Butler creek sling without swivel installation
[Spoilers All] Two *Battle Ground* theories
2023.06.06 06:54 blue_shadow_ [Spoilers All] Two *Battle Ground* theories
I haven't seen either of these mentioned, though it's entirely possible I missed it (and often) in the last couple of years. I just finished a complete reread though, and a couple of things stuck out to me. Theory #1: How did Justine become N-fected to begin with? And what are the ramifications of the how anyway?
From Battle Ground:
"How long?" I asked. "How long have you been in Justine?" My thought: It happened during the battle w/ Shagnasty during Turn Coat. In the middle of a spell-slinging, bullet-flinging, blade-slashing clusterfuck, this happens:
Justine waved the steel bar in a vague gesture. "Mortal time is such a limited concept. A few years. Ever since she became close to Lara."
Fire and noise filled the room, and the skinwalker went bouncing to one side. It hit the ground once, twisted itself in midair, and raked its claws across Justine's midsection. Using the reaction to control its momentum, it landed on its feet and hurled itself out of the room by way of the window behind Lara's desk. <snip>
I turned to Justine and tried to assess her injuries. There were six horizontal lines sliced into the soft flesh of her abdomen, as neatly as if with a scalpel. Blood was welling readily from them - but I didn't think any of them had been deep enough to open the abdominal cavity or reach an artery. That's precision right there. All six claws, and not one of these surgeon-sharp tools got deep enough to threaten her life? I don't buy that, at all. I don't think this was an "oh by the way", either - this was a long-term plan by an N-fected Shags to get an agent in place. It was clear enough later in the conversation/ negotiation between Lara, Harry, and Shagnasty that it was there to horsetrade, not to lay absolute waste.
I can't think that something like Shagnasty really gives a fuck about money or "considerations", so why would it care about one grizzled veteran of a Warden? Simple. It didn't. That was an excuse, albeit one it had to follow through on later to conceal the real reason it showed to begin with.
Now. Why does that matter? Because what happened later in Turn Coat? Shagnasty and Listens-to-Wind engaged in an all-out brawl, with plenty of torn flesh and chances to plant another agent, this time in the White Council. Especially if Nemesis thought that Dresden had actually sniffed out Peabody, it would need a replacement agent installed, just in case. The bespelled ink was one thing, but it's only a form of control, not a true agent.
So, if Listens-to-Wind is N-fected, why did he fight so hard to thwart Ethniu, considering that the Outer Gates were under serious siege during the fight? Because the entire point of the entire battle wasn't to bash through the Gates or to let Ethniu win, but instead to get Justine to the island. Also, if it didn't work for a variety of reasons, then Nemesis still has an agent working behind the scenes.
Theory 1 Rebuttals and Responses
1) Justine was N-fected way beforehand, after being almost killed by Thomas
Possible, but I went looking for an on-screen source of transmission. For both Leanansidhe and Cat Sith, the audience was shown the source of their conversions - Leanansidhe was given the athame at Bianca's ball, and Cat Sith was taken during Dresden's escape from Maeve's forces at the zoo. For Justine to silently be N-fected behind the scenes goes against the precedent that Butcher had already set with the previous two.
I do agree that it's odd that Justine got better when all indications were that she wouldn't, and that her change in ability and awareness is suspect, but that battle with Shagnasty and her seemingly lucky escape from death there is way more suspect to me. Speaking of which:
2) Shagnasty wanted Morgan to eat him and absorb his energy.
Possible, but this makes even less sense to me than money and considerations do.
It already had eaten Kirby, so it's not just wizards that are on the menu. And there at Raith Manor, it already has access to not one, but two wizards of the White Council, right there, and one with presumably more depth and flavor due to being Morgan's senior - Luccio. Not only that, but there's also Lara, her siblings, Papa Raith, etc., etc. Plus Thomas already wrapped up back in whatever lair Shagnasty has. Yes, Morgan would be tasty as well, but five or six birds in the hand is worth way more than one in the bush, so this just doesn't make sense to me as the actual reason why it would want to make the trade.
Theory 1 TLDR: Shagnasty is N-fected, and purposefully injured Justine in the brawl at Raith Estates in Turn Coat without threatening her life, to transmit the N-fection. This means that there's also a high likelihood that Listens-to-Wind is also N-fected now, due to their battle later in the same book.
Theory #2: What exactly happened to make Harry want to commit murder with magic?
During the aftermath of that scene, Harry lights on Rudolph and tries his level best to crush him with Harry's normally defensive shield - in other words, he would commit murder with magic, a violation of not just the Laws, but Dresden's own personal beliefs.
And while one could normally be expected to call it a crime of passion, I think that Anduriel was at it again.
From Battle Ground, right as Harry is trying to deal with the immediate pain of loss:
When I opened my eyes again and looked up, the world had gone grey scale. Later on, right after Butters swiped Fidelacchius through Dresden's arm:
Except for Rudolph.
Rudolph was bathed in light the color of Murphy's blood.
The stench of my own charred flesh filled my nose, somehow laced with the scent of sulfur, brimstone. This isn't an accident. Brimstone aroma is a prime tell that Denarian activity is taking place. And since we've already seen Anduriel (edit: this likely was Lasciel the first time, not Anduriel, but point still applies) try to deceive Dresden once with words, and succeed, it only stands to reason that a being that plays with fucking shadows could and would obscure various colors of light to focus Harry's attention on a target for revenge.
It's also no accident that not one, but two Knights of the Cross are employed to make sure that Dresden doesn't complete his Fall. Remember, Butters had just seen Sanya lay out Harry right before. It's also, therefore, not coincidental that in Peace Talks, Sanya figures out, and shows Butters, that Fidelacchius is almost entirely in the spiritual realm, not the mortal-physical (when it comes to people, that is, not poor inoffensive anvils). Had Butters thought that his Sword would actually amputate Dresden, he might have hesitated in employing it - in which case, Harry's Fall would have been much more likely to be completed.
Theory 2 Rebuttals and Responses
1) The scent of brimstone was because Lash isn't quite gone
I don't understand this. Lash made the ultimate sacrifice and is gone. It was her choice to sacrifice herself that led to the creation of Bonea to begin with. It doesn't track that such an intense act of creation would come from only a partial sacrifice.
Also, it's already been shown on-screen that the Swords won't affect even beings it normally might so long as they're acting for the right reasons. Susan had previously touched one of the Swords and got zapped for it, because of her half-vampire nature. Then she was able to wield it, out of love for her child, during the battle against the Red Court. Lash's sacrifice was made out of love - for any remnant potentially lingering to be burnt by Fidelachhius doesn't fit what has already been shown.
2) The brimstone scent was because of Harry's own choices, not any Denarian activity. It was Winter that Dresden used, not any other factor.
Does not fit what has been established. I can't think of any single mention specifically of brimstone in the series that Denarian activity has not been responsible for. Yes, Winter was the instrument of choice that Dresden used, but that doesn't matter to this theory - it's why he made the choice to even go after Rudy at all. Had Dresden lifted his head and seen Butters or Sanya first, his initial reaction would have been a lot different. To my mind, he was pushed, very deliberately, to break his own code.
3) Harry wouldn't have broken the Laws of Magic by killing Rudolph with his defensive shield
Honestly, this one could go either way, but I think enough precedent exists that it doesn't matter how harshly the line is adhered to, it matters how Harry would view it. He was sickened by the death of the mortal who got caught up in the Wild Hunt, when his use of force magic caused the apparition to break its neck and reveal a mortal.
Theory 2 TLDR: Anduriel used shadow tricks to push Dresden to attempt to break the Laws of Magic.
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2023.06.06 02:51 TomSzabo And It Utterly Broke My Heart
Valid theories as to why Nine Mile Hole was so very special to Forrest Fenn are out there, if one cares to look carefully enough. But nobody yet to my uncertain knowledge has pointed to hints in The Thrill of the Chase
or other evidence that explain why Fenn might have been so emotional about his journey to the special place that he cryptically described in the poem. Yes, it was the place he wanted to die, and that alone would be a good enough reason for emotion. Yet the sort of sentimentality that Fenn betrayed about the place – for example when he read the poem out loud – suggests something even deeper and more sorrowful: a sense of loss that is larger than the man himself.
It so happens that there truly is a source of information that reveals why Nine Mile Hole was so sacred to Forrest Fenn: an emotional connection had been forged as a result of dual tragedies. It is contained in poetry masquerading as prose written by Ernest Schwiebert, an expert on flies and flyfishing, in his seminal Nymphs: Stoneflies, Caddisflies, and Other Important Insects including the lesser mayflies, Volume II (2007)
The existence of this text and its importance to the chase was originally revealed by Vertigo, who first shared it on The Hint of Riches forum. Later, Vertigo reposted the excerpt from the Schwiebert text on Medium here
along with the other results of his excellent research. All the Vertigo entries are a must read if you want to try walking in the shoes of Forrest Fenn. I won’t repeat that portion of the Schwiebert text previously shared by Vertigo in its entirety although I will include a few of the most relevant excerpts to help tie everything together.
What I want to focus on here is the emotional and motivational parts of the tragic story that Schwiebert eloquently told in the paragraphs that Vertigo did not quote. This material is critical in my opinion to understanding the importance of Nine Mile Hole and what happened there to make it the place where Fenn wanted to die.
To summarize, the fires that devastated Yellowstone in 1988 were in part the result of government mismanagement of forest fires on Federal land, much of which was due to political games (e.g. to discredit members of the other political party). These fires created havoc and destruction in the Madison watershed and its fisheries that went largely unacknowledged by environmentalists and the public at large. Only those who had fished those flywaters in the decades before the fires could truly understand the extent of the negative impact on the river and its riparian ecosystem.
Among other casualties, the brown trout hideout at the famous Nine Mile Hole was spoiled, and the spring-fed pond secreted in the woods nearby was literally wiped off the map. Its crystal clear waters – a quarter mile up a cold rivulet from the legendary hole on the Madison – had once rewarded the most tenacious Brown with the perfect spot to spawn. Now there was only brown sludge in its place. To someone who had intimately known Nine Mile Hole, its matronly crystalline pond, or any other riverine wonder of the Madison watershed in Yellowstone, it was enough to utterly break their heart.
Forrest Fenn's feelings about the ordeal were very much in the same vein as those expressed by Ernest Schwiebert. The difference was that the latter man did not need to keep a secret and therefore could lay bare his emotional injuries.
Indeed, the 1988 fires must have devastated Fenn similarly if not more so. But this grand tragedy was not quite as catastrophic to him as being diagnosed with cancer and given slim odds of surviving it. The year 1988 was not particularly kind to the man.
Fortunately, the forests and rivers of Yellowstone always seem to recover from the worst tribulations that nature could manage to throw at them, and so did Fenn. But not without a profound impact. The battle for survival and the scars left behind had connected Fenn to his special place at a level so primal and emotionally raw that it was almost umbilical. How could there ever be another consideration when it came to the somber task of choosing the place to take his last breath?
And then came the FBI raids in 2009. The Feds had had a hand in destroying his Shangri-La in Yellowstone in 1988, and now it seemed they wanted to finish robbing him of treasure while desecrating his reputation and castle in Santa Fe. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH
, he said to himself through sublime gritted teeth and with a resolve that only the gravely aggrieved can muster. I'm going to carry out my plan. In Yellowstone Park, damn the consequences!
The following is taken from Nymphs: Volume II
, starting on page 237. Unless noted otherwise, boldface is mine for emphasis.
I note that Vertigo excluded an important portion of the first paragraph of the story so I will re-quote this paragraph in its entirety. He then faithfully reproduced the next 7 paragraphs, which I won't repeat but will highlight a few excerpts. See Vertigo's Medium post for the full text of the 7 paragraphs, or "DYODD" and buy the book.
Schwiebert's account contains several additonal paragraphs beyond the 7 quoted by Vertigo that are just as important in my opinion, plus there is a footnote that helps enormously to shed light on things. I quote these in their entirety as fair use in order to support the theory being advanced in this entry.
But the entire Yellowstone was ravaged by a series of wildfires in the drought of 1992, and one of the worst of these fires had crossed into the park from Bridger National Forest in Wyoming, just north of Grand Teton National Park.6 The great lodgepole forests of the Bechler and Firehole watersheds had become a tinderbox, and vast acreages of primeval timber were surrendered to the fire. Magnificent stands were transformed into fire-blackened cemeteries of snags. Entire mountainsides were utterly scorched as steep timber-filled ravines became incandescent chimneys filled with fire. Slopes of unstable volcanic soils were stripped of their trees and rendered vulnerable to the erosive impacts of winds, rains, and melting snowpacks. Frightening shrouds of talcum-fine soil and ash were carried aloft as storms worked across the Yellowstone Plateau. Gullies were quickly cut into unstable hillsides, and large alluvial fans of gritty clay and ash were formed at many places along the Madison, Gibbon, and Firehole. Such fans were visible immediately below Seven Mile Bridge on the Madison, and there was much worse damage at its famous Nine-Mile Hole, which had been the most popular pool.
Schwiebert makes an error here: the great drought and fires were actually in 1988 as he correctly states in Footnote 6; see near the end of this post.
The next 7 paragraphs are faithfully reproduced in full by Vertigo … I highlight a few key lines. Following this, I start to quote the paragraphs that are excluded from Vertigo's work.
Nine-Mile lay just below the highway, in a beautiful corridor of primeval lodgepoles and ponderosas …
It was a striking place with secrets. There was a crystalline springhead pond across the water, about a quarter mile beyond the river, and completely hidden behind a dense screen of intervening conifers.
Large brown trout were known to enter this minor lodgepole tributary in October to mate and lay their eggs …
I once caught a good fish in the little pond itself … a handsome five-pound hen that had apparently spawned and wintered, and then elected to stay.
The cold spillages of the crystalline creek entered the river in the uppermost shallows at Nine-Mile …
It was a spring-hole worth knowing. Large trout often gathered there in hot weather, basking in its cool temperatures where the ledge rock shelved off into a secret pocket. I could usually count on at least one good fish there, because most anglers simply fished the primary currents of Nine-Mile without covering the pocket below its aquatic weeds.
The fate of Nine-Mile, however, was a terrible surprise.
Compare to page 141 in TToTC with the following words bolded and in red: "Cancer is a terrible word.
" Boldfaced and redlined text is used within the memoir in only four places, twice in reference to cancer and twice to suggest a warning that something is scalding hot: "DO NOT TOUCH!
". The reason for this editorial oddity should be obvious: red for fire, and the red boldface connects cancer to fire.
The fish-filled secret below the weeds was smothered with silt and trash, and the spring-hole itself was gone. I became curious about the fate of the forest pond, and forded the river to inspect it. Dour rivulets of slurry came spilling through the trees, and I was astonished when I reached the tarn.
Its crystalline shallows were completely filled with slurry and trash. A tiny paradise had been destroyed. The outlet was clogged with refuse and silt, and the barrage of trash had raised the water in the lake until its overflows were forced into several braided channels farther downstream. No trout could ascend such gritty rivulets to spawn, and no freshly hatched juveniles would use its spatterdock riches to reach smolting size. Nine-Mile itself had been irrevocably changed, and after dutifully suiting up, I found myself angry and unable to fish.
Compare to "There'll be no paddle up your creek, Just heavy loads and water high."
Consider why Schwiebert was "angry": the full extent of the devastation was perhaps preventable if Forest Service management had actually cared about the ecosystem within their purview instead of trying to score political points.
Schwiebert continues the story as follows, not quoted by Vertigo.
Some ecologists have argued that postfire impacts have largely proved beneficial because natural lightning-strike fires are obviously implicit in our natural forest ecosystems. The science of such truths remains clear. Lodgepole cones do not surrender their seeds without exposure to hot temperatures associated with natural fires, and the argument that ancestral fires have played a substantial role in the ecological history of such forests is sound.
Such apologists further contend that once-dangerous thickets of deadfalls and dry tinder in these lodgepole forests had healthily been purged, and argued that these Yellowstone fires had cleansed its historic forests. The new grasslands created were alleged to have improved bison and elk habitat because both are grazing species, but both bison and elk lacked major predators then and had become much too plentiful before the fires. The ecosystem did not need more bison and elk. Other apologists waxed poetic about the beneficial impacts of the fires on avifauna and their prey within the boundaries of the Yellowstone, but none mentioned their horrendous impact on the famous Yellowstone trout streams.
Some fishing writers have written pieces echoing the doubtful thesis that everything had been improved through the purging of the fires, and that the fishing had also been helped. One reported unusual numbers of larger fish in the Firehole. This was irresponsibly wishful conjecture on the part of observers who lacked a fifty-year perspective on the Yellowstone and its fisheries, and were not competent to pass such judgment. The truth is much less felicitous. Several key tributaries had become so choked with postfire sedimentation, ash, and charred debris that their fish, including large trout that had never seen anglers, had been displaced from their headwaters to find refuge in the Firehole itself.
Such fish were not a happy portent.
Compare the above paragraphs to Fenn on page 141 of TToTC where he follows up the redlined and bolded "Cancer is a terrible word" with "The disease it defines represents nature in its most repellent form."
Fires also ravaged the hillsides along the lower Gibbon. Steeper slopes had quickly eroded, forming labyrinthine networks of raw gullies and wounds leaving the narrow highway below Gibbon Falls buried under great alluvial fans of mud, gritty precipitates, and trash. Heavy equipment had cleared the right-of-way, leaving great windrows of marl in many places, and the Gibbon became choked with waist-deep strata of raw sediments and ash. The great beauty of the box canyon below the Gibbon Falls had been charred and scarified by fire, leaving a river littered with postfire trash and mud winding through cemeteries of charred lodgepoles. I did not attempt to fish, and decided to investigate the fire damage along the Firehole.
The fires had decimated its remarkable lodgepole forests in many places between the Cascades of the Firehole and the Fountain Flats above Nez Perce Creek. I turned south on the old freight road toward Ojo Caliente, and found more fire damage there, but worse burns had overwhelmed the shores of Goose Lake. Its trees had been killed in fires of such temperature and intensity that their fire-seared trunks looked like they had been coated with shiny black lacquer. Fire had smoldered in the great mattresses of dead needles that once carpeted the entire forest floor, and when I used a tire iron to root deep into the burned earth, I found that fire had festered into its thick mattresses of pine needles to depths of eight and ten inches. Goose Lake was now encircled with skeletal lodgepoles that had been killed and charred by fire, although damselflies were still emerging from its shallow margins, swimming ashore to climb the blackened deadfalls and split their nymphal skins.
The scars were much worse beyond the lake.
Compare to cancer as above and to the poem words "Tarry scant": the word tarry could also mean covered by tar in addition to its more common interpretation of delay.
I reached the river and simply sat in the car, staring at its crippled forests with tears in my eyes, remembering the circling seasons I had enjoyed in these uncommon meadows. There were decades of happy memories from this place. I had shared a number of wonderful picnics at Feather Lake with old friends like the late John Hemingway, the late John Daniel Callaghan, and Bud Lilly. I particularly remember awakening from a post-lunch nap on the lodgepole bench at Feather to find Hemingway looking upstream toward the geyser plumes at Midway.
"Know what's wrong with this place?" Hemingway said with a sigh.
"No," I confessed.
"We don't own it," he said.
The narrow trace and cul-de-sac were no longer sheltered in a theatrical corridor of lodgepoles and big ponderosas, and a place of remarkable beauty had been utterly sacrificed and lost. The Firehole still flowed under the fire-blackened bench, a glittering necklace of bright water, with great billows of steam still rising from the geyser basin upstream. I had shared this place with a long parade of people across more than fifty years, and the morning was filled with echoes. I left the car and was surprised by the silence. There were no birds, no brash camp robbers arrived to beg for table scraps, and no skittish chipmunks scuttled across the forest floor. There was nothing for buzzards to scavenge, and no voles to interest circling hawks. The pale September sky was empty. Wind stirred in the blackened snags, which groaned and creaked. The meadow had offered some remarkable sport over the years, and I had hoped to fish, but there was no thought of fishing now.
I drove slowly back along the washboard trace toward Ojo Caliente, through its fire-scarred mausoleum of trees, as a big storm was starting to gather and build along the Pitchstone Ridge. Its conifers had also been ravaged as the wildfires crossed into the Firehole watershed, leaving its summits a raw wasteland of charred earth and gritty ash. The sun had quickly surrendered to an ominous gunmetal sky, and as the storm finally broke along its battlements, immense clouds of loose soil and ash billowed high into the darkening gloom. Such spiraling squalls of silt and windmilling ash would eventually reach the little Firehole itself, and further despoil its hyaline currents. I suddenly understood how profoundly its watershed had been changed.
And it utterly broke my heart.
Footnote 6 on page 735 is revealing. It reads:
There is much credible evidence that these fires had begun outside Yellowstone Park, in the Absaroka headwaters of the Yellowstone in the Shoshone National Forest, and in the Teton National Forest north of Jackson Hole. The fires were fought on national forest tracts, but firefighters were withdrawn once the fires entered the national park itself. The fires were permitted to burn inside the national park for short-term political purposes, because 1988 was an election year. Our natural-fire policy had actually emerged under Presidents Nixon and Ford, and was based on sound forest science, but its application became a regional political issue when both Nathaniel Pryor Reed and Cecil Andrus refused to extinguish a number of controversial fires on federal land. Political opponents fought the Yellowstone fires aggressively outside the national park because the blazes had apparently begun in campfires and lightning strikes on the national forests. Firefighters had been deployed while these fires were still burning on tracts of commercial saw timber, but were stopped once the fires had crossed into Yellowstone. Some of the worst damage occurred on the Firehole and Thoroughfare, and these fires were not fought until they threatened park installations at Canyon and Fishing Bridge, and the historic art sauvage hotel located at Old Faithful. Andrus was no longer Secretary of the Interior when I met him, but during an interview in his office at Boise, I sought his opinion of the Yellowstone fires. Andrus still believed that the bipartisan natural-fire policy had been supported by good science, and pointed out that more than twenty petrified forests within park boundaries suggest that Yellowstone had survived worse destruction, although that perspective is little comfort to anglers who will never again enjoy the pristine Madison and Firehole of recent memory. He agreed that Yellowstone itself was not large enough to protect its aggregate ecosystem, and further conceded that a zealotry that had continued to advocate natural-fire policy in the worst drought summer in recorded history had perhaps been unwise. But he shook his head over the political tactics of appointees in the Forest Service, who had protected tracts of commercial saw timber while later permitting the Yellowstone itself to burn, and had further attempted to discredit the Carter Administration during the election of 1980.
From TToTC page 26: "One day my father gave me a spanking at school for running across some stupid desks, then that night he gave me a spanking at home because I got a spanking at school. The more I thought about that the more I felt put upon. When I explained to him that I'd been double jeopardized he told me that those things didn't count in a dictatorship. That's when I started to mistrust governments."
From TToTC page 147: "Now I feel that my father is sitting on the edge of a cloud somewhere watching. If he knows everything about me he's pretty busy lighting candles, some of them on both ends. But I hope he knows that I've been sometimes guilty only by innuendo, and that's why I wrote my epitaph with such profundity: I wish I could have lived to do, the things I was attributed to."
In 2009, the FBI raided Fenn and several other art dealers – and alleged looters – of Native American artifacts in the Southwest. The raid resulted in the confiscation of just four items from Fenn (none of which could be proven as having been obtained by him illicitly). https://www.sfreporter.com/news/coverstories/2009/08/19/stealing-the-past/
This was more than just a nuisance … Fenn's reputation had been impugned and two other dealers who were arrested after the raids committed suicide. These guys were likely people he knew or may have even been his friends. A third man arrested in the case also committed suicide; he was a government informant who essentially helped the federal agents entrap the Four Corners dealers. https://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/dealer-blame-fbi-for-seller-suicides-in-four-corners-looting-case/article_f8613507-1b71-513a-ba21-43a6b0622c0b.html
Fenn was supposedly very angry and threatened Tony Dokoupil with legal action when the reporter spoke with old "pothunting" acquaintances and revealed some unsavory information about Fenn's artifact-collecting past, for example: "... Fenn wasn't just taking a treasure or two but returning to caves and stripping them clean …" In the end, the publicity of appearing in Newsweek magazine at such an early stage in the treasure hunt must have overridden Fenn's desire to keep some of those things that he "was attributed to" under wraps. https://www.newsweek.com/forrest-fenn-wants-you-find-his-treasure-and-his-bones-64427
The FBI raids – based on purchases of artifacts by a government informant using government money to entice dealers to specifically sell him contraband, and which were conducted by multi-agency SWAT teams – were highly controversial for many locals. No doubt Fenn was pissed off at the Feds more than ever at that point. Despite the epitaph he wrote for himself, he certainly did not want to be remembered as "the old guy in Santa Fe raided by the FBI".
Less than a year later, he published his memoir with its treasure hunt poem. Little chance the timing was just a coincidence.
Finally, does anybody find it intriguing that Fenn rarely if ever talked about the 1988 fire in Yellowstone? It happened the same year he got cancer (or did it?), and he talked plenty about that personal ordeal. The fire and its aftereffects utterly destroyed some of his most cherished places where he had fished for trout and melded with nature since he was a young boy, including his (probably) favorite fishing hole at TOP SECRET "Nine-Mile" and not to mention the magical wood on the far bank of the river with its secluded crystal pond to which he would have gone alone and sat under pine trees, napping, daydreaming, watching wildlife, marveling at the mountain and river vistas, and writing poems or love notes to his wife. Yet not a peep from him about the conflagration that ravaged all of that? Curious.
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2023.06.05 19:05 girlfromthem trouble separating large data set of incorrectly formatted addresses into standard address form
Hello, here is a sample of my data:
Unit X, Bldg. 9, Hongmeijiarihuayuan Tianning District Changzhou JS 292929 CHINA
858 SL 11Th Ln Gainesville CO 37707-4986
32 Long Creek Dr Fort Collins CA 828-7040
9 Tilton St Manchester NH 03102-4741
996 NY 13th St Corvallis NY 73737-5940
As you can see the values are varying in length and format so I am unable to really do anything without jumping through hoops and mind you I am not the most experienced Excel person. (literally just an intern) I must put the data into acceptable format aka st, city, state, zip
Here is what I have done so far:
1) Concate first 3 values in a line together as most likely they're street info
2) Separate everything else into a different column
3) Extract state names from all of the different columns and put them into separate columns then joined them into one big STATES column (there were 5 columns...meaning there must have been an address with 8 values at least)
4) Remove the state names from the old columns so I am either left with country/street/zip my issue now is that I cannot separate the city names considering they are all in weird format + a good chunk is international addresses and their format is just a nightmare on its own
additionally i tried something so simple but it did not work to extract the country names from the original complicated address column using this: =IFERROR(VLOOKUP(A2,$C$1:$C$203,1,FALSE),"") where A2 is the first cell of addresses and C is a list of all countries written out in a column but it keeps giving me null results. Please let me know if you have any suggestions and keep in mind that i am not that experienced so if you recommend something do tell me if i need to install something /add-on etc etc THANKS
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2023.06.05 12:00 WaveOfWire One Hell Of A Vacation - Chapter 88
Next Royal Road Patreon u/KieveKRS
providing the Trash certification of quality!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
The maw of the moss-wolf chomped down on the treat, its partner patiently waiting its turn, an eye trained on the Human providing the sustenance. Joseph reached into the pouch, counting out what he had left and mentally setting a few aside for the raven-like birds that Scarlet had trained to bother him.
Well, ‘bother’ might be a strong word. They would whistle at him and wait for food. Upon getting their hard sought quarry, they would return to share it with the rest. Surprisingly cooperative, all things considered. Scarlet had apparently been getting them to associate certain short melodies with members of the pack, allowing her to send the avians after whoever she wanted for more snacks.
If they didn’t get any, then they would yell something not dissimilar to a caw until either food was procured, or they grew bored. Given that they had taken to humouring Violet in her attempts to be a mobile perch, that usually took a while.
It drove Nalah nuts, which seemed to be part of the reason the blond-furred female was included in the ritual at all. Harrow was apparently the favourite target of the nuisance when she was outside the base, but he couldn’t say why.
The tell-tale scratching had been somewhat muted since the shift in medium, but Violet’s writing was always something he kept an ear out for, his daughter presenting her tablet excitedly. [It blinked!]
He turned his head to the cow-looking thing, the unwavering stare held until he gave up. “I swear you guys are just messing with me.”
“Or we merely enjoy your suffering,” Sahari suggested with a smirk, the black-furred female standing taller than him for a moment as she stretched her legs out. Settling into a height that was level with him, she attempted to offer the wolves food. Receiving a fearful retreat instead, the black-furred female frowned, the two canines shifting in their enclosure to be closer to Joseph and Violet. “They still seem to distrust any but yourselves.”
He shrugged, taking the scrap from her and giving it to the young Atmo to pass along, her chittering laugh when the wolves accepted the morsel breaking the soft sound of trickling rain outside the barn. “Faye was the one who started this. I guess they treat her like an alpha of sorts, and seeing her bow to the two of us so often told them that she’s lower on the pole. That’s my guess, anyway.”
“That is….rather intelligent of them, if so,” Sahari commented pensively.
The Grand Hunter tipped his head in agreement. If anything, it was an understatement. The six-legged canines were remarkably receptive to taming, though he couldn’t say how much of that was due to Faye taking to his suggestion so seriously. He had only offered it as a passing thought, but she had set to it like their god had mandated it.
He fought back a sigh at the reminder of his placement in the whole thing, his foot kicking the ground to adjust the new sandals he was wearing until Pan finished proper shoes.
One day, he was a divorcee flirting with random women on a cruise ship so that the rejection validated his own self-esteem issues. The next, he was a guy in charge of a settlement nearing one hundred people and had become a manifestation of religion condensed into the form of some random moron.
He snorted at a morbid thought. How would Emma react to his ‘rise to fame?’ His acquisition of more than they had ever thought for themselves back on Earth?
Owning a territory? They could only manage a nice apartment that could fit several times over inside the base. Friends? Hell, he had a group of people who have helped him through some of the worst the planet had to offer. Kids...well, nothing could replace Violet. He doubted Emma would see it the same way, though.
A paw enclosed his shoulder, dragging his mind from more sombre thoughts. It had been quite a while since everything fell through and he had moved on, but it still stung every now and again.
“What ails your mind, Joseph?” Sahari asked with a concerned inflection. He looked over at her, a smile becoming easier after a moment.
“Just wondering how my ex-wife would react to seeing what I’ve turned into. What she’d say to all of this,” he admitted honestly with a wide gesture to everything. She patted his back, a small pride in her gaze.
“You continue to heal, Grand Hunter, but you are still scarred. Your previous mate would curse her decisions were she to see what you have accomplished.”
He snorted, a wide dry grin breaking out. “I’d love to see her face going back with two alien wives and this sweetheart as a daughter,” he teased, giving Violet a thorough rub on the head. She purred, chittering between breaths as she fought off the rough affection playfully while keeping her blades tucked for safety.
The black-furred female tilted her head and shifted her weight to her other foot. “You’ve mentioned that there is a specific procedure for binding the lives of your people, no?”
He blinked, his mind flickering to the two rings he had prepared, yet held some modicum of expectation around before he whipped them out. Not least of all was the foreign sensation of doing it again twice
, nor finding an appropriate time to do it. It was hard to pick a picturesque moment when each day was paperwork, punching people in the face during spars, and orchestrating the well-being of such a large group. Given that the closest thing he could get to a romantic occasion was laying down on the grass while Nalah barked orders at the construction crews in the distance, he didn’t feel like it was ever a good time to ask. It was even harder picturing himself doing it to the two of them, as if it cheapened the gesture in some way.
Then there was the part of himself that feared rejection—as stupid as it sounded. They could deny the alien practice, not share the same sentiment, or any number of disagreements that would render him kneeling like an idiot. As unlikely as it was, it could even be too great a commitment for them, the implication of their entire lives being pledged solely to him being a crushing weight, rather than a promise of mutual loving dedication.
they were speaking as if it was the case, but the circumstances as they were lent themselves to it being a product of necessity. Who was to say that it would remain the same once they got off this rock and—hopefully—in touch with their own people again. Would they still feel the same way with an entire species back on the table as possible romantic partners? Would he still be enough?
