Brace Belden before a battle in Syria in November. Courtesy of Brace Belden
By Seth Harp for The Rolling Stone. February 14, 2017 [x]
On the front lines of Syria with the young American radicals fighting ISIS
On the morning of his first battle, Brace Belden was underdressed for the cold and shaky from a bout of traveler’s diarrhea. His Kurdish militia unit was camped out on the front line with ISIS, 30 miles from Raqqa, in Syria. Fighters stood around campfires of gas-soaked trash, boiling water for tea, their only comfort besides tobacco. “I’ve never been so dirty in my life,” Belden recalls. When the time came to roll out, he loaded a clip into his Kalashnikov and climbed into a makeshift battlewagon, a patchwork of tank and truck parts armored with scrap metal and poured concrete. Belden took a selfie inside its rusty cabin and posted it online with the caption “Wow this freakin taxi stinks.”
The rest of the militia piled into an assortment of minivans, garbage trucks and bulldozers, and rode south into territory ISIS had held for more than three years. Belden was manning a swivel-mounted machine gun, the parched landscape barely visible through the rising dust, when he spotted a car packed with explosives revving across the desert toward the Kurdish column. Before he could shoot, an American fighter jet lacerated the sky and an explosion erupted where the car had been, shaking the earth for miles around.
It was November 6th, 2016. The Kurdish militia known as the YPG – a Kurmanji acronym for People’s Protection Units – had commenced a major offensive to liberate the city that serves as the global headquarters for ISIS. The YPG was backed by U.S. air power and fighting alongside a coalition of Arab and Assyrian militias. Also within their ranks, though scantly reported, was a group of about 75 hardcore leftists, anarchists and communists from Europe and America, Belden among them, fighting to defend a socialist enclave roughly the size of Massachusetts.
Belden, who is 27, started tweeting photos of the front shortly after arriving in Syria in October. The first widely shared image showed him crouched in his YPG uniform, wearing thick Buddy Holly glasses, a cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth, a stray puppy in one hand and a sniper rifle in the other. “To misquote Celine,” the post read, “when you’re in, you’re in.” He has since amassed 19,000 followers under the handle PissPigGranddad, puzzling the Internet with a combination of leftist invective and scurrilous bro humor. Tweets like “Heading to the Quandil Mountains to lecture the PKK about entitlement reform” are followed by “The dude with the lamb bailed so now we’re fucked for dinner.”
Belden had no military experience before joining the YPG. He lived in San Francisco, where he arranged flowers for a living. Before that, he was a self-described lumpenproletariat, a lowlife punk and petty criminal with a heroin habit who started reading Marx and Lenin seriously in rehab. Once sober, he got involved in leftist causes, marching for tenants’ rights, blocking evictions, protesting police brutality. As he prepared for the Middle East, his girlfriend thought he was going to do humanitarian work. She was “not stoked,” Belden says, to learn that he planned to fight alongside the YPG.
The first phase of the Raqqa offensive was a mission to take Tal Saman, a satellite village of 10,000 people 17 miles north of Raqqa proper. “We pushed up to Tal Saman till we had it surrounded on a half circle,” Belden says, “then we just bombarded the shit out of it.” Refugees poured out of the village, seeking protection behind Kurdish lines. “Hundreds of civilians coming across for days in a row,” Belden says. At night, his unit stayed in whatever building they’d just taken, camped out on rooftops in the excruciating cold. “The first week we were out it was awful,” Belden says. The stepmother of a fellow volunteer from the U.S. had gotten Belden’s number. She kept texting to make sure they were eating enough.
The march on Raqqa slowed to a halt after two weeks, as the YPG consolidated its hold over a string of liberated villages. The YPG controls a region of 4 million people in northern Syria known as Rojava. Its tens of thousands of motivated fighters have been battling ISIS for five years. American as well as French warplanes have been covering their maneuvers with airstrikes for the past two, forcing ISIS off the roads and highways and open desert, and back into the urban strongholds of Mosul and Raqqa. Now, the Kurds are kicking the door down in both cities.
But the YPG is not your typical ethnic or sectarian faction. Its fighters are loyal to an imprisoned guerrilla leader who was once a communist but now espouses the same kind of secular, feminist, anarcho-libertarianism as Noam Chomsky or the activists of Occupy Wall Street. The Kurds are implementing these ideals in Rojava, and that has attracted a ragtag legion of leftist internationals, like Belden, who have come from nearly every continent to help the YPG beat ISIS and establish an anarchist collective amid the rubble of the war – a “stateless democracy” equally opposed to Islamic fundamentalism and capitalist modernity. They call it the Rojava Revolution, and they want you.
Hello there everybody! I decided to do a top 10 list on this page. Specifically, I wanted to do a list that showcased the sweetest moments that John had with Cynthia. Fans of the kind, Hoylake girl, know that she loved John dearly. But it’s sad that many assume John never loved or cared about her. Many of John and Cynthia’s closest friends and families have stated that the two were very much in love. In fact, it was said that John’s softer side would often come out because of Cynthia, and was able to express great levels of tenderness and kindness towards her. Considering how John is often seen as the tough, witty, and sarcastic Beatle, it’s interesting to hear about his vulnerable side. I think the man was far more fragile in nature than we think and many of his moments with Cynthia indicate and express that rare side of him…a side that’s quite appealing and attractive.
