Here is the next part to Certain as the Sun. ***WARNING: EXTREME EXPLICIT CONTENT*** I hope you all enjoy reading it as much as it killed my heart to write it. (That’s all the spoilers I’ll give. Please prepare yourselves). Sorry it’s also super long.
I could think up about a million different possibilities as for why the hell Tamlin had sent for me to be brought to the Spring Court and none of them involved him letting Feyre go so that she could return home with me.
When I had first received the note from none other than the High Lord of the Spring Court himself, Amren had advised me to ignore it.
“It’s a trap,” she’d said, eyes blaring. “What good reason would he have to send for you?” When I’d addressed the rest of the Inner Circle as well, they’d had similar thoughts. There was one thing we all agreed upon, and that was that Tamlin had not invited me to his home for a nice brunch and some polite conversation.
When I’d tried to reach out to Feyre again I had been met with that dark, infinite void. She had not contacted him at all since she’d returned once again to the Spring Court. And although I was certain she must possess some perfectly good explanation unbeknownst to myself, it still struck some sort of chord that she had severed herself from me so thoroughly.
Nevertheless, I had agreed to meet with Tamlin. Morrigan and Amren were both waiting just on the outskirts of the Spring Court should I need their assistance. I’d ordered Azriel to take to the skies and keep watch from there, Cassian flanking my side. Normally, their roles were reversed, but in great thanks to that bastard King of Hybern, we still had not found any cure for Cassian’s ruined wings.
He had not yet come to terms with it, and over these past months, I could tell that there was something that was a bit off about my fellow Illyrian warrior. I could not begin to imagine the pain that came with being without your wings—for Illyrians we’d sooner lose our lives than the one thing that kept us from being fully tethered to the ground. Every day that Cassian chose to continue was another that my respect for him grew.
Even if that did mean getting rip-roaring drunk with him more than usual.
“Well, Tamlin’s certainly got a flair for the extravagant,” Cassian mused upon coming face to face with a ridiculously gaudy table sat decoratively in a corner. It seemed to have no use whatsoever besides showcasing Tamlin’s less than desirable personality traits.
No sooner did the words come from Cassian’s lips did a servant come to take us to wherever Tamlin was hiding out. He was a small, young Fae. Exceedingly pointed ears were a light shade of green at the tips, his eyes wide at the sight of the two warriors before him.
The boy swallowed before speaking. “Master Tamlin has ordered me to fetch you,” he said, fighting to stop his voice from quivering so much. “Please follow me.”
He promptly spun on his heels and walked out of the room, not bothering to ensure we were following him.
As we were led through the utter maze that was the Spring Court dwelling, I was shocked at how many memories were associated with this place that had once been like a home but was now nothing more than a living hell.
Finally, the boy led us to a set of dusty rose-colored double doors. His timid fingers lightly rapped on the door, followed by a, “Come in.”
As one we all filed inside. The room was big and spacious, a single table set with four chairs instead of just three did not escape my notice. This particular room had been peculiarly made with mirrors on three of the four walls, as well as the ceiling, giving it the illusion that you were standing in a pool of Starlight due to the sun that refracted off of them.
And standing at the lone window in the room was none other than the High Bastard himself.
Tamlin turned upon hearing our arrival, a welcoming smile adorning his lips. “Rhysand. Cassian,” he greeted. As he made his way over to us, I noted that his choice in clothing was just as flamboyant as his furniture. He wore a finely tailored red tunic with bright silver trimmings, grey pants, and black boots. His hair graced past his shoulders, and sitting atop his head was the infamous Spring Court crown. It looked decidedly uncomfortable.
“I trust you made it here without any trouble,” he continued.
“Your trust is accurately placed,” Cassian said with more than a hint of malice.
Tamlin just nodded, keeping that pleasant smile on his face. “Well, please sit. We’ve much to discuss.”
Neither Cassian nor I moved.
“I don’t have time for whatever mind tricks you’re trying to pull, Tamlin. Perhaps you’ve forgotten that that is one area—of many— that my performance supersedes yours,” I replied coolly.
That smile drooped ever slightly.
“I don’t see your Lady floating about,” I remarked. “Keeping her locked away for fear I may meddle with her mind again, are we?”
“Funny you should mention her, actually,” Tamlin’s eyes glittered with something that had my senses on high alert. “Feyre,” he called, “would you please join us?”
A moment later I heard the doors that we’d entered just a few moments ago open and then shut once more. I forced myself to breathe, not to react, to calm myself as Feyre came into view.
She was wearing a dress similar in fashion to what Tamlin was wearing, a pretty diadem sat upon her head. Feyre did not glance our way as she rushed to Tamlin, her lips meeting his as soon as he was within arm’s length.
Tamlin scooped her into his arms, Feyre leaning into his touch as his hand moved further south than should be permitted in front of an audience.
Cassian was taut as a bow, his hands clenching and unclenching were they were hidden behind his back. It took all my strength not to turn Tamlin’s mind to putty then and there, and I could tell similar thoughts were indeed running through Cassian’s mind as well as we were forced to watch helplessly as our High Lady shoved her tongue down another man’s throat.
“How are you today, my love?” He asked. She smiled broadly, one she had only ever graced me with when she was incandescently happy.
“I’m well, thank you,” she replied, beaming at him. “I got some more paintings done today.”
She nodded, biting down on her lower lip, eyes sparkling. “I was feeling oddly inspired this morning…perhaps due to—”
“Either we get on with whatever business, or the two of you get a room and we leave,” Cassian interrupted. As much as I wished I could say that I would have been able to stand there for a few moments more and let them go about their business, it was killing me to see her this way.
When Feyre had visited, she’d told me she had to do things to keep up appearances. Things that she was not proud of. She hadn’t specified at the time, but there was no need. I knew exactly the kind of things she probably had to do to keep up the facade that she was hopelessly in love with Tamlin.
And yet, the wrath deafening my ears came as a surprise.
Indeed, it was one thing to be told, and another entirely to experience.
“Feyre, you remember Rhysand, I’m sure. And the other is Cassian. His…advisor.”
I couldn’t help the low chuckle that came as a result of his words. “You think you will anger me by disrespecting not only my title but a member of my court as well. It will take much more than a few insults, princeling, for me to reveal my true self.” His brows rose. “And I assure you, your claws would not like to become acquainted with my talons.”
