decorated youth

keep your name

In reaction to the secret revealed in 2x10. Nicole may not be hiding any revenants in her closet, but she does have skeletons of her own.

Unpacking Nicole’s marriage, and why she chose to keep things hid.

“What’s the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done?”

The question is barely out of Waverly’s mouth before Nicole realizes that she should tell her. She thinks about the adrenaline of scaling a rock face, of falling from the same height. She thinks about prairie fire shots and Britney Live and unashamed declarations of love in a hotel stairwell. Being honest for the first time in lying to herself. Kitschy Vegas chapels–

She wonders if she’ll ever get the timing right, because now isn’t it. Not with Waverly smiling up at her for the first time since Willa and that night at the Wainwright. Let’s play twenty questions, she’d suggested, desperate for a distraction.

Every time Nicole tries to give her one, really, something else seems to come up. Kidnappings, long-lost sisters, revenants. Her own skeletons feel so pedestrian in comparison that she’s not sure they’ll ever fully have a place here. That she’ll ever have a place here. But she’ll be damned if she doesn’t at least try.

(Unlike the last time. A morning after in Nevada with the imitation of affection already paling in the light of the dawn.)

So, instead, she rolls up her sleeve and shows Waverly the poppies tattooed on the inside of her right bicep. She tells her about her grandmother, and the one time in her life that her grief felt so massive that she needed a forever reminder inked into her skin.

The truth will come eventually, she tells herself, though her heart doesn’t walk back from its nauseatingly erratic beat.

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Swan Queen Week Day 4: Soulmates

Title: Of Flowers and Numbers
Pairing: Swan Queen
Rating: T
Summary:

Regina started noticing the marks when she was in high school. She was sitting in her business class when black lines started to appear on her wrist. Her attention shifted from the discussion to what was being drawn - a simple flower.

At lunch, Kathryn immediately pointed it out.

“Looks like someone’s soulmate is getting artsy!”

[Soulmate au where when you write something on your skin with pen/marker/whatever the hell you want, it will show up on your soul mates skin as well.]

FF/AO3 


Regina started noticing the marks when she was in high school. She was sitting in her business class when black lines started to appear on her wrist. Her attention shifted from the discussion to what was being drawn - a simple flower.

At lunch, Kathryn immediately pointed it out.

“Looks like someone’s soulmate is getting artsy!” she said with a smile.

Regina simply rolled her eyes. “More like giving themselves the potential for ink poisoning— would that affect me as well?”

Kathryn simply laughed in response.

——

The flower was starting to fade when the next drawing showed up. It started out as simple curling line, and as the time went by it became more intricate, with dots and leaves being added on.

Regina had to start wearing long sleeved shirts to cover it up. The last thing she needed was her mother noticing.

——

Regina sat in her bed trying to keep herself from crying. Final grades had been released, and she had received a B+ in her geometry class. Her mother found out and yelled at her for it. And yelled. And yelled. And gripped Regina’s arm so tight she was pretty sure it would be bruised.

She was reaching a hand out to grab a tissue when she noticed it.

There was a little heart drawn on the side of her wrist. She smiled at it, silently thanking her soulmate, who had no idea what she was going through but was there for her anyway.

She fell asleep looking at the heart, hoping that one day she’d be able to see the artist in person.

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Alt!2D x Reader 2

Prompt used:  “Looks like we’ll be stuck here a while“ found here.

Alt!2D belongs to 2ds-melodica. Please check them out! 


It would be in the middle of the semester when you manage to snag a job at a local photo studio that was near one of the shopping malls in the city. You had long grown tired of your previous job as a waitress and had been searching for a better option since the semester began. You didn’t have high hopes, but at the very least you got the bills paid and food on the table…but when you found out that there was an opening at the studio, you jumped at the chance without a moment’s hesitation. The pay wasn’t extravagant, but it was better than relying on tips from surly and rude customers. An added bonus was that now you would have some experience in photography to put on your future resumes when you graduated.