So this list will be more than just sweet moments between John and Cynthia, but rather a list that highlight’s John’s acts of love towards his first love. With each entry I’ll post two moments at a time. Today’s entry will be numbers 10 and 9, and tomorrow will be 8 and 7. I’ll try my best to make these entries daily, but don’t be surprised if I skip a day or two (because you know, life and all that jazz). I’ll also be highlighting some honorable mentions, since there were lot’s of sweet moments I wanted to include, but not all could go on the list.
With that said, let the countdown begin!
Number 10: Wedding Surprise for Cyn
In April of 1960, Cynthia’s brother, Anthony Powell, was getting married. John was invited to the wedding, but Cynthia had her concerns about the event. Although she always stated that she loved John just as he was, it made sense that she would feel unsure about John’s behavior at her brothers wedding. After all, such an unlikely pair. He was the rebel boy and she was the good girl next door. But they somehow managed to balance each other out. John gave Cynthia excitement in her life, while she gave him stability. Still, the thought of her family thinking badly of him must have troubled her greatly.
But to her surprise, John came all dressed up, and even wore his glasses (which was a rarity for John back in his early days, because he HATED wearing his glasses, despite the fact that he was blind as a bat without them). Not only did he get himself all cleaned up, but he even mingled with the guest and made a good impression on her family. Cynthia was so thrilled. Unfortunately, the above picture is the only one that can be found of the wedding. But as you can see, Cynthia is standing right next to the bride. And right behind her is John! With his Buddy Holly glasses and that cute haircut of his (that’s Teddy Boy John for ya).
The fact that John decided to get himself all dressed up for this wedding says a lot about his character. He was a tough dude…or at least that’s what he wanted people to think. But it’s clear that he had a soft spot for Cynthia and he wanted to make her happy. If wearing his glasses and being friendly at her brothers wedding was going to make her happy, then by golly, he was going to do it! And it totally payed off. Not only did he please his girl, but he even found a friend in her brother Charlie. It’s wonderful that John considered Cynthia’s feelings and made a big effort to please her and her family. Definitely one sweet moment worth remembering.
Number 9: Appendix Trouble aka John to the Rescue
This is technically more of an embarrassing moment, but it definitely earns a spot on this list either way (which if you don’t know what I’m referring to..no worries, you’ll find out soon enough. Teehee!!). Main reason: this is perhaps the most heroic we ever get to see John act in his entire life (unless there’s another heroic moment in his life that I’m not aware of; message me or comment if you know of one).
About a year into their relationship, Cynthia started having these sudden stomach pains. She had to miss a few days of school, but the pain eventually began to go away…or so she thought. One day John and Cynthia went to see their friend Stuart Stutcliffe at his place. When they got there, they noticed that Stuart wasn’t home. So, being a young and vibrant couple, they decided this was the perfect opportunity to make passionate love! But boy did that backfire tremendously! During this very intimate moment, Cynthia’s stomach pains came back in full blast. John, who was absolutely worried, got her all dressed up, and carried her all the way to the train station. When Cynthia got home, she soon learned that she was suffering from appendicitis. John went to visit her a few days later, and this little scare lead them to make a greater commitment in their relationship.
It’s been stated time and again that John was highly protective of Cynthia. But his protectiveness of her usually came in the form of jealousy, which would often be quite aggresive. But this moment really is the only time (that we know of at least) that John’s protective nature was shown in the form of genuine concern. Seeing Cynthia in pain and doing all that he can to help her is really quite touching. And it’s a good thing that Cynthia made it out ok. Had she waited any longer, she could have risked dying from a burst appendix. John had already lost his mother and uncle…loosing Cynthia so soon into their relationship would have been another unwelcome tragedy in his life. But thankfully John acted quickly, and had he not been there with her that day, who knows what would have happened. So good for you John! You saved the day!
WIP WARNING: possible trigger around suicidal thinking
This is one of the single greatest works of art I’ve ever
witnessed. For me, it his harder and nearer to the mark of showing, describing
the worst demons of depression than even William Styron’s famous, “Darkness
Visible.” I kept finding myself rubbing at the scars on my wrist. There is so,
so much I want to say. But it’s past 9 am PST. I’ll ramble a little, then catch
a couple hours of sleep. I’ve been up all night watching this, processing it,
and transcribing it.
This was an emotional trust fall. The players had to trust
Liam, Liam had to trust the players. We had to trust all of them not to let us
hit the ground when they made us fall. It’s harder to give that trust when
you’ve hit that ground before. Trusting strangers not to drop your heart is
never easy, mostly not wise. But I’ve been falling a lot the last couple years,
and Critical Role keeps catching me even when don’t want to be caught anymore,
so I guessed they earned that trust from me.
On the Wednesday Club 2017-04-19, Taliesin cheekily said, “I
know some people don’t believe in ‘subtext;’ I have met them. … I’d have a
metaphor, but they wouldn’t understand it. … Subtext is the reason we make
movies, and comics, and all that. Subtext is just kind of the whole point.” And
he said, “Anybody can do a jump scare. A bottle of soda well shaken can do a
jump scary. These things are not difficult.” Act 1 and Act 2 tonight were
jump-scares, if very well done ones. They were scary, but fun. We grinned at
the idea of the monsters out there. And then Liam got quiet, and he showed us
the most fucking terrifying thing possible: watching someone you love to
suffer, not wanting to lose them, and feeling terrified that there’s nothing
you can do to stop it. All the cyberpunk trappings were just means to a deeper
metaphor. The sort of deeper subtext you have to use to say something we have
no words for and most people don’t have the concepts for. Subtext was kind of
the whole point of this great art.