“Joseph,” Sahari called out with worry and irritation in equal parts. “You are making me anxious.”
“Hm? Oh, sorry,” he apologized sheepishly, rubbing the back of his neck as he was reminded that more than one person could be afflicted by his emotional state. She placed a paw to her hip.
“Are the proceedings really such a means for strife?”
“Ah, no, it’s just…” He averted his eyes, offering Violet a token smile when she seemed to be concerned about him. He inhaled deeply. “It’s just…I have reservations about it.”
She raised a brow. “I need not a bond to know you care for them deeply enough to toss your life to the Void for them.”
His weak smile faltered further. “Well, yeah. They mean everything to me, but I cant help but remember how things went last time, I guess. There’s a million and one ways it could go up in smoke, and I…” He fell quiet for a moment, Violet pressing herself into his side in an attempt to cheer him up. He rested a hand against her back, the texture comforting in a way. “I want it to be an important moment in our lives, rather than some disposable token that they accept without thinking much. It’s not like they’re swimming in potential romantic partners here, so it feels like they’d be agreeing for lack of options.”
She stared at him with a hesitant expression, her cheek pinched between her teeth and eyes narrowed in thought. “Pan would sooner end her own life than be separated from you, and Tel would end any who so much as suggested such,” she stated finally. “To you, the mark upon your flesh is but a sting that fades. To them, it is their declaration that they have found their reason to live. A declaration that is shown to all others of our people the moment they draw near. Though Pan lacks the means to impart her own, she is rather pleased that another is able to in her stead and treats it as her own for all intents.”
She grabbed him roughly by the arm, pulling him into her breast as she stood to her full height, a surprised yelp stifled by soft clothing and fur.
“Unfortunately for you, openly voiced or not, we all feel as such. Though you bear not the mark of everyone in the den, I assure you that to be removed from you would leave us lesser, regardless of bond.”
He shut his mouth at the last addition. There was a weight behind knowing that people were likely to simply give up
on living if you were away for too long. It put the relationship in front of a loaded gun for both parties. They couldn’t afford to break it off from him because existing would become a living hell, and he couldn’t change his mind for any reason because it would be the same as killing them.
What kind of marriage was one built upon such fragile pillars? How could they be happy when every fight was tempered by the threat of the end of everything? What about Sahari? Could she ever pursue her own life with Nalah when she had the bond shackling her to him? How long until that became a stinging poison, rotting away the veins and arteries of her psyche? How long until death became preferable to being around him?
A strong impact to his stomach winded him, though the unnoticed hyperventilating left him little to eject as he fell to his knees. Violet clicked in surprise, the wolves backing away at the unexpected violence.
He coughed, sputtering spittle as he fought the urge to evacuate his breakfast. A pained glance up revealed Sahari still clutching a fist, her expression just as hurt.
“You hear my words and twist them, Joseph,” she chastised softly, crouching to look at him better. “We pledged our lives to you. Not because we had no choice, but because we believed you to be our future. From that moment on, our desire was to remain with you.” Her voice grew weak, almost pleading. She placed her forehead to his, the contact an intimate touch. “Your experiences may suggest our bond a prison, but for us, it is an ambrosia for our soul. It completes us like no equal. Jax and Harrow care for you immensely, Nalah and myself owe you everything that we are, and your mates will fight the Hunt Mother herself if it would mean even one more sun with you.”
He found himself speechless, wading through the emotions behind her words a syllable at a time. The feeling of Violet pressing into his back in an embrace stung as much as soothed, his mind rejecting the idea, yet so desperate to accept it.
“Do not desecrate our affections because you had been scorned by one who did not see within you that which we covet,” she implored sombrely, raw emotion oozing through the confines of speech. “Though you doubt it, none would know how much value you place in the ‘mark’ of your people more than your mates. If merely thinking about the unlikely event that they refuse tortures you so deeply, than the elation they would share with you when they agree would likely see Pan unable to contain herself for many suns after.”
He stayed on his knees, the warmth surrounding him from both sides seeping within and thawing the frozen excuses he held onto to prevent exposing himself to potential rejection. Every step of the way since he had met them, it had made him fearful of losing their company. At first, the thought of being left alone to brave the planet was too much to bear, but he would try. Now? Now he felt like he understood where the minds of those bonded Lilhuns had been. Even considering being away from his new loved ones pulled at a primal part of himself, each tug stronger than the last, each suggestion fanning the flames barricaded behind morals—the depths he would trudge to see it never come to pass.
Sahari nuzzled into his neck for a moment before parting, a somewhat satisfied smile given towards the emotionally fragile Human they had taken to depending on. He returned his own, though it was tinted with a bit of embarrassment.
Violet stepped back to allow him room to stand, the extended joint of her blade asking to be held like he did with her adoptive mother. His expression softening, he did as requested, lightly rubbing the smooth surface with his thumb. It soothed a part of him to be holding his daughter’s ‘hand’ while they watched the wolves slowly approach the front of their enclosure again, now that the momentary intensity had faded.
With a self-deprecating roll of his eyes, he nodded, promising himself to follow through with his small wish the next time the chance revealed itself. It didn’t need to be perfect, but it would be nice if it was at least private. The dull ache in his stomach would be a reminder not to second guess himself anyway.
The wolves yipped, ignoring Sahari as they moved towards the other corner. Joseph glanced at where they were focused, his curious gaze replaced by surprise, then shock.
Raine supported Faye over her shoulder, the deep gold-furred female’s breath short as she rested her weight over her brown-furred counterpart, their black leather coats dripping water onto the floor as it wrapped tightly around them, concealing their armour. A steady trickle of blood flowed from a long gash on Faye’s leg, her free arm clutching across her breast to keep her coat closed.
Without waiting for either to speak, he ran to pick up the Wraith, slinging her across his shoulders and tearing off to the base. He could barely hear Sahari over the rain and his own blood pounding through his ears, his heart hammering in his chest. Though they had established something of a clinic for minor injuries that were sustained constantly, his singular focus was getting Faye into the medbay.
Pack members cleared the way, some jumping to the side as he barrelled through the sparsely populated routes between home and workplace. More than one tripped over themselves in shock, the Human never having a reason to go at a full sprint before. He was slower than a Lilhun like this, but he could make it the full distance before them. He didn’t need to slow down.
Harrow pushed open the doors to the hub, her distant expression as she examined thin ironwood tablets perking, his rapid heavy footfalls telling of his arrival before she had the chance to see him. Her eyes lit up, her brows furrowed, and a hurried pull of the door kept it open for him, all in sequence. He didn’t have the spare breath to explain or thank her.
The orange-furred female bolted across the hub, slamming into the crash-bar installed into the facilities wing entrance to force it open, only barely outpacing the Grand Hunter in his rush. She staggered to her feet behind him, rushing to collect herself and assisting in tearing the pants off of the injured female when Joseph laid her on the bed.
Modesty being the least of his concerns, he braced an arm across her pelvis to stop her hips from bucking as Harrow wiped off any dried blood to see the extent of the damage on her thigh.
He tightened his hold on Faye as his friend tentatively spread the wound to check for debris. “Don’t know. Didn’t ask. Saw her bleeding, rushed her here,” he answered through deep breaths, each strike of his adrenaline-fuelled heart pressing against his lung capacity.
Harrow frowned, grabbing some sterile water to pour over the wound and picking out a stray splinter of wood that looked to be from her missing leg armour. Faye let out a small whine, but didn’t have it in her to talk yet, signs of exhaustion and pain unfocusing her eyes.
The Head of Technology—and current medical expert in the room—pursed her lips against her muzzle. “We need to stitch it. It’s too big for just healroot.”
Joseph nodded, easing his weight off the Wraith and wiping his sweat from his brow. “Pan!”
Noticing the urgency in his voice, he could hear her throw the door to the sewing room wide open and jog to the medbay, her wide eyes steeling as she assessed the situation.
“Idee with you?”
She nodded, ears turned perfectly towards him.
“One of you boil off some palm string, the other sterilize the thinnest quill you can get away stitching a wound closed with. I don’t care who, but we need one of you to close this up.” He glanced at Harrow. “Grab some alcohol. I keep a bit in the closet in my room, next to the old crossbow prototypes. We need to flush this out and kill off anything that might have gotten in.”
The orange-furred female tipped an ear in confusion as Pan took off to do as he asked. “I thought you didn’t have medical-”
“I’ve been around enough workplace injuries, okay? Go
His shout jolted her into action, a few steps required to gain traction as she ran out the door. Applying solid pressure to the wound with one hand, he used the other to lightly tap Faye’s cheek.
“Faye? Faye, you with me?”
Her eyes languidly turned to him, slow blinks and meaningless mouthing ceased, a soft smile forming under her pained expression. “Hello, sir.”
He exhaled a relieved huff. “Welcome home, Faye. What happened?”
She seemed confused by his question, glancing down to her leg after a few seconds. With widened eyes, she struggled to sit up, Joseph forcibly pressing her to the bed.
All resistance disappeared in an instant, her body complying despite the obvious urgency. He hardened his expression.
She breathed deeper a few times before speaking. Each word was hesitant, as if the memory was hazy and diluted, though he couldn’t tell if it was due to blood loss or exhaustion. “A large grey beast…teeth, large mouth...attacked wolves...”
His brow knitted, Faye’s coat moving. A small whine came from her again…no. Not her.
A small yellow canine head freed itself from the confines of black leather, a weak keening produced from a tiny moss-wolf. Faye looked at him guiltily, a pleading look in her eyes given as she composed herself.
“It lost its parents…”
His protest died in his voice, a distant memory of a wolf being torn in two came to mind. The time before they had even moved to the pod, let alone met the Lilhuns, him and Violet checking snares shortly after his ankle had healed. A time so long ago, yet remained with him under the surface.
“You saved this little guy, huh?” he asked gently, wincing in tandem with her own when he leaned heavier on the massive gash in her thigh. She nodded, averting her eyes. “Did you get the ‘beast?’”
Faye shook her head. “Raine lured it away, but it still remains.”
“That’s fine. You’re back, that’s all that matters right now.”
Harrow bumped into the doorway, failing to shed all of her speed as she returned from fetching a smaller container that Joseph kept in case the rest of the pack burned through their stores of alcohol. Her eyes flicked to the wolf pup before disregarding it to hand him the ethanol. He lifted his hand, Harrow pouring some water to wash off the blood. Volta would be busy later, it seemed.
Gesturing for the orange-furred female to hold the leg down, he poured the alcohol into the wound, grimacing at Faye’s pained gasp. They didn’t have anything for her to bite into, but that would be a future consideration.
Pan and Idee entered the medbay, the former moving like a machine with purpose while the visiting seamstress took a moment to size up the situation. The Paw fetched a tray from the shelf, laying out several strings of softened palm and a few thin quills, threading one and passing it to Idee. The light brown-furred female accepted it, Harrow making room as she stood next to Joseph.
Pan handed him a tough leather strip as wide as his palm. Seems like she saw the problem before he did.
“Open up,” he prodded, placing the leather between Faye’s teeth. “This is going to fucking suck. We don’t have anything to numb you, so you need to stay as still as possible, okay? I’ll be here the whole time.”
The Wraith nodded, staring at him for a moment before closing her eyes in acceptance, her grip on the pup firming.
“Want me to take the wolf?”
She lightly shook her head, him exhaling hesitantly in response. Idee readied herself, looking to him for confirmation, Pan holding Faye’s ankle flat to the bed.
“You’re good,” he responded, pressing an arm to Faye’s chest and hips to hold her down.
The deep gold-furred female managed a quiet muffled groan of pain as the quill pierced her flesh.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
He entered the hub, dropping himself on the couch and ignoring the sweat on his brow. He had only just managed to get the blood off of his hands after Idee finished, but it was still staining his clothing. Pan was off to rinse it out of her fur while Faye slept off her exhaustion. As far as they could tell, she had avoided any infection thanks to Raine half-dragging the female back to them as quickly as she did. The wolf pup was staying with her for now, since—even in her sleep—she refused to let it go. The little guy didn’t seem to be complaining, so they just left it where it was comfortable. Ferra would be by later to check it out, apparently, and he didn’t see a reason to complain; she was their animal expert.
Scarlet offered him some tea, the warm liquid whetting his pallet that had since dried. Sahari had checked on them during the process, leaving to keep anyone who had questions in the loop. Given that half the damn pack either saw or heard about the Grand Hunter running like a bat out of hell, pretty much everyone was worried. Either about some urgent threat that might befall them, or about one of the quiet servants they had grown used to seeing around.
Looked like the Wraiths had taken to offering small services and assistance to people who needed it when they didn’t have anything better to do, so the pack was curious about what had happened. It was a small blessing that the usual armour they wore when ‘on duty’ was covered by the cloaks, otherwise he would have more questions coming that he didn’t want answered.
Raine stood a few paces in front of him, her bowed posture holding a hint of fear under his unwavering stare. He waited for whoever else was going to show up for the report, Tel and Pan insisting that they be involved. Harrow followed behind the two entering from the facilities wing, either because she had gotten wrapped up in the whole thing, or because she wanted to be included.
Pan sat to his left, Tel taking a place behind him to remain standing. Harrow surprised him, her recently elusive presence firmly displaced as she dropped onto the couch to his right, her tail curling around his calf—not that she seemed to notice.
Given that both Tel and Pan trapped a limb or two with their tails regularly, he didn’t stop to put thought into it, the encapsulating appendage crossing him as a common occurrence.
“I don’t know how accurate it was, since she’s still pretty out of it, but Faye said one of those grey bear-deathtraps attacked some wolves before she stepped in to save the pup,” he opened, glancing at Scarlet. The almost black red-furred female was maintaining a surprisingly commanding presence, her attention laser-focused on Raine. The brown-furred Wraith kept her gaze fixed to the floor, too ashamed or nervous to move it.
“I apologize for her error in her stead,” she announced, the slightest of grip in her folded paws digging her claws into her skin. “The fault is also mine for not preventing her misstep. I will accept any punishment for our mistake.”
He exhaled heavily. “I’m not mad that you guys had an original thought, Raine. I’m worried about those iron-maiden-looking fucks being around again, and I’m concerned about you getting hurt.”
“Of course, sir. Forgive me for the arrogance of assuming your priorities.”
He pinched the bridge of his nose, Pan squeezing his thigh in support. Tel rested her head on his, the weight somehow comforting despite the grin at his annoyance. “We can talk about not getting yourselves killed later. Are you injured at all?”
Raine’s ear twitched. “No, sir. I am whole.”
“Good,” he sighed, nodding lightly. “That’s good. Faye’s patched up for now, but she’ll be under observation to keep on top of any possible infection. How did the ‘mission’ go?”
The Wraith perked up a bit, the conversation moving away from her perceived failure. She produced a satchel, pulling a rather thick stack of tablets from it and passing them to Scarlet, the latter ferrying them to Harrow. He thought it was an odd choice, but the orange-furred female started giving him an abbreviated translation of the text.
Line after line of transactions. What was offered and received, any debts and who owed them, as well as small notes about what should be brought next time. It was a comprehensive copy of the ledger that the trading caravan kept. His brows raised at the sheer density of information, and for them getting it from something he was only partially sure existed.
“You managed to get this much?” he asked in disbelief. “Jesus. Were you caught?”
Raine shook her head. “If we were to be seen by them, we would be nothing more than a stain against our Blademaster.”
Compliment or boasting, doing this much was damn impressive. Especially with just the two of them.
“Shit. Well, good fucking job, I guess,” he managed, still reeling a bit from the unintended scope of the task. Harrow continued to dig through the report, though stopped voicing it aloud. Joseph turned his attention back to the Wraith. “Anything else of note? Rumours?”
The Wraith grew pensive. “Though we returned partially through their return trip to Grand Hunter Pernel, we did overhear some conversations. There were discussions of other packs simply no longer occupying their settlements.”
He leaned forward in his seat, dislodging Tel as his elbows rested against his knees. “What do you mean?”
“Some of their usual trade locations were purportedly burned down, others merely abandoned. A few were apparently littered with corpses,” she explained more steadily. “From what we could gather, the reason they came to trade with our settlement at all is that the others along the way were in such states. It seems they intended to restock and head back out immediately to accommodate the loss in trading partners.”
He bit his lip as he thought about it, letting himself fall back against the couch.
“What do you guys think of it?” he asked with a glance to his mates. Pan seemed to be mirroring his own apprehension openly, while Tel kept a more serious expression.
“I believe there is something larger happening,” Tel concluded, taking a few seconds before returning to using him as a headrest. Pan nodded her agreement, but didn’t have much to add to it otherwise.
“It would explain how desperate they were for food,” he mused aloud, raising a brow when Harrow shifted to lean against him, one foot placed on the edge of the seat forcing the posture. “Any details of interest, Harrow?”
The orange-furred female jolted, only just stopping from moving her foot back to the floor before committing to using him as a backrest. She turned back-on fully, stretching her legs over the remainder of the seat and placing tablets she had finished with on her lap.
“It didn’t take very long for the methods you sold to propagate,” she responded, holding up a few of the tablets before laying them in their own pile. “Looks like Pernel has been spreading it around by buying some from places that have bows and snares to sell where they don’t.”
“Supply and demand, or arming people with the tools that would help them survive?”
“Hard to trade with the dead,” Harrow commented dryly, starting a new pile. He nodded in exaggerated fashion.
“What about the Atmo?”
She tapped the small stack she just started. “I’m trying to separate these by inventory type. Give me a bit.”
Deciding to trust the woman in charge of managing this kind of thing while she was on the ship, he glanced back to Raine, the female easily mistaken for a statue if not for the subtle sway of her breathing. “The grey-bear-thing. How far away is it?”
“Too close,” she responded firmly. “We did not get a chance to verify their numbers, but there was evidence of at least that singular beast making our territory its hunting ground.”
“Fuck,” he muttered through gritted teeth. “We’re going to need to hunt that thing down.”
Pan looked worried at the prospect, Harrow stiffened in her sorting. The Wraiths were the only ones who seemed completely at ease with the suggestion, Tel not so much as twitching. Harrow laid down the tablets she had yet to categorize, her gaze aimed at her lap.
“Joe, don’t think that taking one out is easy.”
“We have ranged weapons and more than a few people who can use them,” he pointed out with a breath. “Ideally, we go as a larger hunting party and take the damn thing down through sheer volume of fire.”
“Their skin is tough,” Harrow replied with a shake of her head, her ears pivoting back towards him. “I don’t know if our bows could pierce it as easily as we might like.”
He furrowed his brow. “So, what? Let it close in until it eats everything and starves us out? Until it thinks we look tasty?”
“I don’t know. I’m just saying that this won’t be as simple as firing a few arrows and patting ourselves on the back for a job well done.”
Joseph felt the stiffness of his brow start to hurt from how tight they were knitted. A deep breath centred his thoughts. “We’ll arrange an armoured hunting party soon. Better to take it down before it becomes an issue.”
The orange-furred female nodded, quickly leafing through the remaining tablets and only pulling two more out for the pile she indicated earlier.
“Here,” she said, tapping the stack. “These are records for trading Atmo.”
He suppressed the sigh when he genuinely tried to read the mess they called a language. “How many? Who bought them?”
She hesitated, reforming the copy of the ledger—sans the relevant tablets—and placing it on the floor. The remainder in paw, she held them up over her shoulder, Tel accepting it and going over the contents with an interested tilt of her head.
“From what I can see here, Pernel traded two hundred.”
“Two…” he squeaked, his eyes wide. “Two hundred?”
She nodded, pacing around the couch to stop in front of Pan. “It seems others heard of his willingness to barter for them. He accepted quite a few deals before selling them off again.”
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
The door to the ship closed with a hiss, Willin shaking his head at Nav’s questioning gaze. “Nothing.”
Tech removed her CARDs, storing them in the weapons locker before shrugging off her AMR to place in its own unit. “Nothing living, anyway.”
“That bad?” Nav asked, deflating after yet another failed attempt to contact a settlement. The dark green-furred male stored his rifle, seating it into its receptacle with a click.
“Tell Comms to add another eighty to the count.”
“Four hundred eighty-two,” the purple-furred female supplied as she walked past Nav to enter the ship proper. Willin followed after, hanging his pistol holster on the side of his chair as he dropped into it.
“Thirty were covered in wounds, twenty or so were executed, twenty-five looked to have died of accumulated trauma, and the rest were found with singular cuts to the throat.”
“Not quite,” Tech remarked, interfacing with the systems. “Only eight of the ‘executed’ seem to have been done up close.”
“Sniper?” Comms asked as he entered the room, nodding his greetings and taking a seat at his station. Nav crossed their arms and leaned against the doorway as Tech Ops ran some numbers on her screen.
“Wounds are consistent with Anti Material Rifles, and debris suggest they took the ‘material’ part into consideration with their shots. There were a few holes in the buildings that didn’t quite get removed by the fires.”
“Covering evidence?” Willin mused aloud, receiving a thoughtful shake of her head.
“No, I don’t think so. My guess is that the buildings were already on fire when they did it, based on the splinters around the exit holes.”
Comms’ eyes widened in surprise. “Shooting through a burning building? That is rather impressive.”
“Blades?” Nav suggested. “Avalon is required to act against those who break the treaty, no?”
“Maybe,” Tech allowed tentatively. “If it was
them, then that would explain the lack of targets.”
Willin scratched at his ear, furrowing his brow as Comms ran another scan for any communications being made. Though a few suns had passed since they had unwittingly agreed to involve themselves in what was likely the first case of war that this planet had ever seen, nothing was being sent anywhere. Regardless, the male kept the scans regular, just in case.
Nav switched the foot they were resting on. “Why not just dispose of everyone breaking the treaty?”
“Maybe they did,” Comms commented, turning back to the conversation as the program ran in the background. “Blades typically function under strict conditions. If they removed anyone who was commanding the hostile action, then they did as required of them. The moment the attack stopped, they completed the terms of the treaty.”
“Or if the Grand Hunter here surrendered and allowed their pack to be subsumed,” Willin proposed, the others glancing at him in curiosity. He waved a paw dismissively. “If everyone in the conflict becomes a single pack, then any fighting from those who still disagree with it is now an internal dispute, thus outside of the purview of the Blades. Check the notes on Grand Hunter Toril and High Hunter Bratik.”
Tech’s eyes unfocused for a moment as she accessed the system. “Avalon is forbidden from interfering with internal politics. Toril was sheltered by Bratik. Since Bratik was from outside of Toril’s pack, it counted as acting against their right to manage their own affairs. Hasen was given a perfect reason to take over, and it forced Grand Hunter Trill to exile the both of them to adhere.” She looked around the room aimlessly as she thought, her eyes snapping to Willin when he spoke.
“And a perfect loop-hole to exploit. Toril loses his supporters, Trill loses a member of his command structure, and Hasen rises in power while leaving Avalon to grit their teeth.” He shook his head, both impressed and disgusted. “Once he attacks another pack, he just forces a vassalage and subsequently executes the new High Hunter for whatever reason he wants. The Blades can’t act on a technicality.”
“So Grand Hunter Pernel….”
Willin nodded at Comms' unfinished question. “In the count.”
“There was a bit of a weird holding area,” Tech added after a moment. “Seemed like somewhere to hold livestock, but even then, it was a bit big. I’m not sure what used to be there, but tracks suggest carts left with whatever it was not long before everything went down, so probably a trade caravan.”
“Well, at least someone made it out,” Nav sighed, pushing off the wall to resume their station. “Where are we going next?”
Willin toyed with the odd silver tablet in his paw, the two unrecognizable scripts curious and alien. “The only pack left before we see what all the fuss is about. Let’s pay a visit to Grand Huntress Sunundra. Hopefully she knows something we don’t.”
Next A/N: Been a while since we’ve had a proper A/N, huh. Welp, here’s this one. Patreon is currently set to ‘per post’ because i made the account ages ago. Waiting on support to help me switch it to monthly,(Edit: support suggested i just nuke it and make a new one :/ links are updated.) then I’ll post the Silva render i have. RR is at 30k views and 100 followers. Figured I’d ask how you guys are liking this arc, hows Willin’s team coming across, etc. Final note: I’m thinking about rewriting the first ‘book’ so i can get it edited and published! Problem: i have no fucking clue where to cut book 1, and editors are expensive. Where should book 1 end? All i know is that I’d prob end up adding extra chapters to it, as well as lengthening the OG chaps. RR is a ‘touch-up’, not a final product, so those don’t count!
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2023.06.05 05:49 JLGoodwin1990 We broke into the Egyptian Theatre in Coos Bay to go ghost hunting. I wish we never had.
“I just had an idea pop into my head about something to do this coming weekend, and I wanted to bounce it off you two before it slips my mind” My friend Natasha said those words as the three of us sat on my couch one afternoon. I found myself sitting up slightly. Normally, Natasha was the last of our group to suggest things to do, letting Vinny, the third member of our group, or I come up with the plans to keep our free time occupied. The fact she was about to suggest something intrigued me. “What have you got in mind?” I asked her. A smile played over her face as her brown eyes seemed to flash. “How about a little ghost hunting?”
I felt Vinny sit straight up beside me. She had clearly grabbed both our attention now. The three of us were what you might call amateur ghost hunters, using very basic items we bought offline to visit some of the spookier places in the area and posting our adventures on YouTube, sort of like a crappier version of Ghost Adventures. “Now that’s one hell of a good idea” Vinny said, before a puzzled expression spread over his face. “But, I mean, where? We’ve already done most of the places around town. The Tioga building won’t let us in after that…well, what that one resident claims we stirred up in the old ballroom, and I’m not about to make the hours long drive to the Wolf Creek Inn” Natasha’s smile grew wider. “No, we don’t have to even go out of town for this one” she said, her voice dropping low, “What I’m suggesting, is we check out…” her voice trailed off, letting the suspense grow for a few seconds before finishing, “The Egyptian Theatre”
Instantly, Vinny let out a harsh bark of laughter. “HA! Now that’s a good one. You know damn good and well that the society that runs the theater won’t allow us in after hours to ghost hunt. As far as I know, they’ve never allowed any paranormal teams into the place” He pulled a face. “So, how exactly do you propose we get in there? You flutter your eyelashes for the night janitor and use your feminine charms to get us in?” Natasha still grinned, but rolled her eyes at our friend’s quip. “No, actually, I was thinking about using my lock picking skills to get us in” she declared. It was my turn to give her an incredulous look. “You’re joking, right?” I asked. She shook her head. “Nope, I’m dead serious” I let out an incredulous, almost baffled snort of laughter and pulled my glasses off my face, rubbing my eyes.
The country, and, to a large extent, the entire world, became gripped in an interest, sometimes bordering on obsession with all things Egyptian when King Tut’s tomb was discovered over a century ago. Many things came out of this, including the classic 1932 monster movie The Mummy. But, one thing that also came of this fever gripping the country was a desire to build many Egyptian style buildings. And one of the buildings which took this design and ran with it, were the movie theatres. A decade after the legendary discovery, over a hundred theatres had gone up all around the country, their interiors clad with fake temple columns, paintings of sphinxes and Egyptian gods such as Anubis decorating the walls, and hieroglyphs adorning the archways. People flocked in droves to them, both to watch movies, and live performances. But, like all trends, eventually, the interest began to wane, and as the late 20th Century approached, many began to shut down and be either remodeled, or straight up demolished. Today, there’s only between five and eight Egyptian style theatres left in the entire country.
And one just so happens to be right in the town I live in.
When I moved to Coos Bay, Oregon nine years ago, I immediately fell in love with the place. Even though it’s the largest coastal town on the Oregon coast, it’s a place which is more or less perpetually frozen in time, still looking pretty much as it did between thirty and seventy years ago. And, as someone who is not exactly into the modern world, it made a perfect place for me to live and escape away from the 21st Century. I began exploring right away, driving every street of it and the town neighboring it, North Bend, along with walking every alley and back road I could to learn the layout. That’s how I learned about the supernatural element to the town.
There are many places in town which people claim supernatural occurrences take place. From the remains of the old logging buildings on the estuary, to the old Tioga Hotel which has been remodeled into apartments, there is no shortage of ghostly tales. There was even the old McCauley Hospital, which had once been the focal point of the town’s annual ghost walks until it was demolished in 2018. As a side note, I heard a rumor that a couple people broke into that place right before it got torn down. Something sure spooked them, because a friend of mine on the police force told me they gave him a fright, bursting in the night before Easter and rambling about something. I always wondered what they saw in there.
But, for me, the place in town I always loved the most, and enjoyed the most hearing about the ghostly accounts told, was the Egyptian Theatre.
Originally built as a garage in 1922, it was renovated by a man named Charles Noble into a movie theatre in 1925, where it drew in droves of people from around the area to watch films, and enjoy live vaudeville performances. It continued to operate almost to the end of the 20th Century, when other theatres began to attract younger moviegoers, and for a while, it almost seemed as though the historic building might even be closed for good and gutted. But, thanks to the efforts of local preservation societies, it was saved, and now operates as a theatre once again. They mostly play only older movies, along with live performances.
And, of course, it draws curious people for the paranormal rumors surrounding it.
For years, people have reported strange occurrences happening inside the building, both when it’s open, and after hours. Patrons and employees alike have spoken about a pervasive feeling of being watched inside the building, but finding no one there when the place was searched. There have been reports of being touched by invisible hands, a few even pushed slightly. Beyond physical interaction, employees have reported the sounds of old film projectors playing and unseen audiences laughing after hours, along with the eerie playing of the theatre’s Wurlitzer pipe organ, along with a host of other occurrences. No ghost hunting team has ever gone in to try and document these events. And to Natasha, that was too good of an opportunity to pass up. Legal, or not.
“Are you freaking nuts?!” Vinny exclaimed, “Do you have any idea how much trouble we’d be in if we got caught breaking and entering? The cops around here are already a bit twitchy with the druggies and the homeless. You wanna give them a reason to throw us into jail alongside them?” Natasha held up a finger, flipping her black hair over her shoulder. “They won’t find out, because I have not one, but two aces in the hole here. The first is that thanks to being friends with Scott, I know the nighttime police sweeps, where they’re going to be and everything. There’ll be an hour long window where they’re not anywhere near the alley where the back door to the theatre is. We can get in and out with no threat of being spotted at all. And the second is, did you forget I’m dating Dylan now?” The realization washed over me like a wave; she had started dating the man who helped the preservation society run the theatre a month or so ago. Damn, she’s been planning this one for a while, I thought.
Vinny had a thoughtful look on his face, his green eyes darting around rapidly, but not seeing. “Hmm” he muttered, then looked at Natasha. “And you’re sure that there’s no chance of us getting caught?” he asked slowly. “Absolutely none” she said, then looked at both of us. “So, how about it?” For a few moments, there was silence, and then Vinny let out a chuckle. “What the hell, why not? The most exciting thing we’ve done the last few weeks is go down to the farmer’s market. This could shake things up a bit” I suddenly became aware that the two of them were looking at me, waiting for me to make my decision. I was always the most sensible of the three of us, doing all I could to keep us out of trouble with others as well as the law. But, I always had one nasty Achilles Heel ever since I had been a child, and that was peer pressure. So, despite the overwhelming feeling that I should tell them no, that I should say we should just find something else to do, I nodded. “Alright, let’s do it” I said simply, causing grins to break out on both of my friend’s faces.
I wish to God in retrospect that I’d just had the damn spine to stand up and say “No”
The rest of the week seemed to pass by faster than usual. Before I knew it, the weekend had arrived. We’d decided that late Saturday night would be the best time to do this, as most places downtown closed up between eleven and midnight, aside from the bars and strip club. To say I felt anxious about breaking the law, something I wasn’t used to doing at all, would be like calling a Megalodon a goldfish, but my worries about disappointing my friends ended up outweighing it. And so, at eleven-thirty, the three of us piled into my beat up Chevy Tahoe, and made our way towards downtown. As I drove us down Ocean Boulevard, which connected the two sides of town, something settled over me. I can’t exactly place it, even to this day. But it was the most uneasy feeling I’ve ever experienced. But I did my best to push it away. It’s nothing, Troy. It’s just because you’re, understandably, worried about this. Plus, the road being deserted isn’t helping much.
