The villainess turns the hourglass aria
2019.07.18 23:50 tahlyn Otome Isekai
God-slay, Gatekeep, Girlboss *banner & pfp fr “The One Within the Villainess”
2023.06.05 12:01 Grand-Smoke1155 I (22M) found out my girlfriend (21M) is messaging a former colleague in a flirty manner.
Title goes for itself, however to elaborate me and a FWB recently became exclusively dating around 8 months ago. After just under a year of FWB.
All was going great and I was enjoying the relationship, however yesterday she was acting off and we normally watch her friends monologues via Snapchat on her phone, however this time when we did this she refused to let me hold the phone and became very defensive. Eventually I saw a guy was messaging her and I asked to see the message, she refused and became very cagey. A few minutes later she'd left her phone I picked it up and checked, the message said "head needed" naturally suspicious I asked to see the rest of the chat, she broke down and started crying saying I shouldn't read it and I should just break up with her now. An hour or so later I read the chat going up to a week ago getting increasingly flirtatious. Turns out this was an unsuccessful hookup from when we were FWB who she has sent nudes to before we became official. The messages culminated in him offering her to come round and stay the night and her saying he could come round tomorrow (today) as I am away for work in Holland. This relationship was going very well before with her telling me she loved me just before we decide to become a "couple" I've asked her and she said nothing happened n she wouldn't have let it was just some drunken flirting that got out of hand. I broke up with her last night and am currently en route to Holland regretting it, she's sent plenty of messages saying she loves me etc. I just don't understand why she's done this, she wears my clothes, has my name on a necklace she wears constantly, wants to get my eyes tattood on her and constantly talks about wanting to be together forever.
She wants me to believe it was a mistake and it'll never happen again, n swears nothing physical has happened with anyone since we became official but how can I trust her now?
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2023.06.05 12:00 AutoModerator Self Promotion & Store Milestones for the Week of June 05, 2023
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2023.06.05 12:00 f33lingdeadinside How my husband is turning me LL
Hi, this is my first post here, but I have read posts before. It's going to be long.
A little background: my husband and I are both in our 40s. No kids. We have been married for over 10 years. We have known each other since we were both in our early 20's. He is the love of my life.
I have always been more HL in the bedroom. Always. I couldn't get enough of him. I wanted to experiment, I dressed sexy, I asked him what he wanted, what he needed, what felt good. We struggled a bit because our temperaments were different, but we made it work. He was more LL. He didn't feel the need to have sex. And when we did, it was always the same - very satisfying for me, but very vanilla. But I never complained! It was great. When it happened. But the frequency dropped from about once a week to about once a month.
Then he started to reject me. He wasn't in the mood, he was too stressed, he wanted to sleep. I stopped initiating. I didn't want to pressure him, create more stress.
I must add that he never stopped being intimate with me. We cuddled, hugged, watched TV cuddled together. But I missed something more romantic. We don't celebrate our anniversaries or Valentine's Day. I don't get flowers or gifts for no reason, just because. I do get compliments from time to time, but they are very generic - "you're pretty".
In the last few years, he has started to be more critical of me. He told me I needed to lose weight. That I need to exercise more. That I need to do more (not housework, but more like projects he thinks I should do). That I spend too much money. That I buy too many things, especially clothes. That I should get a better job. That I should learn to deal with stress.
I was overweight, so I lost 30 pounds. I understand that my health is important and that being fit is important, so I try to exercise more. I try to make time for the projects, but his criticism took away any joy I had in them. I stopped buying stuff. I cleaned out and got rid of 90% of my clothes (I admit I had a problem with this). I got a promotion at work and the new job is stressing me out.
He criticizes the way I talk to my co-workers, when I work from home he listens to all my meetings and tells me what he thinks I should be doing better. He tells me how to do the projects around the house, using words like "why do you like to make yourself suffer by doing it this way when you should do it that way". He keeps asking me if I am on my period because I look bloated (the stress from the new position has messed my periods).
He steals small pleasures out of my life. I used to love going out to eat - we don't because it's too expensive and the food isn't good enough, he can cook better at home. I used to love going to the movies, but it's too expensive and the movies are boring.
I used to like taking bubble baths. But he always wanted to take a bath with me. I used to love it, a shared bath sometimes even led to a sexy time, but his critical looks and questions about bloating made me feel shy. Yesterday was the worst. He kept looking at me, and I thought he was looking at my shoulders and the freckles I have from the sun. No, he reached out and stuck his finger in my bingo wing... and told me I needed to lift more weights. This was after a weekend of him criticizing me during the house project we are doing together (how I was mixing concrete) and jokingly telling me that my butt was big.
I got up without a word and walked out of the bathroom. I put on my pajamas and went to bed. As soon as he got into bed, I turned off the light and pretended to be asleep. I had a feeling he was in the mood for sex. I think it was the second time in my life that I didn't respond to his desire. I feel like my desire is burnt out. I realized that I haven't felt sexy, pretty, cute, or desirable in any way for months. That he is slowly, bit by bit, grounding me to the ground. I have no confidence, I don't want to be naked in front of him, dress up nicely for him. I don't even want to spend time with him anymore because everything I do is just criticized.
It hurts even more because I had to learn to be uplifting to him and I always tell him how good, kind, intelligent, hardworking, talented and handsome he is. And now I try to work overtime, take on more projects so I don't have to go home to him.
Before anyone says I should talk to him about this, I have. Almost every time I feel hurt by his comments, I tell him. I asked him to change his tone and the words he uses to tell me things like that. I gave him examples. I told him how miserable he makes me feel. He doesn't see that what he's saying is hurtful. He says it's truthful and he's just trying to help me.
