Rating.
[[King of the Oathbreakers]]: I’m not playing many spirits so this is another card I’m not playing, but not necessarily bad in Dihada decks. There are some good legendary spirits, most importantly Agrus Kos, Eternal Soldier for the spreading of Dihada’s +2, but don’t sleep on Hofri Ghostforge as support for this kind of strategy if you choose to include it. Weirdly, he activates even if targeted by your own spells. I’m…not sure how that’s relevant, but go wild. B- Rating.
[[Lotho, Corrupt Shirriff]]: With the treasure we get from Dihada and friends, casting two spells a turn even with a potentially expensive curve can be quite doable. For us, Lotho replaces one of the treasures we might be spending to do so, And don’t forget we usually have large hands from -3s so you don’t have to worry about having the resources. And if he doesn’t get any value from your opponents, that’s mostly a good thing, too. He almost feels like a worse Smothering Tithe, but that isn’t meant as an insult. A Rating.
[[Merry, Esquire of Rohan]]: Obviously he works wonderfully in an aggro deck with equipment and such, but it’s the draw that’s most enticing. It won’t be incredibly difficult to trigger it, and it might not even be difficult to keep him alive. In a multiplayer game, there will probably be someone tapped out or lacking creatures, so you can send Merry that way. But, of course, there’s always Dihada’s sweet protection, too. I’ve said that card draw isn’t needed in a Dihada deck, but it doesn’t hurt, either, especially when it’s on a legendary permanent. A+ Rating.
[[Shadowfax, Lord of Horses]]: While the horse lord effect is cool, thankfully that haste ability does apply to itself, and that’s all I really care about. There are plenty of cards in the deck that this can cheat into play, including all three Olivias (though you miss Crimson Bride’s timing). For Shadrix Silverquill, missing the timing could be considered a good thing at times. And while you would miss Crimson Bride or Aurelia, the Warleader’s timings, you could +2 Dihada during the second main phase if you’re worried. A+ Rating.
[[Anduril, Flame of the West]]: There’s so much equipment-themed legendary cards in this set that an equipment Dihada just got far more viable, but this is solid in a non-equipment themed deck, too. With board wipes being a primary strategy to make way for our indestructible creatures, an equipment that creates more flying attackers is powerful to say the least. It will likely make your average game end quicker. S Rating.
[[Horn of Gondor]]: Even without humans in the deck, this card has exponential growth build in. It’s like a Krenko, Mob Boss, except it doesn’t have the weakness of being a creature. Also, we actually do have plenty of awesome human options in the deck already. At worst, it’s three mana for a chump blocker each turn. B Rating.
[[Horn of the Mark]]: With haste cards, this card becomes way more viable. There’s a lot of card draw in this set, but this is one of my favorites. The idea of grabbing a creature from the top five every turn sounds like a dream, and for only a two mana investment and attacking with two creatures. If you lack legendary land, then you probably won’t benefit from this as much as other card draws, since this can’t get you land and Dihada won’t be getting you as much land. S Rating.
[[Mithril Coat]]: We keep getting more indestructible options and I’m not complaining. Every one we add makes our board wipes a bit stronger. Don’t sleep on the fact that this is indestructible, too! There will definitely be times when we need to destroy artifacts and enchantments with Cleansing Nova, and this protects itself. Plus, most cards can’t remove it. S Rating.
[[The One Ring]]: As I keep saying, card draw often feels unnecessary, but with a lifelink commander it’s hard to resist the temptation The One Ring has to offer. Perhaps it’s difficult to resist the temptation even without life gain. Protection from everything until your next turn sounds unreal, and I think the best way to abuse that is to use it to kill someone. To clarify, I don’t mean that this gives your creatures protection (it doesn’t), but that you can safely all in someone without worrying about getting killed while tapped out. That sounds fantastic to me. S+ Rating.
[[Palantir of Orthanc]]: With our reanimation cards, self-milling isn’t a big deal. The longer the game goes on, the more worried we might get about milling ourselves out, but this is commander! We have a 99 card deck. I think we’re good. Also, the longer the game goes on, the more likely it is that a player won’t want to risk losing a ton of life. S Rating.
[[Phial of Galadriel]]: I know people read this card and instantly focus on the first two abilities, but that’s not my concern. This is a legendary mana rock, and its mana value may seem less desirable than others, it’s something we can grab from Dihada and absolutely worth a slot, in my opinion. I doubt the first two effects will occur much in my version, but it may help others. I dream of the day I have less than five life and can pull off a lifelink Heartless Hidetsugu trigger to gain an enormous amount of life. S- Rating.
[[Barad-dur]]: COLORED LEGENDARY LAND! And it can build an army as a mana sink! S+ Rating.
[[Great Hall of the Citadel]]: Not a legendary land but a pretty good land for us to be playing with all the legendary spells we have. S- Rating.
[[The Grey Havens]]: PSEUDO-COLORED LEGENDARY LAND, and it’s uncommon!! Early in the game it may only tap for colorless, but the scry can help us to look for colored land. Plus, after a -3 or two, we’ll have the colors we need. S+ Rating.
[[Minas Tirith]]: COLORED LEGENDARY LAND! And it comes with card draw! S+ Rating.
[[Mines of Moria]]: COLORED LEGENDARY LAND! And it can turn milled cards (like land) into treasures! S+ Rating.
[[Mount Doom]]: MULTICOLORED LEGENDARY LAND! I could be mistaken, but to my knowledge this is the first legendary dual land in the game. I’d have included it simply based on that. But on top of that it comes with a ping for each opponent and even a board wipe? Pure insanity. S+ Rating.

Starter Kit

[[Gandalf, White Rider]]: Another Gandalf! This one is probably more suited for your deck. Having Vigilance is always useful for a deck with a planeswalker commander. He can help get you a bunch of power by casting the many spells you’ll have access to with Dihada’s -3, you’ll get to scry to make sure you hit what you want to hit, and then he doesn’t even die! And while returning fifth from the top may seem like a lot, as long as you can -3, you’ll only have to wait one turn to see him again, making all of his benefits consistent. S Rating.
[[Gollum, Scheming Guide]]: Gollum’s play pattern is that he doesn’t seem to die in combat. Either the opponent guesses correctly and Gollum is protected by being removed from combat, or they guess wrong and Gollum is protected by being unblockable. I suppose the downside is that you may be revealing the top card of your deck for free with no other actions. But the upside is potentially drawing a card every turn. Is it worth it? Gameplay-wise, maybe. Fun-wise, definitely. B Rating.
[[Witch-king, Bringer of Ruin]]: While nowhere near as good as the other Witch-king, there is definitely some synergy in the deck because usually players don’t have many creatures after repeated board wipes. Having this out forces players to either hold back their bigger cards for safety, or to play multiple, likely smaller, creatures. It’s a good position to be. A- Rating.
[[Fires of Mount Doom]]: Weirdly the best thing about this card, to me, is the equipment destruction. Besides that, I don’t see the two damage to a creature or the two damage to players as particularly useful, and the card advantage you can gain from it is surely less than Dihada. If you happen to have one I guess it’s a good budget option, but I can’t see myself pushing a card out of the deck to make way for this. B- Rating.
[[Sauron, the Lidless Eye]]: This is not a card that I will be putting in my deck, but I’ve seen comments from people who play a Token variant of Dihada that would benefit from this card. My version of the deck doesn’t go wide with all of the board wipes I include. If you find that you often go wide, Sauron is a decent card for you. It can also be good if you use an Aristocrat version that can sacrifice the creature you controlled, but remember that you only control it for the single turn. As for my personal assessment, B- rating, but like I said his stock goes up in the right deck.

