greater weight

D&D Dungeon Design: Contrast

image source: map from AD&D Tomb of Horrors module

Using Contrast

When building a dungeon for your campaign, keep contrast in mind. What is contrast? Well it’s pretty black and white: it’s just a juxtaposed difference in two things.

High contrast draws attention to those differences, each one becoming stronger. That’s why complementary colors, light and dark values, or sharp and blurry edges near one another draw your attention in a piece of artwork. If you want to draw attention to an encounter, area, or concept in your campaign or dungeon, sharpen that contrast! Deviate from the norms and standards you have presented your players, and their emotions and brains will snap alert and focus on exactly what you wanted it to.

Low contrast does a few things. First, it sets a standard of comparison. Areas of low contrast in a dungeon would be the approximate challenge rating of the dungeon, so when easy or difficult encounters are juxtaposed next to it the players realize how different it is. If the majority of rooms are symmetrical, rounded, and neat, then once that is contrasted with an asymmetrical, sharp-edged, rough room will be a huge eye-opener. Without low contrast, we cannot have high contrast to compare it to.

Low contrast in a dungeon also gives the brain a rest. After long periods of deliberation in combat or a puzzle, getting back to that low-contrast standard is a mental break an relief for a player. It’s sort of a recovery time that helps balance the pacing of a dungeon.

Lastly, low contrast creates anticipation. In our cinematic world we have been acclimated to, all of us today know how stories should work. If everything is the same for a long time, then things are more likely to change soon. This is that feeling of anticipation; we keep searching and exploring for that difference in design or mechanics and when it finally resolves we get that sweet, sweet rush of endorphins that says “yes you were right it had to change sooner or later.”

Here are some examples of how contrast can be used to psychologically guide and manipulate your players (boy that sounded a lot darker than intended):

Encounter Type

The type of encounters in your dungeon, when lined up in sequence, can be contrasted. A combat encounter has very different pacing from a puzzle or a skill check or roleplaying encounter. If you chain together a series of combat encounters, it will wear down the party and add tension and importance for whatever breaks that chain. A puzzle will suddenly carry greater weight. This contrast is sort of why in practice, when building encounters, you sprinkle a few puzzles or skill checks or roleplaying encounters throughout the combat in your dungeon. It gives players a break and lets them relieve that tension that’s built up from combat and lets them use a different part of their brain for a bit.

One the flip side, when you have a bunch of non-combat encounters chained together, it creates a sense of anticipation. D&D is a combat-focused system, so players are just waiting for something to just out at them. This holds true in “funhouse” dungeons like the Tomb of Horrors where actual combat is few and far between, but puzzles and traps abound: there is a sense of abject terror filling the dungeon as players become more and more neurotic from only solving puzzles.

Encounter Difficulty

Each encounter is always immediately compared to the encounter that came before it. You can use this to your advantage. For instance, if you want your players think your boss is even more powerful than the CR says, have them fight a few easy minions right before the boss. Suddenly, the Bone Devil hits seem far more dire and frightening compared to those Kobolds that they just faced, even if it’s normally an appropriate CR for the players. Contrast here acts as a psychological boost to the drama of a boss fight. On the other hand, a difficult encounter immediately followed by an easy encounter is a point to relax your players’ brain juices after a mechanically difficult encounter. Players need this or else they will start to feel as used and abused as their characters.

Left: Asymmetry, sharp corners, and tight spaces make players uncomfortable. Right: Symmetry, round edges, and open spaces are comforting.