This is a story of how I went from having a fairly high libido to having a low libido. i don't know where to go from here.
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2023.06.05 12:00 ol-gormsby Wildlife and modems
Mods, there's a link here that might break Rule #4, but it's difficult to describe, and I tried using my words first.
I'm the customer.
I've had Starlink for a while, hanging on to the old ADSL for backup.
But Starlink's been stable for over 12 months, and it's time to let go of the landline and ADSL.
The ADSL modem/router is downstairs in an office I don't use anymore, so I went down there to turn off the modem and retrieve the raspberry pi being used as pihole for that network.
It's officially winter here now, cool but not really cold. The office isn't well-lit, and I reached behind the modem to switch it off, and unplug the Pi.
I got a surprise, because there was a juvenile brown tree snake coiled up near the modem taking advantage of the nice warm spot in an otherwise cold room. Cute little thing probably thought it had scored a nice spot to spend winter, when this large obnoxious invader came and disturbed it. It was about 45cm/1.5' long, body about as thick as your middle finger, and somewhat agitated. So I grabbed some heavy leather gloves and distracted it with my left hand (gloved) while my right hand retrieved the Pi and its power source.
It reared up but I don't think it was all that aggressive.
I turned the modem back on to give it some warmth, and retreated.
This is it what it looks like: https://www.qfc.com.au/brown-tree-snake/
It was definitely a juvenile, not adult-sized.
Why yes, this is Australia, why do you ask?
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2023.06.05 12:00 ciuncky Shortcut to turn on/off all notifications (not FOCUS, read below)
I'm in a strange place where I started a new job and I work 90% of the time from a MacBook, using an iPad as 2nd screen via continuity.
The rest of 10% is work from the iPad itself or from my iPhone. A lot of i's in here... As such, I have the same apps installed on all 3 devices, such as Slack, Trello, Skype etc.
The issue is that notifications pop on all 3 devices (and on my Watch too at times) and it makes difficult to track what was answered to and what not, for example. I can not totally turn off notifications from the iPad and phone settings as I will need them in the evening etc.
Is there a way I could have a shortcut to turn off the notifications and remove the Unread red bubbles too; and then turn all back on?
I realise I can create a focus mode where these are turned off, but the unread bubbles would still be there causing further confusion. I'm also open to other suggestions.
TLDR: Need 90% of the time to turn off duplicate notifications from multiple devices.
Any help would be greatly appreciated!
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2023.06.05 12:00 LaticusLad Time Marches Ever Onward: Chapter 2
(Any sentences or phrases wrapped with brackets "[ ]" are designated as inner monologue!)
Thank you to u/SpacePaladin15
for creating this wonderful literary universe!
< First Previous Next >
Memory transcription subject: Lemva, Venlil Archeologist
Date [standardized human time]: July 13, 2165
The attendant, Harold, had told me that there would be another passenger boarding shortly several minutes ago, and since then I couldn't keep still wondering who I was going to meet.As I sat on the couch, I couldn’t help but eavesdrop on the conversation that Harold had just started with the other passenger. As I heard a new voice respond to Harold’s greeting my heart started beating faster. Wait, the voice sounded familiar…
My heart rate quickened as footsteps came closer down the hallway.A man wearing a black suit and indigo tie came walking around the corner and my heart fluttered a little as I looked up at his face.
“James?” I squeaked as I said his name. I jumped up off the couch and ran toward him, throwing my arms around him and nearly knocking him over. “Lemva!”
Looking up at him, I realized what I had just done, backing off slightly embarrassed. “James! I haven’t seen you in so long, what have you been up to?”
“Looking into ancient history, studying declassified documents, bringing back ancient history, that sorta thing.” James kneeled slightly and looked at me with a wide smile, I’d missed that smile so much. He opened his mouth to speak. “I wasn’t expecting to see you on this flight. It’s very good to see you!” “It’s good to see you too! So you’re one of the others that the UN’s invitation spoke of.” “It seems that way, yeah.” He chuckled slightly.
“I see you two are getting along well! I don’t even have to introduce you.” I realized Harold had been standing there watching the interaction the whole time. I straightened myself out, even more embarrassed than before. Harold chuckled. “Alright you two, we’re going to be taking off shortly. I’ll be in the cabin along with the captain. If you need me, press these buttons.” He handed us both a device with a singular blue button labeled “call”.
The man turned around and headed through the door leading to the cockpit. Leaving us alone. We both sat on a couch. James spoke, “So, do you know anything about the job being offered?” “I was going to ask you the same thing.” “Hmm, well we’re going to be in for a long flight, may as well catch up on some things.”
Me and James had known each other since we attended MIK, and had a lot of history. We met in the college’s history club, and quickly became friends. We both had a passion for learning about things that most others had forgotten, and theorizing about what life was like in ancient times. He didn’t know it but I had a huge crush on him at the time.
We stayed in contact long after we both got our doctorates, despite the large distances between us. Eventually James suddenly stopped contacting me, I never understood why. I had worried that it was something I did, that I had pushed him away. Then, after a while, he faded from memory, only existing in the back of my mind. I needed to know why. But not now, this was too soon.
“I know I already asked what you’ve been up to since we last spoke, but still. Discovered anything new?”
“Yeah, I got my hands on some recently declassified Fed info and artifacts around 8 months back. Studied them and found out they were ancient Gojid pottery, inscriptions described some sort of fertility god? Found some other inscriptions describing the site of an ancient Gojid city on The Cradle and got in contact with a dig team to go search there. Hit the motherlode and-” He spoke so enthusiastically about his findings. Just seeing him so happy about his work made me bloom, but thankfully he didn’t notice as he kept talking, waving his hands to emphasize his words. “-trying to find a museum that has the room for all of them.”
