We learned that on Friday evening, a new stage will be added to the mix. The Manta Maria is a large sailboat moored at a harbor near Inkopolis, and it will soon be the site of many fierce ink battles. The towering masts and nets in the center of the stage will likely be a key area of conflict.

We’ve noticed that Inklings often choose to do battle on or near bodies of water, even though their bodies are incompatible with water. It could be that they revel in the danger of it, but more research is needed on this subject.


7 Reasons Why You Need To Chase Your Dreams

1. Regrets - how many do you want to die with? They say discipline weighs ounces, but regrets weigh tonnes - I know which one I’d rather carry. There’s nothing worse than having regrets because you can’t go into the past and change anything.

2. Self-talk - what’s it like to live in your head? When you ignore the desires inside you and don’t express your true self - it becomes a lot harder to have a positive headspace. This can lead to poor mental and physical health the longer you neglect your true feelings.

3. Settling - did you settle for your life or create it? When you create your reality you know that you can have whatever you want in your life, when you settle - you just accept things for the way they are. Instead of being a victim of circumstance - reclaim your power & create the life you want to live.

4. Fulfilment - are you nourishing your soul? There are some things that can’t be bought from the external world - love, happiness & fulfilment. Feed your soul by doing what you love every single day and you will feel something that money can never buy you.

5. Love - who do you have in your life? You attract what you are and if you’re not doing what you love - you will attract others who are doing the same. The people in your life will reflect truths about yourself & you will experience a lot of conflict in all areas of your life until you decide to change something.

6. Death - we’re all gonna be out of here in the blink of an eye. The human experience is temporary - so how can we take ourselves so seriously? Through everything we go through we need to acknowledge that we’re here to have fun & if you’re not having fun you’re wasting your time.

7. Change - lead by example. If you want the world to change - you have to start by being the change you want to see. If you want others to behave in a certain way - you have to lead by example. Through doing this you will see others around you change because of the way you live your life.

Create the life you love or settle for one you don’t - the choice is yours.

Peace & positive vibes.

Ask me about my MasterMind group -

anonymous asked:

How do you come up with/where do you draw inspiration for the politics in your novels?

If you spend enough time reading history, you notice that certain types of arguments come up over and over and over. Conservative views versus liberal views, religion versus religion. Established families versus rising talents. 

One of my favorite areas of conflict and one that’s served me very well is the rise of the merchant and farming classes against the lesser and greater nobility that came following the Black Death. The beginning of the Renaissance has a lot of good stuff.

The Black Death left a great shortage of farming labor meant you had to pay them more, which meant they had more money, which meant they had more pull. Pair that with the rise of the merchant class who could loan the suddenly farmer-poor noblemen money. Both groups on either side of the nobility had power, suddenly, which meant they could manipulate the nobility and the royals. The merchants could afford to pay for things that showed off their money, like clothes, art, and entertainment. Since the monasteries had more money, they could afford things like universities and scholars. Suddenly you had more people who could live on thinking. Always an interesting point in history. 

We had this particular scenario in every developed culture throughout the world at some point–the rise of the middle and lower classes, and the splitting of groups of nobility in their urge to gain money and power. 

Any time you have people in conflict, you have plot. Whether you’re killing each other with swords or getting people dumped in prison with your pen.

anonymous asked:

I've got a whole manuscript, and just now come to the realization that I don't have an overarching conflict. There's a protagonist who appears at the beginning, disappears while a new minor protag comes in, and then returns at the end--but that ends up creating more questions than answering them. Any suggestions? (I know I didn't give very much detail, sorry ): )

I think you’ve prompted a great topic anon :)

The Overarching Conflict

You talk about a lack of an overarching conflict. Let’s break that down to what that actually means. When we say a story has an overarching conflict, we’re talking about a conflict that is present throughout the whole story and contains all of the “plot stuff.” The plot stuff includes all your characters’ actions (protagonist, antagonist, and any and all minor characters), and any plot events. All of this “stuff” should be happening within your story’s main conflict. 

Our anon is suggesting that their story breaks in the middle so that the overarching conflict is split momentarily, before it continues on down to the end, so that it looks like this:

The black rectangle is this interruption from the overarching conflict. It’s divergent plot information that leaves the main conflict and goes off somewhere else to create a brand new arc. Imagine if the black line disrupting our arc here goes straight up and then expands to become the bottom of a new arc. So you basically have a story that branches off into another story and may come back or may not come back. 

This is what the anon thinks is going on, and yeah it’s not a great situation. But this may not be where you’re at, at all. Because there’s a difference between an interruption to your plot and an interruption to your conflict. So I’m suggesting that perhaps the anon is dealing with the situation in the graphic below. And if not, this is what they should strive to get to. 

You can go off on as many tangents in your plot as you want, so long as it still is contained inside your conflict. What does that look like? Here’s an example. 

In the Sherlock Holmes novel A Study in Scarlet, the book begins from Watson’s perspective, as we usually expect. This is the first novel, so he meets Holmes and they begin investigating a case together. But about halfway through, the story suddenly flashes back 30 years to a setting we’ve yet to see with characters we’ve never met. It seems tangential, unrelated, and distant to the plot at hand. And yet, by the time this diversion comes back around to the present day, we now understand the context and motive of the story’s murder. The “tangent” worked because it was contributing to the conflict - the murder that Holmes and Watson were investigating. 

It’s okay to switch points of view halfway through, and it’s okay to delve off into plot points that seem to go off on tangents, and it’s okay to completely turn your story on its head to pursue something unexpected. The key is keeping it within your story’s defined conflict. For all of these black rectangles that try to disrupt your plot, don’t let them break through the conflict boundary. They might form new mini-conflicts, and they might run amok inside the smaller circle under the arc, but as long as they stay inside that blue area in my graphic, you should be okay. 

Cleaning up a Messy Ending

As for your concern that you’re raising too many new issues without resolving old ones, that’s just a matter of problem solving. As you’re heading into the downturn of your story’s overarching conflict (around the climax area), list everything that you see as unresolved. Don’t be afraid of how long this list is. A long list doesn’t necessarily mean that the story’s a mess. It just means it’ll take a little more thought to bring it all together. And you can bring it together!

