fierce as ever

8

endless list of favorite characters + Haley James Scott

“ I’m usually one of those people who likes the first day of school. You know, new pens, new books, new backpack. A nerd. Exactly! “

I remember years ago, somebody once said to me ‘Oh, you’re one of those angry women.’ Well, how can you not be angry in this world? I mean, I’m very angry, but anger can be very creative.
—  Mary McDonnell, 1993
Sword Oratoria

So awhile back I picked up the first volume of the Danmachi spinoff LN in a buy two get one free sale thinking that it was a manga. I was initially disappointed because I didn’t really want a LN at the time, but since I bought it I figured I might as well go ahead and read it. 

I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. It’s certainly not the pinnacle of fantasy writing, but I was engaged in the story and wanted to know what was going to happen next. I appreciate that in the spinoff it focuses on Aiz and her familia doing badass things in the dungeon rather than Bell being a newb and getting stronger. Aiz is already basically a god among men, and it lets the story go somewhere different than the original. 

While the writing is for the most part fairly simple (though I suspect this is partly because of it being translated and also that LNs are typically aimed at a younger audience and tend to not use a lot of advanced Kanji, which probably translates to the somewhat punctual and simple sentences that LN translations seem to have) the author has a real knack for describing large scale tactical battles. Sure Aiz is pretty OP and well wreck things, but in the really lower levels of the dungeon if they don’t work together and have a strong battle plan they’re just gonna die. 

I also appreciate that in the LN the world is fleshed out a lot more. World building is one of my favorite things in a show or book, and the Danmachi anime didn’t go into too much depth about the various things. The LN goes into much much more depth about how all the systems work, the various familia, cool little things about the world and so on. Also the dungeon is just fucking cool. Each floor can be completely unique, with almost no restrictions placed on what it has to look like or be which leaves the author with incredible freedom to dream up the wildest floors they possibly want. 

I wasn’t really expecting to enjoy this book very much, but it’s a solid fun read. Something like a 6-7/10 if I’m going to give it numbers. If you liked Danmachi at all, or sort of liked it but wanted a different view of the world this is a nice book to pick up. Only the first volume has been officially translated, but they seem to be coming out with new official translations every couple months. I’m sure there are fan translations floating around too, but I haven’t looked for them. 

So ya, fun book. There is an anime adaption scheduled sometime this year too. I think next season, but maybe the one after. That should be fun. 

2

Bratz 15th Anniversary by Hayden Williams

15 years ago today, Yasmin, Cloe, Sasha & Jade - The BRATZ AKA “The Girls with a Passion for Fashion” debuted in 2001 & changed the fashion doll game becoming a global success!!! Sassy, fashion forward, edgy & diverse, these girls were the most fierce friends ever!!! I’ve loved them since they launched & always will!! Happy Birthday Bratz!!

I don’t see any evidence of ISIS backing down. The news that keeps on coming out of Washington – and this is not just the Trump administration but also the Obama administration – is that with every territorial defeat that ISIS is on its back legs, that they’re losing fighters, that they’re in disarray. And I’ll tell you from my perspective of being on the ground [in Mosul, Iraq], they look more fierce than ever. They’re fighting tooth and nail for this territory. And they’re doing it through numerous innovations, from the tunnels, to the use of drones to attack enemy positions, etc.
—  Rukmini Callimachi, NYT reporter on ISIS. She was embedded with Iraqi troops as they battled to liberate western Mosul from ISIS.

I was in the car with my friend and we got on the topic about how we get to print a t-shirt at the end of the year in digital design class.
I looked at her and said “NAME THREE THINGS I REALLY LOVE.”
She replied with “robbie rottens chair, goddad and velveeta shells and cheese.”
Oooooh boy I did it.
Also that t-shirt is what i would draw him in when i was im 6th grade??? Idk but i didnt know how to draw. Let alone draw his armor so i did that shirt.

Sam did not wait to wonder what was to be done, or whether he was brave, or loyal, or filled with rage. He sprang forward with a yell, and seized his master’s sword in his left hand. Then he charged. No onslaught more fierce was ever seen in the savage world of beasts; where some desperate small creature armed with little teeth alone, will spring upon a tower of horn and hide that stands above its fallen mate.
—  Sam’s battle with Shelob, The Two Towers
Just A Drop of Water in an Endless Sea (part 1)

It cracked.