Commander Decks

[[Gwaihir, Greatest of the Eagles]]: THE EAGLES ARE COMING!! Seriously, though, this card is absolutely nuts for us. I have no idea why this isn’t six or seven mana. A 5/5 flying that can give other creatures flying and makes more fliers that also give other creatures flying seems like a lot for only five mana, and it’s mostly colorless mana to boot. I suppose having to gain three life every turn is supposed to be a major weakness? But clearly it’s not for us. I have no problem whatsoever +2ing this every turn. S+ Rating.
[[The Gaffer]]: So much card draw in this entire set I’m kind of sick of it. This would be a lot better with three power, since Dihada could make him trigger himself. Just to reiterate, card draw becomes more important the less legendary land you have, since -3 won’t net you as many land and treasure is only one time use, so you need other ways of ensuring you get more land. A Rating.
[[Gollum, Obsessed Stalker]]: An interesting addition that can help you deal a ton of damage, either over time or in the right situation, due to Dihada’s lifelink. Obviously my favorite would be Heartless Hidetsugu, a combo which I believe instantly kills everyone in the majority of situations, and the only times it wouldn’t are due to Heartless Hidetsugu’s “rounded down” clause. So the fact that this is a cheap creature we can play that can secure us a lot of damage over time or result in an instant kill combo makes it versatile and threatening. If you’re not playing Heartless Hidetsugu (why, tho?) or a lifelink variant of the deck, its rating would lower, but S- Rating for me.
[[Gimli of the Glittering Caves]]: This card looks really strong on paper as something that can deal a ton of damage, make a ton of treasures, even gain a ton of life with +2. That being said, I don’t play too many ways to give evasion, meaning that he’ll likely be blocked on repeat. Our version of “evasion” comes from board wiping after a +2, and I don’t know if it’s worth it to do that too often. That being said, the additions of Gwaihir and The Black Gate give us more evasion options! A Rating.
[[Lobelia, Defender of Bag End]]: “Without paying its mana cost” has me excited about this card. It isn’t like it’s difficult for us to get artifacts to sacrifice with -3. And even once we run out of cards to cast we can use extra treasures to ping for two and gain two. And since it says “play a card” instead of cast, we can even trade treasure for land if that’s what we exiled, and that’s pretty cool. Plus I love having knowledge of the cards my opponents don’t have access to while they don’t. There’s even a world in which this is removed immediately, only to be reanimated and surprise everyone with those cards, so the fun factor is on point, too. S- Rating.
[[Too Greedily, Too Deep]]: I like my reanimation decks to be playable from the graveyard in case we discard them, but I can’t say the same for board wipes since there aren’t many options that fit. So even though this is a reanimation card that doesn’t have flashback, it doubles as a board wipe and, I think, is acceptable to go in. S- Rating.
[[Wake the Dragon]]: This seems like a budget card to me, but I have a soft spot for Flashback cards since we don’t mind discarding them from the -3. B- Rating.
[[Crown of Gondor]]: I’m always a fan of introducing The Monarch into the game. As I’ve said, I love deterring effects, and while The Monarch makes people want to attack us temporarily, it quickly becomes a deterring effect. B+ Rating.
[[The Black Gate]]: LEGENDARY LAND!! And evasion is a rare addition for us!

Box Toppers

[[Morgul-Knife]]: AKA Shadowspear. We don’t include a ton of trample and this could make a big difference. Plus everything else it has to offer. S Rating.
[[Isengard, Saruman’s Fortress]]: AKA Boseiju, Who Shelters All. Being able to make your board wipes, destruction, and reanimation effects uncounterable is always cool, but coming into play tapped, only adding colorless, and needing to pay life is a serious trade off. A+ Rating.
[[The Dead Marshes]]: AKA Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth. Obviously a great card. Expensive. S+ Rating.
[[Glittering Caves of Aglarond]]: AKA Gemstone Caverns. In a multiplayer game, chances are you're not the starting player, making this likely to go off if in your starting hand. Losing a card from your hand may not feel great, but accelerating your plays is probably worth it. Not to mention Dihada is going to refill your hand. S+ Rating.
[[Osgiliath, Fallen Capital]]: AKA Kor Haven. Again, tapping for colorless is tough in a three color deck, but being able to defend against a creature every turn is cool for the turns that you -3 instead of +2.Remember that you can protect Dihada this way. S+ Rating.
[[Helm’s Deep]]: AKA Shinka, the Bloodsoaked Keep. Colored legendary land and can give our creatures first strike. S+ Rating.


“End? No, the journey doesn't end here.” -Gandalf to Pippin
submitted by skooterpoop to magicTCG [link] [comments]

2023.06.10 16:20 Random_Trinidadian The First Contact War

Yea... I was there when the invasion began.
It was so long ago, yet I remember it like it was yesterday. Back then, we only had to worry about nuclear hell fire destroying out species. A result of mad men acting like children with the perverbial big red button. Yet despite this, we tried to live our lives the best way we could. Just trying to survive our own petty struggles that came with day to day life.
Back then, I was just a huble taxi driver, driving about my city, just trying to make a honest living. Iwas actually in my cab when I saw the first ships break through the clouds and begin their attack. I could still remember the screams of people when they began to open fire, destroying building as if they were nothing but toys.
I didn't even know how I was able to escape that blood bath, all I could remember was jumping into my car and hitting the gas as hard as I could. It was just all a big blur, I could see people running as the first ships landed and began to deploy their troops. That's when I saw them... Big ugly bastards dressed in black armor and carrying weapons ....weapons they used on the fleeing people as they tried to get away.
I guess I was one of the lucky ones, cause I was able to get away and didn't stop driving until I reached the mountains. For the first two days, I wondered around the Forrest. I was too afraid to sleep, as I feared what ever those things were would find me. I could hear jets and other aircraft flying overhead, but I could see them through the trees.
It was on my third day however, I ended up being discovered by a group of soldiers as I walked along the road. I guess I must had been more exhausted than I thought, cause the next thing I knew, I was waking up in a hospital bed inside of a large tent filled with doctors and patients.
I could see both soldiers and regular people being treated for various types of injuries. I could hear the sounds of helicopters and vehicles coming from outside, while doctors and nurses did what they could.
Eventually, I found out the true extent of what was going on and I have to admit, I could not believe what I was hearing. I think I even chuckled a bit when I was told that actual aliens were invading the planet. But I soon realized that was all too real, as I the camp I was now in was across a river from another city. A city that was now in complete ruin and was still burning.
Apparently, similar scenes we're taking place all over the world, as more and more ships landed and deployed troops. They... Who ever THEY were, never announced who they were, but it soon became clear to us this was not just an invasion, it was a extermination. As they killed everything and everyone in their way, even if they tried to escape.
Obviously, we were not to keen on becoming extinct and we fought back.... We fought back hard. The nuclear powers unleased their arsenal on the "Invaders", numerous mushroom clouds rising into the air as ballistic and cruise missiles found their targets. I guess that the invaders were not expecting such a a response, as their ships proved to be no match for our rather "Primitive" nuclear weapons. But the fighting continued and eventually, I would end up volunteering with a group calling itself the "15th Volunteer Regiment."
I became a gunner on a old Patton Tank, something that the army pulled out of storage as the war continued. I could remember the first battle I took part in, a small town somewhere in western Texas. We were to go in to releave a detachment of Mexican Soldiers who has been trying to retake the town for the last month.
I could remember when I saw one of the Alien Mech Suits appeared and began to open fire. I could also remember just how I felt when I saw the bastard burst into flames after taking a HEAT round to it's chest. I didn't feel anything for who or what ever had being sinsude that contraption, they were monsters for what they had done and they all deserved to die. It was also during that time that I finally got a good look at just who had invaded.... They looked just like us! But they were completely bald with some kind of tattoo pattern on their heads with impossibly pale skin and eyes that were nothing but whites. Yet we still did not know their name or what they called themselves.
Eventually, North America was cleared and my unit was then sent south to help in the fighting in those regions. Again, I saw the death and destruction the invades had caused. I saw entire towns filled with bodies, many of whom had wounds that suggested they were trying to run away when they were killed. We fought our way down and eventually linked up with the Brazilians and took part in the Battle of the Plate.
For Fives years, we continued to fight. Eventually making it to Africa, southern Europe, the Middle East and finally India. The 15th was there and were were all hell bent on making those bastards pay. By then, the suits in the lab had managed to reverse engineer some of the weapons we that were captured and we were now using tanks with large Lazer cannons, attack aircraft with used some kind of.... Anti-gravity engines, we even had mech suits of our own. But for the 15th, we still used the old Pattons and even a few T-72 we were able to acquire when some Nigerians joined our group.
Then.... Came the Battle of Rangoon.... The last major battle of the war. The invaders had set up some kind of base Intelligence believed to be their main operations center. Once again, al nuclear strike was used to soften their defences and we began to advance. We didn't beat the bastards.... We slaughtered them.
Mexico City... Caracas.... Largos.... Nice.... We remembered.... We remembered what we saw and what they did. We were not going to give them the luxury of Mercy... They were going to pay for what they did.
Five days of absolute hell... But eventually we took the command base and by extension, ended the war. The Rangoon Base was their last stronghold on the planet and we destroyed it. The war was won, but at a heavy cost.
Two billion people were dead, the atmosphere was now heavily irradiated due to the use of nuclear weapons. There was a very real fear of famine due farm land bring destroyed due to the fighting. The next twenty years following the war were not easy, but eventually were were able to rebuild and with the Technology the Invaders left behind. But.... We were not done....
We knew that it could only be a matter of time before they came back and we might not be so lucky. So we began to build up our militaries once again and untied them to form the United Earth Defence Forces. The ships were captured, the few they were, became the basis for a new Space Navy. We soon began to build ships of our own, build bases on other planets and designed new weapons. We never found out the name of our would be attackers, but my people will not soon forget them. We want to find them and show them the true consiquences of their actions.
"So why are you telling me this, ambassador?"
Ever since we became part of the Galactic community, my government have been trying to find out who had attacked us. So far, we have ether been meet with silence or some vauge legend.
"But what purpose would getting revenge serve at this point?"
You would not be saying that if what happened to my people, happened to yours. There is one thing you need to know about my people.... We don't like it when others bully us and we will do everything in our power to hit back at those who hurt us. So ... Will your people help us?
"You humans are driven too much by you emotions."
It what got us through the War and the many skirmishes with your people. Need I remind you who supported your government during your civil war? You owe us.
"And if my government refuses to help?"
It's in their best interest that they do. So will you help us?
"I... Will speak with them when I return home."
You do that... We will speak later.
submitted by Random_Trinidadian to HFY [link] [comments]

