above tree line

Homestuck Camping Headcanons

John: Brought enough kites to populate a small country if the citizens were also kites. “John we’re in the middle of the fucking woods where are you going to fly a goddamn kite,” wrong question Karkat. John makes eye contact while holding a kite, floats up above the tree line, and flies his kite suck a dick everyone. Terezi tries flying one of the kites but seemingly does not know how. When John tries to show her she somehow manages to get him tangled up in the string and just starts cackling. She takes another kite from the pile and flies it perfectly. John is not pleased.

Dave: Spends the entire trip there composing raps and sick beats which is VERY ANNOYING to Karkat who is being carried five inches from Dave’s stupid rhyming mouth fuck you Dave. When they get there, it turns out mr cool kid is hella afraid of bugs, like “fuck oh fuck there’s a bug Karkat kill it please fuck oh my god someone please just kill it” levels of hate. “You know my species starts out as a bug” Karkat narrows his eyes. That is different, Dave tells him, your species can talk and have s- “eat shit, Dave.” Around the campfire, he tries to tell a scary story but it turns out the big plot twist at the end is just a character falling down some stairs and Dave saying “I warned you about stairs, bro” in a spooky voice. Roxy throws a marshmallow at his head from across the campfire.

Jade: Somehow manages to befriend every single forest creature she finds. She goes out for a walk and comes back with five squirrels, three bunnies, and a doe with her baby in tow. “Can we keep them?” She finds a nearby lake with a little waterfall and encourages everyone to go swimming, she cannonballs off the ledge obvi and a belly flop competition starts. Everyone’s belly hurts. This was a mistake. Oh god.

Rose: Finds a dark cave nearby and extends an invitation to explore it, Kanaya lights the way and Jake shows up in full on spelunking gear which ends up being pretty much useless as the cave dead ends after fifty feet. Rose is disappointed, she was hoping to find ancient cave drawings or the remains of a ritual sacrifice. Jake, who found some cool rocks and some kind of skull he might give to Dave, asks her why she seems let down. When she mumbles something about the blood of children he nods and walks a step behind her on the way back. At the campfire, Rose also tries to tell a scary story, she recounts the tale of Mothman. It is actually pretty spooky until she gets to the end and says that there probably was no Mothman and it was most likely a red sand hill crane that had wandered off its mighration course. Dave boos.

Kanaya: No one but Rose will share a tent with Kanaya (especially not Dave) because she likes to turn up her glow a little which attracts every. Single. Bug. She has an entourage of moths following her around and yes they do have names, Rose, they’re our children now you have to love them. Tries her hand at scary stories too, but it ends up just being about a troll who showed up to a white-tie occasion in a semi-formal outfit. Needless to say, the fear and outraged reaction was limited. She does end up scaring John, however. He heads around to the latrine only to see Kanaya hunched over a bag of pre-packed blood. “Uh, Kanaya? What are you doing?” She turns around with blood all over her mouth which she casually wipes away, Oh Hello John, I Did Not Hear You Coming, Is Something The Matter? The last part is said to his back as he sprints away screaming.

Karkat: Eats a bug in front of Dave just to freak him out a little, then Dave asks if it’s cannibalism and Karkat punches him in the arm. Tries to refuse swimming in the lake, but Dave jumps in and pretends to drown so Karkat freaks out and jumps in to try to rescue him. When Dave resurfaces laughing, Karkat pushes him back under and asks Dirk if this would count as a just death. Dirk says he better not risk it. While he’s asleep, Dave and John team up by squirting shaving cream on Karkat’s hand and tickling his face with a crow feather. This backfires because instead of rubbing his own face, Karkat starts swinging his arms out and manages to cover both Dave and John’s faces in shaving cream. He doesn’t notice and goes immediately back to sleep. Dave and John wash the shaving cream off and agree that this never happened, only Jane and Roxy Definitely Saw Them and also took a video.

Terezi: “accidentally” knocks one of John’s tent poles out with her cane while she’s walking, then accuses John of unfairly targeted a poor innocent blind girl. She and Vriska go to the river to try and catch fish for dinner, they end up getting in a competition to see who can catch the most fish. Everyone eats soup for dinner. Terezi and Vriska will not talk about what happened. Terezi gives scary stories a go, but it ends up being less scary and more like one of her roleplaying court scenarios. The only vaguely frightening thing is that at the end, she points up to the trees and everyone suddenly realizes that she hanged a bunch of her plushies sometime during the day and apparently no one noticed until now. She smiles wickedly and everyone feels slightly uneasy.

Jane: Spends part of the afternoon getting the soup ready in anticipation of a lack of fish. Realizes she forgot some of her spices at home and starts panicking until Jade takes her through the woods and helps her find some wild herbs that will taste almost the same. At one point, she goes to the bathroom and comes back with a small carapacian in handcuffs having apparently dodged another assassination attempt. She treats this very casually but enjoys being fussed over for a little bit. She tells a scary story that’s actually scary, no one realizes she’s teamed up with John in the Ultimate Prankster Duo. He is making the wind move through the trees very eerily, and right at the scariest part of the story he jumps out of the woods yelling. Everyone jumps out of their seats, some of the godtier kids accidentally fly up a good ten feet in the air they got so frightened. Jane and John high five and secretly salute Colonel Sassacre.

Jake: Jumps off the waterfall at least fifty times and has a blast doing it. Dirk is hesitant to go because he secretly is sort of afraid of heights after living in the post-apocalyptic high rises of Texas. Jake remedies this by picking him up bridal style and jumping off the ledge with him. Dirk does NOT scream or hold onto Jake for dear life because that would be uncool. Jake shows Jade some of the cool rocks he found and presents Dave with the cool skull he brought back. Dave is slightly in awe and develops a newfound respect for Jake, who promises to show him his Cool Skull collection when they get back home. Jake tells a story around the campfire that might have been intended to be scary, but ends up being more of an adventure tale, Indiana Jones style. Everyone listens intently and really enjoys it even though it’s not a ghost story.

Roxy: Can apparently climb trees like nobodies business? She had to help the carapacians in her old neighborhood get stuff out of them because they were always losing balls and cats and kites. She goes for a walk with Jade and Calliope while Jane is making dinner and they pick her a nice bouquet of wildflowers to give her when they get back. Around the campfire, she tries to tell a scary story but it ends up being about wizards and no one is surprised. Their tent is poppin’ and she and the ladies party it the fuck up all night and end up sleeping until noon the next day because they’re so exhausted.

Calliope: Loves being in nature so so so so much holy fuck. She’s lived underground and chained up her entire life that this is unbelievable. She’ll spend entire hours just staring up at the sky and pointing out cloud shapes to Jane and Roxy. She tries telling a scary story around the campfire, but it ends up being a tale about the importance of friendship and how love is the truest magic of all. There are a few tears in some of the kids eyes at the end of it.