For each item on your list of unresolved issues, think about a specific solution for each problem. Your goal is to develop solutions for each issue individually. Break it down piece by piece. Hells yes it’s overwhelming to plot an ending when you’ve got so many loose strings tangled up together. So isolate them. Try to untangle each string one at a time. 

Then, once you’ve figured out how to tie up each loose end by itself, you can start to look at the bigger picture. And at this point, you might be able to see points where you can tie up two ends with one knot. Two unanswered questions may be resolved in one idea. 

It’s a lot of work, so be patient with yourself. Immerse yourself in the process, and enjoy it! Working through these problems can be challenging, but also incredibly rewarding. 

Good luck!


This is re: the infamous origins of Hannibal’s plastic murder suit (this post). Or what happened after youthful Hannibal realized his passion for nice clothing conflicted in some areas with his passion for nice murders.

“He’s not a painter,” Maud said. She adjusted the plastic on the mannequin. She thought it was tight at the hips, but their client had asked for some very precise measurements.


Maud bent down and checked that both leg cuffs were even. “No paint on his fingers, not on his pants, not on his shoes.”

Maria sighed. “I meant painter as in art, not as in walls.”

“Same thing,” Maud said. She stepped back to look at their work. The small Baltimore uniform shop had been puzzled at first by the request of a made-to-measure protective plastic suit. More so when it had been required that the plastic be transparent. And now there it was, in all its gleaming and crinkling glory. “Artists will get their hands dirty,” said the seamstress to her colleague.

“I do get dirty, from time to time, but I prefer to spare my clothes most of the horror,” a voice behind them said.

Maria and Maud spun around. Their client, a tall, slim young man, with blond hair slicked neatly back and a European accent, was on the other side of the counter. He had crept into the shop as silent as a cat.

“Mr. Falvorno,” Maria said. “We… were wondering-…”

“About stuff that’s none of our business,” Maud finished.

Mr. Falvorno’s eyes shone in a strange light as he tipped his head, as if granting a point. He didn’t seem angry, but humored deeply and quietly.

With a gracious smile, he walked over to the dressing rooms for his scheduled fitting.

Maria’s face flushed and she scooted into the backstore, letting Maud to take care of Mr. Falvorno.

Maud slipped the suit off the mannequin and walked into the main fitting room. Mr. Falvorno was just done removing his jacket. He folded it and hung it on a chair where it wouldn’t obstruct the view in the three tall mirrors. He took nothing else off. As requested, the suit would be worn as an overgarment.

“If not a painter, then what?” he asked Maud, opening the suit, studying the seam where the zipper met the neck.

Maud tried a polite shrug. “It’s really none of our business.”

Mr. Falvorno looked up at her, and let the gaze linger until it hardened, intensifying as if it queried her soul. “Please,” he said. “Tell me, what do you think I intend to use it for?”

Maud swallowed and found it difficult to just lie. She couldn’t. Not with these eyes holding her down. “I think it’s a sex thing,” she blurted out, as truthfully innocent as a newborn.

Unbothered, Mr. Falvorno tugged the suit up to his waist. He arched an eyebrow in consideration. “In a way, it’s closer to the truth than painter.” He pulled the rest of the suit over his torso, and fit one arm, then the other one in the sleeves. “I occasionally have to take part in butchery,” the young man explained, squaring his shoulders to test for stretching space. “A colleague of mine hunts. Sometimes deer, sometimes things more exotic, abroad. Whenever we join him in this, he insists to have us participate in the quartering of the beast.” The suit looked good on him, Maud realized, if a bit awkward. But nothing could be more awkward than the situation she now found herself in, talking sex and butchery. “The last time, my jacket and pants were beyond saving. I found that unfortunate.”

She nodded, her throat still tight. “So not a… bondage accessory.”

Mr. Falvorno looked at her in the mirror. “Not exactly no.” He was smiling again. It was both particularly charming and terrifyingly detached. “But there are bodily fluids involved.”

5/6/2017: contracts exam finished today!!!! I THINK it went okay- examined everything from privity to estoppel to misleading an deceptive conduct to restitution, which was expected since they decided to cut contract formation from the exam for our sakes. The essay question was on privity!!!! ahhh i was so hoping it would be on promissory estoppel or even restitution since they’re the most unsettled, but it was on specifically Trident v McNiece which…not only did i not read, but the question also linked it to equitable remedies. BUT i had a detailed summary in my notes and already highlighted key areas of conflict and managed to write a vaguely BS answer. Not totally terrible for my very first law exam! 

Got home and napped, time to study for civil procedure exam on Wednesday! then Public Law on Friday. Killer week, but I ain’t got no time for feelings, just werk werk. 

Originally posted by upnorthwithinspiration

anonymous asked:

PLEASE stop posting the white devil emma Watson. PLEASE. I will pay u. I will give u my first born child. Watson has made men a priority in feminism and rewards men for doing the bare minimum. Which is insulting to every gender. She's got some REAL messed up stuff going on.

Look, I’m all for calling out White Feminism at every turn, and I have, but SJblur nitpicking on every white feminist they see and when you start calling them the White Devil coz you don’t fully agree with or misunderstand them, you already lost the argument. She didn’t kill nobody, nor advocated violence on anyone, so take it down several notches. 

first of, she’s a UN Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women. Her main job is to use her popularity to give speeches actual experts and professionals on gender equality wrote for her, because if these experts give the same speech, no one will pay attention; but if she does, people will. Same thing that other celebrities do who are tapped to be UN Ambassadors: Angelina Jolie on refugees, George Clooney on South Sudan, Leonardo di Caprio on Climate Change, etc. 

No celebrity chosen as UN Goodwill Ambassador are chosen for their expertise in the field, they are chosen because when they speak people pay attention. Those truly invested in the cause will sit on meetings or go on the field when they’re not making a movie, but their role as spokeperson remains. Their words are not their words, most of the time they are basically the executive summaries of UN reports. 

Emma Watson’s UN speech was criticized as feminism 101, and it was, but to expect she gives a graduate seminar on feminism with her limited speaking time is imo ludicrous. She’s paid very well but that’s still above her pay grade. The main purpose of her speech was to get attention from the public, generate political will from lawmakers, and fundraise a shit ton of money for the cause. 

