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The Lockhill Rd. Disappearances

2023.03.29 07:02 JamesCaligo The Lockhill Rd. Disappearances

A call came in that there was another disappearance on Lockhill Road. My whole town was buzzing about a person named Josephine, an old lady that had the tendency to be a little bit of a pain in the butt for cashiers, but otherwise a quiet one in town.
Apparently, the patrol that frequents near that road found her car in a ditch and saw no traces of her anywhere. The police went to check her house and saw that she wasn't there either. There was only one conclusion we all had to come to. The road has claimed another victim.
As for my name, I'm only going to tell you that it's Adam, and I'm here to explain to you that there's something absurdly bizarre about the road.
Lockhill Rd. is one of the oldest roads in Illinois. There isn't anything significantly special about it. On the surface, it's covered in large cracks, grass overtaking the edges, and it's surrounded by an unusually swamp-like environment, something a little bizarre given how up North I am.
But it's also got a rap sheet that would make Ted Bundy jealous.
From what I've learned in my twenty-eight years of living in this town, over the last two hundred years or so, around three hundred people have mysteriously disappeared. That's a significantly high number and you're probably wondering why people would want to drive on it?
Here's the thing, nobody typically uses that road. They just find themselves on it.
It's really weird but you can find yourself suddenly on that road without warning. One moment you'll be on the highway that's near my town, and right as you get off, you'll find yourself driving on that road. But this only happens at night. As a rule, driving at night is strongly prohibited. The only issue is that cops are less inclined to go about driving themselves. And this happens at completely random moments as well.
The next question I know you all are asking is "why would any of us want to live here then?"
Well, the thing is there's a mine nearby. It's a salt mine and a lot of money is gained from it. You have to weigh in the risk and reward factors here. There are people here who— despite the danger— are making bank. I don't know how much a typical salt mine will pay, but I think the extra danger of the road is the reason why the income for locals is so much better here. So for the most part we prefer not to talk about it.
Now you're probably wondering why am I here? I clearly don’t work at the mine, but instead, I am a neighborhood watch patrolman.
Since disappearances can happen if people are caught driving, I— as well as others— found ourselves working alongside the local police to keep people off of the roads for their own safety. It seems that whatever effect the road can create, it doesn't work if you're walking on two feet.
So my job is relatively safe. Sure, I don't get any weapons training other than a baton and mace, which is why I prefer to regularly work out and make sure that criminals, usually rowdy teenagers, don't have a good advantage over me or any of my partners.
But I'm here to tell you about how I got sloppy and nearly paid the price with my life...
It was your typical Wednesday, and I was with my friends at the police station, getting ready to sign in to let the department know that we were going to be working today.
That's when officer Smith (not his real name by the way) approached me and said in her smooth, southern voice, "Now you boys try to have a good night. We've been getting some reports that there's been a gang of kids that keep breaking house windows. So far they haven't entered any, but I think they're just trying to create an atmosphere of tension."
I stood there silently, always having difficulty talking to her. She was serious about her job and wasn't too kind to anyone who was caught slacking. But she cared to a great degree.
I mustered up the courage to say, "Will do. We got our mace and batons ready."
"Good, but still, if they turn out to be more hostile than usual, I need you fellas to call us ASAP."
It wasn't lost on me that even if we did call up for the actual police officers, it would still take a good while for them to arrive, giving any of these troublemakers a chance to escape from us. No cars at night, remember.
One of my partners, Derek, replied with his usual enthusiasm, "Don't sell us too short ma'am, Adam and I have been doing this for two years now. We're basically experts at this point."
She noticed his smug expression and quickly shot it down.
"I've been a cop for seven years. In that time I believe thirteen people have gone missing. And many of you neighborhood watch patrolmen have been hurt, sometimes severely, by these thugs. Call us." she ended it with a stern warning.
Derek always had this issue with over-confidence and I often think that's why he was never able to get a girlfriend. I think he’s just overdoing it half the time, thinking that it impresses people.
Still, this is the first time I've actually known this much about officer Smith. Seven years is a long time, and for that many people to have gone missing, I can tell that's got to weigh heavily on her mind.
But our patrol went on as usual. We did our regular routine for the first few hours with nothing more than warning people that they can't get in their cars because, in about an hour, the sun would've completely set by then.
Sure that's an entire hour, but why take the chance?
But around the time when the sun had already descended, I got a call on my radio by a woman that said:
"Neighborhood Patrol Unit #9, do you read me?"
"Neighborhood Patrol Unit #9, we hear you loud and clear."
"Number Nine we've been getting some odd reports of a car that is driving around. It was reported by a civilian caller, but all police officers who responded to the area haven't been able to track their location. We need you to stay alert, the last coordinates of their whereabouts were in your general location so keep your eyes peeled."
"Dispatch, we'll keep our eyes on the lookout for the driver. We'll have to flag them down and hope that they stop."
"Copy, good hunting."
It was always anxiety-inducing to hear that someone was driving around. They had to be someone who had come off the highway.
"Well, looks like we got to chase someone down on foot today." Derek happily said.
"Come on man, I don't even want to think about going after someone in a car."
"Yeah, but at least it's something to do." he chuckled.
I wasn't amused. Frankly speaking, this was only a job for me. Sure I don't get paid as much as a cop, but it's less dangerous. Now that I'm being tasked with stopping a vehicle, this is going to prove way above my pay grade. I almost can’t remember the last time I had to deal with a driver.
But the night dragged on as usual and still no sign of the vehicle. I was pretty much convinced that they must have gone off on some other section of the town, but Derek was remaining vigilant. He took this job way too seriously. Or perhaps he wasn't taking it seriously enough?
"You hear that?" he abruptly said.
We both quieted down and tried to listen carefully.
There was nothing for a brief few seconds, other than the sound of crickets in the distance and an owl hooting.
But then there was a sudden screeching of tires nearby. We had our driver and quickly started running towards whatever direction it was that we heard it from.
Despite having flashlights and reflectors on, I somehow found myself alone. I shouted out for Derek at the top of my lungs.
I heard his distant reply, "Adam! Adam, where'd you go?"
I followed his voice and saw that he had gone down the next street over.
"Derek, what are you doing over there? You were supposed to stay with me the whole time?" I shouted.
I was trying my best to hide my anger from him. He shouldn't have broken off just to chase down a car.
"What do you mean? You broke off from me?" he shouted back.
"You were supposed to go with me down Amberg Street!"
He was about to respond, but the screeching of those tires could be heard coming down my road.
I looked to my left and saw a large Chevrolet speeding toward me. I jumped out of the way just in time before they hit me. They knocked over some trash cans and a mailbox and appeared to be driving with delirium. Now I was having suspicions about this person.
"Derek, I saw the driver. I think they're drunk and they're taking their car out for a joyride since no one else is around."
He sounded confused, "Eh, what's the protocol for this again?"
I ignored his forgetfulness and pulled out my radio to call dispatch again.
"Neighborhood Patrol Unit #9 to Dispatch, we have a red Chevrolet driving erratically on Amberg Street and the local area, over."
"Dispatch to Unit #9, where are they heading, over?"
I took a look at my compass that I always keep with me, and replied, "Dispatch they're heading towards the North and don't appear to be stopping anytime soon, over."
"Dispatch to Unit #9, do not engage with the driver. We're sending over a bicycle unit to try and slow them down the best we can. We can't take risks with a vehicle, over."
"Okay, we will not engage any further but will keep you updated, over and out."
Derek soon approached behind me and said, "I get so tired of always having to use those police codewords."
"It's so that there's no confusion. You do realize there are police officers on this channel too, right?"
"Yeah, yeah. Don't lose your hair over it. I was just complaining a little."
I gave him a smirk and the two of us continued on our way. Since we didn't have the responsibility of chasing after the driver, we went about our usual patrol but with a little more alertness in mind.
But we made a bad decision to be passing by that dreaded road. It was part of our routine, and usually passing by never caused any problems.
The only problem is that as we were going by, we saw the truck. It ran off the road and crashed into a tree.
From what I could see, the silhouette of the guy was inside.
I gave Derek my radio and told him to call and tell them that we had found the driver and that they appeared to have been trying to go down Lockhill Road.
I ran over to the left side of the road where the car laid wedged up against the side of the tree. The driver's door was smashed in and I would have to climb in from the passenger side to try and save them from burning to death.
When I went for the door, I briefly hesitated. The idea of getting in a car at night and being directly on Lockhill left me with this gut feeling that kept telling me that I should just turn back and wait for First Responders to arrive.
But given that they were going to be arriving not by ambulance, but by bicycle, and with the car slowly starting to burn, I took a deep breath and opened the door, climbing inside and reaching for the man as quickly as I could.
He was knocked out cold and I grabbed hold of his arm and shook him as much as I could to wake him up.
The fire was growing and I unbuckled his seat belt, wrapped my arms around him, and used my legs to forcibly pull him out of the vehicle. This man was fat and a pain to try and pull out.
At last, I felt the weight release and both of us fell onto the grass below. I breathed a sigh of relief, thankful that I was able to save him just in time.
I got myself back to my feet and looked over to the exit of the road.
I must have fallen into a state of disbelief because I saw that there was nothing but a long stretch of road surrounded by marshland under a red moonlight.
I turned over to the other side, a soon to be fleeting hope already starting to take hold of me, and saw that it was the same in the other direction.
"No, no, no!" I shouted. "I wasn't even driving the car! The car wasn't moving!"
How could this have happened to me? This wasn't supposed to happen. As far as we all knew, if you're driving, you become snatched up by the road. At least, that's what I think the town's consensus was. Maybe everyone just assumes that that is the likely scenario. It's not like anyone's ever returned to tell us that simply being inside your car is enough to warrant whatever unusual forces are at work here.
I kept pacing myself, running from one end to the other, hoping that maybe I just misjudged the distance and I can easily still walk out and find Derek.
But besides the eerie red light coming from above, all I saw was darkness.
The drunken man groaned. This quickly caught my attention and I ran back over to him.
He was still alive but not fully awake yet.
Then I remembered my radio and reached for it. I felt nothing in my pocket and instantly remembered that I handed my radio off to Derek.
Seeing that that wasn't going to work, I went for my phone next. But there was no signal. I was completely stranded.
In a fit of rage, I started swearing up and down out of the frustration of being caught in this. I guess it's true what they say, no good deed goes unpunished. I should have listened to my instincts and told myself not to intervene. I should have left this guy and waited for backup like they always tell us. And now I'm trapped on this road with a drunkard, who I was now more than happy to abandon.
He started moving around and his eyes opened. He was awake and clearly saw the burning wreckage that was his truck.
His voice was rough, having a noticeable smoker's voice. "Hey, what happened to my piece of junk?"
"You crashed into a tree, you idiot," I alerted him to my presence.
He turned around and became instantly belligerent with me.
Holding up both of his fists at me, he fiercely said, "Who are you calling an idiot?"
I wasn't intimidated. The fact of the matter is that I work out regularly and when I was five, my parents thought it would be a good idea for me to take self-defense classes. Thank you, Mom and Pop.
He threw one of his fists my way and I was able to dodge it, backing up and having my own fists ready. When he saw that he missed, he threw his other one, only for me to grab it and easily pull them inwards with my back turned and flipped him over me, letting him hit the ground hard.
Even though he was drunk and probably didn't feel the pain all that much, his body was too heavy for him to have any decent motor function and I believe he passed out again.
Seeing that he wasn't going to be a problem anymore, I walked around— staying relatively close to the man— trying to see if I could get a signal by changing location.
This went on for about twenty minutes or so, and despite my best efforts, I was left with nothing. The unusual silence was broken by a few sharp coughs. I guess he was due to wake up again.
I stood over him, expecting him to go into another rant about what I had said earlier, but he seemed to have had a mental reset.
"Eh, who are you?"
"My name is Adam. I'm part of the Neighborhood Patrol. You had a car wreck because you were drunk, am I correct?" I said in my best stoic voice.
He got back to his feet quickly and smelled horrible. I only just now noticed because I was distracted by my situation. The sting of his alcoholic breath was much too strong for me, forcing me to take a few steps back.
"I only had a few drinks," he slurred.
"Only? How much is only?" I let my anger slip out.
"Five... seven maybe?"
"Of what?" I ordered.
This guy was a moron. Now I was trapped on this god-forsaken road with a man who had only half a brain functioning.
I walked to one side of the road and had to take a wild guess as to which way would be best. I wasn't about to sit out here in the dark with this guy. I could only rely on the illumination of the red moonlight. I wanted to save the battery on my flashlight, so I thought it best not to use it at this moment.
"Look," I said. "We need to start walking in a direction to get out of here. Maybe there is a way to escape, but we have to come to a decision on which way."
I guess he remembered my remark from earlier after all because he said, "I ain't going anywhere with you kid. You call me an idiot."
I rolled my eyes. This guy was as petty as a child, and yet calls me a kid.
"Listen closely. You're on that road we're not supposed to be on. You got me roped into this, and I'm going to make a decision. Either come with me or stay here and wait for rescue. Not that they will be coming."
He turned around and went back to the car. At first, I was confused as to what he was up to, but I almost had a quick heart attack when I briefly thought that he was going to pull a gun out on me. I was already preparing myself to start running when he turned around and had a beer bottle in his hand.
"I ain't going with you anywhere,"
He threw the bottle at me, narrowly hitting me in the head. It shattered on the other side of the road and for a brief moment, I thought I heard something skitter away. Since I've been here, I haven't heard a single animal so the idea that something was back there silently observing us made my skin crawl.
"Fine!" I said. "Stay here. I can't make you come with me. Let's hope that we can find you by tomorrow when the sun comes up."
The heavy man flipped me off, signaling my cue to leave. I was quick to put as much distance between us as I went to the right end of the road and started my journey with only a flashlight in hand.
For the most part, nothing had happened in the last five minutes and I was content with the silence that surrounded me. Better to hear nothing than to hear something. But I would rather hear my radio crackling to life at this moment.
Going a little further on, the silence was broken again. But this time, instead of the groaning coming from that guy, I heard a blood-filled screaming coming from way back. That man had stayed behind and now he was being attacked by something. It was so guttural and wrapped up in agony that already the hairs on my body were standing up.
A part of me was screaming that I needed to go back and check on him. But whatever it was, it likely had already done the deed. Plus, if I go back, who's to say I won't become the next victim. There's always been something odd about this road and I have to approach it with the highest end of paranoia.
My only other option was to keep pressing forward and hope that salvation is at the end. Running was starting to feel like a better option, but I refrained from it. I could easily tire myself out and I didn't want to be stationary. It clearly didn't provide any safety for that drunkard. I just had to keep pressing forward at a modest pace.
Something has changed. It's been about three hours now and the moon hasn't moved. And that blood-red color is hurting my eyes. I don't like to keep my eyes shut, for fear that something might come out from nowhere and attack me, but the soreness is starting to get to me.
What's worse is that I can hear footsteps behind me. They're light on their feet, but each step is almost echoing my pace. I sped up just a little to test out my theory and whatever it was, it simultaneously matched me. I heard it lingering always behind me. My paranoia is starting to overtake any rational thinking that I have. But then again, nothing about this road is rational.
The steps seemed to be speeding up even though I had been going at the same pace for the last ten minutes. My breathing was starting to betray me, growing louder and more hoarse with each intake of the unseasonably cold air. And then there was a steadily growing whispering that was surrounding me.
Finally, having had enough of the pursuit, I turned around, pointing the flashlight at as many parts of the road as I could to get a glimpse of who was following me. But it was empty.
"No, no, I heard something... someone..." I whispered to myself.
Turning back in my original direction, the steps began again. And the whispering was only growing louder.