Belle’s Photo Studio was a humble little place; unlike other studios, it specialized in taking themed family portraits rather than the standard fair. In such, the studio was almost a museum with its various tastes ranging from Edwardian to old Western and everything in between. Portraits of various families with various themes lined the walls, most of them in black and white, but doesn’t make them any less embarrassing. You couldn’t help but to silently wince whenever you passed by the portraits; While you didn’t know any of the families in them, you felt bad for the kids in the photographs who looked less than enthusiastic about it themselves. It felt like the kind of thing you own parents would do way back in your youth…

Embarrassing decorations aside, you also found a closet filled with various attire and costumes to fit with the corresponding era, and you found yourself shifting through the racks of clothes on your free time, wanting so bad to try on some of the old Victorian ballgowns. Most of the dresses - mostly the smaller ones - were what you had to help the children get into whenever you had customers for the day. Usually you were stationed at the front desk taking phone calls and setting appointments, but after your boss had seen your work with a camera, she had moved you to being the actual photographer as your main job. You were fine with either or, although you felt much more comfortable being the one behind the camera rather than answering phones. The only difficult part of you job was trying to get the kids to smile…and trying to get the more tantrumy ones into their outfits. Overall, you enjoyed this line of work.

Over the coming weeks, the weather had took a turn. It was normal for it to be cloudy and rainy on most days around this time of year, and you yourself always enjoyed the ambiance that accompanied the rain. The shop was usually quiet around this time with a few customers coming in every other day, giving you a lot of time for you to explore the shop and familiarize yourself with the equipment. Your boss had grown fond of you as a worker and even as a friend over the weeks you started working there; Not only were you a hard worker, familiar with the field and enthusiastic about working the cameras, but you were trustworthy. The last employee that worked there had been caught stealing from her, as you were told, and had been doing it for months. They were promptly fired, and it was around that same time you had found the job opening while browsing for a job through an app. You were relieved to know your boss trusted you, even to the point where she left you to close up the shop at the end of the day. You had asked her if it would be alright if you stuck around a little longer after you closed, if to just look over the equipment and look at the costumes some more, which she wholeheartedly allowed you to do, knowing you wouldn’t make a mess of the place by the time you left. It was a good way to pass time on slower days, and getting to be around professional equipment was an immense help with your schoolwork.

It was a particularly cloudy Thursday evening when you had started closing up the studio. It had been raining off and on all day since that morning, prompting you to bring an umbrella along when you came into work today. What was concerning was the fact that clouds had grown darker in the last couple of hours, and the winds were blowing harder than usual. These were the telltale signs of a storm, meaning you would have to return home earlier than you would have liked. Your boss, Caitlyn, already knew of the storm as she donned her coat and umbrella, digging her car keys from her purse. ”[Y'n], honey, it’s going to be pretty bad tonight. You better get home.“ She told you as she entered the lobby.

"Oh, I know.” You nodded, having been stationed behind the front desk with nothing else to do. “I plan to after I close up.”

“Are you sure you don’t need a ride?” She pressed with worry in her voice. One thing you liked about Caitlyn was that she was a caring and kind soul. She reminded you a lot of your own mother. “I can wait outside for you.”

“Cait, I promise you I will be just fine getting home.” You reassured. “In fact, I’ll call you as son as I get back to my apartment, okay?”

You could tell that she didn’t like it, but Caitlyn had grown to know you well enough over the last couple of weeks. And she knew you were stubborn. “…Alright. But you call me as soon as you get home, you understand?”

“Yes ma'am.”

The bell gently chimed as Caitlyn exited the studio, leaving you by yourself once again. You sighed as you sat back in the desk chair, listening to the gentle howling of the wind outside. The sky had gotten even darker, and you could see little flashes of lightning just miles away. It wouldn’t be long before the storm would reach this part of the city.