And via the HeForShe Campaign, she was able to do that very successfully. She got powerful men from President Barack Obama to the President of Seira Leonne to not just make a commitment to gender equality but have their governments actually invest in gender equality programs in their own countries and/or give more foreign aid to women’s empowerment programs.

Keep reading


21/5/2017: Queen Rania received an award at the 2017 Fashion for Relief charity gala in Cannes, France, in recognition of her humanitarian efforts towards children caught in conflict.

The charity gala was held in support of Save the Children’s work in Jordan and in areas of conflict and crises around the world and the organization’s Every Last Child Campaign.

During her remarks, Her Majesty told the audience that Jordanians “are on the front lines” of the Syrian refugee crisis and that “1 in 7 amongst us is a Syrian refugee.” With about 90% of refugees residing within host communities across Jordan, there has been an immense strain on the country’s public resources, infrastructure, and social services.

Her Majesty also reminded the audience that Syrian children under the age of six have so far known nothing but war, trauma, and devastation. The Queen, however, expressed hope in the efforts of many around the world, working together to help address this crisis.

In her closing remarks, she stated that the “global community is fragile and prone to breakdown. But events like this one remind us of its strength and in that, we can find beauty, too." 

Save the Children’s Every Last Child Campaign is working to ensure that the world’s excluded children receive adequate healthcare and quality education. The campaign also aims to support the development and improve the well-being of children displaced by conflict, especially those most adversely affected by today’s global refugee crisis. (Source: Petra; Photo: Samir Hussein/WireImage, Anthony Jones)

MYANMAR. Yangon. September 27, 2007. Kenji Nagai, a Japanese photojournalist, lays wounded after being shot during a governmental crackdown. The reporter still attempted to videotape the violence as he laid injured after police shot him. Nagai would eventually die from his wounds. 

This picture won the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography in 2008

Photograph: Adrees Latif/Reuters

Kenji Nagai (1957-2007) was a Japanese photojournalist who took many assignments to conflict zones and dangerous areas around the world. According to The Times, an associate of Nagai’s said he was “relentless” when it came to covering a story, believing that he had to travel to “the places nobody wants to go.“ 

On September 27, Nagai was photographing the protests in downtown Yangon, when soldiers opened fire on demonstrators.

Reports initially stated that Nagai was hit by stray bullets fired by soldiers or possibly shot from the front. The "stray bullet” explanation was proposed by the government of Burma as an explanation for Nagai’s death. However, video footage obtained by Japanese television appears to show a Burmese soldier shoving Nagai to the ground and shooting him at point-blank range. A still image photographed by Adrees Latif showed the soldier standing over Nagai, who was sprawled on the ground and still clutching his camera. This photograph appeared on the front page of The New York Times on September 28, 2007.

Are we on the verge of a Third World War (WWIII)?

I did not want to give an opinion on the subject, suddenly everyone went into paranoia, and when that happens there is a lot of stupid sucker and sensasionalist/biased media taking advantage.

No, there will not be a Third World War, stop your paranoia. A World War does not start that easy. For a World War, there must be a major cause, for example, as happened in World War II with the Nazi advance in Europe that forced regions of the world - including enemies - to ally themselves to stop the advance. We have to have beware of the sensationalist media and the Internet. The wars of this caliber occur when nations feel that their stability and security is threatened by forces that launch a campaign of war, not because a guy attacked a military base that is already a country in conflict. Currently there are no such conditions for a world war, civil war in Syria is a Syrian problem and although two powers such as the USA and Russia are involved what happens to Syria does not represent a threat to their national security. The alliances in Syria in a matter of geopolitics. The only thing that can pose a problem to the national security of those countries is ISIS, but none want it so that whoever has control of Syria will anyway erase it from the map.

And the warnings that Russia has given and military mobilizations? That is normal, Russia is protecting its ally and it is obvious that it has to face up to its own, but Russia does not want war with the USA or the USA with Russia, both know the level of destruction and how expensive it would be to carry a war between powers - a war is not free - adding that they are nuclear powers and both have a terror to that. The other is that the mobilizations are normal in an area of conflict, for no one is a secret that Russia and the USA are carrying out operations in that area and since one of the two countries send fleets there is something that has been given for decades .

And the threats of the North Korean and his missile tests? I’ll ask you a question, when that guy has not done that? To reach such a point that they ignore him, all he does is use intimidation but North Korea has an acute crisis, they could not afford a war, the USA has nothing to look for there either, so North Korea is not an objective that you can get something. I’ve never witnessed a year that this guy does not jump with his threats or do missile tests, so ignoring him is absurd. Pay attention to him when he really moves, a difficult thing because he does not have to afford a war.

For more threats, intimidation and everything they do, no one wants war and less with a power, obviously these countries can not show weakness, but they get wet their fright by just thinking about a world war between nuclear powers. Even they are clear that the first one that uses nuclear weapons will be used against them, reason why difficult some dares to throw one. So lower it your paranoia.

The US attacked on a military base in Syria made many lose their heads, however, and the USA in the Obama period has carried out military operations in Syria, then. Why all this commotion? Well, the problem is the target of the attack. The USA even though its supports and even funds the Syrian rebels has avoided any direct conflict with the Syrian state, this because the state is supported and even protected by Russia. Surely he wonders, then what maneuvers did the USA do in Syria if it avoided a military conflict with Syria-Russia, well, the answer is that the USA attacked targets directed against ISIS, even the Syrian state allowed the access to its air space to the navy American - something paradoxical for being their indirect enemy and knowing that they would use this to help the rebels - because ISIS is a common enemy that has Syria, Russia, the rebels and the USA, by which they have even come to cooperate in military logistics To plan attacks against this terrorist group. In this cooperation there was a non-aggression pact between Russia and the USA, because military operations are made by these two great powers. That is why the attack took them by surprise, as they did not expect direct aggression from the USA, because the Russians are the ones who run the war operations in Syria and they have the technology to watch over and avoid an American attack, since they have always prepared for a war Against the USA since the cold war, but they had low-guard.