Room Design

Visual design is also important (and my specialty). Visually, contrast is a means of showing the viewer what to focus on. Points of low contrast are less important while areas of high contrast are more important. I will go into further detail in a future post on guiding player movement, but for now:

  • Complexity: More complex rooms are more intimidating and take longer to explore while simple rooms are more approachable and take a mere moment to take in. Juxtaposing complexity of a room vs. the encounter within should ideally create balance to avoid either overwhelming players or boring them. Good practice would be putting a complex encounter in a simple room or putting a simple encounter in a complex space. This contrast will also bring attention and focus to the encounter, rather than the space (which is typically what you want). Symmetry could also be considered simple while asymmetrical would be complex.
  • Shape: Visually, sharp corners evoke conflict, while round corners create a sense of comfort. If you want your players to worry, add some additional angles to your room using alcoves or room dividers. Besides, adding angles to a room where a combat encounter is about to happen gives players more environment to play with. If you want your players to feel safe, like in a sanctuary area where no monsters are likely to enter, round out the room or add round objects to the room like pillars or statues. Placing these rooms next to one another will draw attention to and enhance this psychological difference.
  • Scale: A large room begs players to linger and explore and creates a sense of the sublime: something larger and greater than the players. An ideal place for a boss encounter. A small room or cramped space means players won’t stick around. It creates tension and unease and compels players to move forward; a good place for a trap or a surprise. When compared to a large room, the small room will look smaller and the large, larger.
The Thing about Mary

It’s been awhile since I made a post about Mary… it’s overdue. *cracks knuckles, limbers up fingers*

It made no sense. None of what they wrote made sense. What was the narrative point of Mary? To “create” Sherlock Holmes and John Watson? I call bullshit; they were already that without any external help. Moreover, if that was her purpose all along, she sure did a lot to destroy that very thing: the dynamic of arguably the most famous and celebrated male friendship in English literature. Just in case we’ve forgotten: 

Mary started undermining both John and Sherlock, individually and together, from the moment she appeared on the screen. She had already interrupted John’s attempted proposal once to excuse herself to the bathroom or wherever she went (”Now then, what did you want to ask me?”)*, then interrupted him and corrected him and laughed at him throughout. Her pattern of gaslighting, demeaning, and manipulating him continues through every moment of their shared time together on screen. Nowhere is it more evident than in the opening of His Last Vow, wherein she basically follows textbook procedure on gaslighting, from correcting his perceptions (”about a month, actually”, “see? That does happen!”) to doing it in front of a third party (humiliation) to questioning his motives and abilities (”why you?”) to outright forbidding him to do something (”you can’t go”) to inserting her presence where he clearly didn’t want it, then trying to sugarcoat it all by giving him a compliment - one which he reacted to not with pleasure or a softening of his obvious anger, but with a terse statement that he was already aware of what she was complimenting him on. It’s an abusive relationship, full stop. 

*Shout-out to @blogstandbygo​ for pointing this out in our recent hang-out with @addictedstilltheaddict​ and another friend in Toronto last week

She inserted herself between them from that very first scene and made it clear that any form of friendship they were going to have was to happen through the medium of herself, and only on those terms. This was so clear to John that he patently disguised his intention to see Sherlock to her as of their first conversation about it (during which she was openly mocking his blog posts about Sherlock, another form of demeaning and humiliation). This forced brokering of their relationship led to John eventually being ousted from his own friendship with Sherlock (who was too distracted by Moriarty to notice Mary’s machinations, alas). John was so unhappy with this dynamic that became the least like his canonical self that we had ever been shown before that point, going so far as to actively seek out an affair. This is decidedly not like John Watson, the man who got himself arrested because someone insulted his best friend. Loyalty is as much a part of John as his thirst for adventure. He was made to feel so superfluous by the wife who compared him to a dog and the friend who didn’t notice what was going on that he was looking desperately for escape. 

Mary, on the other hand, never gave John her loyalty. She never even gave him the truth. She died without him even knowing whether her name was really her name (doubtful, given the sort of work she was doing while using it). Mary gave John nothing but lie after lie after lie. He could never trust a word that she said, and he hated it. She was willing to do anything to him, as long as it kept him by her side. She was willing to shoot the man he was still grieving years after his (supposed) death and never tell him after, no matter how much it would have devastated him to lose Sherlock all over again. As for Sherlock, she shot him without a second thought, smirking and condescending. 