Dirk: He and Jake go out to collect firewood and refuse to take more than one trip so they stagger back into camp with towering piles of branches and make a huge mess by dropping them everywhere. Instead of telling a ghost story, he and Dave have a rap battle over the fire which devolves into them just laughing and quoting SBAHJ until they can’t talk anymore. Karkat and Jake share a Look™ like, I can’t believe these are our fucking dorks. Dirk can name every single star, he knows the stars and constellations that transferred over from his Earth, and he knows the ones that migrated in from Alternia/Beforus. People begin to doubt him when he points out a constellation that he claims is shaped like a dick, most likely because he called it “Ursa Penis”. He spends the rest of the night trying to come up with a major/minor dick size joke but can’t think of a good one and sulks a little about it.

Sollux: Sets up everyone’s tent for them with his psiionics and goes on a walk with Karkat. They get very lost and argue the whole time about whether or not they are actually lost. John and Dave are flying above them and could theoretically help them get back to camp but they will not. Sollux thinks they’re going to die out in the woods and tries eating some roots and berries and mushrooms even though Karkat tells him that that’s the worst possible fucking idea he’s ever had in his life and yes he’s including the time Sollux suggested finding a way to combine troll and bee DNA to make the ultimate being. You mean ‘bee’-ing, Sollux says. No the fuck I do not, Karkat replies. The mushroom Sollux eats ends up giving him wackass hallucinations and Karkat definitely does not record any of the crazy bullshit Sollux starts saying.

Day 5 - Dingboche

I forgot the wonders of a hiking group. People to make you laugh when you’re down and push you to keep going when it’s tough and you fall behind and you’re so tired and have no energy left in your muscles.
Enter Ollie (Nz), Kelsey and Ashley (USA) and there guide Mingmar. We met in the guesthouse and decided to hike together much to the disappointment of their guide.
I would say usually a guide wouldn’t want random trekkers clinging on to his group, but especially when those random trekkers are super sick and may need to get saved at some point.

Today was the day of Mordor. We began trekking through a new zealand-esue landscape, but eventually we made it above the tree line into a barren, cold, beautiful wasteland. Falling rocks, evidence of landslides littering the landscape.

The altitude was kicking in, luckily it was a slow steady incline for most of the day, nothing too drastic. But every ascent left me breathless. Followed by yet another coughing fit and another and another.
The others were fit and healthy AND they had a porter. I looked in jealousy at there tiny backpacks and there long legs speeding off into the distance.
I had to come to terms with the fact that I was the slow one. Not because I kept stopping to take photos (like on the Annapurna) but because my body wouldn’t let me go any faster.
Anyone that knows me, knows this would kill me inside. I’m highly competitive and grew up wanting to prove that I can do anything a boy, or a larger human can do. I am never the slow one.
As I was plodding along, slowly falling further behind, I spotted a sharp incline. ‘Oh shit’ my lungs whimpered.
But just as I felt my mood drop I spotted a familiar face waiting at the bottom of the incline. Ol’ mate bobby hot shakes. You may remember him from such hikes as the Annapurna Circuit.
He’d started the hike 2 days before me but he decided he wanted his old hiking buddy back and he waited around for me (plus he’d needed an extra rest day for acclimatisation)
Elated, I basically ran down and ascended, not so much with ease, but definitely with less pain than first anticipated.

We arrived in town at the same time as a cloud. So much hiking, so much pain and I’d hardly seen any snowy peaks.

It hit 9pm, my eyes were burning with tiredness, my body ached. I climbed into bed expecting to fall straight asleep but the altitude had different ideas.
I tossed and turned, coughing constantly until 5am when I finally managed to fall asleep. The whole time questioning every aspect of my life and travels. Wondering if I am in fact the strong lass I always thought I was. Will I make it up to base camp? I’ve hardly taken any photos on this hike, am I even a good photographer? Should I just quit and go home where mum will look after me and get me healthy?

I woke up at 9am to a blue sky, unexpectedly sweating in bed (we’re well over 4400m here). Not ideal due to the fact I won’t be showering or washing my clothes up here. (Yes boys, I am single ;) )
My filthy hair is matted over my face adding to the incredibly attractive picture I have obviously created. I feel like a truck has ran over my face but I finally have a view of snowy peaks outside my window!