What’s the matter with Trump? As they know every beginning by “chemical weapons” detonated in that country, it is not yet clear what happened, but the most impartial means presume that it was an accident, because the rebels allegedly had captured military arsenal, this came to the Syrian-Russian intelligence they made an operation to destroy this arsenal, but unfortunately there were “chemical weapons” between it and detonated. This led to a reaction by the Trump government - which was very hasty - which led to the attack on the Syrian military base, breaking the non-aggression pact and actively and directly involving the United States in the war. Only saw and supported rebels, is now a second country involved in the conflict, this is even seen as a declaration of war although USA only sees it as a warning, although Russia does not seem to see it as a declaration of war either, as they did not respond To attack and maybe just see it as a hazing of a new government.

But what is the problem here? It is that nuclear powers are being involved - Russia and the USA - and the most sensible thing is to avoid any incident that could trigger a war of high caliber. What happens in Syria is a civil war and this could lead to a war between nations and even a world war if complicated, so the previous administration was very careful, since the USA has had the desire since the civil war began in Syria to enter and knock down the regime by their own hands as they did in Iraq, but there is a “monster” there called Russia and that was why they had stayed aloof. Russia could have intercepted where the Tomahawk missiles came from but they did not, they did not respond to the aggression and they themselves know the consequence of doing so, it would be initial with a war that the world does not suit anyone and I hope that the good sense of both sides is present in this conflict. I know that this will not go far, it will not fulfill the wet dream of people on both sides who want to see how these two powers are killed, but will not happen and I hope to have the reason that the good sense in the end will be maintained.

Without inner peace, outer peace is impossible. We all wish for world peace, but world peace will never be acheived unless we first establish peace within our own minds. We can send so-called ‘peacekeeping forces’ into areas of conflict, but peace cannot be oppossed from the outside with guns. Only by creating peace within our own mind and helping others to do the same can we hope to achieve peace in this world.
—  Kelsang Gyatso

bentarb  asked:

If anime existed in Breath of The Wild, what would be the champions and Link's favorite?

*cracks knuckles* Time to show off my power level.

Link: Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. The show’s themes of never backing down and always pushing forward no matte how bad the odds may seem resonate with him deeply. He especially relates to how both Simon and Kamina suppress their worries and anxieties in order to become a symbol of hope and courage for others. He holds Simon especially as a personal role model and aspires to be as inspiring and confident as him.

Zelda: Legend of the Galactic Heroes. Politics and large scale warfare in space? Our Princess is all over that like butter on toast. Living in a world comprised of black and white morality, to have a work like this where both sides of the conflict occupy a grey area of sorts is incredibly refreshing. While she favors the Galactic Empire over The Free Planet Alliance (believing a centralized monarchy to be a much more efficient form of government and less prone to corruption,) she can’t help but feel deeply invested in characters from each side of the conflict.

Mipha: Spice and Wolf. Non-human woman in love with a man who she will outlive by centuries? Does that sound familiar to anyone? In all seriousness, she watches it for the chemistry between the two leads as they ravel across the countryside. The schemes are genuinely exciting and they actually do have something to offer in terms of economic knowledge. Now she’s just upset that there hasn’t been a third season yet.

Sidon: Also a fan of TTGL but more for the rousing speeches and awesome fights than any kind of personal relation to the characters. He’s also a really big fan of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (part 4 is his favorite), can frequently by caught striking absurd poses and has adopted Jotaro’s “Yare yare daze” catchphrase for his own personal use when he feels like acting cool.

Daruk: The original Dragon Ball. Please don’t bring up Dragon Ball Z or Super around this man unless you are ready for a long winded rant about how the franchise has drifted away from the martial arts focus in favor of beam spam and power levels. The original holds a charm for him that none of the sequel series have ever managed to capture. His favorite parts are the various World Tournament Arcs but the character he feels the most connection with is Android 8.

Yunobo: Doesn’t have a singular favorite but prefers the softer and quieter shows like Haibane Renmei, Hyouka and Clannad. Of course he has to take long breaks inbetween viewings of Clannad. Anybody who’s seen that anime can tell you why. Even the music from that show can be enough to make a fan choke up. Recently a friend introduced him to Girls Und Panzer which swiftly entered his top five.

Revali: Will never admit to watching anything more entry level than Cowboy Bebop but has a definite love of My Hero Academia and it’s themes of accomplishing things based on your own merits and ability without the aid of others. As some one who seeks to succeed on his own strength without relying on those around him, this anime inspires him to push himself further.

Teba: Monster. A doctor wrongly accused fleeing across Europe in pursuit of the true killer whose life he saved many years ago. A deep look into the psychology of criminals and the factors that lead to them becoming that way. Teba finds all of this and the characters involved to be fascinating. He especially enjoys the development each character goes through on this journey as the mysteries surrounding Johan Liebert unfold and evolve.

Urbosa: Doesn’t really watch a lot of anime but has made a point on staying caught up with the Berserk manga. When she was young she would compare the voe she met against Guts as the standard for what a voe should be. It wasn’t until she was a bit older that she realized she may be setting her standards a bit unrealistically high. Then Link comes along and she instantly regrets being at least ten years too old for him.

Riju: Full Metal Panic. The perfect blend of action, comedy and romance. It’s like the show was tailor made for a young Gerudo warrior who doesn’t leave the town often and wishes for a strong, resilient voe to sweep her off her feet. Now if only she could get the oblivious, military minded voe in her own life to notice her…

[Lonely Voe]

Malefic Planets

Pluto destroys until there is nothing left, until you have to rebuild everything from the broken foundations upwards, moving you on completely in your journey in this life. It is ego shattering.

Neptune dissolves, taunts and taints, pointing you in misleading directions until you don’t know left from right. It breaks down the barriers between you and everything else, idealises. 

Uranus disrupts at the drop of a hat, liberates you from confines, but also rebels for the sake of rebelling, leaving you to wonder what will be left is its chaotic wake. 

Saturn creates dissatisfaction, feelings of being unworthy or let down in an area of life, where things progress slowly and often with much hard work and difficulty. Through this, we end up being teachers in this area of life, our talents reaching heights of wisdom with time, we master it.