Mary never once showed a shred of remorse for any of it. Not for any of her past crimes, which included killing people for money - not for anger, not for principle, not for political manoeuvring - but something as tawdry and meaningless as money. Gross. And she never regretted it. Not that the creators of the canon decided to show us. She never expressed any regret for having lied to John, nor for the way she constantly treated him. She never expressed any gratitude to Sherlock for having rid her of the blackmailer that would have sent her to prison for a very long time. She accepted it as her due, without blinking. She never thanked Sherlock, John, or Mycroft for having become accomplices in her attempted murder on Sherlock’s life in not having reported it. She assumed that was her right, too. Mary was a psychopath and narcissist, not caring about right or wrong, just what benefited her. 

Mary never changed her ways. There was no development of character, no softening, no realisation that everything she had ever stood for was completely terrible. Right to the last she was calling a man she had tried to kill a “pig”, offensively mimicking accents, still owning and carrying around guns and enough drugs to knock out a seasoned user. If anything, what we were shown was someone who had not only not changed, but someone who kept repeating the same behaviour. When the .A.G.R.A. team got into trouble on its final mission, Mary cut and run, leaving the other 75% of her team to be tortured or killed. She never went back and checked to see if a rescue mission was possible, never followed up, never confirmed the deaths of her teammates, just blithely moved on with her life and got married without once looking back. Sherlock offered to help her, twice. With the weight and power of the British government directly related to him, this isn’t exactly an offer to be taken lightly, yet Mary attacked him on both occasions, first shooting him in the heart and running away, then drugging him and running away - just as she left her former colleagues behind. 

If you want to take the argument that motherhood somehow redeemed Mary, think twice on that, too. I’m not a parent, but just about every mother I know would never leave an infant behind. Obviously it happens; infants get abandoned all the time. Most mothers don’t, though. Was Rosie not nursing anymore? Was she ever? Did Mary think about that before she cut and run, or was she too busy with her offensive faux-Jewish accent and possible flight attendant murder there? My mother used to tell me that her own life took on so much greater weight once I had been born because she had something to live for, someone who needed her. She stopped taking any sort of risk that would endanger her, because she had a child to care for. Mary doesn’t seem to have been similarly affected by parenthood. Her inexplicable and unsupported decision to jump in front of a bullet says that perfectly, if her previous abandonment didn’t. 

Never forget that John had the measure of Mary. It was John who knew that Mary would turn on Sherlock, should Sherlock warn her about Ajay and offer to help her again. It was John who grimly suggested putting a tracking device in the USB, knowing that Mary would attack Sherlock and steal it from him. While she was living, John had no illusions about who Mary really was. 

Mary’s decision to defy physics and leap in front of that bullet was not the culmination of an arc of redemption. What it was is a completely out of character action that jars with everything that came before it. It’s wholly unsupported by any of her previous behaviour. This was, if anything, a “redemption split second”, not an arc. Followed by her DVD wherein she pointedly tells Sherlock to kill himself or get himself killed, it is to be understood that this behaviour was an aberration from the norm. Mary never changed. If she had, she would have gotten rid of her guns and ninja outfits and come properly clean with John without waiting until circumstances forced it out, and even then only giving him partial truths. It could almost be said that Mary was pathologically incapable of telling the truth, but that would be making excuses for her. She knew what she was about. She made all of these decisions by herself, to benefit herself and her own interests. 

The Mary in John’s head never existed. It can’t even be discussed in a conversation about Mary’s characterisation, because it wasn’t Mary. It was John. And what John said about Mary at the end of The Lying Detective is a displacement of his own thoughts about Sherlock. John has a lot of dissociation issues in this episode in particular, and what he says about Mary is a statement which actually applies directly to Sherlock, not to Mary. This is John simply unwilling to believe that his marriage was as abusive and terrible as it really was, and trying to make himself feel better about it. The one person who genuinely believes that John Watson is a far better human being than he actually is is Sherlock, who calls him the “bravest, kindest, and wisest human being (he has) ever had the good fortune of knowing”. Mary literally called John a dog. That’s decidedly not what he was aspiring to. The one time she says something genuine about John’s moral superiority over her, it’s worded as a complaint (”you don’t make it easy, do you… being so perfect”). It’s as close to a real compliment as Mary ever gets. Sherlock is the one who believes in John, who sees past the temper and the grumpiness to all of John’s sterling qualities of loyalty, kindness, courage, humour, and accepts him as he is in his everyday self, too. 