You stood from the desk and started to head back into the studio to put away the cameras, only to hear the familiar chime of the doorbell. You found it odd that someone was coming in now, but it wasn’t too unorthodox. Still, the studio was closed, so you returned to the lobby to send them on their way. “Oh, so sorry we’re closed–Stuart?”

You frowned as your blue haired friend grinned at you while stepping into the lobby. You noticed his hair was even messier than normal, undoubtedly caused by the strong winds outside. “Hey, you.”

“What are you doing here?”

“I haven’t seen you in a while since you got this new job, so I thought I’d stop by and surprise you!” He told you. “And before you ask how I found this place, you know I look at Facebook, right?”

That would certainly explain a lot. Shortly after the two of you started your friendship, you added each other as friends on Facebook and several other social media platforms to keep up with each other when you couldn’t meet face to face. It was through your Facebook 2D had found the last place of employment at the restaurant, making sure to visit every other day and made especially sure to sit in your section just to have you as his waitress. He kept up his antics, but you couldn’t complain with the decent sized tips he gave you after every meal. You had long told him about your plans to find another job even before you took this one, but you never told him where. Still, it was a mistake on your pat to not realize he could easily track your new place of employment after updating your status the day you were hired, and a quick Google search would give him the exact address. You only wondered why he didn’t come sooner…

“Why did you come so late though?” You asked further. “You know the studio closes around this time.”

“Well, the storm’s about to kick up, and I wanted to know if you needed a ride home.”

“I…you know what, sure. Let me close up first and then you can drop me off, okay?”

2D had no objections to that, and you went to lock the front door to prevent anymore unwelcome guests from entering before you went back into the studio with 2D trailing right behind you. This was his first time ever in the actual studio, so he had plenty to say about the overall look and feel of the place, and had even more remarks about the portraits that hung on the walls. He continued to look around even when you had made it to the main studio, but you had to scold at him to not touch anything and risk breaking something. You had just got this job and you didn’t plan on losing it on his behalf. He pouted, but kept his hands to himself…for the most part. He kept messing with the cameras, pretending he was a professional photographer, and kept trying to take pictures of you with remarks like “the camera loves you.”

You had grown tired of 2D’s antics after a few minutes and got up to take the camera from him, only for the two of you to jump with a start when thunder suddenly boomed through the sky, rattling the walls of the building. Seconds later, rain could be heard pounding against the windows and roof, strong winds howled through the cracks of the buildings to the point you could hear power lines and billboards gently creak, struggling to remain upright. You winced as you peered outside, the storm had finally arrived and it was a big one indeed. It almost looked like a hurricane was going through the city!

“Ah, shit.” You heard 2D cursed next to you, wincing as lightning flashed again. “It came sooner than expected, huh.”

You frowned, watching as anything that wasn’t nailed down or too heavy being blown away in the wind, the raindrops were much larger than their smaller counterparts from earlier. “Where’s your car?”

“It’s in the…parking…lot…” The two of you fell silent as the gravity of the situation began to set in. The parking lot was a block away down the street, and even if you were armed with your umbrella and did a full on sprint to the car, there was no guarantee that the flimsy thing would even survive in those winds. And you knew you coat wouldn’t protect you from the rain when it was blowing right into your face. While you weren’t concerned with getting wet, the winds and lightning strikes worried you the most, and you weren’t willing to risk injury just to get to the car. And from the looks of it, 2D had the same idea as he looked to you with an apologetic smile. “Looks like we’ll be stuck here a while, huh?”


You were thankful that you had brought your phone charger to work, and the WiFi remained unaffected by the storm, allowing you to entertain yourself with a few mobile games and checking through your social media. You decided to hold off on calling Caitlyn until later, at least until the storm calmed down. You didn’t want to worry the poor woman anymore than necessary, and you knew she would be on the verge of a stroke if she learned you were stuck in the studio because of the storm. You would be able to come up with a viable lie later if you needed to; at the end of the day, you could always tell her the power went out.