He was quiet for a moment, eyes calculating.
Finally, he spoke. “You know what? You’re right. So very right, Rhysand. How foolish of me to think I could rile you with belittling you insignificant and, frankly, foolish court of savages anyway?” My teeth set. “It would take something much more…personal, I think.”
It took less than a heartbeat for Cassian to have his swords drawn, me reaching out to strangle Tamlin’s mind as the room was flooded with ten guards. They all immediately came at us, and I was more than prepared to fight our way out of this cursed kingdom with Tamlin tisked.
“Spill a drop of their blood, and your beloved mate loses her head.” It took me a moment to realize what he was saying, an infinitely longer moment for it to process. For when I looked at where Feyre had once been standing like another pretty piece of Tamlin’s furniture, she was now being held by three guards.
I forced my face into a mask of calm. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, you crazy bastard.”
His brows rose in mock surprise. “Oh really? You’ve no clue that Feyre is, indeed, your mate? That she’s been pretending this entire time to love me when really, she had staged everything just to infiltrate the Spring Court. A spy within my own walls, hiding in plain sight.” He paused, as if waiting for me to answer some unspoken question.
“Well then, if you have no feelings whatsoever for our lovely Feyre, here. I suppose you’ll have no problem watching this.” I watched as he snapped his fingers and a table decorated with over a dozen lethal weapons, a whip, and strangely, a bed appeared.
“As you know, the punishment for such treason is death.” He stalked towards Feyre, whose eyes had gone devoid of all emotion. As if she’d shut herself out of her own body. With one finger, he lifted her chin, forcing her to meet his gaze. “I’m sorry for this, Feyre. I really am.” A regretful shake of the head and then, “Get on with it, boys.”
Immediately, Tamlin’s guards began to strip Feyre, yanking at her dress, tearing at the pins and beads in her hair until she was entirely naked before us. Once finished, Tamlin handed a long, black whip to the nearest guard. Something winked at the end of the whip—glass, I realized with unabashed horror.
“You’re going to whip her to death?” I asked, somehow still managing to keep my voice utterly bored.
Tamlin shrugged. “We’ll see how well she holds out.” He nodded at the guard, and I was sure my heart cleaved itself in two as Feyre took in a deep, shuddering breath, preparing herself for the pain that was sure to come.
The guard’s arm reared back, time seeming to slow as his arm came down.
The resounding crack of leather on skin was one that would haunt me for many centuries to come.
Feyre only released a strangled cry, biting the inside of her cheek to keep from calling out. And that was how it went as the guard whipped her again, and again, and again. I lost count sometime after fifty.
I knew that Feyre’s back had stopped healing itself when she finally released a cry so full of agony, it was all I could do to stop from ripping that whip from the guard’s hands and using it myself.
Tamlin allowed the guard to bring down that leather ten more times before he finally said, “Enough. Get her up.”
They heaved her up, Tamlin slowly circling around her like a lion before its prey. When he was once again facing her he murmured, “Get on the bed.”
Feyre looked at him, her eyes burning like liquid amber. But she did not respond, and she did not move. Only stared at him with a look that promised death in the future.
“Get on the bed, Feyre, or I will instruct my guards to seize your mate’s cousin and bring her back here.”
“I don’t know who you’re talking about.”
“Pretty little thing isn’t she? Bright red lips, beautiful honeyed hair. The only family Rhysand has left if I recall correctly. It’d be a shame for dear Rhys to be the only left of his name, wouldn’t it?”
And then Feyre looked beyond Tamlin, her eyes locking with mine. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry,” they seemed to say.
“I’m going to kill you.” My voice was quiet, but it was filled with a vow I had every intention to keep.
Tamlin didn’t turn to me as he said. “I don’t believe you’ll have the chance.” He inclined his head toward the waiting bed. “Off you go, Feyre.”
She hesitated for a moment, gaze still locked with mine before she obeyed.
“Now, Rhys, since she is your mate I figured I’d offer. Would you like to have a go? Feyre has…well, not really two choices but two possibilities,” he finally turned to meet my gaze. “Either you join her in that bed and fuck her…or I will, gladly, as you watch. You’ve thirty seconds to decide.”
“Rhys.” I looked over at Feyre to see her shaking her head, her eyes swimming not with tears, but with a sort of determination that only came with acceptance. “Don’t do it. Do not agree to this.”
“I’ll be fine,” she promised.
“Feyre—” Cassian tried.
“I will. Be. Fine,” she said, sternly this time.
And I wanted to believe her, I really did.
I wanted to believe that this wouldn’t be the thing that broke her, being raped by the man who had once claimed to love her. I knew he wouldn’t be gentle with her, even after being whipped. The man who had once been thought to be her savior, lover, friend.
But Tamlin was none of those things.
And I couldn’t, not for the life of me, believe that she would still be Feyre after this.
“Alright,” Tamlin sighed, “I guess I’m—”
“I’ll do it.”
“Now, now, Feyre. Let him finish.”
Cassian turned to me, anguish in his eyes. “Rhysand, you don’t—”
“I’ll do it,” I repeated, ignoring him. “I’ll sleep with her.”
“Well then,” Tamlin grinned, “I don’t believe you need me to instruct you on how to go about your business.” He gestured towards Feyre, towards the bed, my damnation.
I watched in horror as Feyre fought back tears at my approach, and all I could pray for was that she’d one day forgive me for this, for this sin I was about to commit.
She slid to the side as I rid myself of my clothing, by back to Tamlin’s gathered audience. Her eyes never left mine as I finally joined her on that bed.
“It’s alright,” I whispered my lips at her ear. “It’s just me. It’s just me.”
She couldn’t respond, she was shaking so hard. I’d never seen her shaking so violently. Feyre lifted my chin with her finger, her head shaking.
“Don’t stop looking at me,” she begged. “Don’t leave me. Please.”
“I won’t,” I promised. “I won’t.”
Slowly, Tamlin be damned, I made sure to honor her body, despite all of the new scars, worshipping all of her newly inflicted wounds. I wanted Feyre to know it was me, that despite this terrible act we were being forced into, it did not mean that I loved her any less.