2023.06.10 16:15 freckledtabby Recovering From Perfectionisum

I follow Vassia Sarantopoulou on Instagram. A little background is below along with a link that really touched me this week. I want to share it with the Mindfulness group for comments. (Video link below)
I am a recovering co-dependant who started recovery in 2009. It began when I (finally) discovered what co-dependency is and realized that I was up to my nose in it. As I peel back the layers, working towards healthy mental well-being, perfectionism has become a recent focus. This week I found this video--and I'm like, OK, I get it! (hahhaaa) The first line hit me in the gut---we are not born perfectionists, we become them. Influences from, school, work, and society, all reinforce that a perfect person is a good person. Perfectionism of course is an impossible goal to attain. I'm working on giving myself and the other people in my orbit grace & space for being human. Extending a thought of love/acceptance to people I interact with from the grocery store cashier, co-workers, family, and to myself (the hardest one). When I'm on it and practising this, it is a best feeling. To give out love, unconditionally to strangers and accquainences in my heart, I see them all through a new lens. Also, for me, this is not an outword expression, like smiling all the time. This practice doesn't come with extreme body language, it is internal.
Any one else experiencing this? I'd love to hear what this subreddit has to share.

In her words she is a licenced psychologist, a Perfectionism expert, a Relationship Counselor, a Mental Health Ambassador, and the proud owner of AntiLoneliness, a company which supports people through hard times in life (anxiety, depression, divorce, grief, burnout, loneliness, trauma).
submitted by freckledtabby to Mindfulness [link] [comments]

2023.06.10 16:09 GoodbyeNarcissists Just in time for summer..!

Some may remember my posts from earlier this year about my own weight loss journey and how incredible it has been for me, well I relapsed, and pretty hard too!
I became lax about my journey and rewarded myself with too much chocolate and really scaled back the exercise and started to balloon again… my body fat percentage more than doubled in the space of 3 months and I was picking up injuries, I thought I knew better but there’s a lot of truth in that you CANNOT outrun a BAD diet, my whole body was out of whack and lacking, everything was just so much harder to do and the extra load contributed towards injuries
Anyway I reigned it in again, pulled a tough line with my sweet tooth, and cut down on portions… and in the space of ~3 weeks my weight has dropped - albeit nowhere close to what my SW was at the beginning of the year - and fat percentage has almost halved, just in time for summer!
It’s easy to slip into old habits, but as long as you don’t allow it to go on for too long, you can always get back on track :)
submitted by GoodbyeNarcissists to WeightLossAdvice [link] [comments]

2023.06.10 16:08 RunJane My 5 month old Australian shepherd has regressed.

I’ve had Charlie (Female Australian Shepherd- will be 5 months in like 4 days) since she was 11 weeks old. I got her from a good breeder, gave her plenty of time with her mom before bringing her home, got her in puppy classes as soon as I got her seen by a vet and given her 3rd dose of vaccines. She’s an Aussie so she’s super high energy which I always expected but I love long walks, jogs, hikes and I work in a school so I’m home at a reasonable hour to be able to go on an early evening hike some days or take her to parks. My mom is semi retired so she’s got someone with her most hours of the day. I also have a fenced in yard she spends a good chunk of her day in when it’s nice out. I have a flirt pole, herding balls, chuck it. She has lick mats, kings, snuffle mats, and puzzle toys. I crate trained her when she first came home and she learned to love her crate.
Two weeks ago, she was an occasional pain in my butt but by and large a pretty good puppy. She walked fairly well on leash—sometimes pulled towards dogs but mostly loose leash walked near me. She never barked at dogs or people. We could sit on a bench together and watch dogs and people go by with no issues. I introduced her to dogs safely and she was easy going—I mean rough and tumble but totally non aggressive.
Like two weeks ago she had diarrhea for like 36 hours. She was eating soil that was mixed with organic fertilizer and mom didn’t realize it. We managed it at home with some dog anti diarrhea meds and a bland diet. She made a full recovery. Only thing was that she started barking to be let out because of the stomach issues and we always did even for a couple of minutes to let her poop during that time. We did have to crate her a bit more because she was less likely to have an accident in Her crate and she wanted to be super active while sick and I needed her to rest and recover.
After that incident she’s been a nightmare. She’s started attention barking at all times, sometimes for 30 minutes straight when in her crate. Pulling on leash so bad she’s injured me on walks twice. I used to take her on nature walks successfully even put her on a long line and let her roam. She would walk away from me and come back the moment she felt slight leash pressure. The last two times she’s pulled me so hard she’s knocked me over spraining my ankle and almost leaving me stranded with her in the woods. She’s pulling herself so hard she’s choking on her flat collar and still continuing. Yesterday (when she knocked me down) she kept pulling me while I was down until I had to let go of the leash or risk really injuring myself. I ran cross country, I can handle a slight sprained ankle in the woods but not a bad foot injury on a rock filled path. Well she sprinted off into the woods and I couldn’t follow her with an injured foot. She came back eventually and came looking for me.
She’s nipping at my face more. Barking at dogs in the street. She ran off and got out the fence running into a busy street which she’s never done before even when presented the opportunity. She’s just been terrible.
The thing is when she ran into the woods yesterday a large part of me wanted her to run off and not come back. I haven’t said a word to her since coming home yesterday. I’ve cried a ton and I’m just going through the motions but I honestly hate her. Like I got to the point I started looking up rejoining websites.
she’s mostly cool when she’s with my parents. She’s only like this with me. And I’m the one that has put in so much work with her. I drove 3 hours last week so she could experience a dog friendly beach.
I know this is probably a phase but it feels like I just hate her so much that I can’t imagine years with her. I resent the time I have to spend with her and regret ever bringing her home. The thing is she’s so cute everyone is always wanting to play with her and telling me how lucky I am. And it’s making me feel worse.
Is it always this bad? And when do you know you have to throw in the towel?
I’ll add, she was better two weeks ago but it’s been hard the whole time. I felt regret 24 hours after getting her but we had at least been on an upward trajectory where I could picture liking her someday and now—people say you see a dogs real personality 3 months after having them. If this is hers I cannot stand it.
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2023.06.10 16:05 SpacePaladin15 The Nature of Predators 123