You were scrolling through your Twitter feed and listened to the hard pattering of the rain against the windows and the rumbles of thunder when you heard what sounded like heavy footsteps enter the studio. You looked up and…well, quite frankly, you weren’t sure what you were looking at. You were looking at your friend 2D who had reemerged from the back closet, now dressed as a cowboy. He was in the full get up too; cowboy hat, vest, chaps, those ridiculous boots, gloves, and even a bandanna around his neck. He looked quite silly, especially since the costume weren’t exactly made for his lanky body and barely clung on to him properly. It took everything in you to not laugh at the sight, and you could feel a grin tugging at the corner of your mouth before you had to cover it.

2D, on the other hand, thought he was the cat’s meow as he leaned against the old piano used as a background prop and tipped his hat to you. “Howdy, miss.~” He cooed while doing a terrible job mimicking a country accent.

“Stu, for fuck’s sake.” A chuckle managed to escape you as you pinched the bridge of your nose. “What the hell are you doing?”

He disregarded your question as he stood and meandered over with what he must have thought was swagger, when really he had to pseudo-waddle due to the chaps. He slid on to the couch next to you, crossing his legs with his arm stretched out over the back, just barely touching your shoulders. “Are you from Tennessee, babe? ‘Cause you’re the only ten I see.”

You rolled your eyes and held back a groan before you scooted away from the lanky self-proclaimed cowboy. One of 2D’s favorite pass times was trying out the many cheesy pick up lines he’s heard or read on you to get a reaction. It started shortly after the two of you became friends after he wanted your opinion on a pick up line he found on his phone. As are many he used, it was incredibly cheesy and ridiculous, but now he’s been doing it since then whenever he wanted to annoy you. Or if you were feeling down, he used it to put a smile on your face or to get a little giggle or two. “Please don’t.”

2D kept going, his shit-eating grin growing wider. “Ain’t no rodeo clown that can keep me off you, babe.”

“Stuart.”

“Would you be interested in a little team roping?”

“STOP.”

“Country boys don’t need pick-up lines 'cause….'cause they’ve…wait.” 2D furrowed his brows as he started to recite the line, trying to remember the next part but failing to. “Country boys don’t need pick-up lines 'cause…'cause…fuck, what was the next part…?” You started snickering as he started to dig for his phone, which was hilarious in itself since he couldn’t get to it through the chaps and the glows made it difficult to hold on to anything. The snickering then turned into laughter, and 2D became too embarrassed and flustered to bother remembering the line, and instead sat there with a pout and flushed cheeks.

“Aw, don’t feel bad.” You giggled, patting his shoulders. “You tried, at least.” He only mumbled something under his breath that you couldn’t hear, and you started to feel bad for laughing. You heaved a sigh through your nose, sitting back against the couch and went to grab your phone…and got an idea. “Hey Stu, want to take a picture?”

2D immediately perked up, another grin appearing on his face before he quickly got up from the couch and went to pose in front of the piano while you readied the camera on your phone. You ended up taking several pictures of the blue haired singer in various poses while in that costume, all of which you put up on your Instagram. Needless to say, they went viral within the hour, and the rest of the band were quick to leave their own comments under each one, all of which gave you a good laugh.

Fortunately, within that same hour the storm had finally calmed down enough for the two of your to get back to 2D’s car. After a quick clean up and after the costume was returned, the two of you raced to the vehicle as the rain poured down against you both, you momentarily forgetting you had an umbrella. And yet, despite having to spend and hour and a half inside the studio and driving home in wet clothes, the two of you were still in good spirits. 2D even remembered the rest of the pick up line and tried it on you before you went into your apartment, which earned him a giggly “shut up” before you exited the car and went into the building. 2D remained outside as he sat and watched you steadily disappear up the steps, but remained sitting out there even long after you were no longer in sight.

