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11 US road trips you should add to your bucket list

With such vast and varied landscapes in the US, the only way to cover a variety of them is by car. Enjoy the stunning scenery of the iconic Route 66, marvel at the Tail of the Dragon Highway and cruise through the great US of A.


Route 66

Known as the Mother Road of America, Route 66 journeys for more than 2,000 miles of pure Americana. This historic route, built in the 1920s, travels from Chicago Illinois to Los Angeles California and crosses the states of Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. See the heart and soul of the country from your car window and explore beautiful beaches in Santa Monica, the expansive Grand Canyon and the delicious restaurants that are all situated along this route.


California’s Pacific Coast Highway

The twisting, cliff-hugging route of the Pacific Coast Highway runs 458 miles along the central California coast from San Francisco to Los Angeles and is one of the most exhilarating road trips in the US. It takes around six hours to drive from start to finish. While a portion of the Big Sur Highway is currently closed, you can still get a taste by driving down the coastal road as far as Point Lobos Natural Reserve, where adorable wild sea otters sometimes frolic. Doubling back and take Highway 101 inland for sensational winetasting in the Salinas Valley before rejoining the ocean road at Cambria.


Overseas Highway

Get ready for beautiful scenery overload on the Overseas Highway. The Highway 1 route from mainland Florida to Key West travels for 113 miles past expansive turquoise waters dotted with distant sandy islands. The concrete stretches of this magnificent route are punctuated by classic American gift shops and burger stands serving up cholesterol-bursting milkshakes to break up the long journey.


State Route 12

Also known as Scenic Byway 12, it’s frequently regarded as one of the most beautiful places in the world. State Route 12 winds from west to east for 122 miles, located in the Garfield and Wayne Counties of Utah. The highway starts south of Panguitch, passing through part of the Dixie National Forest, and going over the Escalante River. With its limestone network of turrets and spires, the natural cathedral that is the Red Canyon is also along Route 12, which eventually ends in Torrey, just five miles from Capitol Reef National Park. Driving past retro, rusty signs and baron lands, this route is the perfect trip through time back to old America.


Kancamagus Highway

Now designated as an American Scenic Byway, the 34.5 mile long Kancamagus Highway in Northern New Hampshire will not disappoint. Venture through the epic White Mountain National Forest, with views of the Swift River, Sabbaday Falls and Rocky George. Drive Kancumagus in Autumn time and see New England Fall in all its orange and red glory – the highway passes some of the best views of New Hampshire’s famous Fall foliage.


Beartooth Highway

Positioned 10,947 feet above sea level, near to the magnificent Yellowstone National Park, it’s unsurprising Beartooth Highway is frequently described as the most beautiful drive in America. Located on a section of U.S. Route 212 in Montana and Wyoming, Beartooth cuts through the Custer and Shoshone national forests, and it’s the stunning greenery of these woodlands that makes this route so special. The pass is usually only open from mid-May to mid-October due to the heavy snowfall in the winter months.


Delaware Water Gap Road Trip

Take a road trip along the Delaware River. The surrounding 67,000-acre forest at the National Recreation Centre is full of flowing waterfalls that deliver the ultimate scenic route. But it’s the Delaware Water Gap, a deep cleft carved by the river into the solid surrounding rock, which is undisputedly the most beautiful sight of this drive. The route round this beauty spot stretches for 35-miles south on the I-84 freeway in Oregon, Utah.


Route 6

Based in the heart of the magnificent Massachusetts state, Route 6 connects Rhode Island to Fall River, New Bedford and Cape Cod. Also known as the Mid-Cape Highway, Route 6 takes you all the way to California and runs 3,652 miles long and is the longest contiguous transcontinental route in the USA jutting across fourteen states.


Tail of the Dragon

Bordered by the Great Smoky Mountains and the Cherokee National Forest, the Tail of the Dragon route has no intersecting roads or driveways to distract your travel. It’s just you and the open road. With 318 curving roads, totaling 11 miles, the Tail of the Dragon is America’s number one motorcycle and sports car road. Hire the sports car of your dreams and cruise down the famous open roads for as long as your heart desires.


Dinosaur Diamond Scenic Byway

Journeying through Utah and Colorado for 512 miles, the Dinosaur Diamond Scenic Byway forms a diamond shape with the four highest points at Moab, Helper, Vernal and Grand Junction, which include some of the best National Parks in the country. With the Dinosaur National Monument, the Canyonlands National Park and the Colorado National Monument all on this route, this trip offers a stunning prehistoric adventure through time.  


The Blues Highway

Starting in ‘Music City’ Nashville, traversing through birthplace of rock and roll, Memphis, blues haven Mississippi and the cradle of jazz, New Orleans, this 630-mile journey traverses rural, romantic roads straight through the heart of the Deep South. As well as classic vinyl shops and stellar Southern cuisine you’ll find the funkiest soundtrack in the States; from jazz in NOLA’s hip Bywater area to the harmonica-strains of up-and-coming talent in Memphis’ juke joints.

With low online deposits and a 24-hour helpline it’s now easier than ever to book your Avis car hire with your BA flights: book in and out of the same, or different, airports and choose from multiple hotels.

Plan your next US road trip


Photo by Roman Romanenko on Unsplash

Rest Stop Part 2

“How long until they know?” Lance shifted and sighed. How long until they know?

He was perched up in the team nest, worriedly watching the team pass by underneath him. Keith had ran to, and then back, from training a while ago. Hunk had been carrying gizmos and do-hickeys when he stumbled past hours earlier. The last group he had seen was Shiro, Allura, Coran, and surprisingly, Pidge. He had snatched just what they were talking about as they passed. Pidge would be going down to the next planet they were visiting, alone, to test it with scanners for the mission.

The plan was a basic search, raid, and scavenge mission they did every so often. Search for survivors, Galra rebels, and alliances. Raid for resources and information. Scavenge for materials, culture, and history. Lance liked to call it the SRS plan - the first two parts were the complicated parts, and the last one was usually as boring at the real SRS. This planet wasn’t occupied by natives, or they had been wiped out by the Galra base that had been set up. It was mostly a work camp surrounded by oceans. Islands dotted the planet here and there, small, but big enough you could spend years there before you had walked and seen it all.