Without a second thought, I started charging forward, done with whatever it was that was messing with me. I wanted to get away from them, but I could faintly hear their footsteps behind me. It was growing closer even though I was now running at full speed.
In my mind, I thought maybe I could fight it. Perhaps the drunkard was caught off-guard and that's how it got him. But my legs kept moving forward, a sense of dread was keeping me in flight mode, preventing me from wanting to switch to fight mode.
No matter what, one thing was for certain. I wasn't alone on this lonely road. That's perhaps one of the worst feelings.
Up ahead, I saw a distant flashing. They were police flashes. As I drew closer, my pursuer's footsteps quieted down and the whispering ceased.
Standing in front of me was a police officer and his vehicle behind him.
"Oh thank you, I've been trapped on this road for hours." I called out to him.
His voice was low and had an echo to it which was an immediate put-off. "It's okay son. We got reports of a disappearance happening here earlier today. They sent me to try and get you."
I replied, down on my knees due to exhaustion. "Who? Dispatch?"
Upon further inspection, I started noticing some irregularities. His voice and the way he spoke sounded cold and indifferent. I would think a police officer would be happy to have found someone who was lost on this road for the first time.
Another thing that was making me nervous was how unprofessional he was behaving. His answers were vague, and his appearance looked worn-out. His uniform was tattered and his hair messy. And despite there being light from the moon, the police cars headlights, and my flashlight, his face was shrouded in a dark shadow that purposely was making sure that he was obscure for me to identify any details.
I got back onto my feet and quickly looked down near his waist. I didn't see a holster.
"Where's your gun?"
"Not important." he replied harshly.
I leered at him, my body instantly going into high alert mode again. "It's very important."
"Come with me. I'll give you a drive back home."
I did another quick analysis of his appearance and saw that there was no radio, no gun, and no badge. That would mean this was no cop.
"How about we see your face first," I flashed my light up to his face, something I had been avoiding because that would be rude. And this was an instant regret.
His eyes were glazed over with a red glow coming from them. The mouth was full of razor-sharp teeth, and the skin appeared to be leathery and pale.
He echoed, "Lunchtime."
He jumped me, throwing me back to the ground, and kept trying to bite me. It took all my strength just to keep him from getting close to my face. I kept hearing the snapping of his teeth right into my ear, and a desperate struggle ensued.
I had no weapon on me, only basic self-defense skills and my baton but I couldn’t reach for it, and this guy had some inhuman strength. Despite his body looking frail and emaciated, his strength was more than on par with mine.
"I need food," he— it growled.
I gritted my teeth, getting ready to take a huge risk. Removing one of my arms just for a split second, I punched him as hard as I could in his head.
Despite the bizarreness of this man, pain was still something that he experienced. His grip released and he held on to his face.
I got back up to my feet and grabbed my flashlight to keep my eyes on him. Now I could see what it was that I did. The entire right side had been caved in.
"My God, what are you?"
Despite the impact to the side of his head, he smiled through bloody teeth and said, "Merely a puppet."
At that, his body started to disintegrate into a pile of dust, and red light streaks shot up into the air and dispersed back into the surrounding forest.
I looked around, convinced that what I had experienced was my mind psychologically breaking at this point. When I turned back towards the police car, I thought maybe I could start driving it back. Only to be met with a long-abandoned Lincoln car.
"Looks like I'm still stuck on the road." I sighed.
Exhaustion, thirst, and hunger were starting to take their toll on me. I was desperate for something and now I'm regretting my decision not to have protein bars on me at all times.
Every passing minute was a grim reminder that my time was running out. The human body can only survive for three to four days without any water and from what I could tell, I'm well past the first day. And I'm certain that constantly moving is only lessening those precious days that I have left.
I could hear them whispering behind me again. The footsteps had grown numerous; like there was a crowd behind me. I was so tired. I needed a moment to rest but I was too afraid that that would be the last thing I would do.
Out of sheer frustration with my followers, I turned around, half expecting that there would be nothing again.
What a regretful decision that turned out to be.
This time I could see who it was. It was a crowd of people. All of their eyes were glowing red, and their bodies looked like they had shriveled up, walking limply at me. In the crowd, I saw a familiar face. The drunk driver from earlier was among them. His eyes are glowing red and his body already looked like it had been drained of all fluids, same as the rest.
I turned back and started running as fast as I could. The sweat that grew on me only managed to slow me down as it sapped away more water from my body.
I thought for sure that this was a sign that I was going to end up becoming one of them. Becoming some sort of shriveled puppet for whatever it is that has a hold on this road.
They were still chasing after me, running as well, and not too much longer, I ended up losing steam and collapsing on the side of the road. I was out of breath, drenched in sweat, and my legs were numb.
If they reached me again, there's no way I could escape.
I heard the sound of a gate grinding shut. Then it opened again. Then closed again.
Looking up, I saw an old, run-down Victorian Manor. There was an eerie red glow coming from inside, but what wasn't having a red glow today.
Feeling a sudden surge of adrenaline kicking back in, I found the strength to climb up the small hill to reach the front door of this suspiciously abandoned home.
Before I receive any judgment, anyone who was desperate for shelter would have done the same thing regardless of the obvious red flags, pun not intended.
Kicking the door in, I wasted no time entering and checking behind me to make sure that my fan club wasn't following in. To my surprise, they were back on the road but stood there watching me as I entered.
I honestly couldn't tell if that was a good sign or a bad one.
Closing the door behind me, I was greeted with chilly, dusty air that kept forcing me to cough.
I pulled my shirt over my face and moved inside, wondering where that red light was coming from. Inside was a variety of dull, neutral colors of furniture and walls. What was more jarring was the number of taxidermied animals that were littered everywhere. From the walls, to lampstands, to bear rugs, everything about this house was dead, gloomy, and sinister.
I went into the kitchen and sure enough, nothing could be found in terms of food. But I did find water. There was a dirty puddle of it in the sink, and out of desperation, I started drinking it, regardless of the health risks. And it was as bitter and rusty tasting as I should’ve expected. I could only hope that it doesn’t come back to kill me.
Wiping my face with a raggedy towel nearby, I briefly heard something rustling underneath the floorboards. That was enough to tell me that I wasn't alone in the house. But now I was trapped. My only other choice was to take my chances with the outside where that menacing crowd was waiting for me, or use whatever strength I had left on whatever was hiding in here.
I inspected each of the other rooms on the first floor, not even bothering to check the second one. So far nothing seemed terribly alarming, but I could still hear the sound of footsteps beneath me. They were loud, walking on gravel. I had this sinking feeling that they wanted me to know that they were here.
Seeing that I had no other choice, I found one last unopened door. I took a deep breath, and it slowly creaked open leading to a flight of stairs that descended into a reddish glow that was surrounded by an overwhelmingly sinister blackness that threatened to envelop me should I be brave enough to proceed forward.
With a single gulp, I took my first step down and felt the first few droplets of cold sweat. I also felt a nauseating pain in my stomach, but that could be from the water.
I took each step cautiously, believing that any moment now the door upstairs would suddenly close like a cliche horror movie.
When my foot finally hit the floor, I was surprised that the door remained open. But I was met with a hallway. A long, red wallpapered, red carpeted hallway. At this point, I'm starting to become sick of the color red. At least the colors here were a dull shade.
Pulling out my flashlight again, the flickering that I was receiving from it was alarming and I had half a mind to run back up. But I had to know if I was going to be able to live in this house for some time. And the idea of someone else being in it wasn't comforting.
I held my flashlight up like a weapon, preparing to hit whatever decided to jump out at any corner that I approached.
But no matter how many corners I reached, I was met with another long hallway that stretched roughly 20 ft.
My breathing was becoming heavier and the air was getting warmer. The hallways were growing more vibrant with each turn, and they seemed to change from right to left a lot.
At the end of each turn though, I started to notice something move just out of sight at the next turn. At first, it was tiny, like the back end of a mouse. But each time I reached the next turn, it was getting taller and I was starting to see more of what it was.
Seeing that it was trying to avoid me, I gave chase and prepared myself to start my assault on whatever it was. Out of desperation, all I could think of was to fight everything. My every thought was aggression and survival.
And yet it managed to stay ahead of me at all times as if it was teasing me. And then it finally dawned on me that I had run quite some distance.
Turning back, I realized that I had made a foolish decision. Everything was getting cleaner and more vibrant still. I had gotten myself trapped. Now I was stuck in this maze with something always ahead of me, managing to move out of sight before I could get a good look at it.
Frustration, starvation, and an overwhelming sense of dread made me want to do anything to get out of this maze and not see what was at the end of it.
I looked at the wall and used the butt end of the flashlight to start digging a hole through it. I didn't care anymore, I wanted out.
I kept chipping away with frantic speed, struggling to tear apart the solid wooden wall until it finally collapsed outwards and revealed a monstrous void on the other side. I poked my head out and saw that there was nothing out there. A cold, unfathomably deep void that was a grim choice that if I was ever going to get out of here, my only other choice was to keep pushing forward through the maze, or I could take my chances of falling into oblivion.
Seeing what my choices were, I took a few steps back, slumped against the other side, and started to cry. I never normally did something like that but the stress, the feeling of entrapment, and this whole situation that stemmed from an act of kindness has led me to an increasing sense of hopelessness that seized every one of my thoughts.
I must've kept crying for who-knows-how-long anymore. It no longer matters. No matter what happens today, I'm going to die. I just want to lie here and finally get some sleep. It wasn't the most comfortable bed, but I needed this.
I was alerted by the sound of footsteps approaching. My eyes darted open and I saw that the crowd of red-eyed people were following in after me. They were already at the other end of the hallway, staring me down.
Natural instincts kicked in and I got back on my feet and started running as fast as I could to whatever it was that they were cornering me in. If there is a chance of getting out, I have to take this.
I ran and ran, never once taking a moment to catch my breath. I still wanted to sleep, but survival was pushing me forward.
It took me a few minutes to realize that something odd was going on in the hallway itself. It was starting to become warped, blindingly bright in its red colors, and inducing petrifying fear into my heart.
But then the red wallpaper was peeling off, the wooden walls breaking up into shards, and the red lamps that hung on the sides were falling apart. It was slowly getting darker and darker. I turned on my flashlight just to make sure that I didn't run into a wall, but it flickered erratically, making the way ahead obscure and unpredictable.
It didn't matter for too long because I made it to the end.
At the far end of the last hallway was a swirling vortex of black mist, an eerie white glow around the edge, and red eyes. Of course...
They stared at me as if they were awaiting my arrival. On the ceiling was a black slime that was morphing together and splitting apart, dripping down to the floor. From the vortex of eyes and mist, five long pincers were stretched out, reminding me of praying mantis’ pincers.
When I moved in closer by a few steps, I was compelled to stare into a cosmic maelstrom of impossible depths, and through the swarming array of red lightning at the other end of this unfathomable creature, a pulsing organ, shaped like a heart but covered in wiggling strands of hair and misshapen eyes. The pupils were like that of a goat, and— you guessed it— red.
I was disturbed by the crowd of red-eyed people behind me. They stopped their advance as I was making my approach to the anomaly.
"You have made it," it whispered with a slow and calculated voice.
"I have," I said, unsure about what to do next.
"You ran from my grasp outside, entered my home, and your perseverance has brought you this far so that you may see my true form."
I took a few more steps forward, peering at the entity with a sudden rush of curiosity. Upon my even closer observation, from behind the deathly heart, I swear I could see three figures shrouded in a veil of shadows behind it.
But instead of asking any questions, I begged, "Let me out!"
"Why should I? I have no reason to spare you. As you can see behind you, I feed on the minds of those who enter my domain."
Once again, my fight or flight instincts were kicking in and I was ready to do what I must. But it would be crazy to attack something as abstract and out of this world as this creature was. And then I thought for a moment. Could a deal be reached?
"Perhaps—" I swallowed. "Perhaps we can come to an agreement."
A jarring long pause followed before it said, "How so?"
"I'll uh..." I tried to think about what I was going to do. If it's anything that I've learned from movies and TV shows where these types of deals happened, this thing will want me to bring more people and encourage them to drive so that it can snatch them up onto the road. But I wasn't about to sell out my own race. I rationed with myself that I could do something else. Perhaps I should ask it what it wants.
"Is there anything that you want? Something that doesn't involve me selling out people to you?"
"If I say no, are you still willing to offer me people to feed on?"
I took a deep breath and exhaled loudly. If this was going to be where I would die, I was going to go out with a shred of dignity intact. Even if that meant having to give up my own life to save others. I don't think I could live with myself by tricking people.
"No. I care about other people's lives more than my own. I wouldn't be able to live with myself or look my mother in the eyes if she ever found out."
I stood there defiantly, but inside I was shaking and having a horrible case of butterflies in my stomach.
"How noble," it said softly. "All right then, I will make another deal for you. I can see that you will be most valuable in the future. I'll let you go on the condition that you bring me more creatures like me."
"What, disturbing?" I thought.
But what I said was, "Another like you?"
"I am a being known as a Primordial. There are many like me on this planet and I wish to devour them."
"How am I supposed to do that?"
"I'll give you a helping hand. Plus, there's a war between them and I'd rather not have my territory and peace disturbed or my human snacks wiped out over their infighting."
"That's more doable I guess." I said, believing it much less morally wrong to sell out another one of these "Primordials" and sacrifice them to this monstrosity.
"And to make sure that you don't go back on your word—"
Before I had time to react, one of its pincers extended out too quickly for me to dodge in time, drilling itself into my shoulder and leaving a nasty blackened puncture wound.
"Now you'll be forced to bring me my prize. Don't go running away. I have planted myself inside your body and could easily bring you back here should you betray me."
I should have guessed there was going to be some insurance for this creature. I was trapped and had to go through with this deal. Now the next means of action was to find another creature like this.
The creature's pincers all extended outwards and a loud flashbang hit me before I could look away. My mind left spinning, and in utter confusion. And then I heard my name being repeatedly screamed out to me.
I awoke, shocked to see that Derek was pulling me out of a car. He dropped me onto the ground and we both were breathing heavily.
"Man, you sure are a heavy guy," he remarked.
I was quick to realize where I was and quickly got back to my feet to look for the drunk driver. He wasn't in the driver's seat.
"Where did the driver go?" I asked.
Derek slowly got back on his feet and said, "You're welcome, and I don't know. He must have run off by the time you got over there."
I was smart enough to know that that wasn't the truth. I had to play the part that I was not aware of what truly happened to him.
I had to fill out a report to the police department and tell them everything that I knew. Well, a manufactured story that would coincide with Derek's side of the story. I took it upon myself to have the next week off, desperately trying to drown out my frequent nightmares of whatever it was that I saw with bottle after bottle of vodka and whiskey.
But one night, after a rough night of trying to get some sleep, I was disturbed by the sound of an owl. I don't know why this particular owl was able to get me out of bed, but when I went to the window to see how such a creature could be so loud, I was given a grim reminder.
That bird had that particular pair of velvet-colored eyes that I had grown to disdain. And it was a warning to me to get to work.
A sudden rush of piercing pain struck me in my shoulder. When I pulled my shirt down to check it, I could see the black, veiny markings exactly where the puncture wound happened. Weird, this wound disappeared when I got back to town. But that was a warning shot to get to work on finding more of those foul, lowlife primordial things that this... thing wants.
And right before I closed the blinds, I heard it whisper to me once more with a mocking tone. "I'm waiting. Get moving now. Or perhaps you'd like to get your mom in a car next?"
It seems that there would be no rest for the weary today. I have to get ready now, I have to find something out there. Until I'm able to update, take care and for the love of God, don't drive at night in a town with a street called "Lockhill Road."
submitted by JamesCaligo to ThresholdofEvil [link] [comments]