When I finally connected our bodies, she let out a slight gasp, her eyes, now swimming with tears, still never leaving mine as I moved, my body cocooning hers, careful of her wounds.
“I’m here,” I whispered down the bond, “I’m here. I won’t leave you. I love you.”
Perth-based artist Laura Adel Johnson’s light installations never cease to amaze. Using fairy lights as her medium of choice, she explores ideals of human connectivity and emotions throughout her ongoing series of stunning sculptures.
Johnson was first inspired to use lighting in her practice when she saw the “gaudy” Christmas lights and decorations during her 2007 residency in Omaha, Nebraska.
Her skin was pale and promised a softness that he hadn’t
experienced in years; a direct contrast to the delicate black lace that peeked
over the gaudy rhinestones that decorated her dress.
She was, as always, pretty.
But with her hair down and her lips painted vivid red, for the first
time Sherlock saw that she could be truly beautiful. The potential was there; had always been
there, even though he’d refused to acknowledge it before that moment. Were Molly draped across his bed, wearing
only that tantalizing lace with her hair spread across his pillow, the urge to
fall to his knees in supplication before her would have been impossible to
The ache of want
that rolled across his nerves made him uncomfortable. He needed to put a stop to those sorts of
intrusive thoughts. Immediately. His gaze took in every detail of the room and
Molly, looking for something to draw his focus.
There. Her bag of
His eyes narrowed as he took in the perfectly wrapped gift,
and his skin went cold with the shock of an emotion he dared not name.
“I see you’ve got a new boyfriend, Molly, and you’re serious
Summary: After a series of events leave her life in pieces, Emma Swan finds herself hitchhiking out of Maine, her wallet empty and her heart broken. The best she hopes for is a driver who isn’t a pervert and takes her far away from the painful memories of Storeybrooke. But when she finds a ride with a quiet truck driver named Jones, Emma discovers that maybe a trustworthy friend is all she needs.
The name of the bar blared cheerfully from a green marquee over the front
doorway. Despite the cold, the door was
thrown open, emitting a generous belch of country music and beer-fueled revelry
from inside. Gaudy poinsettia decorations blinked from the front windows, a
tinsel-clogged wreath dangling from the door handle.
“The Four-Leaf Clover, huh?” Emma
said as they trudged toward it, their boots crunching in the gravel of the
parking lot, cars clumped tightly together at the far end. “Sounds like a fun
Would the Inquisition take time to celebrate Feast Day (which I think is their version of Christmas??) and what would the companions (and Advisors) say to the Inquisitor giving them gifts?
I think Satinalia is the closest equivalent, so here you go. Happy Holidays
and a Happy New Year to you all!
Cassandra: She likes the decorations and everything, but she’s usually too busy to really consider the holiday, and she doesn’t exactly want to go visit her family. She’s shocked as the Herald presents to her a first edition copy of the first Swords and Shields, and her heart swells with affection. She stammers awkwardly at first, trying to find the proper words, before finally just beaming at them. “Thank you! Thank you so much… this is so thoughtful of you, Inquisitor.” She tries to look in the market for something in return. If in a romance, he puts a rose in the cover of the book, and she’s blushing so much as she pulls him aside for kissing.
Iron Bull: He had never really participated in any of the holidays in Thedas, which he never grew up with on Par Vollen, but he likes the decorations and food. The Herald presents to him a dawnstone great axe for the holiday, and he almost weeps at its beautiful. “You’re the best, Boss!” he says cheerfully. “I can’t wait to kick some ass with it!” He hears what Blackwall’s up to, and the Chargers come the morning of Satinalia to help deliver all the toys. If in a romance, they give him that plus half another dragon tooth with the base covered in dawnstone. He responds by carrying them up to the bedroom.
Blackwall: He decorates a little tree or a little bush (whatever he could find) and decorates it modestly on his workbench. He starts carving a lot of little wooden toys for the kids in the refugee camps, and works for hours. He only pauses when the Herald drops by with a gift, a scarf with a griffin sewn on it, and he beams and laughs and thanks them. Dennet sees him later at work in the early morning hours, breath visible but the scarf around his neck. He gets Sera’s help on the actual holiday and delivers the toys to the refugees. If in a romance, the Herald helps him make the toys, and he instead wraps the scarf around her neck.
Sera: She starts tacking mistletoe on every precarious spot of the ceiling and giggles as flustered passersby realize what they’re standing under. When she hears about what Blackwall’s up to, she starts dropping by with little toys or materials for his work. She also spends time helping him by painting some of them. The Herald drops by and, although uncertain as to what to give her, they present her with a new quiver, and inside is a stuffed plushie of a honey bee. She drops the quiver and squeezes the plushie tight, and hugs the Herald just as tight (with a kiss as well, if in a romance. And time on the roof if it’s not too cold).
Cole: He’s not sure how to feel about the holiday– most people are happier and cheerful, but there’s a few with the blues, for various reasons, be it loss or disdain for the holiday. He does his best to make those who are sad feel a little happier, and he tries to help Blackwall with his little project. Come the morning of, all the refugee children are happy, and it makes him happy. The Herald gives him a new hat with less holes in the brim, and while he still likes his old hat better, he’s thrilled because they want him to be happy and they care.
Varric: He likes Satinalia well enough, he supposes, though he gets tired of the same holiday songs being sung in the tavern. When he hears what Blackwall’s up to, he buys numerous toys to donate and feels pleased with his work as he sends along gifts to a few of his friends. The Inquisitor drops by with a fancy new quill and ink set and a pair of socks, because they weren’t certain what to get for him, but he seems happy and thanks them. He’s surprisingly more excited by the socks than the quill and ink set.
Solas: He observes it all from the sidelines and views past celebrations to get some idea of what Satinalia is like, nowadays. He otherwise keeps to himself and comments little on all the decorations and hubbub. The Herald surprises him with a bunch of new paints for his art, and considering how expensive materials are, he’s actually very happy. “Thank you, Inquisitor.” he says brightly. If in a romance, he kisses Lavellan (who probably doesn’t celebrate the holiday but gave out gifts anyways) to thank her. Maybe this holiday is a good thing that should be one of the few things kept…
Dorian: He doesn’t really care much for Satinalia– it meant cold and gaudy decorations and the same songs sung for too long. This year, it was more bitter, trying to reconcile fond memories of the holiday as a child with his family with the reality of his relationship to them now. Though, the others are having fun, so he leaves it be. The Herald drops by with a surprise– an expensive bottle of wine he had been eyeing for months but never obtained, until now. He grins and thanks them profusely, and offers to share it with them. Maybe the holiday wasn’t so bad after all. If in a romance, he giggles. “Oh, amatus, you know me so well… come, let’s go to your chambers and share this, shall we?”