Every time they planned an SRS, they had one paladin go down, alone, and scan the entire island with their lion, or by hand on ground level. Because it was confirmed for Galra activity and there were no natives to blend in with, they were sending Pidge in with Green - to do a cloaked scan, then to investigate on foot if it was required. This way, if they were separated, needed medicine, or food for themselves or the aliens they had rescued, they wouldn’t pick the planet’s most painful poison.

Lance sighed again. Funny how many people would want me to pick the poison. An amused huff passed his lips as his eyes looked down at his feet.

The nest was made of blankets, fibers, hay, straw, and a metal basin nailed into the beams. Alteans apparently had designated spots for nests, but the others had pushed to put one where they wanted. Which, had been the center pole in the common room closest to the training room, where dozens of beams filled the open ceiling. Lance had insisted with the others on the impromptu spot, even going as far to mention the main support would be the safest place, based on all the rafters he could climb. Yes, Lance climbed slippery metal poles 40 feet up in the air without wings. All the training of climbing high places to catch up that Lance called a childhood, left him without a fear of heights when he was in command. Some of his favorite memories were diving and jumping off those heights, sometimes into the ocean, sometimes to the ground, sometimes to more rock or another branch. The others got a thrill from flying. He got his from falling.

He had broken his arms quite a few times from that.

The unmistakable sound of flapping wings took his attention, causing Lance to look up at Keith, who was gently landing in the nest in front of him. His wings looked cleaner than normal, softer and neater, and his lips weren’t scowling as darkly as usual. “You missed the group preening session again.” Ah. That explained it.

Lance didn’t say anything, paying more attention to the piece of straw in his hand instead of Keith’s calm face, the little smile on his lips, the concerned glint in his eye. Keith’s skin always looked so clear after grooming, Lance grumbled internally, like he had just stepped out of a hot shower. He fiddled with the straw more, ignoring the sharp pricks the ends gave his fingers. Keith seemed to sigh internally, a little slipping out of his mind and nose, before kneeling down to Lance’s height. “You never come. You know you can if you want to, right?”

Ha. As if he could. (They wouldn’t want him then.)

“Yeah.” He says, tucking a lock of hair behind his ear and shifting to push his back into the nest subconciously. He blinks up at Keith, whose hand is hanging over the bend of knee with his weight. It’s turned down, but ready to be outstreched and taken in Lance’s if he grabs it. He notes the way Keith’s slim fingers seem to cup themselves. He wants to grab it.

He doesn’t.

Keith’s gaze is level and steady, an almost uncharacteristic look from impulsive, crazy Keith. It holds patience, and focus, and makes Lance want to give him a sign, let him know he isn’t staring at a blurry board, he’s looking at the notes taped to it. His wings are held up and arch out, raised to fly while he crouches. Lance’s hands itch to reach out and run his fingers through the burgundy feathers.

He doesn’t. Just waits for Keith to pull back and stand up.

He does, but not without clapping and rubbing his hand on Lance’s shoulder. “Okay then. His wings lower a little to catch an imaginary draft. "I’m going to go talk to Shiro about battle formations. You can come to me if you need it.” Lance lets his smile pull back, knowing inside it was a bright, sadistic, white streak against a midnight canvas. He hopes it’s convincing to Keith. “I will.” He says, then Keith is flying away with another small smile, though this one is a little sadder, a little more resolved.

New Assassins Creed “leaked” info:
  • The leaks aren’t “accidents”. Controlled. Both pictures are real. The first one (where the MC stood in front of something) is very old. The second one is a picture from the Demo we’ll see at E3.
  • New scouting mechanic, the eagle. The eagle’s placeholder name for now is “Akhom”.
  • There are NO towers in the game. You will be using your eagle for side-activities and points of interest. There’s a limit to how far you can go away from the protagonist.
  • The characters all speak English like in Unity. That is because of the Animus 5.0, which has perfected any translation issues of the older versions. You will be sitting in it, not moving around like in the movie.
  • We have a new Modern Day protagonist, he’s male and mixed race. Already a trained Assassin and has a new team that helps him achieve his task, given by William himself. William, Rebecca, Shaun all make appearances.
  • MD is more like AC3’s MD with bigger areas and more character interaction. The MD does more to highlight the fact that Assassins and Templars still exist and are having a big impact on the world.
  • “Without giving too much away, a piece of Eden is used during the Exodus and the crossing of the Red Sea, playing into the whole overarching mission of the modern-day protagonist.” Not main focus of the story though.
  • He doesn’t exactly know when it’s set, but last he heard it was set between 1400 and 1200 BCE. It’s set during the Dynasties.
  • NO naval combat. It really is only just a sailing boat used for travel purposes. It’s like in The Witcher 3, just a tad more customizable. That’s it.
  • He states numerous times that the world is breathtakingly beautiful and that there is ambient stuff going on in the open seas. Better to sail than miss this stuff by fast-travelling.
  • You will be travelling the Eastern Mediterranean with your boat.
  • Ambient music is in the game. Hooray!
  • Devs have focused on story 100%. There is no multiplayer whatsoever, however, there are micro-transactions like in BF and Rogue. Multiplayer is still on the cards, might return at some point to the franchise.
  • A lot of work went into the immersion aspect.
  • Plenty of tropical areas. Mirages, oasis areas and various islands dotted around the sea are beautiful.
  • The main protag (in the past) is a quieter version of Altair, basically. Looks like him, slightly darker. Not black like Adé. Trilogy with him planned. Greece comes next and he’s in there. No idea about the third entry at all.
  • Main protag (past) is apparently Israelite.
  • Combat has been reworked. Enemies have different attack patterns and will actively try to flank you. Kinda like Witcher 3, but easier to get into.
  • Stealth is much more integrated into the world. You can hide on corners, in crowds, in buildings and in bushes/haystacks. Imagine Syndicate and Unity’s stealth, but much more well thought out and implemented. Social stealth is emphasized a lot in the game. You’ll be blending into crowds and with groups of slaves an awful lot.
  • Free running is the same as Syndicate/Unity, though it adds in some of the flair from Watch Dogs 2. It’s a lot smoother and more fluid.
  • Reason why AC doesn’t make its way to Japan is because the higher ups don’t see it being successful. They made China for Chronicles to “please the fans”. Whoop-de-doo.
  • Same thing for WW1 and WW2.
  • Engine is a reworked version of Syndicate’s. But looks drastically different to Syndicate/Unity.
  • They took Unity’s backlash very, very badly. They’ve been working on Origins so much to avoid another buggy situation. “Syndicate was about 60% complete when the backlash came to light, so Ubi shoved that one out of the door before we had the break.”
  • No Switch version, releases on PS4, Xbawks One and PC.
  • Coming out later this year.
  • Hidden Blade used in the game is a very early version. Requires losing a finger. There’s also a bow, a shield, various swords, spears and throwing knives.
  • Our protagonist (paaast) doesn’t have a name at the beginning. Later, other characters start calling him “Shed”, after the deity that represents salvation. A big part of the story revolves around saving your people from slavery.
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shed_(deity)
  • The idea of an Ancient Rome game was floating around the office. Ceasar wasn’t a Templar, but shared a lot of their ideologies. Senators that killed him were part of the Brotherhood. Status of this idea is unknown.
  • Skills are done in a talent tree. However, the differences between the skill trees are drastically different and you can only ever have a certain amount of skills active at one point. One tree is Combat, another Stealth and the final one is Movement.
  • Outfit-wise, there’s a few pre-determined outfits (as there has been in every AC game). However, there are different piece of equipment that you can buy that will go over the top of your ‘base’ appearance. Imagine Unity’s equipment variation/customization, but with less pointless fluff.
  • Character customization is more like Unity than Syndicate.
  • I forgot to add this, sorry people: You can put your hood on and off whenever you want!