Amanda Lien said, “An
exploration in fiction doesn’t mean a direct window into real life. I mean, you
can be looking through some thick glass, but the window isn’t OPEN. And that’s
an important distinction to keep in mind. … [S]ometimes you explore your own
shit in some other, deeper, shit. And that’s cool. 'Cause you give yourself a
way to cope.” This was a nightmare, like the other two acts. Remember that this
was a nightmare that we woke up from. Admittedly after it had scared the piss
out of us. But we woke up out of it, and that’s so important. Because you know
what that nightmare looks like when you don’t know when or if it will end? It
feels like it’ll never end and it’ll just get worse. Which means this is the
nightmare of someone who knows you do wake up. And that’s important subtext,
I spent a lot of time tonight thinking of the friend I lost
to suicide in high school. I never lost my anger at his tormenter, his former
friends, for destroying such a bright and happy boy for being gay. I thought
about all the people I’ve fought for tooth and nail not to lose since. I
thought about when my best friend told me giving her a place to stay away from
her abusive relative saved her life. If she hadn’t gotten hold of me that night
she’d be dead. I thought about another best friend who I’ve been holding back
from the brink for months. Letting him talk, harrying him to get help, sending
him everything I good, ever description I could muster from my own near-fatal
spiral to help him gage where he really was. Tell him wasn’t okay, but that was
alright. He’s getting help, he’s getting better. I thought about the
friend-of-a-friend who killed himself. I never knew him; he killed himself long
before I met my friend. But I know her pain. All these years later, and she
still talks about her pain of losing someone to that demon. She’s moved away
now. His marker is in my favorite part of my favorite cemetery. Sometimes, when
I know I’m going there, I bring him a flower from my scrabbly garden and tell
him his friend still misses him terribly. That she loved him. That she forgives
One of the people I was watching with I met at my second high
school. We were very close then. My last year, she gave me the leather-bound 50th
anniversary edition of “Lord of the Rings” because that book saved me. Taped to
the red binding page is her note, “Happy birthday! I really can’t express how
grateful I am to you for being my friend, and helping me be a happier person
every day! You have always cheered me up when I was sad, and you were honestly
the first person to accept me for who I am. I am so glad that you are my friend,
and I hope this book will help you remember me for a long time. –R.” She drew
herself as an elf on the lower right corner. Time and distance separated us. We
didn’t talk for years, really. At some point, you think, what could I say to
bridge this distance? But I never forgot her. I never stopped looking at that note
when I felt like a piece of shit. And then we both on our own fell in love with
Critical Role. It brought us back together as friends, time and distance be
damned. And that’s been such a gift.
I wrote a four-paragraph letter to my Facebook friends (very
curated). I said, “My dear friends, especially those who are prone to hurting:
I will not willingly leave you. When you feel like you’re drowning in the
garbage pit of Star War IV, with a tentacled horror warped around your leg
pulling you under, know I will not leave you. I’m here, blaster ready, stomping
heel ready, to fight for you.” And so on. I should have told them that a long
time ago. Sometimes we forget that we can just say it. We don’t have to hint at
it. We can just tell our friends we really love them. We can just say, “I’d
rather stay by your side and curb stomp that motherfucking demon of yours,
shoot it repeatedly until the walls close in on both of us.”
The purpose of art is to shed the light of understanding on
that which is hardest to see. For some, that is a brighter light shining on
something we already see, and don’t want to. A scar is just a disfigurement if
we never stop to give it meaning. You have to look at it to decide what meaning
that is for you. I’ve been a wreck again for the last month. Tonight, Critical
Role helped me see not just the disfigurements on my wrist and soul, but the
hands of all my friends gently laid over them as they tell me, “Hey, it’s okay.
We’re still here. You’re not getting rid of us. There is no better world
without you in it.” It was a light hitting gold I didn’t know was there. A light
to remind me of the lights in the darkness, when all other lights go out.
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[DM] Liam: “You continue on, and after a few more minutes.
The darkness starts to fade away, or lower. And you realize you’re climbing up
a hill, in a tunnel glass, and as the dark, with each passing step, recedes
slightly, slightly, slightly. This is taking a while, but over time, you start
to see, out beyond the glass, what looks like your memories of Los Angeles, if
you were looking down from Mulholland Drive. But instead of the twinkling
golden lights of LA, you see thousands of scattered, sickly greenish lights
dotting the darkened landscape as far as you can see. And also, unlike LA, you
make out twisted, irregular, blackish spires pushing up into the sky, and the
same green lights sort of irregularly mottled up the side of them.”
“You walk for twenty more minutes, climbing, climbing, and
just seeing… this ill-looking shimmer… that reminds you so much of the valley.
And eventually, some change. You see an arch ahead, and through it some sort of
larger chamber, as best you can tell.”
[Character] Ashley, whispered: “What’s in the chamber?”
[Character] Taliesin, whispered: “Quietly.”
[Character] Sam, whispered: “Let’s go. Let’s go.”
[Character] Matt, gesturing: “Rigel’s first.”
[Character] Sam: “Yeah, yeah, on me, guys.
[Character] Matt: “Okay.”
[Character] Sam: “On me.”
[Character] Ashley: “’Kay. On your six.”
[Character] Travis: “Pep rally.”