“Wow, that’s a lot more than what I’ve been doing.” “Really? Lemva hasn’t done anything interesting lately? I find that hard to believe.” James took on an amused expression. “Yes, really. I’ve been on vacation with my family for a little while, that’s all. It had been a while since I’d seen them.”
I could see his smile visibly lessen, he shifted his eyes, seeming to be deep in thought. Had I said something wrong? “Hey, are you okay?” I asked. “Yeah, I’m fine. Your mention of family brought back some… memories.” A singular tear formed below his left eye, before he looked away. I didn’t want to push, despite his failed attempt at hiding his sadness. “Oh, we can change the subject if you want.”
He wiped his eyes and shuddered, before straightening himself out. “No, it’s ok. You should probably know anyway. It’s part of the reason I haven’t talked to you in so long.” I was hoping to get some answers but now I didn’t know if I wanted to if it was making him this upset.
“A- alright, go ahead. You can stop at any time if you want to.” “Before I start I want to say how sorry I am for ghosting you.” He closed his eyes, inhaling and exhaling deeply. A somber expression filled his face as he opened his eyes. “Okay. You know my parents right? Bill and Angene?” “Yeah?” “A couple years back, I was doing a small job for a little town on Nishtal. Not much pay but that didn’t matter. This was during the time when the anti-human movement was in full effect.”
My heart stopped, I immediately knew where this was going.
“I wasn’t worried for them cause they were on Earth. I thought they would be away from the violence because the rioters would be too scared to be among so many ‘predators.’” His voice dripped with malice as he spat out the last word. He was always treated… differently from other people. Even so long after the war, “predator” hate was still common. He kept speaking. “Clearly I was wrong, or maybe one of those fucking rioters hated us too much to care about their own safety.” I only now noticed that he had been shaking as he spoke, but he suddenly stopped. He looked defeated, on the verge of a breakdown. “They were just bringing home groceries, that’s all. They were friendly and happy and polite and all they were doing was bringing home some things for dinner. But because they had committed the SIN
of being born with forward facing eyes everyone hated them.” “On the phone the next day, I was told that my parents had been stabbed to death when walking home. I had to attend their funeral several days later, and that night the police took me in to meet their murderer. It took every ounce of energy that I could muster to not turn their disgusting little face to orange mulch.”
If anyone else had looked at James’ face at that moment, they would have seen nothing but a rabid animal looking for something to rip apart, but I didn’t see that. I saw a man that just wanted his parents back, a man that wished the world didn’t hate him. James crumpled over and started sobbing violently, and without thinking I got up and gave him the biggest hug my small arms could allow. He wrapped his muscular arms around me and buried his head into my wool, his sobs shaking my whole body. I stroked the back of his head in an attempt to comfort him, and tried doing those shushing sounds that human mothers do to calm down their children but ended up making a strange sputtering sound instead. I heard the sounds of giggling interspersed with the sobbing, leading into a fit of coughing from James. He lifted his face from my shoulder and stared into my eyes, still dripping tears but starting to smile now. He rested his chin back on my shoulder, and I gladly let him.
“I’ve missed you Lemva, you have no idea just how much I’ve missed you. I’m so sorry I left so quickly, I’m so sorry.” “I’ve missed you too James, and you don’t need to apologize, I understand. Why don’t we go drink some water and get some sleep, okay?” The man on my shoulder croaked out a hoarse “Okay” before slowly pulling himself off of me. We both got up and walked into the kitchen to grab some water. James chugged down several glasses before he was satisfied. We made our way to our separate bedrooms before saying goodnight to each other and closing our doors. I pulled the warm blankets over myself and laid my head down, exhausted from the short but intense emotional interaction. As thoughts floated through my mind, I drifted off into a deep sleep.
I awoke to a familiar sensation, it felt as if I was standing in a shallow pool of oil. My eyes were met with black for as far as the eye could see, a seemingly endless floor of tar, and a distant orb of light. This sight had become less eerie and more frustrating the more times I had seen it. [Not this again…] I had been having this dream nearly every night for the past 3 weeks, ever since I had received the invitation from the UN. It was always the same. Endless void, endless black oil, a light always seeming within reach but always too far to catch. I decided to play along with the dream and walk towards the light, the faster I go through with this charade the faster I can wake up and talk to James again. My footsteps echoed into infinity as I waded through the sticky oil, the sensation was awful. I stopped and thought for a moment. [Know what? Fuck it, might as well do something different this time.] I turned around and walked away from the orb of light that had been taunting me for 3 weeks straight. As I walked, I could feel the texture beneath my paws slowly change. I looked down to notice that the tar floor I had grown accustomed to was now an endless field of silver sand. My paws were still sticky from the tar and were now covered with sand, great. As I stared down at the ground beneath me, it slowly started glowing brighter and brighter until it hurt my eyes. It was reflecting something.
I looked up to try to find the source of the light and stared in shock at the sight before me, despite the pain in my eyes. I could not turn away. [By the creator…]
Filling the darkness above me was a white dwarf, its brilliance seeming to burn away the darkness surrounding it. Burning streams of plasma buffeted sand in the distance, leaving only glass. I could feel it watching me, judging me. The air around me swirled and roared, picking up fragments of glass and flinging it against my face as I stood in awe. Clouds of silver shards swirled forever around me, scraping away my wool and flesh but I did not move. I could not turn away. The star seemed to fall toward me. I could not turn away. Instantly, the fury of the wind around me calmed, dropping mountains of the glittering sand onto the ground. The sands whispered to me, filling my mind with a single message.
