Skyscraper of the Plains

You just have to Look

The gods haven’t left us, but some say they are forgotten

Zeus roars his battle cry as lightning strikes skyscrapers and thunder rolls over corn fields and grassy plains.

Hera sings a lullaby to the crying newborn babies every night and hold the hand of those born early, those fighting to survive.

Artemis screams her protest in the voices of every woman, young and old, as they raise their fists for equality.

Demeter whistles through the streets of cities, rustling the leaves of scarce trees, reminding the concrete jungle of the jungles around them.

Poseidon bellows through the foghorns of steam ships, cruise liners and cargo ships as they dock into the harbour.

Hephaestus hammers his forge’s red fires with the punch of a time-clock and in the muscles strains of the working man.

Apollo blasts his voice through every headphone, earbud and speaker turned way too loud.

Ares’ battle cry echoes through a stadium as the crowd cheers after a national anthem is played.

Aphrodite whispers in the giggles and “I love you"s said between lovers intimating.

Hermes laughs in the roar of every engine and the gurgle of gasoline through the pump.

Dionysus cheers in the spirit of every young person celebrating themselves and making their lives enjoyable.

Athena hums in the silence of a late night library visit, in the turn of a page and the scratch of a pen.

Hestia smiles in every host saying “come in”, in every oven’s beeping, and the sigh of relaxation in ones home.

Hades beams in every dark humoured joke, in every Halloween night, and in every morning after.

They say the gods are gone, forgotten and a world away.
But they are here, if you look for them.

Expedition to Sol2487-3 Pt.4

“This is the weirdest ride of my life” noted Xato Nexgrra. I could only consent him. Our platoon of eleven, sitting in a CARDBOX, big enough it could have been a scouting ship, attending to our incapacitated member while being carried by a foreign race’s pup, which had the size of a legitimate skyscraper, stomping through the endless plains. Each step of the tremendous creature echoed in our heads and brought us dozens of IFPS standard steps ahead. With our improvised vessel in one and the smaller vicious gazing beast - a cat, as Dr. Proaxl could tell us after touching the giant pup’s mind - in the other hand, the giant crossed the lands in an astonishing swift manner.

“So exactly how is this giant going to help us?” I asked Dr. Proaxl.
The doc, while easing Loxxar Kraes’ pain by mental attendance as best as she could, answered to me.
“It’s taking us to its home, where we will find shelter, food, medical equipment and - so all your religious deities are at our side - the support of its family. For this it would be great if we all could communicate with them. Mindtouching is really tiresome and I don’t want to translate between you as our leader and this world’s inhabitants the whole time, so… Üprrkl, how’s it going?”
The annoying Pjörecian scientist had gone silent for a while now and hatched on the task Dr. Proaxl had ordered him.
A brilliant move of her, both shutting him up and giving his undoubtedly enormous brain something better to do than analysing the non-existing chances of our survival.
“Not bad, the data you collected from the pup’s mind are feeding our intercom’s translation codes. They are fragmentary, and at first glance I would say this specimen does not understand its own language’s grammatic rules quite well - or those rules are so broken and arbitrary I for myself can’t wrap my brain around their structure - but its quite the basis. Some rudimentary communication with natives should be possible at least, until you are able to widen the database by mindtouching a - let’s say more experienced - specimen.”
“OK, then let’s try it” I said and formed with my forelimbs a funnel before my mouth. “Hey! You!” I yelled towards our ride.
“It’s name is Max” filled Dr. Proaxl me in.
“Hey! Max! Can you understand me?!”
“YE… I… UN… U…!” The roaring voice echoed in our whole bodies and stressed the intercom’s abilities.
“Maybe I should build in a filter that pitches the tune up and the volume down” suggested Üprrkl. “Wait a moment.” He manipulated his own intercom and shared the changes to the others. “Now.”
“I’ll try again, Max!” I shouted again. “We couldn’t understand you! Say something, please!”
“CAN YOU UNDERSTAND ME NOW!!!?”
We flinched under the noise.
“You aren’t too quit, you are too loud! Volume down, please!”
“Oh, sorry. Better?”
“That’s it. Good work, Üprrkl. Ok, Max, we can understand you now. How far is it to your home?”
“Why? We’re here!”