2023.03.29 04:35 SuperSecretOctopus Community Resources (Mental Health/Physical Health/Support for Sexual Violence and Domestic Violence Victims/Legal Services/Etc.)

If you are in immediate danger, please call 911. Some of these resources have been previously posted on this subreddit and are also included in this list.

Mental Health Services

Boynton Mental Health Office and Service Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00am - 4:30pm Depending on location, clinic may have limited hours or not be open on Thursdays Boynton Mental Health provides individual, couples, and group therapy both in-person or by telehealth, as well as psychiatric treatment or medication management for students. • Office Number: 612-625-8400 • Appointment Line: 612-624-1444 • 24/7 Crisis Connection Counselors: 612-301-4673 or Text "UMN" to 61222 • 24/7 Nurse Line: 612-625-7900 • Email:
Student Counseling Services (SCS) Office and Service Hours: Monday - Friday 8:00am - 4:30pm Offers non-crisis support through individual counseling services (at this time, students can anticipate, on average, up to a 1-2 week wait for brief consultations) and can provide other on-campus and off-campus resources right for you. • Office Number: 612-624-3323 • Email: [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]) Also offers: Let's Talk - a free drop-in service that offers informal, confidential consultations for U of M students throughout the academic year.No appointment is necessary, so a student can select from in-person and virtual drop-in options during the scheduled times. Learn to Live - an online therapy program that is available and free for students (code “UMN”). Programs are confidential and accessible anywhere with the following topics: depression, insomnia, social anxiety, substance use, stress, and worry.
Disability Resource Center (DRC) Office and Service Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00am - 4:30pm Helps provide accessibility and reduce barriers on campus to improve access for disabled people through consulting on strategies to provide access and inclusion, implementing reasonable academic, workplace, and guest accommodations, and partnering with University offices to support meaningful physical and technological access. • Office Number: 612-626-1333 • Email: [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected])
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Office and Service Hours: N/A Offers 24/7 crisis-lines related to suicide, counsuling for emotional distress related to a disaster, and free treatment referral and information services. • 24/7 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: 988 • 24/7 Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 • 24/7 National Helpline: 1-800-662-4357
Hennepin County Acute Psychiatric Services (APS) Office and Service Hours: Monday - Sunday 7:00am-11:00pm For Walk-In appointment and other lobby services Provides emergency services, counseling, assessments, and referrals to persons experiencing mental health crises including psychosis, depression, violence or suicide, and other crisis situations. • 24/7 Crisis Counseling: 612-873-3161
Human Development Center (HDC) Office and Service Hours: N/A Provides services for children, teens, young adults, and adults including case management, mental health services, therapy services, eating disorders treatment, an employment connection program, chemical dependency treatment, and many more topic-specific services. • Minnesota Crisis Line: 218-728-5126 • Wisconsin Crisis Line: 715-395-2259
Birch Tree Center (BTC) Office and Service Hours: N/A Provides counseling and residential crisis stabilization to adults experiencing a mental health crisis or emergency. This includes programming designed to enhance psychiatric stability, personal and emotional adjustment, and the necessary skills to return to a more independent setting. • 24/7 Crisis Response: 218-623-1800
Essential Health Mental Health In-Patient Services Office and Service Hours: N/A Provides mental health inpatient programs for children, adolescents, and adults. Services provided are medication evaluation, medication management, indivudual and group therapies, as well as other patient-focused services to help manage and maintain mental illness and mental health related issues. • Miller Dwan (Duluth, MN): 218-727-8762 • St. Joseph's Medical Center (Brainerd, MN): 218-829-2861

Other Health Service

University Recreation and Wellness (RecWell) Office and Service Hours: Monday - Thursday 5:45am - 11:00pm Weekend hours are: Friday 5:45am-10pm, Saturday 8:00am-9:00pm, and Sunday 9:00am - 10:00pm Offers a wide range of programs, services, and facilities designed to aid in the prevention of stress, anxiety, and depression-related challenges as well as promote and enhance physical, mental, and social wellbeing. • Office Number: (612) 626-9222 • Email: [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected])
Boynton Health (After Hours Care) Office and Service Hours: N/A Provides resources for many different medical and health needs. • For more information: Click here
Planned Parenthood Office and Service Hours: N/A Provides primary care, birth control, HIV/STD testing and services, transgender healthcare and hormone therapy, and more • For more information: Click here
WE Health Clinic Office and Service Hours: Monday ‐ Thursday 9:00am ‐ 4:30pm, Friday 9:00am ‐ 4:00pm Provides, advances, and advocates for evidence-based reproductive and sexual health care for all. • Office Number: 218-727-3352
Youth and Aids Project (YAP) Office and Service Hours: N/A A non-profit organization housed in the University of Minnesota's Department of Pediatrics that offers HIV testing, HIV/AIDS medical case management, HIV prevention services, and sexual health education programs for young people living in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area. • Phone: ‭651-231-4849‬ • Email: ​[[email protected]](mailto:[email protected])
Know The Dangers Office and Service Hours: N/A Provides information about opioids and provides support and recovery treatments to those who struggle with mental health, substance use, and gambling addictions. • Opioid and Substance Use Treatment Information: Click here • Narcan/Naloxone Finder: Click here • Gambling Hotline: 1-800-333-4673
Clinic 555 Syringe Exchange Office and Service Hours: Monday and Wednesday 1:00pm - 4:30pm Other hours are Tuesday and Thursday are 1:00pm - 6:30pm, and Friday from 12:00pm - 3:00pm Anonymous syringe exchange and disposal.Various syringe sizes available for injecting medications, substances and hormones. Narcan (overdose reversal medication). Wound care. HIV and Hepatitis C testing. Vaccinations. Connection to community resources. • Office Number: 651-266-1295 • Ramsey County Public Health Center: Click here (Walk-in at Ramsey County Public Health Center during syringe exchange hours only. No appointments.)

Sexual Violence Support Services

UMN POLICY: Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Stalking and Relationship Violence
The Aurora Center Office and Service Hours: Monday - Friday 8:00am - 4:30pm Provides free and confidential crisis intervention for victims of sexual assault, relationship violence, stalking and harassment. • Office Line: 612-626-2929 (office hours only) • Text Line: 612-615-8911 (office hours only) • 24/7 Helpline: 612-626-9111 • Email: [[email protected]](
Sexual Violence Center (SVC) Office and Service Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00am - 5:00pm Provide support through crisis lines, in-person and virtual counseling services, support groups, and help in navigating the medical and legal processes. • Minneapolis Office: 612-871-5100 • Savage Office: 952-448-5425 • 24/7 Crisis Line: 612-871-5111 • Email: [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected])
Ramsey County SOS Sexual Violence Services Office and Service Hours: N/A Provides 24-hour crisis counseling, information and referrals for victims of any sexual violence and for friends and families. • 24/7 Crisis Line: 651-266-1000
Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) Office and Service Hours: N/A Offers telephone and online-chat crisis intervention services to support communities with crisis intervention, empathetic listening, and warm handoffs to designated local service providers. Most services are available in English and Spanish • Crisis Line - 800-656-HOPE • For RAINN Crisis Online Chat - Click here
Program for Aid to Victims of Sexual Assault (PAVSA) Office and Service Hours: Monday - Friday 8:30AM - 4:30PM A nonprofit rape crisis center located in southern St. Louis County that helps area residents cope with the aftermath of sexual violence. Services include various options for people who have been victimized, ranging from immediate crisis intervention to long-term counseling. • PAVSA Office Line: 218-726-1442 • 24 Hour Helpline: 218-726-1931
MN Day One Office and Service Hours: N/A Provides emergency shelter and safe housing, a crisis line, and other resources including support groups, transitional housing, legal advocacy, and culturally specific services. • Crisis Hotline: 1-866-223-1111 • Email: [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected])
Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MNCASA) Office and Service Hours: N/A Provides sexual assault information, locations and telephone numbers of other sexual assault programs in Minnesota • For MNCASA Public Directory: Click here

Domestic Violence Support Services

Family Pathways (Carlton County) Office and Service Hours: Monday – Friday 8:30am - 4:30pm Provides support services for victim-survivors of sexual and domestic violence including hospital advocacy, 24 hour crisis line, and advocacy in the criminal justice system. • 24/7 Crisis Line: 800-338-7233
Safe Haven Resource Center Office and Service Hours: Avalible 24/7 Emergency shelter, legal advocacy, safety planning, support groups, and community education for victim-survivors of domestic violence in Duluth and Northern Minnesota. • Office Number: 218-623-1000 • 24/7 Crisis Line: 218-728-6481
Dabinoo’Igan Shelter Office and Service Hours: Monday - Sunday 8:00am - 5:00pm Dabinoo’Igan is an emergency domestic violence shelter for women and their children. It provides a temporary place to stay while looking at options that will help keep you safe. • Hotline: 218-722-2247
Advocates for Family Peace Office and Service Hours: Monday - Friday 8:30am - 3:30pm Provides free and confidential services to victim-survivors of intimate partner domestic violence including support services, advocacy, assistance filing protective orders, and connecting to resources. • Office Number: 218-248-5512 • 24/7 Crisis Line: 1-800-909-8336
Violence Free Minnesota (VFM) AKA the Coalition for Battered Women (MCBW) Office and Service Hours: N/A A membership organization, with 90 member programs located throughout Minnesota with a strong history of effectively carrying out programming that advances women's safety and security. • Office Number: 651-646-6177 or 1-800-289-6177 • 24/7 Helpline: 1-866-223-1111

Services for Victims/Survivors of Exploitation/Trafficking/Prostitution

Program for Aid to Victims of Sexual Assault (PAVSA) Office and Service Hours: Monday - Friday 8:30AM - 4:30PM PAVSA’s Trafficking Program provides supportive services and case management to victims/survivors of sexual exploitation and sex trafficking including crisis services, support groups, counseling, and legal advocacy. • Office Number: 218-726-1931
Breaking Free (St. Paul) Office and Service Hours: N/A Breaking Free provides advocacy, direct services, housing, and education to women escaping systems of prostitution and sexual exploitation. • Office Number: 651-645-6557
Life House (Sol House) Office and Service Hours: Monday - Friday 11:00am - 6:00pm Sol House, a program of Life House, is a 24hr supportive staffed house for up to 6 youth ages 15-20 who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation. • Office Number: 218-722-7431 ext. 113

Homeless Services

United Way Office and Service Hours: N/A Offers free and confidential information about a wide range of health and human services including basic needs, health care, income support and employment, individual and family life, mental health, and criminal justice. • St. Cloud Office Number: 320-252-0227 • Central Minnesota Number: 211
Life House Youth Center Office and Service Hours: N/A Life House provides homeless and street youth ages 14-24 with unconditional support, transitional housing, and a safe alternative to the streets. • Office Number: 218-722-7431
Renaissance Teen Transitional Housing LSS/ Street Outreach Office and Service Hours: N/A The LSS Renaissance program provides supportive housing in a shared living environment for homeless youth ages 16-21. • Office Number: 218-723-8052
Spirit Valley Young Mother’s Program Office and Service Hours: N/A YWCA’s Spirit Valley Young Mother’s program provides supportive housing to young mothers (ages 16-21) and their infants including services such as advocates to help with access to medical care, education, employment and childcare assistance. Other services include case management, parenting classes, money management, self-esteem enhancement, life skills and homework assistance. • Office Number: 218-722-7425 ext. 116
Damiano Center Office and Service Hours: N/A Provides hygiene kits, community kitchen, free store, free phones, mailboxes for folks experiencing homelessness, etc. • Office Number: 218-722-8708
MN Assistance Council for Veterans Office and Service Hours: N/A Provides assistance to veterans that are experiencing homeless or other life crises. • Office Number: 218-722-8763