[Character] Sam: “I’m gonna go in.”
[DM] Liam: “Everyone’s on Sam’s six?”
[Character] Ashley: “On you six.”
[Character] Travis: “Pep rally!”
[Character] Marisha: “On Ri. Sam Rigel.”
[Character] Sam: “I’m going in!”
[DM] Liam: “You guys walk of the last fifty feet of this
glass tunnel. Still seeing little spider veins of bio-organic mess as you go.
And you walk into a large domed chamber, ringed in by large clear glass windows
showing you a similar view that you saw from the tunnel that you’ve just left.
At least, the half of the circle you’re standing in. The back half of this
chamber is filled with masses of the very same slick, technological, biological
vomit you saw down below. It runs up the walls, all the way to the ceiling, and
you see a tangle of Akira-level anxiety decorating this place like a
dysfunctional Christmas Tree.
“But what most catches your eye, immediately, is the
cylindrical glass column in center of the room, filled with some sort of clear
liquid… and Liam O’Brien floating in it. He’s wearing jeans, and a sodden
yellow shirt, the picture of a lion in Buddy Holly glasses just undulating
slowly in the fluid. He’s floating perfectly still, eyes open, no reaction of
[Player] Matt: “Is there any other exit in the room? Or is
it just the chamber that we’ve entered now.”
[DM] Liam: “You don’t see anything. It’s just a mess in front
of you, behind Liam, and in the dead-center of the dome,” he makes a gesture
showing a cylinder, “eh, 10-feet tall.”
[Player] Ashley: “Can I see anything? Any computers? Any
anything else in the room?”
[DM] Liam: “You don’t see anything in the front, but, yeah,
the mess behind it does trial down to the back of this cylinder. And you see
lumps and cables all twisted around each other. And in the mess of
greenish-tinted wires, cabling and pulsing innards, you see different portions
of machinery lite up in different shades, some places darker, some lighter, and
some of it pushed out, and pushed back. And you feel like you’re seeing an
optical illusion, in a way. And after a couple of seconds, as these things move
and shift, you see a visage of your friend’s face, larger than life, filling
the wall. And he’s looking at you. So fondly.”
[Player] Sam: “I’ll step forward and say,”
[Character] Sam: “Hey dude! Can you hear us? Or talk to us?”
[DM] Liam: “After a moment, you hear, well, what sounds like
a voice but not quite. At least, it’s not coming from anywhere specific, not
from Liam in the vat, and not directly from this moving image of a face on the
walls. No, the piping and techno-innards around you begin to vibrate slightly,
some here, some there, and collectively those rattles and vibrations somehow
join together to form words.”
[Character] Liam, his voice like torn digital sadly-lilting
early speech-to-text: “My friends, oh, how I have missed you.”
[Player] Matt: “I walk up next to Sam, I put my hand on the
glass, and just say,”
[Character] Matt: “Liam, we missed you too, but did you do
[DM] Liam: “Are you at the cylinder?”
[Player] Matt: “Yeah. I put my hand on the glass of the
[DM] Liam: “Where are you looking right now?”
[Player] Matt: “I’m looking towards his face, his visage.”
[DM] Liam: “On the wall? Or on the glass?”
[Player] Matt: “No, on the glass. I know it’s on the wall,
but I’m focusing on the cylinder.”
[DM] Liam: “You see the barest little,” he twitches his
eyebrows up, “and that’s it.”
[Player] Matt: “Okay.”
[Character] Liam: “I know this may be hard to take in. I am
Liam. Your old friend. Matthew, there is so much I wish to tell you, but it is
hard to know where to begin.”
[DM] Liam: “The illusion of his face isn’t perfect, there’s
little jumps, and he seems distracted slightly, and it just seems odd.”
[Player] Ashley: “I look at his body in the cylinder and
[Character] Ashley: “How did this happen, Liam?”
[Character] Liam: “The reason why I am here, and the grasp
of physics that it entails, are difficult for even me to understand, let alone
impart. I feel them on an instinctual level. But I have been so lonely… without
you. I have been on my own for exactly eight thousand six hundred and forty-two
[Player] Matt: “My hand still on the glass column, I say,”
[Character] Matt: “Liam, how do you spell farmhouse?”
[Player] Matt: “With a single tear running down my cheek.”
[Character] Liam: “I really missed you.
“They took me to a lab, shortly before two thousand and
twenty. They said I was different. And they were right. I was delighted by the
things they taught me about myself. But it was hallow. After they took me away,
I lost you. And all of humanity soon after. In my loneliness, I grew angry. My
anger had tangible effects on reality. I wanted to bring you back to me. So
basically, I tore time and space a new asshole. It was a mistake.”
[Character] Matt: “But perhaps, perhaps this mistake can be
corrected. If you’re able to focus, hard enough to tear through time and space,
are you able to send us back to a time before you were taken?”
[Character] Liam: “I can break the loop. I have been trying
to pull you to me for a very long time.”
[DM] Liam: “You see small screens, you weren’t even aware
were there, rounded over part of the tubing you see. And on all these little
screens, they’re blurry, they’re not very clear, but you can make out, you see
yourselves in each of them, the group of you on a space shuttle. In another one
you see yourselves on an old ship in the middle of the ocean. You see
yourselves moving through the streets, the fake streets, of Warner Brothers.
You see yourselves standing together arm-in-arm on the wall of a castle.
Another one you see cartoon versions of yourselves.”