The post-mortem DVDs just don’t even make sense. How did Mary know she was going to die? Even if she suspected that one of the many enemies her life of professional criminality had made would come for her eventually, it seems impossible to avoid the conclusion that Mary was still, even beyond her death, doing everything in her power to drive a wedge between John and Sherlock, even to have Sherlock die. For her to finally assume credit for their friendship is an insult to the intelligence of the viewers. 

princessofthepai  asked:

Hi! I have a few questions haha so I ll put them separately! 1. When you have characters that more quiet/reserved, but they aren't shy, how would you portray this? How would you portray a confident person who speaks little? How would they instead show their anger/resentments/amusement/love? Alternatively, how would this change if a character was quiet and not very comfortable in themselves?

2. What are good ways to hint at past abuse (physical/sexual/mental) without explicitly saying it? How would you imply that a particular person was responsible? How would show the way it has affected the individual/s? 3. How would you reveal/lead up to your character/s secrets? With the big secrets, how could you effectively foreshadow it without giving it away until you want to, but it still makes sense? Sorry this is super long! But thank you for your help!

Thank you for your questions!! I promise it wasn’t too long, this ask was a lot of fun to answer, and you posed some really great questions. I hope this helps!!


Quiet Characters - Shyness vs. Introversion

  • Something to note about introversion and its portrayal: it depends on whether or not you’re writing a viewpoint character. A lot of times, other characters will VIEW them as shy, until there’s a defining moment where everyone realizes they’re not shy, they just keep to themselves. Perhaps they provide commentary on things every so often, not afraid to show their opinion when it counts. However, this isn’t always the case. There are other instances where a character is quiet/speaks very little, but is also clearly not shy
    • A confident person who speaks little strikes me as the kind of person who only speaks when they feel they have something important to say/contribute. Which means that everything they do say holds greater weight than someone who talks constantly. There is a certain bluntness to this - therefore they are not insecure, or nervous about what they’re saying, they’re just a person of few words - they choose their words carefully. 
    • Ex. Luna Lovegood of Harry Potter
      • It’s made rather explicit that Luna is not shy. She is not ashamed of who she is, even though we know she’s often made fun of by other students. She speaks rather little - when she is featured with the other characters, I would say that Luna is more often than not a listener. However, Luna does not hesitate to provide her opinion/knowledge when she deems it necessary. Example, in The Deathly Hallows (focusing on the films, so Part 2), she is not at all shy or skittish about telling Harry what information she knows to help him defeat Voldemort, even though Harry is distracted and at first unwilling to listen. 

Originally posted by aurrorpotter

    • Ex. Aizawa Shouta (aka him who i love) of My Hero Academia
      • Aizawa is a classic example of being a “man of few words.” He is not a talkative person in the slightest, and he can seem even gloomy in comparison to more animated people. But one of the best examples of his confidence comes through when he’s shown speaking to other Pro Heroes about the problems they’re beginning to face. He does not hesitate to give his opinion, is not shy about it, and when he does state his stance, he stands firm, caring very little what anybody else might think. So while he clearly keeps to himself, he still makes his opinions known when necessary, making it clear that he’s not keeping to himself out of insecurity. He just prefers it that way.

Originally posted by mashirao

    • Zero from Holes
      • I didn’t need this many examples, but I love Holes, it’s fine. So, Zero…is not shy. Did he or did he not punch somebody in the crotch? Ya’ll. He is teased relentlessly by the other boys in the camp - and he responds with pure silence. We may interpret this to be shyness early on, but as the story progresses it is clear that he’s not shy. He just doesn’t have time to mess around with people who want to call him names anyway. He’s got bigger fish to fry. So he ignores them. He is quiet not because he’s afraid to talk - but because he doesn’t want to. 