“Find us. We await.”
Date [standardized human time]: July 15, 2165
I stood alongside James near the airlock, we were finally here. It had been two days since I and James had boarded the ship, and we were finally on an approach to Aafa’s spaceport. I felt excited theorizing what job the UN had for us, but couldn’t help but notice a feeling of dread in the back of my mind. Aafa was the capital of the Federation before the UN Coalition began their occupation, and as a result there would probably be more xenophobia on the streets. Hopefully we wouldn’t have to stick around long enough to see it.
“Attention passengers, we are now breaking through the atmosphere, brace yourself on a nearby hand-rail or other stationary object until further notice.”
Me and James grasped the hand-rails tightly as the ship jostled through the turbulent atmosphere, the surface outside the airlock view-port slowly grew larger and larger as we descended. A beautiful city came into view as the clouds’ obfuscation subsided. I had been to Aafa twice in my life before and every time I saw its grand cities I felt a sense of wonder. I could feel the ship level out and slow down, we were almost docked. I felt a small jolt as the landing gear gently touched down on the landing pad.
Harold’s voice came through the PA system. “Alright you two, we’ve landed. I’ll be with you shortly to show you to your escort group.” James and I looked at eachother, I could see a glint of worry in his eyes. Though whether he was worried about the reactions of Aafa’s inhabitants or worried about his first impressions with such important UN personnel, I could not tell.
I heard the cabin door open far behind us and heard Harold’s footsteps make their way toward the airlock where we stood in wait. He stepped past us and took a position at the airlock door.“Welcome to Aafa.” Harold pressed a button and the blast-door slid open with a pneumatic hiss. “Follow me.” We walked down the ramp and onto the hangar bay floor. As my eyes wandered around the large room I noticed how much better kept this spaceport, or at least this hangar, was than the port on Venlil Prime or Earth. Harold took us through a door and into the main hall for this level.
As we made our way to the nearest elevator a kolshian man walked toward us, his gait taking on a menacing feel as he drew closer. When he saw me he smirked. “You sure you wanna keep walking with these predators, little lady? You’d be a lot safer with me instead of them
.” I was astounded by how blatant this man was with his opinions. I tried to respond calmly to the man but couldn’t hide my offense. “No thank you, I’m perfectly fine walking with these “predators” thank you
. Speak your xenophobia to someone who cares to listen.” The kolshian’s smirk disappeared as he walked toward me faster. Harold’s arm shot out in front of me, blocking the man from getting any closer, the chipper smile he usually displayed was gone from his face. “Please leave sir, we have things to attend to.” The kolshian’s angry expression intensified. “I’m not taking orders from any damn predator
.” I could see the man pulling out an object from behind his back. Before I could react, I heard a sickening crunch as Harold’s fist connected with the kolshian’s face, and the man tumbled to the ground. I heard a sound as the knife we were about to be stabbed with clattered to the ground, the tentacle he had been using to wield it clutching his bleeding face. Harold in a swift motion kicked away the knife and put the kolshian in a choke hold while a group of UN security officers rushed over. Two officers cuffed the bleeding kolshian and another walked up to Harold most likely to ask for an explanation.
Harold put back on his usual cheerful expression as he turned to speak to us.“You two head down to the first floor, your escort group and the other 2 invitees will be waiting in the main lobby, they should be pretty obvious to spot. I’ll catch up soon but I have to explain the situation with security.” I turned to look at James as we hurried to the elevator. I could tell he was angry, but he had a glint of satisfaction in his eyes, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel a little similar. James scrolled down the list of floors on the screen and selected the number 1. The Aafa spaceport was easily the largest structure I had ever seen, I guess there wasn’t enough room for 400 buttons. As the elevator descended, James spoke.
“Hey Lem, you ok?” “Yeah, my heart’s beating pretty fast though. Who knows what would have happened if Harold wasn’t with us.” “Yeah, did you see how fast he handled that? Guy must be a veteran or something.” The idea brought a question to the surface of my mind that I had been pondering since I first received my invitation. “Yeah… I’ve been wondering why we’ve been treated so well ever since we got aboard the ship. I mean, we’re just a couple historians, why spend so much on the ship and all the protection? What could this job possibly be?” As I spoke, James stared past the transparent wall of the elevator and into the city skyline, he seemed to be deep in thought. “Yeah I’ve been thinking about that too… I don’t think we’ll have to theorize for much longer though, just a short drive and we can ask whoever invited us.”
My attention was brought back to reality as a DING
sounded from the doorway, indicating that we were at the ground floor. The doors slid open silently and revealed a veritable swarm of people walking through the main hallway loop, several people of different species squeezed into the elevator we were just in as we walked out. James and I followed the signage on the walls for several minutes and entered into the main lobby, where we could see a group of humans with a Gojid in the middle. The humans wore black suits and sunglasses, I could also barely make out earpieces and microphones hidden among their clothing. They reminded me of the secret agents in the human spy movies I enjoyed watching. They must be our escort group.
We approached the menacing humans and they turned to look at us. Before I could speak up I heard footsteps behind me and turned to see Harold catching up with us. “Sorry for leaving you alone for a bit. I’ll talk with your escorts.” Harold walked up to the closest escort and flashed a badge at them, turning around once the mysterious man nodded. The escort spoke something into his earpiece but I couldn’t quite make it out. “Well, I’d best be going to sort out matters with the captain. I’ll meet up with you later.” Harold handed us off to the mysterious entourage and walked back into the crowd.