Emergency Childcare Services

LSS Crisis Nursery Office and Service Hours: N/A Temporary emergency care of children ages 0-12 for up to 3 days (and nights). • Office Number: 218-302-6879

Culturally Specific Services

Communidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio (CLUES) Office and Service Hours: Monday - Friday 8:30am - 5:30pm Provides programs and services to connect Latino families to resources, skills, institutions and systems and create an environment for people to be engaged and empowered. • Minneapolis Office Number: 612-746-3500 • St. Paul Office Number: 651-379-4200 • Email: [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected])
Casa de Esperanza Office and Service Hours: Monday - Friday 8:00am - 5:00pm Based in St. Paul, MN, national resource center for Latinas and leader in the domestic violence movement. Offers family advocacy and shelter services. Services offered in English and Spanish. • Office Number: 651-646-5553 • 24 Hour Crisis Line 651-722-1611
Minnesota Indian Women's Sexual Assault Coalition (MIWSAC) Office and Service Hours: N/A One of 22 Tribal Coalitions around the country formed to address sexual assault and domestic violence in American Indian Communities, focusing specifically on ending and preventing sexual violence. • Office Number: 651-646-4800 or 1-877-995-4800 • STRONGHEARTS Native Helpline: 1-844-762-8483
The Steve Fund-Crisis Text Line for People of Color Office and Service Hours: N/A The Steve Fund, through its partnership with the Crisis Text Line, promotes text messaging as a means to improve critically needed access for young people of color to crisis counseling.LGBTQ+ Services • Crisis Line: Text STEVE to 741741 • Email: [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected])
American Indian Community Housing Organization Office and Service Hours: Monday - Friday 10:00am - 5:00pm AICHO’s operating philosophy is that every American Indian woman and child deserves to live in a safe, non-threatening environment and should be treated with dignity and respect. Runs Dabinoo’Igan Domestic Violence Shelter, transitional housing program, Giiwe Project – social services, and support and safe housing. • Office Number: 218-722-7225
Fond du Lac Social Services Office and Service Hours: Monday - Friday 8:00am - 4:30pm Provides social service programs that are culturally sensitive and responsive to the values of Indiginous clients. • Social Services Main Line: 218-878-2145 • Domestic Violence Crisis Line: 218-348-1817
ASCEND - Hmong American Partnership (HAP) Office and Service Hours: Monday - Friday 8:30am - 5:00pm Works with victims and at-risk youth to address the severe harm caused by exploitation and move them towards recovery and independence. • Office Number: 651-495-9160 • Email for Lead Youth Advocate: [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected])

LGBTQ+ Resources

The Trevor Project Office and Service Hours: N/A The Trevor Project offers a 24/7 crisis line to offer support to LBGTQ young people. • Office Number: 212-695-8650 • 24/7 Crisis Line: 1-866-488-7386
Trans Lifeline Office and Service Hours: N/A Trans Lifeline is a hotline staffed by transgender for transgender people welcoming the calls of any transgender person in need/experiencing crisis. • 24 Hour Crisis Line 877-565-8860
LGBT National Help Center Office and Service Hours: N/A LGBT National Help Center is a free and confidential peer-support resource that can also help find local resources available for LGBTQ+ folks. • National Helpline: 888-843-4564 • Report Violence Online: Click here
Anti-Violence Project (AVP) Office and Service Hours: N/A LGBTQ+ and gender non-conforming survivors of violence who are experiencing trauma as a result of the current political climate are encouraged to contact this number. • 24 Hour Crisis Line: 212-714-1141

Legal Services/Reporting Abuse

For Children:
Child Protective Services
To report concerns about child abuse, neglect, or sexual abuse, contact the county or reservation where the child lives during business hours. If the child is at immediate risk of harm, please contact your local law enforcement agency or dial 911. • Minnesota Department of Human Services: 651-431-4661 • Hennepin County Family Services: 612-348-3552 • Ramsey County Human Services: 651-266-4500 • For more county contact information: Click here
For Vulnerable Adults:
Minnesota Adult Abuse Reporting Center (MAARC)
MAARC should be contact if there suspected neglect, physical or sexual abuse, or maltreatment of a vulnerable adult by their caregiver.
• Office Number: 844-880-1574
For Sexual/Domestic Violence and all other crimes:
I encourage you to contact any of the above resources that help guide through the legal systems before connecting with these resources. It can be hard to do it alone and there are resources to help you through this.
University of Minnesota Police Department • 612-624-2677 • [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]) • 511 Washington Ave. SE Minneapolis, MN 55455
St. Paul Police Department • 651-291-1111 • [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]) • 367 Grove StreetSt. Paul, MN 55101
Minneapolis Police Department - Special Crimes Investigations Division (SCID) • 612-673-2941 • 350 South 5th Street, Room 130, Minneapolis, MN 55415
Ramsey County Sheriff's Department • 651-767-0640 • 425 Grove Street Saint Paul, MN 55101

Tools and Resources for Self/Friends/Family

UMN Student Counseling Services (Self Help) The Self Help page on the SCS website provides information and numerous resources such as websites, apps, online screenings, and listed hotlines to help you with your mental health. • For the Self Help website: Click here
[email protected] A well-being portal for University of Minnesota students offering tools, dynamic content, and resources built to align with on-campus health and wellness programs and resources. The platform is highly personalized and will help UMN students find the campus and community content and resources tailored to their individual needs and personal goals.
Minnesota Department of Health Sexual Violence Prevention Program (MDH) Helps people and organizations identify effective ways to prevent sexual violence.
Sexual Violence Center (How Can I Help My Loved One or Friend?) Provides information to friends/family on how to help support victims and survivors of violence in their lives.
MNCASA Sexual Violence Prevention Has a prevention team at MNCASA that offers technical assistance, training, resources, networking, and more on the primary prevention of sexual violence. • For more resources and tools, please visit the MNCASA website
In light of the recent posts sharing their stories and experiences, I wanted to create a list of resources for students and their loved ones to hopefully get connected and find support through whatever it is they are going through.
I am a volunteer advocate with PAVSA, so some of these resources may be physically located in Northern Minnesota, but I made sure to include local and remote resources as well.
Feel free to contact me with questions or to share some information and I will update this post if I find any other resources.
Font Converter for Dyslexia
submitted by SuperSecretOctopus to uofmn [link] [comments]

2023.03.29 02:57 thrwawayaway33756 Q Brother is taking advantage of my parents housing situation

I’m posting on mobile, apologies for any typos or issues.
TL;DR: my retiring parents are enabling my unemployed, Q conspiracy brother. How can I convince them to stop enabling him and protect them as they reach their retirement?
My (33F) brother “Joel” (35M) and I have never had a good relationship. We’re opposite people in so many ways and we used to bicker a lot when we were kids. Right now we don’t talk at all. This can be a bit awkward because him, his girlfriend (35F), and son (3M) are currently living with my parents (61F and 64M). I’m seeking some advice here about how I can approach my parents about how they might be enabling my brothers behavior.
My brother has always been conservative leaning and me and my parents are liberal. Mostly he had fiscally conservative ideas and embraced libertarianism as a young adult. He’s definitely grown up with a victim complex; however, he was also pro LGBTQ, dated women of color, and neither of us were raised to discriminate. In 2016 Joel never said explicitly that he voted for Trump, but he did say that he “liked the idea of an outsider shaking up the country.” Since we only saw each once a year or so I just avoided talking politics, particularly since I was (am) a Bernie supporter. In 2018 my brother was laid off from his role as a software engineer at a large company. He hasn’t worked since. In 2020 my brother’s ideology shifted after the birth of his son, Miko.
Joel never admitted that he joined Q but he began spouting Q conspiracies. He became convinced that planned parenthood is selling fetuses, which is particularly upsetting for me and my mom because we are huge supporters of Planned Parenthood. He started fixating on news stories about how black history is being forced in schools. Most of all, he became obsessed with pedophiles. When I say obsessed, I mean OBSESSED. He would bring it up in every conversation and he wouldn’t talk about it, he would rant about it without stopping. I saw some of these rants in person and my mom also vented to me about how often it was occurring. My parents told Joel, “you’re entitled to your views, but we don’t want every conversation in our home to be about politics.” My brother took offense and when no contact immediately. No explanation, just cut them off. My parents didn’t see Miko for 1.5 years.
Eventually, after 1.5 years, my mom managed to get my brother to finally talk but Joel hadn’t changed. He was still obsessed and paranoid. About a week after they reconnected he tells my parents that he, his GF, and Miko are moving into their home because they have nowhere else to go. He didn’t ask, he told them. My parents agreed, they were just happy to have Miko back in their lives. All three of them have been living there for about a year. They don’t pay rent but they do cook meals and contribute to food a little. His gf works part time in retail, but my brother shows no sign of seeking employment. It’s been strained, particularly since Joel has continued to be obsessive and paranoid and my parents don’t agree with how they’re raising Miko.
Miko is non verbal. Joel and his gf weren’t taking Miko to his check ups. They were finally able to get an autism diagnosis after my mom begged them to get Miko checked, but haven’t made any effort to enroll Miko in any programs or specialized schooling. My brother also refuses to take Miko anywhere public, because you know, pedophiles. This means that Miko only stays at home or goes to the park down the street. He doesn’t let anyone see Miko and for awhile he told my parents he wasn’t comfortable with them being alone with Miko, even though they’re staying in my parents house. This really bothers my mom, she would like to take Miko to the zoo or any kind of activity that’s low pressure but my brother won’t allow that.
(Current Issue)
My parents have been renting as they prepare to move into their final home for their golden years. They’ve been searching for awhile, but the market has been crazy. They’re picking up the pace now because my dad is planning to retire at the end of the year. My mom is already retired. Both worked for the state & federal government, my dad also receives benefits for being a disabled vet. Their retirement budget is going to be much tighter.
Recently my parents fell in love with a new housing development. They’re planning to buy a 3bd 2ba house with a detached studio. The studio has its own kitchen, living/dining/bedroom, bathroom, and laundry. Their plan is to live in the detached studio and let my brother and his gf rent the 3bd house. They didn’t tell me what they would charge, just that it would be cheaper than the current rental prices and we live in a high COL area. My brother agreed to this.
My parents reasoning for staying in the studio and having them take the house is that Miko needs his own room and my parents plan on doing some traveling in the next few years. (Belgium for 3 months, various RV trips to national parks, etc). My dad expressed that he doesn’t wish this was their living situation but my brother is a “train wreck” and he can’t throw him and his grandson out on the streets. His girlfriend’s family will only take in her and Miko. They won’t let my brother stay with them.
I stated to them that I was confused why they wouldn’t rent out the studio instead, and they reiterated the above reasons. They were worried I was going to have hurt feelings because my husband and I are trying to buy a house ourselves and my parents can’t financially contribute. I told them I am in no way entitled to their money and resources and my feelings aren’t hurt at all. I expressed that they’re adults and can do what they want with their money. I also advised them to be mindful of being taken advantage of. Don’t let Joel take advantage of you, set clear boundaries l, I said.
My husband and I are still very concerned that they are getting taken advantage of though. I’m also concerned that they’re enabling my brothers behavior. He hasn’t made any effort to seek mental health support, find a new job, or brush up to get back into the engineering field. I’m torn if I should approach this with my parents further, and if so, how?? My therapist said that my parents made the decision to let him in and it’s entirely on them to make him leave. It’s very hard to sit back and watch though.
Should I press a little further about how they’re enabling my brother? How can I get them to see they’re making a mistake?
submitted by thrwawayaway33756 to QAnonCasualties [link] [comments]

2023.03.29 01:19 bloodshot_blinkers We Own The ENTIRE Company! and more...

We Own The ENTIRE Company! and more...

We own the entire company of GameStop.

First and foremost congrats to everyone who played a role in getting us up and over 25% of the total outstanding shares directly registered!
We are very clearly in a recession, even though we aren't allowed to say that part out loud and increasing the DRS numbers by over 4 million in a quarter through these challenging times is impressive.
I mean, I can't even buy eggs, so 4million shares is legen.... wait for it....
I hope you're not lactose intolerant...

Ok now onto why this only further proves to me that we own way more than the total outstanding shares.
We all know that there are hundreds, if not thousands of apes around the world that are completely unable to DRS due to their countries laws, or difficult to navigate requirements to do so in their country.
We also all know that there are many other apes that won't DRS. Either they feel secure in their brokerage or bank I would be second guessing that right about now , or they don't want to lose certain entitlements or pay certain fees to release their shares to be DRS'd - For example: Canadiapes with Tax Free Savings Accounts or Apes who don't want to pay the fees and taxes to release shares in a retirement account.
I'm not here to convince any of you to DRS, and I hope we can all respect each others financial decisions even if you don't think it's right, or that it is slowing our path to MOASS or whatever else.. you do you boo.
That being said, these numbers give us a pretty clear indication that apes own the entire company outright.
The beautiful chart above by the77helios [KIND OF REDACTED] because rules.... shows that the remaining supply of shares "to DRS" is 64 million. That is less than 100% of what is currently DRS'd.
How many apes do you know who have not DRS'd? How many shares do those apes have? How many shares do you have remaining in street name?
I can personally in RL count about 1000 shares owned by friends and family. Only about 10% of those shares are DRS'd (MINE!). We are Canadiapes and friends don't want to lose TFSA. A TFSA is a 'registered account' so it's supposed to be very safe - I guess we'll find out. This is obviously a very small survey group and completely anecdotal, but I am convinced it's not far fetched on a global scale.
Just for fun, if my 10% model based on the people I know is legit, how many shares would apes own?
For those super smooth ones in the back:
This is still less than what I actually think is out there, but for me it's further proof that apes are an idiosyncratic risk and that the infinity pool is not a meme.
Let me know in the comments how many shares (number and %) that you've NOT DRS'd. I don't even care why, and I won't give you shit for it... I'm just curious.
Anyway, today's numbers just proved it again for me and I though I would share my thoughts and a couple pretty joofs gifs.
And as always, see you space cowboy!
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2023.03.28 23:22 hellocafe My father is a compulsive accumulator