Originally posted by andy-sambergs

    • What to take from all of this? If you have a character who is quiet, but confident as well, then have them make their opinions known when they feel it is necessary. They won’t be talkative, but they also won’t shy away when they feel that something important needs to be said. 
  • Shyness in Characters
    • First off, I want to direct you to a great post that we have here that talks about insecurity in characters and how that can be portrayed, which I feel would be relevant. But, I do want to add on to what that post says here. 
    • A shy character is totally different from the confident-but-quiet characters discussed above. Shyness is sprung from insecurity, the fear of saying something wrong, or being judged, etc. A shy character is going to actively avoid conversations with new people, and with people who make them uncomfortable. And when forced into said situations, they will not speak as openly as they do with friends, and will often come off as awkward or stilted, speaking very little, and often not about themselves.
    • Ex. Gus from Recess. Out of the five heroes of this story, Gus was probably the least down with social interaction (even though Spinelli was always ready to throw down with somebody). Whenever things get tough on the playground, he always lets his more bold friends take the reins to steer the situation, preferring to stay in the background. 

Originally posted by bucolique-blog-blog

Characters as Victims of Abuse

  • First off, I think it would depend on the type of abuse. Sometimes when people have such a traumatic experience, they don’t deal with/process the subsequent emotions, thus when they experience something later on that reminds them of the abuse, they can be triggered back into the emotions of the time.
    • Was this physical abuse? Perhaps they have both a physical and emotional reaction if someone attempts to come at them/hit them/etc, even if it’s supposedly a playful situation.  
    • Emotional abuse? Someone talking down to them, name calling, being controlling etc. would probably provoke some strong emotional backlash. But also, it’s highly likely that victims of emotional abuse may retain a sense of low self-esteem/self-worth. They may talk down to themselves a lot, whether out loud or just in their internal monologue. Also, in some cases, it is possible that those who are victims of abuse can later become abusers, often as a way of trying to regain the power that was lost during the time of abuse. 
    • HOWEVER, when dealing with all of this, it is very important that you research in depth the true effects of these experiences, even going so far as to try to talk to people who have experienced this personally. It is often a delicate subject, and should be handled with care and respect. 
  • Now, implying that a certain person was responsible would depend on that character’s current role in the story. If they aren’t present in the current storyline, perhaps you can hint to a person from their past that they either refuse to talk about, or only speak of very negatively. Or maybe, they still harbor feelings for this person - it is possible to still care for your abuser, whether this is healthy or not. It is even further possible that the experience was traumatic enough for them to block out those more awful moments, or even attempted to explain this abuse away to themselves as their abusers way of showing love, thus they still hold affection for them, even if they are not a part of their life anymore. 
    • If the abuser character is still in the picture, you would have a lot on your hands. Do the characters interact at all? This is dependent upon how your character feels about their abuser at this time, and what happened. Are they able to be in the same room with them without breaking down, or lashing out? Are they able to defend themselves from this person now, or are they still vulnerable to their abuse? Or do they refuse to associate with this person at all? Is this a revenge story - are they seeking revenge on their abuser? What do they want from their abuser? To be left alone, or to find some sort of closure? 
    • So I’m going to handle this in two ways. The abuser being a present character in the narrative, and the abuser existing primarily as a figure in your characters’ past. 
      • If your character still interacts with the abuser in the narrative, they should act in such a way that would hint at this past relationship. There will most likely be a sense of tension, but a lot of it is very dependent upon the individual personalities of your characters. 
      • If the abuser exists as a distant figure in your character’s past, and you’re trying to keep it a secret, then your character would most likely avoid talking about this person, would skimp on the details about them in conversation. And the way they talk about them will probably have some tension to it, as well as leftover emotions, whether that be anger, sadness, etc.