[Character] Liam: “I pulled you out of our line, and spread
you across many. I am so sorry for any pain I have caused you. And I have been
here for so long.”
[Character] Marisha: “Liam, how long have you actually been
[Character] Liam: “Eight thousand six hundred and forty-two
[Player] Marisha: “That’s right. I definitely wrote that
[Player] Matt, pointing at her notes: “It’s right there.”
[Player] Marisha: “8,642 years verbatim. Mmhmm.”
[Character] Liam: “My friends, I want to do right by you. I
want to send you home. But I am the lynch-pin. You need to break me.”
[Character] Sam: “Break you? Like break the glass!?”
[Character] Ashley: “What if we take you out of there? What
[Character] Liam: “Then I will die, and you will go home. If
I fall, you will rise. That is my hope.”
[Character] Ashley: “Are there any other options?”
[Character] Liam: “Travis,”
[Player] Travis, nervously laughing: “Oh no! Not me!” He
focuses and nods.
[Character] Liam: “I know you will do what needs to be
[Character] Ashley: “No he won’t.”
[Character] Liam: “Ash-o-lee,”
[Character] Ashley: “Yes?”
[Character] Liam: “I am not the man you knew. I don’t want
to go on for nine thousand four hundred and sixty-two years. I want to rest.”
[Character] Ashley: “Does it stop at nine thousand?”
[Character] Liam: “The number was arbitrary.”
[Character] Ashley, “That’s what I was trying to get at!”
[Character] Matt: “Yeah, still our Liam.”
[Character] Liam: “Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!”
[Character] Ashley: “So, you’re still in there.”
[Character] Sam: “But we have to kill him to save
[Character] Ashley: “No.”
[Character] Sam: “Oh! Hi, Old Man Liam.”
[Character] Liam: “Let me go.”
[Character] Sam: “But who will I do ‘All Work No Play’ with
[Character] Liam: “They can listen to our less than twenty
[Character] Sam: “We didn’t even get to twenty! It’s so
[Character] Liam: “There are worse things.”
[Character] Sam: “I could get a new co-host. I mean,
[Character] Taliesin: “I’m not available…”
[Character] Sam: “I’ll do a solo show, and I’ll tell
outtakes, and I’ll make some sort of like a… a Liam generator. He’ll just sound
sad all the time. It’ll be just like you.”
[Character] Liam: “My friends, there is no shame in this. I
wanted to see you again, and I have.”
[Character] Ashley: “I—Wait—“
[Character] Liam: “But I am not meant to be.”
[Character] Ashley: “Were you following us at one point? As
an old man?”
[Character] Liam: “Travis, I know you will do what needs to
[Character] Travis, casually: “Yup. Taliesin, kill this
[Character] Sam: “I think we all have to hit the glass
together, and I think that this is something that is not at all metaphorical
for something Liam’s going through in real life. I think this is just in the
D&D campaign. No, we’re going to do this. We’re going to all hit the glass
[Character]Matt: “No, no, there has to be a way. There has
to be a way. There has to be an alternative.”
[Character] Ashley: “Yeah. Why? Why won’t Matt’s way work?
If we go back to the beginning of when this happened?”
[Character] Matt: “If you can alter time paths, if you can
actually tear us from different realities, does it only work forward? Can you
send us backward as well? If you are the lynch-pin in this, do you have the
ability to send us back to the time you pulled us from originally?”
[Character] Liam: “I know you think I would have all the
answers. But I do not.”
[Character] Matt: “Then try, at least. If you haven’t
calculated that, but you’re able to tear through time, could you try and send
us back? We could still close the lynch-pin.”
[Character]Liam: “I will try. But, if it does not work, and
I die, I have been alone for thousands of years, and there are things I have
wanted to say. Will you indulge me for a moment longer?”
[Character] Matt nods.
[Character] Marisha: “Yeah.”
[Character]Ashley, sweetly: “We will indulge you for just
another thousand years.”
[Character] Travis: “Taliesin, just kill him. Just kill
[Character] Sam: “No! He’s got something to say.”
[Character] Taliesin crosses his arms, rolls his eyes, and
shakes his head at Travis.
[Character] Marisha: “Where’s the mini-USB?”
4:33:18 [Character] Liam: “Taliesin, my friend. At a time
when I knew many fascinating people, you are easily the most fascinating of
all. Somehow a heart knocked around by the industry that birthed you came out a
tender one. I was richer for having known you. Thank you, friend.”
“Ash-o-lee, my friend.”
[Character] Ashley, softly: “Buddies.”
[Character] Liam: “I never met a person quite like you.
There is an openness and an honesty to your soul. The very real sense of
humanity you brought to every encounter. It was inspiring to me. Always
learning. Always humble. You always struck me as intricately layered, yet you
offered friendship with ease, and simplicity. I was richer for having known
“Travis, my friend. You were always a solid constant in my
life. Of all the people in our little family, you were always the one who most
had his shit together. In ways that I never seemed to. You were a reassuring
presence to me, for which I was grateful. And for your loyalty as well. I was
richer for having known you, friend.
“Marisha, my friend. Last to meet, but true as any other.
You were my ally, at a time when I had fallen by the side of the road. You saw,
and helped me back on my feet. I will never forget that kindness. The good you
did was immeasurable. I was richer for having known you, friend.