     
    I don’t want the character to be quite…I love it when characters talk while your walking and doing stuff. Just like in Uncharted games…
    What do you guys think? 
List Of All CP Ask Blogs I Know Of And That You Need To Follow

@justawittlepookie I used to not be a fan of pookies but after I found this blog I completely fell in love with it, it’s adorable.

@ask-jetpackguy Stays very in-character and it has a terrific sense of humor. (It looks like it implies the JPGxRookie ship a bit too so if you’re into that then go for it)

@official-herbert-p-bear So funny. The reactions it gives to the asks are just hilarious.

@thedisguisegal It’s really charming! I’ve always really loved Dot (because she used to remind me a little of my older sister) and this blog has such a friendly feeling.

@askgreena I don’t ship this but it’s a cute blog and I can see why people would see it as a good ship. But if you do ship this then it’s PERFECT.

@askingblog3000 Really nice blog! I felt that they got down Gary’s personality and world down well.

@ask-the-penguins VERY nolstalgic blog. Nolstalgic is all I can think of to describe it but seriously check it out.

@skipthebellhop So far all it’s focused on so far is his good bellhop side. It makes it really cute though and hard for you to remember he tried to kill you, dangit.

@ask-dancingpenguin SO SWEET. I JUST WANT TO HUG AND PROTECT HIM AND TELL HIM IT’S OKAY.

@penguin-agent-wertercatt Haven’t seen much of this blog yet but it has so much potential. Looks like it’s going to be really good! 


 Hey why are you still reading this and not following any of these blogs yet? Go! If you think I missed some good ones then feel free to list them in the comments/reblogs.

Iceland Post 1: Landscapes

My recent trip to Iceland was the best vacation I’ve ever taken. Not once did I worry about work, or family, or anything while I was there. Basically everywhere on the island is unbelievably beautiful. My companion and I traveled well together. And even though the place is impossibly expensive – it makes Stockholm look like a bargain destination – I decided not to worry about costs and just go with it, which made my time much easier. I want to go back there, and soon.

I’ve decided to make some posts about my trip based on a few different categories. This first one is on the landscapes of Iceland, probably the most obvious thing to focus on (after waterfalls, which will get their own post) when talking about the island.

The place was formed by a lot of different volcanic activity, over a very long period of time. This means that there’s actually a lot of variation in how the landscape looks, depending on where you find yourself. There are mountains everywhere, and their bases are surprisingly green:

Some mountains still have snow on them, in late July (this was the view from one of the places we stayed):

Other evidence of volcanic activity is everywhere. Most obviously there are calderas all over the place. This picture was taken from the top of a different caldera, right next door:

And of course the most recent eruption was in 2010, of Eyjafjallajökull, which looks like this now:

One of the most prominent results of eruptions are vast lava fields in the immediate vicinity of the volcanoes, which, when they cool down, form enormous landscapes that often look like someone piled tons of angular rocks on top of one another:

But there’s not just one kind of lava field. Different eruptions produce different landscapes, and one of the creepiest is the black rock fields that dot the island (we took to calling this kind of formation “troll poop”):

Speaking of dark landscapes, there are tons of black sand beaches in Iceland:

Some of the black sand is fine, as you’d expect, but in some places it’s super coarse, and doesn’t really feel like sand at all:

And pretty much everywhere you turn, there’s some sort of beautiful geological formation looming over you:

Next up? I’m not sure. Probably waterfalls.

starforged  asked:

sharp tongue - reylo

Her legs ache, her lungs burn; Rey relishes the wordless challenge Ahch-to lays down before her every time she returns more than her reason for being here. Idly, she wonders if this is her lot in life, chasing after rogue Skywalkers and dragging them back into society.

Well. Not society, not in this case. But there’s use for a man like Ben Organa out in the galaxy, and Rey is climbing a damn mountain to remind him of that fact.

She can feel the jagged edges of him through the Force as she nears the top of the island. Not a wound, not anymore, but something barely healed over. It pulls her in, as much as she’d like to think she came up with this all by herself.

Thanks. His voice rustles drily across the open stretch of grass and rock between them as she crests the ancient steps, echoes in her mind. She rolls her eyes, not bothering to respond mentally or otherwise, tucking her hands into the pockets of her pants.