He felt his power limiter crack in the middle of the night, and shot up as though waking from a nightmare. No no no no no. He didn’t heart it crack but it knew for sure he felt it crack and peel away the edges of his skin. He threw the covers off himself and turned to sit at the edge of the bed. He looked at his hands as they shook. He could feel beads of sweat drip down his clammy face.

The spot where his limiter was fused into his skin…oh, did it burn. More fiercely than ever before, hotter than any flame he’d ever encountered. I need to rip it out. I can’t fucking take it anymore!!!

Anti stood from the bed and paced the floor. No, no, don’t—it’s the only thing keeping you sane. The limiter burned even hotter and Anti fell to his knees, screaming. Dark’s eyes flittered and the second his half-asleep brain heard Anti’s screams, he threw himself of the bed to console him, kneeling to Anti’s level.

“Anti, ANTI! Listen to me, what’s wrong?!” Dark screamed. Anti couldn’t reply; he just screamed in pain, tears pouring from his eyes. Dark was relieved to see no blood, yet. He looked back to Anti’s back. The marble stone craved with ruins that was fused into his back was cracked. There was a puncture mark right in the middle, and three cracks branched out from the middle. Did he hit something in his sleep?

Dark ran back to the nightstand and grabbed his phone. His fingers fumbled and slid on the screen as he frantically dialed Marzia’s number. The phone began to ring, but, as he put it up to his ear, the phone sparked and shocked him. He looked at the screen- it was covered in black and green ones and zeros, like a wall from the Matrix movies. Anti’s glitch?! Did Anti consciously do that or was that…

“RIP IT OUT DARK, PLEASE.” Anti pleaded. “RIP IT OUT AND KILL ME.”

Dark knelt back down to Anti’s level and gently, but firmly, grabbed his head. He wiped Anti’s blood and tears away with his thumb…he didn’t have much time. What did he do?! Could he talk Anti out of going berserk? “I’m not going to do that, man. Look at me. Look at me—this isn’t you. You’re better than this.”

Shut up. SHUT UP. The more Anti looked at Dark, the angrier he got…why wouldn’t he just stop talking?

“If you’re doing this to my phone…make it stop, okay? Let me call Marzia…or Commander Padula.”

Saliva dripped from Anti’s mouth. He was just so…god damn…hungry.

How…did demon taste?

“D-dark…help…me…” Anti cried. His frown turned to a crooked smile.

“…Anti?”

Anti lunged at his throat and sunk his teeth deep into Dark’s flesh, pinning him to the floor. Dark tried to fight back, tried to throw Anti off him, but Anti wouldn’t budge. Anti pierced his claws into Dark’s shoulders and Dark gurgled and screamed. Anti ripped his claw out of Dark’s shoulder like it was paper. Dark didn’t have the energy to scream…

This is how I die. Dark thought; he stopped trying to fight back. At least I die in Anti’s arms…hah…

Anti threw himself off Dark and into a wall. “S-STOP!!!” Color fluttered in and out of Anti’s eyes- he was still there, trying to fight back.

Fight it, Anti…fight back… Dark slowly reached his hand to Anti, who was throwing himself against the wall. Please…if that’s the last thing I see…I want it to be you…you… Dark’s arm fell. His eyes rolled in the back of his head. He breathed his last.

With each hit against the wall, Anti glitched, like a computer screen flittering in and out. He fell to his knees again and screamed. His glitch surrounded him and teleported him out of the room.

A fire began at Dark’s feet and drifted to his chest, then his neck. The fire swallowed his head…leaving behind nothing but ash.

___________

Bea walked back to her post, excited to finally kick off her shoes for the day. She tracked an ursa kaiju all day, and would have continued into the night if Sukino hadn’t kept texting her, pleading her not to exhaust herself. She took his advice, to get him to leave her alone albiet for today. She did enjoy the thought of catching up on some new books she checked out from the northern Archives.

She came upon the tree that housed the CDO rest area for knights and field agents, and was just about to knock on the door, when she felt a huge wave of energy from behind her. She wiped around and saw Anti, knelt down in the snow, screaming.

“Anti?!” She screamed, rushing over to him.

Before she could get to close, he screamed, “N-NO. D-DON’T!”