Edit 2: the actual problem is I am bothered by inviting someone to the house because of that, typically a girlfriend. The house is a 5 on the hoarding scale.
Edit: wow so sorry to have posted before reading the amazing wiki. It makes me feel so much less alone!!! Leaving my post in case someone reacts and if it can help anyone
TL;DR: My father is a compulsive accumulator and I do not know what to do about this. This house is not presentable. It affects our everyday life, we cannot introduce anyone to our home for instance.
My father is a compulsive accumulator.
I do not know what to do. Traditional arguments he uses to not throw away things are: - this might be worth money later - I did not have this when I was a child - imagine later you have a child he or she might want to use it
The result is being a 30M coming back for a few days at my parents’ house and being caught up in an argument because some of my stuff is there from having moved from a previous apartment. Literally these boxes occupy 3 meters square the apartment is 90meters square, the rest is so full we do not see the color of the floor -and of the walls. He accumulates things he finds in the street and never throw away/sells/gives anything.
I already tried to throw stuff which he took back from garbage saying it was breaking his heart. And when I try to sell stuff he is like “I think it would be more useful to you if you keep it”
What can I do?
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2023.03.28 23:19 OfAshes [A Game of Chess] - Chapter 35 - Bridging the Gap

Story Teaser: Chess is truly an interesting game, even with only one board. Managing the wants of your pawns, the directions they want to go against the ones you need them to - it is said that the God of Chess was the only one who understood it properly, and, as everyone knows, all the gods died centuries ago, in the Thousand Years War.
But this game is different. 3 pairs of players with 3 boards stacked on top of one another, a single Wild Card crowning the final game. That Wild Card is Melony, a girl living in the dying City who abruptly finds herself thrown into a world that confuses past, future, and present. Who will be the victor, and what does it mean to win?
Chapter Teaser: Where there are impossibly border-accurate rivers, there are cool bridges!
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IT WASN’T THAT THE City was quieter at night, but that it was filled with a different kind of noise. The lamps that were haphazardly dangling from any available windowsill or perch filled the streets with a soft artificial light, a sharp contrast to the dim silver starlight that floated down from above. Although there were perhaps not as many people wandering the streets, those that were out and about moved with a purpose, feet pounding into the dry concrete.
Melony was wary of the voices and the light, a habit born from too many nights spent walking back to her home in the half-darkness, but, despite this learned fear, she still felt… lighter at night. She always had, even though she couldn’t really explain why.
She wished Sora were here, with her bright green eyes and contagious smile, but she’d obviously been nervous about going into the Wilds. Besides, someone needed to stay behind and look after the Sector, a job that Tock had been doing alone for far too long. Though she and Samheim had their earpieces, Samheim had been unsure whether they’d work once they were in the Wilds.
“This way,” Mel said, making a sharp turn onto a side street. They were taking the South bridge out of the City, which was in Gemstone territory. Although it was a fair distance away from the Sector, it had the least amount of pieces scattered around it. Mel wanted to avoid unnecessary conflict right now, even if she was making the first move.
Sora, Samheim, and Melony had plotted out a rather roundabout route to the bridge. The Gemstones’ active Sector, E1, was positioned directly to the right of the bridge, and Mel wanted to avoid going near it. That meant that the two of them, and Daederisha, were skirting around the bottom wall of the Inner City. Next, they’d turn South and head towards the bridge.
Mel breathed out and tried to steady her nerves, feeling the weight of the chessboard in her bag. She almost paused to take it out and check the layout of the pieces, but stopped herself before she could. “This was a bad idea,” she muttered, drawing Samheim’s attention.
“Is it?” he asked at the same time that Daederisha remarked, Nah. Not much point in being a Wild Card if you don’t do anything, right?
Melony sighed and tucked her hands into her pockets, feeling her hair swing behind her and her scarf shift on her neck. They’d weighed the pros and cons of this decision, but, in the end, rationality did nothing to combat the last-minute nerves that were sneaking up on her.
“Look, Mel, it’s fine,” said Samheim, making another turn onto a side street.
“We’re going into the Wilds,” she replied doubtfully, one hand on the shrunken version of Mohs’ staff and the other tightly gripping a flashlight.
Samheim shrugged. “It’s fine,” he said easily. “We’re prepared.”
Mel’s gaze shifted down to where his Enchanted pistol sat on his belt, along with several daggers, a flashlight, and a variety of other odds and ends. “Sam, you’re armed to the teeth and so am I,” she snapped.
“Yup,” he said. “What part of ‘we’re prepared’ wasn’t I clear about?”
Melony sighed, running a hand down her face. It wasn’t whether they were prepared or not, it was what they were preparing for. The Wilds were a dangerous place, and those who journeyed back and forth between them and the City, Wildsmen, often came back injured, or worse, not at all. The Wilds were… wild, for lack of a better word, and they only seemed to get more dangerous as the years went by.
They reached the bridge in what felt both like an eternity and no time at all. It wasn’t anything fancy; just a simple, slightly curved slab of stone that passed over the Border River and connected the City to the Wilds. Mel took one step across, then another, then paused.
There, on the Wilds side of the bridge, were two very familiar figures, one tall with a severe expression and one short and holding a staff. Mel barely constrained a snort and started forward again, gasped, and stopped, nearly pitching forward and off the bridge before Samheim caught her. She had closed her eyes with the onset of pain, and when she opened them, she had the odd feeling that she was somewhere else.
The bridge was embossed with grand designs carved from simple wood, inserted into the gray stone that made up the arch that was the bridge. The railings were tall and elegant, a far cry from the simple stone slab that now filled its place. In the rational part of her mind, Melony knew that she was still standing on that almost flat block of gray stone. Still, she couldn’t keep her mind from getting caught up in the torrent of emotions that this memory, if that’s what it was, was pouring into her.
The world was dim and yet illuminated by a translucent blue haze; every object emitting a faint light and yet still shrouded in darkness. In the middle of the bridge stood a tall man, one that Melony recognized. She’d seen him twice before now. The first time, in the dream, had been when he died. The second, in a mural, had been when he was alive. This time, then, must be somewhere in between.
On the other side of the bridge, the side that connected to the Wilds, she saw battle. There was battle on the bridge, too, Maradak wielding a sharpened sword that whistled through the air and looked far more suited for decoration than for combat. He looked tired, so very very tired, and Melony could see that his strength was fading.
Unconsciously, her eyes not under her control, she followed his gaze to the other side of the River. She saw flashes of battle and magic, arrows flying through the air and runes glowing in a multitude of colors.
It was a losing battle. Melony knew it, somehow, though whether the conclusion was carefully drawn from her surroundings or spoon fed by the memory that surrounded her was impossible to tell.
As she watched, Maradak seemed to straighten with a realization. He stabbed his sword down, shattering the bridge. The noise was like an explosion, and she could see the monumental effort it took for him to destroy something of his own creation. Then, he was falling, and she was falling with him.
“Maradak!” screamed a voice. Melony thought she might’ve recognized it from her first ‘vision,’ but she wasn’t sure. “Are you all right. You…”
“...nearly drowned!” exclaimed Samheim, scowling. “Melony? Melony! Are you even listening to me?”
“No,” forced out Mel , pushing her eyes open. She was still standing on the bridge, Samheim’s quick reflexes having prevented her from tumbling over the edge. She gasped for breath, and the world quietly resumed its normal pattern. She shook her head, trying to expel the images she’d seen from overlapping onto what actually was, then took a breath and practically ran off the bridge.
“Vision,” she said weakly once Samheim followed her off the bridge. “Like the dream. But I was awake this time.” She took a few breaths to calm down, slowly returning her heart to its normal, steady rhythm, rather than the accelerated mess it was right now.
“I noticed,” grumbled Samheim, looking thoughtful for a moment. “I’ll make sure to pay attention in case it happens again. Shall we get going?”
Melony nodded, grateful to her friend, and spun Mohs’ staff, extending it. “Of course,” she said, smiling.
“Oh, you’re not going to invite us?” came another voice, and Mel stiffened. She’d completely forgotten about the two figures she’d seen while crossing the bridge, and she barely managed to stifle a laugh as Marcos glared indignantly at the two of them.
They were obviously being controlled by the Kings, but they’d probably follow even if Mel said ‘no.’ Besides, it would be nice to have the help in the Wilds. Mel would rather fall prey to a scheme of the Kings’ making than succumb to some danger lurking deep in the Wilds.
Oh, like you’d need one, remarked Daederisha, shaking Mel out of her thoughts. That was another point in the pair’s favor: the sword, although its loyalties were questionable, seemed to trust them. You’re going to follow even if she says no, which she’s not going to.
“Obviously,” said Therma easily, golden eyes calm and full of something like amusement. “What else would we be doing?”
“Not following us?” suggested Samheim, though it was obvious that he didn’t mind them coming along. Mel smiled as the group – her group – started forward, pushing their way into the Wilds, Therma and Marcos bantering back and forth about something or other.
Still, even as they bounced their words off of each other, Mel didn’t miss the look of concern they directed towards her, or the worry in their eyes.
It would be inaccurate to say that Marsha was once again having doubts. That statement would imply that she had, at some point, stopped having them, and only recently restarted.
No, it would be far more accurate to say that the intensity of Marsha’s doubts increased drastically as she leaned back in her chair, shooting a concerned glance at Simon. He mirrored the look, arms crossed over his chest.
“Is it…” Marsha started, swallowing in an attempt to soothe her parched throat. “Is it too much for her? The boundary between past and present? She is a mortal, after all.”
Simon shifted in his seat. “I’m sure he planned through this,” he said. “You can’t form a proper strategy without understanding the conditions you’re in.”
Marsha sighed, then hesitated, trying to properly form her thoughts into words. “We’re not dealing with technology, Simon. We’re dealing with chess, something that is innately magical. Odd things happen when different things are combined, and it would be impossible for him to properly predict this.”
Her friend considered this for a moment, gray eyes twinkling. “It doesn’t seem to be harming her,” he said slowly. “And even if it were to happen in a dangerous situation, she has others to protect her while she recovers.”
Marsha tipped her head to one side, considering this. “True,” she said. “It might even be a benefit – knowing… knowing what happened.” Her voice barely even wavered at the second part of her sentence, but she could feel the press of a thousand emotions behind her eyes, threatening to spill over in tears and unkind words.
She wanted to scream. Wanted to throttle her past self and demand an answer for why she’d agreed to play along with this mad charade. Wanted to, for the millionth time, ask Simon why. Why are you doing this? This can’t be fixed.
She’d asked that question enough times to know exactly how he’d answer, though: I’m not trying to fix it. I’m trying to make it better.
Marsha forced the thoughts from her head. She’d always been like this, making promises that she didn’t want to keep for the sole purpose of forcing herself to keep them. She didn’t want to do this, but, at the same time, she desperately wanted to help Simon, wanted this to succeed, wanted all the dreams she’d once had to come true.
Maybe that was why she’d made that promise to Allessa, all those years ago. A stupid, foolish promise. A promise that she regretted making. A promise she was so very desperately glad she’d made.
Maybe that was why she’d made this promise to Simon, too. What else was she going to do? Sit down and cry for another few centuries? Wait until everyone else died?
Maybe she was stuck in an endless cycle of lying to herself, and the promises were her desperately clinging to the truth.
No. Stop. Maybe she didn’t care why she’d made those promises. Maybe she should stop thinking about depressing things and focus on keeping those promises. Maybe she was dragging herself down into the depths of her mind and she should stop doing that, because no good would come from being stuck with herself for too long.
Maybe she should open her damn eyes before Simon started to wonder if she’d gone to sleep.
Marsha forced a smile, and it was easier than she expected. “No matter what way this goes,” she said, surprising herself, and probably Simon. “I think this was a good idea.”
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2023.03.28 22:54 Bill_The_wise Sounds of Distant Earth