The dark smear of him sits cross-legged on a precipice - about as far from the outcrop where she’d first handed Luke his father’s lightsaber as a person could be and not fall into the ocean. He doesn’t turn as she approaches, doesn’t even open his eyes. But she can see his hands from a distance, pale and ungloved and resting on his knees. She the way long fingers curl in on themselves the closer she gets.

His presence in the Force vibrates, an energy barely leashed by his willpower. She hasn’t even touched him yet.

“I’d say I can come back later, if you’re busy,” she says, squinting out at the horizon. Other islands dot the endless ocean, all of them empty. Even with navigation to this planet better known about these days, no one seems to want to come here. “But I’m not going to.”

He stills, an impressive feat for someone who already wasn’t moving much. Even his breathing stops, like he’s waiting for her to correct herself before he tries to speak.

Rey says nothing.

“What,” he manages finally, “are you talking about?”

She shrugs. “At first I thought, all right, this makes sense. Your mind was in a delicate place, and so was your handle on the Force. No one knew if you were going to snap and fall right back to the Dark Side again if given half the chance, so giving you a planet’s worth of space seemed like a good idea.”

“I was not in a delicate place.”

Hollow words, and they both know it. Rey had flayed him open and carved out what she found there, laying it out for the light to get to. Putting him back together had been a…task, and one she still isn’t sure had been completed.

What she is sure about is that Ahch-to is not the place for finishing anything. Ahch-to is a held breath, a place where the entire universe is put on pause. Rey refuses to live like that.

She’s not convinced it’s living at all.

“I didn’t come here to argue semantics,” she snaps. Stars, but he has that way of getting under her skin, even after all this time. She’d never had much of a temper, not until she’d encountered Kylo Ren. He might have retired the name, but that didn’t mean the person had just disappeared into the ether. Ben Organa is a promise still unfulfilled, to her mind.

He unfolds himself in a single motion, towering over her. The scar is stark against the pallor of his face, and her fingers itch to trace the furrow she’s left in his flesh, like they do every time they meet again. Her chin juts out, feet working into the dirt. There’s nothing he can do or say to threaten her these days, and no one has ever out-stubborned Rey.

For a second it seems like he’s going to try anyway, but she clocks the sag to his shoulders before he sighs, dark eyes focussing somewhere over her left shoulder. The Force sings with the strength of him, but he keeps it reined in tight, careful not to brush up against her.

“Then why did you come here?”

“To give you a chance.”

“Half the galaxy would argue you’ve already given me too many of those.”

“More like three quarters.” She grins despite herself, bites it back. He closes his eyes in one slow motion, and it’s unclear if that’s supposed to be a long-suffering gesture, or - or a defence against her smile.

(She’s not an idiot. She knows what lies between them, vast and unspoken and shuddering with possibility).

“I’m glad you’re entertained,” he mutters. “You haven’t answered the question.”

“All right. Try this. Neither of us clawed our way back to the Light to spend a life in quiet contemplation, and if I owe a debt to the galaxy, you’re practically bankrupt.”

His eyes snap open, and there’s that old fire. Corralled now but no less full of heat for it, and Rey can’t deny that her heartrate picks up at seeing it. Not bothering with subtlety, she places her hand on her lightsaber hilt a warning.

He doesn’t notice. His powers of observation, she’s noticed, tend to fail when his emotions get going.

“If you think I’m going to crawl back to the tatters of the Republic to bow and scrape and beg for forgiveness–”

“I don’t,” she bites off. “Although we both know you’d deserve that. You’re a war criminal, Ben, and the fact that I’m here at all–”

Makes her complicit. But Rey has long since come to terms with that. There are things she’s willing to live with, and things she can’t survive, and this man straddles the divide in ways that are…difficult to deal with. That keep her up at night, well into the morning, exhausting herself with the same argument time and again while knowing the answer won’t change.

She has given him too many chances. She won’t take any of them back. They are tied together, Ben and Rey and Kylo, and she has to find a way to live with that.

She sucks in a breath, calming herself. Ahch-to helps, in its own quiet way, the crash of water on rock soothing the irritation simmering in her chest.

“Stay here if you want to,” she says. “Hide away from the galaxy and the hurt you’ve caused, if that’s what it takes to keep it safe from you, and you safe from it. But I won’t be returning here as long as this is where you remain. I have work to do. You’re welcome to join me.”

Incredulity is a good look on him, or maybe Rey just enjoys taking him by surprise. His expression twists, made worse by the scar, and she gives in to the urge to touch it. The calloused pads of her fingers dip gently over the scored flesh, and there he is, holding his breath again.

“Is this you trying to convince me?” he growls.

If it was, it’d be working. But she keeps that to herself (maybe because it’s another thing they both know), letting her hand drop back to her side.

He reaches for her wrist before he can stop himself, large hand curling around it. Not tight enough to hurt, just maintaining the contact.

“No,” she says. “It’s not my job to convince you of anything. I’m not here to save you. I’m here to let you know you have a choice.”

“To spend the rest of my life serving people who have every reason to hate me?”

Rey gives a single-shouldered shrug. “If that’s how you want to look at it. No one controls how you think any more. You have to decide what you can live with. I’m just here to let you know what I can live with.”

And she slowly, gently, removes his hand from her. The air itself seems to shiver with disappointment when they’re no longer touching, but she’s gotten good at ignoring that sort of thing. She draws in a breath and takes a firm step backwards. And then another, and another, until she’s pivoted on her heel and his making her way back to the stairs.

“Is this it?” The wind catches his words and tosses them after her, but she thinks the desperation on them is all his. “I come with you now, or I never see you again?”

“It doesn’t have to be now,” she shouts back. “I’m not here to give you timelines, either.”

Silence. She makes her way down those ancient steps without being interrupted by anything more than the squall of wildlife and the incessant rumble of the sea.

It’s not disappointment sitting in her chest, as she lowers herself into the pilot’s seat. But there is something heavy there, something that she’s going to have to take a closer look at one of these. Maybe when–

The Force shifts. Not dramatically, or violently. Just one of a trillion small yet significant motions that it goes through every day. Something tickles in the back of her mind. His voice.