My mental chiding seemed to help center me a bit, which was a good thing. The road was now angling downward, and a moment later, we drove into downtown. The darkened shapes of the closed stores seemed to rise up higher on either side of us than they looked during the daytime. We’d decided to cruise by the front entrance first, just to see if anyone were still inside. As I turned the truck onto the main drag, the sign for the theatre rose high above us, a depiction of an Egyptian pharaoh next to the yellow and white letters which proclaimed its name to everyone who drove through town. I spared a glance as we passed it. The lit up marquee windows showed that The Blues Brothers and Jaws would be shown soon. For whatever reason, though, I couldn’t bring myself to look through the glass doors that showed the building’s darkened interior. The uneasy feeling had returned, and, for a moment, it felt as though if I did look, I would see someone, or something staring back out at me. And then we passed it, taking the next right and looping back around to Anderson Ave.
I turned the truck into the narrow alley drive which ran along the back of the theatre and neighboring buildings. Parking right next to the rear doors would be extremely conspicuous, so I pulled up a bit further and parked in a carport like area. Shutting off the engine, I turned to my two friends. “Well, this is it” I said, “Last chance to turn back if anyone’s having second thoughts” I’d hoped that either Vinny or Natasha would’ve gotten cold feet in the last few minutes, allowing us to go do something else. But there was no such luck. “Are you kidding me?” Natasha said from the passenger seat, “We are far too close to back out now!” Vinny grunted from behind me. Well, shit. Resigning myself to the fact they were determined to go through with this, I let a deep breath out through my nose and nodded. The others opened their doors and hopped out. A moment later, I followed.
The night air was cool and crisp on my skin as we slowly walked back down the alley to the rear of the yellow-ish, tan building. Three different sets of red double doors were built into the back of the theatre. Natasha pulled something out of her coat pocket, and I realized, with a small pang of surprise, that it was a lock pick set. A legitimate lock pick set. “Where the hell did you get that?” I whispered to her. She shrugged and smiled. “I have my ways of getting things” she said simply, then pointed to the far right set of doors. “We’ll have a bit of cover from that electrical box. You two keep an eye out while I deal with the lock” And with that, she scurried forward, bending down in front of the door handles. Vinny and I stood guard, each of us looking down both ends of the alley. As the soft sound of Natasha messing with the lock filtered over to me, I realized just how quiet it was. And how eerie hearing downtown so quiet was. Aside from a few distant booms and bangs, and the far off sound of a dog barking, all I could hear was the whistle of the wind as it whipped between the old buildings.
An involuntary shiver cascaded up my spine, and I tried again to reason myself back to a relative sense of calm. “Get a grip, dude, you’re gonna be fine” I whispered under my breath. But this time, it felt as though I weren’t able to entirely convince myself. I suddenly became aware of a creeping sensation, one which made me shoot a look around. Nothing moved in the stillness, no indication of anyone besides us being in the alley. And, yet…I was overcome with the distinct feeling of being watched. Not by either of my friends. But…by someone else. Before I had a chance to even think about it, I heard a rather loud click, and Natasha let out a soft laugh of triumph. “We’re in, ladies and gentleman!” she declared, standing up and pulling on the door. It opened silently, the streetlight in the alley casting a small shaft of light into the darkness beyond. Turning, she waved an arm at Vinny and I. “Come on, let’s get inside”
Before either of us could say anything, she turned and disappeared into the dark. I shot a look at Vinny, who simply shrugged. “After you, my man” he whispered. I let out a deep sigh, and then moved to the door. Reaching into my pocket, I pulled out the small flashlight, and then pulled on the heavy metal, slipping inside, Vinny right behind me. The darkness swallowed us as the door closed. For a moment, a small rush of panic from not being able to see flashed through me, before a light appeared beside me. It wasn’t from a flashlight, though; instead, a small, orange flame flickered beside me. “Don’t turn on your flashlights yet, just follow me” Natasha said, the flame making her face seem to dance and move behind it. She turned and headed away, leaving us no choice but to follow. I listened to her and didn’t turn on my flashlight. But every fiber of my being was screaming at me to. Because the feeling of being watched out in the alleyway? Had quintupled in here. The best way to describe it, was that we were angrily being stared at. And I didn’t like the sensation one bit.
Natasha led us up a flight of steps and pushed open another door. “We’re here” she said, still keeping her voice low, “You can turn on your flashlights now” Thank you, God, I silently said, snapping mine on and casting a bright white light into the room we’d entered. A moment later, so did my two friends’ lights. The beams played around, and I heard Vinny let out a bit of a gasp. “Ho-lyyyy shit” he muttered.
Natasha had guided us into the main theatre. The ceiling rose high above our heads, almost out of sight of even the flashlights. Rows upon rows of red movie seats stretched out and away from us, seeming almost unending in the shadows. The walls were all covered in hieroglyphs, all still original from the 1920s. To our left, the second story, which housed a smaller row of seats, along with the projection room rose about twenty feet above us. And to the right, was the stage itself. It was flanked by two huge columns, the screen rolled up and revealing a mosaic of an Egyptian building on the back wall, with two men clutching staffs sitting on either side. Directly in front of the stage sat the organ, its seating bench tucked beneath it.
“Okay, this is a trip to be in at night!” Natasha exclaimed excitedly, then pulled the backpack she’d been wearing off her shoulders. Dropping it into a seat, she unzipped it and began pulling items from it. “Guys, here” she said, holding them out. Vinny stepped forward and grabbed the camcorder from her; as someone who’d had a lifelong dream of being a filmmaker, he was our resident cameraman. I stepped forward and took two items from her: an infrared thermometer and an EVP recorder. The rest, she placed on the ground, and then faced Vinny. “Alright, tell me when you’re recording” He fumbled with the camcorder for a second, then shot her a thumbs up. Instantly, she took on a somber, eerie expression, giving an admittedly creepy look at the camera. “Well, well, welcome back to The Three Ghostkuteers, everyone. I hope you all have been well since our last trip. Tonight, you join us in a very, very special place, and one close to home for us. We are currently in the Egyptian Theatre in Coos Bay, Oregon, one of the last remaining in the country. It was built in the 1920s by a man named Charles Noble-“
I turned away, tuning her out as I did. The woman really, really enjoys being in front of the camera. Better her than me. Shining my light around, I looked up at the balcony. I could see the small hole in the projection booth where the movie projector would shine out onto the screen. Something caught the beam’s light, reflecting off it slightly, and I aimed the light at the wall. It was a wrought iron light fixture, one which had been shaped into the figure of a King Cobra, poised to strike. Gazing around, I saw they adorned much of the walls. I let out a small shudder at it. God, do I hate snakes. Thankfully, though, the feeling of being watched I’d had in the alley and the darkened back of the theatre had seemingly disappeared. Yeah, see, what’d I tell you, Troy? Nothing but your nerves.
Natasha had finished her opening monologue and moved to the edge of the stage, on which she placed the small, square spirit box. “And now, let’s see if anyone would like to speak with us” she said, flicking it on. Instantly, the silence of the theatre was shattered by the sound of static, intermittently interrupted by quick snippets of radio shows being picked up. “Is there anyone here who’d like to talk to us?” she called out into the huge room. The static and snippets were the only sound to answer her. After a minute, she tried again. “Are there any spirits who’d like to communicate with us?” There was still nothing. Vinny panned the camera from the box to Natasha as she paced back and forth for a few minutes. A small look of disappointment flooded over her face, but she instantly plastered it over with the same look she’d given the camera before. “Well, it looks like the spirit box isn’t gonna work tonight, so we’re gonna have to try something else” She pulled out an EVP recorder identical to mine and switched it on. “Let’s try this instead, shall we? Remember, by the way guys, if you’re new here and want to see more, to like and subscribe-“
I turned away again, feeling a small pang of irritation flow through me. This is freakin’ ridiculous, man. The longer we stay in here, the more chance we have of getting caught. Truth be told, as much as I enjoyed ghost hunting, I didn’t even really believe in the paranormal. In all the years the three of us had filmed together, not once had we caught anything, on tape or otherwise. In fact, many times we’d had to fake spooky occurrences in order to make sure our videos got any views at all. This is your own fault, man, I silently chided myself, you’re the one who couldn’t stand up to them and say no. You really, seriously need to grown a spine and learn how to say no. The mental self lecture was furthering my rotten mood, and I began to feel a wave of anger at my two friends, as well as myself boil up.
“Hell with this” I finally muttered, then turned and began walking up the aisle. “Troy, where the hell are you going?” I heard Natasha call out behind me. I stopped, not looking over my shoulder, but quietly aiming my voice behind me and allowing a hint of irritation to seep into it. “I’m gonna go check out the second floor balcony, okay? I don’t exactly like just standing here” For a moment, there was silence, and then her voice came, soft and almost apologetic. “Okay, go ahead” Before she could say anything more, I strode away, walking to the open doorway which led out of the theater and into the concession area. I hooded my flashlight beam with one hand to make sure it wouldn’t accidentally shine out of the glass entrance doors into the street and looked around. The lobby and concession stand took up most of the front area, the darkened shape of it stretching along the far wall.
Taking a few steps ahead, I turned and looked up at the wall above me. Large, blue letters stretched out from one side of it to the other. Through these doors pass the most wonderful people. I snorted softly. “Yeah, unfortunately, not tonight” I shook my head, then looked around. And nearly jumped out of my skin. Something also seemed to jump back. I felt my heartbeat begin to race in my chest and my breath quickened. “Shit…” I let out weakly, then slowly moved forward. After a few steps, I suddenly realized what I’d seen and let out a soft laugh of relief.
“Your own damn reflection, you fucking pussy” Shaking my head, I turned away from the glass wall and headed for the stairs to the second floor. At the base of them, I stopped and shone my flashlight up. “Ooh, boy” I said quietly. Sitting next to the stairway like a sentry, was a huge, golden statue of a pharaoh. It towered over me, and I estimated that, were it be standing straight up, it’d easily be between eight and ten feet tall. It stared straight ahead at the wall ahead of it, and I couldn’t help but let out a small shiver as I stared at it. It just seemed so damn eerie in the dark, and I quickly moved past it, heading up the stairs and stepping out onto the second story balcony.
I shone my light around. Red seats again surrounded me, though this time far fewer. Ahead of me, I could see the balcony’s edge and the hulking shape of the main stage beyond. I could also see the beams of my friends’ flashlights playing over it, and hear both of their voices speaking softly. Deciding while I was up here to at least check out the projection booth, I strode over to the door and tried to turn the handle. It was locked. Feeling my irritation bubble over into exasperation, I jiggled the handle in some stupid attempt to open it. But the door stayed shut. I turned away and rubbed my eyes, again hearing the voices of my friends softly filtering up to me from down below.
“Hey, if there really are any ghosts, or spooks, or specters, or whatever in here? If you’re actually real, could you appear to us, please?” I whispered to no one, “That way my friends can get what they want and I can go home” I received only silence in reply. I hadn’t really expected anything, anyways. You know what? Screw this, I’m going back down there and telling them I’m going home, with or without them. This is beyond stupid, I just broke the law for what? For nothing! For something dumb as hell. And with that, I turned to walk away. But I hadn’t even taken a single step when something crashed into me like a wave. The breath was driven from my lungs as I felt a massive chill shoot through me, as though I’d been doused with ice water. “What the fuck?!” I hissed through gritted teeth, then froze, my eyes going wide. The feeling of being watched had returned with a vengeance, and it had seemingly been ramped up in its intensity. I shot a look around, but saw nobody.
Still, the feeling remained, and with each passing second, it almost seemed to grow stronger. Chill after chill rolled up my spine, and even though I didn’t really believe, something deep inside me told me that it was time to get out. Okay, time to leave, I said in my head, and headed quickly for the stairs. As I reached the head, I turned to look back one final time. That’s when I saw something. It disappeared when I aimed my flashlight at it, but I swear a second earlier it had been the outline of a person, standing in the shadows and watching me. The split second sight catapulted me into motion, and I hurried down the steps, shining my light every which way but loose. Believer or not, I knew something wanted us out. I’d planned on jumping off the second to last stair and running for the main theatre floor. But as I reached the bottom, I froze.
For a moment, I couldn’t place why. And then, the realization fell over me like a tsunami. I let out an involuntary gasp, and fear like I’d never felt before surged through me. I didn’t want to turn around and look. I wanted to pretend I hadn’t seen it. I desperately wanted to. But, like a dumbass character in a horror movie, I couldn’t help it. I needed to look. I slowly turned, aiming my flashlight back up. And I couldn’t help but let out a strangled scream, falling backwards over my own feet as I began to backpedal rapidly.
The statue of the pharaoh still sat where it had. It still towered over me, looking as imposing and eerie as ever. But it’s carved and painted eyes were no longer staring straight ahead at the wall. Instead, they had somehow moved. And when I’d turned, I’d come to find they were staring directly at me.
I scrambled to my feet, snatching the flashlight from the floor where I’d dropped it and aiming it at the statue again. It stared straight out at nothing again. But I knew what I’d seen. It hadn’t been a trick of my mind, or the light. The freaking thing’s eyes had moved to watch me as I passed down by it. I began to stammer out as I backed away from it. “Okay, that’s it, no no no no, we’re done here, fuck this shit, I’m officially a believer, we’re leaving, right now” I kept backing towards the doorway to the theatre, never taking my eyes off the statue. I was terrified I’d seen it suddenly stand up and turn to lumber after me like Boris Karloff or something.
The blaring sound of the theatre’s organ slashed through the silence, causing me to let out another strangled scream and jump almost a foot off the ground. I whipped around, thinking I would see my moronic friends tinkering with the instrument. Instead, I froze again. The theatre was no longer dark. Both of my friends had seemingly vanished from the room, as I could no longer see them. The movie screen had somehow been pulled down, and above me, I heard the whir of the movie projector playing. An old, black and white movie, one which had no sound, played on the screen, occasionally changing to show dialogue being displayed in white letters.
It was also no longer empty.
The entire theatre was packed. I saw people sitting at almost every single seat in the huge room. I could only see the backs of their heads as they watched the movie playing. At the edge of the stage, what looked like a man now sat at the organ, playing it in time with the film. A slapstick moment came across the screen, and the audience began laughing. In any other situation, it would’ve been a comforting sound. But at that moment, it was the most spine chilling sound I’d ever heard. Especially as another wave of realization crashed into me. From the little I could see, everyone in the theatre looked to be dressed in long passed fashions.
That’s when the voice, low and quiet, came from behind me. “Good evening, sir” it said. It sounded like a man’s voice, one rather low and deep pitched, but something about it paralyzed me on the spot. The voice continued, putting on an air of pleasant politeness. “We’re so glad you could make it, it’s been so long since we’ve had new patrons arrive at a showing. If I could just see your ticket, please?”
For a moment, I couldn’t speak. Then, I managed to squeak out two words. “Uh, ticket?” The tone of the voice seemed to change somewhat. “Yes, your ticket. That’s the only way you could’ve gotten in. Please, let me verify it and show you to your seat” Ohhh, shit. Whoever, or whatever the voice belonged to, thought I had shown up like a regular moviegoer. The voice’s tone became less polite. “You do have a ticket, right, sir?” I was beyond terrified to answer, but I was more terrified to remain silent. For a moment, I considered lying. But I feared what might happen if I did. So I told the truth.
“I….uh, I, uh….I don’t have a ticket, sir” I stammered out, my voice barely above a whisper. Instantly, all sound stopped in the room like someone had flipped a switch. “You…don’t have a ticket?” the voice said, all pretense of manners vanishing from it, “Then how did you get in here for the late night showing?” Oh, god. I forced myself to speak, still unable to say anything except the truth. “My…my friends and I….broke in…through the back door…to…ghost hunt…” There was silence for a few moments, and then a heavy hand dropped onto my shoulder. My head swiveled to look at it. Oh, fuck me sideways. It wasn’t a regular hand. It was a fucking claw. One with black skin, tipped with what looked like razor sharp nails. It sat there for a moment, then tightened; almost painfully so, making me let out a small whimper of pain.
That’s when I looked up. Everyone in the theatre had turned to look at me. My initial thought had been correct; they all wore clothing from almost a century ago, and not the stuff cosplayers wear, either. They also had very angry expressions on their faces, as if they’d just noticed the intruder among their midst. The voice finally came again, almost directly behind me. Its tone lowered, almost sounding guttural and animal, making my legs almost melt into jelly from the fear. “Then, might I make a suggestion to you and your trespassing little friends?” My breath came in rapid, ragged gasps, and I barely managed to force out the one word. “Yes?”
At the single word reply, which now more closely resembled a growl than a word, I did something I will forever wish I hadn’t. I finally turned and looked up at who was addressing me. The only way I can describe what happened is, my mind shattered. The next thing I remember, I was crashing into the back doors of the theatre into the night.
And I was screaming.
That was a month or so ago. When I’d stumbled back into the alley, I’d turned and, in what I can only call blind fear and panic, bolted for my truck. I hadn’t even heard my friends chasing after me. Not until Vinny caught up to me as I scrambled with my keys, grabbing me from behind and turning me to face him. He said the look I’d had on my face scared him and Natasha more than anything ever had before. I’d been pale as a sheet, my eyes wider than they ever thought a human’s could be. I'd been babbling softly. I’d been saying the words “They want us to leave” over and over. They didn’t ask me what had happened. They just pushed me into the backseat of my truck and drove away from there. It was clear, as I found out later on, that both of them hadn’t seen anything. As far as they were concerned before seeing me dash to the rear doors, it was just an empty theatre. Neither one of them ever asked me what I saw that night. And for that, I’m thankful. Because I could never utter from my lips what I did see.
But I’ve had nightmares since then. Horrible ones. Ones that’ve been so bad, I had to let out what happened to me, deciding to just post it here, regardless of whether people believe me or not.
Nightmares about being back in that theatre after hours. About seeing that pharaoh statue’s eyes flick in its painted sockets to look at me. About seeing all those people, people long since dead, sitting and watching the films they did when they were alive. About seeing that hand fall on my shoulder, hearing that voice, telling me not to come back until I have a ticket.
And about turning to see who the hand and voice belonged to.
The Egyptian Theatre will be celebrating its centennial this year. People are planning to show up in 1920s cars, dressed in period clothing. They’re even going to show an old, silent film as part of the festivities. But I won’t be attending it. I won’t ever go anywhere near it again. The one time I tried, a week or so ago, I started trembling with fear. And the mental image played over and over in my head.
The image of turning to see that horrible canine head attached to the human-like body, red, glowing eyes glaring down at me as it’s sharp teeth glinted in the light.
I pray to god I never will end up with a ticket to one of its late night showings.
But I can't help but fear that, like those packed into the theatre, sooner or later, we all will.
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2023.06.04 21:51 NamelessNanashi [The Gods of Dragons: Beginning] Ch 16 - Aftermath Part 2/2
--- Table of Contents
--- Part 1/2
When Shon woke again, it was to be told he'd slept, not only the rest of the day and night of the incident, but the entire day after as well. Despite the Cleric assuring Shon that this was normal, he still had Shon eat breakfast in the infirmary while the Squires attended their morning lessons. He'd slept through drills, breakfast, and prayer.
The Cleric kept the curtains drawn over the window, though Shon's head wasn't pounding anymore, and had added a second set of standing curtains around the girl's bed. Shon's eyes flicked in her direction with every alternate bite he managed to force down, but there was no movement beyond the white cloth.
Master Daunas came in shortly before tenth bell and armor practice to inform Shon that he was to take the day off to rest but could rejoin the others in training the following day. He was at least allowed to leave the infirmary, though he waited until he could hear sparring outside before he did. He didn't want to run into any of the Squires.
As he opened the door to leave something flew by the window, catching Shon's attention enough to make him stop and look over. But it was already long gone. Just a bird... Assuming he hadn't imagined it.
He shook his head, still aching all over. His mind swam with worries and memories, made worse by the fact that the Cleric was trying to hide shivers now that Shon was fully rested. He'd probably just imagined it...
Back in his room Shon huddled over his journal. He could still smell the smoke in his hair and had decided it would be best to shower soon, but finally alone, his thoughts and memories could no longer be ignored.
So he drew. He tried to start safe. Nangran atop his borrowed horse; Ivelm mostly naked and shaking a club in his doorway; the Archmage's workroom lined in shelves filled with magical components. That one had taken a while. But as he released these images onto the page, others forced themselves forward. Smoke billowing over treetops; a burning tower; charred bodies; and a girl reaching out through the flames. A girl lying asleep in the bed next to his. The stillness of the picture made her look dead.
He dropped his pencil, letting it roll right off the desk. Crossing his arms over the book, he rested his head on his desk. The wood felt warm compared to his skin, comforting. What more could he have done? What could a Paladin have done? Or Master Veon-Zih? Shon saw again the bodies and shivered.
No one could save everyone. To think otherwise was pure arrogance. But knowing the facts and feeling them were two very different things. The tower wasn’t that far from Hamerfoss. Shouldn’t they have known something was going on? Shouldn’t they have been able to do something sooner? Years sooner? Long before the fire killed those people?
A loud tapping startled him awake. When had he fallen asleep? Shon searched his room in confusion, trying to piece together his dream and what had awoken him. He'd been in the Temple chapel, but as he'd walked down the middle aisle, the pews had started to decay, the stone walls crumbling. Small plants, then trees began to sprout from the ground, overgrowing the once-holy place now in ruin. Shon pressed the heels of his hands hard into his eyes, trying to remember what had come next... A man with white hair pulled back in a ponytail had been standing at the head altar... something with leathery wings on his shoulder...
The painful screech of something sharp on glass had Shon jumping up, his chair falling to clatter on the ground behind him. He looked to his window but saw only orange sky beyond. Was the sun already setting? He knelt on the mattress and looked out the window, unsure what he expected to see. He was on the third floor, but that was definitely where the sound had come from, and the window was the only glass in the room.
Nothing but open sky.
He opened the tiny window, the pane swinging up and letting in cold and refreshing air that helped clear his mind. Master Daunas's voice bellowed orders from the courtyard below, and Shon stuck his head out to look down and see his fellows working through their dagger forms. He'd slept through lunch and afternoon lessons. And he still needed a shower.
If he hurried, he would be able to shower before the others finished their lesson. Shon left the window open and even opened his door before he remembered to grab a fresh uniform. Obviously, he still wasn't thinking clearly.
The halls were blissfully empty, and Shon could almost pretend that even if he did pass someone, their breath wouldn't show in the air. It was a short-lived fantasy, however. He managed to make it all the way to the showers, but when he opened the door a voice called, "Squire! Why aren't you... Oh..." Shon performed a sharp about face to stand at attention before the Major General.
"At ease, Squire Shon," Selibra sighed, waving him down, "Did you get enough rest?"
"Yes, Sir," Shon answered but then caught movement out of the corner of his eye, again
. He hadn't managed to turn his head far enough to see before the Major General started speaking. Shon snapped his head back to give the officer his undivided attention.
"You did well, Squire. Smith Nangran told us what happened at the tower." Sir Selibra managed a strained smile that faded quickly, "If you want to talk about what you saw there... any one of us will be more than willing to listen. You shouldn't have had to experience death so soon." an image of an arm pulling away from a charred corpse flashed in Shon's vision.
Shon swallowed down the accompanying nausea at the memory and managed a nod, adding a quiet "Thank you, Sir." for good measure.
Feeling the need to scrub even more than before, Shon was grateful when the Major General left, allowing him to enter the still-open room. The shower was only mildly comforting, however. What should have been scalding water felt merely lukewarm now, the mist billowing off his truly icy skin thick enough that he could barely see the spigots. Closing his eyes, he scrubbed and tried to imagine the images flowing off of him with the filth...
Something chirped, and Shon slammed the water off. Just the pipes creaking...
How much longer would he have to rest before his mind stopped playing tricks on him? But as he moved for his towel, Shon stopped in shock, his new uniform had been scattered around the benches and floor.
He hadn't heard the door open, but had heard the pipes creaking? But who here would even do something like this? Shon started to search the showers, but as he did, he heard something else—voices in the hall. The Squires were done with their practice. He still didn't want to see them and dressed quickly, rushing from the shower and slamming the door behind him.
Something thumped into the door from the other side. Shon held his breath and turned slowly. It was his imagination. It had to be. He reached for the handle again and, standing behind the swing, opened the shower slowly.
"He's been gone three days... Do you think they sent him away?" Thom's voice sounded from around a corner, and Shon jumped in surprise, pulling the door open fully as if he could hide behind it.
"No way. he's the best Squire we have, so what if he's a Sorcerer." They were talking about him... Shon definitely didn't want to see them yet. He dashed down the opposite way, taking a long way around through the Paladin's barracks and back to his room. Or that's what he'd planned before he remembered the Squires hall would be full of people now taking their break and trying to get into the shower before everyone else. His feet faltered, and he turned away again, to one of the hardly used stairs that would take him down to the rest of the fortress.
Barred from his room, Shon made his way to the place he associated the most with comfort, the chapel. It wasn't empty, three Paladins knelt in prayer near the front, but it didn't matter anymore. He felt a wash of calm as he entered the incense-filled room, the sweet-smelling smoke finally banishing the stench of burning hair from his memory.
Shon took a spot near the back, kneeling to pray as he stared up at the statue of Hengist behind the altar. He was dressed in full plate mail, his arm raised in triumph, holding his mighty sword, Darkspliter.
Shon sighed and felt himself smile for what felt like the first time in a very long time. He could tell Hengist anything and everything, and none of it out loud... But then his smile faded. What would he say...? I'm sorry. I feel like I've been lying to everyone, to you. I've known there was something different about me, something wrong with me. That's why no one likes to touch me, why everyone pulls away at the feel of my skin, like it's somehow dirty or painful. I should've realized... Should have known... But I worked so hard... You know that, don't you? And I'm not ready to give up. I'll do whatever it takes, atone anyway I can if you just tell me how. The Major General said something about it being a sign. I want to believe he meant the unlikely convenience of Smith Nangran knowing an Archmage who could make an item so I won't have to get the tattoo. Thank you. I just hope I don't disappoint after getting a second chance...
The bell for dinner sounded. Feeling better, Shon considered going with the Paladins as they left the chapel. Until one of them shivered as they passed. "Winters right around the corner," another muttered.
"We'll need to install the heating orbs soon." the last answered before the door closed... He wasn't hungry anyway. Please, Hengist. Don't let me hurt anyone else. Kefir was trying to help me, and I answered that kindness with pain. What if the healers hadn't gotten to him in time? Would I have smothered him in ice? Please, I'll give up everything if it means that will never happen again...
But he didn't want to give up anything. He wanted to fight, to reach his highest potential, and lead a life of meaning. He thought of Master Veon-Zih. The Monk had told him that he didn't need to be a Paladin to fight for justice, and he was living proof of that. But... I don't want to be alone... At first, I thought I just wanted you, a god, as a guiding light in my life. But now I realize that being a Paladin gives me even more than that. It gives me brothers and friends, and I don't want to lose them either. But I especially don't want to hurt them.
Shon clenched his hands tighter, as tight as he could, digging his fingers into the spaces between his knuckles; as if external pain might dull internal strife... They say I'm scary... And I know they aren't really joking. I can see it in their eyes and hear it in their nervous laughs when they try and make it a joke. But they only mean when they fight me... don't they? And I'll never try to hurt them. It's only sparring... they know that... don't they?
He squeezed his eyes tighter shut, But what about now? Will they be even more afraid? Even when we aren't sparring? Can I blame them if they are?
He actually found himself waiting for an answer... Of course, none came. He wasn't a Paladin yet, and wouldn't be able to feel the god until he swore his Oath and took a piece of Hengist into himself. For now, Shon took in a deep breath, as deep as he could, then let it out slowly, relaxing his hands and face as he attempted to release his anxieties unto his god. I won't give up. I'll fight this danger within me as hard as I will fight any threat without. I ask for your help with this. Please don't give up on me yet. I'll prove I'm worthy, I swear.
The bell ending dinner and starting study time sounded. Shon stayed in the chapel until a handful of Squires came in to pray themselves. They hesitated by the door, but Shon didn't look at them. He knew he couldn't hide forever. But he also wasn't sure what he should say to any of them. Or if he should say anything at all. Shon waited until they moved away from the door to finally stand. If he had to face any of them, he wanted it to be the ones he considered friends first.
Shon left the chapel and made his way to the library, fighting the urge to just go back to his room. Heads swiveled in his direction the moment he opened the library door. Shon flinched, sucking in a sharp breath and holding it, pulling his energy in as best he could.
He stepped in, and the Squires exchanged looks, but then the Paladin on library duty coughed, and they quickly went back to reading.
His typical spot was available as usual, so Shon made his way there. The others would want to talk after... and if not, he would just go back to his room. Distracted by his continued worries -and the silent effort to hold his energy in- Shon still heard when something behind him hissed along the stone.
He spun quickly, scanning the floor. This time he definitely wasn't imagining it...
"Squire Shon... Shouldn't you be resting?" He turned back to find the Squires trying to make it seem like they weren't staring at him, while the Paladin who called looked openly concerned.
Shon's cheeks flushed, now feeling cool rather than warm. Another change..
. He cleared his throat, "No, Sir..." and when the Paladin's worried expression didn't let up, Shon added, "I've been resting all day."
"Three days..." Zihler muttered.
Shon met his eyes and the Squire smiled, but Shon couldn't tell if the expression seemed strained or not. He nodded anyway, taking his seat alone at the table by the window.
Books on their current subject of study were already laid out, and he pulled one forward, opening it without checking the title. As he read, he could hear the others occasionally whisper and even caught snippets of what they were saying,
"I found another one. Do you think this will be enough?" Thom asked.
"We have the rest of the hour; we should find all we can," Rerves answered. It didn't sound like they were studying, but Shon had missed three days of lessons; maybe they were working on an assignment... He went back to his reading. He would get any missed work tomorrow.
When the bell rang that would finally begin their last hour of free time, Shon closed his book. It would be best to just go to bed early; everyone seemed to think he should be resting anyway; they could talk after he got the sealing item... But he hadn't stood yet when his six closest friends jumped up, books in hand, and crowded around him, preventing him from leaving. From running away.
"We're glad you're okay." Rehlien blurted out.
"The Major General told us what happened," Baradin added.
Shon looked from him to Kefir and took in a sharp breath, "I'm..." he started to apologize, but Kefir interrupted with a broad smile,
"I'm fine. I even got a day off for it. I didn't need it though, they healed me up right away."
Rerves placed his book down on Shon's table, "It was just really surprising, you know? But hey! Now we know why you're so cold all the time."
Shon looked down at the massive tome on the table, not wanting to meet their eyes. He didn't know what to make of what they were saying. There was no way it was okay. How could they be alright with a dangerous magic user that could kill them all on accident...
"We found these. We thought they might make you feel a little better," Thom whispered, stacking his book on top of Rerves' and opening it to a page he'd marked with a ripped piece of scrap paper. It wasn't a textbook, it was a record book. Shon furrowed his brows down at the page, reading 'Sir Patrich, served 4876-4929, died 4955. Paladin of Hengist, General. Air Sorcerer...
Shon looked up to find them all smiling down at him. Zihler set his book down over Thom's, opened to another personal record, "This one was a fire Sorcerer, and they're supposed to be the most destructive."
Rehlien took Baradin and Kefir's books and stacked them with his own beside the open records. He ran his fingers over the slew of bookmarks sticking out of the closed pages, "All Sorcerers and
Paladins." Rehlien said.
"Master Daunas said you would be back in a few days, but just in case we wanted to find these for you," Thom explained in a rush, "You know... in case the officers or Mages needed to be convinced..."
Baradin cleared his throat before he spoke, clasping his hands behind his back, "We haven't found any ice Sorcerers yet, but they're also the rarest, so that really shouldn't be surprising."
"Yeah, and there are plenty of fire who are crazy dangerous even when they're trained," Kefir added quickly.
Shon could feel a burning in his eyes and blinked furiously, looking away from his friends. He wouldn't cry.. he wouldn't. "Thank you..." he managed to croak out, finally giving in and rubbing his eyes. None of them commented on his show of emotion, or the frost clouding his window.