Mars (Often considered a lesser malefic) represents brute force, recklessness, a pioneering spirit that often runs into conflict in the area containing it. Competitiveness and the ability to self-direct also come from Mars, a healthier aggression. 



Too much circulation makes the price go down: The more you are seen and heard from, the more common you appear. If you are already established in a group, temporary withdrawal from it will make you more talked about, even more admired. You must learn when to leave. Create value through scarcity.


Sir Guillaume de Balaun was a troubadour who roamed the South of France in the Middle Ages, going from castle to castle, reciting poetry, and playing the perfect knight. At the castle of Javiac he met and fell in love with the beautiful lady of the house, Madame Guillelma de Javiac. He sang her his songs, recited his poetry, played chess with her, and little by little she in turn fell in love with him. Guillaume had a friend, Sir Pierre de Barjac, who traveled with him and who was also received at the castle. And Pierre too fell in love with a lady in Javiac, the gracious but temperamental Viernetta.


The first man who saw a camel fled; The second ventured within distance; The third dared slip a halter round its head. Familiarity in this existence Makes all things tame, for what may seem Terrible or bizarre, when once our eyes Have had time to acclimatize, Becomes quite commonplace. Since I’m on this theme, I’ve heard of sentinels posted by the shore Who, spotting something far-away afloat, Couldn’t resist the shout: “A sail! A sail! A mighty man-of-war!” Five minutes later it’s a packet boat, And then a skiff, and then a bale, And finally some sticks bobbing about. I know of plenty such To whom this story applies—People whom distance magnifies, Who, close to, don’t amount to much.


Then one day Pierre and Viernetta had a violent quarrel. The lady dismissed him, and he sought out his friend Guillaume to help heal the breach and get him back in her good graces. Guillaume was about to leave the castle for a while, but on his return, several weeks later, he worked his magic, and Pierre and the lady were reconciled. Pierre felt that his love had increased tenfold—that there was no stronger love, in fact, than the love that follows reconciliation. The stronger and longer the disagreement, he told Guillaume, the sweeter the feeling that comes with peace and rapprochement.

As a troubadour, Sir Guillaume prided himself on experiencing all the joys and sorrows of love. On hearing his friend’s talk, he too wanted know the bliss of reconciliation after a quarrel. He therefore feigned great anger with Lady Guillelma, stopped sending her love letters, and abruptly left the castle and stayed away, even during the festivals and hunts. This drove the young lady wild.

Guillelma sent messengers to Guillaume to find out what had happened, but he turned the messengers away. He thought all this would make her angry, forcing him to plead for reconciliation as Pierre had. Instead, however, his absence had the opposite effect: It made Guillelma love him all the more. Now the lady pursued her knight, sending messengers and love notes of her own. This was almost unheard of—a lady never pursued her troubadour. And Guillaume did not like it. Guillelma’s forwardness made him feel she had lost some of her dignity. Not only was he no longer sure of his plan, he was no longer sure of his lady.

Finally, after several months of not hearing from Guillaume, Guillelma gave up. She sent him no more messengers, and he began to wonder—perhaps she was angry? Perhaps the plan had worked after all? So much the better if she was. He would wait no more—it was time to reconcile. So he put on his best robe, decked the horse in its fanciest caparison, chose a magnificent helmet, and rode off to Javiac.

On hearing that her beloved had returned, Guillelma rushed to see him, knelt before him, dropped her veil to kiss him, and begged forgiveness for whatever slight had caused his anger. Imagine his confusion and despair—his plan had failed abysmally. She was not angry, she had never been angry, she was only deeper in love, and he would never experience the joy of reconciliation after a quarrel. Seeing her now, and still desperate to taste that joy, he decided to try one more time: He drove her away with harsh words and threatening gestures. She left, this time vowing never to see him again.

The next morning the troubadour regretted what he had done. He rode back to Javiac, but the lady would not receive him, and ordered her servants to chase him away, across the drawbridge and over the hill. Guillaume fled. Back in his chamber he collapsed and started to cry: He had made a terrible mistake. Over the next year, unable to see his lady, he experienced the absence, the terrible absence, that can only inflame love. He wrote one of his most beautiful poems, “My song ascends for mercy praying.” And he sent many letters to Guillelma, explaining what he had done, and begging forgiveness.

After a great deal of this, Lady Guillelma, remembering his beautiful songs, his handsome figure, and his skills in dancing and falconry, found herself yearning to have him back. As penance for his cruelty, she ordered him to remove the nail from the little finger of his right hand, and to send it to her along with a poem describing his miseries.

He did as she asked. Finally Guillaume de Balaun was able to taste the ultimate sensation—a reconciliation even surpassing that of his friend Pierre.


While serving under the Duke Ai of Lu, T‘ien Jao, resenting his obscure position, said to his master, “I am going to wander far away like a snow goose.” 

“What do you mean by that?” inquired the Duke. 

“Do you see the cock?” said T’ien Jao in reply. “Its crest is a symbol of civility; its powerful talons suggest strength; its daring to fight any enemy denotes courage; its instinct to invite others whenever food is obtained shows benevolence; and, last but not least, its punctuality in keeping the time through the night gives us an example of veracity. In spite. however, of these five virtues, the cock is daily killed to fill a dish on your table. Why? The reason is that it is found within our reach. On the other hand, the snow goose traverses in one flight a thousand li. Resting in your garden, it preys on your fishes and turtles and pecks your millet. Though devoid of any of the cock’s five virtues, yet you prize this bird for the sake of its scarcity. This being so, I shall fly far like a snow goose.”



Trying to discover the joys of reconciliation, Guillaume de Balaun inadvertently experienced the truth of the law of absence and presence. At the start of an affair, you need to heighten your presence in the eyes of the other. If you absent yourself too early, you may be forgotten. But once your lover’s emotions are engaged, and the feeling of love has crystallized, absence inflames and excites. Giving no reason for your absence excites even more: The other person assumes he or she is at fault. While you are away, the lover’s imagination takes flight, and a stimulated imagination cannot help but make love grow stronger. Conversely, the more Guillelma pursued Guillaume, the less he loved her—she had become too present, too accessible, leaving no room for his imagination and fancy, so that his feelings were suffocating. When she finally stopped sending messengers, he was able to breathe again, and to return to his plan.