Dream boat

Part 5:
“Shiro?” Lance asked his voice quivering.
Shiro looked around. There was no way out, between the things and the fire they were trapped.
The figures were slowly approaching, teasing them knowing there was no where to go.
“Shiro!” Lance tugged on his sleeve gaining the older mans attention.
Lance was pointing upwards and it took a moment before Shiro realised what he was doing.
“Lance your a genius!” Shiro waisted no time grabbing Lance putting the boy on his back. “Hold on tight.” He yelled as he powered up his prosthetic the purple glow lost in comparison to the orange flickering flames surrounding them.
He dug his glowing fingers into the bark and began to climb.
He didn’t look down just climbed higher and higher. Shiro didn’t know what they would do once they reached the top. Even if the things couldn’t climb the fire would get them.
Lance was coughing as the smoke became thicker and thicker.
They just had to get above the tree line.
“Hang on buddy, almost there.” Shiro said through gritted teeth as he pulled them up higher and higher his back screaming with the strain put on his wounds. From the wet feeling on his back the stitches likely popped.
By time they reached the top Shiro’s arms felt like jelly and his head felt light from blood loss.
Up this high the air was a little clearer and they couldn’t see the things beneath them.
But they could feel the heat radiating from below.
Shiro didn’t say it. But he knew there was no way out of this. He was fine with dying. He had lived much longer then he had ever expected, but it wasn’t just him. Lance was here. Lance was far too young to die, too young to have to be in a situation like this.
“Shiro what do we do now? How do we get out of here?” Lance asked trying to put on a brave face but was failing as tears fell down his cheeks.
Shiro pulled the boy into a hug “I don’t know… I’m so sorry I let you down.”
“It’s ok… Shiro your still my friend… are you my friend?” He asked hesitantly like he expected rejection.
Shiro smiled “yeah buddy Your my friend too.”
“Really?” Lance asked holding out his little finger.
“Yeah really.” Shiro linked his little finger with Lances smaller one.
Then the tree began to sway, seconds from falling. Shiro did the only thing he could. He grabbed Lance and held him close as they fell towards the ground far below hoping to take the blunt of the force.
Shiro didn’t feel the impact. He felt like instead of falling he was being dragged upwards into a blinding white light.
Shiro sat bolt upright in bed in the infirmary breathing heavily with his heart racing.
Allura and Corran were running around yelling something back and forth.
Shiro was confused for a moment before his eyes ended up on Lance lying on his side and coughing his lungs up.
Shiro jumped off the bed almost falling over in the process as he crossed the distance between them putting a hand on his shoulder and rubbing soothing circles on his back.
“Lance are you ok?” He asked.
The blue paladin looked up just as he made a gagging noise and black smoke began to pour out of his mouth.
“Shiro move!” Allura snapped all but shoving him out of the yay and she put a strange mask over Lance’s mouth that seemed to actually suck the smoke away.
As Shiro watched it all came back to him. The kid in his memories, how he acted, how he looked, that unbeatable optimism and need to help.
The boy he had met it had been Lance. His Lance.
The next few days were tough. Allura said that the spell had been expelled from his body but the strain it had caused left Lance with a high fever and bed ridden.
The entire team took shifts sitting with him trying to get his fever down.
By the end of the week everyone was exhausted but Lance’s fever had finally been broken.
Shiro sat by Lance’s bed. Since waking up he hadn’t had a chance to actually talk to Lance about what he had seen in his mind and now that Lance was at least sort of coherent he wasn’t sure how to bring it up.
Luckily he didn’t have to.
“I was six.”
“Hmmm?” Shiro hummed questioning.
“What you saw I’ve been having that nightmare since I was sick.”
Shiro pulled his chair closer to the bed helping Lance sit up, propped against a few pillows.
“We didn’t have much, we always needed money and when my mama found out she was pregnant again my dad… he got a loan from some not very nice people.” Lance swallowed “Mama lost the baby, and we lost Mama a few days later, used all the money on hospital bills. The men dad borrowed the money from still wanted it paying back.” Lance pulled his knees up against his chest. “We didn’t have anything… they wanted to take my sisters to work of the debt. My brother stepped up and worked fighting in this betting ring. But it wasn’t enough and they still wanted my sisters. So one night we were all going to run away. But the men came… Dad held them off while my siblings got away but I hid in the back room and I saw when they ….they.” Lances lip started to trembled.
Acting on instinct Shiro pulled him into a hug.
“I couldn’t get out. His body blocked the door. It wasn’t until the police came knocking almost a week later did I get out.”
Shiro ran his fingers through his hair making quiet shushing noises when Lance began to sob.
“Did you find your family?”
Lance nodded not looking up from where his face was buried in Shiro’s chest. “We all moved in with my mama’s parents in America.”
Shiro nodded “look Lance everything I said I really did mean it. Your amazing, having gone through something like that but still acting so happy all the time looking out for everyone.” Shiro pulled away cupping Lance’s face with his hands “your the best blue paladin we could ever hope for. I know I don’t say it enough, but you hold this team together. Thank you for that Lance.”
Lance began to cry again throwing his arms around Shiro’s neck “I didn’t realise just how badly I needed to hear that. Thank you. Thank you so much.”

An Autumn Sprite’s Work

As autumn crept through the forest, the sprite’s hair and skin drew into a golden shimmer. Excitedly, she marveled at the fiery highlights and new hues. Before long, even her slender wings had taken on a new palette of reds streaked with yellow-orange.

As October arrived, the sprite began weaving fungus into her trees. Filaments tied to roots, soil gently enchanted, worms and other crawling bits so embedded, the forest would reclaim the leaf litter that had begun to fall. The months-long inhale of spring and summer had finally begun to exhale. The forest breathed a bit easier as the winds began to chill.

The sprite’s fingers drew glyphs into the bark, arranging patterns as easily as a pencil onto paper. In this way, she noted the tree’s health and left other notes for herself and any passing forest fey.

With a happy sigh, the sprite beat her gossamer wings and flew above the tree line. She watched ghosts draw into the forest, called by the season, called by the trees themselves. Spotting a group of old friends, she flew down to greet them.

As autumn matured, the sprite worked tirelessly to ensure the health and happiness of each tree, returning every few days to check up on them and make sure they were resting comfortably.

All in all, the seasonal transition went smoothly and without much fuss. There was a bit of turmoil with the Purple Paw Thievery, a band of magical rabbits that will steal anything they can get their paws on, but a few well placed bribes (a promise of fifteen stalks of herbs come spring, an alliance to trick Atticus Q. Redghost into giving extra batches of sweets, and a ride through the air for each rabbit) smoothed things over nicely.

Essays in Existentialism: HSAU

can you do a high school AU where one is the captain of the football team and they sweep off the nerdy girls’ feet?

Morning started the same, every day, rain or shine. Four thirty in the morning, the alarm beeped in the small attic room, and under one section of angled roof, where a pile of blankets slumbered, an arm would appear and slap around until the offending noise stopped. It was precise and methodical and never changed, six days a week.

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The Natural Regions of Germany (3): The Central Uplands

South of the Northern German lowlands, there is a belt of mid-sized wooded mountain ranges separated by fertile valleys, which is commonly referred to as the “Mittelgebirge”. These mountains are of highly diverse origin, shaped in parts by tectonic, in parts by volcanic activity. Some of them are among the oldest mountain ranges worldwide and much older than the Alps. As diverse as they are by origin, they are by appearance and character.

The most prominent mountain range is the Harz, which abruptly rises from the Northern German plains. Its highest peak is the more than 1,100 m high Brocken (= “lump”), which raises above the tree line. A railway featuring the strongest German narrow gauge steam locomotives muscles tourist trains right to the top of the mountain. It is also an ancient mining area where silver and other ores were mined. The mines of Goslar are part of the UNESCO world cultural heritage.

The Weser Uplands are the north-western part of the Central German uplands, surrounding the valley of the river Weser. These lovely rolling hills are the origin of some of the famous fairy tales: Sababurg is said to be the castle of Sleeping Beauty, and the Trendelburg the tower of Rapunzel.

The Hessian parts of the Central German uplands are characterized by quaint towns nestled between the wooded rolling hills. Among the notable mountains is the Meißner, origin of the legend of Mother Hulda or Old Mother Frost who shakes her bed and out comes snow from heaven. The Vogelsberg is the largest volcanic formation of central Europe. Some of the valleys hold artificial water reservoirs such as the Edersee, paradise for water sports.

The Western part of the Central German uplands is made up by the Rhenish Slate Mountains, divided into Eifel, Westerwald, Hunsrück, and Taunus. The Eifel is a geologically young volcanic area, which still shows signs of activity. The four parts are divided by the rivers Mosel, Lahn, and Rhine. The spectacular Middle Rhine Valley lined with romantic castle ruins is a top tourist destination.

The South-East is made up of the Thuringian and Franconian Forests and the Ore Mountains. In the latter area, ore was mined since the prehistoric bronze age. More recently, uranium was mined there, contributing to most of the Russian nuclear arsenal during the cold war. These mountains continue into the Czech Republic. Winter sports and hiking tourism are prevalent here. The Ore Mountains are known for skilled craftsmanship producing wooden toys and folk art, including the classical nutcrackers.