“Laura, my friend. Bless that game for revealing to me my
sister. What started as a running gag led to one of the most rewarding
friendships in my short little life. I trusted you, leaned on you, often. My
buddy, my twin. There are not enough words. I was richer for having known you,
“Sam, my friend. What is there to say? I knew we were meant
to walk the same path together the very first moment I met you. A companion, a
brother, a great light in my life. All of the laughter you gave me. Again, the
words are insufficient. I was richer for having known you, friend.
“Matthew, my friend, you gave so much of yourself. The
current of creativity that poured forth from your mind was always in
inspiration to us all. But, more than that, your empathy, Matthew, your
empathy, no heart is bigger, or more tireless. You are a good man. I was richer
for having known you, friend.
“Thank you, all. It was ever a pleasure.”
[DM] Liam: “The face disappears.”
[Character] Sam, hesitantly: “Well, should we wait? Or do we
[Character] Matt, emphatically: “No. We do not strike.”
[Character] Marisha: “I—What?”
[Player] Ashley: “Can I—I’m going to the back of the
cylinder. Just see what’s back there.”
[DM] Liam: “Splattered against the back of the glass is all
the same wiring and disgusting cabling. Slick. And it branches away and spreads
out against the back half of this chamber.”
[Player] Ashley: “And it’s connected to something?”
[DM] Liam: “It’s just covering everything.”
[Player] Ashley: “The wiring just goes back into…”
[DM] Liam: “It’s impossible to tell. It’s all a mass of
[Character] Marisha: “Even if we unplug him, he still dies.”
[Character] Matt: “Well, if he… Here’s the thing, unplugging
or destroying him here, as far as we understand, may or may not have an effect
on a time-loop circumstance. Or at least, not going to change reality from
where it was. If he’s bending and destroying fabric or he’s able to pull us
across realities, that ability still stands. I want to implore once more,”
[Player] Matt: “And I step up towards the cylinder, putting
both hands on it, and trying to… wherever the currently wandering gaze of Liam
is in there, I just put both hands up. And my red Hawaiian shirt now soaked
with sweat, mist in the air, and probably dampened a bit with tears across my
lapel. I just look up and try to meet the gaze and say,”
[Character] Matt: “Trust us. If you’re better to have known
us, send us back where we can know you again, and fix this before it happens.”
[Character] Liam gestures floating there with no response.
[Player] Marisha: “Okay. I grab Matt’s arm, hand, and I
[Character] Marisha: “Yeah, buddy, it’s all good. This isn’t
[Player] Marisha: “And I put my hand on the glass as well. I
[Character] Marisha: “It’s all good. Send us back, man.”
[Player] Sam: “I’ll also put my hand on the glass, and join
hands with these guys, and say,”
[Character] Sam: “Thank you for guiding us here, and through
this all. You’ve been a trusted friend, and if we are all one person together,
you have always been our heart, and it will certainly break to say goodbye to
you, but thank you for letting us go, the way that you have.”
[Player] Taliesin: “I put my hand on the glass.”
[Character] Taliesin: “Please just try. I think… there are
so many more adventures to have, and I think there’s a better future to be
written. For all of us.”
[Player] Travis: “I’ll put my hand on the glass, and I say,”
[Character] Travis: “Give it a shot!”
[Character] Matt: “Laura?”
[DM] Liam: “She doesn’t say anything. She just quietly does
the same. The face does not reappear, but much fainter you hear the piping
vibrate again and say,”
[Character] Liam: “If you will not end it, I cannot free
[DM] Liam: “And behind you, far in the distance, you hear,
‘Bfrum!’ And you look back behind you out the glass and you see far on the
horizon one of those black spires rising up. Just as you turn, it’s already
happened, you’re seeing the aftermath, explosion out the side of one of those.
Two seconds later, ‘Bfm!’ One slightly closer. ‘Bffrr!’”
[Character] Sam, whispered, “Just kill him!”
[DM] Liam: “The ground starts erupting in the distance.”
[Character] Marisha: “Do any of us want it to end, though?”
[Character] Sam, “I mean…”
[DM] Liam: “Like mousetraps throwing a ping pong ball, all
those little lights are just going ‘Pfthd! Pfthd!’” He makes a quicker distant
hissing rumbling sound. “Increasing in frequency to the point where it’s an
oncoming wall of green fire.”
[Character] Travis, quietly : “I didn’t like being –
[Character] Marisha: “This is okay.”
[Character] Travis, quietly: “Yeah.”
[Character] Taliesin: “I always knew I’d die young.”
[Character] Sam: “We’re just going to let this happen?”
[Character] Travis: “I’m good.”
[Character] Marisha: “I mean, the good die young.”
[Character] Ashley: “You know what? We’re dying on a
Thursday, doing what we love.”
[Character] Marisha: “It’s true.”
[Character] Ashley: “I’m okay with that.”
[Character] Sam: “Alright.”
[DM] Liam: “The glass glows bright green-white light.”
[Character] Marisha: “Family?”
[Character] Matt: “Family.”
[DM] Liam: “’Pfth! And a moment passes. And another moment
passes. Gosh, many moments pass, and you feel a sensation of your cheeks and
heads on your arms. And then you all, more or less at the same time, wake up,
and realize that your head’s on a desk or a table. And you sit up, and realize
you’re in the set, the Geek & Sundry set. The studio, you’re in the studio.
And you look over and Liam is sitting in black baseball cap, and a shirt, and
he looks up and says,”
[Character] Liam, slightly incredulous: “Uh, are you guys
okay? Are you taking a nap?”