One of the bodyguards spoke up. “Follow me and don’t stray off course, we’ll be taking you to the senate building.” As our guards escorted us to our vehicle, I spoke to the gojid accompanying us. “Hi, my name is Lemva, this is James. Are you one of the other people invited by the UN?” The gojid spoke up in a soft voice. “Yeah, though for what reason I do not know why. My name is Cayek by the way, nice to meet you. Do you mind if we get some introductions out of the way before we arrive at the senate building?” James responded first and stretched out his arm for a handshake. It took a second for Cayek to reciprocate. “Sure! As Lemva told you, my name is James. I was born on Earth and currently live on Venlil Prime. I’m a historian and got my doctorate at MIK, where I met Lemva. We’ve known each other quite a while. I like coffee and hate the ocean.” “Oh cool, I attended there too! Got my doctorate in linguistics. When did you attend?” “Sent in an application in 2140, as soon as it opened. Got accepted around a month later.” “Nice, that was around when I joined too. We must not have crossed paths often. Though your face does seem vaguely familiar.” Cayek looked at me and I began speaking. “My name’s Lemva, though I already said that. I attended MIK with James. Went there to get a doctorate in archeology. Was born on Venlil Prime and I’ve moved too many times to count, but my latest home is on Earth.”
I noticed that we had reached our ride. Our vehicle was a black limousine, it looked slightly larger than others I had seen, perhaps it was armored? One of the guards escorting us, who I could only assume was the one in charge, opened the side door and we all crawled inside. Cayek, James, and I settled in our seats and the guard closed our doors before entering through a door closer to the front to sit facing us. The guard sat unnaturally still, staring directly at us as the vehicle drew out of the underground parking area, making me feel uneasy. I looked over at James and Cayek, they seemed just as uncomfortable as I. The ride to the Senate building was silent.
I watched the buildings glide past us as we drove down Main, toward the Capitol. The large dome shaped building grew larger as we crept closer. Nervousness invaded my mind as I wondered what the task we had been chosen for was. Why did the UN spend so much to get us here? What’s with all the security? Why us? We had reached our destination. The limousine passed through several security gates and slowed to a halt at the entrance of the grand building. The guard that had been staring at us spoke, “We’ve arrived, please exit the vehicle and follow me. As you enter the building you’ll undergo several security checks to make sure you don’t have any weapons or banned items. Don’t worry, this is all standard procedure.” Two guards who had been waiting to the side of the entrance walked over to the car and opened the side doors, allowing us to crawl out. Though it had only been a 5 minute car ride, it felt like I had been stuck in that cramped vehicle for hours.
We walked toward the entrance of the titanic building, a large podium with a hologram of the Coalition logo orbiting an artistic depiction of our sector of the galaxy stood just before the doors. The first time I had gone to Aafa as a child, the podium had supported a large statue of Chief Nikonus, the president of the Federation at the time of the war. Good riddance. Our group stepped past the threshold of the senate building and submitted for the security checks that our escort had told us about. As soon as we were cleared, we were led to one of several large doors, it looked like an oversized elevator. Inside was a holographic display of the building showing us our current position, along with a small keypad to the side. I braced myself for the elevator to start ascending as our escort input some numbers into the pad but nearly fell over when it unexpectedly started moving sideways. James chuckled amusedly and I looked at him with a mock pouty face, my tail flicking in slight annoyance. Our escort tried to wipe a tiny smirk off his face as he helped me back to my feet. “We had these installed after a couple instances of people passing out trying to navigate around. Most Coalition species don’t have the amount of endurance humans do and this building is quite large.”
Several moments later the tram came to a halt and the doors slid open. The escort chaperoned us down a short hallway with a decently sized wooden door at the end. I braced myself for whoever would be behind it. Impressions were of utmost importance when meeting government officials. However, I was not prepared for who I would see as the door swung open.
Is that an Arxur?
(This is my first major post on NatureofPredators
, any criticism or advice is welcome! I want to make my stories inviting and pleasant to read! Also, please notify me if you find any formatting errors, Reddit's formatting isn't very good.)
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2023.06.05 12:00 WaveOfWire One Hell Of A Vacation - Chapter 88
Next Royal Road
providing the Trash certification of quality!
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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 sparely 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, 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!
submitted by WaveOfWire
to HFY [link] [comments]
2023.06.05 11:59 Quirky_Artist_7994 ROG Strix G15 AE Crashing Issue Under Load
| || | submitted by Quirky_Artist_7994 to ASUSROG [link] [comments]
ASUS - ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition 15.6" QHD Gaming Laptop - AMD Ryzen 9-5900HX - 16GB Memory - Radeon RX 6800M - 512GB SSD. It's the new 165 Hz version with the better screen.
Hey everyone! I recently purchased this laptop as my first gaming laptop. However, whenever I play Valorant or run any other strenuous task, the computer shuts down. Sometimes it shuts down multiple times during a session, sometimes it doesn't shut down at all. The shutdowns are pretty consistent on a weekly basis. I don't think it's a thermal issue as Armoury Crate temps look fine around the time it shuts down.
These issues didn't happen within the first three months of purchasing the laptop. Although temps were pretty high off the bat, I turned off Aggressive CPU boosting in the power plan and that seemed to fix temps.
I have BIOS 320, serial number starts with MC. I didn't make any changes to the stock other than replacing the RAM with 2 16 GB sticks of Crucial DDR4 3200 MHz CL22 and swapping out the WiFi card for an Intel AX210. I saw on some other posts that replacing the RAM could be an issue?