Due to the sunset and the speed, we hadn’t even noticed the sudden difference in the scenery. We entered some gigantic building and the reddish yellow light of the sun changed to the cold blue shining of electric lights. Of course this building had to be gigantic, given the fact the giant carrying us - Max – was only a pup, the house of its family must have been astronomic to our standards. It was just reasonable. But nevertheless we were struck speechless, for this building was for real taller as you could see.
Max brought us in through a huge gate – or was it a simple door? It was archaic, moving around a pivot without any means of electromotoric assistance. Then he brought us upwards by stairs into his room. Beside the electric lights there were no proofs of advanced technologies. At least those giants seemed to be far away from space travel and so they posed no threat for the IFPS for now.
“Wait here, I’ll get some food and medicine. What do you need?” asked Max, the giant.
“Something to prevent inflammation and a narcotic against pain” answered Dr. Proaxl. As a bodyless being, it was only natural for here to ignore the offered food.
So I added to her request: “Some water and something filling and easy to swallow, please.”
Max showed quite the troubled face, but nevertheless left us alone in his room. Thank Xaleates he took that “cat” with him, wouldn’t have wanted to be left alone with that.

After a short while we heard those gigantic steps approaching again, but this time it seemed to be four legs.
“Please Mom”, we heard Max’ voice from behind the door, “just promise me you don’t freak out!”
“Maxwell, I dare you, if you took in a spider or a snake, you’ll sleep in the garage tonight!”
The door swung open and a way taller giant came in, the head covered in lots and lots of those swirly filaments nearly every living thing here had – hair, as Dr. Proaxl told us.
The bigger giant glimpsed at us.
“Quick!” insisted Dr. Proaxl, “Wave one of your forelimps and bare your fangs! It’s a gesture of greetings.”
We did as she told us – but…
“AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH…!!!!!”
My eyesight went blank, my hearing broke down, my intercom went sparkling and – I admit it with disgust – I had lost control of some of my digestive organs for a moment. When I regained my senses, I found more than half of my men on the ground, struggling for breath. And even Dr. Proaxl, whose nebulous body usually shimmered in a sparkling yellow white, now smouldered in a nauseous looking green.
“WHA… THE… HE…HA…!”
My hearing was still burrowed under a constant screaming noise, but I registered the muffled rough roar coming from the gate. And through my limbs I felt the tremors of a vast approaching third giant.
Just when would this superlative end? The third one was even taller than the second, by at least two heads. And I mean their heads, not mine. It gestured to the second, the second to Max, and Max gestured to us. And all of them made those annoying roaring noises. My head went numb.
Then finally, the biggest one made a wide gesture and the noises stopped. I remember the face of that giant coming nearer and nearer until it filled all of my field of vision. Then my mind went black.