Sounds of distant Earth…
By M_is_not_dead!
University Log entry: 4396.54 (Terran Standard: September 16th 2223)
Professor Hik-von.
Let me provide some background. I am a University Professor of Music currently working for the Federation College of Music on Rolden, not far from the borders of the Federation. As a T’len, my species has excellent hearing and sight, but most of all, we have a drive to learn.
I had planned a short five-cycle trip to enjoy some of the beauty of a planet the humans call Earth. I landed at the Münster Spaceport early in the day, just before their local star started to rise over the horizon (the Humans call the star “Sol”). Being a T’len, my eyes automatically adjusted to the increasing light.
I followed the other people from many different worlds, all moving to what I assumed was the “baggage claim”. My thoughts were confirmed when I saw the signs above showing Galactic Standard that it was indeed the case. From the carousel indicating the ship I was just on, I grabbed my single bag and followed the signs to a door marked “Ground Transportation”. “These humans are quite organized…” I thought to myself.
I headed to the curb, and within seconds, a bright yellow taxi pulled in front of me. I opened the door and carefully slid in, watching that my long tail wouldn’t get clipped in the automatic door. I noticed that the taxi was completely automated. A voice asked in a very pleasant tone in my native T’len language, “Please state your desired destination?”
“Hotel Münster, please…” I replied back in T’len. I have to say, for a new member of the Federation, these humans seemed very pleasant. The taxi moved carefully through the streets, and within minutes, I was in front of the hotel.
The Hotel Münster is charming. It has grand exterior, with classic architectural features such as ornate stonework, wrought iron balconies, and tall arched windows. The entrance is marked by a large wooden door with intricate carvings, flanked by antique lanterns. The lobby features high ceilings, chandeliers, and a grand staircase leading to the upper floors. The furniture and decor were what the humans called a classic or antique style, with plush velvet armchairs, gilded mirrors, and oil paintings on the walls. The hotel offered modern amenities such as Internet and air conditioning while preserving its historical character.
I was later told of the history of this city, but that is for another paper.
After I had checked in and was shown to my room, I had an urge to go “adventuring” through the hamlet.
The small German town of Münster was bustling with activity as I stepped out of my hotel and onto the cobblestone streets. As a T’len from a distant planet, I was used to experiencing new and strange things, but this quaint town held a particular charm that I couldn't resist. I decided to explore the local plaza, where I stumbled upon a small coffee shop.
I ordered a hot beverage and took a seat at a table outside, watching as people went about their daily routines. It wasn't long before I noticed a man dressed in black and white clothing (I was later told that it was called a “tuxedo” and was formal clothing), holding a large piece of wood with what looked like wires connected at both the top and bottom.
I pointed my translator to it, and it was identified as a “double bass,” a traditional stringed instrument played by pulling a bow across the strings with one hand and placing the fingers of the other hand on the strings to produce vibrations that would vibrate inside the hollow wood cavity and produce sound. He placed a black hat on the ground and stood in silence.
I sat and sipped the hot coffee and sat back just to watch the crowd for a moment when a small human child came up to me and in a quiet voice said, “kitty.” I looked at my translator and started to chuckle.
Let me explain. A "kitty" is a small domesticated animal native to this planet. It seems that my orange and brown fur, along with my eyes, ears, and tail, make me look like an over sized cat. However, unlike that little animal, I am much bigger and bipedal, and millennias ago, our claws faded into stubs that were closer to knobs protruding at the end of our fingers. They look very close to Human nail, but tended to be black in color.
"I'm sorry, little human, but I am not a kitty, I am a T'len," I politely explained, bending closer to her. "My name is Hik-von. What is your name?" I smiled, emulating what I had seen other humans do.
She smiled up at me with wide eyes and replied with great joy, "Helen, I'm six years old."
“Pleased to meet you”, I asked, "Is your family nearby?"
She pointed to the table in front of me, and I saw two humans sitting there watching us. Helen then asked, "Can I touch your tail?"
Most T'lens would never allow anyone to invade their space or touch them, but that was not me. I slowly brought my tail up and gently laid it on her shoulders. She giggled with delight as my fur touched her neck. Her happiness was intoxicating, and I smiled as she stroked the soft fur. "It's so soft," Helen giggled again and ran to tell her parents, who waved at me and nodded their thanks.
Helen asked her parents for a coin and ran over to the man with the double bass and dropped it in his hat. He smiled at her and began playing music that I had never heard before. The music was beautiful, with soaring melodies and intricate harmonies that spoke to my soul.
I looked at my translator, which displayed the title of the piece the human was playing: "Ode to Joy" by Ludwig van Beethoven. The music was unfamiliar to me, but I couldn't help but feel moved by it.
The man in the tux continued on. Other performers joined him. This started slowly at first, one or two adding their own instruments to the performance. Some with small instruments that looked like the double bass but were smaller and higher pitched. Some brought metal instruments that they blew into. Soon, it was a mixture of both beauty and harmony. More people seemed to appear from everywhere, and they all seemed to add their instruments to the mix. The music began to build, growing louder and more complex with each passing moment.
I watched in awe as the performers worked together, creating a beautiful and complex tapestry of sound. The music was so powerful that I could feel it reverberating through my body, filling me with a sense of joy and awe. The performers continued to play, their music echoing through the plaza and drawing in more and more people. Soon, a crowd had gathered, and I found myself swept up in the energy and excitement of the moment.
The music played on. The notes were carried on the breeze, mixing with the sounds of the town and creating a symphony of its own.
The lyrics of the song spoke of brotherhood and joy, of the triumph of the human spirit over adversity. They were beautiful, and I found myself quoting them to myself over and over again.
The voices sang, "Durch des Liedes Macht veredelt, wahrhaftig zu sein, was ist" ("Through the power of song, ennobled, to be truly what one is"), and I felt a deep sense of connection to the humans around me. The music continued to build, reaching a crescendo that filled the plaza with its beauty.
The voices then sang, "Freude, schöner Götterfunken, Tochter aus Elysium, Wir betreten feuertrunken, Himmlische, dein Heiligtum!" ("Joy, beautiful spark of divinity, Daughter of Elysium, We enter, drunk with fire, Heavenly One, your sanctuary!"), and I was in awe at the power of their words.
As the music came to a close, the performers and the audience erupted into cheers and applause. It was a moment of pure joy and beauty, a testament to the power of music to unite people from all walks of life and worlds. The sun began to set, and the group of musicians began to disperse, each one nodding to the other in appreciation. Lost in thought, I sat there for a moment, reflecting on how this trip had been more than just a chance to experience a new world. It had been an opportunity to connect with others in a way that I had never thought possible.
I finished my coffee and headed back to the hotel, my mind racing with new ideas and thoughts. I knew I would never forget this day, this moment of pure joy and beauty that had been shared by so many different beings.
That night, as I lay in bed, listening to the soft hum of the city outside, I couldn't help but smile. Somewhere in the universe, there was a small planet called Earth, filled with wonder and beauty beyond anything I had ever known. And for that, I was grateful.
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2023.03.28 22:10 ShakeNBakeMormon The ULTIMATE RWBY OC Creation Guide! (*Statement is figurative and inadmissible as evidence in a court of law.)

Got something big in the works for Team LCA that I'm hoping on being able to show soon, and I'm also waiting on results for one more fight before the Cogai Runda Tournament Grand Finals can begin, so I made this to tide me over until eitheboth of those are ready. It'll also be a nice post to be able to link to when people ask advice, so hey, let's go.

Within almost every fandom, some of the most dedicated go beyond merely imagining themselves in the setting and elect to create an entirely original character to exist within the fictional world of their choice, and with RWBY particularly this can be an incredibly exciting process. However, as with all things, true creativity doesn’t exist without limits, and certain limits do apply to RWBY OCs. On the other hand, though, it’s important that one also realize what they CAN do, so they’re not pointlessly holding themselves back from what they might enjoy having. As far as the actual process of character creation, I have sparing advice, but this guide is primarily focused on (what are from my observation) lesser-known do’s and don’ts when it comes to making RWBY OCs that truly feel like they belong in the world, whilst also being everything they can be.

When people make RWBY OCs, they tend to fall into one of several roles:

-Huntsman-in-training (“huntsman/huntsmen,” by the way, is the gender-neutral term, hence the term “Huntsman Academies” in the show, so going forward I’ll be using this term to refer to huntsmen or huntress characters) at one of the four Academies

-Graduated Huntsman

-Atlas Specialist (huntsmen in the ranks of the Atlesian military, typically elite units)

-Criminal/Terrorist (White Fang is common but not always)

With three of these possible roles being huntsmen or huntsman-adjacent, it’s important to consider what a huntsman even is: in RWBY, they are generally warriors who have attended one of the Huntsman Academies in order to master their abilities, and afterward are able to select posted missions and complete them. Evidently, these are paid jobs, so one way Huntsmen can be viewed is as mercenaries, with morality determining where they might draw the line on accepting certain missions and the way they carry themselves during them but not fundamentally changing the job description. To be able to perform many of these jobs requires a license, which is usually obtained by completing training at the academies but not strictly. As previously stated, time spent at the academies is time spent honing and developing one’s abilities, especially in regards to combat, and the academies themselves are more adjacent to Ivy League colleges than to high school as is a common idea. The abilities being developed almost unanimously include knowledge of various species of Grimm, general combat, and world history, but the primary purpose of the academies is to train students in mastery of their aura.

Aura can be thought of as a mix of several other concepts from fiction: if you combine the Super Soldier Serum from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Spidey-Sense, a random superpower that may or may not be related to the personality of the user (bonus points if it is) and can evolve in function over time (though not changing at a fundamental level), the ability of Superman’s bioelectric aura to make held objects impervious to damage, and shields from Halo (albeit about 30x stronger), you’re not far off the mark of what aura is, and the effectiveness of all aspects can be improved with the sorts of training done at the academies. With all of these abilities, even first-year students are leagues above the layman and can, without incident, bring down scores of Grimm that would each ordinarily win a 1v1 against a non-huntsman, and as they progress to and past graduation they grow ever more powerful: the resilience of their aura, the rate at which it recharges, the enhancements to strength and speed, the extrasensory abilities, and even the power and versatility of their semblances are all improved, and the difference between a green first-year and a veteran huntsman is almost as night and day as the difference between a normal civilian and the same first-year. Of course, the academies do have a barrier to entry- you have to be good enough to start out with before you can be allowed to enter, hence why Jaune had to falsify transcripts rather than simply being allowed in as he was, so remember if you create a huntsman or huntsman-in-training that they need to be sufficiently capable to justify their enrollment within the academy to begin with, and be much more powerful if they’re full graduates.

The primary differentiator between two different huntsmen, even if they use similar weapons, will be their semblances: additional powers tied to their aura that are (usually) unique to them, and which generally have to do with their personality and can evolve with training or with personal development. These abilities generally don’t carry any drawback beyond aura use, and even this generally doesn’t tend to be extreme, allowing semblances to be a primary aspect of most huntsmen’s combat routines- if they get a good one, anyway. Some semblances are considerably more niche or conditional or have a much lower skill ceiling than others, but these are less common than the semblances that fundamentally alter the way the user approaches combat. Ideally, semblances start out as a singular thing, and even evolutions tend to expound on this singular thing rather than introduce entirely unrelated abilities, although connections between different functions can be rather loose at times. Semblances can also interact with weapons and dust in particular ways that change the exact manifestation of the semblance, like with Schnee glyphs, but generally they do just do one thing with a variety of applications rather than a variety of things, with the best semblances being so open-ended that doing one thing becomes doing many.

Of course, it’s not just their aura that huntsmen have at their disposal: weapons are an iconic part of RWBY, with many weapons being even more recognizable than the characters that wield them. Many weapons shift between multiple forms, while some have multiple functions in one form like with a bayonet, while still others only have a single form and function. Weapon evolution isn’t something commonly seen, but modifications can be made, and weapons are typically the creation of the user to begin with. Weapons that are also instruments are suspiciously common among OCs despite being functionally unheard of among canon characters (and few of these match the actual combat viability of their progenitor). Something that’s important to remember with RWBY weapons is that, in the most effective weapons, guns are a SECONDARY function and mode of damage, not the primary form of either: due to the enhancements of aura, melee weapons are considerably more powerful, and guns are generally used for either dust setups, propulsion (of the self or the weapon), or harassment at range, but getting into close range to use melee weapons is the modus operandi of an efficient huntsman. Weapons that are primarily guns do exist, but they are much fewer in number and generally found among huntsmen like Coco whose semblances actively enhance firearms to tip the balance of power, while bows and crossbows have no advantages to any other weapon type aside from potentially having more dust in the tip. Because of the ability of aura to make just about any object being actively carried by a huntsman invulnerable, including bread and watermelons, the material used in weapons doesn’t matter to quite the same extent as normal, although their durability while not in the grasp of the huntsman or when the huntsman’s aura is spent might suffer- a glass sword might work fine with aura intact, and maybe a cardboard sword will be much lighter without cost to durability, but once one’s aura is gone they might want a backup, hence steel still being the common choice.

Of course, steel isn’t the only material that matters in weapons: dust is a game-changer that basically just adds sorcery to a huntsman’s toolkit. Electricity dust is especially effective for doing damage against people or Grimm, with burn dust being another common choice, but other dust types like ice and earth can alter the terrain for more favorable situations, both of those two plus plant dust can ensnare an opponent, steam dust can limit visibility to give one the element of surprise, hardlight grants enhanced protection, and gravity dust can do a very wide variety of things with an intelligent huntsman at the wheel. Dust is extremely efficient- Weiss made several multi-cubic-meter walls of ice from enough dust to fit into a single vial in Myrtenaster, so running out in the span of a single engagement is rarely an issue unless there is extreme overuse, and any amount that can be carried on one’s person will last for a good while. While many people limit dust use to simply different varieties of ammunition, some use dust in its raw form and achieve much greater effect, and some especially clever huntsmen weave dust into their clothes for a variety of effects. While some huntsmen rely on dust as little more than propellant for bullets, these are missing out on a treasure trove of tricks and out-of-the-box strategies that are worth looking into, with or without a semblance to combine them with.

After weapons, though, the first thing typically imagined about a huntsman is how they themselves look, which brings us to outfit design primarily: faunus traits may also spice up physical appearance, but just keep in mind that they’ll only have one trait from the animal in question and that this trait is almost always a physical augmentation, even if it is hidden sometimes. RWBY characters often also have unusual hair colors or eye colors, but this is optional: brown/brown is still decently common, but ordinarily impossible hair colors like neon green and blue are also possible, as are strange eye colors like purple and red (no silver or we’re going to have some problems, but grey seems to be fine like with Mercury). While armor is common among those without trained aura such as Atlesian soldiers and Jaune as a holdover from his auraless beginnings at the academy, among graduates and even training huntsmen armor is rarely more than a stylistic choice, with Pyrrha Nikos wearing armor that provided almost no actual protection and was instead for an ornate appearance. However, street clothes are also generally not common attire, at least not without some fashionable augmentation. Because of their general role in society, huntsmen dress to be noticed, but because of the enhancements granted by their aura, they also usually don’t wear armor and especially don’t wear helmets, and combine a fantasy approach with a modern design, generally leaning more towards the latter with a pinch of the former in the form of cloaks, high boots, combat skirts, etc. Picrew will basically never have anything even approaching a RWBY-esque design, and HeroForge is generally pretty terrible for making RWBY OCs (might just be the art style and the lack of a genuine female model) but it can get a general idea going well enough. The colors referenced in their name are generally the primary colors of their outfit, but this is unnecessary, especially if their hair is already that color.

Speaking of names, one name or the other- first or last- must be a color, make one think of a color, or sound like a color, with both being optional but at least one being required. The definition of this is very thin, but you generally shouldn’t require a chain of reasons to justify the choice: you should be able to draw a direct line between the name and the referenced color on the grounds of either translation, common coloration of a referenced object, or just straight-up being the color itself (this works better for surnames, and only usually for set colors). The rule is pretty easy to hit when one applies oneself, and you may even stumble into it accidentally, but if you are having trouble, it’s helpful to remember that EITHER name works for the rule, so you can make the first name whatever you like and then just figure out a color name for the last name (the inverse is also a possibility, albeit a much more difficult one). My advice for coming up with last names, once you have the first, is to say the first name aloud and follow it with whatever your brain wants to say next. When I say “Jezebel,” the next thing my brain wants to say is “Dean,” thus “Jezebel Dean.” If the first name is already a color, you should be set here, but if it isn’t, then take the last name you came up with and try to remain as similar as possible to it while making something that meets the color naming rule. If you already hit the color naming rule by accident, awesome.