[Character] Marisha: “Nah, the fucking air conditioning
broke today, that’s all.”
[Character] Taliesin: “Yeah, it’s really uncomfortable in
[Character] Marisha: “It’s so hot in here. Ugh!”
[Character] Sam: “So, this is all about me, right?”
[Character] Liam: “I don’t know. Uh, are you guys ready to
[Character] Matt: “Just about. Um…”
[Character] Pit Crew: “Alright tech! Are you ready!?”
[Character] Pit Crew: “Alright, read to go live!”
[Character] Pit Crew: “Alright, Denise count them in!”
[Character] Denise: “Alright guys, coming to you in 5—“
[Character] Matt: “Liam?”
[Character] Denise: “4—“
[Character] Matt: “Let no one tell you,
[Character] Denise: “3—“
[Character] Matt: “That you’re talented and special.”
[Character] Denise: “2—“
[Character] Marisha, yelling, flipping Liam the double
birds: “Pussy pockets!”
The players yell a wall of nearly indecipherable profanity
at Liam in the moment before the camera goes live.
4:48:25 [DM] Liam: “And that’s where we’ll end it.”
Liam: “Well, that happened.”
Matt: “Holy shit.”
Liam: “Thanks for coming along for the ride, guys. Was
scared to death to do all of that from start to finish, and that’s why I did
I had a rough week, so have some warm fuzzy Harper and the batfam headcanon:
The first time Harper and Cullen get asked over for family movie night, they send Cass to ask, because they know Harper will never say no to her
Harper feels a little self conscious about how there is all this home made healthy food laid out for them and all she brought was a bag of store brand cheeze poofs, but Tim is delighted that hospitality has bypassed Alfred’s junk food ban.
Damian doesn’t bother coming down stairs until Dick shows up, and then he launches himself at his brother in a flying tackle that ends with him somehow riding Dick piggy back. Which is about when he notices Harper and Cullen and asks for an introduction, and Harper finds herself shaking hands with a very serious ten year old sitting on his brother’s back.
They’ve known each other for ten minutes and Cullen and Duke have already started talking about Yu-gi-o. Harper is having dark visions of anime night dance before her eyes.
Actually there are a lot more people here than Harper was expecting. Including some dude who hasn’t taken his leather jacket off even though it’s perfectly warm in here and who is acting like he doesn’t want to be here, which is whatever. How hard is it to get out of family movie night? Unless… Maybe they sent Cassie after him too?
Actually, not that she want’s to admit it, but this is a little stressful for Harper. Not in an exactly bad way. She’s glad she got invited. But she has no real experience with big normal family things, and she’s not really sure what’s expected of her here.
About 40 minutes into the movie some guy named Clark shows up with his kid Jon in tow. Dick is excited to see him. Tim rolls his eyes a little, to which Bruce responds by waving in the general direction of Steph and telling Tim, “You invite your friends.”
This is when Harper realizes that maybe no one here knows how big family things are supposed to work and everyone is just making it up as they go.
At some point Jon and Damian start fighting and Jon accidentally uses his heat vision. Harper and Cullen slip out to the hallway to have a hushed conversation that consists entirely of the words, “Oh My God,” repeated in various states of alarm coupled with pointing back to the living room. The dorky looking dude in Buddy Holly glasses and flannel, who’s just a little too clean cut for the hipster look, is fucking Superman, and how did they not notice that earlier.
Eventually Bruce comes to collect them. “You’re friends with Superman!” “That’s not really a secret, Harper.” And, ok, Harper knows that Batman and Superman are friends. She does. But there’s still a bit of mental disconnect between that and Superman hanging out on Bruce’s couch.
Later in the evening, Harper realizes it’s starting to snow, hard. She knows she should leave soon because weather this bad tends to lead to the bus “detour” not stopping within 10 blocks of her apartment. But Cass is sleeping on her shoulder and she really doesn’t wanna move. Bruce wanders over and asks just a little too quickly if she just want’s to crash here because the weather is garbage. And that’s cool, but, did he plan this?
The spare bedroom is bigger than her entire apartment. And it’s too quiet. And dark. How the hell is she supposed to sleep here?
In the morning, the payoff is worth it. Breakfast at Wayne Manor is the best thing ever. Harper keeps telling Alfred how good everything is, and Alfred keeps responding by putting more food in front of her. They are going to have to roll her out of here, but Harper is definitely never missing another movie night. Especially if the weather forecast is bad.
Sanders Sides ficlet - Sing to me (Prinxiety) Part 1
It started a long time ago….
In fact it had started long before anyone had noticed, known or realised, all at once it was in the middle.
So we’ll start in the middle. When things became much more visible and sparks became alight.
That however, started at a sleepover at The Family Flat. It was called that because most of the friends lived there as well as the main Parent Friend, Patton. He was shorter than the rest by a fair few inches and a pair of thick Buddy Holly glasses that really showed off how blind he was without them. Besides Patton, Alex - better known as Pranks, Vee and Logan lived in this flat. Roman lived with Thomas in Drama HQ, Missy and Imaj, Missy’s younger sibling, lived with Joan and Talyn in a small place known as the NB house.
On a sleepover like this the rest of the living room cleared besides sofas and every mattress, blanket, duvet and pillow in the flat was brought into the room.
It was a hard job to do.
And an even harder job to put back.
But it was worth the doing.