The singer had a lot of things on his mind, mostly pertaining to you. More importantly, he was starting to realize that it was getting harder and harder to drive away from that little apartment building after dropping you off, wishing that he could have the courage to go in with you. Eventually, he only sighed and revved up the engine, soon pulling away into the night back to his own home on Wobble Street, where the rest of the band was undoubtedly waiting for him.


Part 1

Description of Mahisha-Mardini from Kalika Purana.

The following is a graphic description of Mother Durga killing the demon Mahisha from Kalika Purana chapter 56, verses 12-21. It occurred to me while reading this that it’s actually the Dhyanam (meditation) used during Durga Puja from Purohit Darpan, the manual used during the worship, so I thought it would make a good post (sorry, I know I’m a little geeky with this stuff). Many of the methods used in modern worship of Devi are found in Kalika Purana. I’m posting the English translation only, as the full text with transliteration would be too long.

12-The Goddess has loose matted hair, with a crescents moon on Her forehead, with three eyes Her face resembles a lotus and the moon (or a lotus blossoming in the moon light).

13-She is the colour of molten gold, She stands firmly (on Her mount), She has beautiful eyes and youthful appearance, decorated with jewellery.

14-With perfect teeth, She is fiery, with full and uplifting breasts, She stands in a posture bent in three ways (at the knees, hips and shoulders) crushing the demon Mahisha.

15-She has ten long arms soft like lotus stems. On the right side She holds the trident, sword, discus, arrow and lance, this is the correct order they are displayed.

16-17-On the left side She holds the shield, bow, noose, goad, and either an axe or bell. The buffalo (Mahishsura), with his head being cut off is represented under Her image.

18-19-The demon is to be represented emerging from the buffalo holding a sword, he is being pierced by the trident of the Goddess with his intestines spilling from his gut. His body is covered in blood, with red rolling eyes, his expression twisted in pain, the Goddess is holding him with a snake noose.

20-21- Durga has the demon by the hair. The mouth of the lion She is riding is full of blood, Her right foot rests on the lion, and Her left touches the buffalo.

9

“ … the relative unimportance of things female in the Midwinter antics shows us, in fact, the other side of the coin.  This is the time of the male principle …
For the crops (or babies) to grow, the earth (or female) must be inseminated by the male; and after insemination, one must wait awhile before seeing evidence of new life.  Normally the new life appears in the fields in the spring, therefore the insemination must be ritually encouraged earlier–in the winter and/or at the time of plowing and sowing.

…  Note that all these maskers and mummers are traditionally men.  When female personae are needed for enacting little dramas, men play the parts cross-dressed.  This, of course, only adds to the general hilarity, and laughter, like dancing and jumping, was felt to promote life.  Evidently male magical power, in the European agrarian traditions, is expressed through masking the men … . ”
—-
In Austria, on the three Thursday evenings before Christmas, masked youngsters went house to house making great noise with whips and cowbells, knocking on doors and windows to scare away the evil spirits, and crying out, “in with good luck, out with bad luck!” For this service they expected a reward of sweets or nuts.  In Salzburg, according to an account around 1800,

 … masked youths, decorated with bells, leapt with the help of their staves over ditches and walls during their progress through the valleys at night.  When their troop arrives noisily, the lights in the houses must be doused, “to keep the windows intact, and no one dares let himself be seen by them on the way who doesn’t want to subject himself to disagreeable encounters … Many of the disguised lads used their long staves for all kinds of jumping with a strength and agility seldom see amongst the greatest acrobats.  One of the boys even touched the ceiling of the room with the soles of his feet.

Tyrolean farmers views this prodigious jumping as crucial: if the "Perchten-runners” didn’t leap about enough in the fields, the crops would fail.

… Jumping like dancing, promotes life.  A gloss from a millenium ago already mentions Perchten night, often held on Twelfth Night, the Eve of Epiphany.

—-Elizabeth Wayland Barber, The Dancing Goddesses