In addition to alluding to a color, many characters- if not all of them- also allude to entirely different fictional characters, and the inspiration can vary from being blindingly obvious like with Ruby to being so obscure that people actually believe they allude to an entirely different character like with Roman (he’s not the Clockwork Orange guy, he’s actually a Pinnochio character that got cut from Disney’s adaptation). Because of this variability, it’s entirely possible to choose an allusion AFTER the character has been made, finding a character that the OC has superficial similarities or a similar theme to, although many prefer to use the allusion as a baseline for many later creative choices. These characters (the ones being alluded to) should generally be public domain, mythological figures (which also seems to or at least should include religious figures in general), or historical figures, with Neon Katt being the exception that proves the rule. This aspect isn’t strictly necessary and can be foregone entirely, but is a nice touch that can inform some other decisions with the character’s creation.

Of course, once the OC has been created, their place in the world of Remnant needs to be figured out: are they studying at one of the Huntsman academies? Why? Being a huntsman is hardly for everyone, they ought to have some reason they’re doing this, and this can be innate to either their personality or their backstory, the latter of which should take into consideration the kinds of transpirings that actually occur in Remnant in order to remain believable. Same goes for villains, and on both sides of the firing line it’s important to note that not everyone is going to be massively influential on the world around them: yes, a particularly capable team can absolutely make a difference in various towns throughout a kingdom or two, but a single-digit number of teams earn Ozpin’s trust and Salem is basically an unknown until the events of Volume 8. That said, very few Grimm can actually stand up to fully-trained huntsmen and almost nobody without similar training can even hope to do it either, so remember the kind of weight they can throw around- one huntsman, or even a pair of huntsman-in-training, can do the work of dozens of ordinary soldiers, and they’re going to have more impact on the world than the layman any day of the week.

With all of that said, I think that just about covers it: keep in mind what being a huntsman actually entails for the character, what sort of power their aura grants them so as to not make them too weak, the place they occupy in the world, the general design philosophies of weapons, the powers of dust they can use, the general design philosophy of outfits, and the allusions to color or other characters, and you should be golden for making an OC that truly belongs in RWBY’s world. This guide isn’t going to produce any single character: that’s all up to you. Get out there, and get creating!
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2023.03.28 19:15 Bushcraftstoic [MF] Veil of the morning

I am the morning fog, born from the coolness of the night, rising up from the earth to embrace the world. As I spread across the land, I weave a dreamlike veil that transforms the familiar into the unknown.
My tendrils stretch out, seeking new ground to conquer. I drift through the streets, curling around the lampposts and the trees. The city is different now, softened by my embrace. The buildings look taller, the streets look wider, and the sounds are muffled, as if the world is holding its breath.
I love the way the morning sun glimmers through my haze, illuminating my watery web. The world is a canvas, and I am the painter, adding my touch of magic to everything I touch. I am a shape-shifter, a master of illusions, playing with the senses of those who dare to venture into my realm.
I watch as people emerge from their homes, wrapped in coats and scarves, their breath forming white clouds in the chilly air. Some of them smile as they walk through me, their steps quickening as they hurry to their destinations. Others frown, annoyed at the delay I cause, their pace slowing down as they navigate through the haze.
But I am indifferent to their reactions, for I am the morning fog, a transient beauty that graces the world with my ephemeral touch. I am the mystery that invites you to explore, to wonder, to dream.
As I move, shifting and swirling, creating eddies and currents that dance with the wind, I feel the coolness of my embrace against my own body. I experience the way my tendrils stretch out, searching for new places to explore, and the way the droplets of water cling to everything I touch. The sensations are a delight to me, and I am content to lose myself in the moment.
I glide over fields and forests, cloaking them in my ethereal shroud. The trees look like ghostly apparitions, their bare branches reaching up to the sky, while the grass and the leaves glisten with dewdrops. The colors are muted and indistinct, as if seen through a veil, and the only sounds are the rustling of leaves and the whisper of my own movement.
As the day progresses, I start to dissipate, my tendrils slowly melting away. The world is clearer now, and the sounds are louder, as if the world has awakened from a dream. I watch as people go about their day, and I am happy to have been a part of their morning, if only for a brief moment.
For I am the morning fog, a misty blanket that shrouds the world in mystery. I am the softness that tempers the harshness of the day, the comfort that soothes the weary soul. And as the world awakens, I retreat to the shadows, waiting for the next day to come, to greet the world once again with my magic.
As the day progresses, I start to dissipate, my tendrils slowly melting away. The world is clearer now, and the sounds are louder, as if the world has awakened from a dream. I watch as people go about their day, and I am happy to have been a part of their morning, if only for a brief moment.
I may be fleeting, but my influence lingers long after I'm gone. The morning fog is a reminder that there's beauty to be found in the transience of life. It's a reminder to pause and appreciate the world around us, even if it's just for a moment. And just like the morning fog, our lives are a constant state of change. Each day presents new challenges, new opportunities, and new moments of beauty that we should cherish.
In a world that's constantly moving, the morning fog provides a moment of stillness, a moment to reflect and appreciate the world around us. It's a reminder that there's more to life than just the hustle and bustle of everyday routine. It's a reminder to slow down, to take a deep breath, and to appreciate the beauty in the world.
As I retreat into the shadows, I am content knowing that I have left my mark on the world, however brief it may have been. I am the morning fog, a mysterious and beautiful presence that transforms the world. And as the new day begins, I will rise once again, ready to embrace the world with my ethereal touch.
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2023.03.28 19:10 LordDraconis7 Beyond Deja Vu

What I'm about to say may not sound real and I understand but this did really happened to me a few years ago.
I've had a spiritual awakening a few months ago, I wanted to share the craziest syncronicity that has happened to me on this journey of self-realization.
A few years ago, I used to be a Jehovah's Witness, I used to believe that path to be the only one to 'God'. However, the more I studied the Bible the more questions that answers I got.
Sometimes I would even ask the elders of the congregation questions and that even they couldn't answer.
One night I had a dream that I was going door to door with my bible study teacher in some street I've never seen before, we were walking by the left side of the road. Me and my teacher were standing in the corner of the left street and I noticed my teacher had a checkerd pattern shirt, brown and white colored, then the dream ended.
The very next day our congregation goes to a part of town to go door to door, I've never been to this part of my town before.
As me and my teacher were were walking down this road, something very strange starts happening, it all feels very earie... like I've been here before. When we reached the corner I started to noticed the similarities.
I was standing in the same corner of the same left road, and my teacher was wearing the exact same checkerd colored I saw in my dream the previous night.
It was all to obvious to ignore, what made it even crazier is that I've never even been to this pace before. I even told my teacher what I had just experienced and the dream I had the previous night, I couldn't help it.
My teacher tried to convince me that it was just coincidence but the syncronicities were just too strong to ignore. He then said that it was very interesting and that we would have to talk to the governing body about it, but he never brought it up again.
Events like this is what led me to my spiritual awakening, I began studying the Occult Sciences, Kabbalah, Alchemy, Gnosticism, Quantum Physics, Buddhism, etc.
Dreams reveal to us the deepest parts of our Subconscious, our true higher knowing or gnosis.
"Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”
"Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
-Carl Jung
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2023.03.28 18:15 peaceman14 Humans don't do magic Chapter 6: The begining of the end