When I came to my senses again, the biggest giant was talking to a still green shimmering Dr. Proaxl, but I couldn’t follow their talking, so I interrupted them.
“How long have I…?”
“Just seconds, captain. Don’t worry.”
“Oh, you are the captain?” asked the gigantic giant. He oppressed his voice with one of his limbs and tried to be as quiet as he could. Plenty of noise still, nevertheless. “Nice to meet you.”
“This is Captain Bcao Kjuk Mrra, Leading Officer of our expedition ship, and this here is Dr. Smith, Max’ father and biologist of this planet the natives call “Earth”” introduced Dr. Proaxl.
“I apologize in behalf of my wife” began the giant. “Our voices must have quite the destructive force to your bodies. We intended no harm to you, we were just… overwhelmed by your appearance. I mean, it’s just natural, that someday, eventually, someone from out there… I mean now, that after all this time finally…” The giant began quiet, but unknowingly it got louder and louder, like a little boy who couldn’t hide his joy about a new toy. Then Dr. Smith coughed slightly and got quiet again. “Ahem… my apologies. Let’s concentrate at the task at hand. Max said, one of your group is injured?”
“Yes, Loxxar Kraes. He got wounded by a … hamster is what Max mind called it” answered Dr. Proaxl.
“Oh you encountered a field hamster? God, you’re lucky the crop’s plenty. In spring, when it’s their season and the food resources are scarce, they go savage for any intruder in their yard. Some fairly random facts the least of my people knew, but for someone in your… position… it would have been crucial intel. Ok, I see. That breastplate absorbed most of the impact. Some sturdy material you got there. The wound is… what’s that?”
“A force field to keep the wound steril” answered the misty Doc.
“Fascinating” mumbled the giant Doc.
Two in their element. I decided to leave them be. Then the giant Doc asked.
“How do you stand alcohol?”
“For disinfecting? Isopropanol should do…”
“No, no, I mean, how do you stand drinking ethanol?”
Did that monster just say “Drinking ethanol”?!?!

Punk!Luke - WILD ROSE (part 1)

A/N: Since Punk!Luke is messing with my feels lately I came up with this idea of a story. I’m planning to make more parts if you guys will like it! :) Please let me know if you do and enjoy reading! xx - N

Pairing: Luke & Y/N

Word count: 4.900 +

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A Must-Read on Asians in the Fashion Industry and the Definition of Beauty

Liu Wen, the First Asian Spokesmodel for Estée Lauder, Writes About Changing Beauty Ideals

Beautiful. It’s one of those rare words that describes itself. In Mandarin Chinese, there are two common expressions that capture its meaning: “美丽” (Mei li) or its more informal counterpart,“漂亮” (Piao liang). Both inspire happiness but also invite controversy, for their meanings can be simultaneously vast and narrow. Since childhood, I have traversed back and forth across these meanings as I worked to find this word’s definition within my own life.

Growing up in southern China, people in my hometown seldom called me piao liang, because my smaller eyes were a far cry from the wide irises of the most beloved television actresses. Further, I was tall and awkward and tended to dress more androgynously as comfort was always my priority. Towering over classmates, I developed a habit of bending down when speaking to others, as if my back was permanently hunched.  Many called me “Mulan,” since I always blended in with the male students much more easily than the female students. Since she was such an honorable and respected character in our culture, I accepted the association quite happily—even if being outwardly “beautiful” was never in my destiny, I at least wanted to personify her confidence.

And then came 2008. In the summer of that year, I traveled to New York City for the very first time, as I hoped to continue my budding career as a model. The buildings radiated grandeur through their heights alone, and just as in China, the people milled about every block, everyone contributing their part to the greater scheme. Surprisingly, this wasn’t the same steel-and-concrete jungle I had expected. Rather than a cold, aloof place, it was actually saturated with energy and warmth.

I only knew three English phrases—“hello,” “thank you,” and “goodbye”—but everyone I encountered accepted this limitation with genuine smiles. In this still-unfamiliar city, I developed both friendships and dreams. In truth, my aspirations were never as grand as the city’s skyscrapers. Rather, they resembled the plain T-shirts I wore in my younger years—straightforward, unembellished. I hoped to make the most of the rare opportunity and work diligently, not only to support my family but also to make them proud. In some ways I adopted the fundamental ideals of Mulan herself.

Every now and then I was told, “You’re beautiful.” Hearing this always brought a slight shock at first. After years of receiving the opposite sentiment, it wasn’t so easy to accept the word beautiful. I thought people were using the most general description to accommodate my limited vocabulary, and so I moved on with job after job, nodding at the occasional compliment while never fully believing them. In truth, the word was even less familiar to me than the new place I called home.