“B-buddy…you okay? What’s going on?” She stuttered. She’d never seen him like this…his mouth, bare chest, and claws were covered in blood.

 t͜͏͢o͏͜͡o̵̕͜͞ ̴̀͢͝҉l҉͘͡o̢͠n̵͜͜g̀͘.̧́͘͠.̷́͘.̛́

͞҉n̡̛͘̕e͞҉̛ ̷̛͞é̢͘e̶̢̕͝ ̴̧͟҉d̵͘ ̴͘͟҉͞ ̷̕ ͘͝͡ó̴͟͢ ̀͟͜͜ ̢͟҉̛͝u͢͟͟͡t́͘̕

̛̛͠

̧̢͏n͘͟͝e̸͘͟͢e̡͢ ̸̢͜͞d̵͢ ̸͜͏̴҉b̨͘l̷̡̨͢ ́͝҉b҉͜ ͟͢l͢͏ ̀̕͠o͢҉̛ ͘̕͝o̷̸͡͠ ̨͢͞d̷̸̡̕͠

“NO. HELP ME. DARK, HE…HE’S…”

̵͝͏

̶̀͞ķ̵̀͠͞ ̸̵̡í̵̶̀ ̷͝l̷͠ ̸̵̡͘l̶̶̷̸

̧́No. No! Just calm down. Breathe.” Bea’s eyes were open wide and her breathing became fast. She was NOT trained to handle a situation like this. Kaiju? Any day of the week. Berserk Anti? …she knows very few that have ever had to deal with that. She knew one thing for sure; it didn’t need to be solved with her sword. “We’ll figure this out. You’re going to be okay. You are strong. You are in control. Just breathe.”

́͞n͝͞e̵̸͢͜͝ȩ̕d̵̡̀͡͡ ͠͏͏́t̢́͝҉́ǫ̧̢͜͞ ̵̶̀K̢͘I̢̨̨͘͡Ļ͠L͏̢͏

“B-bea…please. I—“

h̢̀u̵͢͟n̸͢g҉̶̢͟͞ŕ̨̕͢y̷̧ ̧̢̀͘

“I don’t WANT THIS I DON’T WANT TO DO THIS PLEASE!!! If anything happens please know you’re a good f-friend, I—“

̷̀͜͡

H̡͟͜͝ ̵̢̡͟͝Ų̕͝͡Ǹ̴̕͟͟ ̵̨͘͢͜Ǵ̵͘͝ ̸͡҉R̷̷̡͢͝ ̷̨͝Y̨̡͏͏̛

̵̴̷̢

̶̷͡D̴̡̛͞I̷̡E҉̧͝ ́͟͠D̷̸̛͝ ̢̢I͟͡͏ ͏͏Ȩ̶ ̕͏̢̀D̷̡͠҉̷ ̛͘̕ ̵̵́͟I̴̢͘͞ ̵͜ ͡E̸͞ ͘

Bea approached him, staying cautious. From her side, a portal appeared. Bea turned and faced the portal; there’s only two people she knew who could create complete rips in space and time…

C-B stepped out of the portal and literally tapped the portal shut with duct tape. “Sup bea! If I were you, I would maybe hide.”

“I don’t hide, C-B.” She looked back to Anti, screaming in agony. “We have to help him. He’s hurting. He’s not okay. Do you have anything at the library that can help us?” She knew there had to be some way, anyway, to help him. The library must have SOMETHING.

C-B chuckled; it was strange to watch her laugh. It was a noise that came from her, rather than her mouth opening to let out a laugh. “Oh hon. It wasn’t a suggestion.” She look a finger nail and ripped a slit in space time, then opened it wider with her hands. “Go.”

Bea looked at the portal she had just created with malice. What was C-B planning? She knew she wouldn’t do anything to hurt him…right?

C-B grinned and flexed her arms, kissing one of her jumper covered biceps. “I got these bad boys to help.”

She wasn’t sure of what to do. Stay and defuse the situation? Leave and not witness C-B’s wrath? She trusted C-B…to an extent. C-B worked for the CDO, yes, but only out of sheer boredom. Could she be trusted to not hurt Anti?

Wait. Why wasn’t Dark anywhere to be found? She glanced into the tear; it led to the Brighton CDO offices. She should use this tear and go find Dark and Anti’s home. “…Fine.” She stepped into the tear, but looked back and her eyes met with C-B’s.

“Sorry bab, don’t worry. He gonna be alright. Go now…and don’t tell C-A I’m here.”