12 Facts about Puma Punku

45 miles west of La Paz high in the Andes mountains, lie the mysterious ancient ruins of Puma Punku. The megalithic stones found here are among the largest on the planet, measuring up to 26 feet long and weighing more than 100 tons each. Puma Punku is a large temple complex or monument group that is part of the Tiwanaku Site near Tiwanaku, Bolivia.

  1. Puma Punku is so unique in the way that it was constructed and shaped and positioned, that it is the most intriguing ancient site on the planet.
  2. If you look at the stones carefully, you can see some intricate stonework, as though they used machine tools or even lasers. Evidence of ancient civilizations using modern technology? Sure.
  3. At Puma Punku you will find incredible stones with these perfect right angles, smooth as glass, this makes Puma Punku unique and over of the few places on earth to find this type of stone work.
  4. The massive stones were hewn at quarries over 60 miles away.
  5. Puma Punku is located  at an altitude of 12,800 feet, which means it is located above the natural tree line, this means that NO trees grew in that area which means that no trees were cut down in order to use wooden rollers, the question is how did they transport the stones?
  6. Tiahuanaco is located near Puma Punku, less than a quarter mile northeast of Puma Punku. Scientists believe Tiahuanaco was once the center of a civilization with more than 40,000 inhabitants.
  7. Tiahuanaco is probably the greatest Native American civilization that many people haven’t heard of.
  8. It’s said that in Tiahuanaco are all the races of mankind represented, even elongated skulls, people wearing turbans, people with broad noses, people with thin noses, people with thick lips, people with thin lips, and some of the statues are particularly unusual and are unlike the ones found in the nearby area.
  9. One of the most important archaeological artifacts ever discovered in Tiahuanaco or Puma Punku is the famous Fuente Magna Bowl discovered near Tiahuanaco.
  10. The Ceramic bowl, has  Sumerian cuneiform and Proto-Sumerian hieroglyphic written on it.
  11. The megalithic stones found at Puma Punku are among the largest on the planet.
  12. There are stones at Puma Punku that weigh over 100 tons.

by Ivan Petricevic ancient-code.com

Images: google

Unadulterated Crack part 2

pairings: Thorin x reader

warnings: None? 

word count: 6,000+

Author’s note: uhh, I wrote this around thanksgiving and christmas so you’re gonna have to deal with holiday feels in May. Also I made the quest start in fall so yeah.

Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8

After insisting they get an extra pony for Bilbo, everyone had a pony, and their supplies were on their horses, despite you assuring them they wouldn’t need half of them with you there, you set off. When the dwarves were making their bets about whether Bilbo would show or not, you said, “I bet you that he shows up. I also bet you he quickly realized he forgot his handkerchief and insists we turn back to get it.”

Kili said, “I bet you he remembers it! He’s practically attached at the hip to that thing.”

When Bilbo showed up, you turned to Thorin and quirked an eyebrow at him as he said, “Give him a pony.” After Bilbo was on said pony, and everyone tossed around the betting gold, Bilbo did indeed realize he forgot his handkerchief and demanded everyone stop. You looked at Kili, held out your hand, and said, “Pony up bitch.”

Kili smirked at you, and handed you a single coin, you glared at him. Before you could growl at him, he said, “You need to be specific with what you want before agreeing to something. Otherwise people will take advantage of you.” then looked like he was bracing himself for a scolding. But instead, you simply threw back your head and laughed, “Right you are! You are very clever Kili, and you presented it with wit, and tact might I add. You’ve got spunk kid, and I love spunk. Here have this as a reward.” putting the coin he gave you in the bag with the coins Dwalin and Nori gave you, and tossed it to him.

Fili cried, “Hey! Why does he get free money he didn’t earn?" 

 You smirked at him and chuckled, "Oh he earned it, I was not expecting that at all. If you remember what I said before, your world provides me very little mental stimulation. So I’ll take it where I can get it, and reward them for it. Plus because I wanted to give it to him, and it was mine to give. If you were smart, you would have kept your mouth shut and tested to see if I’d give more out  in return for making me laugh, or enjoy something.”

Kili piped up, “Yeah, what she said.” as his older brother pouted.

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denielapple  asked:

Au, hybrid!Klaus meets dragon!caroline in Aspen, she hates the cold, bed sharing happens

I did not get to the bed sharing, sorry! Otherwise this would have gotten l o n g.

Under Night Sky

There were few things that annoyed Caroline more than tourists. Aspen, her current home base, was lousy with them this time of year. They polluted the restaurants, the bars, every single shop in town. She supposed it was good for the economy and she didn’t begrudge her neighbors the profits but that didn’t stop her from being irritated by it. Even worse was that they were all over her mountain. Humans were everywhere, from sunrise to sunset – with a few stragglers who liked skiing in the dark - severely limiting her opportunities to change and stretch her wings.

She was constantly restless, unable to focus, her skin itchy and tight. Even now, curled up in her favorite chair by a fire with a truly excellent smutty novel, she’s cranky. The recent dip in temperature and increase in frigid winds only shortened her already fraying temper.

Seriously, the next drunk frat boy who tossed her a terrible line and expected his stunning wit to earn him a VIP pass into her pants might just get eaten.

Caroline took comfort in the fact that the busy season was almost over. She’d have a couple months to breathe before the summer rush began. That one was always more tolerable because at least she wasn’t cold in addition to being crowded.

She tosses her book aside in frustration, having realized that she’s been reading the same page over and over again. She’d just been getting to the good stuff and it deserves her full attention. A quick glance out the window shows the sun just beginning to set, faint wisps or pink and orange streaking the sky. She usually makes herself wait until it’s fully dark before setting out but maybe, just this one time, it won’t hurt to go a little early. It was a record low for February, surely most of the tourists had called it an early day, were tucked into lodges and cabins with hot chocolate or wine.

She’ll just drive slowly, Caroline decides, standing up and stretching out her stiff limbs. By the time she gets to her spot it’ll be fine. Deserted and private, just her and the night sky.

Later, Caroline will wonder if the decision to break her routine was among the best, or one of the worst, she’s made in her very long life.

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“Muddy Waters”

The lovely @squeakowl offered to let her first smutty one-shot be featured on this blog so here it is! It’s also on Ao3 if you’d prefer to read it there and to get give this lovely writer some kudos

“Hey Cat!” Maggie’s drawl broke the silence, and Catherine Baker dropped the feather she had been trying for the last ten minutes to affix to the shaft of one of her arrows. The feather was warped, and she didn’t have enough glue, so she very much needed to make the repair work. But some other time, because it was starting to irritate her, and her work always got sloppy if she got frustrated. She couldn’t afford sloppy when her arrows were all that stood between her and starvation. Or being walker chow.

With a sigh she picked it up off her lap and set it aside for the moment. “What, Maggie?” Cat tried to keep her annoyance out of her voice.