Rerves took the seat across from him with a smile, "So, what type of familiar do you think you'll get?"
Shon managed to stop blinking enough to arch an eyebrow. Hadn't Ivelm said something about a familiar too?
"I bet you it'll be something really lame." Zihler laughed, "To balance Shon's badassness."
"Squire!" the Paladin librarian barked, "Pushups! Now!"
Zihler groaned, mumbling as he stepped back to perform the punishment, "How do they always do that?"
"Divine hearing," Rehlien snickered as Zihler started the pushups, "Probably only works for curses, though."
"You can join him," the Paladin called without looking up from his book, and Rehlien groaned, dropping down next to Zihler.
"Seriously though," Rerves said, ignoring the boys huffing and puffing through their punishment, "Familiars are animals, they're supposed to be even closer to their Sorcerer than a Paladin and their mount! Like an extension of yourself. You can see through their eyes and talk to them with your mind. It's awesome!"
Thom actually blushed, confessing, "We read up on it a bit over the last two days..."
They knew more about what he was than he did. Shon actually smiled, starting, "I don't..." but chittering, like a particularly loud squirrel, interrupted him. The Squires all swiveled their heads to look around, Rehlien and Zihler jumping to their feet with the Paladin, who stood so quickly his chair fell over. The chittering turned to chirping, and then to a purr, as Shon finally found what was making the noise.
On top of the bookshelf closest to the door, sat a tiny dragon.
The size of a large barn cat, its scales were mostly brown but had streaks and blotches of red and orange, like the few deciduous trees that still held their leaves in autumn. Its leathery wings were folded against its back and its front claws grasped the edge of the bookshelf. Its long tail, complete with a scorpion-like stinger, flicked back and forth, its sinuous neck held high as it surveyed the library.
Some of the Squires let slip breaths of wonder, and the little dragon seemed to preen at the attention, holding its head a little higher and purring even louder. The Paladin, however, stepped around his desk and commanded, "Stay back, Squires," before he started chanting. The little dragon tilted its head at the Paladin, as curious as the rest of them. A moment later, the knight's spell washed over them to fill the room, sending a shiver down Shon's spine and making more than one of the other Squires shudder.
The little dragon let out another string of chittering and hissed down at the Paladin, whose eyes went wide as he announced in a breath, "It's real."
"How did it get in?" a senior Squire asked. Shon started to stand but then fell back again as images flooded into his mind. He watched a window opening from outside the fortress, and saw himself lean out. Then the image shifted, and he saw himself digging under his bed for a new uniform and towel as the him that was watching slipped out the door. It shifted again, and he saw himself in the shower, mist billowing off his shoulders before he dug through the piles of clothes left on the bench. It shifted again, and he darted into the library and behind the bookshelf, watching as he, Shon, walked in and sat down at the little table.
Shon blinked and shook his head furiously to try and clear it. All the pictures had flooded in so fast that no one even had time to answer the question or pose their own, "I let it in..." Shon whispered, then looked at the Paladin, explaining quickly, "I didn't mean to. I left my window open to air out my room and..."
"It's okay, Squire," the Paladin was actually smiling, and the little dragon whistled, "They're goodly creatures, though elusive. I've never seen a live one." the dragon leaned forward on the bookshelf, crouching down on its front claws and wiggling its hindquarters before it leaped into the air, opening its wings to spread as wide as it was long. It glided a lap around the library then hovered in front of the Paladin, chittering again and flapping hard enough to blow the man's short hair back before flying right towards the group of Squires around Shon.
It brushed Baradin's head with its claws, the boy ducking as it swooped down to land on Shon's table. The dragon looked from the open books to Shon, then, before Shon could pull back, climbed up his arm and to his shoulder, purring hard enough to vibrate Shon too. It weighed considerably less than it looked like it should, though its claws were sharp enough to pierce through his clothes as it climbed. It brought its face right up to Shon's eye, and though he tried to pull away, it followed him with its long neck, rubbing its cheek along his face. The scales were smooth and lacked temperature, like being touched by a gloved hand. It nuzzled his cheek again, then down his neck and into his shirt.
Surprised, Shon tried to throw the dragon off, but it just dug its claws into his sleeves, chittering angrily then clawing its way around to his back before lifting itself up to drape over his head. "What..." Shon started, but the Paladin cut him off with a laugh.
"I think that answers your friends' questions, Squire."
Shon was too confused to even arch an eyebrow at the man, but Rerves apparently understood what he'd meant because he said, "But I thought only animals could be familiars, like cats and crows and stuff..."
The Paladin nodded but then shrugged, "That's usually the case, but sometimes, rarely, there will be a Sorcerer who gets something a bit more special, like a winged serpent, fairy dragon, or in this case," he nodded at Shon, "A pseudodragon."
The pseudodragon purred, vibrating Shon's head. The Squires all gaped slack-jawed in awe at it, and Shon reached up slowly. He wasn't even sure what he was going to do, pet it? Push it off? But before he'd even touched it, it lifted its head, stretching its long neck out and nuzzling into his hand, obviously not caring that his skin was colder now than it had ever been.
"Damn..." Zihler muttered in obvious disappointment, "I was really hoping it would be a toad so I would have something to make fun of..."
The little dragon's answering twitter almost sounded like a laugh.
She groaned, rolling over and nuzzling deeper into Her pillow. Except it didn’t smell like Her pillow. Her eyes flew open, and She sat up. Then fell back down. That was stupid. Ran and Brom had probably taken more blood than usual again… except She couldn’t remember them taking Her for samples. Not for weeks and weeks…
“It’s alright, you’re safe here,” the kindly voice of a man spoke from Her right, and She sat up again, more slowly this time. A stranger in white robes with a sword embroidered on the chest reached out to help Her up, but after touching Her back he pulled sharply away.
She was too confused to apologize for burning him. “Where?” She asked, looking around the room. Like the stranger, it was covered in white. White blankets, white rug, and white curtains hanging to either side of an open window. A window that looked out onto a blue sky. She gasped, scrambling from the bed and nearly tripping over Her white gown. Of course it was white. How in all the hells did they keep it all clean?
She shook Her head and rushed for the window. The man behind Her gasped, his chair scraping loudly as he stood to follow. She pressed Her hands on the cold glass, staring up into the sky, “I’m on an upper floor!?” She grinned excitedly over Her shoulder as the stranger stared at Her, mouth hanging open.
Turning back to the window, She used Her arm to wipe the fog from Her heat off the glass, letting Her gaze trail down. She didn’t see the treetops She expected. Not close anyway. Instead, the forest was beyond a wide clear field, which in turn was beyond a tall stone wall with people dressed in silver walking along its top. She stood on Her toes to look down through the window. Between the wall and Her was a courtyard full of more people swinging things that glinted in the sun.
This wasn’t the tower. None of those people wore robes except the nice stranger. She spun to him, “My treasures, where are they? Brom? Ran? Where…” She saw a flash of red, heard a pained bark, and smelled iron. She fell to Her knees, grasping Her chest and breathing hard, remembering bits and pieces. He killed them. He killed all of them. Then what? She couldn’t remember...
“You are in a training facility of the Temple of Hengist, Hamerfoss, in Clearhelm.” a new voice, deeper, less kind though not cruel, spoke from the doorway. Lifting Her head, She saw the new man wearing a crisp, white, uniform, with a sword hanging comfortably from his belt. Hengist… so that explained all the white.
The kind man in robes had rushed to Her but dared not touch Her. Wise. With Her head spinning so fast, there was no way She was controlling Her heat properly. “How long has she been awake?” the new man asked the kind one.
“She just woke up, Major General,”
“He killed them…” She whispered, squeezing Her eyes shut, pushing back the rage and sorrow, trying to fill in Her memory. What happened next?
“It will be alright. You're safe here,” the kind man said again.
She pulled Her own hair, lacing Her fingers into the golden strands and squeezing. What had happened? She had run down the hall, but how had She gotten out of Her room? There were strangers in Her tower. These men? She glared up at the brown-haired man who looked down at Her, his hands behind his back.
“Who are you? What did you do to the Mages?” She could feel the hair rise on the back of Her neck and a familiar tingling where the collar should be.
The Major General remained calm before Her building fury, saying only, “Calm down.” It was a command backed by magic. She felt the power flow over Her and try to settle on Her mind. She could almost sense the peace it promised but shook Her head, clearing it of the spell.
He could've used his magic to hurt Her. Perhaps not with the collar as the Archmages did, but in other ways. And yet, he hadn’t moved from his spot, his hands still behind his back. She looked again at the sword of Hengist at his side. She'd read all about the gods. Hengist was good and noble, all about self-sacrifice and protecting the weak… A fool, the Mages had said. And yet his Temple ruled this province. The Mages of Her tower would never work with the Temple of Hengist. Or any kingdom order…
She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. She didn’t need his help to calm down, not when She had something to focus on. She shoved Her grief to the back of Her mind. “How did I get here?” another image flashed in Her mind, fire all around, a white path, blue eyes.
The Paladin didn’t answer right away; instead, he motioned for the robed man - a Cleric? - to bring him a chair. She tilted Her head curiously at him, but he only sat down with a weary sigh, then gestured towards the bed, “Please, have a seat.”
She stood, returning to the bed and eyeing the door over his shoulder. He hadn’t locked it. “We saw smoke from the woods and found you in a burning tower.” the blood drained from Her face, “We have recovered several bodies from around the structure, but there were no other survivors.” he leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees and fixing Her with a piercing stare, “What happened? What was going on in that tower?”
She brought Her feet onto the bed and hugged Her legs tight, “I don’t… I can’t remember…” a fire, the tower burning… But it was made of stone. Her fire couldn’t burn that hot… Could it?
“Sir Selibra,” the kindly Cleric sounded stern, crossing his arms and glaring down at the Paladin, “She has just woken up from what was obviously a terrible ordeal. Show some compassion.”
The Paladin, Selibra, actually looked ashamed, leaning back in his chair and clearing his throat, “I apologize, miss…” he drew out the last word, looking at Her expectantly. She tilted Her head. “What is your name?” he asked more clearly. She tilted Her head the other way. Were they going to play that game here too?
The Cleric hummed then said, “Please forgive him, miss, we are all very troubled by the events and deaths at the tower. The Major General merely got ahead of himself. If you could tell us your name, then we can let you rest and…”
“I don’t have a name.”
The two men blinked dumbly at Her, and She rolled Her eyes, “I knnnooowww,” She let Her legs fall back down, so She was sitting properly again, “But I don’t know it yet. As soon as I do, I'll tell you.” She assured them. The men exchanged looks as She glanced again out the window. Maybe She should've just told them what Brom and Ran called Her… But those weren’t names. They were descriptors. No better than ‘Firewyrm.’
If these Temple men were to be believed, everything was gone. She had no room, no books, no clothes, no treasures, and no name. What did
She have? She pulled Her hair over Her shoulder and stared out the window as She stroked it. She had Her hair. They hadn’t cut it in months. She had Her body. She straightened Her posture, holding Her head high. And She had Her power—the fire crackling deep inside Her soul. The Mages had taken the first two. The third had destroyed them.
“You should rest,” Selibra stood, and Her eyes snapped back to him, “You can send for me when you feel ready to talk. Until then, focus on recovering your strength and your memories.”
He made it all the way to the door, even swung it open before She called out, “What are you going to do to me?”
Selibra turned back, his eyebrows raised in surprise. The Cleric placed a hand on Her shoulder, slowly and carefully, gauging how much of Her heat he could handle. She turned to him, and he let Her go. He'd held on longer than expected. “We will keep you safe, child.” the Cleric assured Her.
The Paladin grew stiff for a moment, then brought his right fist up to his chest, “By the sword of Hengist’s honor, we will safeguard your life and freedom,” Freedom?
“Whatever injustices you endured there, you will find justice in the laws of Clearhelm.” She didn’t know what to say, and so, after an awkward moment of silence, Selibra turned for the door again and left.
She didn’t lay down. Instead, She walked back to the window. The view seemed to stretch on forever from so high up, higher than She'd ever remembered being before. Even when She used to climb the trees around Her tower.
Selibra hadn’t locked the door, but the Cleric bustled around behind Her, and the wall below Her clanked with armored knights. What was
--- Table of Contents
Thanks for making it this far, you are the real MVP
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2023.06.04 00:03 fruitytrollroll [WTS] 11.5” A2 upper, JPC cumberbund, P07 night sights
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2023.06.03 15:07 thegarmeyo69420 FMK-3 (SMG)
FMK-3 submachine gun Submachine gun
The FMK-3 is a selective fire blowback-operated submachine gun of Argentine origin designed by Fabricaciones Militares in 1974. Around 30,000 were produced for the Argentine military by 1991.
Quick Facts Type, Place of origin ... FMK-3
Type Submachine gun Place of origin Argentina Service history In service 1974–present Used by Argentina Wars Argentine Dirty War Croatian War of Independence Falklands War Guatemalan Civil War Salvadoran Civil War Production history Manufacturer Fabricaciones Militares Produced 1974-1993 No. built 85,000 Variants See Variants Specifications Mass 3.4 kg (7.5 lb) empty Length 523 mm (20.6 in), stock folded 693 mm (27.3 in), stock extended Barrel length 290 mm (11.4 in) Cartridge 9×19mm Parabellum Action Blowback, open bolt Rate of fire 650 rounds/min Effective firing range 100 m Feed system 25, 32, and 40-round detachable box magazine Sights Flip up iron sights Close Development In the 1950s, the FMAP DM (Fábrica Militar de Armas Portables Domingo Matheu), belonging to the Dirección General de Fabricaciones Militares, acquired the production rights of a copy of the U.S. M3 A1 submachine gun, more commonly known as the "Grease Gun". This Argentine version was chambered for 9×19mm cartridges, as opposed to the .45 ACP in the original model. The DGFM released two versions called PAM 1 and PAM 2, with and without handle latch.
In the early 1970s, FMAP DM decided to change the design to use a telescoping bolt which allows a shorter weapon, and a magazine in the pistol grip. This concept was designed by Jaroslav Holecek in mid-1946 and greatly reduced the size of the weapon. He popularized the CZ-23/25 and it was later also adopted by the Israeli UZI, the Ingram MAC-10 and the Star Z-84. Thus was born the PA-3 DM, later known as the FMK-3.
At first glance, the FMK-3 may be associated with the UZI. This Argentine sub-machine gun fires the 9×19mm Parabellum cartridge and hosts its magazine in the pistol grip, along with a fire selector and grip safety on the rear of the grip which must be squeezed in order to fire the weapon. Above the hand grip, is the upper receiver which houses the barrel, bolt and recoil spring.
In the first series, the FMK was presented with three versions of stocks: one-piece plastic fixed, fixed to wood, and retractable wire. On the left side of the upper receiver is located the charging handle. This has a sliding dust cover that prevents the entry of foreign materials in the interior of the weapon. On the same side but at the rear is the sling holder. In early versions, the front one is similar to the Uzi, although it went on to be captive and rotating in the shield that holds the barrel to the receiver. On the receiver aiming devices are: a hooded front post sight and a rear "L" shaped flip sight adjustable for windage and with 50 and 100 meters sight positions. It is all protected by side ears. The ejection window is small sized and is located to the right of the aforementioned drawer or upper receiver.
Overview The FMK-3 is chambered in 9×19mm Parabellum, with a rate of fire of 650 rounds per minute. 20-, 32-, and 40-round magazines are available for the FMK-3 as well as the adaption of a silencer and grenade-firing capability.
Unlike other similar submachine guns, the safety, the disconnect and auto sear the FMK-3 are located behind the handle. In this way, ahead of the trigger is only the selector mechanism of shot and the manual safety. The safety selector has a wing-type lever that is activated from the left and which presents three positions: upper intermediate, "S" (safe), "R" (repeat), and "A" (automatic fire).
As an additional security measure, the FMK-3 has a safety grip that acts in the following way: If the weapon is not correctly grasped, the safety locks the bolt. Thus, even if the gun is ready to fire, if not pressed, the bolt is blocked from closing and firing the weapon. In addition, as mentioned above, with the bolt at rest, empty chamber and the full magazine the grip safety prevents accidental discharge of the weapon drag. Therefore, it is a very safe weapon to carry in any condition.
Variants FMK-3 Main variant and the most produced variant. The FMK-3 has a retractable wire stock. Fixed stocks have been recently made that can be installed by two prongs. FMK-3s have also been adapted with picatinny rails.
FMK-4 FMK-3 with fixed stock. The fixed stock appears to be made from polymer, and similar to that found on the H&K G3.
FMK-5 The FMK-3 is also produced for the civilian market, in semi-automatic-only version as the FMK-5.
Users Argentina: Used by Law enforcement in Argentina and Argentine Army. Bolivia: Used by Bolivian Army. Croatia Guatemala: Used by the military. El Salvador: more than 600 FMK-3s received during the 1980s, used during the Salvadoran Civil War and later put into storage. Used in the 2010s by private security guards. Uruguay: Used by Uruguayan Armed Forces and National Police of Uruguay.
Next copypasta: Uzi Vz. 23 SIG SG 540 TZ-45 Madsen M-50
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2023.06.03 07:40 Awesome_Aasim A typical modernized crosswalk in walkable downtowns in North America - Glen Cove, NY
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It is quite interesting that a lot of the design features most drivers and pedestrians do not think about. But these subtle design changes make big differences in pedestrian safety and comfort crossing the street.
One issue of course is that many North American cities would like to install proper raised crosswalks and continuous sidewalks in their downtowns to boost pedestrian safety. Of course such stuff is quite expensive, and most car centric places can't afford it right away; and even if the place is not car centric, if the street was recently resurfaced, it might be seen as an unnecessary waste of money to scrap and entirely redesign the street surface again.
So instead, we get designs like this: A crosswalk with the same design pattern as the sidewalk.
No, the crosswalk is not raised up to the sidewalk level, but yes, the crosswalk has a similar tiling to the surrounding sidewalk space. In fact, just seeing the image right now the crosswalk is only ever so slightly raised up. This gives the impression that yes drivers are crossing a space for pedestrians, but pedestrians still have to step down to the level of the street in order to cross, giving a slight impression that they are crossing a space for motor vehicles.
It is also a good thing drivers don't speed here because Glen Cove Road/Pratt Boulevard is a thing - and it is an actual road for most of the route between Northern Boulevard and School Street (this particular street). When driving here it feels right to drive slow; the curb extensions, the parking, the trees, and the sidewalk all communicate low speeds without the need to put a speed limit sign every few blocks.
This change on this particular street is new, Google Street View shows it going to 2021, 2020 and earlier it was just painted lines. The street might have been chip-sealed, not entirely replaced, but like most cities with sprawling car infrastructure, it might have not been able to afford properly repaving the street. My guess is when the funds do come from more financially productive uses, as well as local and state funds, the entire street might become a speed table, like what happened in my former hometown of Walnut Creek
, where the patterned crosswalk design at street level was replaced with a raised crossing
before this street was closed entirely to vehicular traffic
in late 2021. Although infuriatingly, a nearby crossing
(in Walnut Creek) still has a rapid flashing beacon because some North American traffic engineers believe that pedestrian visibility is the issue. Hope when a raised crosswalk gets installed at that location the rapid flashing beacon becomes unnecessary and can be removed.
It's once again interesting to see an urban planner's and traffic engineer's priorities by seeing what designs they do and do not use. In this case, I think the planner wanted to give the impression that drivers are crossing a space for pedestrians, but did not have the appropriate funds to do that because the city, like many North American cities, is broke. So they did the next best thing - use a colored surface and cut patterns identical to sidewalk to give that impression, but failing to slow down drivers who don't notice. Or they would just dump some asphalt down, put in a speed bump, and now it is still obvious a pedestrian is crossing a space for cars, even though cars are physically slowed by the bump. But either of these designs is better than just striking down painted lines.
I am at least glad that some North American cities are doing their best to move away from unsustainable developments and to focus on walkability, since everyone, no matter what mode they choose, is a pedestrian for the last mile.
2023.06.03 02:33 Both_Garden1304 Can I use a regular Zastava underfolder on zpap85?
2023.06.02 00:52 SwissCheese4Collagen The !'s Arrivals: Ra! Part 1- Live from the RV Lot It's BABY TIME!
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Guess what folks, Krafty Kath! decided to toss her hat into the running for J'in-Love of the year by posting Ra!s arrival video part 1 about eight hours before that pesky little documentary pops up on Amazon. Part 2 will be here tomorrow just in case anybody doubts her dedication to Rimmy J's PR-ayer Machine. Jed! opens the vlog informing us that Kath! has had contractions in the past couple days and is on her way into the doctor to see if she gets induced or not. Before that happens though, Jed! has to install the car seat and the base for Ra!. Maybe go do that, and then film the info for your vlog, it's more important. Jed! pulls intro duty this time She's very relaxed compared to OfNostrils
We open with Kath!s favorite question when she's pregnant, "How are you feeling?". She says she feels pretty good and won't be surprised whether she has the baby today or not. The due date is in two days she says. Today's project is that they have to wash Italy and Israel off of Tru!s Trusty Doona. It looks like he is going to be hoofing it from here on out, tough luck kid. Either way SiAhh told Jed! to just power wash all of the stroller components. Jed! claims that they've upgraded but that they need to still wash Tru!s stroller, ostensibly for Ra! since we know Actually Gunner had his in the hospital room before this point. The J'Gang's all here....
Now we come to a frightening new feature, Story time with Jed!. This one is basically testing the waters to see if they're going to do a J'ackass style vlog with J'Obnoxious James. Jed! says he was out "quadding", A.k.a. four-wheeling, with J'Obnoxious James and J'Orchestra Pit when they came upon a creek. Jed!, a grown man with the business and infant children, didn't realize the water was deeper in one part and sunk his four wheeler. These J'idiots survive on sheer luck. Luckily J'Obnoxious James or J'Orchestra Pit managed to get footage, and just as luckily Jed has a full-time mechanic from Alaska at the car lot who can fix it. Never fear, dear Snarkers, he won't be without his toy for very long. Also, the captions provided us with another gem, by changing "actually" into "sexually". J'Obnoxious James poses while Jed! splashes God damn do I love these captions.
Kath! has been to her final Dr. appointment, and is told in two days. In a startling show of self-awareness, they asked Tru! if he is ready to meet his baby sister etc., and realized that Tru! didn't care about anything other than the bottled milk that was currently in his mouth. They make comments that "he's too young to understand what's going on", and "he is so little". Maybe don't be in such a hurry to rush him out of the crib by having another baby 12 months later? Anyhow, Tru! notices the camera and turns away with his bottle and throws it. His mother gives it to him and he throws it again. It's worth noting that when he throws the bottle, he is turned away from the camera, and Jed has to move the camera around to be able to get Tru! into the shot. After eyeballing the offending apparatus, Tru! disengages and starts to engage with his mother ignoring the camera for the rest of the scene. Tru! knows that when Jed says "pray over this little guy", he is home free and he can go to bed. She was induced on Tru!s due date, will she be as punctual again? \"You keep that thing out of my face, man. Mom, tell him.\" -Tru! Jed! goes to extreme lengths to get an extreme angle, despite Tru!'s best efforts \"Hey, Mom, are you sane today? Can you yell cut?\" -Tru!
At 4:30 the next morning, everyone is awake. Kath!, Jed!, Tru!, Grammy!. Apparently Kath!s mom is pulling Lolly duty for Jed! and Kath! since Perm has used up her allotted 48 hours away from Rimmy J for the year staying over to help OfNostrils when they brought Actually Gunner home. Kath! make scrambled eggs while Jed! films it, if she can get a breakfast in bed before early morning induction, when can she? A chatty Tru! woke up at 3:30, and his parents say maybe he does know something is going on because he's talking so much. Atta boy, keep em guessin'. It's gonna be easier than he thinks. Just ask Austina. Don't worry, Kath! jumps in to say that "he just does that sometimes" and dismiss any thought that her son might be showing signs of cognitive thought. A 1 year old chatters to themselves to self-soothe when they wake up? Call the press! Tru!s favorite person, Grammy! Left unstickered so you can see his Adoring Gaze at the ketchup and scrambled eggs he supposedly doesn't like. Kar Konvos with Kath!
Kath! packs her scrambled eggs, with ketchup, and a chocolate, peanut butter and banana protein shake for pre-baby meal. I hate to agree with Jed! but he isn't on board with the ketchup scrambled eggs. His face says otherwise and he takes his eyes off the road to eyebang said scrambled eggs. He is however admittedly a big fan of the peanut butter banana protein shake. Kath! knew she had to pack something to eat because nothing was open, Jed asks if she's ready. She says that yes she is but it's weird this time. Does she think a helpmeet is going to be any different than a headship? She goes on to say that knowing that she's going to see her baby in a few hours and go through all this stuff is just weird. What she doesn't have some Intelligent Design Magical Godly Birth Process motto to spout off? Nope, they talk about how Tru! got stuck and Kath! had to push for an hour and 1/2 due to his "big head". Luckily, Ra! has been measuring smaller than Tru! was, so they anticipate a smoother delivery. At least they hope for one. They roll up to the hospital, the same hospital Actually Gunner spawned at, and Jed! says that "this looks familiar". Is that because everybody in your family uses the same hospital or because you're making a joke that it's been almost exactly one year since you guys were here last to shoot Tru! out into existence? Kath! clues Jed! into her ultimate plan. I've never been creeped out by these doors in my life...
Like the Nostrils McBeardsley's a couple days before them, they walk in through the empty emergency room because it is so early in the morning. Kath! says that by being back so soon most of their favorite people probably still work there. Odd reason to Irish twin your kids but whatever's clever...They move on to the "creepy" big automatic emergency room doors, They are creepy because "they open both ways". I think the word you're looking for is annoying because those doors are slow as shit. Once they get past the "creepy" doors, Kath! run in to close the blinds on her window and states that now
she's freaking out. I am fairly certain she's in the exact same room OfNostrils was in, based on the sock monkey baby in the background. However Kath! got a whole cup full of hygiene supplies instead of just tissues. Maybe it's not the same room, either way Kath! states she's "gonna like it here". Why does she sound like Snow White opening up the cabin for the first time and letting all the cobwebs and dust out? Jed! says it "looks like home". Bud, it's not a timeshare...you can't rent a delivery room for a weekend every year. Turns out that they did not get the same room as last time, they were wondering if they would. The stork dropped off a properly sized gown this time, so I'm sure Kath! will give them a five star review this time. I wonder if there is a Duggar Suite yet. What's that line about hypocrites praying in the streets? Is YouTube perhaps the modern interpretation of that???
Before Kath! suits up to lunch Ra! out of the Cannon Jed! asks that "God go before her and the baby" and he doesn't even know what that means. He can't. It's a nonsensical sentence that would make Miles Bron proud. It's word salad, with Christianity croutons sprinkled on top. Once they are done praying, Kath! puts on the gown and Jed asks how she likes it. She says it fits much better than the last one, are they just so bored that everything is exciting? Kath! pages the nurse, says to Jed! that she isn't ordering more breakfast. Jed replies "second breakfast", as the nurse answers and Kath! says she's ready. I bet she told them her size when she pre-registered I mean, I doubt 5 card stud or Texas Hold Em were regular games allowed at TTH...
We next see Kath! bouncing on a yoga ball playing a card game with Jed!. He tells her to show off her bling, a.k.a. her IV with the Pitocin. It is 7 AM, best guess since Kath! has made her room extremely dim. It's not too dim for them to play a game called Sky Joe, which I've never heard of but Kath! says is "fun". It is 7 AM, as she says they been here for two hours. Her contractions are apparently strong enough that Jed! thinks she needs a card game to distract her from them. ....And Kath! shows OfNostrils how it's done.
And that's all for part one folks when they post part two tomorrow I will be ready for it. Everyone have a good night; catch y'all tomorrow!
2023.06.01 20:13 AutoModerator Where Can I Watch Heat vs Nuggets Free Online Streaming On Reddit?
NBA Finals 2023! Here’s options for listening or watching Heat vs Nuggets live streaming for free on Reddit, Crackstreams, including where to watch the 2023 NBA Finals Game 1, Game 2, Game 3, Game 4, Game 5, Game 6 and Game 7 online. The highly-awaited match in a years-long rivalry is happening at the Ball Arena, Denver, CO and Kaseya Center, Miami, FL. The Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat will face off in Game 1 of the 2023 NBA Finals at Ball Arena in Denver on Thursday (June 1). The game will broadcast live at 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC, but as a PPV, it’s airing on ABC and ESPN, so now’s the time to sign up. Also you can watch Heat vs Nuggets without ABC and ESPN. Watch Now: NBA Finals 2023: Heat vs Nuggets Online Free Live Now: NBA Finals 2023: Heat vs Nuggets Online Free
The 2023 NBA Finals are set, and the championship series will feature two teams from opposite ends of the standings.T
The Denver Nuggets earned the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference and have played like the team to beat through three rounds. Led by two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets dispatched the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first round, took care of business against the Phoenix Suns in the second round and swept the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals. Now, they are on the cusp of their first championship.
Now, all they have to do is beat a No. 8 seed that has turned into a juggernaut.
The Miami Heat were one play-in comeback away from falling out of this year’s playoffs all together. Instead, they claimed the last Eastern Conference playoff spot and proceeded to wreak havoc. Jimmy Butler and Co. started things off by dismantling the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks and then knocked out the New York Knicks. They punched their Finals ticket by getting revenge against the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals.
With the Nuggets and Heat winning their conference finals series so swiftly, the two teams will have a break before their Finals showdown commences. Here is a look at the full schedule for the 2023 NBA Finals and how fans can watch the series.
If you’re looking to watch the NBA Finals online this year, read on. Below is a full guide on how to stream the NBA Finals online, including a couple of hacks that let you watch NBA Final games for free online.
2023 NBA Finals Full Schedule
The 2023 NBA Finals will tip-off on Thursday, June 1 and finish no later than Sunday, June 18. There will be two full days of rest between each game with the exception of Games 3 and 4, which are only separated by one off-day.
Thursday, June 1: Heat vs Nuggets - Game 1 Live Stream (8:30 p.m., ABC)
Sunday, June 4: Heat vs Nuggets - Game 2 Live Stream (8 p.m., ABC)
Wednesday, June 7: Nuggets vs Heat - Game 3 Live Stream (8:30 p.m., ABC)
Friday, June 9: Nuggets vs Heat - Game 4 Live Stream (8:30 p.m., ABC)
Monday, June 12: Heat vs Nuggets - Game 5 Live Stream (8:30 p.m., ABC)*
Thursday, June 15: Nuggets at Heat - Game 6 Live Stream (8:30 p.m., ABC)*
Sunday, June 18: Heat vs Nuggets - Game 7 Live Stream (8 p.m., ABC)*
How To Watch the Heat vs Nuggets?
The NBA Finals Heat vs Nuggets will broadcast on ABC. ABC is available on many streaming services, including DIRECTV STREAM, Hulu + Live TV, fuboTV, and YouTube TV. You can also catch NBA Finals games with an over-the-air antenna that has access to a local broadcasting station.
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Fubo is one of the few ways to watch the NBA Finals 2023: Heat vs Nuggets 2023 live online for free. Fubo TV offers a seven-day free trial and starts at $74.99 per month after the free trial ends. Fubo offers three plans: a Pro plan for $74.99 per month; an Elite plan for $84.99 per month; and a Premier plan for $94.99 per month.
Watch Now: NBA Finals: Heat vs Nuggets Online Free
The 2023 NBA Finals kicks off on Thursday at 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT on ABC. Those who already have cable or local channels through a TV antenna, can check local listings for additional channel information.
Basketball fans can also watch the NBA finals live on ABC.com
in addition to ESPN outlets such as ESPN+, ESPN2, ESPN Radio and ESPN Deportes.
No cable? No worries! You can stream the 2023 NBA Finals games live and with a free trial from DirectTV Stream, YouTube TV (the official sponsor of the NBA Finals), Fubo and Express VPN — if you’re streaming outside of the U.S.