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Memory transcription subject: Slanek, Venlil Space Corps
Date [standardized human time]: January 16, 2137
The infected predators were whisked out of the research station, and away from the Battle of Mileau to be isolated in quarantine. The Kolshians had been holding the inner sanctum of the system, since the human fleet was mainly composed of Duerten allies. With the goal of a cured Terran race making itself evident, sending rescue teams for the Dossur prisoners was inadvisable. That would need to await proper biohazard gear, which would take days, if not weeks, to arrive.
Earth was making preparations for itself and its colonies to counter “bioterrorist” measures. Marcel wanted nothing to do with me, during our ride to the quarantine station. The cured humans would be kept isolated for study, until they determined whether the disease was communicable. Initial observations didn’t suggest transmissibility through close contact, though it wasn’t clear if other means could spread the virus. All of us relinquished blood samples for a scientist team to peruse.
Tests were run to determine the extent of the allergic reactions, and doctors came prepared to treat anaphylaxis. My bloodwork was the only one that came back allergen-free; it had been determined that the human-tailored bioweapon couldn’t cross the species border to other sapients. As such, I didn’t have to worry about any modifications to my genome, and I was free to leave at any time. The medical staff became primarily Zurulian too, after this development was confirmed.
Nobody has brought up my execution of the Kolshian prisoner, but it’s a matter of time. Has Marcel not been feeling well enough to raise the alarm?
Concern for the redhead was the reason I hadn’t vacated the facility; no matter what, having him in this situation strained my heart. I wandered up to a Zurulian medic, who was conversing with a human in biohazard gear. The quadruped swiveled around, and his face jogged some faint recognition in my mind. Had I seen this individual before? No, what mattered was discovering how Marcel was holding up, since my…former best friend wouldn’t speak to me.
“Slanek!” the Zurulian announced. “Just the Venlil I was hoping to find. When I heard you and Marcel were among the infected, I had to come.”
I leaned my head back. “We do know each other. You were there, at the battle of Earth. Helping to save his family. Your name is…”
“Wilen. You might remember my wife, Fraysa, too. We wound up living on Earth after the war, sharing notes on human and alien physiology with top experts.”
Fraysa ducked out from within a cabinet. “The Zurulian exchange program was a great way to get to learn what the predators are really like! They don’t deserve this. I understand how close you were with your human, Slanek. Mine is into gardening—gardening, for fun! A predator.”
I don’t give a shit. We met for about an hour, months ago; we’re not friends.
“Cool.” My tail twitched with irritation. “Could you guys tell me how Marcel is doing?”
Wilen squinted. “You haven’t asked him yourself?”
“Oh, of course I have! I just mean from a doctor’s perspective—what’s going on biologically. I’m worried, and I wouldn’t want to ask in front of him. You might not be as straightforward if it’s bad news.”
“Walk with me. I have to deliver these fever-reducing medicines to the sick ones,” Fraysa replied. “The short version is, the virus inserts DNA into the human genome, which induces desired immune reactions to specific meat-based proteins and enzymes. The severity varies from person to person.”
Wilen trotted after his wife. “I was just talking about Marcel’s bloodwork; I want to help him. What Fraysa is saying, is that some humans may only react severely to meat and egg foods. Others are more sensitive to lesser things they eat, like animal lactation, boiled animal tendons in gummies, or even things they wear like cured hides.”
“They put what in gummies?!” I shrieked.
“I thought you knew.”
“Forget it, Doctor. How does this relate to Marcel?”
“Marcel’s blood shows signs of an especially sensitive reaction,” Fraysa commented. “It could be because he’s vegetarian, so some of the proteins are particularly foreign to his body.”
Wilen pawed at a semi-circular ear. “I’m sure you don’t like to think this about your friend, but predatory items pervade human culture, far beyond diet. His furniture and his clothes are probably animal-sourced. Their medicine, a nurturing field by definition, is no longer safe to him; he won’t be able to get egg-based vaccines. I was informed by a human colleague that even cosmetics for dry skin and shoe polish might be off-limits.”
“Treatments for dry skin trigger the cure?” I blinked in confusion, unable to believe the predatory items ran that deep with my human. “Why?”
“Because of a wool grease called lanolin. Look, he’s going to need to be very careful. Our simulations suggest extreme cases like Marcel can’t even breathe the vapors of cooking meat, without triggering anaphylaxis.”
Fraysa slipped a pill packet under a door. “Wilen and I were shocked, realizing how deep hunting runs in the fabric of human society; it’s almost better not to know. What do you think should be done, dear?”
“I think it might be best for Marcel to live on a Federation world, if he needs to avoid animal products altogether. Maybe you could offer to take him in, Slanek, on Venlil Prime?”
My legs locked up, and left me unable to follow the Zurulian medics. Wilen and Fraysa whirled around, noting the shock on my features. Since Marcel didn’t consume meat in the first place, I figured the cure wouldn’t affect his daily life at all. It was within my knowledge that he ate some “animal products”, such as the revolting lactation juice Wilen mentioned, but I figured those could be cut out of a diet too. It wouldn’t be that big of an adjustment, given that my human already avoided them around me.
But now, I realized something as simple as his slick couch, in his Earthly home, would induce the allergic reaction. Marcel couldn’t go to social events with other humans, if breathing in the scent of flesh would place him in jeopardy. That would’ve precluded hanging out around Tyler, or being in the service at all! The vegetarian’s military days were over; it didn’t seem fair that his ordinary life was ruined too. Shit, if he got sick, he couldn’t seek some treatments at a Terran hospital anymore.
Poor Marcel will have to think of every little thing, as small as treating chapped lips in the winter. If he stays on his world, I don’t know how he can go out in public without risk…but he certainly doesn’t want to live with me.
I pinned my ears back, searching for an excuse. “Marcel has family on Earth. He has a life there!”
“It will be…difficult, for his predator relatives and friends to accommodate him. They’d need to be very cognizant,” Wilen said. “I’m not pressuring you to do anything you don’t want to. But if you care about him, you need to tell him what staying on Earth means for him.”
“He could wear some breathing mask…and a contact suit?”
Fraysa scrunched her nose. “Maybe, but does he want to do that every day of his life? It’s a rough situation. Though there is good news, Slanek.”
“What, that he’s not dead?!”
“I’m sorry you’re so upset. But the good news is, for the air-transmission version, there might be hope of reversing the cure in the near future. The humans have their own gene-splicing systems, such as CRISPR. This incident helps them understand the general principles of what the cure adds, so it might help them identify unnatural edits in other species too.”
“I don’t care about other species! They don’t want it undone, I can fucking tell you that. Marcel does!”
“Well, the humans might be able to undo his gene edits, with proper study. If he chooses to stay away from Earth, it might only be for a little while. His normal life might be restored in a few years…maybe months. Terrans are quick studies.”
Hearing that the predators could figure out a reversal, without outside assistance, alleviated my guilt for killing Navarus. Clearly, we didn’t need any of the prisoners alive to undo the damage. Besides, there were more captives, like the scientist my friend had brought in, who could provide the information Earth sought. That demonic Kolshian, who laughed at the idea of destroying Terran culture, deserved a bullet to the head. Marcel was unreasonable, but other humans might be more rational. Maybe I was fretting over one man’s skewed morality.
I chewed on what the Zurulian doctors imparted. “You qualified the hope of reversing the cure as being for the airborne version. Does that mean the other humans, from the research station, are incurable?”
“We didn’t say that, but the injected-serum is much harder to cure,” Wilen proclaimed. “I think that’s why the Kolshians favor that method, when given a choice. They transmit the virus directly into the bloodstream, and also inject certain proteins and enzymes into the skin…to spark allergies the old-fashioned way.”
“I see. So they’re permanent herbivores.”