“T-Dog found a little lake in the woods, and it looks like it’s thawed. Cold as hell, but safe. We’re all gonna go in pairs so we can get clean. You coming?” Cat was immediately on her feet. It had been a long, uncommonly cold winter, which, despite the fortuitous fact that cold seemed to slow walkers down, had resulted in most of the group being reluctant to strip down and partake in any sort of bathing. Consequently, they all smelled almost as bad as the walkers. You got used to it, though.

“Definitely, I’ll put all this away and meet you by the cars?” Maggie nodded and disappeared out the tent flap. Shortly after, Cat wandered out of the woods and into the clearing with the cars, with her quiver, bow, and knapsack stuffed with relatively clean clothing, some towels, and a bar of soap. Her dark curls where clipped back, framing her pale face.

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I Thought You Were Different: Book 5 (Part 23/?) (Steve Rogers x reader)

Part 22

It wouldn’t take long for the team to reassemble at the compound, coming in from all directions around the globe, and they had all come to the same exact conclusion on their own; the war had begun, and they were to be its epicenter.  There had been no word from Loki about Thor’s whereabouts, and the worst was assumed; he had been lost as a casualty, just as Vision had.  That was the only way that any of you could move forward, to mourn the loss and go on, because there was no time for that now. There had been no communication from the Guardians either, and you treated it exactly the same.  They were lost, so the team moved on from it.  It felt cold, heartless, and wrong, but it was self-preservation at its worst.

As Peter and Bucky arrived home first, they met an eerie reception at complete calm and silence rather than the feared battle that they expected after receiving Steve’s warning; they hurriedly searched every corner of the compound only to find that there was no one home, but no appearance of foul play either.

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ma-sulevin  asked:

‘you caught me masturbating’ sex for Ellana and Krem? Pleeeeeease?

To call it a rough day would be an incredible understatement.
To start with, Krem had been torn from his bedroll in the early hours of the morning to chase a bear away from the campsite. The road through Crestwood was soggy and muddy and sprinkled with rolling hills that had his calves burning before the sun was even properly visible above the scraggly tree line. The undead were yet again rising, quickly becoming Krem’s least favorite opponents, if only for the smell of them and the way they made Ellana tremble and curl in on herself. Their party had made very little ground between rest stops for their weary legs and the constant eruption of undead hordes coupled with foolhardy bandits, and by the time camp had been set for the night, the young man was a bundle of frustrated nerves, wholly on edge and ready to snap at the smallest irritation.
He retired early, kicking Skinner bodily out of their tent and into Dalish’s, and flopped face down into his bedroll with a world-weary sigh. He tried to force himself to sleep in every way he knew of. He counted halla, counted up to 100 and back down again, he tossed and turned and groaned and moaned until he was ready to put his hair out. Finally, he rolled into his back, glaring at the canvas above him. He knew what had to be done; as much as his mind protested, his body would not be quieted.
He dug into his pack and pulled out the special implement he’d picked up last time they’d visited Val Royeaux. It was one of the few luxuries he indulged himself in: a curved phallus carved in excruciating detail out of smooth, polished wood, ending on one side in an bulbous, egg-shape. This end he pressed into himself with the help of a healthy amount of saliva, stroking the exposed phallus with a firm hand that pulled and pushed at the bit inside him.
His head lolled on his shoulders, thighs spreading as the motion stretched and stimulated his walls. As had become the norm these past months, the image of a beautiful, petite woman with long, slender elven ears and fiery red hair rose in his mind, her violet eyes sparkling as she bit down on plump, rosy lips and linked slim fingers over his. A moan rattled in Krem’s throat, eyes squeezed shut, and he put more strength behind his strokes, driving the wooden toy further into himself. His mouth hung open and his chest heaved, toes and fingers curling in the fabric beneath him.
“Oh, yes…” he gasped, hips jerking upward to meet his hand. “Yes, Ellana…uuuhhnnn…” His paced picked up as he pictured that wet slosh between his legs as hers, dripping in long slick lines down his thighs as they trembled with the effort of thrust up into her, harder and harder still until she would come undone and screamed his name. “Maker, yes–Ellana!”
A final jerk had him over the edge, mouth gaping, his tongue practically lolling out, eyes rolled back into his head.
A rustle outside the tent had him scrambling, yanking his sheets over himself and sitting up with one hand stretched toward his belt dagger.
Of fucking COURSE, he berated himself inwardly as the tent flap parted and a mess of red curls poked through, wide elf eyes gleaming in the dark. He began praying for death. Just strike me down now, Maker, if there be anything like mercy in the world.
“What?” Ellana asked with a bleary grumble.
“What?” Repeated Krem shrilly.
“I was sleeping in Sera’s tent and she said you were calling for me,” she mumbled, tumbling further into the tent.
Bitch, Krem thought bitterly of Sera as he scooted backward, still clutching the blanket around himself. “N-no, she must’ve been mistaken…”
Ellana stayed facedown on the floor of the tent, apparently too tired to move. “But I heard you just now, too…” came her muffled protest.
Shit. Krem’s mind raced, trying to think of a suitable excuse that would also get the drowsy Inquisitor out of his tent as soon as possible.
“Krem,” she said, crawling to her knees. “I’m sleepy. Can I sleep here tonight?”
“Thanks.” She collapsed next to him, far too close, one arm flung out over his chest.
Double shit. With a inaudible, uncomfortable whine, he carefully, ever so carefully removed his toy, cringing at the quiet, wet sound it make slipping out, dripping with his slick, then quickly shoved it back into his bag, watching Ellana’s face the entire time to make sure those pretty eyes remained closed. A sigh of relief left his lungs and he lifted his hips slightly to pulls his smalls back up.
Ellana’s eyes snapped open. “What are you doing?” She asked, suddenly awake.
“You’re doing something.”
She pulled at the blanket and Krem abandoned his smalls to pull it back. “Your smalls are down! Kreeeemmm!!” Realization was dawning in her eyes and a beautiful rosy flush spread through her from the quivering tips of her ears down beneath the neckline of her nightdress.
His face was on fire, blood burning in his chest and his cheeks while a string of curses chased through his mind. He was doomed. Done for.
Then that sweet, blushing elf was sliding into his lap, arms snaking around his neck, her nose pressed to his as she gazed down at him with lust and love in her eyes. Krem felt himself being pushed down into the bedroll and his hands settled themselves at her hips of their own accord.
Her lips brushed his as she whispered, “You were thinking about me…”
before he had a chance to respond, she was pressed completely against him, their legs tangling and lips searching. Her tongue slipped into his mouth and he met her with a low groan, grinding his hips up against hers as he had been imagining only moments ago. Slim fingers found him wet and waiting, but with a skillful roll, he had their positions reversed, looming over her in the darkness while she giggled and squirmed beneath him.
“No, no, your worship…” he growled with a grin. “I’ve already had mine…it’s time you got yours…”

As Krem lowered himself to her, he might have sworn he heard faintly from the next tent over the smug whisper of “get iiiiiiit…..”