I tried downloading ZenTiming to check the RAM but I have no clue how to interpret the results. Another note is that the laptop consistently shuts down when I try to run TimeSpy to get a benchmark. When I could actually finish a TimeSpy test, I was getting around 11k with the new ram. Looking at the Event Viewer, I think the error that most commonly presents when the laptop shuts down is Event ID 14.
Could it be possible that the laptop isn't getting enough power? The power brick is usually hooked up to a power strip. However, when I tried plugging the brick directly into the outlet, the laptop still shut down.
I'd love to get this issue fixed as I'm outside the return window for Best Buy. Any help is appreciated! https://preview.redd.it/xwzlp07ia64b1.png?width=390&format=png&auto=webp&s=f47257864139b4740e8bd0171ac62a9715f94ff9
2023.06.05 11:59 esdfa20 'Ivan & Khrushchev's Kremlin orders: Crush Nikita Koloff's Russian Revolution!' (American magazine cover for The Wrestler magazine, March 1987. United States of America, 1987).
2023.06.05 11:59 nearspray867 How I turned minimalist and personal tips on packing.
It wasn’t until recently that I became a travel minimalist. Matter of fact, when I was in my teens, I was basically packing everything except the kitchen sink (never could resist cramping in 3-4 towels).
Then my mindset started making a U-turn when I got a cheap 20 lb backpack. Filled with black tea and chocolate bars, it was my faithful travel companion whenever a music festival would roll around.
In 2022, I decided to set out on my first-ever trip – a whole six months across Europe. All on my own, trusty bag notwithstanding. I stuffed it with everything I thought I’d need for 6 months on the road. When I arrived in Italy, I realized I overdid it and brought more than I needed. I just started to leave the stuff I didn’t need in the hotel room.
That period of traveling with everything I needed to live comfortably in just 1 bag was a total game-changer. May sound cliche, but traveling lightly really did change my outlook on life and materialism.
So without further ado, here are my tips for minimalist travel.
- Try to aim for hand luggage
Taking hand luggage forces you to be organized and bring only the essentials with you due to the limited space. The bigger the bag, the more likely you are to fill it, even if it’s not needed. It’s sort of bag psychology!
Not only is it cheaper to use hand luggage as you don’t have to pay for the bag to go into the hold - it’s quicker too. You can literally exit the airport and without having to wait ages for your bag. My friend has a similar philosophy for travels and work. She used to go to the office with a huge handbag filled with all kinds of crap. Now all she takes with her is a full-grain leather CITY Laptop Bag
. Minimalistic, convenient, practical. The bigger the bag, the more stuff you fill it with, so do yourself a favor and go small.
- Give packing cubes a go
Sometimes people pack as if they’re going to another planet. Shops do exist where you’re going unless it’s somewhere remote. On the rare chance you need to buy something you didn’t pack, you’re likely to have that option.
- You’re not flying to Jupiter
I’d heard a lot about compressible packing cubes. I eventually borrowed one from my brother and finally got all the hype!
You can fold up clothes in a bag, zip it up, then use the second zip to compress it even further. Definitely keeps the clothes organized and saves loads of space.
- Plan in advance
If you pack last minute like your train is due to leave in 5 min, you’re more likely to not only pack more but pack inefficiently. Everything you pack should be thought out and serve a purpose. I take a week in advance to draw up a list of the things I need.
- Check the weather beforehand
Sound obvious, but checking the weather for both day and night is crucial to know what type of clothing you need, and is something I’ve neglected to do in the past. Do your research about altitudes as well if you’re planning a trip to the mountains. I have frozen my butt off in the Alps because I underestimated how cold it could get.
submitted by nearspray867
to malefashionadvice [link] [comments]
2023.06.05 11:59 draughtdan Games cause loss of controller function
Greetings all! Got a weird one for you. It’s new to me anyway. Everything works fine until I start a game. Inside a game app or while running on disc, the controller inputs gain a mind of their own. For example at the login select i have full control of what I’m supposed to. I can flick back and forth over my profile options with the joystick and choose my login. From there i can scroll through the main menu and choose any option available to me from that menu. (Ex:apps, other menus, messages, etc) However if I choose a game to play the game loads the title screen, but i cannot continue from there. The game is not frozen, all music/graphics and cutscenes work. The controller remains connected as i can use the “PS” button to return to the main menu. The only progress i’ve made between multiple games having this issue is turning the controller off and back on. From there the game acts as if i’ve pressed a button and continues past the title screen. I can usually start a game at this point. Unfortunately i then run into more shenanigans. Everything from losing my left trigger function, to the L1 button sticking, to d-pad delay or failure to function, and menus scrolling through themselves. This only happens while a game is running, never anywhere else in the ps4’s main menu. Problem began about 48 hours ago. Packed up my console and took it with me to a relative’s house. Worked fine at home. When i hooked it up that night i had this weirdness. The ride was only a half hour and nothing happened to the console but sitting in a bag on the passenger seat.
submitted by draughtdan
to PS4SupportPage [link] [comments]
2023.06.05 11:59 S1mpleLim3 Battery stuck at 0% charging.
The laptop was discharged at 0% for 2-3 weeks because my power adapter died and I couldn't get another one for sometime. I only have type c charger with me right now.
Laptop turns on while plugged only. And charging never crosses 0% even if I charge it over night. Any ideas to fix it?
submitted by S1mpleLim3
to LGgram [link] [comments]
2023.06.05 11:59 Fuzzy_Lavishness_269 Turning across a taxi, in a bus lane, trying to undertake?