“Permanent’s a strong word, Slanek. Curing the genetic side would prevent the disease from being passed to offspring, at least.”
Fraysa flicked her ears. “Besides, I expect you would know, as a vegetarian’s friend, even if those people are eating grass…humans are still violent predators. The Kolshians succeeded in pissing them off, not gentling them.”
“Right! What makes them human is that they’re insane,” Wilen remarked. “So, my Venlil buddy, are you able to break the news to Marcel for us? He deserves to know right away, and it would be better coming from you. A friend.”
“Well.” My throat clammed up with guilt, not wanting to reveal our relationship’s dire straits. Selfishly, all I wanted was to see and comfort Marcel during this revelation; I could brainstorm a plan to ease my entry into his room. “Yes. I’ll tell him.”
“Excellent! Well, his door is right here; I’ll leave you to the unpleasantries.”
My eyes widened with alarm, as the Zurulians pushed me through a plastic isolation flap. It hadn’t occurred to me that the conversation’s timetable would be accelerated; I hadn’t realized we were walking past Marcel’s room, while I was distracted worrying about him. Wilen and Fraysa watched with expectancy, giving encouraging ear flicks. Nausea twirled in my belly, as I didn’t dare explain what happened between us.
My paw issued a tentative knock, before I twisted open the sealed door. The red-haired predator studied me with lethargic eyes, perspiration lining his skin. He shifted on the bed, and curled his lip with displeasure. A booming cough racked his body, causing him to fall back against the pillow. A pitcher of water had been nearly drained; he hadn’t been able to get up to refill it at the filtration sink.
“Hi Marc,” I offered.
A low groan came from his mouth. “Go…away.”
“Please, let me get you some water. I can’t leave you like this.”
I scurried over to the pitcher, feeling my heart rate hit an all-time high. Chiding myself not to drop the glass and look like more of a fool, I carted it over to the spout. The water filled the jug with the speed of molasses, and my tail swished across the floor with impatience. Temptation overtook me, so I risked a glance at Marcel. The human’s face looked puffy; it was clear his immune system was in overdrive.
I wish that I could curl up next to him, and make him feel better. I miss having such a wonderful friend.
Those hazel eyes struggled to stay focused on me, which caused sympathy to tug at my heart. I balanced the full pitcher with new determination, pressing it to his lips. The rift between us felt palpable, as Marcel reluctantly accepted the hydration for his own sake. Even in his discombobulated state, I could see that he hadn’t forgotten what I did. Fury was causing him to distance himself from me; I got the sudden feeling my lie had been what pushed him over the edge.
“I was asked to tell you something, by the Zurulian doctors,” I spoke hurriedly, while setting the pitcher down on the table. “Your reaction to the cure is severe. The doctors don’t think you should live on Earth for a while. They said you’d be deathly allergic just smelling meat or touching animal products…like apparently, your couch. Which I slept on.”
Marcel didn’t speak a word. Even in his listless stupor, his binocular eyes managed to level me with intensity. I noticed a slight lump pass down his throat; he was either swallowing down hurtful thoughts or thirst. The human, who’d become the faithful friend my world revolved around, just wanted me gone. That stung worse than the prickle of a thousand thorns, but I was glad we hadn’t quarreled again.
With legs that felt as heavy as stone, I trudged toward the door. It was impossible not to feel the predator’s gaze boring into my spine. His judgment punished me, as if he were the aggrieved party in the Navarus execution. Part of me was angry about the Terran’s mandatory policy on mercy, but I couldn’t berate him in this sorry state.
At the end of the day, I cared about Marcel. What I said to him back on the research station was accusatory and less-than-kind, though it was true enough. If this was the last time we ever spoke to each other, I didn’t want to cut contact with hurtful words. Perhaps he could learn to remember our adventures with some fondness, in time. This hadn’t been how I wanted our close-as-brothers bond to fizzle out.
“I’m sorry that they did this to you.” I kept my back turned to the human, resting a paw on the door handle. “You remember why I joined the exchange program? I read your book, Frankenstein. About a monstrosity who only wanted a friend…or acceptance, and was hated and abused by the world. Judged for his appearance.”
There was nothing but silence from the human, and the certain feel of his watchful gaze. Without looking, I could feel the dazed rhythm of his blinks. How had I ever feared that Marcel would harm me? He couldn’t dole out punishment to the people that deserved his wrath, let alone to anyone he called a friend.
“I felt sorry for the creature. For you. And maybe, in some weird corner of my brain, I was curious what it was like to be a monster,” I continued. “Now, I know that I am one too; just not one of appearances. Maybe the book was trying to say that the real monsters were the ones who wronged the physical monster. I hope you’ll find someone who sees you for what you truly are, because I can’t do it anymore.”
My paw cracked the door ajar, and I slumped my shoulders in the entryway. This went against everything that my heart desired, pulling away from the only person I thought I truly knew. The reality was that I had changed too much; Marcel didn’t sign up to be partners with someone he saw as a monster. If I could go back to how things used to be between us, I would. Now, I had nobody to turn to.
A faint growl rumbled behind me. “That whole plot you saw was bogus. The real ending…of that book. Not the censored one the UN doctored up. Do you know what it is?”
My head whipped around. “What? You changed it?”
“Of course we did. It’s a vengeful story, not one where Frankenstein’s monster is innocent and lives alone with another of his kind. The real tale? Suffering immensely from rejection…the creature strives to take everything from his creator that he ever loved. After the death of his maker occurs, the wretch commits to end his own life of unhappiness in turn.”
“That’s…” My blood ran cold, as I tried to decipher what lesson such a story could tell. That was in stark contrast to a story that garnered sympathy from the viewers; it proved the point that the monster was a monster! “I don’t understand.”
“Humans changed it because we wanted you to take the message that we could be friends. We weren’t trying to vow vengeance for our rejection then. But maybe we should’ve left the message that there are consequences, for such inhumane and callous treatment of a ‘monster.’ It’s fitting, in hindsight.”
“That doesn’t sound like something you would say…Marc.” I took one hesitant step back toward the Terran, and noticed that he had averted his eyes. “You never want consequences.”
“Fuck, you think I don’t want the bastards to pay for all of these horrible things? I have…suffered plenty too. You seem to forget.”
“Then why…why do you let every bad person we come across get away with everything?!”
“I don’t. Read the book, and maybe you’ll understand. Here…I’ve had a copy in Venlil-script on me, ever since I knew you liked it. I wasn’t sure about giving it to you, but now I am.” The human rummaged through a satchel near his bedside, and weakly held it out with a hand. I inched closer, pulling it from his slender fingers. “There’s also a lesson for the monster in there. In his revenge, the monster damned himself too. I know from Sovlin that that was almost me.”
“I lied to you. Can we ta—”
“No. Come back when you’ve finished the book, and then, we’ll talk. I…need to rest. And process my family’s future.”
My tail flicked in a gesture of acceptance, and I plodded out of his quarters with a lighter heart. Marcel didn’t sound as angry; his voice was choked with tiredness, but his hatred had evaporated. Perhaps the human didn’t have the energy to project his grudge, though I wasn’t going to complain if that was the reason. It must be a lot for him to reckon with, learning how the cure would wreck his entire life. He still hadn’t complained or exploded with emotion.
I have no idea how he really feels, but I guess I’ve started to assume he doesn’t experience hate. He’s just always so…moral.
My claw traced the cover of the real Frankenstein, wondering how it could apply to my own feelings of monstrousness. Maybe I was ready for the lessons humanity hadn’t wanted the Venlil to absorb in the beginning. I had fallen far enough to heed teachings meant for the more depraved minds among predators. Regardless, I was curious to see what the full narrative held in its pages. If this was a slight chance to salvage my friendship with Marcel, it was a no-brainer to seize it.
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2023.06.10 16:02 AliceTheGamedev Mini-Reviews for 6 of my Bingo Choices: Magical Inheritances, Suburbian Plant Horror, a Poetically Written Classic, Art Collecting Demons and more