Wait.

anonymous asked:

Hey Puffletruffle! You got any head canons for how the EPF agents were caught? I personally believe the Director/ AA realised how close Herbert was to finding out (Agent) Ace's identity and so let themselves be found to detract from them while Ace saved the island .The after effects of being put under would also be up for debate, beside freezing... they all need cuddles and blankets.

Ello, Anon! I don’t know how long this ask has been sitting here but sorry I didn’t see your ask sooner! <3 I haven’t been able to check up on this poor blog as much as I’ve been needing too, busyness is a cruel monster.

In reply to your headcanon about Miss Director, I really love it! (although in all honesty I love all Club Penguin theories/headcanons that people send me) But I think this was well thought out and makes a lot of sense. She wouldn’t be as easy to capture if that wasn’t the case and do absolutely anything to protect her island and agents and I wouldn’t put it past her at all to do that. Not to mention the way her frozen self is standing with the utmost dignity and leadership, even if it’s hard for her she looks like she knows exactly what’s happening and what she’s doing.

I’d like to thank you for asking about my headcanons/theories about how they got captured because I could talk about theories for their more serious parties like these for hours (but to save you time I will just try to answer your question lol). 


PREPARE FOR MANY SPOILERS ABOUT OPERATION BLACKOUT, ME GOING OFF-TOPIC ABOUT A THOUSAND TIMES, AND MOST LIKELY A VERY LONG READ:

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Hubble spots a barred Lynx spiral


Discovered by British astronomer William Herschel over 200 years ago, NGC 2500 lies about 30 million light-years away in the northern constellation of Lynx.

As this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows, NGC 2500 is a particular kind of spiral galaxy known as a barred spiral, its wispy arms swirling out from a bright, elongated core.

Barred spirals are actually more common than was once thought.
Around two-thirds of all spiral galaxies – including the Milky Way – exhibit these straight bars cutting through their centers.

These cosmic structures act as glowing nurseries for newborn stars, and funnel material towards the active core of a galaxy.

NGC 2500 is still actively forming new stars, although this process appears to be occurring very unevenly.

The upper half of the galaxy – where the spiral arms are slightly better defined – hosts many more star-forming regions than the lower half, as indicated by the bright, dotted islands of light.

There is another similarity between NGC 2500 and our home galaxy.

Together with Andromeda, Triangulum, and many smaller natural satellites, the Milky Way is part of the Local Group of galaxies, a gathering of over 50 galaxies all loosely held together by gravity.

NGC 2500 forms a similar group with some of its nearby neighbors, including NGC 2541, NGC 2552, NGC 2537, and the bright, Andromeda-like spiral NGC 2481 (known collectively as the NGC 2841 group).

anonymous asked:

Prompt: It's Klaus birthday in NOLA and Rebekah secretly sent an invitation for Caroline, because the siblings have a secret bet going on about who's present gonna be the best. After 1000 what does one give to someone who can get whatever he wants :D

Kol is sipping a margarita, splayed out on one of the leather couches in their lounge room when she gets back from her shopping expedition in New Orleans.

The radio is on, playing one of those inane pop tunes that Kol for some reason seemed to love, and his foot is swaying lazily to the beat as he stares up at the fan whirring lazily on the ceiling above them.

“What on Earth are you doing?” She asks of Kol, whose eyes flick towards her, a self satisfied smile creeping across his face when he sees her.

“Celebrating.” Kol says with great relish, taking a sip of his margarita. “Can I offer you a drink, sister?”

“Knowing you you’ve probably spiked it with some sort of sleeping potion, so it’ll be a hard pass this time.” She replies with disdain, remembering the last time Elijah had accepted a drink from Kol, and had then promptly broken out in hives that had taken quite a few days to disappear, and only with the assistance of a witch that owed Elijah quite a few favours.

Kol had ended up with a dagger in his chest for a month before Elijah had deigned to make amends with him.

“God you’re all no fun.” Kol mumbles under his breath, sitting up on the couch and planting his booted feet on the floor. “And since you never asked what I was celebrating, I’m going to tell you anyway.”

“Of course you are.” She remarks dryly, tapping her foot against the floor, cursing the humidity that seemed to hang over New Orleans at this time of the year like an unpleasant shroud.

Already she can feel her hair sticking to the back of her neck, her clothes pressing to her skin unpleasantly. Maybe she could go for a swim a little later.

“Well, as you well know Bekah, Nik’s birthday is coming up. And I know that we all try and one up each other when it comes to buying him a gift. God knows why considering how many times he’s daggered us all… If anything he should be buying us presents to make up for it.” Kol is just thinking out loud now, and she can’t help but sigh, massaging her temples.

In fact, Nik had brought her plenty of gifts to make up for the whole daggering thing, knowing that she was materialistic at heart and was far more likely to respond positively to that than murmured platitudes and constant apologies.

She wouldn’t give up her designer wardrobe, villa in Tuscany, and private island for anything.

“Get to the point.” She snarls as Kol continues to mumble under his breath.

“Fine. I just want to tell you and Elijah that you shouldn’t bother trying this year, because I’ve got him the present to end all presents. The perfect gift.”

“You do?” She asks incredulously, because Kol’s idea of a perfect gift is usually a stripper or a gift voucher to some obscure store.

“I do.” Kol says with another smug smile. “So just don’t even go there this year Bekah. You’re not going to beat me!”

With that, Kol drains the rest of his margarita, falling back to lie on the couch once more.

Justin Bieber starts playing on the radio, and as she marches out of the room to escape the stupidity of the song, an idea begins to form in her mind.

Kol wasn’t going to know what hit him.


“I could get used to this.” Caroline Forbes remarks with a laugh, reclining on the pure white sand as the sun beats fiercely down on her skin.

“I’m not sure about the heat.” Enzo has propped himself up on her elbow next to her, Ray Bans covering most of his features as he takes in the crystalline blue water. “Although it is a beautiful corner of the world.”

She’d been dying to come to Australia for some time now, and she and Enzo had spent the last few months wandering the massive island continent. As she very quickly discovered, there was so much more to Australia than the cosmopolitan city of Sydney.