I am traveling down a 30mph duel carriageway, when I notice traffic in the distance and an alternate route which is a left turn just a up the road. I check my mirrors and there is a taxi behind me in the bus lane on the near side, I am doing about 30 and he is catching up to me (btw he has undertaken me twice so far and I have gotten past at the lights each time). I stick my indicator on and realise I have two choices either brake (impeding the driver behind me) or I could just turn the wheel because he is far enough away that if I maintain speed I can make the turn. So I decide to just send it, cut across the taxi (he gives me a honk to express his displeasure) and easily make the turn, but it was definitely close.
My questions are, firstly if there was an accident who would be at fault? I don’t believe a taxi should be speeding in a bus lane undertaking traffic, then again I’m not supposed to cut across another vehicle like that. Secondly, what would you have done in the same scenario?
I’m pretty sure what I should have done is just continued straight on, but I was in a rush, I didn’t want to get caught in the traffic and I had a few seconds from putting my indicator on, to make a decision and then complete the manoeuvre, and I think I just managed to get away with a bad decision. This is slightly out of character for me so I just wanted to get people’s opinions and see if this can be a learning experience for everyone.
submitted by Fuzzy_Lavishness_269
to drivingUK [link] [comments]
2023.06.05 11:59 Kotal_total What is up with teams lately?
Earlier this year when I decided to go back to bf4, I thought this battlefield title would have less of the stupid teams I see on bf1 and bf5, but I was way wrong. On this game, it feels just about the same.
I don't know what it is, maybe the game has terrible balancing again, maybe the maps have design flaws, or maybe teams are just full of idiots. Match after match in different servers, I find myself constantly being on a losing team that can't seem to think outside the box. Not capturing objectives that could strategically turn things around, not backing up other players, not repairing, healing, reviving, or resupplying. These matches are consistently 0-700 or whatever else is close to it.
I'm always finding myself looking like the priority number one target. I grab a tank, attempt to capture an important objective, no one backs me up, no squad mate thinks of spawning on me and helping with the push. And then I find myself being attacked by 3 tanks and 1 helicopter, maybe 2 as it just happened on golmud railway. Why is it that in just 5 minutes, that my team just fucking let's the enemy capture every single objective on the map at the start of the match? The best part is that the teams were even numbers, the server was filled up.
As much as I love battlefield (minus 2042), I can't help but notice that it suffers Serious Dumbass Syndrome. As I'm making this post, I'm not targeting anyone in particular, I'm speaking in general so I hope you don't feel attacked. I don't care if someone isn't that good at the game, they can still be a good teammate by helping out others in different ways besides shooting the enemy.
I don't care if a team wins or loses, I just want it to be balanced even fight, ending with a score of like 0-100 or 0-13 where it actually feels like it was a real tooth and nail fight. I'm getting sick of matches being where one team decides to just bend over and let itself get fucked match after match.
submitted by Kotal_total
to battlefield_4 [link] [comments]
2023.06.05 11:59 Dweeberbob Logitech MX Master 2S battery degradation
So I have been using my MX Master 2S for close to two plus years. And I've realised the battery life has degraded drastically this past month. Last time with one full charge, the mouse can last 2+ month. However recently, with full charge, it can last barely 12 days. In both of these examples I didn't turn it off at all so basically turned on 24hrs and on standby when unused.
Is this battery life degradation expected? Has anyone here that owned this mouse experienced this too?
submitted by Dweeberbob
to LogitechG [link] [comments]
2023.06.05 11:58 Umbraiya My Experience with Heavy-Backpacking so far :)
Since I couldn't find another channel suitable to post this I promptly created one ^-^
I'm a 23 year old guy from Munich. I feel like the UL trend in Trekking and similar is just not the most sustainable development. Often times when the material is reduced to the absolute minimum it loses durability.
Yet I like sturdy stuff. So I pack heavy.
Sometimes it sucks, sometimes it's a positive challenge with great benefits.
Even though my experience is limited I wanted to share it with you, in hopes of helping someone or receiving valuable experience from you :)
- 23 years old
- 186cm (6 foot)
- sporty but not athletic
Aprox. a year ago I started to get into heavy backpacking. I made a packlist for my life on the road and realised it was freakin heavy but I still couldn't/wouldn't reduce it much. The plan is to go from Munich to Sweden, making a U-Turn somwhere in the north and going south again (possibly Spain). I will travel by foot for as much as I can. But if I get annoyed by an area I'll take the train.
So I bought up the gear I'd need.
A heavy external frame pack with countless molle attachments was to be the base.
Since I'm a sucker for durable equipment everything I own is 2-3x the weight of it's UL counterpart. But fuck I love my waxed jacked and synthetic sleeping bag.
I always carried kinda heavy. The load I carried 'cross the Alps was apr. 21kg. Some called me insane but I was glad for every item.
Steady, calm pace loads of breaks and eating a lot made for a great trip.
Now I started going up to 30-35kg for low-distance hikes.
I just went outta my door into the neighboring forests and walk.
Most of the time something like 20-30km there -> overnighter -> back...
- Main thing I noticed was the change in body dynamics.
I use my hips and glutes to stabilize the pack much more than with a light one.
Body rotation and smaller steps are crucial to keep a safe footing and be injury free.
This change takes time getting used to and training the appropriate muscles.
- Since any Heavy-Duty pack worth it's money will have some kind of rigid frame the upper body is immobilized and thus tends to stiffen up.
Taking breaks, stretching and relaxing your body is a life saver.
- You will want to adjust the straps constantly.
Having the pack tightened to your body is essential in rough terrain since your body has to counteract all rocking and flopping around with muscle action. This leads to fatigue and possibly injury.
3.2 Furthermore the adjustment is important due to it shifting weight and enabling a more equal use of shoulder-, back and leg muscles. If you loosen the shoulder straps that bring the frame of the pack to or away from the body weight will be shifted to or from your shoulder to your lower back/hip.