Anti rose, glitching in and out of existence. The color had completely left his eyes. A wicked grin spread across his face. His head cocked to the side. He glared at Bea and C-B, his food. He could not speak. He cackled through gritted teeth. Tears mixed with blood dripped down his face…

He watched as Bea left via C-B’s portal and charged towards her, only to be stopped by C-B; holding him back with only her arm. She tossed him aside like a rag doll. “Hey, kid, there’s no way I’m showing you my real form. Not when you’re like this.”

C-B had ached to see this side of Anti. The Anti that had the CDO a buzz with rumors. The Anti that made everyone question the line between demon and kaiju. Being an Eldritch being, C-B knew many things. And it made her time on this earth, this plane of existence… boring. Anti…made it interesting. No one knew what Anti was. The theory floating around C-B liked best was that Anti was something between demon and kaiju…and man. A new creature…

A Seiten Taisei. A great sage that equals heaven.

Anti leapt at C-B and sunk his fangs into her shoulder; C-B rolled her slit-like eyes rather than flinching. She grabbed him by the neck and pinned him to the ground, face first. She saw the cracked power limiter and shook her head. “Of fuckin’ course.” She took the power limiter between her fingers and ripped it from his back, then crushed it in her hand. Anti screamed and wriggled, then calmed…and soon fell asleep. “Of course, the CDO gave you this stupid rock to make things worse.” She left him face down in the snow and walked to the still-open portal Bea left through. She walked through and quickly made her way to a first aid kit, grabbed it, then made her way back through the portal. She took out a bandage and placed it on Anti’s open wound.

She picked him up by the fat of his neck like a mother kitten and took him through the portal, towards Marzia’s office.

___________

Bea, with the help of a CDO employee, found Anti and Dark’s home. She tried to open the front door, but, it was locked. She was thankful it was; she knew they weren’t stupid enough keep their door unlocked. She knocked on the door, awaiting an answer. She had Anti’s cellphone number, but not Dark’s…she didn’t want to break into their home. But she had to; she had to know if Dark was okay.

She backed up and surveyed their home…she looked up and saw a window; maybe they didn’t lock their windows? It wasn’t quite spring yet, so there were no vines to climb, but maybe she could climb the brick. It was tricky, but she managed to get her footing, slipping a time or two, reaching the window. It opened; turns out they didn’t lock their windows.

She hopped over the window sill and landed in an untouched room; this was probably one of the guest rooms Sukino talked about. “Hey…” Bea called out, “Dark? You home?” No reply. She stepped out of the room. There were two other rooms, another guest room and, finally, their bedroom…

Painted with blood.

Bea’s hands flew to her mouth…what had Anti done?

She looked down to the pile of ashes in the floor. Right in the middle laid a little red baby bird, wings flittering, picking up some ash. Bea knelt and reached her hands out to the bird—it was her first instinct, even after all she saw.

“Hey…hey little guy…what are you doing in here?” The bird cocked it’s head at Bea, then hopped into her open palms. She stood, carefully holding the bird. It hopped in her palms, eager to see her. She looked back down to the ash, quite tears streaming down her cheeks…

Dust. When demons died, they turned to dust.  

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
The most of Bea and C-B’s lines were written by the ever talented @brittany-san and @fleecal !!! Go give them love and hugs ‘cause they are fantastic and I love them.

2

MAGS, THE 11TH VICTOR

CapitolTV has released a second set of Victory Tour posters from their archives, and we at Capitol Couture are in agreement; they couldn’t be any more beautiful. It’s fair to say that few of us living in Panem today have ever laid eyes on these rare and precious artifacts, with them having been sealed in the Capitol vaults for over 60 years.

Mags Flanagan, immortalized here as a young woman, looks as fierce and tenacious as ever. Her triumphant win in the 11th Hunger Games made her a household name and Panem’s sweetheart for years to come. It’s incredible to think this stoic girl is the same woman that smiled so warmly and fought so valiantly alongside Katniss Everdeen in the 75th Hunger Games.

Fashioning olive fatigues, Mags’ vintage look feels surprisingly on-trend with the current wave of militia attire. This, paired with minimal makeup, makes Mags look devastatingly elegant and timeless. Could Mags have been an overlooked style icon? Capitol Couture thinks so.

As fabulous and eye-catching as this heroic imagery is, and while Mags returned to the Games during the most recent Quarter Quell, these iconic Victory Tour posters remained under lock and key until now… perhaps saving them for greater impact when the message was needed most by The Capitol Gamemakers? Only time will tell.

Don’t forget to follow Capitol Couture for the latest fashion and news from across Panem.