Across the seas separating the dwarven Alpine from the lush beaches of california, The green forests stretched off into the horizon covering the rolling hills and towering mountains in a blanket of green,slowly fading away to reveal grey rock and white snow as the mountains stretched higher and higher into the clouds. The howl of the wind was all that could be heard from these mountains.Distant screeching of jet engines and howl of artillery shells and rockets quickly replaced the calm rustling of leaves and quiet chirping of birds.In an instant, the white capped mountains of the Dwarven alpine were covered in a blanket of fire, beginning the long grind of the mountains into the ground
Enhanced by dwarven magic, perfected by experience and technology accumulated from years of warfare, the human arsenal had no shortage of explosives. The tall mountains stretching high into the clouds will soon find themselves flattened given the time, just as the Dwarven Archmage had flattened the Tibetan mountain range almost a year ago, humanity will now return the favour. It will take time but soon the dwarves will find themselves cornered, but for now the bombardment served to ensure that no dwarven force would be able to cross the sea and reinforce the patches of resistance forces hiding underground in human territory.
Underneath these towering chunks of rock, The Dwarven city of Ganzir sprawled outwards across a rocky plateau,surrounded by an abyss that led directly to the planet’s mantle, High above the city distant rumbling gently shook the stone roof. The dwarves would be safe from all human attacks for now but they knew it is only a matter of time before the humans would find some way of circumventing their underwise air tight defence. Smoke stacks spewing black smog, churning out new equipment for the dwarven war effort, electrical cables stretched haphazardly from them reaching every building providing them with the lifeblood of any sufficiently industrialised civilization with the help of primitive coal generators stolen from the humans. Within this city. A dwarf by the name of Hallthrim was running up the steps of a towering stone palace, a loud creaking echoed throughout its massive halls,as the dwarf signalled the large stone doors to be opened, inside tall dwarven statues stood, holding gigantic braziers which served as the halls sole light sources. Its decorated pillars stretch up towards the tall ceiling, strolling into the chamber Hallthrim walked up the red carpeted floor towards a second reinforced stone door. Which opened to reveal a single empty stone throne overlooking a long wooden table, filled with paper maps, and stone figurines, around which 5 dwarves clad in shining enchanted armour, their hammers, swords and spears, literally glowing in their holsters.1 was sat at the head of the table clad in fur robes and a gold crown with 2 sat on either side of the table, 1 had was clad in shining white the other was clad in polished black. Both bearing a different insignia on their shoulders. On the table itself in the place of several empty chairs were the helmets of several dwarves, laden with shrapnel and bullet holes, placed on their respective parts of the table. The room quite similarly to the last one was silent. The atmosphere was grim, the 3 dwarves stared at the paper map on the table, as another stone figurine that had been silently moving across a part of the map marked as the Neptune Sea, crumbled into rubble before their very eyes with 7 more stationed in what was marked the Ironside highlands following suit.
“ How the hel did this happen!” One of the generals yelled his head in his hands as he watched his division literally crumble before his very eyes, “ A Year ago these insect’s barbaric weapons could barely scratch us!” he yelled
“ Its all because of Baldur! If only that damn idiot hadn’t gotten himself killed.” The dwarf clad in black, with the insignia of a red gryphon slammed the table with his fist.
“ Calm down Treant, none of us could have predicted the humans would have been able to take him down” The dwarf in white bearing the insignia of a golden dragon answered, as yet another similar dragon figurine on the board crumbled.
“Yea, but what shall we do now, Halvar?”
“I…I know not.” He said, his face looking down onto the board in defeat “Forgive me my lord, we have failed you.”
The dwarf at the head of the table sat forward, “ It is alright, the humans have yet to figure out how to properly enter our lands. Let us retreat what we can on the surface and shore up our defences, underground. Lure them into our element.”
“ That is an excellent idea my lord. We shall execute this at once.”
“ I’m sorry to interrupt my lords..but I have a request from the Elven mage we had harboured known as Eva.” Hallthrim interrupted. “ She claims she is on the verge of something big.She just needs a little more time”
“ We have no time for more of her outlandish claims of the power of ‘atoms’ and ‘molecules’……we have invested far too much into her ‘endeavours’ and have received far too little. We had given her everything she had claimed she needed, human databases, human analysis equipment, even the giant metal ring thing that she wanted so badly we had stolen for her yet she has yielded no results.”Halvar yelled, before being interrupted by a distant rumble, followed dust falling from the ceiling
“ Alright, fine, I will pay her a visit and we’ll decide from what she has got so far.” Halvar
“ Thank you my lord.” Hallthrim said before running back out of the war room.
“And in other news, celebrations are erupting across freshly liberated Europe and America as liberation forces have now pushed the remnants of the dwarves off all human lands… Yes you heard that correctly, viewers. Earth is now officially back under human control” A news reporter’s voice reverberated through the speakers of the holodesk in front of Jean, inside a well furnished victorian era style office.Muffled cheers and celebrations of troops and civilians alike could be heard from both outside her door as well as in the streets below as long separated families are finally after 4 years of constant reunited within the Terran capital. The once grim and smog filled industrial zones of the core human territories,was now entirely unrecognisable as multi-colored fireworks lit up the night sky, and the humm of heavy machinery, as well as the typical chatter of the human workforce had been replaced entirely with cheers and pops of fresh champagne bottle being opened. Most of these fresh bottles had text written on their fronts in dwarven tongue,many still held contempt for the dwarves for the enslavement of many of their friends and family, as such they had no quarrel with using the captured dwarven supplies for our own recreational needs. The air itself had a nice lavender scent to it, the once smog filled air completely cleansed of its pollution, thanks to the help of what were once Elven high ranking officers and concentration camp wardens who now with the help of a little invasive surgery and corrective neural implants now ‘willingly’ used their magical abilities to better give back to the human community.
The news report was playing in an open tab next to multiple tabs of wordy military reports and civilian reports, which Jean flipped through disinterestedly with her left hand, whilst taking a sip of her wine with her right. The Orcs had easily capitulated following the neutralisation of their Arcmage, They might have had our access to our military technology but without their Arcmage, they had no idea how to use them in combat, as such many of their tanks ended up dying in a cavalry charge at our more superior tanks and anti-tank infantry squads. Their air force was quickly crippled as the Orcs had no idea what stealth or radar actually meant. Which meant that even with access to advanced stealth jets like the F22 and Su57, many were easily shot down when their pilots engaged our air superiority fighters in head to head combat resembling primitive dogfights of WW2. Or even worse tried to do gun strafing runs on anti-aircraft batteries in open plains with clear skies. Once their human equipment ran out the Orcish tribes quickly agreed to our terms of surrender. They apparently had no problem turning on the Dwarves once we promised them that they could use them as livestock instead of us.
The dwarves however are another problem, though we have pushed them off our lands,finishing them off proves another issue,The dwarven underground tunnel network is immense,and ever changing. Cramped ever shifting underground tunnels prevent us from even beginning to find an entrance to their cities. Not to mention the fact that the earth itself on dwarven ground seems to have an appetite for literally swallowing any heavy equipment that landed on their beaches. Jean had thus ordered a pause to the offensive, having liberated almost all of the human population from their concentration camps and all of our lands. There was simply no reason to even continue with a ground invasion of Dwarven lands. Thus she had given her men a well earned break,for after this week. High command will order a high intensity bombing of dwarven lands, the lights of which this world and even humanity itself has never seen.
Thinking on this, she swiped through another report, a seemingly routine logistical report of the newly liberated CERN. These reports were ordered to be taken by her in order to take account on what human technologies were stolen by the dwarves so as to be able to create effective counters to them should the dwarves decide to employ them, thus Jean would usually overlook reports on the civilian sector, but this one was interesting everything had been accounted for except for the large hadron collider, an obsolete piece of research equipment that was supposed to discover new quantum particles.That had since been turned into a tourist exhibit in the early 2050s. Now why would the Dwarves want that, of all the equipment in cern and all the military industrial complexes they had access to, they decided to take the one thing that was effectively useless? She had vigilantly read through all the logistical reports, fearing that our hydrogen centrifuges, nuclear reactor cores, or even calcutrons would be found missing but they were all there. Instead the dwarves took a tourist attraction? She leaned back into her office chair and stared at the ceiling overhead for a few moments, before getting up from her chair and walking towards her office window.
The celebrations continued to echo through the hallway outside her office as well as in the streets below. She looked out above the squat military factories into the well lit streets and towering skyscrapers of the residential districts,which stretched high into the skies, fireworks launching from their roofs.
For this first time in 3 years, the threat of extinction has been lifted, For the first time, soldiers and pilots have the chance to stand down, and for the first time, our missile silos and artillery pieces that line the grand wall in the distance lay silent.Silently watching over the large sprawling cityscape and industrial sprawl below. 3 long years of war, death and misery had finally seemed to pay off. The Elves and Orcs have been defeated and the Dwarves are on the brink of joining them soon. She breathed in the lavender scented air, through her open window the skies were clear and the full moon shone bright in the night sky, “Maybe I’m overthinking this.” She muttered to herself, it is likely the Dwarves simply did not understand how we manufacture and create our nuclear weapons and went for the flashiest and most alien looking thing present.
“ Marshall!” a voice shouted from the street below, it was one the members of high command, currently shitfaced, with a bottle of Dwarven brew in his hand surrounded by other members of command all equally wasted. “ When are yer joining us.”
Jean looked down and smiled, “ I’ll be there in a bit!” She called.
“ Your working too hard Ma’am come on down and enjoy yourself a bit, we know your part robot but it can’t hurt to live a little.” Another officer shouted
“ Yea! Science assistant Kim here suggested that we test the capabilities of the cyber-liver we installed. ”The ballistics division head added
“ What? I did not say that!..” She shouted playfully punching Frederick in the shoulder,
Jean looked down endearingly at her celebrating team, it had been forever since she last had a proper celebration. Walking back into her office, she closed her holoprojector before leaving, to join the celebrating crowd below. She was sure she was just overthinking this.
Meanwhile, in the lush green jungles of the Elven Archipelago, A mix of white concrete and clear glass skyscrapers had been built alongside the towering trees of the thriving Elven megapolis. Inside one of these massive trees, Marshall Jean was taking a tour, accompanied by Fredrick who was now walking with the aid of a black cane. His cybernetics was making a slow recovery after the encounter with the Orcish Archmage had nearly fried half his brain. A few power armoured guards accompanied the 2 as a security detail and led by an Elf known as Professor Greenstead.The newly appointed Governor and liaison between the human government and their newly acquired Elven colonies. Having been head of an Elven group known by the Elves as the Human Rights Activists,her group had worked alongside captured or separated human military forces to help break out and save many human lives from Arcane experimentation and concentration camps. At the price of being branded heretics by her own government, in the end when the war had ended, the human expeditionary force had found her and her group hidden deep in the jungles of the fringe islands within a small camouflage town which housed thousands of rescued humans. So as a recognition of their actions she was appointed the new governor of the Elven Colonies and her closest officers were appointed as high ranking administrative staff.
The corridor around them had a homely feel, but yet mystical. The walls were made of oak bark while the floors were polished stone brick. Many smaller wooden doors flanked the Marshall’s entourage, with Elves, clad in blue robes running up and down the corridors with scrolls in hand. Leading the Marshall down the corridor was a tall elf,with red hair. She was clad in green robes and walked with a certain spring in her step. Her aura was extremely energetic and lively, as she introduced the Marshall and the Director to the facility.
After a short walk the entourage came across a large open wooden door, which opened up to a massive clearing, a wooden spiral staircase, sprawled both up and down as far as the eye could see, leaving quite a large empty space in the centre of the stairwell, where a steel bridge led to an elevator that was being built in the centre of the stairwell. Around it many wooden platforms floated up and down with Elven scholars riding upon them, their arms filled with scrolls, accompanied by human scientists. Human scientists walked alongside the Elven mages up and down the spiral staircase, rushing to their respective labs or arcane chambers and classrooms.
“And now that you are familiar with the dorms, here is the central staircase. Each level of the tree has been specialised to a different field of arcane discovery, with a new level expansion being dedicated to the field of combining the Human Physics research with Elven Water magics. That is if your grace would allow us that honour that is.`` The Elf spoke,
“ Thank you Professor Greenstead, and, please do call me Marshall. We humans are not governed by the imperial system.” The Marshall replied to the lively professor.
“ Ahh of course! You humans are governed after a ‘Merry to crazy’ right?” Greenstead smiled.
“ A Meritocracy professor.” Frederick corrected
“ Yes! A government where the ruling class is decided by the academic or military achievements of the individual, Rather than bloodlines. Maybe if we Elves had that kind of sense we could have avoided the war altogether.” The professor said, her smile disappearing for a second as she led the group down a level through a glass auto door and into another smaller corridor. Instantly the environment was a far cry from what it was,natural wooden bark was quickly replaced with concrete and glass, the plank wood floor was replaced with that of white sterile ceramic tiles. To the left and right large glass windows peered into labs filled with a mix of Elven magical equipment and human electronics, stone runic tablets stood next to human electronic ones, while Elven spell scrolls sat upon keyboards in front of flatscreens or holo displays. Large biovats stood upon floors inscribed with arcane circles. Inside Human Scientist, worked alongside Orcish warlocks, and Elven Mages to further their understanding of all their respective fields, “Anyway, here we are at the Aracnoscience level.” The professor said as she introduced them to the labs which surround them. “ Thanks to the approval and funding from you Mr Fredrick, we have made tremendous breakthroughs in multiple fields, the labs you see here are dedicated to life magic or as you humans like to call it, biology.” She said as their group walked down the corridor. “ Ahh, its no problem professor, Though I am sorry we had to put that chip in your head in order to do this. It's just… the safety of our own people has to come first, you know having no magic and all that.”
“It's no problem at all, director, as long as it does not hinder our abilities ‘most’ of us are ok with it.”
“ Ah, that's great to know and all, professor, but why exactly have you called us here?” Marshall Jean interrupted as they continued to walk down the rows of laboratories and libraries.
“ Oh Oh, I’m glad you asked Marshall, its because of this.” She said as they reached the end of the corridor stopping before a large stone door, carved with runes and engravings. She gently knocked on the stone door, causing it to slowly creak open. Greeting them behind the right side of the doorframe, was a human scientist in a white lab coat,holding an electronic table. Her long blonde hair tied in a bun. To her right was a slightly taller red haired Elf clad in white robes and holding a wooden tablet in her hand, and to her left a towering green muscular Orc warlock with black hair clad in a similar white lab coat which looked like it’s buttons were about to burst should the Orc decide to flex and holding a 2 metre long wooden staff tipped with the skull of an oxen. “ These are the researchers that are responsible for the breakthrough.” Professor Greenstead said gesturing towards the team of 3, whilst stepping into the poorly lit stone antichamber. A large transparent glass tank was placed in the centre of the room, The stone circle around it was inscribed with various symbols compromising Elven script. In front of the tank was the cloned bodies of the 3 archmages, Dwarf, Elf and Orc, Each of the bodies was placed in the centre of an Orcish Arcane symbol. Their skulls were cut open and their cloned brains were removed and placed at their feet, facing the tank with an array of electrodes covering each brain, their wires linking them to the tank.The tank itself had Dwarven Rune carved into the base reading absorb. Inside the tank was a sort of brain, it was suspended in the air by wires hanging from the roof of the tank which then stretched down the back of the tank into the base, on closer inspection, the brain was not organic, it looked like a brain from afar but instead of the grey squishy biomass, it was made of warm black steel. The back of the room was a large table filled to the brim with human computers, Elven wooden tablets, and scrolls as well as Orcish bone charms.
“ Hello, It is…an hon…a pleasure to meet with you, Marshall, I am lead scientist Amelia. These are my colleagues Guranak and Windstrider.” She said introducing herself and her colleagues.
“ Please the honour is mine,do explain to me wha.. What exactly am I looking at right now”
“ YES!” Amelia’s face lit up, a little similar to Fredrick when he had first introduced his breakthrough in enchantment.
“ We have, after extensive…very extensive… research and effort, created an artificial blank slate,a mind capable of absorbing the souls of the archmage without their memories and in turn wield, their magical abilities as well.” She explained gesturing to the tank. As she led the group around the circle. “ However, what you are seeing is simply a testbed we had set up to test whether what kinds of minds could take that kind of magic. Guranak and Windstrider will explain the rest” She said, passing the explanation on to her colleagues as the group approached the large table at the back of the room.
“ Souls, and memory are very hard to separate, so we use elven life magic to leave memory in body while Orcish soul magic absorbs the soul.” Guranak began
“ Yes indeed, however the mana released from separating 2 fundamental parts of life from one another will squash any human, Elven, Orc or Dwarven mind, it has even proven too much from some of the ‘syn-tee.thick’ minds you humans have made. Thus we have made use of your new found mastery of dwarven enchantments to help resist this mana explosion.” Windstrider continued
“However since according to Guranak, and Windstrider our clones don’t technically have the proper souls, we would require the use of the original bodies and brains of the Archmages to create one capable of wielding the full might of these 3 formidable foes.” Amelia completed.
“ So your telling me, this thing would allow the user to use the power of all 3 archmages.”
“Yea.” Amelia answered, Meanwhile Fredrick was just staring at the tank in awe, his mouth agape.
“ Holy crap, you guys actually did it, my guys have been working on this for years t o no avail and you guys finally did it.” Frederick smiled, a wide grin appearing on his face. “ The possibilities behind this are endless.”
“ I don’t know, is there a possibility this thing might go rogue?” Marshall Jean asked
Amelia let out a worried sigh, “ Yes we thought of that, and that is why we need to ask you for one more thing….” She said, looking away for a second. “ We need a human host, more specifically, you. We need you to host it. ”
“ Wait, wait ,wait…” Frederick turned away from the tank. “ You want the Marshall to host this.”
“ I mean why not, Being the only human to ever merge with another mind and survive, The Marshall would be the best candidate to host this thing.”
“ Hmm, I see, and what are the chances of failure.”
“ Unknown, we have not had the chance of merging the testbed to a human host and we do not know what that might do to the person’s personality, or even soul for that matter.”
“ Then we cannot pro…”
“ I’ll do it.” Jean interrupted.
“What? We don’t know what it could do to you. You might go insane, die, or worse.”
“ I’ll do it, Fredrick, this… this thing would be the key to ending the war once and for all.”
“ Marshall, I cannot allow the Jeopardisation of humanity’s greatest asset.”
“ Please, for once just trust me.”
Frederick looked at the Marshall in the eyes before turning to look at the machine
“ Alright, but I will be overseeing the process.”
“ YES! Alright!” Amelia jumped into the air, cheering.
“ You will not regret this, Ma am. I am confident this will work.”
A few day later, in a lab in the human capital in the same facility that turned the tide of the war, the facility that gave humanity the power to save itself from extinction. Jean was hooked up to the synthetic brain, the cloned dwarven brain that had once resided on the nape of her neck was now removed, replaced with sprawling cables linking her directly to a glass tank with the synthetic brain. It was set up the same as seen before in the Human-Elven labs, except the 3 bodies were in different stages of decay as opposed to the fresh ones before. Their brains were still fresh though as they had been kept as fresh as possible to provide the blueprints for their clones. Frederick stood in front of Jean, who was lying on an inclined bed. Amelia and her team were watching the 2 from a glass viewing window above them.
“ Are you ready for this Jean?”
“ Ready as I’ll ever be.”
“ Alright, this is going to hurt.” He said, signalling a thumbs up to the team above. Instantly, an arc of electricity surged through the tank, its runes began to glow, as did the Orcish symbols and the Elvish circle. The bodies and the brains began to hover upward as electricity in the form of lightning came from the base of the tank, and arcane energies alike flowed from the circle and the texts through them. Soon the brains began to disintegrate its fragments flowing into the tank through the base of the tank, through the dwarven runes, their biological mass being absorbed by the runes and converted into an electrical signal which was sent directly to the mechanical brain which now surged with power. Jean screamed in pain and agony as this happened, the power of the synthetic mind being passed onto her own, sending every single pain receptor left in her body into overload. Passing out from the pain soon after, The lights began to flicker and soon after the bodies began disintegrating as well, their biomass quickly turned to ashes before exploding, coating the entire room in ash. The pulses of electricity slowed and the runes all began to slowly dim. Once the pulses stopped and the runes went dark. The room fell silent, the humm of the overhead lighting the only thing making a sound. “ Jean?” Frederick whispered as he slowly walked over to her. Jean let out a loud gasp as she shot upright. A muffled cheer could be heard from the viewing room above.
“ Oh thank god.” Frederick said, “ How do you feel.”
“ Amazing!” She said unplugging herself from the synthetic mind. She felt powerful, unlike the power she had before with the dwarf, one of pure rage. This time she felt in control, but she did see the world completely differently. She could see the blood flowing through Fredrick’s veins, she could see his soul, a bright blue glow just above his brainstem.Its a shame she couldn’t have any of the memories absorbed, having been corrupted by memes and all. Though She could still feel the air move in and out of his lungs as he breathed. Similarly she saw this through the one way glass of the viewing deck. Every air current, or movement she could see. Similarly, the earth underneath her didn’t even feel properly solid anymore. She felt it move and slide above the mantle of the planet, even ever so slightly. It felt like clay that she could just… A boulder was immediately lifted from the ground, tearing through the ceramic tile from and slamming through the ceiling tearing a hole all the way to the roof before being flung into the sky and off into the horizon.
“Damn.” she said staring at the roof. “ Oops” we let out a weak smile. Frederick was staring at the ceiling with his mouth agape, “holy shit… it worked” he muttered, before looking back at the Marshall. “Now that you have their magic, what will be our next move?” He asked recomposing himself.
“ I think…it's time we put an end to this Once and For all.”
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