Vivienne: Skyhold does well enough decorating, but she has seen the splendors of the Winter Palace this time of year, done up in reds and greens and silvers and golds with the likes of which you’ve never seen. She uses her magic to levitate various decorations onto the massive tree brought into the hall, which now sits where the Inquisitor’s throne usually is. She hears what Blackwall’s up to and orders many toys to be delivered to his stockpile, though she doesn’t comment on it. The Herald gives her a mask inlaid with opals– the newest in Orlesian fashion– and she is thrilled. “Thank you so much, Darling,” she says warmly, “I can’t wait to wear it to the next ball!”
Josephine: She’s very busy this time of year; she organizes gifts to be delivered to households who support the Inquisition,
sends toys to Blackwall’s little project once she hears about it,
gifts to those in the Inquisition, decorations around the keep. That’s not even the start of it; there’s also parties to arrange and attend, ordering the tree to be delivered, and all along with her normal duties. She insists she loves the holiday, and that it is, in fact, her favorite. If not in a romance, the Inquisitor finds her a copy of her original family crest, which makes her so, so happy, and she thanks the Herald. If in a romance, the Inquisitor (who already gave her that) instead gives her a porcelain doll she had been eyeing now and then in a catalog but was too embarrassed to order. The doll holds a rose as they give it to her, and she squeals and blushes and kisses them.
Cullen: He’s too busy to really think much about Satinalia or celebrate, but he does smile a little to see all the decorations when he goes about the keep. He has no idea how Josephine manages to do all of this with a smile. The Herald distracts him one day and sends a crew to quickly as possible fix the hole in his roof, which genuinely surprises him when they get back. They also give him a tin full of shortbread cookies, and he’s a happy man. “Thank you.” he says, genuinely pleased. If in a romance, he smiles warmly and kisses her, and they hang out on his bed and eat the shortbread cookies together. He doesn’t even mind the crumbs.
Leliana: She actually helps the Herald with gift advice if they need it, and assigns an agent to make sure no one steals any of the gifts Blackwall’s going to hand out, but doesn’t comment on it. The Inquisitor gifts her a fancy pair of red shoes for the holiday, and she smiles and thanks them. If they have a party later, she can be seen wearing them.
BONUS: Dragon Age 2 and Origins. Enjoy!
Aveline: She’s busy as ever trying, organizing patrols and schedules– ‘tis the season for pickpockets and robberies abound. Nevertheless, she tries to dole out some time to spend with Hawke, who throws a party in their mansion, and she brings Donnic. Hawke gifts her a new shield, which she rather likes, and she thanks them. And they also get a box of condoms from Isabela, which she’s less thankful for.
Carver: He visits for the holiday from whatever he’s doing, and he enjoys his time with his sibling in the mansion. They bicker, as always, but it’s affectionate bickering, or at least some of it is. The day of the holiday, he finds a long box addressed to him, and he opens it to find a brand new sword, shiny and sharp. He goes a bit red in the face and thanks his sibling.
Fenris: He’s never had much time to celebrate Satinalia, always too busy doing work for Danarius, but the last few years in Kirkwall have given him more time. He attends the party Hawke throws, and they surprise him with a bottle of red wine. He grins. “Ah, just what I’ve always wanted. Thank you, Hawke.” If in a romance, he accompanies the thank you with a kiss.
Varric: The last few holidays have been a bit bitter without his brother, but he attends the party Hawke throws. He ends up enjoying spending time with his friends, who end up exchanging gifts and playing Wicked Grace and eating snacks and getting drunk. Hawke just gives him a big bottle of whiskey, which he’s pretty pleased about. “Thanks, Hawke. Come on, it’s worth sharing.”
Isabela: She thinks that Satinalia is fun only when accompanied by partying, and so she is pleased to hear of a party for the holiday at Hawke’s house. It comes closest to a family holiday party, and she ends up really enjoying herself with her friends. Hawke gives him a fancy new hat from the hat shop she loves, and she grins. “Oh, Hawke, you shouldn’t have! Thank you, sweetness.” She kisses them, on the cheek if not in a romance, on the lips and other places if in a romance, though she waits for the others to go before the kisses those other parts.
Sebastian: “Keep Andraste in your hearts this Satinalia!” he says time and again, but the others mostly ignore him. Still, he attends the party and has a good time, as good a time he’s had since his family was murdered– they’re like family enough. Hawke gives him his helmet that looks like this. Then they assure him that they’re joking and actually give him a little statuette of Andraste, which he’s actually happy about. If in a romance, he actually gives them a betrayed look when they give him the helmet, but he does laugh about it.
Bethany: If a Grey Warden, she managed to get some time off to spend with Hawke. If a Circle Mage, Hawke had to bribe numerous templars to get her just for a few days. In either case, she enjoys the time at home, and Hawke takes her all over Kirkwall to go shopping. Hawke presents to her a new gown, much to her delight, and she hugs her big sibling happily. It’s just like how it was before everything…
Anders: He shows up to the party, and tries his best to not delve into talking about the plight of mages, at least for the evening, though he does shove his little pamphlets into various nooks and crannies of the house. Hawke shocks him by giving him a tabby kitten for the holiday, and he almost starts crying, he’s so happy. “Thank you! Oh, he’s so cute!” he gushes. “I’m going to name you… hmm… Sir Pounce-a-Lot II!” He proceeds to spend the rest of the party cuddling his new kitten and babying it. If in a romance, he keeps showing the kitten to Hawke even though they’re the one who bought the cat in the first place. “Look, love, can you believe it? We have a new member of the family!”
Merrill: She’s never really celebrated this holiday before, but she enjoys the party Hawke throws and thinks it’s great fun as she ignores Sebastian trying to tell her about its meaning. Hawke gives her a basket of all sorts of colors of yarn, and she gasps and beams. “Oh, it’s so pretty!” she squeals. “I’ll never lose my way around Kirkwall again! Ma serannas, Hawke!” she cries as she hugs Hawke tight. If in a romance, she squeals and kisses them and tries to make them a hat or something with the yarn.