- Good weight distribution is mandatory.
Heavy, dense stuff packed close to your back and in the lower 2/3 of the pack. Attach water and snacks in pouches at your hip belt to have them accessible without taking off your pack.
- Think about a chest pack to counteract weight, improve posture and have more accessible pack volume.
Attachment packs should be filled with light stuff only; same applies for attaching externally via straps.
- High, stiff boots increase ankle stability. For me they made walking way easier and softened the requirement of constant attention to your body to stay injury free.
My final pack will be even heavier, I look forward to share my experience with you.
If I don't succeed in carrying the necessary weight sustainably I will look into building a travel cart. Have some funky/fancy ideas floating around :P
A pack list will follow soon, looking forward to constructive criticism.
Have a nice one 'yall!
submitted by Umbraiya
to heavybackpacking [link] [comments]
2023.06.05 11:58 gourmala13 Unlocking Instagram Affiliate Marketing Secrets: A Step-by-Step Guide
| || |https://preview.redd.it/bnn6oqgz964b1.png?width=1200&format=png&auto=webp&s=a8a13475edd3107d1a822a6b651fe9a8b17da883 submitted by gourmala13 to moneytactics [link] [comments]
Are you ready to tap into the incredible potential of Instagram affiliate marketing? Look no further! In this post, we will unlock the secrets that will take your affiliate marketing game on Instagram to the next level.
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2023.06.05 11:58 GoCommando45 Are these perches safe?
| || |
Brought these on amazon. I thought they were rough rope as it look as such on the pictures. Turns out they are soft felt. If I use them I would burn the ends to get rid of the end bits. But I'm wondering if I should use them at all. I wanted to attach them to some beams in my room to have more places high up to perch on. submitted by GoCommando45 to budgies [link] [comments]
2023.06.05 11:58 Extension_Long_4163 What do you think was the turning point for Tim Hortons that marked the decline in their level of quality and service?
submitted by Extension_Long_4163 to u/Extension_Long_4163 [link] [comments]
2023.06.05 11:58 ykevin [Echoes of Avaloria: Knights, Magic, and the Quest for the Amulet of Ancients] The beginning
Once upon a time in the mystical land of Avaloria, a realm steeped in European medieval culture and enchanted with magical forces, a group of valiant heroes set forth on a grand quest. Led by Sir Tristan, a noble knight renowned for his bravery and honor, they embarked on a journey to recover a legendary artifact, the Amulet of Ancients, which held immeasurable power and was said to be able to control the elements themselves.
Sir Tristan, accompanied by his loyal companions, consisted of Lady Isabella, a skilled archer, and tracker with an uncanny connection to the spirit world; Sir Percival, a stoic and fierce warrior wielding a mighty sword infused with the essence of lightning; and Elara, a wise and enigmatic sorceress known for her mastery over the arcane arts.
Their quest took them across treacherous terrains and ancient ruins, as they faced daunting challenges and encountered mythical creatures guarding the secrets of the Amulet. Along the way, they sought the guidance of wise sages, who shared tales of the Amulet’s creation during the Crusades era.
Legends spoke of a legendary knight named Sir Galahad, who had forged the Amulet of Ancients to protect the innocent and uphold justice. However, it was whispered that the Amulet’s immense power had corrupted him, turning him into an agent of darkness. The heroes knew they must retrieve the Amulet to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands.
Their path led them to the Castle of Eternal Shadows, a foreboding fortress said to be haunted by the spirits of fallen knights. Inside it, they encountered the witch Morgana, an ancient sorceress who had harnessed dark magic to guard the Amulet. Morgana, driven by her thirst for power, aimed to seize the Amulet’s power for herself and unleash chaos upon Avaloria.
With their combined skills, the heroes battled Morgana and her minions in a fierce confrontation. Sir Tristan’s unwavering determination and valor inspired his teammates, while Lady Isabella’s precision with her bow struck down enemies from afar. Sir Percival’s lightning-infused sword cracked through Morgana’s magical defenses, and Elara’s spells counteracted Morgana’s dark incantations.
In the climax of the battle, Sir Tristan managed to land a devastating blow on Morgana, causing her to drop the Amulet. As it fell, a brilliant light engulfed the room, banishing Morgana’s dark influence. The Amulet was once again purified, ready to be used for its original purpose.
Recognizing the heroes’ bravery and selflessness, the Amulet bestowed upon each of them a unique power. Sir Tristan gained the ability to command the elements, Lady Isabella could commune directly with the spirits of Avaloria, Sir Percival’s sword became even more potent, and Elara’s arcane powers reached new heights.
With their newfound abilities and the Amulet of Ancients in their possession, the heroes vowed to protect Avaloria from any threat that may arise. Their adventures would continue as they traversed the land, defending the innocent, and ensuring that the forces of darkness never gained control.
And so, the tale of Sir Tristan and his companions became a legendary saga, whispered in taverns and written in the chronicles of Avaloria, inspiring future generations to stand against evil and strive for greatness in the face of adversity. original source on my blog
submitted by ykevin
to redditserials [link] [comments]
2023.06.05 11:57 MeetComprehensive594 Which do I do?
submitted by MeetComprehensive594 to 7DSGrandCross [link] [comments]
2023.06.05 11:57 M00ble09 For anyone who’s successfully trained out jumping up
Teach me your ways! My 5 month Labrador jumps up a lot. We’ve tried turning around, praising for paws on the floor, gently pushing down etc but nothing seems to stick. Grateful for any advice
submitted by M00ble09
to puppy101 [link] [comments]