They went dune boarding at Port Stephens, a little coastal town three hours north east of the capital of NSW. They spent a week on the Gold Coast, checking out the bars and clubs that peppered the famous city.

They spent another week on a cattle ranch in the far flung part of Queensland that no one else ever seemed to go to, made friends with the locals as they had to revert back to animal blood momentarily.

The Northern Territory was amazing, as had been Western Australia. The Barossa Valley had been a favourite, rich wine country with vineyards stretching as far as the eye could see.

Enzo had loved Melbourne, loved the coffee culture and all the hip little laneway bars that were only discovered if you stumbled across them by accident. Someone had suggested the Whitsundays for their next destination, and after looking at some pictures online she and Enzo had very quickly booked one of the resorts there.

The past few days had been spent snorkelling on the Great Barrier reef, reclining on the deck of the sailboat they had hired, swimming in clear blue waters, and sampling some of the amazing food at the various restaurants dotted around the island.

She thanked her lucky stars that she technically couldn’t put on weight now that she was dead and all, so had absolutely no guilt about helping herself to a second or third plate of food at dinner time, washing it down with some wine.

“That it is.” She agrees quietly with Enzo, sipping at her bottle of water, watching clouds scud across the cornflower blue sky.  

Someone whistles at them from the shore line, and she raises her hand in acknowledgement towards the skipper of their boat, sitting up and beginning to gather her belongings, shoving them back into the canvas beach bag she carried with her.

She dusts the sane off her as she and Enzo make their way over to the boat, ankle deep in the cool water before they’re being handed up onto the deck.

When she gets back to their room, she’s surprised to see an envelope addressed to her. She hadn’t given anyone an address while she’d been travelling, and so she approaches the envelope with a healthy dose of caution.

Picking it up between two fingers, she gingerly breaks the wax seal on the back, pulling out the parchment within and unfolding it quickly.

Caroline,

My brother is celebrating his birthday this year. Although I’m not particularly eager to see you anytime soon, I know that Nik would like it. Details are within.

Rebekah

She can’t help but cover her mouth, snorting with laughter as she hands the folded up piece of paper to Enzo to read.

“Rather direct, isn’t she?”

“Yes, that always has been her m.o.” She replies with another soft laugh, eyes scanning the contents of the invitation before tossing it onto the bed.

“So are you going to go?” Enzo questions curiously, leaning over to read the invitation as well.

“I don’t know. Maybe?” She answers it like a question, becuase to be honest she’s still not half sure herself.

Enzo raises an eyebrow at that.

“Maybe? That’s a complete 180 from last year when it was a flat out no. Could it be that your feelings towards the big bad hybrid have changed?”

She hits Enzo on the arm good naturedly.

“It’s not like that. It’ll just be… good to see him.” She trails off lamely, knowing that it’s a pathetic excuse if ever she’s heard one.

To be honest, she’d been thinking about Klaus a lot more lately. She hadn’t seen him in almost a decade, the last time being quite a memorable weekend they’d spent together in Tuscany, when they hadn’t done much more than have sex and drink wine from teh surrounding vineyards.

Most of the weekend had been spent in bed, Klaus determined to show her just how good they were with each other, which they were. Klaus continued to be the best sex of her lfie, and if the infuriating smile that he wore on his face every time he brought her to climax was anything to go by, he knew it as well.

But they both had other priorities. She was content to continue her nomadic lifestyle, discovering some of the far flung and forgotten corners of the world, Enzo in tow more often than not.

Klaus had settled into his life in New Orleans, ruling the city with an iron fist, his siblings still with him.

She’d never been. Setting foot into his city would be sending a message, that she was willing to entertain the idea of a forever with him. And she hadn’t been ready for that yet. But now…

“I can see that your mind has already been made up.” Enzo replies with a slow smile. “Are you sure?”

She just takes a deep breath, squaring her shoulders.

“I’m going to need a dress.”


The party below them is in full swing, members of the supernatural community mingling in the courtyard below them.

Kol leans on the balcony beside her, hair swept artfully away from his forehead, tuxedo clinging to the firm lines of his body. He sips at his drink, glancing at her for a moment.

“Did you even try to get him something this year?” He asks with a chuckle. “You’ve been surprisingly tight lipped this year sister.”

She smooths down the front of her black party dress, raising her own glass to her lips as she takes a drink.

“I tried something different this year. Apparently it didn’t work out.” She notes with a shrug, downing the rest of her drink and setting the now empty glass on the tray of a passing waiter.

Kol stares at her for a long moment, trying to figure out the meaning behind her words.

“Shame.” He pronounces with a shrug. “You’re usually much better at this. Did you order something online and it didnt’ arrive on time or something?”

She just smiles to herself, phone buzzing in her hand.

“Something like that.”

And then she thumbs into the message, reading the two words displayed across her screen.

She’s here.

The doorman of course, had been under strict instructions to keep an eye out for Caroline. He’d been provided with a picture of the baby vampire, one from her Mystic Falls days where she’d been polished and primped and wearing a ballgown.

All the same, Caroline Forbes was rather hard to miss, even dressed in plain clothes with her hair in disarray. She would know because she’d seen the girl in such a state during one memorable run in at the MIkaelson mansion in Mystic Falls.

It hadn’t taken a genius to know exactly why Caroline was doing the walk of shame at such an infernal hour of the morning. The younger girl had blushed, hair falling into her face as she had whispered a soft goodbye before letting herself out into the weak early morning light.

She had mentioned this as an aside to Kol, who had promptly teased Nik about it. Nik had snapped his neck and they hadn’t mentioned it since.

“Am I boring you?” Kol’s voice abruptly interrupts her train of thought, and she locks her phone, eyes flicking up towards her brother, who’s staring at her like she’s just grown a second head. “Where did you go just now?”

She just draws herself up to her full height, snagging another flute of champagne.

“Don’t count your chickens before they hatch brother.”


The doorman is staring at her strangely. She can’t imagine why, because she most certainly does not have lipstick on her teeth (she checked). The navy blue party dress that she’s wearing makes her tanned legs look a mile long, and accentuates the curves of her body.