Alistair: They don’t really have time to spend on the road celebrating Satinalia, but the Warden surprises him with a holiday gift they bought from the last town they passed. It’s a variety of Ferelden cheeses in a tin, and he grins. “Oh, wow! Thank you! This is perfect!” he exclaims happily. If in a romance, he beams even brighter. “Cheese and a wonderful woman. I couldn’t ask for better gifts.”
Oghren: He’s doesn’t really care about Satinalia one way or the other, but the Warden brings him a big bottle of booze as a present anyways. He grins and cradles the bottle. “Well, now. I like this holiday now. Thanks, Warden. Come on, share a drink with me.”
Sten: He doesn’t care about or think about Satinalia at all until the Warden gives him a plate of cookies as a gift. He stares at them for a moment before taking it. “Thank you.” he finally says. “It is a good gift.”
Shale: She’s seen the holiday many times before, and she hates it because villagers would put ugly decorations on her or get drunk and piss on her. She is baffled when the Warden approaches her with a big, remarkable diamond. “It… is trying to give me a present for the holiday?” she asks. They nod and confirm it. “I still despise the holiday, but thank you.” she says, taking it happily.
Loghain: He enjoyed Satinalia when Anora was younger– seeing her eyes light up at all the gifts was a sight to see, and made all the work worth it. The last few years haven’t quite been the same, but he pauses when the Warden brings him a botanist’s map of Thedas. Finally, he smiles and thanks them.
Dog: He gets a big beef bone and thanks the Warden by giving them numerous slobbery kisses.
Leliana: She loves Satinalia, from the decor to the music to the goodwill. The Warden gives her a Chantry Amulet, and she responds by grinning ear-to-ear and hugging the Warden– and kissing, if in a romance. She then grabs her lute and proceeds to sing a holiday song for the party by the fire.
Zevran: He hasn’t celebrated the holiday for years, not since before he joined the Crows. As a result, he doesn’t have any particularly strong feelings about it, but he does crack a wide smile when the Warden gives him a bronze bar. “Why, what’s this? A gift for me? Really?” he asks, sounding incredulous. Finally he settles for giving them a kiss on the cheek (or the lips, if in the romance, and sex) in thanks.
Wynne: The mages of the Circle would usually decorate for the holiday, and the templars would allow them a tree to decorate and a feast. She misses it as they’re out in camp, but doesn’t mention it to the Warden– they have enough to worry about as it is. They surprise her with a brand new book to read, and she smiles. “Oh, this is so sweet of you. Thank you.”
Morrigan: She has never celebrated Satinalia, and finds it a waste of time and resources, and mentions it as such when they pass through a village all spruced up and ready. She and Alistair proceed to snark back and forth at each other about it, but she loses interest rapidly. Later, however, she is surprised with a golden necklace inlaid with amethyst that the Herald presents to her. “I am… grateful. Thank you.” she finally utters. “I understand this is for the holiday…? Well, then. ‘Tis a fine gift, and you have my thanks.” If in a romance, she sighs and shakes her head at him. “A hopeless romantic, you are. Nevertheless… thank you.” she says with a kiss.
Nathaniel: He enjoyed the holiday as a boy with his family, but it always seemed a bit off, somehow. He tries to ignore the tree in Vigil’s Keep, and doesn’t comment much on the day, at least until the Warden presents him a new set of locksmith’s tools. He’s silent for a moment before thanking the Warden and smiling slightly.
Sigrun: She oohs and aahs at all the decorations and food and music and stories. She likes it quite a lot, and likes it even more when the Warden gives her a gift of a snowglobe. “Oh, it’s so pretty! Thank you!” she says cheerfully.
Velanna: She spends most of her time shitting on the shemlen holiday when she sees all the decor, but she’s suddenly silent as the Warden gives her a gift of an elven runestone. “I hope you know this doesn’t mean I like the holiday,” she says finally, “but thank you. It is a good gift.”
Anders: He would like Satinalia if all his memories weren’t of it being spent in the Circle. He’s not sure what to make of it now that he’s free, but he decides he likes it as he sits in a comfy chair in the keep, cuddling Ser Pounce-a-Lot in his lap. The Warden gives him a knitted scarf, and he grins. “Oh, thank you! It’s perfect.” Instead of putting it around his neck, he puts it around his cat and smiles.
Justice: He’s baffled that people are busy celebrating instead of trying to correct the injustices still left, but he does feel that Kristoff loved this holiday, spending it with his wife– so it can’t be all bad, he reasons. The Warden even gives him a gift, a book titled Verses of Dreams, which he likes. He thanks them and takes to reading the book with gusto to give justice to the Warden who bought the gift.
Oh ho ho? What is this? Well judging by all the gaudy decor hanging around the bureau and the multitude of glittery cards and chocolate stuff under our door, it must be Valentine’s day! That’s right guys, gals, and nonbinary pals - it’s that special day and Taako has a sizzlin’ special date ;)
No fucking way, man, Valentine’s day is dumb as hell. And I’m not just saying that ‘cause my date cancelled on me or some equally lame excuse. I just honestly, genuinely, don’t care. This wizard slash chef has bigger things on his metaphorical plate, thanking you VERY much.
Also? Company parties are the pits, my guys. Like hell I’m going to that blah fest.
Nah, boy, instead this seems like a great opportunity to chillax with my boys, throw on my comfy pants, ring of frost some sweet bevs, and kick it with a Boy’s Night In!
And what do all good good adventure boys need for a perfect Palentines day?
Hot diggity shit, that’s right! Today’s dish is…
PAN-TASTIC PAN PIZZA!
Now, just so you know, this one dooooess take a bit of prep work, so be sure you either prepare in advance, or start early!