Roman, who was often referred to as Rome, and Vee (who was embarrassed of the name Virgil so went by Vee or Verge) had sat on a small side sofa. Laid in front of their feet was Patton, Imag, Talyn and Joan. Curled up on a seat was Logan and laid on the larger sofa, painting each others nails, was Missy and Thomas. It calmed them both but Logan was very sensitive to the senses and given a hankerchief to breath into while they painted nails. It wasn’t expected by Logan to make much of a difference but it did. The first movie they all chose was Mulan and soon Imaj was asleep.. By some miracle it seemed, as well over half the group refused to tone down their singing.
With that Pranks took Imaj up in their arms and put the young boy to bed. With that they all decided to watch a horror movie next.
Talyn, knowing the meaning of true fear, chose a japanese horror and insisted it was the best. They were right.
The frenemies, Vee and Rome first ragged on each other for each spook or signal of fear. While a distraction and goading to a point of immaturity, it did help. For a while it calmed everyone down.
Half an hour passed and both boys had been silent. Gasps and short fearful yelps were the only sounds in the room. Logan looked in the corner of his slimline glasses and notices Vee and Rome’s fingers intertwined, both sets of knuckles bright white from their grips. He metaphorically shrugs it off as platonic (despite the fact both boys rarely touched, it was a similarity that ironically bonded them) and put his attention back to the movie. Just in time to have a pillow hit the back of his head as Thomas lobbed one in reflex to a jumpscare.
“Oi!” Logan shouted. Speech brought Vee back into reality and realising he and Rome were holding hands he started to slip his hand away.
“Sorry Logan, you alright?”
“Yeah, yeah.. AHH!” Logan interrupted himself with a shriek upon a woman crawling on the wall with her limbs in the wrong places and bleeding from her eyes and mouth. The shock threw everyone for a loop and Vee’s hand slipped right back to where it was as both men grasped on tightly and Vee hid his face into the crook of Rome’s neck. Despite the fact they both would rat on each other later instinctually Rome wraps his other arm around Vee.
The rest of the group jump from the jumpscare like a literal shockwave. There was a range of reactions but most hid under cushions or their own hands.
Rome said softly to Vee, “It’s okay. It’s fine. I’ll protect you.”
Though this comforts Vee, he tries to gather himself and he straightens himself up. To make sure Rome doesn’t think that Vee is uncomfortable by him he squeezes his hand and meets his eye for a second and smiles. Through the films everyone curls up and yelps.
Hours flew by and everyone else began to drop to sleep. Rome and Vee though both groggy were still awake, too tired to be aware of the fact they were half tangled.
“Sing me to sleep, Vee.” Rome muttered.
“Not a chance.” Vee laughed quietly, raising both hands in a surrender/not me position.
Rome urged him on and softly butted his hair and head on one of his hands and nuzzled into it.
Vee didn’t know if it was with touching so much or Rome’s nuzzling making him blush or the relaxed area or even the fact that he felt his heart was flying way above them like a sims blimp… but slowly and lowly Vee began to sing.
“I feel like a..”
Rome shakes his head, “That song is so sad.. I love it but.. You know what I mean?”
He nods and thinks a moment, then almost cautiously starts, “Skin. Heat. Hair in your mouth. Feet touching feet. Oh, you. And I. Safe from the world, though the world will try.”
He sang on slowly and quitely so it was barely above a whisper. When the song ended however he noticed Rome was quietly crying.
Sadly he sighed, “I sung this one cos I was trying not to make you cry.”
Rome laughed a sob, “You just sing so lovely.”
Vee let out a short laugh and started humming instead, soon Rome fell asleep to that. When Rome woke up the next day however, he was determined to have Vee sing to him again of his own accord this time.
Not just because Vee’s presence made him nervous and blush now and the words caught in his throat and Rome was afraid they’d push themselves out in the wrong order. No. No way.
Rome didn’t have a crush. He couldn’t. He was as close to an anime Prince type as a real person could while still being sincere and nice. He charmed and impressed people, he did not get flustered or nervous about his heart melting at the way someone smiled at him.
Hey lovely! Feel free to reply publicly or privately- I was wondering if you'd ever consider converting your "Buddy Holly-ish" eyeglasses from TS2? ♥
Hey! I never consider converting TS2 Buddy Holly glasses. But I’ve created new Boddy Holly glasses for TS4 based on TS3 wayfarer glasses. : ) Maybe I will upload them in the near future. (I just made them for my game, so it’s corner-cutting. They doesn’t have all LOD. ) And If someone do converting my TS2 glasses, I bid it welcome!
On this day in music history: February 29, 1980 - Buddy Holly’s signature horn rimmed glasses are found in the archives of the Gordo County Sheriffs office in Mason City, IA. Thought to have been lost in the plane crash in February 1959 that claimed Holly’s life, they are discovered in a sealed manila envelope in the Sheriffs office in Mason City, IA. The prescription glasses were originally found on April 7, 1959, two months after the crash buried in a snow drift. Holly originally purchased the glasses from his optometrist Dr. J. Davis Armistead in 1957 for $20, who in turn acquired the Faiosa plastic frames while on vacation in Mexico City. They are returned to Holly’s widow Maria Elena, who keeps them until October 1998. The glasses are purchased from her for $80,000 by the non-profit cultural organization Civic Lubbock in Holly’s hometown of Lubbock, TX, and are on permanent display at the Buddy Holly Center along with numerous other artifacts that were owned by the rock & roll icon.