Secrets, Scandals, and Hidden Things

  • Character’s secrets, alright, this is FUN. This is gonna be fun. So, when you’re dealing with characters secrets, there’s a lot of playing around with foreshadowing. The big thing about having secrets and revealing secrets is that you have to balance the information and the clues to the reader, so that when the big secret is revealed, the reader feels like they should have known the answer all along. You have to lay enough clues for it to make sense, but also direct attention away from what the real clues are to keep the tension and the secrecy, so that your big reveal is a Big Reveal. Thus, the power of misdirection. Capisce?
  • I’m gonna use the example of Wreck it Ralph and hope that nobody gets mad at me. [But I think it’s been enough time since the movie came out that anybody who would get genuinely pissed about Wreck it Ralph spoilers would have already seen the movie]. 
    • Alright - so the big ordeal in Wreck It Ralph, the big Oh Shit moment is that King Candy is actually Turbo. I’m gonna go through Wreck it Ralph, highlighting the more important scenes that lead up with this, to deconstruct the foreshadowing, and show you why it works. But here’s the big thing I want you to take away from this - secrets are all about the buildup.
    • “Goin’ Turbo”
      • So, in the Wreck It Ralph verse, it is made clear to the audience early on that a colloquial term commonly used to describe a game character trying to join another game is “going Turbo,” yes? Because it’s used so naturally, and it fits the atmosphere of the show, the arcade slang sort of feel, the audience is able to accept it without too much question, except maybe to wonder where the phrase originated. The phrase is explicitly used when Ralph himself goes off to find a metal, and the figures of his own game start freaking out because Ralph was “going Turbo.” This is the first big clue that is repeatedly laid for the audience. 
    • The Introduction of King Candy
      • It is clear to us very early on that King Candy is, well…very particular about how things run in his game. And well, we kind of expect this - he is the King, after all. But his storyline and motivations are clearly tied to the heroine Vanellope’s as well, which is made clear very soon after we’re introduced to him. He refers to her as “The Glitch,” rather than calling her by name, and is adamant that she should not be allowed to race in the game. Now at this point, it is clear to the viewer that Vanellope is one of the characters we are supposed to be rooting for, and the fact that King Candy is clearly opposed to her achieving her goals as a main protagonist, he is now an antagonist - no surprise.

Originally posted by the-light-of-animation

    • The Turbo Story
      • It isn’t until after we meet King Candy that we hear the origin of the phrase “Going Turbo” and what it means. Essentially, the phrase originated when the protagonist of a racing game that was at one time very popular got pushed to the side in favor of a new, high-tech game. Not to be defeated, Turbo abandoned his game and tried to take over the new one, thus coining the phrase. We as the audience are told that in consequence, both Turbo’s original game and the game he tried to take over got put out of commission, including himself. HERE IS THE KICKER: we as the audience are given a considerable amount of information necessary to put together that Turbo just might equal King Candy, BUT we are led to believe that this isn’t a possibility because Turbo “got himself put out of order for good.” 
    • King Candy and his Dark Side
      • Now, this is a big scene in terms of King Candy’s storyline/backstory/relationship to Vanellope: the scene in which he ventures “into the code,” and adds the gold medal to his own personal cache of codes, so that he can take ownership of it. It’s a subtle play, because we as the audience are shown that King Candy’s code “box” (if you will) is at the biggest, and is at the center of everything. Because he’s the king, right? And at the end of the scene, we have a wide shot of the scene to reveal Vanellope’s code box, and it’s floating off the side, not connected to any of the boxes. Because she’s not supposed to be in the game, right? Because she’s a glitch, right? Huh. 
      • The second half of this section deals with the scene in which King Candy goes to Ralph personally, and pleads with him to convince Vanellope not to race. He tells Ralph that if she does race, and if she wins, then she’ll be accessible by the actual human players of the game. In such case, if they see her “glitching”, they’ll thing the game is broken, and get it put out of order. Right? Once again, we have misdirection. I’m sure at this point, the audience doesn’t fully trust what King Candy is saying, but at the same time there is an emotional reaction to his words. Because we care about Vanellope and want her to succeed, it forces the audience to feel that emotional push-and-pull, distracting further from the fact that King Candy (spoiler alert) lied clean to everyone’s faces. 
      • In a moment of high intensity, when we’ve reached the big climactic moment that is The Race, which is what Vanellope has been trying to get to for the entire film, it is revealed that King Candy is Turbo, done so because he gets caught up in Vanellope’s glitching, causing him to revert back to his originally coded form. We then learn of his true motivation - he wants to remain the top racer, as he was in his previous game, and he wants to maintain the power and thrill of that popularity. So he usurped Vanellope and changed the code so that everyone believed that she wasn’t supposed to exist, and that he was the rightful ruler of the game.