I usually pride myself in reviewing almost everything I read on here. I've been on vacation in Japan for a few weeks and finished multiple books during that time though, so a summary will have to do. Please enjoy:

Binti, by Nnedi Okorafor

Recommended if you like: afrofuturism, himba people, alien creatures, sci fi horror, novellas, math is magic
Bingo Square(s): POC Author Hard Mode
I don't have much to say on this one, I enjoyed it and found the main character and her cultural background fresh and interesting. A lot happens in not so many words, which is nice, but it also went by too fast for me to really get into it.

A House With Good Bones by T. Kingfisher

Recommended if you like: mild horror, haunted houses, suburban fantasy, mother-daughter dynamics, family matters and generational mess, chubby main character representation, vultures, ladybugs and roses being creepy, childlike monster, scientist main character, witty and fun writing
Bingo Square(s): Mundane Jobs, Horror HM, Published in 2023
I really enjoyed the style and voice of this one, and found it quite a change from the other Kingfisher book I've read (Paladin's Grace), though the dry humor is a shared attribute. I found the MC really likeable and her reactions to the increasing weirdness around her believable. It's also fun to have a bug expert MC. It was perhaps 'less horror' than I necessarily expected, but still had some really quality creepy elements towards the end.

The Art Collector by Katelyn Brehm

Recommended if you like: art history main character, paranormal romance, incubus main character, demon romance, old mansions, romance with mature heroines (late 30s iirc)
*Bingo Square(s):Novella HM, Mundane Jobs, Published in 2023 HM, Angels and Demons HM*
I really enjoyed the lively descriptions of art and styles that made appearances in this book. As a result, the romance between the two characters who obviously shared this passion felt very natural. If I had any issue with it it's that I already often find Romance moving too fast for my taste, and that is of course exacerbated in form of a Novella. I can still definitely recommend it for a well written and fun romance with a demon MMC and an older FMC, which is somewhat rare.

Daughter of No Worlds by Carissa Broadbent

Recommended if you like: *New Adult, Fantasy Romance, MCs with a traumatic past (escaped from slavery/abuse), very determined and disciplined main characters, mentostudent relationship, *
Bingo Square(s): Elemental Magic (sort of, if you squint, unsure if it really counts)
I picked this up because it's so often recommended in /fantasyromance and I was curious. Unsure if it really counts for Bingo to be honest. One MC is a fire mage, but magic isn't really limited to the classic elements otherwise. Thoughts?
All in all, the book felt fresh and well written, more so than I necessarily expected going in. I enjoyed the additional POV added halfway through the book, and despite what some reviews say was absolutely not bothered by the audiobook's narrator. This book has a few wonderful moments of ridiculous badassery that were well built to and satisfying to read.
I also have to appreciate this one for a really well executed balance of plot/action to romance, which I always seek and find super rare.

The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraida Córdova

Recommended if you like: magical realism, latino main characters, US and Central American setting, mundane magic, mother and grandmother main character, messy family dynamics, understated magic, wonderful prose
Bingo Square(s): Magical Realism HM, POC Author
I really enjoyed this one, it's something completely different from what I usually read. This book has a tendency to make the mundane seem magical and the magical seem mundane, there's so much stuff that just happens without really being fully questioned... It's also very prettily and poetically written. I love Orquídea's names and monikers: "Orquídea Divina Montoya, Bastard Daugher of the Waves", come on that just slaps. Marimar and Ray were also really likeable and entertaining 'present day' protagonists.
If I had any issue with it, it's that the book becomes a bit more conventional towards the end, when it's initially so fresh and completely unfamiliar. I wish a few things (like some of the explanations from the living star) had been a bit less literal. There were also some scenes (like when they resurrect their dead great grandma) that are hilarious, but toeing the line of being too goofy for the rest of the book.
The whole thing has a certain haunting (or haunted?) air that I really liked. I was also reminded of The Haunting of Hill House at a few points in a really cool way, though this book is far less horror-y than the show.
I haven't read a lot of magical realism, but this is everything I'd want it to be.

The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle

Recommended if you like: fairytales, unicorns, poetic writing, bittersweet stories
Bingo Square(s): Bottom of the TBR (for me), Mythical Beasts HM
Thought this was a fun pick for bottom of the TBR because I had it recommended to me literally in my first ever post on this subreddit, over 7 years ago.
I had seen the animated movie as a kid and want to rewatch it now that I've read its basis. The writing is utterly gorgeous, the characterization evocative and believable. Definitely a classic that holds up for good reason.
There we go, that's a wrap!
Some of these would definitely have deserved some more discussion space than I gave them here, but writing detailed individual reviews for several books at once felt overwhelming, so this works instead. I am 100% happy to chat about each of these books some more though, so I hugely appreciate comments, your thoughts, things you liked about them, questions you have etc etc.
I see myself picking up the sequel of Daughter of No Worlds sometime, but want to complete my bingo card first - it's my first time participating, despite spending 7+ years on here as mentioned above.
Thank you very much for reading, find my other reviews here.
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2023.06.10 15:55 TessaBissolli Rederina? Red is RR? Third man? How the ending makes an already stupid long series even more pointless, especially after Nachalo AKA "The Dumpster Fire" TM. Part 3: Seasons 6 to 8. Descent to Hades.

In part 1 we examined what the different endings would make of season 1 through 4, looking at where we were there. Red's confession to Kirk had eliminated the possibility of Third Man, and left us knowing Liz was Red's daughter. We examine the nonsense Rederina would make of those four seasons with balderdash moments and dialogue where there was no need to lie.
Part 2 was devoted to season 5, for the bones were pivotal. We concluded that to let stand the bones were the remains of the "real Raymond Reddington" was wither nonsense, or terrible writing and even worse continuity. But that is how we left it. With Garvey, Ross, Red and Dembe talking nonsense if indeed we are to believe that. Certainly it was what Liz believed, and by extension the task force as nobody sought to confirm this assertion. A report, shown to Liz by Jennifer for a few seconds, before Ross punched her at her request, that became the truth for all.
Now we come to season 6, or as it should be known, the pointless season with no real baddie that made any sense, storytelling wise. Jennifer as the real baddie of the season made far more sense, extending Kate's arc with the bones, if she had forged a DNA test to make Liz believe Red was not their father, and take her revenge on both Red and Liz. But alas, this has not come to be and I have no hopes left by now.
The arc of the season made no sense. Why on earth was Bastian Moreau bombing the UN? In theory, he was hired to carry out the assassination. Anna McMahon made no sense because her motives were never explained. It felt like the direction of the season was improvised. The first part of the season was devoted to the pursuit of Liz and Jennifer of Red's identity, which included sending Red to jail. Jennifer thinks the fire may have been at their beach house, in Rehoboth Beach, and they go there.
This brings us to this nonsense, which seems to indicate that Jennifer indeed remembered who Liz was, and that both sisters had been together in that beach house. Why was that there?
What is more intriguing is a few lines that make the whole Rederina idea ridiculous. Let us go back to season 5, for a quick look at a momentous episode, the 100th episode of the series, the story was written by Dave Metzger & Jon Bokenkamp and the teleplay was by Jon Bokenkamp & John Eisendrath, Abraham Stern.
Remember that according to the disastrous season 8B, Red is supposed to be Russian. You know, growing up in Russia. Nachalo has the scenes of Katarina in growing up in Russia. Not the USA.
The scene is between Red and Dembe. Dembe who knows the true identity.
"I haven't felt this giddy since Herbie Hunnicutt and I pooled our box tops and sent away for the decoder ring and periscope."
Do I need to say it? Decoder rings, periscopes and cereal box tops? Not 1960s Russia, and no Herbie in Russia either. And then season 6 featured these lines, from when Red is facing lethal injection, his instructions for disposal of his body, written by Bokenkamp and Eisendrath in 6.11 Bastian Moreau:
“I've made arrangements to be cremated, have my ashes placed into Mama Lu's opium pipes. The users won't mind, and on the off chance there is an afterlife, I'd like to be high in it”
But in Konets, written by the same writers,, Jon Bokenkamp & John Eisendrath, Red says he wants his ashes into a Russian River. WTF?
This clearly speaks to a re-direction, or lies, or a monumental misdirection, for there was no such indication. TWO episodes featuring the same writers, Bastian Moreau and Konets.