The new Peaky Blinders Fan Fiction featuring the volatile baker we know and love, Alfie Solomons. I like the slow burn when writing folks - so if you’re looking for sex on the desk in the first chapter, I got nothing for you. Yet ;)
The Man With The Beard
of a lively jazz quartet spilled out from the dimly lit club windows and into
the crowded evening streets of London. The
stained glass casting sparkling shadows upon the pavement that had been
carefully swept free of the normal London dirt and grime. Here
and there, people dressed in attire that ranged from evening garb, to meagerly
thin peasant coverings, milled about or were scurrying to their destination. No one wished to linger on the city streets
as the night rolled in. With
the music was heard the tapping sound of a cane that changed it’s staccato beat mid stride to accompany the beat; suggesting it’s user perhaps did not have as much
need of the apparatus as he implied.
Elegantly garbed men brushed past with their
equally adorned ladies on their arms, as the doors swung wide to admit them
into the glitzy establishment beyond.
Perhaps they would not be so rude with their mumbled halfhearted
apologies, if they knew to whom they hastily spoke. The man who was abruptly pushed cursed aloud
as another rushed past, bumping him off stride. A deft move of his wrist and the gentleman
soon found himself kissing the hard cold London pavement. A solid oomph whooshed from his prone
form. From his low station, the man raised himself halfway
to sitting, and shaking his head turned to see a man wearing a top hat; arms
crossed and brow furrowed. The offending cane held tight in his hand.
devil are you about man?! Do you
know…” but before the man could finish,
he was rapped once upon the head, and with a bellowed “yeah, fuck off eh,” the
man stepped passed without a glance backward.
Quickly he gained his feet intent
on pursuing him, but one of the elegantly garbed door man stepped forward
quickly and with a hand on his shoulder, halted him.
if I were yew. Do ya even know who he
rightly care who he thinks he is. The
man requires a serious lesson in manners and gentlemanly decorum!” And with that he continued past the beefy
doorman and on into the brightly light expanse of Eden Club.
yerself,” the doorman mumbled as he stepped forward to assist a lady from her
music was near deafening, though the groups and couples that sat around small
tables, or crowded into side booths didn’t seem to mind. A few danced on the polished marble dance
floor. As it was still fairly early in
the evening, the place was not filled to capacity. Tuxedo garbed waiters rushed about the
place, but still managed to look almost as haughty as the clientele. A few scantily clad lovely ladies added to
the overall expensive and somewhat gaudy decor. It
was through this noisy, chaotic mess that Alfie Solomons and several of his
lackeys made their gradual way to the side office of the club’s owner Darby
Out of the corner of his eye,
a flash of silk caught and held his attention.
Alfie glanced towards the young female server that easily balanced a
tray of drinks in her small hands as she navigated the crowd. She was dressed in that new style that was
becoming all the rage inside the clubs, but had not taken to the fashionable
crowds beyond just yet. Though the
bodice was low cut, it was not overtly revealing, and the style suited her
slender, yet curvy frame. Her long, dark,
wavy hair was caught back in a sparking head band, which accentuated the exotic
lilt to her eyes. Alfie took in the full
lips that parted into an easy smile as she arrived at the table and greeted the
customers, handing each one their drink with a nod in return. Then she turned with grace upon the
impossibly high heels and headed towards another table. Silently he thought to himself; she looked as good
going, as she had coming. He paused
briefly to watch the long straight curve of her back and the swish of her
skirts, thinking perhaps it might be nice to dally around after his business with
Sabini was finished. He didn’t normally
publicly socialize with business partners, or in such places, but as his eyes
continued to follow the young woman, he thought she was definitely worth some
extra time. And any risks.
It was just
at that moment the man from the streets caught up to Alfie and grabbed him by
the lapels of his long overcoat. He
pushed a ruddy face that now held beads of sweat, into Alfie’s own surprised
face and proceeded to unleash a string of curses upon him.
immediately appeared at Alfie’s side, two of his own and two of Sabini’s, that
had witnessed the man rushing towards Alfie, his face flushed red in
anger. They pushed the gentleman
backwards and held tight, while casting nervous backward glances at Alfie. His top hat had been knocked askew in the
shuffle, and Alfie slowly bent to retrieve it.
As he righted it upon his head once more, his head dipped down to glare at
the man beneath furrowed brows. His
men and the bouncers immediately held their breath and awaited the forthcoming
explosion of rage. Alife folded his arms across his chest and
slowly began to walk towards the man who had assaulted him. Again.
And inside the four heads of his protectors a silent chant of “oh shit
oh shit oh shit” began. But their
outward faces remained stoically silent, though paled considerably. When Alfie was within reach of the man, he
dared tried to speak again, though Alfie had not uttered one word.
came so fast none of them were really sure he had even hit the man. The next thing they knew he was just sprawled
out upon the painted tiles. Blood
already spilling from his nose.
Fuck off yeah.” And with that he turned
around in disgust and proceeded towards his destination as though he had merely
swatted some annoying insect from his path.
The music never stopped playing.
As he glanced up, he noted that Sabini had already exited his office,
having seen the altercation through the small window, and was coming towards
him hand outstretched.
hell Alfie? Ya come to my club and start
trouble? I thought we were
grunted and shrugged his shoulders, “Yeah well, he weren’t my friend now were
glanced down with a frown at the still out cold man and with a nod towards his
men who had intervened, turned back to Alfie with a hand on his shoulder. “Then fuck him, right?”
I told him.” Alfie gave a rare chuckle
and together the two men entered the office to discuss business, while Sabini’s
men dragged the unconscious gentleman towards a back door to the club. All the customers wisely kept their gaze
focused on the Jazz band playing upon the stage.
entered the office, he glanced one more time towards where he had last seen the
beautiful young woman. Perhaps he could
make inquiries to Sabini after they talked.
As his gaze quickly scanned the interior, it finally came to rest on a
darkened corner. Even from this far
across the room he could guess her eyes were a beautiful shade of hazel. Illuminated as though the only star in a
dark sky, from where she stood leaning against one of the pillars, her face
caught in the soft glow of the wall sconce behind her shoulder. Her gaze hovered just past him, not really
resting on him, as though the light from the suddenly opened office door had
briefly caught her attention. Alfie
froze in place, hoping to catch her eye, but alas a waiter appeared at her
elbow and whispered something in her ear, and just like that – she turned on
her heels and was gone. Alfie was not
even aware of the heavy sigh that escaped him as he crossed the threshold and
greeted his somewhat not always old friend.