Originally posted by mushroom-trafficking

    • Why does it work?
      • It works because of the build up. All of the hints were laid out; Turbo’s backstory was set up early enough that it felt natural for the audience, and it gave us enough time to get comfortable with the information; when the scene did finally unfold, it felt so obvious that you could look back and see all the pieces click. And in the reveal, all of King Candy’s previously creepy behavior makes sense. There is emotional payoff.
  • What to take from this? 
    • One of the most powerful ways to hide your hints and foreshadowing throughout your story is misdirection. Lay those hints, plant the seeds, but also do the work to direct the audience’s attention elsewhere, leading them to believe one thing, whilst building towards another. 

Phew!! That was a doozy of a post, but it was a lot of fun to write, and I hope this was super helpful to you!!

If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to shoot us an ask. In the meantime, happy writing!

- Mod Daenerys

If you need advice on general writing or fanfiction, you should maybe ask us!

Don’t Look Back (ACOTAR AU) - Part 19

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9,Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17 Part 18, Part 20 (Final)

The quiet moments were always the best moments, the pieces of time where no thought burdened the mind. That’s why Lucien loved sleeping now, it was his favourite pastime. Because sleeping involved no means to think, where he could wander off into a world where things were simpler, where he was just an ordinary school kid that was working hard to get to university with brothers that didn’t shove him down the stairs for jokes and parents who actually remembered he existed.

But his moment of quiet was interrupted, by an incessant banging at his door that merged into an organised knock, three rapid knocks followed by 2 slow knocks followed by a further three rapid ones. 


He heard muffling as he dragged himself from his bed, almost sleep walking to the door and he unlocked it, opening the door slightly to find Feyre mouthing off at Eris.

He didn’t care what was happening, Eris throwing him a vicious smile and muttering something lewd, he just pulled her by the wrist inside before locking the door again and turning towards her.

“Your brother is an absolute disgrace,” she spat, her face flushed.

“They all are,” he said before brushing past and face planting his bed.

Keep reading

Outlander 03x07 Crème de Menthe

My immediate reaction to Crème de Menthe upon finishing it was that it was a solid, functional episode. Having rewatched it, it’s come to encapsulate everything I love and hate about watching this show having read the books first. I spend so much of my first watches waiting and anticipating certain moves from the books that it can keep me from really appreciating some of the changes that the show has and is making as it adapts the material. The changes I want to see are obvious and appreciated right away, but others take that second viewing to remind myself that while something might be different from the book, it is consistent with how the show has handled something (or someone) or to grasp the full extent of how something altered plays out; when it’s a change, I might be able to guess at how it will unfold but I don’t know the way I do with the books at this point so there’s still chances to surprise me. Upon rewatching, there’s so much more that I liked and appreciated than just the fact they got rid of plots I find tedious and ridiculous or reworked problematic depictions of characters so they make me cringe less. 

Crème de Menthe does a phenomenal job of streamlining the plots from a section of the book where they get thrown at the reader thick and fast. It takes most of the rest of the book to truly untangle them and understand the varying levels of deception and red herrings. I genuinely appreciated the way that the show cut out some of the unnecessary drama and confusion to make elements clearer and less cluttered. Shuffling elements a bit like the fire at the print shop and changing the death of the excise man help give some of these events greater weight and less the feeling of being distractions meant to emphasize the chaos of Claire’s journey back. While I love Voyager and Jamie and Claire’s reunion, most of my interest in it as a reader tends to fall a bit later after the explosive events at Lallybroch because that’s where and when they actually deal with the emotional baggage they each carry. It’s only in my latest reread and in watching the show’s adaptation that I realize just how much the novel relies on Claire telling the reader that she and Jamie had been changed by their 20 years apart rather than actually showing it (until that explosive fight at Lallybroch, anyway). Reading through the Edinburgh chapters, there’s so much else going on, it’s hard to feel that either of them have truly changed that much. Some of that is probably because readers are stuck in Claire’s perspective but I love the way that the show is giving a broader view of the cracks 20 years apart have made in their relationship. Their doubts and fears are much closer to the surface for us to see, in part because the plot distractions have been cleared away and/or bent to serve that tension. 