The fathers situation

Season 6 had Red speak of his father more. He reflected he was not a good man, adding to earlier seasons, when he spoke of his father cutting him down to size, using bylcreem and having an admiration for cadillacs.
"That stuff you use in your hair– is that Brylcreem? My father used Brylcreem" In Berlin, season 1, written by same two, Bokenkamp and Eisendrath.
"You know, as my father used to say to me, just because you’ve been bumped up to first chair in the orchestra doesn’t mean you can compose a symphony " The Troll Farmer written by Bekenkamp and Eisendrath.
"What is this? A ‘78…. My father loved Cadillacs." in The Judge, written by same two, season 1
And then this one where his father was a sticker for keeping one's word, Dr. James Covington, written by J. Orci and Lukas Reiter. Season 2
" I asked my father for advice.All he wanted to know was whether I’d given my word to Mr. Kodagolian that I’d work the summer.I told him I had. My father suggested I stick it out. I’d given my word."
How does that fit with Red is Reddington? Not an issue. But we certainly have a giant issue in the Rederina hypothesis. That father Red describes up to season 6 does NOT fit with Dom.
Let us review what he tells Liz in what he believes would be his last converversation with Liz, witten by Jon Bokenkamp & John Eisendrath:
I was a difficult child. People saw me one way I saw myself another. I felt misunderstood acted out. My father fancied himself a disciplinarian. Very moralistic. Instead of trying to understand me, he excommunicated me.
Difficult child, misanderstood, a disciplinarian father, excommunicated, disowned. NOT language of things happening to an adult, but to a child.
Our Rederina issue? We SAW Katarina, an obedient child, doing exactly as Dom wanted. Not difficult. right up to being a woman, marrying who her father wanted, sleeping with who he wanted, keeping a child she did not want because Dom wanted.
BUT it works beautifully for Red is Reddington. Red is disowned by his father, changes his name to Reddington, and enters the US Naval Academy, likely with the help of someone like Fitch. And see what happens in this season when Ressler keeps digging into Katarina, and finds Dom, without knowing his name, but the Russians tell him who he is to Katarina.
LIZ: You didn't stop, did you, trying to find his real identity?
RESSLER: No, I didn't. I don't know who he was, but I think I found someone who might. Your grandfather.
LIZ You found Reddington's father?
RESSLER: Katarina's. Look, all I have is a photo.....Look, I know you were asking me not to pursue this, and if you're pissed at me, I get it, but I felt like I had a right to know. My only regret is that I hit a dead end.'Cause that guy he's a ghost.
The fact Liz is surprised when she thinks Ressler found Reddington's father (NOT RED'S), her paternal grandfather, is HUGE. Because Liz was obsessed with blood relatives, and she had all the resources of the FBI to find her paternal relatives, including grandparents. Birth, death, graduation, military service, tax, educational, census, marriage, financial records. And she has NOT found her paternal grandfather. This tells us that the man known as Raymond Reddington was not born as such. Reddington was an alias. A name that begins in the US Naval Academy. Which then makes sense of his excommunication. Disowned, he gets another name. Works for Red is Reddington.
Dom was many things, but a man of his word he was not. Katarina was also many things, but neither was she big on her word, as seen by her betrayal of her country, family and friends. Red is. Loyalty and keeping his word is paramount:
"My word is my bond. My currency."

The Mothers situation

Red may have had a mother with Russian ancestry, but sure was not the same woman we saw as Katarina's mother. Let us review what Red gratuistuly says to Aram to who he is indebted for saving Liz in season 3, written by Daniel Cerone in The Director, part 1:
"There are foundational elements in our lives. People that form the brick and mortar of who we are. People that are so deeply imbedded that we take their existence for granted until suddenly, they’re not there. And we collapse into rubble.
I’ve stood over the open grave of someone I’ve loved too often. Once for my mother. And then the others."
Red has then by then already lost his mother. mind this is season 3, a full 3 seasons before Ressler manages to find Dom, via finding Katarina's mother, who had died earlier that year, in 2019.
Cerone vs. Kattie Bockes and the Coopers.
If Rederina was to be a thing back then, then the continuity person should have been fired, instead of posting stupid things in instagram, and I stand by this even if I turn to be right. We ARE paying attention, Ms. Gee. u/Anselmo123 has a lot to say about this. u/Jen5225 and I had written volumes about the mother issue.
But then we have the issue of Red's actions when Katarina's mother died, which is right about the time Red gets out of prison, and gives an enormous party, with everyone attending. No mourning, because he is not Rederina. His own mother had died years ago, and he was not involved with Katarina's mother. He sees Katarina's father, and does not even know the story of why Dom likes buttermilk in season 3.
He then goes on a treasure hunt with Vesco underneath the Philadelphia Opera House.
The Rassvet tale.
The episode was written by Sean Hennen. We know is not all true, as Dom says, but there were not all lies either. It will be The Orion relocation Services and others that will confirm pieces of it.
And that includes Ilya's groundhog day where he learns TWICE that Katarina was alive. WTF?
Season 7
This season belongs to Fakerina. Bear in mind that until the disaster Nachalo aired, Katarina was referred to by the writers and by the characters in situations where lying was unnecessary as "Katarina". Also not by novice writers either, but Reiter and Cerone. Note that Nachalo was the "proud" baby of Bokenkamp, Eisendrath and Reiter.
RED TO DOM: "Katarina's been surprisingly formidable." written by Daniel Cerone in Roanoke.
RED TO DEMBE: "We know Katarina is holding Dom somewhere in this 2-mile radius." written by Lukas Reiter in Katarina Rostova, conclusion.
RED TO FAKERINA: "Katarina.... It's not safe. You're not safe." written by Jon Bokenkamp, John Eisendrath & Lukas Reiter.
RED TO DEALER: "an enemy of mine contacted you." & "Where's Rostova? Nine days ago, a painting was commissioned. It was sent to this address, shipped to you-- Mr. Paul Allond." in Drexel, season 3, written by Dave Metzger.
And note this interview by Bokenkamp regarding the character played by Layla Robbins:
“Remember, this is Elizabeth Keen's mother who not only abandoned her, but sent her child away to be raised by somebody else.” (May 17, 2019) with thanks to u/outofwedlock for the exact quote.
There are two options for us to consider: One that the writers, and show runners lie continuously to the audience, or that at the time, it was intended that she was Katarina Rostova, but this is contradicted by the showrunners saying the ending has not changed. Well then.
But it is not them who call her Katarina Rostova. It is herself, both to the people who want her dead, and to the people she hires:
WOMAN: May I ask who's calling?
FAKERINA: Katarina Rostova....You believe the Kazanjian Brothers killed me because that's what I wanted you to believe. It was a good plan. It tricked Townsend into paying the bounty on my head, part of which I used to prove my innocence.
to Red: "Dom promised me no one would get hurt. Said he loved his child and just wanted her to be safe. Do I seem safe to you? Hunted, chased into the shadows." written by Lukas Reiter.
What Frankie knew her as:
"that's your daughter? Katarina Rostova? ... Your own daughter wants to kill you because you betrayed her?"
"All I know is Katarina Rostova hired him because she thinks people are trying to kill her and that you might know how to stop them. The plan was to con you, not kill you, to get you to tell Inspector Oban who the assassins are and what they, or you, might know about her sources and safe houses."
Then we have the Orion Relocation Services, written by Sean Hennen & Taylor Martin
FAKERINA: "Help me to remember."
And in "Katarina Rostova, Conclusion" written by Lukas Reiter
FAKERINA TO DOCTOR: "I want the truth, doctor. I don't care if he tells the woman I am now, or the woman I was then."
Were all of this writers lying in their lines, lying in interviews? Jon Bokenkamp, John Eisendrath, Daniel Cerone, Sean Hennen? Fakerina is credited as Katarina Rostova, and has the longest arc of any baddie.