Her hair, which she had spent a ridiculous amount of time on, was twisted into an elegant up do, and she was wearing a necklace that Klaus had gifted to her during their time in Tuscany.

The short of it was, she looked a million bucks.

“Caroline Forbes.” A voice drawls as she steps into the entrance of the courtyard.

Rebekah Mikaelson hasn’t changed a bit, that bored expression on her face ever present. She’s wearing a killer pair of Manolos and she can’t help but eye off the striking shoes with a bit of jealousy.

“Rebekah.” She finally answers, swallowing around the lump in her throat as Rebekah just smiles, pressing a drink into her hand.

“I didn’t think you were going to come.” Rebekah sips at her own drink as she turns, moving more towards the crowd of people, a few of whom eye them off with barely concealed curiosity. “You know, since I didn’t receive your RSVP or anything like that.”

“Sorry.” She replies to the older vampire, smoothing a hand over her hair. “I was undecided until quite recently. I did send word but apparently you didn’t get the message in time.”

“No matter.” Rebekah waves a hand dismissively. “You’re here now and that’s all that matters.”

Rebekah tilts her gaze upwards towards the balcony, and she follows the line of the Original’s gaze. Kol Mikaelson has a drink in her hand, and is gaping at her with his mouth hanging open rather unattractively.

Within split seconds his gaze lands on Rebekah, eyes narrowing as he raises his drink towards his sister in a toast for some reason.

“What was that about?” She asks Rebekah, who lifts one shoulder in an elegant shrug as the crowd clears momentarily and she spots Klaus from across the room.

He looks entirely at ease in this particular setting, his tuxedo clinging sharply to the lines of his broad shoulders, pants tailored to within an inch of their life. He’s got his head thrown back in laughter as he talks to another man, drink in hand and looking like he doesn’t have a care in the world.

“What on earth has he done to his hair?” She hisses towards Rebekah in horror. “It looks atrocious.”

She sees Klaus stiffen at that, and curses his superior Hybrid hearing as his gaze suddenly lands on her, eyes dark.

It’s perhaps the first time that she’s seen him truly caught off guard, and she can’t help but raise her glass to her lips, not realising just how much liquid courage she’d need to fortify herself with for this particular encounter.

The crowd seems to part before Klaus as he moves towards her, Rebekah giving her a gentle nudge, encouraging her to meet him halfway.

If that wasn’t a metaphor for their relationship, she didn’t know what was.

Klaus stops before her, gaze indecipherable as he reaches out, traces a gentle hand along her cheekbone.

The weight of the curious gazes around her is heavy, and she can’t help but lean into his touch as he bends, taking her hand in his, pressing a gentle kiss to it.

He straightens, and his smile is like the sun.

“Hello Caroline.”


It feels strange, being on Klaus’ arm. For a moment, she can’t help but think that Klaus is showing her off, demonstrating his power.

Until he begins introducing her to people, a hand resting dangerously on her lower back, thumb rubbing circles into where her dress does not cover up the skin of her back.

He seems content to take a backseat in their conversation, instead observing silently as she exchanges greetings with various witches and werewolves and vampires.

She sips at her drink as someone else comes to greet Klaus, and it takes a moment for her to realise why this time is so different. Klaus isn’t treating her like an object. He never has, a byproduct of his thousand or so years of existence.

No. Klaus is treating her like an equal, and the thought of that sends a thrill down her spine. So when there’s a break in the conversation she twines an arm around his waist, pressing a quick kiss to his neck.

In response Klaus pulls her closer to him but doesn’t comment, carrying on his conversation effortlessly.

Hours later as the guests begin to filter out into the street, Klaus pulls her in close to her chest.

“What are you doing here Caroline?” He asks in a low voice, tone dangerous. “Not that I’m not happy to see you, of course I am.”

She meets his gaze confidently, hand drifting up his chest to fix the lapel of his dinner jacket.

“I’m here for you Klaus.” She tells him with a smile. “You remember that weekend in Tuscany, when you let me go without a word of protest?”

Klaus’ lips curl into a smirk.

“How could I forget Tuscany?”

“You didn’t push me. And I was grateful for that, even though I did know that you wouldn’t wait around forever for me. And when you kept your distance in the following years, I was grateful. But I also missed not having you around.”

Her eyes drop to the crisp lines of his shirt as her hands drift down towards his waist. His breath is hot against her cheek, and he’s gone unnaturally still as he waits to hear the next words out of her mouth.

“You offered me forever and I wasn’t ready then. But I am now.” She says softly, hands sliding up his chest, twining around his neck as his gaze darkens, mouth hanging open in surprise. “If you’ll still have me of course.

Klaus’ lips against hers is the only answer he provides, the only answer she needs. Klaus kisses her like he’s a starving man, like he’s been deprived of something for so long.

She’s scarcely less eager to return his embrace, missing the feeling of him, the familiar smell of him.

She doesn’t protest when Klaus picks her up in his arms, using his vamp speed to get the from the courtyard to what is undoubtedly his bedroom.

He’s got her pressed up against the closed door before she can even think about it, lips hot against the skin of her neck as he nips at her with a content sigh.

His jacket drops to the floor, and she helps him unbutton his shirt, no doubt in her mind as to the direction that this is heading.

Her hands roam over the skin of his chest, catalouging all the new scars that he’s acquired since she saw him last, hand pausing over a particularly nasty looking scar, no doubt caused by some sort of stabbing.

“You’ll have to tell me that story later.” She murmurs, tipping a finger under his chin and kissing him gently.

“Later.” Klaus agrees in a low voice, hands pausing at the seams of her dress.

She’s reversed their positions in an instant, Klaus pressed up against the door with a surprised look on his face.

“Don’t you dare rip this dress.” She hisses at him, knowing his proclivity for destroying her clothes when he’s in this sort of mood. “I like this one.”

His low chuckle curls around her, a warm feeling in the bottom of her stomach as he turns her gently by the shoulders, a hot open mouthed kiss pressed to the side of her neck.

His hands on the zipper are like fire as he pulls it down slowly, fingers brushing over the exposed skin of her back as he pushes the dress from her shoulders.