Though it was only six years ago, the industry’s knowledge of Asian models—much less Chinese models—was quite limited. Great names like Du Juan and Ai Tominaga still resonated in people’s memories, but few others did, which struck me as ironic, considering the fashion business thrived so much in my homeland. I confess that in many respects I was lucky—I debuted on the international catwalks just as many important brands had begun to pay fervent attention to the Chinese market. Even hair and makeup styles seemed more suitable for East Asian features than they had before. Slowly but surely, the runways finally became peppered with the black hair of me and my compatriots, and back home, the fashion press lovingly dubbed us the “Chinese Model Army.” We embraced the moniker ourselves; it strengthened our bond as we traveled to all these foreign places and allowed us to penetrate the local headlines with more ease.

As I worked more and more, I took on the role of student in the most prestigious of schools—every encounter with people in the industry became an invaluable lesson to absorb. I grew into my understanding of the business at a rapid pace. Though I was still young at heart, my budding self-confidence became more prominent, often carrying me through the most hectic of schedules.

Then, in 2010, everything changed again, when Estée Lauder announced that I would be its first-ever Asian global spokesmodel. The moment was life-changing, to say the least. Overnight, the image of me as an independent, confident young woman was embraced as beautiful. And this development catalyzed a change in my own beauty ideals. The stereotypes of Asian women as submissive and dainty were fading. Instead, my fellow Asian models and I were more often depicted as adventurous, assertive, career-oriented women who always did our best despite the challenges we faced overseas. We might or might not possess physical features that fit traditional Asian views of beauty, but the fact that we represented modern ideas, combining the best of multiple cultures, became far more important.

Through avenues like social media, we were able to use our voices to share these ideas around the world. The shift has been gradual, but when I consider the fans who continue to follow our careers—the encouragement they share on our social channels, the photos they proudly take with our advertisements—they all become affirmations of these profound changes in perspective. More and more, our persistence and confidence serve as reflections of our beauty. There’s no longer just one narrow reason for admiration and respect. From my eyes, Mulan was incredibly beautiful in boundless ways, too.

My name is Liu Wen and, even after all these years, I’m still the same Liu Wen at my core. I don’t know if I can ever truly represent what “beautiful” means in my native culture, but I hope that in both China and beyond, I can help more people understand how a definition of beauty can encompass more elements than ever before.

This essay was translated into English from Chinese.

RTX was more than “just a convention”

It was more than “Just an experience.” 

It was something I needed. 

Not just because I needed to get out of the house, or needed a break from homelife, no, I needed to see a new perspective.

I live in the north central part of Wisconsin. Now, I don’t know if you know this, but Wisconsin is made of tiny little towns. I was born in a city with a population of a little over 8,000 people, and and only currently living in a “city” of 22,000 people. 

We drove from Wisconsin to Texas. I had never been on a real road trip before. I had never driven more than an hour at a time before. I had never seen homeless people on the streets. I never had pho noodles. I never saw a Sonic before, but I sure as hell had seen commercials for them. I never saw the sun rise and fall and not sleep in between. I never had been in any other state besides Upper Michigan and “Florida” (which really means Disney world, and I don’t think that counts tbh.) 

I had never seen Skyscrapers before. I had never seen plains that roll on for miles and miles. I had never seen a wind farm before. I’d never seen rows and rows of Corn. 

I never saw interesting and fascinating people walking the streets. I’d never been in a city where you CAN’T see the stars at night. 

I got to see real artists for the first time at RTX. I got to see people I only had dreams of seeing before, and I don’t mean the people from RT, I’m talking about people like ejraptor and sexyslowmotrash. I was recognized for my art, EVEN THOUGH IT WAS NOTHING MORE THAN A SKETCH.

I was recognized by someone who I had never spoken to before, and you don’t understand just how validating that felt. Like all this time I’ve been talking into this blue site, for it to finally feel REAL.

I realized for the first time that I’ve been living in a very, very limited bubble. That there is so much to the world. And to cross it all from north to south (and vice versa) in 24 hours makes it all seem so much more reachable than I had ever realized. 

I’m a 22 year old woman, and I’d never experienced life before.

So this experience, was something I needed. More than I ever could have known before setting out.