Of course the pandemic ended season 7 earlier, so the episodes that would have ended it were at the beginning of season 8. A season which made sense to half way, then it became a three ring circus.
We have a number of abandoned plot lines, such as Liz's hallucinations with Kate, which last the duration of season 8A, from the time she is on the run in 8.04 to 8.14, which comprises 3 months in show time. Then we have Red confirming this state of affairs with Liz chasing him and wanting to kill him is directly related to Kate.
LIZ: You and Kate underestimate me.
RED: Oh, so she's here, too.
LIZ: Do you see her?
RED: I do, without even having to look.
Most things Liz did in season 8A was driven by her conversation with Kate, including going to Townsend.
We also had the kill order on Liz who Panabaker advices them, which is also forgotten:
Panabaker: This certainly makes me feel better about the DOJ’s directive.... The one I came here to tell you about. They just issued a burn notice on Keen. They want her scrubbed.
Aram: Scrubbed? What does that even mean? Scrubbed, like killed scrubbed?
Panabaker: It means – eliminated. Knowing too much is one thing, but she now demonstrates an obvious liability to the Bureau.... As soon as Keen’s handled, the DOJ will disavow all knowledge of the Task Force, kick Reddington free– : You never existed.
The plot holes of season 8B are well documented, including the change of the Friend From the East menacing prior self, to the weeping fool of later times. A meeting in Paris that leads them to him, which include decoding ads they did not have with a machine they did not either, and Cooper approving the abduction of a Russian national, a member of a elite team, who is nonetheless abducted by being oblivious of his surroundings by a team of a few guys?
Starting by the premise of the disastrous if entertaining Russian Knot, written by Katie Bockes, in which the script coordinator seemed to have forgotten we have SEEN Red and the Friend from the East talk on freeing phones, not a rusty relic.
Where was the script coordinator? Was there a bible? Do ANYONE remembers anything about the show they are paid to write? It goes downhill from there.
And we continue to spin in the same exact point in season 8 as we were in season 3:
TOWNSEND: "Elizabeth? You in there? I do hope you're in there, Elizabeth, 'cause I'm gonna need you for this next part, which promises to be rather awful. While you have a moment, I suggest that you and Raymond reflect upon the concept of loss. I know it well. I feel it in every breath I take, every moment that... that I sleep. Loss became a part of me when I watched my wife and children die before my very eyes! But today, Raymond, I'm gonna give you that burden! I'm gonna show you loss! Today, I'm going to kill Elizabeth while you watch."
KIRK: Is Masha your daughter?
RED: What do you want me to say? Yes she is. Is that what you want me to say? Yes, Elizabeth is my daughter.
We have then now, as we did in season 3, two options, Red is Reddington or he is Katarina, yet so many lines written by the show runners and main writers contradict directly Rederina.
We have two letters addressed to Liz, his own, that Red destroys in season 4 and one that he kept, from Katarina.
And then we have Nachalo, the dumpster fire. I have written enough about it, many series, butthis is handier:
We have obvious things:
Season 1: Most of all, I want to sleep. I want to sleep like I slept when I was a boy.
Season 6: "I was a difficult child."
All I know is that unless this people had no idea what they were writing and are basically functional illiterates, Rederina was a red-herring, since season 3 got the third guy theory defenestrated.
FOWLER: I know the truth, Red about that night, about what happened to your family. Do you want to know the truth?
RED: More than anything in the world.
Except he DOES know. Why tell a lie to someone he will kill? Fun stuff? like when he and Dembe tell lies to each other, like Herbie?
"I haven't felt this giddy since Herbie Hunnicutt and I pooled our box tops and sent away for the decoder ring and periscope." => Jon Bokenkamp & John Eisendrath
Red remembering Jennifer in the blue house, by J. R. Orci:
"I raised my family in this house." A lie according to Nachalo if Rederina were the solution.
KATE TO RED: This business with your wife, this pursuit, it's pushing you in ways that I don't like.
KATE TO RED: Take a moment. Read a book. You will find your wife.
Why not write "this business with Naomi", and "you will find her"? Too hard for Daniel Knauff who co-wrote Monarch Douglas Bank?
The Zombie Mama a product of Daniel Cerone, Katie Bockes and the Coopers:
"I've stood over the open grave of someone I've loved too often. Once for my mother." A mother dead by 2016
and a mother who died in 2019 found in The Third State, and Lady Luck.
"Where's Rostova?." So Rederina thinks this woman is still going by Rostova, a name not her own supposedly? by Dave Metzger.
"I was just imagining young Katarina covered in glitter. As an adult, it's easy to dismiss this stuff as girlish frivolity." Written by Dawn DeNoon. Come on, this is just ridiculous.
NAVABI: "Yes, and we can't disprove it with DNA because there's nothing on file from 1990 when Reddington disappeared." Once we had established this, courtesy of Daniel Knauff who write the episode Gregory Devry, was it too hard to add a line about how on earth did it come to be in CODIS?
NIK: Reddington's her father? I can't say I'm surprised. I'm sad for her. That sucks, but what does this have to do with me? He really is NOT surprised a trans man turned to be someone's father? written by Lukas Reiter and Bokenkamp.
FAKERINA: Katarina Rostova. ...You believe the Kazanjian Brothers killed me because that's what I wanted you to believe. It was a good plan. It tricked Townsend into paying the bounty on my head, part of which I used to prove my innocence." She must be daft, to keep using a name that is not her when they already thought Rostova was dead. It only worked if she WAS Rostova, trying to clear her own name.
RED TO DEMBE: "We know Katarina is holding Dom somewhere in this 2-mile radius." => Lukas Reiter
RED TO DOM: "Katarina's been surprisingly formidable." => Daniel Cerone
from Kate Kaplan, conclusion, Teleplay by : Jon Bokenkamp, John Eisendrath, Daniel Cerone Story by : Lukas Reiter, J. R. Orci
KATE TO RED: I made a promise to Elizabeth's mother to protect her girl at all costs. [Not HIS girl]
KATE TO LIZ: I loved Raymond. And your mother. I loved her, too. Oh boy.
and from Sutton Ross, by LR, JB, and JE
DEMBE: Ross wants blood. He thinks you [RED = RR] ruined his life..... he thinks you [RED NOT THE BONES IN THE BAG] did, and because of that, he wants to world to know what's inside the duffel.

Not to mention what it does to some hilarious lines:
"Elizabeth, I knew your mother better than she knew herself." becomes "I knew myself better than I knew myself"
"We shared to affection of Katarina" "Yep, I loved my former self and myself now too. "
"I was just imagining young Katarina covered in glitter. As an adult, it's easy to dismiss this stuff as girlish frivolity." One cannot imagine what one can remember.

"She's gone because of choices you made for both of them. First for Katarina, then Masha."
Where who we start in this one?
To me the only way this mess made any sense is if Red was Reddington, protecting Katarina as well as Liz and having a noble endeavor such as taking down the cabal completely worth him not telling Liz who he was. otherwise is monstrous, stupid, nonsensical, cowardly, and a general clusterfuck of nonsense. Rederina amplifies this tenfold to be the stupidest story about the clownish people who created trouble after trouble and then instead of telling Liz Rederina let her descend into madness, had her husband killed, and caused the death of countless people.
Dembe is an idiot who should have told Liz, instead of suffering torture and anguish.
On what planet is causing all this trouble to keep someone alive instead of saying "I am your mother" is a good story?
And now it seems we will not even get a clear answer? And we are insulted by the person responsible for keeping details straight that if we pay attention we already know?
Greed in this extreme form is bad. Extending the story killed it. Now no matter what it will always be a clusterfuck of lies and bad writing.
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