What withdraws, what becomes scarce, suddenly seems to deserve our respect and honor. What stays too long, inundating us with its presence, makes us disdain it. In the Middle Ages, ladies were constantly putting their knights through trials of love, sending them on some long and arduous quest—all to create a pattern of absence and presence. Indeed, had Guillaume not left his lady in the first place, she might have been forced to send him away, creating an absence of her own.

Absence diminishes minor passions and inflames great ones,
as the wind douses a candle and fans a fire.

La Rochefoucauld, 1613-1680


For many centuries the Assyrians ruled upper Asia with an iron fist. In the eighth century B.C., however, the people of Medea (now northwestern Iran) revolted against them, and finally broke free. Now the Medes had to establish a new government. Determined to avoid any form of despotism, they refused to give ultimate power to any one man, or to establish a monarchy. Without a leader, however, the country soon fell into chaos, and fractured into small kingdoms, with village fighting against village.

In one such village lived a man named Deioces, who began to make a name for himself for fair dealing and the ability to settle disputes.

He did this so successfully, in fact, that soon any legal conflict in the area was brought to him, and his power increased. Throughout the land, the law had fallen into disrepute—the judges were corrupt, and no one entrusted their cases to the courts any more, resorting to violence instead. When news spread of Deioces’ wisdom, incorruptibility, and unshakable impartiality, Medean villages far and wide turned to him to settle all manner of cases. Soon he became the sole arbiter of justice in the land.

At the height of his power, Deioces suddenly decided he had had enough. He would no longer sit in the chair of judgement, would hear no more suits, settle no more disputes between brother and brother, village and village. Complaining that he was spending so much time dealing with other people’s problems that he had neglected his own affairs, he retired. The country once again descended into chaos. With the sudden withdrawal of a powerful arbiter like Deioces, crime increased, and contempt for the law was never greater. The Medes held a meeting of all the villages to decide how to get out of their predicament. “We cannot continue to live in this country under these conditions,” said one tribal leader. “Let us appoint one of our number to rule so that we can live under orderly government, rather than losing our homes altogether in the present chaos.”

And so, despite all that the Medes had suffered under the Assyrian despotism, they decided to set up a monarchy and name a king. And the man they most wanted to rule, of course, was the fair-minded Deioces. He was hard to convince, for he wanted nothing more to do with the villages’ in-fighting and bickering, but the Medes begged and pleaded—without him the country had descended into a state of lawlessness. Deioces finally agreed.

Yet he also imposed conditions. An enormous palace was to be constructed for him, he was to be provided with bodyguards, and a capital city was to be built from which he could rule. All of this was done, and Deioces settled into his palace. In the center of the capital, the palace was surrounded by walls, and completely inaccessible to ordinary people. Deioces then established the terms of his rule: Admission to his presence was forbidden. Communication with the king was only possible through messengers. No one in the royal court could see him more than once a week, and then only by permission.

Deioces ruled for fifty-three years, extended the Medean empire, and established the foundation for what would later be the Persian empire, under his great-great-grandson Cyrus. During Deioces’ reign, the people’s respect for him gradually turned into a form of worship: He was not a mere mortal, they believed, but the son of a god.


Deioces was a man of great ambition. He determined early on that the country needed a strong ruler, and that he was the man for the job.

In a land plagued with anarchy, the most powerful man is the judge and arbiter. So Deioces began his career by making his reputation as a man of impeccable fairness.

At the height of his power as a judge, however, Deioces realized the truth of the law of absence and presence: By serving so many clients, he had become too noticeable, too available, and had lost the respect he had earlier enjoyed. People were taking his services for granted. The only way to regain the veneration and power he wanted was to withdraw completely, and let the Medes taste what life was like without him. As he expected, they came begging for him to rule.

Once Deioces had discovered the truth of this law, he carried it to its ultimate realization. In the palace his people had built for him, none could see him except a few courtiers, and those only rarely. As Herodotus wrote, “There was a risk that if they saw him habitually, it might lead to jealousy and resentment, and plots would follow; but if nobody saw him, the legend would grow that he was a being of a different order from mere men.”

A man said to a Dervish: “Why do I not see you more often?” The Dervish
replied, “Because the words ‘Why have you not been to see me?’ are
sweeter to my ear than the words ‘Why have you come again?”’

Mulla jami, quoted in ldries Shah’s Caravan of Dreams, 1968


Everything in the world depends on absence and presence. A strong presence will draw power and attention to you—you shine more brightly than those around you. But a point is inevitably reached where too much presence creates the opposite effect: The more you are seen and heard from, the more your value degrades. You become a habit. No matter how hard you try to be different, subtly, without your knowing why, people respect you less and less. At the right moment you must learn to withdraw yourself before they unconsciously push you away. It is a game of hide-and-seek.

The truth of this law can most easily be appreciated in matters of love and seduction. In the beginning stages of an affair, the lover’s absence stimulates your imagination, forming a sort of aura around him or her. But this aura fades when you know too much—when your imagination no longer has room to roam. The loved one becomes a person like anyone else, a person whose presence is taken for granted. This is why the seventeenth-century French courtesan Ninon de Lenclos advised constant feints at withdrawal from one’s lover. “Love never dies of starvation,” she wrote, “but often of indigestion.”

The moment you allow yourself to be treated like anyone else, it is too late—you are swallowed and digested. To prevent this you need to starve the other person of your presence. Force their respect by threatening them with the possibility that they will lose you for good; create a pattern of presence and absence.

Once you die, everything about you will seem different. You will be surrounded by an instant aura of respect. People will remember their criticisms of you, their arguments with you, and will be filled with regret and guilt. They are missing a presence that will never return. But you do not have to wait until you die: By completely withdrawing for a while, you create a kind of death before death. And when you come back, it will be as if you had come back from the dead—an air of resurrection will cling to you, and people will be relieved at your return. This is how Deioces made himself king.

Napoleon was recognizing the law of absence and presence when he said, “If I am often seen at the theater, people will cease to notice me.” Today, in a world inundated with presence through the flood of images, the game of withdrawal is all the more powerful. We rarely know when to withdraw anymore, and nothing seems private, so we are awed by anyone who is able to disappear by choice. Novelists J. D. Salinger and Thomas Pynchon have created cultlike followings by knowing when to disappear.