Shopping for the best streaming deals? DirectTV Stream is discounted $30 over three months, plus a free trial for five days. DirectTV Stream’s cheapest plan — the Entertainment package — is $64.99 (regular $69.99) for 75+ channels including ABC, NBC, Fox, CBS, ESPN, TNT, Nickelodeon, MTV, BET, VH1, TLC and HGTV; access to on-demand content and DVR storage.
How to watch NBA Finals: Heat vs Nuggets Live Online
The Game will stream live on ESPN in over 200 countries across the globe (excluding Mexico and Latin America). You can sign up for a subscription here. However if you are in Argentina, Chile and Colombia you must download the ESPN app from the Apple App Store or Android Google Play store and then sign up from there, rather than via web browser.
Game now has a partnership with ESPN. That’s great news for Game and the expansion of the sport of Game, but bad news for consumer choice. Especially if you’re one of the Game fans who want to watch Game in the US.
Game fans in the U.S. and Canada can watch the Game on NBC, more information can be found here.
Game fans in the UK can watch NBA Finals 2023 exclusively through BT Sport. There are more options if you live in Australia. You can watch George Kambosos vs. Devin Haney through the Main Event on Foxtel. You can also watch on the Game website or using its app. You can even order using your PlayStation or using the Game app on your Xbox.
The available options for live streaming Game include:
Hulu + Live TV.
Fans in the US can watch the NBA Finals 2023 Game on ESPN+. It is the main telecast rights holder. The Game Game can also be live-streamed on the website of ESPN. You can watch the Game via a PPV basis.
The price for the Pay Per View is about $6.99 but you will have to create a PPV account in order to access the Game.
Direct TV is another channel to watch the NBA Finals 2023 Game. The users can watch over 65 channels to watch on your preferred device. But for that, you will be required to have an internet connection which should be fast. Users of the Direct TV cable services can subscribe directly to the services and there are a lot of channels along with ESPN.
Sling TV is another platform to watch the NBA Finals 2023 Game. The online streaming platform provides its users with several TV channels to watch. Sling TV has many packages and has all the channels in all the packages. But when you sign for a particular package make sure it has all the channels that you need. ESPN+ is also included in the package and fans should make sure that they are able to access it.
PlayStation Vue is the channel for live streaming that is aided by the gaming company PlayStation. For a monthly price of $45, users will get all their favorite TV channels to watch on their favorite devices. The channel offers a 5-day free trial where Game fans gain benefits to getting access to the ESPN+ channel. Fans have to pay to access PS Vue as it is available on PPV.
Next channel to watch the NBA Finals 2023 Game. YouTube TV is currently your only option for streaming the game for free. That’s because it’s own of two live TV streaming services with a free trial, and the other option, FuboTV doesn’t have TNT. The YouTube TV free trial gives you ten free days of the service. That’s enough time to Once your free trial is over, you’ll pay $65 per month for your first three months, then $73 per month after that. YouTube TV has over 100 channels and unlimited DVR, so you can watch the game whenever you want.
How to Watch the NBA Finals Online Free In US
NBA Finals coverage is split between ABC, ESPN, NBA TV, and TNT this year.
However, for those of us without cable, it’s still quite easy to stream the NBA Finals online. Below are some of the best streaming services that you can use to watch the NBA Finals online in 2023.
How to watch NBA Finals: Heat vs Nuggets 2022 in the UK
In the UK, there are four main legal ways to watch NBA games: NBA League Pass, NOW TV, Sky Sports, and the BBC. Here’s a little more about each of the four. BBC will broadcast a few NBA Playoff games in 2023. NBA League Pass also offers live streaming for all NBA games.
NBA Finals 2023: Heat vs Nuggets live stream in Canada
Hoops fans in Canada can catch the 2023 NBA Finals 2023: Heat vs Nuggets live streams on TSN and on the Sportsnet Now streaming service, SN Now.
How to watch NBA Finals: Heat vs Nuggets in Australia
Catch all the NBA Finals action live at Australia's Premier Sports Bar & Grill and Official ESPN venue - The Sporting Globe. NBA Playoff games will air on ESPN/Kayo Sports in Australia. You can also stream every NBA game via NBA League Pass.
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2023.06.01 15:56 wearyShads45283 How IPTV Works: Watch TV Shows and Movies Without Cable
How IPTV Works: Watch TV Shows and Movies Without Cable
Are you looking for a way to watch your favorite TV shows and movies without a cable subscription? If so, you may have heard of IPTV. But what is IPTV and how does it work?
What is IPTV?
IPTV stands for Internet Protocol Television. It is a technology that delivers television programming and videos over the internet, instead of using traditional broadcast or satellite signals. IPTV uses a network of servers and devices to stream content to your TV, computer, smartphone, tablet or other devices.
How does IPTV work?
IPTV works by using a protocol called IP (Internet Protocol) to transmit data packets over the internet. Each packet contains a small piece of the video or audio data that you want to watch. The packets are then reassembled by your device into a continuous stream of content.
There are different types of IPTV services that you can use, depending on your preferences and needs. Some of the most common ones are:
- Video on demand (VOD): This is a service that allows you to choose and watch any video from a library of content at any time. You can pause, rewind, fast-forward or stop the video as you wish. Examples of VOD services are Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and YouTube.
- Live TV: This is a service that allows you to watch live TV channels over the internet. You can watch the same programs as you would on cable or satellite TV, but without the need for a dish or antenna. Examples of live TV services are Sling TV, YouTube TV, Hulu Live TV and FuboTV.
- Time-shifted TV: This is a service that allows you to watch TV programs that have already been broadcasted at a later time. You can catch up on your favorite shows or events that you missed or want to watch again. Examples of time-shifted TV services are BBC iPlayer, Hulu and Pluto TV.
- Interactive TV: This is a service that allows you to interact with the content that you are watching. You can access additional information, vote, play games, chat with other viewers or customize your viewing experience. Examples of interactive TV services are Twitch, Facebook Watch and Peacock.
What are the benefits of IPTV?
IPTV has many advantages over traditional TV delivery methods. Some of the benefits are:
- More content: IPTV offers a wider range of content than traditional TV. You can watch movies, shows, sports, news, documentaries, music and more from local and international providers.
- More flexibility: IPTV allows you to watch content on any device that has an internet connection. You can use your smart TV, computer, smartphone, tablet or even a gaming console to stream IPTV content.
- More affordable: IPTV can be more affordable than traditional TV. You can subscribe to IPTV services that offer the channels and content that you want, without paying for extra packages or fees that you don't need.
What are the challenges of IPTV?
IPTV also has some challenges that you should be aware of before using it. Some of the challenges are:
- Internet connection: You need a reliable and fast internet connection to stream IPTV content smoothly. If your internet speed is slow or unstable, you might experience buffering, lagging or freezing issues.
- Device compatibility: Not all devices and apps support IPTV streaming, so you might need to buy or download additional hardware or software to use IPTV services.
- Legality and security: Some IPTV providers might offer pirated or illegal content that could get you in trouble with the law or expose you to malware or viruses.
How to get started with IPTV?
If you want to try IPTV for yourself, here are some steps that you can follow:
- Choose an IPTV service: There are many IPTV services available online. Do some research and compare features, prices and reviews before making a decision.
- Get a device and software: Depending on the service that you choose, you might need a smart TV, a set-top box, a computer, a smartphone or another device that can connect to the internet and run an IPTV app.
- Connect your device to the internet and install the IPTV app: Follow the instructions provided by your IPTV service provider to set up your account and access the content library.
- Enjoy watching your favorite content on IPTV!
I hope this article has helped you understand how IPTV works and how you can use it to watch your favorite TV shows and movies. If you have any questions or comments about IPTV, feel free to share them below
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2023.06.01 11:23 WaveOfWire One Hell Of A Vacation - Chapter 87
First Prev Next Royal Road Patreon u/KieveKRS
providing the Trash certification of quality! Everyone thank CFK for their contribution!
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“Are you sure about this?” Comms called through the short-wave, Willin’s headset crackling only slightly louder than the pouring rain. It was distorted and covered the timbre of his voice, but it worked.
He checked the batteries on his guns, both pistol and rifle topped off. The pistol was secured into the holster on his hip, the rifle slung across his chest over the heat-plate designed to dissipate any plasma that might hit it. His armour wouldn’t do the best against kinetic armaments—it was never designed to go against a railgun—but military personnel were rarely given those anyway. Too inefficient.
“As sure as I can be,” he replied, checking his harness. Two spare batteries, four ration packs, water, the transmitter that fed into his headset, some assorted tools for unlikely scenarios, and a knife tucked into his boot. The footwear was typically used for traversing hostile environments or boarding operations—the material thick and cumbersome—but it worked just fine for him. He had gotten used to wearing it.
He opted not to bother with the helmet. It would limit his senses in a place like this, the EW field making even the most basic function disorienting. Tech adjusted the physical scope on her rifle, though her favourite weapons were the two Compact Anti-personnel and Rapid Discharge systems she had attached to her hips—the CARDs being designed to switch between rapid-shot clusters to suppress a wide area, and a single-fire mode better suited to more precise requirements. The larger weapon was mostly for show—there was hardly a reason to carry an Anti-Material Rifle to begin with—but it didn’t hurt to counter possible armour.
The purple-furred female’s true weaponry rested both on and under her armour, her augments and the equipment linked to them making her a mobile Electronic Warfare platform. Though much of her abilities would be limited in scope here, she was still more than capable of supporting him. He would be relying on her to dissuade any action against them, as well as using her modifications to keep them in the loop.
She looked like an oddly-coloured female, but she was closer to a walking EMP and scanner rolled into one.
“Short-wave is stable, if a bit distorted,” Willin continued, flicking some of the water off his fur. “Tech will try to keep the signal clean, but no promises. Comms, Nav, you two are keeping the craft warm and ready.”
“Understood, Leader,” Nav replied, their androgynous voice warbling slightly. “Estimated time-frame?”
“Long enough for you two to figure out the ration-packets.”
Comms laughed over the headset. “Nav would rather lick the floors.”
“Just don’t get too distracted with each other while we’re gone,” Willin teased through his smirk, Tech rolling her eyes at him.
“The same could be said for you, Leader. Don’t get too caught up making ‘friends’ with the locals.”
“Or Tech,” Nav added dryly. Their tone hovering between annoyance at the jibes regarding Comms and Nav’s occasional fling, and amusement at the suggestion Tech was interested in pursuits of the flesh with the crew at all. She might be, but she had a habit of dropping the thermostat of whichever room belonged to whoever made the comment, so it was safer to just assume she was off-limits.
“Cold room,” Tech responded casually as she adjusted her audio interface, Nav sighing loud enough for it to be picked up. Comms laughed in a way that suggested he was thankful for Tech’s assistance in ensuring Nav would be seeking a warm bed for the moon. Willin shook his head, hoping that they didn’t need to extract in any particular hurry.
It was easier to get in the air when your two remaining crew weren’t otherwise occupied
“Batteries green. Supplies green. Short-wave sufficient,” he reported, receiving confirmations from Tech. “Operation is to establish communication with local Grand Hunter and receive compliance, information on other packs, and facilitate reintroduction to structure.”
“Alternative is to report pack as non-compliant and pursue other Grand Hunters,” Tech added, repeating what they went over earlier. “My augments are heavily limited, but we should be able to deal with it.”
“Are you sure that you two can manage hostilities?” Comms asked, his voice faltering slightly. Though they had been assigned to the scout craft at random, they had grown rather close as a unit over their time. If it wasn’t for the professional obligations prohibiting it, they might have all decided to move into a den together—they were that intimately familiar with each other. As it was, they would likely be reassigned to serve elsewhere after their current mission was complete.
Such was the life of those like them.
“Tech has more equipment under her fur than our ship has installed—weakened or not,” Willin assured the male. He shot a pointed look at the female. “She’s also under direct order
to return in the event things become too dangerous. Alone, if required.”
Tech scowled, but nodded anyway. Comms grunted their understanding. “Leader?”
A moment of pause. “Nothing. Come back, okay?”
“Will do my best, Comms. Nav, keep an eye on him.”
“It will be done, Leader. Stay safe.”
He placed a paw to his headset, hovering over the button to cut the transmission. “You too.”
“Ready to go?” Tech asked, slinging her AMR over her back and re-securing her CARDs. Willin double checked his auxiliary equipment, hoping that he didn’t need to use any of it. Nodding, he gestured for her to follow, the two leaving behind the craft to slip into the woods.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
“Something up?” he asked, raising a brow at Tech. The female was fidgety, restless and scanning their surroundings more than required. She might have heard something, but the thunderous hiss of rain drowned out most everything—it was part of the reason they waited for it.
She wore a reluctant expression, her eyes flickering to the silver and gold trees for a moment. “Prox’ is going wild.”
“Proximity sensor effected?” he queried, feeling the weight of his weapons tug on his body. Tech nodded.
“It’s weak. I think the ‘spike is messing with it—along with everything else—but it’s reporting…a lot.”
She shook her head, a paw twitching over a CARD. “Not until we go past them.”
He joined her in looking around, shaking off water uselessly. “Wildlife?”
Willin shrugged. “The message mentioned that it was different.”
“Details would have been nice,” she grumbled in return, waving her paw to get him moving again, though she kept one on her weapon.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
“Visual,” he reported, lowering the rifle from his shoulder. “Anything?”
Tech shook her head, still on a swivel. “Prox’ is still lit up, but at this point it might be less distracting to shut it off.”
“Keep it. Rather have it telling us things are around all the time than miss something big because we got annoyed.”
She sighed, tapping her audio interface twice to change the song she had playing. “What do you see?”
“Low fences, but dense buildings. Lots of traffic despite the weather. Looks like they’re used to it. Think they know we’re here?”
“Doubt it. Gear?”
He shouldered his weapon to look through the scope. “No guns, but lots of melee. Armour seems to be a mix of leather and metal. Can’t say what kind.”
Tech pulled her AMR to look, Willin shifting to keeping lookout. “No guns…” She shot him a look. “I’m not sure if that’s reassuring, or worrying.”
He shrugged. “The less I need to get shot at with, the better.”
“The goal is to not
give them reason to.”
“Well, I can’t be perfect all the time.”
Tech laughed, the banter easing her nerves. “You’d have to start, Leader.”
With a roll of his eyes, he patted her shoulder with the back of his paw. “Let’s get moving. Diplomacy doesn’t do itself.”
The purple-furred female sighed, likely biting back another quip as she nodded.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
It went better than expected. So far, anyway.
They had approached the settlement proper, received what could be described as a ‘lukewarm’ welcome, then were told to follow several Lilhuns donning black leather and far too many daggers. Their escorts kept a close eye on the guns that they brought, but no one had made any comments about them yet. It was encouraging, but also worrying.
“Still nothing?” he muttered, quiet enough to not be heard by the others, but loud enough for Tech. She seemed hesitant, glancing over to one of the taller structures as they passed through, but gave a subtle shrug.
“Static is messing with my augments,” she grumbled. “Could be none, could be a few snipers. I can’t tell.”
He exhaled heavily. It was a bit of a blessing that her modifications were working at all, but it was easy enough to see that she felt bare without all the little tweaks she had gotten used to.
Willin never actually got the chance to learn all the tricks she was capable of—it was against policy to ask and she never saw fit to talk about it—but of the ones he did know; her proximity sensor, jammer, and ship integration were her favourites.
It was hard to board her ship if she knew where you were, locked up your gun, then spaced the room you were in, all without closing her game. He was pretty sure she was disappointed that she had only gotten to do that once.
“New ones, the Grand Hunter will see you soon,” an escort informed them as they drew near the Atmospheric Entry Craft that acted as a den for the one they were here to meet. They didn’t know the name yet, nor were they given the chance to do more than say why they were there. He had gotten as far as saying he was from the United Military before the people welcoming them scurried off to get someone else.
He busied himself by inspecting the buildings leading up to the AEC, some being a respectable three floors. Newer constructions seemed to differ in method, the beams a charred ashen colour rather than the same odd silver wood. Why they had elected to burn the materials, he didn’t know, but it seemed to be what they decided to do.
A surprising amount of the population carried a curved stick over their shoulder, the ends tied together by a string. Some attached lengths of a similar material to their leathers, one end made with a small loop as it dangled. The catch they carried to what looked to be a hunter’s lodge suggested it was used during their hunting, but he couldn’t fathom how.
Dragging his attention from the crowd, he eyed the large shuttle.
The massive main doors looked to have been damaged, though a structure had been attached since, leaving the stuck-open entrance to seem less like the result of a hard landing. The gentle hum of the internal power generation was absent, the required energy for what was still working being drawn from large solar panels that had been installed into skylights in the ceiling. The cloud-laden weather dimmed the light that illuminated the inside, but it was serviceable enough. Whatever power was produced, it was being funnelled somewhere that wasn’t servicing the majority of the craft.
Wide halls were populated by Lilhuns and spotted with doorways, the majority propped open since they were programmed to shut in the event of a power outage, lest explosive decompression eject whomever was occupying the room—along with anyone nearby in the hallway, should they be so unlucky.
It was customized, that much was obvious. Several rooms that would have been sparsely populated with anything other than beds were instead modified into training rooms and gyms. Densely packed barracks contrasted against large storage areas filled with various goods, pelts and metal weapons lining various shelves. Newer accommodations had been installed for more of those curved staffs, smaller pointed sticks stacked in piles nearby.
They progressed deeper and deeper into the confines of the shuttle, the common sight of the local pack trickling away, none seeming to have business this far in. Gruffer and more observant Lilhuns became the only people they saw while the hallways narrowed into tighter quarters, what might have fit cargo vehicles now only allowing a few shoulder widths, doorways becoming less common. The wary eyes and darkened clothing paired with the occasional dyed fur of those they passed—black seeming to be the dominant colour.
“In here,” an escort grunted, jabbing their jaw towards an isolated door. A paw was held out as they tried to step forward. “Weapons.”
Tech’s paw twitched towards one of her CARDs, the act of Willin relinquishing his pistol and rifle stopping her from snapping it into rapid-fire and burning the air with plasma. She glared at him for a few seconds before doing the same, the escort smirking.
“You will have them returned. The Grand Hunter is not so desolate as to pilfer the possessions of those who come merely to speak.”
He wasn’t worried about it. The guns were coded to them and Tech could fry them if it came down to it. Well, he wasn’t sure if she could do it with the warp-spike messing with things, but the lock should be enough. The knife in his boot went unnoticed, so it wasn’t like he was completely unarmed anyway.
Tech followed suit, subtly glaring at him the whole time. He shrugged, there wasn’t much they could do about it. They were the ones seeking an audience with the most influential person here.
Satisfied, the escort pulled the door open, the quiet whirring of the unpowered servos accenting the air. They revealed a larger office adorned with little but the most base necessity, a wood and steel desk covered in papers, a chair seeming to be the only extravagant item within—though it was purely for the ergonomics, rather than any aesthetic reason—and the male sat upon it was leafing through a collection of documents while twirling an orange needle-like object in his paw.
The distinct lack of any guards to protect the Grand Hunter was surprising, but that took a back seat to the owner of the room.
Dark grey fur, a clouded eye that retained its sharpness, scars peeking beyond the confines of his leather clothing—the thick hides sporting metal scales sewn onto them. An ear flicked in their direction, the membrane cut at several points. He placed down his papers, leaning forward in his chair as he clasped his paws on the desk, a friendly smile donned that failed to convey anything but malice.
“Greetings, new ones,” the male offered in a cheery tone, the low rumble and gravelled texture of his voice carrying both humour and curiosity. He focused on Tech for a moment, his eyes narrowing over the affable expression before he regarded both of them equally. He gestured to the seating opposite of his desk some small distance away. Close enough to meet, yet far enough that it was made abundantly clear who was in charge.
Willin bowed his head politely, walking the distance and sitting where he was provided. Tech followed suit after a brief hesitation, her unfocused eyes snapping to him with frustration. His raised brow was met with a longer blink—her augments were reporting something that made no sense again.
“Now then,” the dark grey-furred male said, moving some of the documents on his desk to a stack. “What might bring you to me?”
“Forgive me, Grand Hunter…” Willin opened, prodding for a name.
The male simply maintained his attentive posture instead of providing. Willin adjusted his sleeve and decided it was more important to continue than dig for information that he could get by asking anyone who lived in the settlement.
“As for why we’re here; we represent the United Military, responding to a distress call. We have forwarded the request and were tasked with ascertaining the state of affairs before the fleets arrive to assist.”
The Grand Hunter nodded. “Yes, that much I could have surmised from your clothing alone.”
Tech raised a brow as the dark green-furred soldier forced a smile. “Of course. More specifically, we would like to speak with you about what you know of the others of your station, as well as discuss the reintegration of your pack.”
The smile of the grey-furred male widened. “You wish to make a deal?”
Tech’s gaze flickered to several points in the room, her brow furrowing as she jettisoned a huff in frustration. Willin took a moment to consider his plan of action, nodding when he didn’t see the harm.
“I believe we can come to an arrangement. Within reason, of course.”
The Grand Hunter chuckled as the needle he was playing with disappeared at a flick of his wrist. “Of course, of course. Deal, agreements, arrangements, contracts.”
The emphasis on the final item tickled something in the back of Willin’s mind. “Itemize it. What do you seek of me? It is rather disorganized to ask without quantifying, no? So…messy.”
“We want information on the other packs. Who leads them, number of members, where their settlements are,” Tech stated tersely, ignoring the disapproving glance Willin gave. “We also need to work on integrating those packs back into the UM—preferably with yourself setting precedent.”
The male’s face grew thoughtful. “As well as forgiveness, though that will cost quite the amount.”
Willin frowned. “Forgiveness? For not knowing your name?”
The Grand Hunter returned a blank stare, a dangerous grin spreading slowly. “Tell me, new ones, do you know of Avalon?”
Tech’s face hardened, her answer slow and cautious. “We do, though only through description.”
The male’s voice fell low. Quiet, yet powerful. His elbows on the table suddenly felt like a far greater threat than any armament. “Do you know the debt your superiors have incurred?”
“I don’t believe we have even had the chance to introduce ourselves,” Willin interjected, noticing Tech’s discomfort, her eyes darting around the room nervously.
“You need not,” the Grand Hunter remarked smugly. “You are forbidden from giving your names, no? Locked behind titles of station, merged and scattered at the whims of your masters. Soldiers who do not exist, yet sit within my office.”
Tech pawed for a CARD, forgetting that she had been disarmed at the door. Willin felt the weight of his knife pull on his boot. The male chuckled as he leaned back in his chair.
“But, given that you did not flee, I will give the benefit of the doubt regarding the debt. Though, it will make offering you more than your lives difficult.”
“What debt?” Willin pressed, receiving a flippant wave of the male’s paw.
“It matters not. I have more pressing matters than hearing why I should join the ranks of that which I supersede.”
“Matters such as?”
The Grand Hunter raised a brow. “You are being given the opportunity to leave whole, new one. I advise you to accept.”
Willin shook his head, ignoring Tech’s pointed look. “We need information. From the message we received, not everyone is as well off as you, and we intend to amend that. What can we trade for it?”
The male clasped his paws over his stomach, passively humouring them. “What do you offer? You may seek the details of the others, but I am not inclined to merely supply it.”
“Supplies, priority cooperation when the UM arrives.”
A chortle sounded out. “We are self sufficient. Such matters little.”
“Is there anything you would want?”
The Grand Hunter smirked, placing a paw on the table as the other produced another needle—this one a more yellow hue, the specifics of its shape blurring as it spun between his claws. “Your superiors asked me a favour. Data. How far could they push the Lilhun body before ligaments broke, the mind following shortly after? How twisted can we shape the psyche of kits?”
The temperature of the room seemed to chill, a twitch of the male’s lips pulling his muzzle into a slight snarl.
“They sought my kit to participate, after a time. Unfortunately, her will aligned—despite my reservations. In return, she would be wiped from the records. Ephemeral, never having existed to begin with. Never suffering the whims of those who became drunk on sending my Blades to their end, never finding their other.” The gravel to his voice turned to broken glass. “Yet your betters violated the agreement. Broke the contract
. They pulled her into your service, hid the fact from me, and had the gall to fabricate a story to coincide. Were it not for a particular series of favours I was owed, I would have been still planet-side in our system instead of here.”
The dark grey-furred male smirked, his demeanour relaxing. “It seems she has found what she sought. Without need for my meddling, at that. A shame, really. I had several competent males selected—those who could wield what she had become. Those who might give her what her blood-mother failed to gain.” He paused for a moment, a fraction of longing piercing through the scarred exterior. “Regardless, all I would have wanted has been gained. She is content, and I am crafting that which shall accept her when she is ready. Your military will only muddy that which I have achieved, were they to dig their claws into my work.”
“Their actions are separate from ours,” Willin countered, thankful that the impending conflict had seemingly resolved itself.
“Grand Hunter,” Tech addressed the male, an eye flicking to the ceiling for a fraction. “We were able to see that there are a fair number of settlements, but we need the information to do our job.”
“And your task would interfere with my own,” the grey-furred male reiterated, a polite—if bored—expression returned.
“What if we could ensure that it didn’t?”
The disinterest in the male’s eyes slipped into curiosity. “You seek to trade sovereignty for information? You hold such power?”
“We do,” Willin confirmed, surprised that Tech would offer. “Though you would be disregarding the support of the United Military, we could arrange an agreement of territory on this planet. It’s not as if we could populate the entirety of it within several of our lifetimes anyway.”
The Grand Hunter stared, each moment more uncomfortable than the last. Eventually, he smirked. “Information and the disregarding of the sins your betters inflicted upon me, for sovereignty…and a singular favour.”
“Indeed,” he replied confidently, reaching into his desk to produce writing implements and paper. “You see, my kit has pledged herself to someone of curiosity. I thought him worthless. Weak. Yet he has performed a duty befitting her Sheath, and I suppose I should reward it.”
Scribbling ceased, impeccable penmanship crafting a contract that was slid forward on the tabletop. He continued after gesturing for Willin to approach.
“Seek him last, give him what information you have gathered, then heed his request,” the male said through his smirk. “I do so look forward to seeing what becomes of it.”
The dark green-furred male perused the document, stipulations and all finely articulated, as if the Grand Hunter lived and breathed transaction. A few points needed to be addressed, mostly possible abuse cases within the fine print, but it was surprisingly fair. There was some worry about the otherwise excessive cost of breaking the contract, but Willin figured that it would be reasonable enough considering the circumstances.
Signing, he gestured Tech to do the same as a witness, the two of them representing the UM for all intents and purposes. It was hardly the first time they had made agreements like this, though trading such a large area on a planet they held no prior influence on was a first.
The Grand Hunter confirmed the terms and conditions with them one last time, smiling when they both nodded.
“Good! Now, for what you seek.” The male rummaged through a few drawers, producing a series of papers that were lined over the desk towards them. “The non-aggression treaty, as well as what my Blades have observed from their scouting.”
Willin read over each, the documents sorted by Grand Hunter, then by who they had under them. His brow raised at a few reports, but questions could wait. The male seemed happy to let them read, so he wanted to take advantage of it. Tech scanned over everything when Willin was done, her augments allowing her to commit the information to a digital memory for future reference back on the ship.
“There are quite a few names marked with this,” Tech noted aloud, pointing to a symbol next to several of the Grand Hunters and their extended packs. The grey-furred male nodded.
“Those have been eliminated or subsumed.”
Willin frowned, parsing the documents again. Mi’low, Toril, and a few others were designated as such. Looking through, only about four seemed to be free of the distinction. He looked questioningly to the male, a grin returned with a separate stack of paper, titled with a single name.
The notation was rather dense, though not in information that Willin was expecting. Instead of settlements or High and Low Hunters, it was laden with mentions of those belonging to the previously marked Grand Hunters. His eyes widened as he connected the dots.
“Hasen is trying to be a Master Hunter.”
“Correct,” the male confirmed cheerily. “He is integrating other packs into his command and eliminating those who refuse. It has become quite an issue as of late.”
Though Grand Hunters could be assigned the moniker by owning territory and a willing pack—assuming they have the force required to defend it—a Master Hunter must own magnitudes more. It was typically achieved by integrating Grand Hunter packs and their subservients through mutual benefit, but taking it by force was a lesser used method.
Given that he had already either taken or purged several, it wouldn’t be a stretch of the imagination to assume he would press it to include here.
Willin heard Tech curse under her breath, their promise of sovereignty obligating them to interfere. To allow a member of the military—stranded or not—free action against the grey-furred male’s territory would be the same as endorsing it, now that they were aware. It would be hostility by the UM in all but name, and the consequences that had seemed somewhat extreme before now hung over their heads like an executioner’s axe.
A dark, deep chuckle broke the two of them out of thought. “Contracts
, new ones,” the Grand Hunter started, a cold Void pooling in his eyes, “are not to be thought trivial. Do not break them.”
“It was a trap,” Tech snarled, jabbing a claw at the report in her paw. “You set us up.”
“Did I?” the male asked innocently. “You offered self-governance, non-interference, and non-aggression.”
“You withheld information!”
The Grand Hunter smiled, a shiver sent down Willin’s spine. “You agreed without doing proper research.”
Willin held a paw out to stop Tech from storming the male. “The contract is signed, Tech.”
“It’s invalid!” she snarled at him, receiving a cold look in return.
want to be the one to tell command that we allowed damn near genocide of a crew we were here to assist, just because we were too stubborn to adhere to an agreement?” he countered calmly. “This ‘Hasen’ is wiping almost a year's worth of survival, botanical, and every other specialized knowledge gained, just because he wants to control a section of a planet. This doesn’t change anything, it just means we know what we’re going into.”
“I like him,” the Grand Hunter opined with a grin. “He sees the value that my proposition offers.”
“What’s stopping us from just tearing up the contract right now and leaving you to your fate?” Tech barked.
“Your companions in your craft—quite the ship, might I add—would be a notable starting point.”
The two of them paused, eyes widened. The dark grey-furred male laughed again.
“Your proximity sensor has been reporting since you landed, no?” he asked, pointing to the equipment on Tech’s harness. “It must have been rather vexing, yes? Is it the warp-spike? Is it some army of the unknown? The uncertainty of never confirming what it tells you. The whispers of doubt that follow.”
“I’m surprised you recognized what it was,” Willin replied with a level tone. He didn’t like where this was going. The male offered a smile.
“Wildlife here is especially elusive. Skittish. Ceasing all motion while predators are near and silencing themselves.” Tech and Willin exchanged a glance as the male waved a paw dismissively. “It makes for rather intensive training for my Blades. To hunt without disturbing them. My kit was a natural in such regard, but others have slowly approached such a threshold.”
He folded his paws on the desk. “Your ship is currently being observed by them now, weaponry trained on the defences you thought so adequate. Surely you noticed the lack of guns, yes?”
“The distress message mentioned the lack of them was due to how urgent evacuation was,” Willin added cautiously.
“Yes, quite. I made sure to lock the armouries after taking enough to establish my power,” the male confirmed with a half-shrug. “Among those were rifles not dissimilar to the rifle that the purple one there brought with her.” He leaned back in his chair. “Sufficient to pierce the hull and whoever occupies the space behind it, no?”
Tech’s eyes unfocused, snapping to Willin with a fear behind them. The Grand Hunter spun his quill, unconcerned by the events.
“Your short-wave has been temporarily disabled. You can not warn them.”
“Threatening us to compliance?” Willin asked without emotion to his tone. He needed to keep things from escalating.
“Ensuring you understand the consequences of your actions,” the male replied plainly. “When one barters with Avalon, know that breaching such is grounds for death. Of you, and whoever I need to send with you.”
“They didn’t sign this,” Tech argued, kept in line by Willin’s demeanour.
did,” the Grand Hunter returned coldly. “Honour your signature, or regret such in the Void.”
Tech took an enraged step forward, stopped when her throat pressed against a dagger that was slipped in from behind. Willin felt the pressure of a knife to his own.
“Patience, new ones.”
“You took advantage of the interference to sneak assassins into the room?” Willin noted.
“No, my Blades were always here,” the male refuted lazily, nodding at Tech. “She noticed, but was unable to trust what her equipment told her.” He chortled for a moment. “Quite the annoyance, proximity sensors. I feel rather blessed to have the warp-spike rendering them little more than meaningless noise.”