Endless Autumn - Lucien x sweetheart fic chapter 1/6

My interpretation of the story of Lucien and his doomed sweetheart. I hadn’t got my hands on ACOWAR when I started, so this story is not influenced by any new knowledge about Lucien, the Autumn Court, or his lost love. I even named all his unknown bastard brothers…

A massive huge thank you to @pretendthisiswitty / @rhysand-vs-tamlin for being my beta tester again; you’ve been vital to this story developing!


Find me on AO3

The first time I saw her, I was on a walk through the forest.

The low autumn sun shone brightly through the trees, shards of light piercing through the cool air and warming my skin.

As I walked amongst the weathered barks, the sound of my brothers laughing like fools in the formal gardens mercifully dying down, I stumbled upon her standing beside a reflecting pool. The water was a mirror in which she gazed upon herself, her long dark auburn hair swept over one shoulder, her simple but flattering deep purple dress swaying gently in the breeze.

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“There’s this heavily forested area surrounding my late aunts home that had a ton of activity. Everyone who’s been there, including daylight visitations will agree that there’s something wrong with that whole area.

I’ve had my fair share of experiences out there. Screaming and moaning coming from the forest, along with faint conversation, flashing lights, I’ve even seen some movement. In particular, I’ve seen this white solid object multiple times with my own eyes. At first, I wrote it off thinking it was someone walking around out there, or maybe perhaps it was a plastic grocery bag because let’s face it, everywhere you go on this planet is going to have human waste.

Well, my aunt had this camera set up several years back, and I still hold one of the videos that it managed to capture… I Just can’t explain it. Could it be a camera malfunction? Perhaps, but this is similar to what I use to see during my time out there. You’ll see something white appear a bit on the left side of the video, as if it’s a face peaking out from the foliage, and then it goes back in.

Now, that wasn’t the only video that was captured. I remember another video where you can see what looked to be a shadow walking through the forest. Unfortunately, this was the only video that I managed to still have on my HDD.”

By: LeLoyon (What paranormal experience made you question your skepticism?)

For those who can’t tell what they’re looking for in the gif, I’ve added a red circle of paranormal mystery:

What do you think? To me, it kind of looks like a face. 

My Baby

Request -  can you do an imagine where Dean x Reader go on a road trip for a hunt but Dean notices what the reader is wearing and finds it hard to control himself where it all ends in smut? (:

Warnings - Smut, swearing

Hope you like Anon x

“You sure you don’t want to change?” You looked down at yourself frowning. 

You were wearing a close fitting tank top, a short denim skirt and black heeled sandals. Ok it wasn’t appropriate if you were off hunting, but you were driving to a library to find a book for Sam.

“No I think I’ll be ok, I mean it’s only a research trip right?” You look over at Sam who nodded in agreement as he looked up from the mountain of books before him.

You didn’t notice Dean’s eyes trail over your body as you turned away from him. His tongue darted out to wet his lips as he swallowed the lump that formed in his throat.  

“I mean its like a hundred degrees out there and if I’m going to be stuck in a car all night, I’m sure as hell going to comfortable” You add turning back to Dean.

You bid goodbye to Sam as you and Dean exit the bunker. You walk to the passenger side door, you see Dean looking over at you as you open it. You flash him a smile as you get in.

You smirk to yourself as you sit in the car. You’d had a crush on Dean for a while now. You knew he’d confided in his brother about his feelings for you, as you’d overheard the conversation on your way to the kitchen late one night, he’d been drinking and blurted it out. 

You spoken to Sam about it the next day, as he had seen you by the door. He explained that Dean had it in his head that hunters don’t have relationships. 

It was actually Sam’s suggestion that you go with Dean to the library, and that you wear the skirt you bought to use when you were bait for vamps a few months back. He said he knew his brother really liked you and he needed….persuading. 

You laugh at the memory,  you couldn’t believe that Sam had basically told you to seduce his brother. 

After taking a minute to calm himself,  Dean joins you in the car, looking over at you as he does. His eyes falling over your breasts and down to your long bare legs. He shook his head slightly to clear it before starting up the engine.

You bite your lip to keep from laughing. His knuckles turning white as he grips the steering wheel. The drive was quiet for the first 30 minutes, he was trying to focus on the road, but you saw his eyes flicker over to you every now and then. But not enough for your liking.

You had and idea, you shift your body so that your turned slightly away from him, so that you seem to be looking out of the window. Your cross your legs, so that your skirt rides up your thighs, giving him a clear view of the curve of your ass. Even with no light source other than the moon,  there was no way he was missing it.

You feel the car swerve and hear him swear under his breath. You smile at the window, you turn innocently

“You ok?” He nods, his jaw clenched. You reach out and touch his arm, his grip tightened further on the wheel

“You sure?” He looked at your eyes, before turning away without answering. 

You frown to yourself as you turn back to the window. Maybe this wasn’t going to work, maybe you and Sam had simply gotten things wrong,  maybe it was just drunken ramblings. 

You hear him sigh deeply, and you swear you hear him murmur “Fuck it” as he turns off onto a dirt road, trees all around. He drives into the tree line totally out of sight. You breathing quickens as you shift in your seat, turning your body towards him. What the hell? Where is he going?

Dean flicks the engine off, leaving you both in complete darkness except a thin beam of light from the moon above the tree line. 

“This is a really bad idea” he mumble to himself rubbing his hand down his face. 

“Dean?” You look over at him confused, shifting a little closer,  his eyes meet yours and you’re shocked at what you see. They are almost black. Even in the darkness you can see the hunger in his eyes.

He reaches out and cups your cheek, stroking it lightly with his thumb before reaching down and lightly pressing his lips to yours. 

You gasp in surprise, before your eyes flutter closed. Dean tilts your head back for a better angle as he deepens the kiss, his tongue slipping passed your lips to yours. You moan deeply causing his arms to fall to your waist pulling you closer to him, your body flush against him. 

You both part panting for air. His hand drops to your thigh, sliding it up the smooth skin, his fingers grip tightly as he hauls your leg over his so you’re straddling him. 

“Oh fuck” you murmur as you feel his hardness pressing against your core. He kisses you again, his hand massaging your ass. Your confidence swelling, you grind against him. You hear a growl leave his throat. 

“Shit, damn Y/n!” He pulls you hard against him again, making his head to fall back against the seat. “Teasing me with these outfits. Driving me fucking crazy!”

“Dean…” you whimper,  you hands falling to his hard chest. You feel his fingers drag along tour hip to the edge of your panties,  before dipping then in.

“Fuck sweetheart you’re so wet, so fucking hot” he groans in your ear, pulling it lightly in his teeth. 