Another, more everyday side of this law, but one that demonstrates its truth even further, is the law of scarcity in the science of economics. By withdrawing something from the market, you create instant value. In seventeenth-century Holland, the upper classes wanted to make the tulip more than just a beautiful flower—they wanted it to be a kind of status symbol. Making the flower scarce, indeed almost impossible to obtain, they sparked what was later called tulipomania. A single flower was now worth more than its weight in gold. In our own century, similarly, the art dealer Joseph Duveen insisted on making the paintings he sold as scarce and rare as possible. To keep their prices elevated and their status high, he bought up whole collections and stored them in his basement. The paintings that he sold became more than just paintings—they were fetish objects, their value increased by their rarity. “You can get all the pictures you want at fifty thousand dollars apiece—that’s easy,” he once said. “But to get pictures at a quarter of a million apiece—that wants doing!”

The Sun. It can only be
appreciated by its absence.
The longer the days of rain, the
more the sun is craved. But too many
hot days and the sun overwhelms.
Learn to keep yourself obscure and
make people demand your return.

Extend the law of scarcity to your own skills. Make what you are offering the world rare and hard to find, and you instantly increase its value.

There always comes a moment when those in power overstay their welcome. We have grown tired of them, lost respect for them; we see them as no different from the rest of mankind, which is to say that we see them as rather worse, since we inevitably compare their current status in our eyes to their former one. There is an art to knowing when to retire. If it is done right, you regain the respect you had lost, and retain a part of your power.

The greatest ruler of the sixteenth century was Charles V. King of Spain, Hapsburg emperor, he governed an empire that at one point included much of Europe and the New World. Yet at the height of his power, in 1557, he retired to the monastery of Yuste. All of Europe was captivated by his sudden withdrawal; people who had hated and feared him suddenly called him great, and he came to be seen as a saint. In more recent times, the film actress Greta Garbo was never more admired than when she retired, in 1941. For some her absence came too soon—she was in her mid-thirties—but she wisely preferred to leave on her own terms, rather than waiting for her audience to grow tired of her.

Make yourself too available and the aura of power you have created around yourself will wear away. Turn the game around: Make yourself less accessible and you increase the value of your presence.

Use absence to create
respect and esteem. If presence
diminishes fame, absence augments it.
A man who when absent is regarded as a
lion becomes when present something com
mon and ridiculous. Talents lose their luster
if we become too familiar with them, for the
outer shell of the mind is more readily seen
than its rich inner kernel. Even the outstand
ing genius makes use of retirement so that
men may honor him and so that the
yearning aroused by his absence
may cause him to be esteemed.
(Baltasar Gracián,


This law only applies once a certain level of power has been attained. The need to withdraw only comes after you have established your presence; leave too early and you do not increase your respect, you are simply forgotten. When you are first entering onto the world’s stage, create an image that is recognizable, reproducible, and is seen everywhere. Until that status is attained, absence is dangerous—instead of fanning the flames, it will extinguish them.

In love and seduction, similarly, absence is only effective once you have surrounded the other with your image, been seen by him or her everywhere. Everything must remind your lover of your presence, so that when you do choose to be away, the lover will always be thinking of you, will always be seeing you in his or her mind’s eye.

Remember: In the beginning, make yourself not scarce but omnipresent. Only what is seen, appreciated, and loved will be missed in its absence.

So I decided to talk about something. 

There has been basically a war front in my city the last few days. I live in Rio de Janeiro, and not just my country is broke, my city is in complete chaos. Today, less than two hours ago in fact, I saw a war vehicle pass in front of me, and I don’t even live in a much dangerous area. Since the beginning of the week, more than 5 police officers have died, and countless civilians too. Today a woman police officer was killed because drug dealers identified her as a police officer. But that’s not my point. People are dying here, most of them not involved in anything, just passing by. Police kills innocent people, criminals kills inocent people, the government is killing us too. My university has no money to work, my friend’s one is already not functioning, people who had just the Bolsa Familia money (a government help for extremely poor families) have nothing left. The schools have to send the students home due to intense violence. I can just try to imagine how it is for people who live in more dangerous places. While that, our so called president pays people to testify in his favor (he’s accused [and there are countless evidence] of corruption). Our (also so called) mayor sets a number of religious bias in his administration. He has prohibited (yes, PROHIBITED) any samba party that is a cultural manifest of our city in the Pedra do Sal (just google it, its worth), and although we can’t exactly prove, it was because for him samba is a “black culture and black religion” thing, and his religion says that’s satanic. e has been doing some other very terrible things too, but again that’s not the point. I love my city, but we live in fear here. The war vehicle I already mentioned have stopped in a bus stop less than 100m of my apartment, the police officers got out of it and proceeded to shoot at ABSOLUTELY FUCKING NOTHING. The conflict area was 2km from here, they just stopped in front of a super market full of people and started shooting. My aunt was getting in her car, after waiting for the cross-fire to stop when they did it. We (me and mom) shooed the call-girls that hang out in the plaza in front of here so they wouldnt get hurt. My aunt got out of here so fast she got home in 20 minutes, and we cant get at her house in less than one hour in a good day. We live in fear. During daytime, even when something like this occurs, we just go by with our lifes, its almost funny to see people walking by a cross-fire like that was nothing. But during the night, things get worst. For people who live in conflict areas, things are always the worst.

What I want most in my life is to get out of here. I’m studying so I can get a chance. Any opportunity I get I’ll be grabbing it as hard as I can. The pic above is what I told my friend about today. She’s in her way to Japan right now. I’ll translate it here:


I was out w/ my aunt all day so I couldnt talk to you

also, there is some heavy cross-fire here, war vehicles and shit

if you get the chance dont come back”

“Never stop learning.”

Clara Barona de Ayerbe, Chief of Communication for Development, UNICEF Angola

After 25 years with UNICEF in Colombia, Bolivia and Angola, Clara has just retired. Before returning to her native Colombia, she spent the last eight years of her career at the UNICEF office in Luanda.