Which knight of gwyn would you think be the best big sibling to have
Let’s see them one by one:
Hawkeye Gough: BIG. Carves you nice stuff, has a pleasant voice, and just his “Hello!” is enough to fill you with determination. Can shoot a dragon with a bow down with no eyes. Smells a little like glue.
Artorias the Abysswalker: Noodleman. Lanky man with scoliosis and bad posture. Likes dogs a lot and keeps around a bunch of them. Popular dude with a big fanclub. Teaches gymnastics in a school.
Lord’s Blade Ciaran: TINY. Makes no noise. In fact, you never really remember you live together until you see her now and then. “Keeps” a wasp hive on the roofing outside of her room. The most dangerous.
Dragonslayer Ornstein: Gaudy. Decorates his room with way too many severed dragon heads. Eccentric, but kind and funny. Accidentally flushes the toilet while you are in the showed. Buys very expensive shampoo.
It wasn’t that the place was unsavory… it was simply loud. In very nearly every sense of the word. From the gaudy decorations consisting of red velvet drapes and plush chaise lounges. To the random hodgepodge of foreign pieces, from oriental rugs to egyptian hookahs and everything else between that lent to the decadence of the establishment. And mostly certainly it was loud due to the cries of the gamblers in the main hall, drunk and rowdy and hoping to win it big.
Past the gambling room, through more red drapes, music could be heard filtering in, along with the shouts of dancers and performers and those who were raptly watching them.
Despite the nature of the place, everything seemed clean, well lit and well taken care of. So no, it wasn’t exactly some unsavory club that he had been dragged to. It was–
“A den of iniquity,” Phryne supplied, a grin plastered to her face as if she could read his thoughts. “You can say it, Jack.”
Maybe she could? Jack frowned slightly.
“I will refrain from making any judgment until I have at least stepped inside. Especially since I am not currently on duty.”
“Good. Because I doubt an Australian Constable can do much policing in London. Come on!” She plowed forward, vivacious and giddy as always. And he followed her, just as he had followed her to England. Just as he had followed her since practically the day they met.
As soon as they entered the gambling hall proper, Jack found it more boisterous than originally thought. Especially when a loud roar built up from one of the roulette tables. All in all it seemed quite definitely a place Phryne would frequent, and he now very nearly regretted agreeing to let her show him ‘a night on the town’ as she had so blithely put it.
But then Phryne’s hand was slipping into his, and she was dragging him across the room to where there was music playing.
If the gambling hall was crowded, the dancehall was bursting. The band on stage were upbeat and lively, professional dancers stood on either end of the stage, swaying to the melody. The dance floor though was a crush of people, some pressed together in decidedly untoward ways while others were more rambunctious, feet flying and the ladies twirling in and out, their skirts fluttering.
“This is more like it!” Phryne said, leaning into his side, close enough so he could hear her over the music.
Jack wasn’t quite sure about that, but nodded encouragingly nonetheless. He spotted the bar lining the back wall, and pointed toward it. Phryne’s face lit up, and she looped her arm through his as they made their way toward it.
Drinks securely in hand, they managed to confiscate a small table in one corner. It afforded them a rather clear view of the stage and dance floor. Phryne was enthralled, of course, watching with rapt eyes as her foot tapped along with the music.
The women on the stage were lovely, their beaded skirts swaying this way and that with each movement of their hips, each flick of their heeled feet. Some moves were simple, others were more provocative and Jack was reminded of another time, another show.
“I dare say you could show them a thing or two,” he murmured close to her ear. She slowly swiveled her gaze toward him, a catlike grin curling her lips.
“Don’t tempt me, Jack.”
“I doubt you would be the only one who was tempted.”
Her eyes sparkle in approval, glittering in the low lights and never straying from his. “Dance with me.” She rises ever so slowly, one graceful hand extending toward him.
Jack flicked his gaze toward the dance floor again. A waltz was one thing, but this was something entirely different. He met her challenging gaze again.
“I’m afraid I don’t know the dance.”
“I dare you!” Her mouth was twitching, amused but determined and he knew there was no sense in arguing. There never was. Phryne is a force of nature, and all he can do is be swept up by her. So drained his glass and stood up, taking her hand in his.
In the blink of an eye, Phryne is pressed flush against him, her lips brushing the shell of his ear even though their corner is quieter and he could hear her perfectly fine before.
“Besides, you’ll figure out the steps. You always do.” Phryne brushed her lips against his cheek in the whisper of a kiss, and then took a step back, heading toward the crowd of dancers.
This time, however, Jack does not follow Phryne. This time he takes her hand, and together they step onto the dance floor. Perfectly in sync.
Notes: Here we go again, sabolus and anon. Loosely based on this post; I take no credit for the idea.
Luffy stood in front of the vendor’s stall, head cocked to one side, finger under his chin as he gazed with surprising intensity at the goods arranged before him. He seemed to be stuck between a rubber duck with a comical pirate hat perched on its head and an eyepatch with equally gaudy decoration.
“C’mon, Lu, we’ve got places to go,” Ace urged gently, wondering how long his younger brother was going to spend staring at the junk laid out before him. When Luffy didn’t respond, Ace turned to Sabo for support, but the blond just shook his head with a slight, “what can you do?” kind of smile.
It goes without saying that Bloomington is an expensive place to live, but when it comes to renting, the costs are astounding. The past several years have seen an accelerating expansion of residential construction, driving rental prices to the highest in Indiana, and making Bloomington one of the most economically unequal cities of comparable size in the entire country. The vast majority of residents only see the results of this process: the enormous new buildings occupying the downtown landscape, sprouting up in islands all throughout the city. What they do not see is the targeted planning that goes into it. The actual procedure of urban planning happens out-of-view of the public, and if a concerned citizen is interested in finding out what’s really going on, they are met with a slew of hundred-page legislative documents riddled with legal and economic jargon, complicit media reports equating urban development with prosperity, and gaudy digital infographics decorating the interior of the Showers building.
In this first of a series of articles, the carefully constructed narrative regarding so-called “affordable housing” in Bloomington will be undone, presenting a clear picture to residents on the way the city obscures the problem of affordable housing by how it defines this term.