He circles your clit making you squirm in his lap. He nibbled on your neck, leaving a trail of marks in his wake. Without warning he dove his finger into you, you scream throwing your head back as you come hard instantly. Dean held you close as you rode out your high, before you slamming you lips to his.

He climb fro his lap, undoing his jeans as you go before freeing him from his pants. 

His protests die on his lips as you stroked your hand along his hard length,  running you thumb over his glistening head. You licked the full length of his shaft, earning a moan from above you, you gaze upwards to see him watching you intently. 

You wink up at him before repeated the action, over and over until he was squirming in his seat. You finally show mercy by swirling your tongue around the tip before lowering your mouth over him. 

Dean hiss in pleasure, throwing his head back hitting the seat, you moan at the sight of him, the vibrations running through his hard cock. “Oh fuck" 

 Burying his hand in you hair his guides your mouth over him at the speed he liked. You start to take him deeper, hitting the back of your throat.

"Fuck Y/n! Do that again baby…” you repeat you actions. He’s suddenly pulling you away from him, slamming his mouth against you. 

You part to see a truly wicked look in his eyes. You narrow your eyes at him suspiciously, unsure of what he was thinking.  He opens the car door, grabbing your hand dragging you from the car with him. 

You expect him to open the back door,  it he doesn’t. Instead he takes your around to the front of the impala. Standing you dead centre of  the car,  before pushing your skirt up over your hips and lifting you to sit on the bonnet. 

Heat floods through you, you were never someone who though of public sex as a turn on. But the thought of sex with Dean on the hood of his car…outside, technically where anyone could find you, made you tingle all over.

In truth someone would have to go looking for you to see you both,  but it didn’t take away any of the excitement.

He kissed you tenderly, stepping between your legs. Hooking his fingers into the sides of your panties, you lift your hips so he can pull them off. He shoves them in his pocket before lowering the straps of your tank top, bunching it around your waist leaving your bra exposed. 

“You look so fucking sexy, I wanted to shove you against the wall in the library the second you walked in!” He kneads your breasts through your bra, kissing the valley between them as he pushes you backwards lying you down on the hood of his car.

He takes his hard cock in his hand, running it up and down your slit teasing you. He looks down at you,  giving you a chance to stop.

“Dean please” you beg, he wastes no time. 

He slams forward, entering you completely in one, you arch off the bonnet, all air rushing from your lungs. 

“Fuck, I knew you’d feel good baby. Like fucking heaven” he grunts as he shifts his hips slowly, pulling from you almost completely before, steadily entering your again. His slow pace was driving you crazy. You writhed beneath him begging him to move. 

“Dean baby please, I can’t take anymore…ple…oh Fuck!” He slammed hard into you stopping your plea as he increased his space. 

Your breasts jumping around in your bra as he pounded into you, hypnotising Dean.

“Fuck look at you, so sexy. Always wanted this Y/n” he pulls you to sit up, his hips never faltering as his lips slide over yours “fucking my baby, on my baby. Nothing better” your eyes widened at his words. 

“Mine, my Dean” you whisper against his lips as you pull his lip between you teeth. He pulls you into a searing kiss.

“Yours” he agreed as he picks up speed once more. All else other than Dean forgotten, your body rushes towards its release.   

“Dean, baby…close fuck!” You grip his shoulders tightly to keep yourself grounded. 

“Come for me baby, come on my cock Y/n” you fall apart at his words,  stars falling over your vision as you scream his name. He’s right behind you slamming hard into your twice as his own orgasm consumes him, your name on his lips as he comes.

You’d never heard anything more sexy, than Dean Winchester shouting your name as he came inside of you. 

You pant staring at each other, kissing sweetly as you both come back to earth. 

“Fuck..that was…fuck sweetheart that was amazing.  Never felt like that” you pride swells at his words, making you smile as you nod in agreement kissing him lightly

“So, your baby huh?” You smirk at him, he laughs

“Always. You’ve always been mine, you just didn’t know it yet” he smirked back making you raise an eyebrow. 

“But don’t worry I’ve always been yours too” he added with a wink

“Damn straight” you reply grabbing the front of his t-shirt,  pulling him forward “and don’t you forget it! I don’t share" 

"Good, cause I don’t want anyone other than you, I love you”

You smile brightly at him “I love you too”

celith-wraine  asked:

#15 for 'Noka and Lana

Prompt for ‘Noka and Lana - “So, I found this waterfall…” 

(I apologize for how long it’s taken, I’m just starting to get back to normal - sometimes - after the funeral. The good news is that this is a prelude to the response to another prompt, which is turning into a multi-chapter response…)

                                              “Unpredictable Charm”

Lana tightened her arms around ‘Noka’s waist, then grumbled into her ear. “‘Noka, I absolutely hate not being able to see. How far are we going?”

The Mirialan maneuvered the speeder bike through the trees as she cheerfully, and unhelpfully, yelled back over her shoulder. “Oh, a ways. Just relax and enjoy the ride!”

“I hope this is all worth it.” The wind almost whipped her words away before her lover heard them, but Lana resignedly relaxed her head against a strong, warm shoulder, resisting the urge once again to rip off the blindfold that she’d been coaxed into wearing. “And I hate surprises.”

The ex-smuggler felt more than heard those mumbled words and grinned in anticipation, waving to a couple of sentries as she accelerated the speeder bike, reveling in unrestrained speed. Too much of the past few days since the defeat of Arcann had been spent in endless meetings while people speculated pointlessly about Vaylin’s next move. As far as ‘Noka was concerned, they’d finished any fruitful planning in the first hour on the first day and by the end of that first day, she was noticeably fidgeting in every meeting, signalling quietly when she felt that each meeting had moved into pointlessness by flipping her lucky credit into the air and catching it. Repeatedly.

They’d only ignored that signal once. And on that occasion, after about ten minutes, she had startled everyone by abruptly pulling out a different credit, flipping it into the air, drawing her blaster and shooting it before it reached the top of its arc—a not-so-subtle reminder of just who she was. Then she stood and left the meeting without a word.

Since then, Theron and Lana had discretely rearranged things so the only planning meetings ‘Noka had were those to give her a summary of any conclusions or new ideas for expanding operations. There was enough to do to cope with the defections of Scorpio and Senya, and the influx of new resources from the Republic and Empire, after all, meant she was better used in greeting and evaluating the leaders of each new force that arrived. No one would have ever suggested that ‘Noka was their Outlander and Commander because of her tolerance for meetings, after all.

This had left her time to plot with Bowdaar who had then recruited the necessary talent for her first…project, and this brief escape was the first step in that project. They had a breathing space for the moment, and while she couldn’t escape Odessen right now, she’d be damned if she wouldn’t find a little time for actually living. Organizing a surprise had been easy. The hard part had been convincing Lana to walk away from her work for a few hours…well, that and the blindfold.