“So this is it? You kill us now, our friends when they refuse to cooperate, then steal what we brought?”
The pressure on his neck faded with a wave of the male’s paw, the assassins being nowhere to be seen.
“Of course not!” the Grand Hunter exclaimed, his voice returning to its affable cadence. “You now know how futile it is to go against me. Fear not, I see no merit in hindering you. As long as you honour your portion of the contract, I will honour mine. It is a certainty that Avalon was founded on.”
Tech rubbed her neck, glancing questioningly at Willin. He gave the male a wary glance, but closed his eyes to concede. They were just going to get everyone killed if they tried to back out of something they had already agreed to.
“Then we have come to an understanding,” the dark grey-furred male announced happily. “As a show of faith, do you have any questions where I might provide clarity?”
The two soldiers glanced at each other, Tech begrudgingly giving Willin the floor. He gestured to the smallest stack of papers. “Who is this? There’s next to nothing about him. Are you withholding information against your contract?”
The Grand Hunter smirked. “That, new ones, is all I could gather from my Blades.”
“You have Lilhuns disappearing in the room a moment after holding a knife to our throats, and they couldn’t scout a settlement?”
“Isn’t it interesting?”
“Enthralling,” Tech commented dryly. The male tapped a claw against his head.
“Think, new ones. What might render my Blades little more than a mild inconvenience?”
Willin’s eyes narrowed. “Other Blades? Better Blades?”
The dark grey-furred male held an expectant smile. “None have been seen, save for my kit.”
“Your kit’s mate is the Grand Hunter? I don’t see one Blade deterring this many,” he admitted, flicking through the pages. Overt, covert, and disguised. None got very far.
“Thus why I believe the male is owed a favour,” the Grand Hunter explained. “I gave them four Blades as a gift. They have become more.” A predatory look of elation cracked through the veneer. “There exists no better Sheath than a Blademaster. Let alone one who surpasses my methods. If she is to succeed me, I would rather no other to accompany her.”
“Says here that he’s an alien,” Willin noted aloud, trying not to voice his surprise. “I’m skeptical.”
“Oh, please do be. It will make hearing about what he asks of you that much more amusing.”
“Any ideas what he might look for from us?” Tech spat, still irritated.
“Oh, I might have an idea,” the male answered cryptically, sliding a small tablet of silver wood across the desk. Willin picked it up to inspect it, two foreign scripts scratched into the surface. With a questioning glance, the Grand Hunter nodded, Willin stashing the tablet into a pouch. “He seeks that which others might not, for reasons as foreign as he himself is. I have little doubt that something related to that trinket will be his wish.”
“Then why visit him last?” the purple-furred female pressed.
“Because it will influence his decision.”
“Which is enough reason for us,” Willin declared with a warning scowl at Tech. She held his gaze before looking away in annoyance.
“Then our meeting is finished,” the male announced, gesturing to the door. It opened, the whirring of servos giving way to the distant ambient chatter of the hallway. Two of the black leather-clad escorts entered the room and awaited them.
“Is there anything we should know that may have not made it to the report about him?” Willin asked before leaving, turning naught but an ear for the response.
The Grand Hunter hummed for a moment. “Do mind your manners surrounding his kit,” he offered. “Or do not, it matters little to me if you survive past honouring the agreement.”
Tech stopped at the doorway, glaring at the male as Willin exited. “We never did get your name.”
His brows raised in interest. “You saw my signature.”
“I would rather hear it from you,” she insisted coolly.
A toothy smile spread over the male’s muzzle. “Grand Hunter Trill; Blademaster of Avalon, Sire of Phantom
, and—if I remember correctly—the Weighted Scale, Aspect of Balance.”
“’May he who barter with the Void fear its ire,’” she recited, conviction in her words.
“’Yet he who uphold bathes in its blessing,’ yes,” Grand Hunter Trill replied with a knowing look. “Consider it, new one. To be crushed under the obligations you fail to upkeep, or revel in that which you covet. Do be warned; though I let you and your party leave—” his eye gained a sharp edge. “You are never beyond my influence.”
“May the sun treat you well, Grand Hunter,” she replied tersely, spinning on her pad to leave. Willin glanced back as he waited for her to pass him, seeing nothing but the door closing behind her.
Their weapons were returned, each in the same state as they were confiscated, save for a familiar knife. He scowled as he shifted his footing to reveal that the comforting weight had been removed from his boot. He begrudgingly accepted the blade, tucking it back into the sheath as the Lilhun smirked at him, his mirth at the dark green-furred male’s displeasure evident.
They were escorted out of the shuttle, a pause afforded long enough for Willin to flick up his hood before they continued to the outermost edge of the settlement. As soon as they were outside of the fence, their escorts turned and quickly faded into the buildings.
A crackle came over the headset.
“Leader! Tech! We thought something may have happened,” Comms shouted into the earpiece, genuine worry coating his words.
“Were you unsuccessful?” Nav added, the sound of a small distance between speaker and microphone suggesting they were sharing.
Willin adjusted the strap of his rifle and started walking, Tech following after a lingering glance at the settlement. “We got what we came for, but it might have cost us.”
“It was simply a meeting, no?” Comms asked to clarify.
“If you can call being strung along by an Aspect ‘simple,’ then yes,” Tech growled.
“Balance,” Willin provided through a sigh. “Weighted Scale.”
“Receive your heart’s desire at a heavy sacrifice,” Nav commented after a moment, likely referencing something. “What did you give them?”
“Sovereignty and a favour to be paid out to another Grand Hunter.”
“That does not seem too unreasonable,” Comms voiced curiously.
“We’ll talk about it when we get back. I have a feeling that the hole was dug too deep to see the bottom quite yet.”
“There’s a battle brewing,” Tech notified the crew, adjusting her audio interface. For once, it was completely silent. “We got dragged into it.”
The short-wave fell silent.
“What do we do?” Comms questioned quietly, the crackle of the distortion pitching his voice slightly.
Willin snorted, exhaling slowly.
“We made a deal with Avalon, Comms. We honour the contract.” Next A/N: Folded and made a Patreon. You can do the thing there, but i don't have anything to offer. Gonna move the rare AI Gen character art to it though, since it's the best i can offer.
submitted by WaveOfWire
to HFY [link] [comments]
2023.06.01 04:06 rippervon [WTS] Massive Sale - Optics/AR Parts/Lights/Glock Stuff/Nylon - Come See My Wares
This is one of the biggest sales I have done and its in response to some major life milestones, nothing bad but need to reprioritize and sell a lot of gear I can live without on a lot of my excess builds.
Some ground rules:
- Please try to refer to the item number, and if you want additional details or pictures I will respond as quickly as possible.
- This is intended to be a fundrasier for non gun stuff unfortunately and at this time NO TRADES, thanks for understanding
- A Dibs Takes precedence over a PM to haggle which itself takes precedence over a Question for information
- I have a lot going on in my life and may take a few to several days depending on how many items I sell, I try to pride myself on being as quick and reliable as possible however finding enough packing material and shipping this all will take some time - ASKING FOR A STATUS OR “haVe yOu ShipPeD yET” WILL BE IGNORED. You will get a tracking number and I will do my best effort to communicate but be forewarned.
- Almost all items have the OEM boxes, screws, etc unless otherwise noted you will be good to go to install on delivery
- Please respond within 30 minutes or less or you may be passed on for a second dibser
- Discounts given for bundles
Now that that’s out of the way:
- Sig Sauer Tango6 1-6 in Anodized Gray, SFP, 30mm, HellfirePlex Reticle which is a dual illuminated fibeLED dot. Incredibly similar glass and performance to a Vortex Razor 1-6 in a better budget package albeit with a more straightforward reticle, capped turrets and throw lever, box and papers included - $600 shipped
PA SLx MD25 Single Dot, Gen 1 not shake awake, like new, with low mount, and riser mount with three spacer heights and all paperwork but not factory box, fantastic red dot that blends the best of a micro dot and a fullsize COMP dot - $60 shipped SOLD
Holosun 510c ery good condition with only some minor housing wear if any, red reticle, no factory box but will ship padded and insured - $220 shipped SOLD
- FDE Deltapoint Pro 2.5MOA with a low mount and factory rubber cover and screws - $325 shipped
- Holosun 407c V2, single dot, BIG BUTTON version, no factory box but includes screws, very good condition - $225 shipped
- Arisaka Micro Mount 1.7” Height, really solid underrated mount, comes spray painted wolf gray, if you give me a couple days I can clean it - $60 shipped
Badger Ordnance 30mm Scope Mount COMM, good condition 1.7”, 0MOA, want to include if possible this JArm and Micro Plate and ACRO plate - $250 shipped SOLD
- My Gucciish Competition Upper - Lantac Dragon, 16” BA Hanson Premium 1:8 Twist .223 Wylde, Wojtek Adjustable Gas Block, Aero S-One 15” Handguard Cerakoted a custom “tanodized” color, Ripcord Clear Anodized Upper with a FCD Double Dimp Rose Gold Dust Cover, FCDxHodge Dimpled FA, and some rail panels -$700 OBO
Reptilia RECCE Stock, FDE, some light install marks that get covered, otherwise great condition, really awesome, ultralight stock, the cooler UBR - $100 shipped SOLD
Daniel Defense Tornado Gray Stock with both stock pads, very great condition - $45 shipped SOLD
Griffin ECS Maritime Stock, Gray, $25 shipped SOLD
- Cloud Defensive CORv3 Handguard, 10.7”, Clear Anodized, Long recessed rail segment to allow Laser and Tape switches to be below the window of Lower 1/3 and higher optics and flush with receiver height, will come with all necessary hardware to install but you will need your own armorers wrench tool. Was installed and removed may show minor install and MLOK attachment marks but great overall condition - $150 shipped
B5 Systems Gray Pistol Grip with screw, I did a homebrew epoxy/grit powder grip and imo it came out pretty nice - $25 shipped SOLD
Railscales Polymer RSB-M in Stealth Gray, like new, $20 shipped SOLD
Cloud Defensive REIN 3.0 FDE full kit with light, charger, Picatinny mount, and tape switch and an FDE flip up cap, mounted and removed but never shot with - $250 shipped SOLD
Tan Surefire X300U-A with all keys, great condition - $200 shipped SOLD
Modlite PLHv2 Head, Black, minor housing wear but very clear lens, ships with a One Hundred Concepts cover - $160 shipped SOLD
- Cloud Defensive/IWC Offset Scout Mount, MLOK, Black, very good condition - $30 shipped
- Trex Arms Ready Rig, Wolf Gray, fitted and loaded with mags but almost never larped in ,just been sitting - $75 shipped
SLINGS (First One will Come with a Pair of QD Points Free! Ferro Concepts Brand)
- LBX MAS Gray 2 Point Sling with an Upgraded Ferro Concepts Adjuster and Sling Silencer - $40 shipped
ESD Snow Camo Sling - $40 shipped SOLD
- Defense Mechanisms Sling, Wolf Gray with Built in Rilfe Elastic mounting - $40 shipped
- Glock 19 Gen 5 Slide, Jagerwerks F9 Cut/ACRO Footprint/Chamfered Edges/Enhanced Rear Serrations/Carbon End Plate/Nitride/All Internals/OEM Marksman Barrel from Black Phoenix Customs removing the unmatched rollmark and then Nitrided/OEM Iron Sights - $750 shipped
- Zev G17.3 Barrel, Bronze, Dimpled, very low round count with no significant wear - $150 shipped
- Zev Lightened Striker Spring/Red Channel Liner and Zev Extractor (Gen 3 or 4) - $40 shipped
- Agency Arms AOS Plate for Glock, DeltaPoint Pro, Irons Front with Ameriglo 5XL Cowitness Irons installed (Black ReaTritium Front) - $80 shipped
- CHPWS 509t Plate for a PDP Gen 1 cut, - $40 shipped
Pair of Random Docter Optic Plates for Pic Rail from a FastFire 3 and a Vortex Venom box - Free + Shipping Cost if you want them SOLD
Thank you all for looking and I appreciate you all!
submitted by rippervon
to GunAccessoriesForSale [link] [comments]
2023.06.01 03:34 harry-jg How to Pay Hulu Outside in USA
Can't access Hulu outside the United States? It's as if the universe has conspired against you, demanding you provide a US credit card and asking you to physically be in the country. This becomes particularly vexing when you're on a vacation in, say, Paris, and all you want is to binge-watch your favourite show while munching on a croissant. Turns out, renewing your subscription can be as complicated as explaining the plot of a time-travel movie to your grandmother.
So here's the trick: You need a VPN. Hulu, being the sly fox that it is, looks at your IP address to see if you're within the good ol' USA. But a VPN, with its digital cloak of invisibility, lets you masquerade as a Yank, regardless of your actual whereabouts. Meaning, you could be sipping sake in Tokyo or riding a camel in Egypt, but Hulu will think you're eating apple pie in the heartland.
Through diligent labour, my team and I scrutinized over 60 VPNs designed to finagle Hulu's geoblocks. And standing tall among the crowd, we have ExpressVPN. It's the Brad Pitt of VPNs, offering multiple US servers and lightning-fast speeds to let you access Hulu without as much as a hiccup. And just to sweeten the deal, you can take ExpressVPN for a spin without any risk, as it's protected by a 30-day money-back guarantee. If it doesn't tickle your fancy, getting your money back is as easy as pie.
Getting Cozy with Hulu Globally: A VPN's Role in Your Streaming Escapades
Ever tried to access Hulu outside the United States? It's like attempting to communicate with a mime—nearly impossible and often met with an unamused silence. Hulu, with its treasure trove of binge-worthy content, unfortunately, dons an armor of licensing restrictions that keep it securely tethered to the Land of the Free. Its digital gatekeepers, aptly called geoblocks, detect the non-US IP address and give you a digital cold shoulder. And if you thought that's the end of your woes, there's more! Setting up a new Hulu account would need a US credit card, a hurdle that's hard to leap.
In these dire times, one can count on the prowess of a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Picture a VPN as a savvy undercover agent, masterfully disguising your IP address as if you're lounging on a couch somewhere in New York, even when you're actually sunbathing in Barcelona. A VPN juggles your internet traffic, directing it through a server of your choice, thereby replacing your original IP address with a shiny new one from the chosen location. This high-tech sleight of hand can bamboozle streaming platforms into thinking you're within their allowed borders.
In layman's terms, pick a VPN server located in the US and voila! You get a US IP address. When Hulu gazes upon this borrowed IP, it believes you're a proud dweller of Uncle Sam's land, lifting the barriers. Suddenly, signing up, renewing subscriptions, and accessing your beloved Hulu shows become a cakewalk, no matter where on the globe you're perched.
Imagine you're trying to sprint a marathon on stilts - pretty inconvenient and unstable, right? Now swap those stilts with a pair of world-class running shoes, and suddenly you're Usain Bolt. That's precisely the upgrade ExpressVPN offers when you're trying to subscribe to Hulu or streaming in Ultra High Definition.
In a test of virtual athleticism, ExpressVPN's New York, Dallas, and Chicago servers gave a stunning performance. Clocking in at an average speed of 91 Mbps, they fell only a hair short of my prime 100 Mbps connection. It’s like running a race and placing a close second to a cheetah. Given that you need merely a humble 25 Mbps to stream in UHD, this VPN crosses the finish line with excessive energy to spare. Even when I indulged in a hair-raising episode of American Horror Story, buffering was a foreign concept.
In addition to its impressive speed, ExpressVPN offers a roster of 24 US locations, akin to a digital buffet of options for connecting to Hulu on your world travels. Even from the other side of the world (9,153 km away, to be exact), my New Jersey server stood like a steadfast guard, ensuring my connection remained unbroken.
What's more, ExpressVPN’s MediaStreamer acts as a secret decoder ring, enabling you to watch Hulu on devices that usually don't shake hands with VPNs. PlayStation, Xbox, or even that one smart TV you got at a Black Friday sale years ago; all can be brought into the fold. The setup process was quicker than making a microwave popcorn bag. Simply jot down a code from your ExpressVPN account dashboard, feed it into your smart TV’s network settings, and voila! I found myself catching up on Hulu shows on my antiquated Samsung Tizen TV with no hiccups.
While ExpressVPN might ask for a few more pennies than its fellow VPN services, the sheer performance justifies the price tag. It's like paying extra for a VIP concert ticket - you're assured of the best experience. And with a 30-day money-back guarantee, you can test drive it on Hulu, no strings attached. And if you decide it's not your cup of tea, their customer support is there to process your refund without quibble. They’re rather nice about it, really.
Picture CyberGhost as the highly competent butler of your digital mansion, ensuring a seamless Hulu streaming experience. This ace up the VPN sleeve not only provides fast and reliable connections but serves them with a silver platter specifically designed for Hulu. Imagine a world where buffering is as extinct as dial-up internet, all thanks to CyberGhost’s Hulu-optimized servers. I frolicked in this paradise while renewing my subscription using their Miami server.
Using CyberGhost's Hulu-optimized servers is like walking through an automatic door; it's a breeze. The interface is as user-friendly as a Labrador puppy. A simple peck on your keyboard typing "Hulu" in the search bar under the "For streaming" tab, and you're given a list of servers that are specially designed to work magic on Hulu. Better still, some of these servers have undergone a digital personal training regimen to optimize their performance for Fire Stick and Android TV specifically.
While CyberGhost may not be as predictably consistent as ExpressVPN, akin to a weather forecast, its connections still hold strong. Think of it like a relay race with the US, UK, and Australia servers, each passing the baton without letting the speed dip below an 82 Mbps average. I was treated to uninterrupted feasts of "Santa Evita" and "House of the Dragon" in Ultra High Definition, without so much as a single awkward pause or hiccup.
Private Internet Access
Imagine a scenario where you have a myriad of IP addresses at your disposal for streaming Hulu like a monarch, that's exactly what PIA offers. This VPN is a playground teeming with server options in the US, reducing your chances of being in the middle of an overcrowded digital mosh pit. Trust me, you'd prefer your own breathing room when renewing your Hulu subscription, which I did with as much ease as butter sliding off a hot knife. With such an extensive server network, you have a buffet of alternative routes should Hulu unexpectedly pull the roadblock on one.
What sets PIA apart from the crowd is its penchant for personalization. Think of it as the bespoke suit of VPN apps. This little wonder comes with an array of widgets that are as flexible as a yoga instructor, ready to twist and bend to suit your interface aesthetic. Additionally, it hands you the reins of encryption, allowing you to choose between the Fort Knox of security - the AES 256-bit encryption, or the slightly more fleet-footed but still quite secure AES 128-bit encryption.
Now, this plethora of customization options could be a bit like being lost in a tech version of Narnia for the newly initiated. It's a lot to take in. But give it a little time, a few exploratory clicks and swipes, and you'll find the app's interface becomes as familiar and easy to navigate as your favorite neighborhood bistro.
Five Secret Passages to Hulu Land Without a US Credit Card in 2023
Juggling through the nuances of signing up for Hulu, especially without a US credit card, can make your head spin faster than a hamster on a wheel. So let's pop the lid off Pandora's box and unveil the five undercover methods to bring Hulu to your fingertips.
Before you sprint into action, let's cross off a couple of quick checks:
Make sure to equip yourself with a VPN. Any VPN on my coveted shortlist should do the trick, but I would tilt my hat towards ExpressVPN. It zips along at breakneck speeds and boasts a generous offering of US servers to select from
Now you're in the right gear, but you need to be in the right place. As Hulu only pays house visits to those who reside in the US (virtually, of course), that's where you should connect.
With these quick checks done and dusted, you're ready to proceed. Brace yourself as we unveil the five secret scrolls to gain access to the tantalizing world of Hulu.
MyGiftCardSupply: Your Key to Unlock Hulu's Magic Box
A Hulu gift card from MyGiftCardSupply is your golden ticket to the land of unlimited entertainment.
Step 1: Buying a ticket. Venture into the online bazaar of MyGiftCardSupply, and procure a Hulu gift card ranging from $25 to $100. The amount depends on how deep you want to dive into the ocean of Hulu content. Be sure to sign up if you haven't already - think of it as a friendly handshake.
Step 2: Sniff out the code. Once the gift card purchase is complete, you'll receive an email with the precious code. Open it, and gently copy the code.
Step 3: Claim your prize. Stride confidently to Hulu's redemption page, type in your hard-earned code, and create your account. Do remember to use a US address and zip code when signing up – they are quite particular about that.
Step 4: Let the show begin. Slide into Hulu's log-in page and gently type in your shiny new credentials.
Step 5: The Grand Finale. Now it's time to sit back, relax, and bask in the glory of endless entertainment on Hulu. Step into your personal streaming universe and enjoy the show!
Hitching a Ride on iTunes US: Your Unconventional Route to Hulu
Now, let's stroll down a different route, this time, a path known as 'iTunes US.'
Step 1: Set up camp in the Land of Apple. Visit Apple's website and pitch your digital tent by creating a new account. Consider this your personal American outpost in the universe of iTunes.
Step 2: Stock up on provisions. Replenish your digital coffers either directly through iTunes or via a US iTunes gift card, which is akin to your secret stash of apple cider in the cellar.
Step 3: Summon Hulu. Type "Hulu" into the search bar and download the app. Much like calling a pet, it'll come running and install itself onto your device.
Step 4: Enter the realm of Hulu. Use your iTunes funds to either get a shiny new plan or renew an existing subscription, and then log into your Hulu account. This is you officially checking into the grand Hulu Hotel.
Step 5: Savour the spectacle. With all these steps complete, you're now in a position to pay for and enjoy your Hulu account. It's time to kick back and indulge in the smorgasbord of entertainment that Hulu has to offer.
Hopping onto the Hulu Train with a Prepaid US Card: A Thrifty Globetrotter's Guide
Let's now venture down a pragmatic avenue, namely the 'Prepaid US Card' route.
The first station is "Prepaid US Card Central". You'll need to navigate your way to VISA or MasterCard, where you can choose your ticket – the prepaid card.
Next, we arrive at "Funds Station". Here, you need to fuel up your prepaid card. This can be done directly or by transferring money from your bank account, given that your card of choice supports such cheery transfers.
Having acquired your ticket and made sure it's packed with funds, it's time to board the Hulu Express at the "Hulu Account Terminal". Here, you'll need to check-in, select a subscription plan, and jot down the necessary particulars.
We're almost there. The last stop before you start your entertainment journey is "Registration Point". Here, you pay for the service using your shiny new prepaid card. Now, if this doesn't work for some reason, perhaps the ticket machine is being obstinate, don't fret – just try the gift card method instead.
With the ticketing process complete, you're all set to start watching. It's time to sit back, kick off your shoes, and let the Hulu Express whisk you away into a world of non-stop entertainment, right outside of the USA.
PayPal Your Way to Hulu Paradise: A Modern Maverick's Approach
Welcome to the "PayPal method", a trail favored by modern mavericks, digital nomads, and online shopping aficionados.
Begin this journey by constructing your own digital finance fortress – a PayPal account. You'll need to swing by PayPal and ensure you're setting up a US account. Now, it's imperative that you get this right, because Hulu can be a bit snobbish when it comes to foreign PayPal accounts. If setting up a US PayPal account starts to feel like trying to lasso a greased pig, simply revert to our old reliable – the gift card method.
Having established your PayPal account, you're now ready for the next leg of the journey. Head on over to Hulu, strut your stuff, and log in using your credentials.
Next up, it's time to pay the piper... or rather, the subscription. If your account is a newborn, fresh out of the internet womb, you can also kick off a free trial.
With these steps accomplished, it's time to kick back and start watching. Dive headlong into the ocean of your favorite Hulu shows, and swim around in the thrill of it all.
StatesCard: Your Magic Carpet Ride to Hulu Bingeing
Behold, the wonders of StatesCard, the 21st-century magic carpet ride to the land of Hulu bingeing!
Your journey starts at the port of StatesCard, where you'll need to carve out your digital presence by clicking the "Sign Up" button. Having successfully become a part of the club, add a little bit of that digital money to make it official.
Your next stop is Hulu. Log in with your carefully crafted credentials or take a bold step and create a whole new identity for yourself (strictly on Hulu, of course).
Once settled in, it's time to pay the virtual ferryman. Use the card information you secured from your new friend, StatesCard, to pay for or renew your Hulu subscription. If you do this right, you'll have successfully purchased your ticket to endless entertainment.
Having accomplished these milestones, you're now fully armed and ready to embark on the Hulu adventure. Sit back, relax, and let the world of your favorite Hulu shows envelop you.
submitted by harry-jg
to topvpn [link] [comments]
2023.06.01 00:25 sabresword00 Help, please! Maximum patio slope, 8%? 9%? Concrete patio pavers
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My wife and I started installing a paver patio. May have jumped in too fast without accounting for natural slope of the yard. It's a 11x14 patio that is not near the house, it's at the back of the backyard in front of a shed. The short side needs to flow towards the shed (away from the house) and the long direction needs to flow to the right (natural slope of the lawn). submitted by sabresword00 to landscaping [link] [comments]
I did all the digging, at least 9" down. We compacted, filled in with at least 6" of gravel with the stone dust, the surface of the gravel is flat, and is pretty conforming with the slope of the yard that I had previously assumed was flat enough.
Now I feel like I might have messed up. Currently, if we laid bricks the slope towards the shed would be around 8.9% (, and the slope towards the right side of the pictures is 3.6%.
I feel like I can live with the 3.6% L to R slope on the long direction, but is 8.9% towards the shed too much? I've put a bench on the compacted gravel perpendicular to the shed, and you definitely feel a little pull, but it doesn't seem like anything that would stop you from enjoying a beer?
I feel trapped, I can't exactly remove gravel and lower the front edge (farthest from the shed) because it would limit the bed thickness to 4" instead of the recommended 6", and it would put the tops of the pavers below the surface of the ground.
And I feel like I can't just build up the low corner (on the right closest to the shed) because there's be nothing to hold in more gravel and sand, I'd need to be laying bricks 3" above the surface of the ground. And I can't exactly build a retaining wall right there, the fence and shed are there that would be awkward.
I think maybe I could dig out a bit of gravel and make the front edge maybe 1.5" lower while still keeping the pavers above ground level, and maybe I can put an extra 1/2" of gravel on the low side? I think that would put me at 7.4%.
Can I use cinder blocks as a temporary wall along the low edge to build the pavers above the level of the lawn and then just backfill with dirt afterwards?
What's the absolute max slope I can use and not be disappointed?
What should I can I do? What even CAN I do? Am I up shit creek? Should I just learn to live with an 8.6% slope? It feels way too late to turn back and unshovel all this gravel.
2023.05.31 22:39 nojustnobro The URRR Recap (May 2023)
Gud maowning err'vy baowdie. Here's the based recap of the dis month's episodes from hit anime series Urban Rescue Ranch. Read Last Month Recap
It's confirmed that the vidiyas posted are actually done a few days in advance for Uncle Ben's mental sake and so he can focus more on rehabilitation. As a result, the recap is solely focused on the vidiyas and other content like Instagram stories are more up-to-date. Uncle Ben also reminds everyone to not simply drop off animals at his ranch due to legal reasons; some animals cannot be rehabilitated if he doesn't have the right permit and resources to do so.
That being said, Uncle Ben has gotten his wildlife permit! This month was mostly spent on him setting up the ranch to be properly inspected and receiving his well-deserved permit so he could rescue other animals. In addition to this, he also has an exotic snake permit and is still working on getting more permits to work with. The inspectors are aware of the current housing situation and had given him advice and notes on what to change on the ranch before the final inspection. As a result, the property has been heavily altered.
The trailer, Ouncetopia, and the barn have been completely cleaned up, and some animals are either relocated or now free reign. The trailer was gutted out so it can be used to rehabilitate songbirds and small mammals. The kitchen and bathroom area will be used for rehabilitation needs and ready to be used when the next animal comes in. Ouncetopia has been completely cleaned out; Uncle Ben has decided to have the prairie dogs free-reign for the summer. Mrs. Ounce and Cringe have created holes in the property and like to reside under the shipping container without needing to return to Ouncetopia, so the shed is cleaned out to take in future rabbits and possums if needed; future renovations are planned. The barn saw the most cleanup: the capybaras and kangaroos are moved out to prepare for other animals that could be rehabilitated and aquatic enclosures were made to house animals like turtles in the future. One of those enclosures will be used by Gustavo Fring when he will eventually moves out of Uncle Ben's home. The capybaras are taken to a new enclosure that minimizes mud-rolling and is closer to the pond while the kangaroos get to free reign. The trampoline area is currently being occupied by Pog and Queen since they like the trampoline and need to be isolated from the other animals while construction and reorganization are going on. Kennels were also set up to house future animals.
The new house is still at a somewhat standstill. The roof is put on but siding has not been added despite the go-ahead given. Uncle Ben still lives in his current house and is hoping to move once the new house actually finishes, which would probably happen after getting the permits done and getting Gustavo Fring out of his house.
The chickens that live in the barn are now mothers to several chicks! It is revealed that both hens have laid eggs in the hay blocks and several of them were born. Mother and babies are doing well, with them mostly living in one of the several kennels set up. Uncle Ben plans on giving the chicks to friends in the future due to the sheer amount of them born. The hay was moved elsewhere so they wouldn't nest any further. The chicks like to eat the maggots from the capybara poop, which arguably would allow them to be well-fed without having to be given other foods. Uncle Ben has put out chick starters just in case and the two hens are helping each other raise their babies together.
At the inspector's request, due to Uncle Ben's current house becoming an office space and another rehabilitation area in the future, no more domestic animals are in the home. The only animals left in the house are Gustavo Fring, who is still growing and eating pinkies, and a pigeon Uncle Ben has taken in named Geronimo (sometimes called Gerbingerbones). Sometimes, Big Ounce is brought in, but he mostly lives outside to free-reign.
Uncle Ben has had some pigeons and doves given to him this month; the doves were quickly given away due to lack of permit and the pigeons, which were baby birds blown out of their nest at the Waco Tortilla Bridge, were hand-fed until they could move into the pigeon loft. Geronimo was part of a pair of pigeons that came separately but his sibling was dragged off by a wild animal when the two were left on the porch one night. Geronimo was given extra care and as a result now stays on Uncle Ben's shoulders, sometimes flying back to him when he's thrown into the air. Although Geronimo stays next to Uncle Ben most of the time, he is sometimes put in the loft. The loft (which is now two different housing setups) itself now houses the pigeons from Baylor University, the Tortilla Bridge, Geronimo, some more pigeons from a friend, and recent baby pigeons that were hatched!
Patrick Bateman's limp is no more and has now moved outdoors. While he is still drinking, he is slowly being weaned and taught to eat solid foods by Big Ounce. An enclosure was set up for him to rest in and Master Oogway likes to spend time in there as well. Patrick Bateman has gotten into humping Uncle Ben's leg as well. He gets along with the kangaroos, who tolerate him at best, and he has been introduced to the rest of the prairie dogs. Sometimes he will follow Uncle Ben around and does zoomies.
New Kyle has been rehomed. Uncle Ben gave him to a friend, who has a similar-aged female Rhea and decided to give him to her. The chicks that were bought to teach New Kyle to eat were given away but Winchester (formerly New Remington) stayed. Initially staying in the barn, he now free roams but mostly stays with the rheas, who tolerate him too. The hogs that were with Petunia were rehomed after bullying her too much. Petunia remains in her pen by herself, which she doesn't mind.
Meanwhile, Discord Kitten Nitro (formerly known as New Tupac and Bubus) was adopted by Lamar from Prairie Creek Ponds for his daughter. Nitro was discovered on a friend's roof abandoned by his mom and needing to be frequently fed due to his age. Because of how young he was, he was taken in by Uncle Ben and bottle-fed until he can eat solids on his own and therefore be adopted. Although Uncle Ben doesn't mind helping rehabilitate kittens, he is unable to keep Nitro due to being allergic to cats; he mentions he is fine with kittens but will get allergic reactions to grown cats for some reason.