What is affordable housing? Affordability, of course, is relative. Affordable for whom? In common terminology, affordability is a term reserved for those with little expendable income, namely wage-workers, working 40 or more hours per week, attempting to support themselves and their families. It is clear then that affordability in this sense does not mean affordable for everyone, but pertains to economically vulnerable individuals and families. Indeed, affordable housing is referred to as “workforce” housing in the city’s legislative language. The question then is, what is the cost of affordable housing and how is this number calculated? It depends on who you are talking to, and what their motives are in defining this term. The city has a peculiar idea when it comes to this. The metrics which they use to determine affordability for working individuals reflect the attitude they have toward economic development in Bloomington. The city and the common council recently put these metrics into practice when negotiating the terms of their agreement with the Chocolate Moose in building the future Urban Station on south Walnut, already under construction.
Urban Station will be a model downtown residential property designed specifically for “Economic Revitalization,” a carefully chosen term veiling the process of gentrification already well underway on the south side. The process of urban development in Bloomington, a city where an astonishing 70% of renters are what is considered rent-burdened, that is, contributing 30% or more of their annual income toward rent alone, presents political problems that will not be solved by constant growth in the building sector. Instead of addressing these problems directly, the city has decided to change the terms of the discourse to mask the issue behind their growth projects. With the Urban Station development, the city has made a spectacle of demanding that 10% of units be reserved for these so-called “workforce housing” units. This, they say, avoids the trade-off between building luxury housing and displacing the working poor. Here is the point at which things become obscured, and it all comes down to how “affordability” is defined.
The Urban Station agreement laid out by the common council stipulates that in exchange for a heavy tax abatement for the developer– 100% the first year and descending by only 5% per year thereafter until the sixth year– out of 146 bedrooms total, a paltry 15 will be reserved for individuals making 80% of the area median income (AMI), and a maximum price of $641 per bedroom set for these units. According to the city’s statistics, this is the maximum price at which a person qualifying for the local Living Wage Ordinance could afford to pay if 30% of their annual income was devoted to rent. Setting aside the fact that $641 per month for a single bedroom is clearly pushing the limits of affordability for just about everyone, there is much more to be said about these carefully chosen numbers. First of all, the Living Wage Ordinance sets a minimum wage at $12.32 per hour. This ordinance, however, only applies to the select few workers of contractors, sub-contractors, and companies receiving city money; it is not universally applied to the average wage-laborer in the city of Bloomington. The vast majority of people in Bloomington do not qualify for the Living Wage Ordinance, but instead make the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
Despite this, $12.32 per hour is the figure the city used to come up with the maximum affordable housing price per bedroom of the Urban Station high-rise. The city then estimated that there are 2080 work hours in a year for an individual, multiplied that by the Living Wage Ordinance figure to come up with an annual income of $25,625 per year. Taking 30% of that, the previously stated rent-burdened figure, the maximum price per bedroom was set at $641 per month, or, roughly $7,687 a year. Now if this process is repeated using the state minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, the maximum monthly rent of a bedroom would be $377 per month, or $4,524 a year, nearly half of the cost of rent the city considers “affordable”. If an individual worker was making state minimum wage and renting one of these “affordable” housing units, that means they would be devoting over half of their yearly income on rent alone. In short, the city used a bogus figure for income that only applies to an extreme minority of Bloomington workers to come up with the numerical definition of “affordable”.
Now, it is true that the property owner can charge less than $641 per month as a maximum for these 15 units if one were to qualify. The monthly rent of one of these “workforce” housing units could be $377 per month if someone was making state minimum wage and qualified to rent there– the city’s process of calculating affordability would then be applied to them. But who qualifies to rent there is completely at the discretion of the property owner. Who would trust the intentions of a luxury developer to charge less than the maximum amount per bedroom for renters? As stated, it is simply on the basis of the Living Wage Ordinance that the maximum price is calculated; this by no means implies that only those making minimum wage, either Living or Federal, are able to rent these units. To legally qualify for one of these “workforce” housing units, as stated, one would simply have to make 80% of the AMI, or $36,750 per year, more than double the yearly income of an individual making state minimum wage. A person living on this income would have to pay $918.75 per month if the same process the city employed was used to calculate their monthly rent based on “affordability”, but because the maximum price per bedroom is legally set at $641, this renter would have to pay only that. In other words, affordability, in the sense it is presented by the city, is determined on incomes which do not reflect the most indigent, but instead a section of the population that can more accurately be deemed middle class. Make no mistake, it would be obscene to characterize someone making almost $40,000 a year as undeserving of affordable housing, but the city is very far from making housing units even relatively affordable for the lowest of income workers. Not only are the working poor excluded from accessible downtown housing by luxury high-rises, but by the very “affordable” housing units supposedly reserved for them. In other words, luxury housing is not only built at the expense of the poor, but in their name.
This is the city’s tenuous basis of “affordability”. No, it’s not an accident, not an innocent miscalculation by a well-meaning economist; it is their plan. Already the city has celebrated this compromise with the Urban Station developers as a potential model to be applied to future housing development projects in Bloomington– a model that gives only the appearance of consideration for low-income renters. But giving the appearance of something is precisely what the city’s common council is after; it is, in fact, their only consideration. With the deadline to begin construction of the city’s Certified Technology Park quickly approaching, and with it the development of more luxury housing units, the appearance of wealth is what is truly at stake. These housing units will be specifically designed to attract wealthy renters with vast amounts of expendable entrepreneurial and corporate capital, and the city wants to do its best to make sure these areas are as attractive as possible. For the working community of this city, however, this garish appearance will only be made possible by their disappearance from these areas– they will be driven out by the endless deluge of moneyed interests intent on “revitalizing” these areas. And all of this will happen due to the city’s ability to claim these future housing units will be “affordable”– that they will somehow cater to the poor– thereby constantly obscuring what affordable truly means to the working population of Bloomington. The city very much has a plan for Bloomington, it is just not a plan that includes the poor.
Jake looked around at the gaudy, pink decorations all around him and groaned internally, praying that nobody he knew would see him here. Madame Puddifoot’s heavily perfumed teashop definitely wasn’t a place he’d like to be spotted in. “So…is there a reason you wanted to meet me here?”
Tbh I think Hohenheim and Ed are more similar than they think. Like really take a look at Al’s armor, it’s pretty tacky. Who would really have full suit of gaudy armor for decoration in their study??? Like father, like son. BOTH DORKS.