It pools at her feet, and she hears his breath hitch in his throat as he runs a gentle hand down her back.

“I’ve missed this.” Klaus murmurs to her, walking her backwards towards his bed, both of them kicking off their shoes, Klaus shucking his socks as they go.

He grips her by the hips, easily lifting her up and tossing her onto the mattress, a giggle escaping her lips as Klaus’s gaze darkens.

“Come here.” She beckons to him as Klaus crawls between her knees, covering her body with his as he takes her into his arms.

The feeling is unfamiliar and familiar all at once, Klaus’ erection pressing into her core as she tangles her lips with his.

A soft moan escapes her as Klaus’ lips scorch a hot trail down her throat, face nuzzling between the valley of her breasts, stubble scratching against her sensitive skin.

“Pants off.” She orders after a momentary pause, Klaus chuckling as he does her bidding.

“A little eager aren’t we?” He asks her with an infuriating smile as he hooks long fingers into the waistband of her panties.

“We’ve got ten years to make up for.” She just breathes, watching as his face softens, hand coming up to cup her cheek delicately as he lines up his body with hers, cock nudging gently at her entrance.

She can’t help but gasp at the feeling, heel nudging at his arse as he smiles down at her.

“We’ve got all the time in the world sweetheart.” He replies before pushing into her heat with one, smooth stroke.

She’s missed this, the feeling of being filled by him, and her eyes roll back into her head at just how good it is, at how good he is.

Klaus had learnt to read her body with an almost eerie sixth sense, and he puts all of his learned knowledge into practice as he sets a rhythm that has her unable to do much more than gasp and hold on for the ride.

Klaus rolls suddenly, reversing their positions as she sways above him, a little startled. Klaus just smiles, still hard inside her as he guides her arms around his broad shoulders, hands hot around her waist as he helps to lift her, guide her up and down.

She’s always loved this position with him, loved the power and the look of awe that always creeped across his face when he saw her like this.

She bends down to kiss him, rolling her hips in a gentle rhythm against his. Klaus’ hand traces down the front of her body, thumb pinpointing her clit with an unerring accuracy.

She shudders a little when he presses there, rhythm broken momentarily as she opens her mouth in a silent moan.

She can feel the tell tale build in her core, the ache becoming almost unbearable as she increases her rhythm, anchoring her hands on his shoulders as he begins to thrust up into her with a look of concentration on his face.

She falls apart in his arms, Klaus catching her, turning and pressing her down into the mattress as he continues to drive into her, the pleasure edging into pain at the sensitivity.

Klaus knows this though, gentles the movement of his hips until it curls low in her belly once more, building impossibly fast to her peak.

They come together this time, her name on his lips as he buries his face into her neck, feels the heat of him inside her.

She runs a hand through his sweat dampened hair, breathing slowly returning to normal as he pulls out and heads for the bathroom, returning in the next few moments with a damp cloth to wipe themselves down with.

When he’s done he pulls her into the circle of his arms, a content exhale as he props one arm under his head, staring up at the ceiling.

They don’t have to say much. They never do in moments like this. But she feels like she has to say this.

“I love you.” She whispers into the skin of his chest, Klaus stiffening momentarily around her before he’s pressing a gentle kiss to the back of her hand, eyes brimming with emotion.

He doesn’t say it back but that’s okay. She knows that he’s felt this way about her for a long time, and she’s not going to get hung up on her insecurities like she used to when it came to him.

The moment is perfect, and she wouldn’t change it for the world.

“I hope you’ve got space in your wardrobe for all my clothes.” She voices out loud suddenly, propping herself up on her elbow to face him.

Klaus’ burst of startled laughter is like music to her hears.


On the lower levels of the house, Rebekah Mikaelson pours herself a victory drink, Kol glowering on the lounge opposite her as the fire crackles merrily away in the hearth.

“Do you concede?” She asks of Kol, who just glares at her, cracking his knuckles a little threateningly.

“I concede.”

Caismo - A sure-footed creature that uses the bioluminescent organs on their forehead to guide others through the thick fog of their seaside habitat.
(7x5, drawn on bristol board with Prismacolor pencils)

u guys are sleeping so hard on maine gothic 

  • thousands of island dot the coast line, unfound and unknown. so many that people are unsure which are real and which aren’t. Aunt Sarah’s Ledge, Deadman Point, Pound of Tea and Poverty Nub. and the 26 all named Bar. boats blow past them in the night and there’s no sound on the radio. just static.
  • old men, hands as rough as rope, toil endlessly on piers. night after night, their boats docked in the inky water, they hum an ancient tune and grin at the sea as if they’ve seen it’s worst and they know that while nature is cruel men will always be crueler.
  • people say the devil burns hot. up north they say other wise. they say the devil is the open woods, freezing and laughing as you load your rifle with another round. but you can’t shoot darkness, kid. there’s nothing there. 
  • the paper mill is closed. the paper mill is starting up every morning in the same way, the sound of machines whirring to life and the march of footsteps. you throw a rock at a window and pretend you don’t hear shouts when it shatters the glass. the water wheel turns and the paper mill is closed.
  • witches don’t die. they take classes at the university, 13 members of the occult, class of ‘79. they stain grave stones, with feet and hearts, the only parts of the girls that didn’t burn. witches don’t die, not here anyway. they roam the graveyard at night and run surprisingly seamless websites. 
  • there are no billboards in maine. no “hell is real”, no “jesus saves”. so people make do. they paint it on barn sides and picket signs. they scream it from the mountain tops and sear it into your heart. they feel it in their gut, late at night and later still, when the church two towns over burns down and you swear you can still smell the smoke. 
  • there’s a one stoplight town with a grocery store and a gas station that kisses the canadian border. people stare at you as you drive by. you’re from around here. they know that, they can tell by your skin and teeth and smile. from around here, but not from here. not here, not here, for the love of god, not here
  • there’s a car stalled on the I-95. a neon diner sign, never turned off. an old bean factory, a rusted bridge and schoolhouse that hasn’t seen a child’s face in ages. there’s a feeling of belonging, of shells between your fingers and of fear. there’s a signal on channel 6, but no pictures. just static.