Part of why Pog and Queen are locked up is for Billie Eyelash's sake. Although progress is made to get her used to them, Queen is still a major concern; she likes to try chasing the animals such as Master Oogway and Billie Eyelash around as a way to get her zoomies out of the way and try playing with them. Despite this, Billie Eyelash has gotten more familiar with Uncle Ben and the rest of the animals. She is spending more time not following Dababy around as much and letting Uncle Ben pet her without being afraid. He even got to shake her hand! She likes to hang out near the capybara enclosure by herself under the tree and has gotten more use to the dogs' antics. Dababy and Kevin remain aggressive, with Kevin now often tripping over his feeding trough whenever Uncle Ben comes near.
Kevin and Obama finally show proper incubation behavior. A big part of why the two of them have their eggs taken is due to them not remaining on their nests to help incubate their eggs. Kevin finally shows his behavior for the first time on the ranch, which allowed Uncle Ben to no longer collect eggs, but he remains aggressive because he's Kevin; as a result, he often trips over his feeding trough to try to get to Uncle Ben and tries to attack him at any opportunity. Obama has remained in her nest and ended up hatching a few goslings. Initially, Uncle Ben thought he would not be getting any more babies after no hatches were found after New Kyle, but was surprised at seeing the goslings for the first time.
Since being allowed to free-reign, Mrs. Ounce and Cringe have made a ton of holes around the property and they like to reside under the shipping container. Mrs. Ounce has gotten aggressive to whoever would try to get close to him, attacking Uncle Ben and others in the process. Correction on the last post: Mrs. Ounce hasn't been rehomed yet but will be in the future with Cringe. To minimize attacks, Uncle Ben stays away from the prairie dogs and has Big Ounce separate from the group when he needs to go out. Cringe is revealed to enjoy swimming in the water. Having them free roam meant that they can drink out of the pond whenever they are thirsty.
The most important news of all: Uncle Ben's pond is now complete! Thank you, Prairie Creek Ponds, Team Aquascape, and Pondscapes of Charlotte!
The pond was drained and rebuilt to be bigger, have a wetland filter, and have an intake bay to help make maintenance easier. Team Aquascape and Pondscapes of Charlotte have made their own vlogs about the experience as well! With some landscaping, the pond area is also covered in sod and some plants were added to it as well. Uncle Ben plans on adding more vegetation but is trying to figure out what things to do around the pond as well; the renovations left him with a ton of dirt and empty areas that he has no idea what to fill with and is looking for suggestions. He has some fruit trees and put items like bamboo near the water to make the area look prettier.
Uncle Ben has moved the fish from his tank and caught more fish to be added to the pond. Bubble Bass, the channel catfish, cichlids, sunfishes, crappies, and some tagged gars were put in as well as tree frogs and rosy-red minnows that can be used to eat their waste and be eaten by the other fishes. The crawfish, goldfish, and snake that used to live in the pond were either moved into the other ponds or released elsewhere. As a result, egrets, cranes, and herons have been coming over to the other ponds to eat the goldfish in the other ponds. Tree frogs were brought in as well, with most of them residing in the nearby trees and their tadpoles swimming in the water with the minnows.
Although Uncle Ben planned on having the pond area more organized before showing the capybaras the area, they have been collectively escaping their enclosure and going to the pond anyways. The capybaras love both the main pond and wetland filter areas, often doing dubious things in addition to swimming, and their enclosure is intentionally put close to the pond so Uncle Ben can let them out on certain days. He plans on using the poop that shows up in the pond to be used as fertilizer for fruit trees that will be planted near the pond in the future. The current enclosure they are in still has their small tub of water they can still swim in.
Uncle Ben suspects at least two or all of the capybaras are males. He notes that some of them look smaller than others while some seem to have male features like prominent-looking scent glands and testicles. While he doesn't mind having a mix of males and females or having all males, he plans on neutering the capybaras if the latter is the case as a means of minimizing hormonal behavior. Kumala seems to be more affectionate and comfortable around Uncle Ben, enjoying pets more often compared to Savesta. Uncle Ben suspects this is due to him giving Kumala constant attention after the fight.
To celebrate, Uncle Ben took a trip to Matagorda County with Geronimo, Kyle the Fish whisperer, B-Alt, and Big Ounce. He went fishing to catch shrimp and helped tag some sharks. The shrimp and fish he caught were eaten on the shore. He is also looking for interns to work with him in the summer.
Vidiyas this month: Let me know in the comments if I missed anything. I love ya and appreciate ya. And, I'll see you in the next--- oop, almost forgot to tell ya: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
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2023.05.31 18:04 NamelessNanashi [The Gods of Dragons: Beginning] Ch 11 - Road to Hamerfoss Part 1/2
--- Table of Contents
--- Spring 4985, 18 Buromoth
The road to Hamerfoss was north out of Smilnda. By horse, the journey took only two days, one and a half if ridden hard. By foot, it generally took four days, but escorting a heavily loaded wagon would take the squires six.
On the first day out, Thom and Rerves released their excited energy through constant chatter. Talking about how happy they were to finally be on their way to real
training. Occasionally Shon would join in.
On the second day, they spoke about how much easier it would be to concentrate without the girls around. Shon didn’t join much in this conversation.
On the third day, they confessed to missing Daisy and Ania. Suspecting they missed the conversation, Shon attempted to chime in more often.
The fourth and fifth days were plagued with spring rain, and the boys did little more than complain, particularly about their new leather armor chafing when wet. Shon couldn't help but grumble in affirmation. He'd hated the armor from the first day.
The sixth, and final, day saw a stop to the rain. The boys spent their walk beside the wagon carefully dodging puddles after Thom submerged his entire boot in one deeper than expected. There was very little talking between them now, all three too nervous and excited for their imminent arrival.
The road outside the city had been the only part with flat fields and open skies on either side. For the rest, they'd traveled through forest, with only the occasional clearing maintained explicitly for travelers to camp. Tall evergreens growing close together blocked the view of anything beyond the road at their feet, giving Shon and the others very little to look at as they marched.
Two sturdy horses pulled the wagon of supplies for the fortress. Barrels of food and crates of scrap metal as well as sacks of letters and the Squire's personal bags, weighed down the laden wagon, the wheels carving deep channels in the muddy road.
Shon had already sketched the wagon, the horses, the Paladin driving them, and his fellow Squires many times over. He even managed a few landscape drawings, for lack of better subjects. He had no idea how the other two managed to calm their excitement before sleep. Perhaps that was why they talked so much every night.
Walking ahead of him, Rerves readjusted the hilt of his short sword while Shon pulled at the neck of his armor for what seemed like the hundredth time each. They hadn’t been trained in the proper use of either, and Shon wondered again why the Paladins had insisted the Squires wear them. They'd been ordered to guard the wagon, but who would be stupid enough to waylay a Temple cart so close to a fortress full of knights? Of course, monsters such as the draken and drakwalves were always a threat, but what were three untrained boys supposed to do against something like that?
Shon sighed, letting his hand fall limply from the gorget. It was no use. No matter how many times he tried to shift it, it would just rub somewhere else until he grew uncomfortable enough to try again. He attempted to distract himself, letting his eyes unfocus and picturing himself going through his kata as he walked in a daze. Master Veon-Zih always said that mental practice was just as important as physical training, though in this case, Shon was just glad it gave him something to focus on besides his nerves and discomfort.
He was about to start the second kata when he nearly ran into Rerves. The taller boy had stopped walking, and Shon arched an eyebrow at him before realizing that the wagon had also stopped. There was no way they were there already…
Stepping to the side, Shon saw what had stalled them. A man in what looked like poorly kept half-plate stood in the middle of the path. A large war ax strapped to his back.
The stranger scratched at his short beard, scraggly and peppered like his hair, “Ho traveler, where you headed?” He called.
The three boys looked to the Paladin driving the wagon, watching as his eyes narrowed, “We are bound for Hamerfoss, good ser…”
“Ah, so the toll you’ll be payin' will be comin' out of them coffers then,” the stranger called, his face splitting into a grin as the boys looked back his way.
“There is no toll on this road, good ser.” their Paladin stated. As if their heads had been placed on a swivel, the Squires returned their gazes to him, but only for a moment as the stranger answered again.
“There is now.” the bandit lifted his hand, the Paladin stood, and the boys looked between the two with wide eyes, not sure what they were supposed to do. The bandit whistled, a sharp sound that sent birds flying from the trees as four hooded figures exited from the gloom to surround the wagon and its three terrified Squires.
The Paladin drew his longsword, ordering the boys, “Protect the wagon!” They turned frightened eyes on each other for only a moment before looking back at the bandits. Each now holding swords of their own.
The knight lept from the wagon and charged the leader, who'd reached for his ax. Thom and Rerves fumbled for their short swords, and Shon dropped into a low stance, his fists held at the ready and heart beating furiously.
“Shon, sword!” Rerves yelled, his voice somehow steady as the four hooded bandits stalked closer.
Shon actually felt himself blush despite the situation and pulled his sword from its scabbard like the rest. He felt off-balance, the weight of the weapon throwing off his well-rehearsed stance. He didn’t have time to adjust before the bandits charged. Two went for Rerves, leaving one each for Shon and Thom.
Shon tried to relax, to stay alert and ready to move, as he'd been taught. But his palm was sweating and he clinched the hilt tighter than intended. Focused on the bandit heading his way, the chaos around him blurred, becoming indistinct, like a drawing left in the rain. Shon held his ground and lifted the sword to one of the ready positions he'd seen the Paladins practice. His attacker was quite a bit taller than he was, and Shon lifted the sword above his head as the first swing came down hard from above.
The hilt shook in Shon's hand, and his attacker didn't hesitate to swing again, this time sweeping around and aiming for Shon's left leg. Clenching his teeth, Shon pivoted the sword down to block again but misjudged the length of his blade. The bandit's long sword passed below the point of Shon's block to strike just above the knee. He felt the impact, but could only imagine the damage, refusing to look and thanking Hengist the limb hadn't buckled. As the shock of the hit ran its course, the attacker flicked his sword up from inside Shon's failed guard, knocking the weapon from his hand.
The short sword flew free, but Shon had already begun his counter, aiming with his free right hand at his attacker’s extended wrist. The hit would have knocked the attacker's arm aside at the least, but with his now empty left hand, Shon struck the same arm from the outside at the elbow. In an instinctual effort to save the joint, the bandit twisted awkwardly, but predictably, bringing his head lower and closer.
Cartilage crunched beneath his knuckles and Shon's attacker reeled back, gripping his nose under his hood and cursing loudly enough for others to hear over the clang of metal and chaos.
One of Rerves' attackers disengaged from his two-on-one fight to aid his friend, who was now backing away from Shon as fast as he could. Shon hesitated a moment then dashed to his fallen sword.
Again Shon felt unbalanced with the weapon in hand. He tried to shift his weight to offset the difference but barely had enough time to bring the sword to bear as the second attacker swung his two-handed greatsword at Shon's right side.
Taking his own weapon in both hands, Shon managed to absorb some of the force of the blow, but he still wasn't strong enough to fully block the strike. His arms buckled, giving way for his opponent's longsword to hit his upper arm. This second hit hadn't fully registered in Shon's mind when the new attacker shoved his shoulder into Shon's chest, trying to push him over.
It worked. Shon fell to the ground with a splash and smack as he habitually swung his hands down to slap the ground, dropping his sword again, but breaking the energy of the fall. Just as Master Veon-Zih had taught him. Perhaps expecting Shon to be winded, the attacker didn't follow through with another attack on the prone boy; instead, turning to look at the companion Shon had punched.
Shon didn't hesitate. Still on his back, Shon twisted his hips, scissoring his legs to either side of the bandit's leg and kicking him behind the knee and inside the shin. The bigger man went down, and Shon swung his legs up, rolling onto his shoulder blades before jumping directly to a standing position. Or at least trying to. The leather armor was heavy and awkward, and he wobbled when he landed on his feet. As he attempted to regain his balance, another whistle rang out from the front of the wagon.
As one, the attackers disengaged from their respective defending Squires. The one Shon had knocked down rolled away and was helped up by his companion sporting a bloody nose. The Squires didn't pursue. Their hands shook with adrenaline, and their eyes tried to dart every way at once.
"Stand down, Squires," it was the Paladin. The knight had sheathed his sword and was moving back towards the wagon, but the boys could barely manage a glance at each other before focusing back on their attackers. Still very much on edge. It wasn't until the attackers in question also sheathed their weapons that the Squires began to slowly straighten, looking between the Paladin, the lead bandit, their attackers, and each other in quick succession.
"You all did very well," the knight said, reaching out to ensure the horses were still calm. They'd hardly moved, causing Shon to determine they must be warhorses, perhaps one was the knight's own partner.
"Not bad, not bad." the lead bandit started forward, slinging his ax back over his shoulder as he moved. Rather than being reassured by the gesture, the Squires dropped back into their fighting stance.
The Paladin snapped, "It was a test, boys. Relax and sheath your swords before you hurt yourselves." The lead 'bandit' laughed out loud at that. It was a booming sound like a bark straight from his belly as he threw his head back and planted his fists firmly on his hips.
"First time seeing battle, even a mock one, and you can't help but be on edge. It's the same every year," he said, the strange speech pattern he'd used before completely gone. He gestured, and his four underlings removed their hoods. The one with the bloody nose still had it pinched, his head tilted forward.
Mock battle… Shon's leg and arm throbbed painfully with every heartbeat, and his knuckles stung as he clenched and unclenched his fists to try and relax. But now that it was over, he realized that both hits had been with the flat of the blade.
The ringleader continued, "These fine Squires are going to be the newest Paladins of Hengist. After their vigil next month." the four attackers saluted and the younger Squires exchanged glances again before finally putting their swords away. "And I," the man slapped his chest, "am your new Weaponmaster. Master Daunas Mung. It will be my job to train you in combat at Hamerfoss."
Rerves was the first to recover. He smiled, but his voice held a hint of sarcasm, "I wish I could say it's nice to meet you, Master Daunas," he tried to laugh, "perhaps once my heart has stopped trying to beat its way out of my chest." That caused the Weaponmaster to bark his own laugh again. Thom smiled nervously at Shon, who was taking slow, measured breaths to calm his own heart.
The Paladin took a moment to examine their various bumps and bruises but only used his magic to heal the senor squire's broken nose. The much larger party continued together towards Hamerfoss, Master Daunas riding with the Paladin in the wagon while the older Squires chatted amongst each other. Thom and Rerves didn’t join in the chatter, both looking as anxious as Shon felt. He could hear the two uninjured seniors making fun of the two who had fought him and wasn’t sure if he should be embarrassed or proud. He'd hardly used his sword, -dropped it twice!- and the sword was the sacred weapon of Hengist. The symbol of the god himself.
Eventually, -finally- they left the woods and immediately saw the fortress situated in the middle of a vast field. Hamerfoss was one of the oldest structures still being utilized in Clearhelm. As such, it wasn't nearly as visually impressive as some of the newer Temples in the cities. Even so, as they approached the south gate, the three new Squires gaped at its great stone walls in awe.
The outer curtain wall was twenty stones high, -at least four of the boys stacked one on top of the other- with two layers of iron portcullises, their bars as thick as Shon's forearm. Walking through the first, the boys looked up and saw the faces of Paladins looking down at them through holes in the ceiling, built for dumping hot tar or oil on invaders trapped between the portcullises. They moved a little faster through the second.
Beyond the wall was one of two open courtyards, with training dummies, archery targets, and sparring rings separated by neat stone walkways. The smell of hay and horses wafted over the whole place from the stable against the south wall to their right, and the ringing "tink, tink" of a hammer on metal filled the cool air from the smithy built into the side of the fortress proper.
"Welcome to Hamerfoss!" Master Daunas gestured widely to all before them, and Shon fixed his eyes on the fortress itself, rising up like an indomitable mountain before him. It was about fifteen feet taller than the curtain wall, with one great tower in the center jutting up another fifteen feet above that. The roof was lined with battlements where archers could rain death on an invading army.
Turning his head, Shon could see three of the four bastions at the corners of the curtain wall and the armored figures that must be more Paladins standing guard. His left hand twitched as he longed to unpack his journal and draw every detail. The bare, dead-looking vines covering the face of the west wall, he was sure they would bloom in a few short weeks and cover the stone in green; the squat smithy coming out of his workshop to wipe the sweat from his brow in the cool air of early spring; and the slack-jawed expressions of awe on his companions' faces as they tilted their heads waaay back to try and see the top of the fortress's tower. But there would be plenty of time for that. After all, this would be his home for the next four years.
"Well. Don't just stand there gawkin'! Unload the wagon." Shon jumped in surprise and glimpsed Thom and Rerves doing the same. Master Daunas must have startled them out of their awe as well.
Shon was grateful as Rerves cleared his throat and took charge. His habit of speaking first and taking control had annoyed the girls back in Smilnda, but as Thom was used to it and Shon didn’t like giving orders, it worked out well for the boys. "Thom, you get the horses settled. Shon, you start handing me things out of the wagon." Without a word of argument, Thom nodded and went to the horses, murmuring gently as he began removing their harness and Shon climbed into the bed of the wagon to lift one crate at a time down to Rerves.
Master Daunas snorted, turning away from the new boys to give orders Shon couldn't hear to the older Squires. The young men saluted in unison, one moving to help Thom and two coming back to the wagon to help Shon and Rerves. The last jogged to the blacksmith, who waved him towards the smithy. He returned a moment later, carrying a small box and marching towards the smith, who was speaking quietly with Master Daunas.
"Shon, come on!" Rerves whispered, gesturing with both hands impatiently. Shon shook his head to clear it, handing Rerves another crate. He'd been paying a little too much attention to Daunas and the smith.
"Sorry," Shon murmured, but if Rerves heard him, he just took the box and set it with the others. It didn't take long for the four Squires to finish with the wagon. Shon hopped down with his own pack over his shoulder just as Thom came out of the stable with the senior Squire to meet them.
"Horses taken care of?" Rerves asked, and Shon blinked at him, thinking, Of course, they were; Thom wouldn't have come out otherwise…
"Yep, all settled and ready to go," Thom answered with a smile. Shon would've simply nodded. He was never one to waste words on things that didn't need to be said, and now more than ever, he found himself so focused on taking in everything around him that he could hardly think of words to say.
It seemed Master Daunas had been waiting for something to be said out loud, though, because he turned towards them at the sound, "Alright lads, this here is Nangran Flintchest. He's our resident Smith, and he'll be making all your equipment." The man was only as tall as Thom, but his shoulders and chest were broader even than Master Daunas, with hands the size of shovels and a beard that hung to the middle of his chest.
"Line up, smallest... largest…" As he spoke, Nangran pointed first to the right, then to the left of Shon, and didn't bother to see if they obeyed before turning away from them to open the box the older Squire had brought. Taking out a long measuring tape and a ratty-looking notebook, the smith tossed the young man the notebook without explanation and headed toward Thom with the measuring tape. Thom quickly positioned himself to the right of Shon with Rerves on Shon’s left.
Nangran motioned with his hand, grumbling only "Arms…" Without need for further explanation, Thom stepped forward and lifted his arms like a 't', visibly swallowing down his nerves. Shon watched closely as the smith took the smaller boy's measurements. Around his chest, his bicep, lower arm, from shoulder to elbow, elbow to wrist, neck to waist, and much more besides. Thom stood stiff, following the old man's clipped instructions with hesitant jerky movements. Shon thought it should be awkward to work around their armor, but Nangran didn't seem to notice.
"Sword?" Nangran asked, and Thom made a confused sound. But the smith waved a massive hand in his face, "Not you, boy. Daunas, what sword?"
Master Daunas had his arms crossed over his chest and was tilting his head back and forth from one side to the other, absently scratching his beard before he finally said. "Two hands." he then pointed at Shon, saying, "Bastard." Shon wrinkled his nose, but the offense was short-lived when Daunas pointed at Rerves, saying, "One hand."
Nangran sniffed, "One each..." he stepped over to Shon and motioned for him to raise his arms. Shon stiffened but obliged, keeping his eyes fixed forward as the old man ran his measuring tape all across Shon's body, fighting not to flinch each time the Smith brushed against him.
"Yep," Daunas answered. They were talking as if the boys weren't even there, and the older Squires just watched. Didn’t they have anything better to do? "And that one," Daunas continued, nodding towards Shon, "is a lefty." Nangran snorted without comment and continued measuring, while the Squire with the notebook scribbled a little something extra besides the numbers Nangran mumbled to him.
But then the smith ran his hand down Shon’s forearm, touching the skin of his wrist, and pulled away in surprise. Shon jerked his hand back but quickly returned it with a nervous swallow. The smith stared at him, his brow furrowed, "You're cold as ice boy. Nervous?"
Shon shook his head, but the smith continued to stare, so he added, "No sir. I'm always cold."
The smith hummed and went back to measuring around Shon's wrist and back up his arm, "They say cold hands make a warm heart," Nangran muttered.
Beside Shon, Rerves and Thom snickered. "Whoever says that has never met Shon," said Thom, who had relaxed noticeably once the smith had finished with him. Face forward, Shon glared sideways at him, but there was no real anger in it, and Thom snickered again.
Master Daunas let out another bark of a laugh, "I see you get along well! That's good; you'll want friends in training." Shon tried to relax, taking a deep breath through his nose and letting it out through pursed lips. He did get along with his fellow Squires. He felt his lips tilt up in an almost imperceptible smile. He would even go so far as to call them friends. Even if they did poke fun at each other. Or maybe it was because they did.
Smith Nangran moved on to Rerves, and Shon looked from the larger boy to the smaller and back again before focusing his gaze on Master Daunas. It seemed neither of them was going to ask the adults to clarify what they meant by the sword assignments, so he would have to. Feeling more at ease, he asked, "I thought we were going to be trained in all weapons…"
Daunas must've seen where Shon was going because he spoke at the pause provided, "Oh, you will, boy. But I was watching you fight back on the road. You didn't think we staged that little raid just for fun, did you?" Shon didn't answer. He had
thought it was just for fun. Perhaps some kind of hazing ritual. When Shon didn't say anything, Daunas continued, "You boys haven't been trained, so your movements were on instinct, giving me an idea for what fighting style you may lean more towards." he pointed at Shon, who crossed his eyes to focus on the finger, "You, boy, are going to be a problem. You're the one old man V's been training." Who?
Shon refocused on the Weapon Master's face, arching an eyebrow in confusion. When Master Daunas didn’t respond to the look, Shon guessed, "Master Veon-Zih?"
Daunas continued, "He's got you jumping around with no mind to the armor you'll be wearing or the weapon in your hand. You'll have to work twice as hard to adjust some of those habits." Shon was taken aback, shocked, and a little afraid… He didn't want to lose what he'd already learned… but Master Daunas continued, "But with a hand-and-a-half sword, you'll be able to switch between one and two-handed maneuvers." he smiled softly, and Shon realized his emotions must have been showing on his face more than usual because the Weapon Master seemed to be comforting him. "You mark my words; you'll favor the bastard sword for sure."
Nangran finished with Rerves and began rolling up his measuring tape. He turned his back on the boys but spoke to them as he took his notebook back from the senior Squire, “Take that leather off and put it in the wagon. I’ll have better ready for you by first watch week.” The Squires exchanged looks, then began following the command, stripping off the leather armor and thick gambeson and trying in vain to straighten the sweaty wrinkled uniforms underneath.
“You four,” Daunas addressed the seniors, who moved from parade rest to attention in perfect unison, “show these three around and give them the rundown of how things work around here. You three,” he looked over his shoulder at Shon and the others, scratching his neck again, “this is your last day of freedom, enjoy it while you can.” all seven Squires saluted and Daunas sighed, giving a lazy salute in response before walking off, muttering to himself, “I need to shave…”
The older Squires approached the younger, two of them snickering after Daunas was far enough away not to hear. Shon arched an eyebrow at them and, seeing the expression, the tallest explained, “He’s normally clean-shaven. He let his beard grow out all week for the wagon raid.”
“You’ll be doing one too, in your last year.” another of the four added.
“Sorry about your arm,” the one who had fought Thom said, holding out his hand to the younger boy, “You really did do well, considering.” Thom shook the young man’s hand with a grateful smile at the compliment.
The two who had fought Shon exchanged looks with each other then looked at him, their expressions expectant. Shon arched his other eyebrow instead. Did they really expect him to apologize? They
had attacked him
. And he was four years younger than they were.
“So…” the one Shon had bloodied started, drawing the word out.
“Who taught you how to fight?” the second interjected.
When Shon didn’t elaborate further, the two exchanged silent shrugs. Shon looked away from them, frustrated. They could communicate with each other fine in gestures and expressions, yet, he
was expected to explain details they didn't need? Would they even know what a Monk was? Did it even matter? He was here to train as a Paladin now.
The only one who hadn’t spoken yet cleared his throat, and the other three turned his way immediately. Apparently, he was the unofficial leader of this group, just like Rerves was the unofficial leader of theirs. “We'll show you the barracks first. You should shower and change your uniforms before we walk around the rest of the fortress.”
“You have showers here too?” Rerves blurted in amazement, then snapped his mouth shut, blushing.
The two who were prone to laughing did so again, “Why wouldn’t we?”
“I bet we need it more than most of the official Temples.” the two laughed again.
Thom shuffled his feet nervously but said, “They told us things would be a lot rougher here.”
“They were probably just trying to scare you,”
“They were talking about the work,” the leader said sharply, then turned towards the fortress.
Shon and the others quickly grabbed their bags and rushed to follow. The leader continued to talk as they fell into step behind him, “Your day will start just before sunrise, at fifth bell. You will get dressed, make your bed as quickly as possible, then gather with the others in the courtyard,” he gestured with one hand at a wide-open spot on the training grounds, “From there we run. Around the fortress ten times in formation. After that are drills and then breakfast. After breakfast, we have prayer, followed by lectures, then heavy weapons and armor training, then lunch.” they made their way into the fortress and up a long flight of stairs to the third floor, “After lunch, there's more classwork, then light weapons and combat training. You’re then given an hour of free time to shower and rest before dinner. After dinner, there is mandated study or prayer time, then another hour of free time before lights out at ninth bell. Once every season, we take four weeks to stand watch, one week for each shift.”
He took them down a long hall lined with doors on one side. Shon tried to listen and count the doors at the same time and was glad he did when the leader stopped beside the ninth, “These three rooms are yours. Go ahead and get a new uniform and meet us back out here.”
One of the nicer boys stepped forward to open the first door, “This one is Rerves, followed by Shon and Thom.” Shon entered to find a small room barely six feet square. Directly across from the door was a bed that took up the entire wall and a small high-set window that looked out over the training field. Beside it was a small desk with a single wooden chair. Under the bed, Shon found a long shallow box full of neatly folded uniforms. His name was embroidered in the lining of each piece, and on top was a pinned note with instructions detailing the laundry procedure. Shon only skimmed it, it was the same as the fortress in Smilnda, and most likely the same the Provence over, perhaps even the kingdom.
He left his pack by the desk and returned to the hall with one of his uniforms to find it empty. Glancing down either side of the hall, he shrugged at Thom’s questioning look when he was joined by his two fellows. They waited at least ten minutes before the seniors returned, without their armor and holding their own spare uniforms. They looked nearly as disheveled as the juniors. The leader gestured for them to follow again and said, “Once you get your armor, you will keep it in your room. It's your responsibility to keep it oiled or polished as appropriate.” well, they would be good at that at least… Had they been left to wait while the seniors cared for their armor? Shon didn’t bother to ask, following the four deeper into the fortress.
They were taken to the showers, a single large room with spigots set into the walls and drains in the floor. The seniors started to strip down, placing their dirty uniforms in a basket by the door and setting their clean sets on the benches set along the same wall. Thom, Rerves, and Shon all exchanged looks before following their lead.
There were only ten showerheads, and Rerves finally asked, “How many Squires are there here?”
The seniors each moved to their own showerhead, and the room was quickly filled with hot steam, “Twentyone, including us, but we will be gone in a month, so that will leave seventeen.” one of them answered, stepping under the hot water with a grateful sigh, rinsing the sweat and dirt from the road off his surprisingly well-muscled body. Shon counted the shower spigots again as he moved towards his own. Almost twenty Squires and only ten showers at a time… it sounded like a nightmare. But at least they had hot running water.
Though he had above-average cold tolerance and preferred the winter chill far more than the summer sweat, Shon always enjoyed a truly hot shower. Master Veon-Zih liked to argue that baths were far superior, but in Shon's experience, baths always cooled off too quickly, which was why most ordinary citizens of Clearhelm used the public steam baths.
After they were washed and dressed, the real tour began. They were shown the hall with the officer's rooms, the infirmary, the mess hall, the library, and the classroom. “There’s only one?” Thom asked, peeking into the room with a blackboard across the far wall and long tables situated in front.
“Tomorrow is the last real day before the watch weeks start. You'll spend those four weeks catching up on foundational stuff. Kingdom-wide law, and your assigned sword dills, that sort of thing. After that, the lessons are given in a four-year rotation, so your first classes after the watch weeks will be new to both you and everyone else." the leader explained.
The nicest one elaborated, “You’ll have the same schedule we did, so comparative law, followed by history, then theology, then comparative cultural studies.” Shon wasn’t sure what he looked forward to least on that list. Though all would be better than fighting for a shower…
"There's also etiquette, monster studies, combat tactics and command, and war history and theory." his friend added, and Shon was relieved that at least most of those seemed more interesting.
Next, they were shown some of the less-used rooms. The war room, full of charts and maps and only used for large-scale tactics training, and an indoor sparring room that looked like it was never used.
“This is supposed to be for heavy weather.” one of the laughers said with a snicker.
“But Master Daunus says your enemies won’t let you move a fight inside, so why practice there,” added the other. Shon happened to agree, but also wasn’t looking forward to training in the rain after having walked in it for two days.
Lastly, they were shown the chapel, not as fine as the one in Smilnda but with the same sweet incense and warm comfort. The atmosphere seeped into Shon’s bones as they approached the head altar for a brief prayer and a blessing from the resident Cleric. He was a young man with pale brown hair and green eyes. He smiled warmly down at the new boys, saying, “Welcome to Hamerfoss, Squires of Hengist.” which in turn made each of them glow with enough pride to banish the nerves of their first day and daunting future.
--- Part 2/2 ---
--- Table of Contents
All comments and criticism is welcome.
submitted by NamelessNanashi
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2023.05.30 19:11 alxfx The Essentials to Cleaning & Maintaining your Headset
Cleaning your headset regularly will greatly increase its peak performance capability over a long time of using it. A VR headset is an investment after all, both in terms of money and time/energy. For something that you plan to continue using for years to come, do yourself a huge favor and make a habit of regularly cleaning your headset to guarantee it'll be working as well as it did on day one!
For starters, there are 3 essential items that every VR user should have in their kit:
- The Lenspen - designed mostly for use with camera lenses, these little pens have a very fine brush on one end and a carbon sponge on the other: one side brushes dust and tiny particles away, while the other soaks up any sweat, oil, smudges or fingerprints left on the lens. No cleaners or moisture involved, so no residue or streaks - just perfectly clean lenses after a few swipes with the pen! Avoid the micro-tips though, and go with the regular sized ones.
- Any decent electronics microfiber cloth will be worth its weight in gold for heavy VR users. Another tool in the kit focused mainly on keeping the lenses clean and clear, these cloths provide a quick easy option for getting a quick smudge off or what not. Works great in tandem with the lens pen, it can wipe up heavier smudges and fingerprints that the sensitive carbon tip of the lens pen may not be ale to on the first try.
- The most contentious item of the three, but wipes are a must-have for most people. There's some debate about which wipes you should and shouldn't use on a VR headset, as the external plastic and silicone elements of the headset are sensitive to harsh chemicals and alcohol. I'd avoid using all-purpose cleaning wipes (Lysol, Clorox, etc.) and instead recommend fragrance-free makeup removal wipes. These are obviously skin-safe as opposed to all-purpose wipes, and will be much better for the silicone forehead pad and "curtain" element that goes around your eyes in terms of keeping the material soft and pliable. Harsh chemicals will make these black pieces turn grey and look "dusty", and also will stiffen them after continued use.
Another major tip that's mostly common sense but still always worth mentioning: NEVER leave your headset in direct sunlight!