If ‘Noka was being honest—and she had a startling capacity for ruthless self-honesty at times—she was at war with herself again. While they had been in the heady and terrifying rush to face Arcann, she had managed to bury most of her fears about that future that they seemed determined to force on her. And in fact, as they had gone along, she had even accepted that she was really needed. Admittedly, Lana’s presence at her side had sweetened the terrifying prospects and anchored her.

But ‘Noka had always thrived on action, never at rest, always doing. Quicksilver, darting, unrestrained. Now, wallowing in endless, smothering inaction, all of her worst fears about being caged had resurfaced. She could hold a mask of the genial, happy-go-lucky spacer in place through almost anything, but none of them had any idea how far they had pushed her or what self-restraint it had taken to simply channel her frustrated energy into tossing that lucky credit. She was ten years old again, forced to sit in a chair and listen to tedious, unending lectures about her lack of discipline and her irresponsibility while the world, the galaxy beckoned. Trying unsuccessfully to stop the fidgeting that was as much a part of her as breathing. Bouts of enforced idleness that failed to repress that irrepressible energy that wanted to explode from her, even knowing that it would extend the lecture because “she wasn’t paying attention…”

Worse, she was drowning in administrative responsibilities, without freedom or even a genuine challenge. Lana thrived on bringing order, on planning for every eventuality, but ‘Noka? She was the unexpected. Her successes grew from unpredictability, split second reflexes, and the ability to make decisions on the fly, using gut instinct to spot traps and openings. Her restless native energy was building to the explosion point with no pressure vent.

Lana means well, and I’m more relieved than she’ll ever know that she and Theron and Koth are willing to take care of all that routine stuff that makes my skin itch and feel too tight. But I don’t, I can’t work the same way she does. Somehow I have to get them to realize that they’re going to have to let me play to my strengths, however unconventional they are. Lana organizes, Theron spins things for the right ears, but that’s what Zakuul already knows. Me? I’m everything they believed Valkie protected them from, and if they’d just turn me loose…

If it were anyone else, I’d just tell them what I was going to do. But I can’t just do that with Lana. I will find a way to convince her that doesn’t hurt her feelings. For now, though, I’ll settle for a few hours pretending I’m still just ‘Noka, the freighter captain with a reputation for knowing which customs agents are short of cash, which cantinas have the best brawls and drinks, and how to suck every drop of living out of life. At high speed.

She spotted the first of the ring of droid guards that Bowdaar had posted, and began to slow her speeder bike. Even the short trip had done a great deal to revive her - the speed, the challenge of maneuvering through the trees, the warmth of Lana against her back. Boy, did Bowie smirk when I asked him to set this up! Not like this is the first time… I’m just glad Blizz and his crew turned out to be able to keep a secret, though.

The daylight was just beginning to fade as she brought the bike to a commendably gentle stop in the clearing. Lana straightened with a sigh, then ‘Noka helped her off the bike, leading her to stand in just the right spot. By now, Lana was turning her head from side to side, clearly puzzled by the sound of falling water, then her nose twitched as scents began to register.

“‘Noka, where are we? And can I please take this blindfold off now?”

“Just a moment more.” ‘Noka quickly got herself into position.

When her lover finally said, “Now,” and Lana removed the blindfold, she found herself greeted with a breathtakingly beautiful panorama. She had known there was falling water just from the sounds, so half-expected the small waterfalls. But she hadn’t expected them to be so lovely, much less to be backlit by soft, colored lights and captured by a broad, clear pool with at least one luminous source of lighting underwater making the foam of the waterfalls dance. The pool was ringed with dense trees, each dimly lit with tiny lights that winked in and out in delicate pale greens and blues and purples.

When the blonde woman finally tore her eyes away from the enchanting venue, Lana discovered ‘Noka was standing next to a round table covered in pale green shimmersilk and supporting covered platters, two clear glasses already filled with a rich purple wine, and a graceful vase of pale purple, blue, and green glass filled with lovely white and purple flowers that she remembered from Yavin. Indeed, from from the scent she could just discern, she was almost certain they were the same ones she’d once bribed ‘Noka’s friend, Risha, to present to ‘Noka from her “when she needed something to make her smile.”

All of this was gently lit by a ring of delicate paper lanterns suspended from the tree above on lines so fine that the lanterns floated in midair. Behind ‘Noka, drawn up close enough to provide seating for the table, was a broad, inviting couch, covered with more of the pale green shimmersilk and piled with soft cushions. The ground was uncovered but gave the impression of having been…manicured.

She took all this in, too stunned by the surprise to be more than vaguely aware that ‘Noka was smirking at her reaction. When the human woman finally focused on her lover instead of the setting, ‘Noka took her hand to kiss it gracefully before producing another of the flowers from behind her back, gently tucking it into Lana’s hair and kissing her on the cheek. Lana found herself almost unable to move as the Mirialan moved back just a little, grinning a bit sheepishly. “So, I found this waterfall…”

“‘Noka, how, when…?” Lana was well aware that this surprise had been precisely intended to produce just this reaction. But when ‘Noka had coaxed her onto the speeder bike—and into a blindfold—she had expected one of her adrenaline-filled quick jaunts to, oh, go cliff-diving. Or dropping water balloons from the top of the Gravestone on Tora as she exited. Lana still had dreams that were part thrill and part nightmare from the first, and Tora had accused everyone on Koth’s crew of the second. ‘Noka hadn’t been a suspect because they’d worn stealth generators. “When the blazes did you find time to do this?”

“I didn’t, not exactly.” ‘Noka shrugged, still sheepishly embarrassed, but her grin was broader. “I mentioned to Bowdaar that I wanted to get you away for a few hours, and the next thing I know, he’s lined up Hylo, Vette, Blizz, and Blizz’s crew of Jawas. I told them what I wanted and what you liked, and they did the work. It, um, isn’t too much, is it?”

“No.” Lana laughed softly, her eyes wandering around the unmistakably romantic setting. “It’s a bit overwhelming, but quite…lovely.” When she looked at ‘Noka once more, the tall woman was smirking again as she produced a small gadget from somewhere and pushed a button. Soft, slow music in a style the ex-Imperial didn’t quite recognize began to play all around them, and the ex-smuggler managed a creditable bow that stopped just short of being comic, offering her hand to Lana with a suggestive waggle of her eyebrows.

“Then, love, may I have this dance?”

A poem about feeling self conscious and alone
You dont know self conscious till your walking down the side of a main road
The moon barely hanging above the tree line, street lights flickering on
You dont know a face driving past you but they may know yours
The faceless heads
turn to follow your body
Its obvious your young, not one of old drunks stumbling along around you
They dont blink twice at them
But you, they make up your life story
Homeless, addict, run away
You dont know vulnerability till
The headlights highlight it with yellow