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Ride the Storm Review

Ride the Storm is the perfect title for the 8th book of the Cassandra Palmer Series. Cassie is in the middle of several literal and figurative storms all throughout the book.  The pace of the beginning and ending of the book is rather frantic, but just like the eye of the storm, the middle is relatively calm.

Some fans have been disappointed in the lack of Pritkin in the past few books. But his absence has really caused Cassie to grow; to come into her own. To accept her power and move beyond her self-imposed limitations. And she does, big time. Karen Chance has said that Cassie is on the hero’s journey.  In the hero’s journey, the hero’s mentor usually must die for the hero to finally reach her full potential.  Well, Ms Chance likes to take her own spin on things.  Cassie’s mentor hasn’t died in the traditional sense, but he is very firmly out of commission.  Looked at this way, it’s easier to deal with Pritkin’s absence.  Remember, these books are about Cassie first and foremost.

Ride the Storm is the culmination of a lot of loose plot points and story lines that have been dangling for a while, since book one, in some cases.  At first, I thought that it tied everything up, but upon further reflection there are still some old unanswered questions and a few new ones posed. That makes my heart happy.  I am not ready to say goodbye to these characters or this universe yet.  There have been so many carefully laid pieces, hints, and such that finally see pay here.  A careful reader of the series might have caught a few of them and speculated and guessed at a few more.  No one could have figured out everything.  Karen Chance is too tricky for that.  There are no unnecessary characters or information contained in her books. Everything is significant, eventually.  Even pieces that we are convinced are plot holes, aren’t.  They are carefully laid pieces of a game, set to be played all in their due time.

The ending was very satisfying and wrapped up everything nicely.  It gave some hints for future character interactions, plot points, and areas of conflict, while still completely wrapping up the ongoing story arc.

The only real complaint I have is that I would have liked to get a better look inside Cassie’s mind during the last chapters and conclusion.  It left me with some unanswered questions as to her future. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, in fact, it’s good story telling and leaves me wanting more.  I’m just impatient.

I recommend going into this book as spoiler free as possible and throwing out any expectations as to where the plot will go before you even start. About half way through, my own expectations about the book started to mess with my enjoyment of it. Once I stopped myself and threw those expectations out the window and just rode the storm along with Cassie, I was ecstatic.  There is simply no other way I can see this story working than how it was written, and how it’s been set up for 8 books. It’s masterful storytelling.  It hit all my emotions.  I laughed and cried along with the characters.  I trust Karen Chance to bring a quality story full of fun and danger, twists and turns, and most of all magic.  She delivers it all in spades.  

lmhersch  asked:

Before the beginning 💖

Ooh I have one before this but I might as well get this one over with since the former will take a while…

BEFORE THE BEGINNING — three sentences (or more) about something that happened before the plot of my current project

My current projects are The Silent Song and Silent Measures, and Before the Shatterpoint on the side, but I know you’d love anything Thrawn so here’s something from Thrawn’s perspective right before the events of What of Friends, Indeed.

What of Friends, Indeed: (tumblr link | FFN link) - Eli Vanto returns from the Ascendancy a year after departing, to find a very changed Thrawn. Eli has questions. He may not like the answers.

The moment the date is set and the time confirmed, Thrawn sets aside an hour from his schedule, for that particular day.

The day of Eli Vanto’s return.

Thrawn knows in advance that this is logistically impossible; that two minutes of a Grand Admiral’s time is worth a lifetime of credits, and there would doubtless be many pressing concerns that might present themselves during that scheduled hour, that could call him away at any moment.

He takes a particular pleasure in knowing that he will ignore all these concerns.

Yes, two minutes of a Grand Admiral’s time is worth a lifetime of credits, to many.

Eli Vanto is not one of many.

Excitement is not an emotion Thrawn allows himself to experience often; orders given in a state of anticipation most often blinds a warrior to the possibility of unforeseen developments.

Thrawn is…looking forward to this with pleased expectation, nonetheless.

Eli will return, and bring with him news of Csilla; of the ice-patterns warping with the changing of the year, each new layer of unique and unmatched design; the first artwork that Thrawn had seen as a child, drenched in the particular brilliance of the Csilla sunset.

But no; that is not what he truly wishes to hear. He wishes not for a report, or news of his homeworld; these things Eli has spoken of thoroughly enough, in their coded transmissions.

The space a step behind Thrawn’s right shoulder is no less of a vacuum, even after a year of emptiness. But it will soon be empty no more, even if only for a short while.

It will be…reassuring. To speak and hear an answer, to plan and have those plans added upon, to smile and not see fear in the eyes of the men he speaks to.

To have a friend.

As maudlin as that seems.

Thrawn turns and paces deliberately over to his desk. One long finger activates a holomap of the galaxy, which crimson eyes study with glowing intensity.

With hyperspace lanes and areas of conflict taken into account, Eli should be…there. A flickering point in space-time, whole sectors away, but drawing closer with every calm breath Thrawn draws into his lungs.

Happiness is not an emotion Thrawn allows himself to feel, either. Particularly in this past year; this has been a year where the Rebellion rose like a tidal surge against the insurmountable cliff of the Empire, and eroded away at its foundations. Thrawn, in turn, had been forced to make choices - choices that he had weighed and turned over his his hands until he wondered at times if he could see his fingers bleed - but these choices he had made alone.

He had no aide to confer with.

But soon.

Soon Eli will return, and Thrawn will be able to speak with him.

So yes, happiness is not an emotion he is familiar with; but perhaps, at this moment, it is likely that this is the best approximation of it.

He allows himself the barest of smiles as he heads towards the bridge, with the engines of the Chimaera humming under his boots.


This was rather longer than I thought it would be, @lmhersch! But I did enjoy writing it :)

For those curious, I referenced another Thrawn fic of mine, A Maudlin Thing (couldn’t resist, and there’s a tumblr link for it too if you haven’t read it)

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  • Fans: Yoko-san... Do you know how many copies of NieR to buy? I don't really know, but I think I'll buy 5 copies of NieR when it's released!
  • Yoko Taro: Thank you, I appreciate that. But I think 1 game would be enough. How about using the rest of the money to buy flowers for your parents, or maybe donate it for poor kids that unable to go to school in conflict/war area.