Make sure it's stored in a spot when not using it that is away from windows or anywhere that will expose it to direct sunlight. Regular room lighting is fine, but direct sunlight can severely damage the lenses of your headset and the sensitive optical technology directly behind them. Besides this, it can also cause yellowing of the white exterior plastic, and "bake" the silicone and stiffen it from UV exposure. As already mentioned, you really want to keep the soft parts of your headset protected and well-maintained: they're non-removable therefore non-replaceable, and they're already pretty fragile as it is, even without exposure to harsh chemicals or sunlight.
My last tip is a personal one that doesn't apply to people who've strung up their PSVR cord on the ceiling or in a similar management system. For those of us that play with the cord running the floor, keep that cord safe! One bad step on it and you'll be yanking your headset right off your head, or even worse, yanking the cord right out from its attachment to the headset. this unfortunately was a somewhat-common issue with PSVR1, with lots of support requests for disconnected cords from headsets. Keep in mind, this is a death sentence for your headset, totally non-repairable as far as Sony is concerned. All it takes to prevent this from happening to you is to simply tuck the cord into your waistband
while playing. When you put your headset on, don't play with the cord running down your shoulder & chest in the front; instead, sling the cord over your shoulder so it's running down your back and tuck it into your waistband with enough slack on the cord to be able to swivel your head as far as you need. Problem solved! Now if you end up stepping on the cord, it will yank from your waistband instead of yanking directly on the headset - like those clips on old treadmills that automatically turned the speed down if the clip was yanked out.
I've been loving PSVR since its original inception and have been fortunate to avoid any issues throughout my time using PSVR 1 and 2, which I credit mainly to plain old good maintenance. If you like something, take care of it! I'm sharing this in hopes of others being able to enjoy PSVR with us for as long as possible. Being the most accessible format of VR available to most people, it's usually their starting point and they might not know some of these things. So, go forth with this info and keep having fun with your VR headset for as long as you can :)
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2023.05.30 15:03 Recent-Development10 [A Terran Space Story: Lieutenant Saga] - Chapter 117
The attack continues and an opportunity presents itself. Does it work? Or does it have the opposite affect? I hope you enjoy!
Well, today is my last day of vacation. And with any luck my AC will get fixed. The last couple days has been most unpleasant without it. The next chapter will be out on Saturday! Terran Space Story: The Lieutenant Saga Academy Days First Previous Next
Chapter 117: Failed to Take the Bait Minutes Later. March 4th, 2267. 16:35 Paximus System –Outer Asteroid Belt
The CNS Ugley had already racked up twelve pirate kills. Her Captain was aggressive in their push against the pirate forces here. No missiles had yet been expended, just the main rail gun and the other secondary batteries. Against another proper Naval warship that would be a recipe for disaster, but against the pirates in this system the handicap didn’t seem to be affecting them that much.
Her attitude changed dramatically. Her bow flipped up nearly two hundred degrees as she maneuvered hard to port. The main gun snap fired at the right moment. The large tungsten and ceramic mass shot out from the tip of its barrel. To add insult to injury they were firing high explosive rounds. As if piercing the hull at insane speeds wasn’t enough lethality the added explosive charge adds insult to injury.
The fired round’s aim was true. Moments later it intercepted one of the larger pirate vessels on the port side. It was an old Corvette from sixty-some years ago, so heavily modified it barely resembled its past self. Not that those modifications meant a thing to the round that just struck mid-ships.
The ceramic layer and tungsten penetrator easily pierced through the hull armor plates. The round then exploded somewhere in the second deck, after a nearly imperceptible amount of time passed. The damage to the ship’s spine couldn’t hold it together. The poor Corvette was bisected in two by the round.
Meanwhile, the Waukesha was continuing its dreadfully accurate and brutal assault on the pirate base. Two-thirds of the docked ships were killed before they had a chance to join the fight. Over three-quarters of the base's anti-ship defensive weapons have been destroyed.
“Captain, I suggest adjusting our orbit to cross the rings at a perpendicular angle. The poles of that rock still contain defensive weapons,” Ingrid said.
“Rex, do as the lady says,” John said.
“Adjusting course,” Rex said as he keyed in the adjustments to their orbit.
Just as the ship began to angle the forward kinetic shields flared up. The sound of sacrificial relays frying themselves could be heard by the bridge crew. A pirate had gotten a lucky rail gun shot off. Were it not for the angle of the ship and the kinetic shields it was very possible the Waukesha could have suffered noticeable damage.
“Find whoever did that and blast them out of the void,” John said with a clenched fist, “Good thing the bridge is buried in the ship.”
“With pleasure,” Chester said.
“You are not wrong Captain,” Ingrid said, “That round could have made it into one of our forward missile rooms.”
“Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good,” Rex said with a chuckle.
“I’d rather be good than rely on luck to see me survive a battle,” John said dryly.
“Can’t hurt to have some luck,” Chester said, “Where the fuck is that little fucker that shot at us?”
“Sorry Lieutenant, it’s a mess out there. The target is a Shrike-class attack shuttle. Sending you the designators,” Walter said from operations.
“Walter, how many enemy ships remain?”
“The Ugley just splashed another Corvette. All they have left is modified shuttles.”
Chester then added, “And all the weapons batteries left on the station.”
“Rex, make sure our course and speed are adjusted on the fly. Make it harder for their targeting systems to get a good read on us,” John said leaning back in his chair.
“Consider it done.”
The Waukesha’s variable course setting would cause it to roll and pitch at random intervals and speed up or slow down. It wasn’t a guarantee to prevent damage to the ship. But it makes being struck by enemy fire significantly less likely to occur.
The Confederate Navy learned that lesson the hard way in a conflict against the Alliance. From that point on the variable course settings had proven to be a valuable deterrent in avoiding enemy fire. Not to mention keeping the lives of those inside the ships safe.
“And down goes that Shrike. Fucking punk,” Chester exclaimed from the weapons console.
“Incoming fire from remaining weapons platforms on the station are limited to those that are being manned in person. We may have cut systems or power to them,” Walter said.
“Verify that. Chester, continue eliminating the asteroid’s defenses,” John said, “Am I reading this tactical output correctly?”
“That is an affirmative,” Tess said, “CNS Ugley reports all pirate ships have been eliminated. They are steaming back to assist in the base assault.”
“Continue with the bombardment. Have the CAG refocus the drones on the docking bays. I want a full scan of defensive systems before the Marines set foot there,” John stood up then walked towards the front screen, “Tess, have we received any transmissions from the base?”
“The pirates are broadcasting a general distress call, but it is going unheeded. No commercial or unidentified traffic is heading this way,” Tess shrugged as she answered her captain’s question.
“More than that,” Walter said, “Traffic is avoiding this region altogether. If there are pirates out there, they are ‘noping out’ of this fight.”
John walked over to Tess’s console and pressed the button to hail the Marines onboard, “Captain Taylor. Load your men up. We’ll be launching the step in this assault within the next thirty minutes.”
“Not that I want to be Debbie Downer, sir,” Ingrid spoke cautiously, “But was this attack really expected to draw out the Icarus?”
“Nope. Not directly. But it’s going to generate a hell of a lot of chatter amongst their circles. Plus,” John smiled as he looked back at Walter, “Walter, find me a pirate ship that is currently dead but could potentially be reactivated.”
“Sure thing, sir,” Walter looked very confused as he looked up from his console, “Dare I ask why?”
“Well, if you go out fighting you need a lure to catch a fish.”
Walter immediately put two and two together and determined what his captain was planning, “Say no more. I’ll find a wreck that will work.”
Two more orbits were all that it required to finish eliminating the station defenses. As a result of the two engagements, all lances would need to be replaced. Because of the change of tactics, their lifespan was shortened to just two engagements.
Marty and his team would grumble about doing spacewalks and replacing them but their discomfort and annoyance was a small price to pay to ensure the Waukesha had sufficient missiles should the Icarus appear. John did make a mental note to pay for a good meal or drinks for the engineering team, even if their actions resulted in good practice for maintaining the ship systems.
The Marines from both the Waukesha and Ugley boarded the pirate station at the bottom of the hour. Fighting initially was intense. A great number of pirates never made it onboard the ships the Waukesha had killed while intercepting the base. The pirates had numerical superiority, not to mention fighting on familiar ground.
Unfortunately for the residents of that station, the Marines were wearing power armor. Every last Marine was equipped with a suit. More than half were wearing Broadsword heavy-power armor. The pirates ran into an immovable object in the Marine’s relentless and calculating advance. Morale on the pirate’s side broke after the second engagement.
The few who continued to fight were mercilessly cut down by the Marines. Those that did lay down their arms were treated relatively well, like any prisoner of the Confederacy. Though their fate likely would result in lengthy prison sentences, if they were lucky then they would still have a chance at life.
Multiple prison transports were required to ferry everyone they had captured. The trio of Confederate ships stayed on site for two full days after the engagement began. Six transports were loaded full of women and children, and their destinations were reeducation camps, though the mothers of the children could still be tried for crimes depending on what the investigations come up with. Three more transport ships were used to house the known pirates.
John didn’t really care where they were being sent to be tried. That was a feeling shared by his fellow captains in his squadron. Once everyone had been transported off the pirate base the Waukesha and Ugley commenced a calculated bombing of the asteroid. Dozens of armor-piercing rail gun rounds were fired. The asteroid cracked into several pieces. Gravity would eventually pull them back together in a few hundred years, but the base was forever broken.
Step two of the mission was now complete. It was a long shot, but John sincerely hoped the next step would lure out the Icarus. But what it would do, if his calculations were correct, is inflame the pirate’s mood. He needed them to act irrationally and put an undue amount of pressure on the Icarus. But John was getting ahead of himself in thought. The bait first had to be tossed out into the sea of stars. 7 Days Later. March 11th, 2267. 03:00 Paximus System – Outer Asteroid Belt
John walked onto the bridge just as the shift change had begun. The outgoing shift not only looked but felt bored. Even more bored today than the previous days since the attack. That wasn’t all that surprising though, normally the ship was getting into all sorts of action. Waiting wasn’t the crew’s forte, that was doubly true for their captain.
Brian smiled as he saw John walk onto the bridge, “Before you ask, fuck all happened. The ship is still running quietly and isn’t bleeding any signals still. Engineering really wants to get on the move within seventy-two hours.”
“Thanks, Brian. Did they say why the hurry?”
“Something about fusion balance or some such,” Brian waved his hands as he walked past his captain, “You’ll want to reach out to them to get the specifics.”
“Understood. I doubt we’re going to be able to stay out here for another couple of days anyway. Fleet Command is likely going to order us to move on to a new location soon.”
Brian stopped at the bulkhead and looked back at John, “Don’t suppose it’ll be a nice warm planet with sunshine and beaches?”
Deb laughed as she walked by, “I could use some work on my tan. I’m a little pasty.”
“Sadly no. If the rumor is true, then we’re heading to a system with a bunch of mining bases. Won’t be going near the primary settlement which is on an airless hunk of rock.”
Deion could be heard in the hallway, “God damn, that sounds depressing as hell.”
“You take us to such nice places,” Deb laughed as she headed towards the mess hall.”
“Agreed,” Brian shrugged, “At least this system is the command’s decision and not yours.”
John grinned, “Would that make much of a difference?”
“Yes, yes it would,” Brian turned and waved behind him, “Cya tomorrow.”
“Alright, folks let’s get at her. How does our bait look?”
“Lonely and unfulfilled,” Chester said sarcastically.
“Should we increase the power to the broadcast system?” Tess asked, “We might get a nibble that way.”
John nodded, “Work with engineering on that. We don’t want it to be too obvious.”
The Ugley had managed to find a shuttle that suffered a simple through and through. While a simple wound that resulted in superficial internal damage it was catastrophic as all atmosphere was lost to the void. The crew had no chance to survive such a wound.
To make their bait look more accurate there were a couple of armor plates crudely welded over the wounds. The shuttle never lost power, but the engineering team from the Waukesha was able to get the life support systems operational once again. While on the shuttle they also enabled the communication systems and slaved it back to the Waukesha’s control systems.
Several devices were left behind in the ship to fool any friendly sensors into thinking there was still life onboard the ship. John didn’t know what ship they would lure in, but a bigger pirate vessel would definitely be able to perform rudimentary scans of the shuttle. They needed something to temporarily trick those initial scans.
As for the Confederate ships, the Basilone did what it does best and was stealthily sneaking around in the void undetected. The Ugley and the Waukesha both had found crevasses in a nearby asteroid. Both ships were rigged for silent running. The only way they were able to communicate with one another is direct beam communication, a frustrating system in this day and age but is perfectly silent to outside viewers unless you cross the path of the beam.
Because these large naval ships were hiding in places that weren’t designed for warships to go, a properly janky solution was in place. Several reflectors and amplification devices were carefully spread out on the asteroid's surface. The likelihood of a pirate ship crossing the beam and discovering their hidey-hole was thought to be impossible.
Despite being rigged for silent running, they were able to receive general broadcasts from commercial and civilian ships. The Basilone, along with the rest of the Navy for that matter, could contact the ships directly. Responding to those messages would give their positions away to the more advanced pirate ships. Their prey would undoubtedly be able to detect those types of transmissions.
“What are the odds that the Icarus shows up here?” Tess broke the silence on the bridge.
“Somewhere between zero and zero,” Walter said.
“Not happening,” Chester said, “Getting a nibble from anyone seems pretty unlikely at this point too.”
“Captain, your thoughts?” Tess asked innocently.
“Well, it would be nice if we did lure our that great white whale,” John sighed, “I had hoped we’d get some interest from a pirate ship that we could get some intel from. It’s not looking great at the moment.”
Chester leaned back in his seat and swiveled to look towards the front of the bridge, “What’s the pirate’s reaction going to be to our raids?”
“Impotent rage,” John said, “We’ve been capturing their children and wives for seventy-plus years and besides some gnashing of teeth they’ve not been able to do anything about our policy.”
The universe must have heard John’s sardonic comment. At the precise moment he stopped speaking sensors were triggered. A slip space rupture was forming.
“Holy shitballs, we’ve got a ship translating to real space,” Walter said, “Can’t make out the ship type.”
“CNS Basilone reports slip space rupture danger close to the bait shuttle,” Tess said, “They successfully identified the ship as the Basilisk, formerly an old Alliance cruiser.”
“I want all systems back online, maximum thrust out of here,” John commanded.
“That will take thirty to sixty seconds to online everything,” Chester said, “But already on it, sir.”
As the bridge crew began working furiously to bring their ship back online, John was staring at the tactical readout. Something was off about the Basilisks' energy readouts. Normally there was a brief surge of power output when a ship transitions back into real space, but that power draw remained.
Without warning the Basilisk opened fire on the hapless shuttle. It exploded in a bright green fusion blast. The ship had been entirely atomized in the blast. The squadron was successfully able to bait a pirate into their trap. Unfortunately, the pirates seemed to be prepared for precisely that.
“Systems are fully restored, engines are primed and ready for use,” Ken said over the comms from his spot in Engineering.
“Helen, get us…”
John was unable to finish his sentence. He was watching the tactical readout. Someone, he wasn’t paying attention to who was speaking, was calling out what was happening. John saw the ship abruptly flip over and head directly back to the slip space rupture, which was curiously still active.
The pirates were a step ahead, of sorts, this day. The bait was successful. The pirates thought to put their comrades out of their misery. Or maybe they were enemies. It didn’t really matter; the lure was successful to a point. But no one in the squadron had thought of this tactic.
Hell, John didn’t even know that this was possible. The Naval guidelines surrounding slip space generators forbade such maneuvers from happening. In fact, if you transition from one space to another the Navy requires one to discharge the generators properly which takes two to three hours. What the pirates did was risk blowing up those generators and getting stuck in a place they didn’t want to be.
Though it didn’t seem like it mattered if the pirates gave a damn about Confederate Naval policies. Just as soon as the pirate ship appeared they were back through the portal from whence they came. The bait shuttle was destroyed, and John succinctly summed up their operation.
“Well… Shit,” John slunk into his chair and was forced to taste the bitter pill of defeat. 2 Days Later. March 13th, 2267. 14:00 Slip Space – En Route to the Altair system
John was soundly asleep and getting some much-needed rest. The paperwork following the letdown of their trap made the days challenging. But the final after-action report on both attacks on the pirate bases had been submitted. He had largely shirked his normal duties to resolve the paperwork.
The crew wouldn’t openly tell him this, but they didn’t mind when he hid away in his ready room to do paperwork. That was paperwork that they didn’t have to do. They appreciated John taking one for the team.
“Captain, apologies, but you are needed on the bridge immediately,” Brian said over the comms.
“Be there in a jiffy,” John yawned as he stepped out of bed.
He didn’t bother getting dressed appropriately for a shift. He found a clean T-shirt and quickly threw that on. A pair of gym shorts lay on the ground which he also put on before he looked around for some sandals that he had left in his room someplace.
After eventually finding footwear John made his way to the bridge. His appearance, combined with the rubbing of his eyes and yawning, was a clear sign that he wasn’t expecting to be awake. Or wanting to be awake at that time. The crew members that did see John that morning said nothing but giggled internally at seeing their captain in such a light.
The doors to the bridge opened and John saw through yawns, “What’s up?”
“Play it again please,” Brian said.
Deb keyed a few things into her console. The tactical screen then split into two. A newsfeed began playing back on the right-hand side of the screen.
“This massive pirate fleet, led by the infamous Folly of Icarus, attacked a munitions plant in the Outer Regalia system this morning. Early reports are a bit scattered, and the Confederate Navy has not yet released an official statement, but it appears that a fleet of well over two hundred pirate vessels, the vast majority being heavily modified retired military vessels, led a successful raid on a military installation.”
The newscaster paused for a moment to collect herself.
“The loss of life is estimated to be in the low thousands. Three orbital facilities were utterly destroyed and the primary station, and the space bridge connecting it to the surface, were also destroyed. Loss of life on the surface was minimal as the bridge is located in a coastal region that is lightly populated.”
The video then switched to one the pirates had sent the newscasters. Rene appeared dressed as flamboyantly as he normally did. But gone was the aura of aloofness. His eyes were hardened. John was used to seeing that look, one full of hate and contempt for one’s enemies. In this case, the enemy was clearly the Confederacy as a whole.
“The pirates sent this message. We have not been able to independently identify this pirate. They are claiming to be the spokesperson for the pirate alliance.”
“For too long the local powers have abused and attacked those that wish to live a life of freedom without their interference. Our brothers and sisters get callously murdered by an uncaring government bureaucracy. For those unfortunate to survive such a fate all of the powers use us as slave labor. Our children, infirm, wives, nieces, and nephews get taken from us without due process. They are sent to re-education camps to be indoctrinated into believing the lies espoused by the major powers. All of you are guilty of war crimes against those that simply want to live lives free of influence from such tyranny,” Rene paused and stared at the camera, “The grand pirate alliance struck three installations simultaneously, one in each of your nations. Until such prosecutions cease and our loved ones are returned to us, the grand pirate alliance will commence hit-and-run attacks on commerce. We will grind your lovely systems to a halt. When you finally taste that which you’ve dealt us perhaps you will come to the bargaining table and ask for forgiveness from us.”
John walked over to Deb’s console and pressed a red button to halt the replay. He turned and looked at his bridge crew. They in turn looked at him. All present knew their actions over the past couple of years had fermented this new rebellion.
“Kid gloves are coming off. It’s time to grind another enemy beneath our heels.”
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2023.05.30 01:23 Then_Marionberry_259 APR 27, 2023 PAAS.TO PAN AMERICAN SILVER ANNOUNCES 2023 PRODUCTION AND COST GUIDANCE
| || |https://preview.redd.it/8yd68rcntu2b1.png?width=3500&format=png&auto=webp&s=e9eb81e2ee062331322abfc766de7164000cec5d Conference Call and Webcast April 27 at 11:00 am ET Pan American Silver Corp. submitted by Then_Marionberry_259 to Treaty_Creek [link] [comments]
(NYSE: PAAS) (TSX: PAAS) ("Pan American") today provided its guidance for production, costs and certain expenditures in 2023. Pan American completed its previously announced transaction with Yamana Gold Inc. ("Yamana") on March 31, 2023, resulting in the addition of four producing mines (the "Acquired Operations"), plus several exploration and development projects in Chile, Brazil and Argentina. The guidance reflects the contribution from the Acquired Operations for the nine-month period from March 31 to December 31, 2023. Guidance for the original Pan American operations reflect the full 12-month period of 2023.
"The 2023 guidance is in line with our expectation for a material increase in silver and gold production together with lower consolidated operating costs following the acquisition of Yamana, indicative of the accretive nature of the transaction," said Michael Steinmann, President and Chief Executive Officer of Pan American. "The integration is progressing well and after only one month of ownership of the Acquired Operations, we are on track to realize the $40 to $60 million in annual synergies we had identified. Our teams are now focused on delivering the production and cost targets through the safe, efficient and environmentally sound operation of our mines."
Pan American reports mines under either a Silver Segment or a Gold Segment with costs calculated on a by-product basis (by-product metal sales a credit to costs to produce the primary metal for that segment). Yamana reported production and costs in gold equivalent ounces ("GEO"), which is not directly comparable to the way in which Pan American reports its production and costs.
The guidance also incorporates the application of Pan American's accounting and reporting policies to the Acquired Operations, of which the most significant changes relate to re-allocating large portions of previously capitalized mine development to operating expenses, and re-categorizing certain capital expenditures (including exploration and tailings facility expansions) from project capital to sustaining capital. This re-categorization will result in higher all-in sustaining costs ("AISC"). Specifically, for the Acquired Operations in 2023, Pan American is providing project capital guidance for Jacobina only, where it will be invested to complete certain growth-related projects that were already underway prior to the closing of the transaction with Yamana and to initiate a comprehensive mine optimization study. For the remaining Acquired Operations, all capital expenditures are being classified as sustaining capital for the remainder of 2023.
The following estimates contain forward-looking information about expected future events and financial and operating performance of Pan American. Readers should refer to the risks and assumptions set out in the "Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements and Information" at the end of this news release. Pan American may revise forecasts during the year to reflect actual results to date and those anticipated for the remainder of the year. 2023 Production and Cost Forecast https://preview.redd.it/otdluatntu2b1.png?width=720&format=png&auto=webp&s=0d073f07856a58c40d265279ea20685904721f22 https://preview.redd.it/usg97svntu2b1.png?width=720&format=png&auto=webp&s=470fc68c14aea6a00fb49eb50605e1f2c3b37cc8 2023 Consolidated Base Metal Production Forecast https://preview.redd.it/vcwtscyntu2b1.png?width=720&format=png&auto=webp&s=018779bf3ff3d9146bf392fcbab0d4fa211c15fc 2023 Capital Expenditure Forecast https://preview.redd.it/ij25kf1otu2b1.png?width=720&format=png&auto=webp&s=1aa181f9d61df14aa051b3735ae50e97d5b99272
In 2023, Pan American plans to invest an estimated $75 to $85 million of project capital in the following projects.
General and Administrative and Greenfield Exploration Expenditures
- At Jacobina, $26 to $29 million of project capital will be invested during the nine-months of 2023 to stabilize the operation with the expansion underway, which involves upgrading plant facility infrastructure to sustain a gold recovery of about 96%.
- At La Colorada, $16 to $18 million of project capital will be invested in: continued exploration and in-fill drilling on the Skarn project; advancing engineering work towards a preliminary economic assessment for the Skarn project, which is expected to be released in the second half of 2023; and advancing construction of the concrete-lined ventilation shaft, which is expected to benefit both the long-term development of the Skarn project, as well as the current vein-system operation. We expect to complete the concrete-lined ventilation shaft by the end of 2023 and install and commission the high-capacity fans in mid-2024. The shaft is currently at a depth of 270 metres, with the final depth being 560 metres. Pan American assumes mining ore below reserve grades until this additional infrastructure for the ventilation system is commissioned.
- At Huaron, $22 to $25 million of project capital will be invested in advancing the construction of a tailings pressure filtration plant and a dry-stack tailings storage facility to replace the conventional tailings storage facility currently in operation. The project is expected to be completed in 2024 and operational thereafter.
- At Timmins, $12 to $13 million of project capital will be invested in the construction of a paste fill plant at Bell Creek, which will improve backfill quality and availability for more effective ground support systems and to increase resource recovery and throughput.
In order to include ongoing adjustments, management intends to provide estimates for annual 2023 consolidated general and administrative expenses, greenfield exploration expenditures and care and maintenance spending as part of the unaudited financial results for the first quarter of 2023, scheduled to be released on May 10, 2023 after market close. Strong Financial Position Post Completion of Yamana Acquisition
As at March 31, 2023, Pan American had cash and short-term investments of $513.1 million, inclusive of $204.7 million related to the MARA project in Argentina, and $425.0 million available under its $750.0 million revolving Sustainability-Linked Credit Facility. Conference Call and Webcast https://preview.redd.it/1rmf5i4otu2b1.png?width=720&format=png&auto=webp&s=2e0ca13807de5631ec88847b3f62fac69f683c40
The live webcast and presentation slides will be available at https://www.panamericansilver.com/invest/events-and-presentations/ Technical Information
Scientific and technical information contained in this news release have been reviewed and approved by Martin Wafforn, P.Eng., Senior Vice President Technical Services and Process Optimization, and Christopher Emerson, FAusIMM, Vice President Business Development and Geology, each of whom is a Qualified Person, as the term is defined in Canadian National Instrument 43-101 - Standards of Disclosure of Mineral Projects
For additional information about Pan American Silver's material mineral properties, please refer to Pan American Silver’s Annual Information Form dated February 22, 2023, filed at www.sedar.com
, or Pan American Silver's most recent Form 40-F filed with the SEC. For further information about the Yamana material mineral properties, please refer to Yamana’s Annual Information Form dated March 29, 2023, filed at www.sedar.com
or Yamana’s most recent Form 40-F filed with the SEC. About Pan American
Pan American is a leading producer of precious metals in the Americas, operating silver and gold mines in Canada, Mexico, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Chile and Brazil. We also own the Escobal mine in Guatemala that is currently not operating. We have been operating in the Americas for nearly three decades, earning an industry-leading reputation for sustainability performance, operational excellence and prudent financial management. We are headquartered in Vancouver, B.C. and our shares trade on NYSE and the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol "PAAS". Learn more at panamericansilver.com
In this news release, we refer to measures that are not generally accepted accounting principle ("non-GAAP") financial measures. These measures are widely used in the mining industry as a benchmark for performance, but do not have a standardized meaning as prescribed by IFRS as an indicator of performance, and may differ from methods used by other companies with similar descriptions. These non-GAAP financial measures include:
- Cash Costs. Pan American's method of calculating cash costs may differ from the methods used by other entities and, accordingly, Pan American's Cash Costs may not be comparable to similarly titled measures used by other entities. Investors are cautioned that Cash Costs should not be construed as an alternative to production costs, depreciation and amortization, and royalties determined in accordance with IFRS as an indicator of performance.
- All-in Sustaining Costs per silver or gold ounce sold, net of by-product credits ("AISC"). Pan American has adopted AISC as a measure of its consolidated operating performance and its ability to generate cash from all operations collectively, and Pan American believes it is a more comprehensive measure of the cost of operating our consolidated business than traditional cash costs per payable ounce, as it includes the cost of replacing ounces through exploration, the cost of ongoing capital investments (sustaining capital), general and administrative expenses, as well as other items that affect Pan American's consolidated earnings and cash flow.
This news release should be read in conjunction with Pan American's Audited Consolidated Financial Statements and Management's Discussion and Analysis for the year ended December 31, 2022, and Pan American's Annual Information Form for the year ended December 31, 2022. This material is available on Pan American’s website at panamericansilver.com, on SEDAR at www.sedar.com
and on EDGAR at www.sec.gov Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements and Information
Certain of the statements and information in this news release constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and "forward-looking information" within the meaning of applicable Canadian provincial securities laws. All statements, other than statements of historical fact, are forward-looking statements or information. Forward-looking statements or information in this news release relate to, among other things: future financial or operational performance, and estimates of current production levels that remain subject to verification and adjustment, including our estimated production of silver, gold and other metals forecasted for 2023, our estimated Cash Costs, AISC and expenditures in 2023; future anticipated prices for gold, silver and other metals and assumed foreign exchange rates; whether Pan American is able to maintain a strong financial condition and have sufficient capital, or have access to capital through our corporate credit facility or otherwise, to sustain our business and operations and complete any anticipated capital spending; whether Pan American is able to realize synergies as a result of the transaction with Yamana; ; the ability of Pan American to successfully complete any capital projects, including with respect to Jacobina, La Colorada, Huaron, and Timmins, and the expected economic or operational results derived from those projects, and the impacts of any such projects on Pan American; the ongoing impact and timing of the court-mandated ILO 169 consultation process in Guatemala; and the future results of exploration activities, including with respect to the Skarn exploration program at La Colorada.
These forward-looking statements and information reflect Pan American’s current views with respect to future events and are necessarily based upon a number of assumptions that, while considered reasonable by Pan American, are inherently subject to significant operational, business, economic and regulatory uncertainties and contingencies. These assumptions include: the world-wide economic and social impact of COVID-19 and the extent of any impacts related to the COVID-19 pandemic; tonnage of ore to be mined and processed; ore grades and recoveries; prices for silver, gold and base metals remaining as estimated; currency exchange rates remaining as estimated; capital, decommissioning and reclamation estimates; our mineral reserve and resource estimates and the assumptions upon which they are based; prices for energy inputs, labour, materials, supplies and services (including transportation); no labour-related disruptions at any of our operations; no unplanned delays or interruptions in scheduled production; all necessary permits, licenses and regulatory approvals for our operations are received in a timely manner; our ability to secure and maintain title and ownership to properties and the surface rights necessary for our operations; and our ability to comply with environmental, health and safety laws. The foregoing list of assumptions is not exhaustive.
Pan American cautions the reader that forward-looking statements and information involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results and developments to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements or information contained in this news release and Pan American has made assumptions and estimates based on or related to many of these factors. Such factors include, without limitation: the duration and effects of COVID-19, and any other pandemics on our operations and workforce, and the effects on global economies and society; fluctuations in silver, gold and base metal prices; fluctuations in prices for energy inputs, labour, materials, supplies and services (including transportation); fluctuations in currency markets (such as the PEN, MXN, ARS, BOB, GTQ, CAD, CLP, and BRL versus the USD); operational risks and hazards inherent with the business of mining (including environmental accidents and hazards, industrial accidents, equipment breakdown, unusual or unexpected geological or structural formations, cave-ins, flooding and severe weather); risks relating to the credit worthiness or financial condition of suppliers, refiners and other parties with whom Pan American does business; inadequate insurance, or inability to obtain insurance, to cover these risks and hazards; employee relations; relationships with, and claims by, local communities and indigenous populations; our ability to obtain all necessary permits, licenses and regulatory approvals in a timely manner; changes in laws, regulations and government practices in the jurisdictions where we operate, including environmental, export and import laws and regulations; changes in national and local government, legislation, taxation, controls or regulations and political, legal or economic developments in Canada, the United States, Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Bolivia, Guatemala, Chile, Brazil or other countries where Pan American may carry on business, including legal restrictions relating to mining, including in Chubut, Argentina, risks relating to expropriation, and risks relating to the constitutional court-mandated ILO 169 consultation process in Guatemala; diminishing quantities or grades of mineral reserves as properties are mined; increased competition in the mining industry for equipment and qualified personnel; and those factors identified under the caption "Risks Related to Pan American's Business" in Pan American's most recent form 40-F and Annual Information Form filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and Canadian provincial securities regulatory authorities, respectively. Although Pan American has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially, there may be other factors that cause results not to be as anticipated, estimated, described or intended. Investors are cautioned against undue reliance on forward-looking statements or information. Forward-looking statements and information are designed to help readers understand management's current views of our near and longer term prospects and may not be appropriate for other purposes. Pan American does not intend, nor does it assume any obligation to update or revise forward-looking statements or information, whether as a result of new information, changes in assumptions, future events or otherwise, except to the extent required by applicable law.
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For more information about Pan American:
VP, Investor Relations & Corporate Communications
Email: [[email protected]