Sir Percival and Jamie’s Smuggling Ring

This is probably the plot from Edinburgh that has been streamlined the best from the book so far. In the book, Sir Percival is much more like the Duke of Sandringham playing games with Jamie and getting other people to do his dirty work. It makes understanding even the basic nature of Jamie’s enterprise difficult until much later. It’s sort of presented as a mystery that’s unfolding but having it played straight for the show (where there isn’t the time to get into so many twists and turns) works infinitely better for me. The threat is more immediate to everything and every one because the connections between events is more direct. The altered death of the excise man and Claire’s attempts to save him also bend that plot towards serving the story of Jamie and Claire’s relationship. They’ve disagreed before on many occasions but this is the first real test since Claire’s return and it shows them both how much harder the reality of being together again while holding on to the selves they’ve become in each other’s absence is going to be. Claire was always a healer but now she has her oath as a doctor weighing on her conscience and driving her actions. She also has a much greater depth of knowledge and experience in terms of how to carry out her healing. She doesn’t hesitate or question herself, she acts on instinct and muscle memory. It’s a level of confidence Jamie hasn’t seen in her to this extent before and there’s a greater weight to it as well. She doesn’t just want to help someone who’s injured because she can or wants to, she is compelled to help them because she feels a responsibility to do so. It’s a change in Claire that throws Jamie at first but he does a relatively good job of adjusting to and when the man dies despite her efforts, he tries to comfort her even though he can’t completely empathize with what she’s feeling in that moment. 

On Claire’s side, the failure to save the man carries with it the true limitations she has in the 18th century, not just because of her sex but because of what she has at hand. She’s overcome so much sexism to gain that medical education and earn her place in the operating room and here, even when she doesn’t face as much opposition in terms of being allowed to practice on a patient, she is limited severely by the materials at hand. As she tells Jamie, for fourteen years she’s dedicated her life to medicine and healing; it’s been the dominant part of her sense of self and where she’s drawn most of her strength. But here she is having finally found Jamie and she’s lost the first “patient” she’s tried to treat and she knows it’s not because of a lack of skill or knowledge. Through her visit and assessment of Margaret Campbell and then her suggestion to Jamie that she could open her own establishment or treat patients out of the print shop, it becomes clear that Claire is struggling to reconcile the way her coming back through the stones is impacting that part of herself that has become so important in the 20 years of separation. She doesn’t want to sacrifice an ounce of that capability into which she’s invested so much of her time and energy.


In last week’s episode and this week’s, both Jamie and Claire have talked about how much they are willing to risk, have risked, or are willing to sacrifice in order to be together. Claire’s brush with the reality that some of her effectiveness as a doctor will have to be sacrificed if she’s to stay in the 18th century is one of several tests to those declarations both have made. 

We only got brief glimpses of Jamie’s enterprises in Edinburgh during last week’s episode –– Madam Jeanne, Jamie paying off Sir Percival, his conversation with Fergus, the appearance of Young Ian –– but in this week’s episode we see just how tenuous that enterprise actually is, how close it all is to crumbling… and then we watch it slowly crumble as Jamie tries desperately to hold it all together. While Claire let’s her opinion on them continuing to live in a brothel (even if it would save them money on rent) be known, she doesn’t express too much surprise or dismay over the rest of Jamie’s illicit activities… until he lies to Ian about having seen Young Ian. Similarly, the allusions to Jamie’s other wife are heavily present in this episode and his conversation with Ian following his brother-in-law’s disbelief over Claire’s return show how far Jamie’s willing to go to try and hold things together. Lying to corrupt agents of the crown is one thing but lying to the people who mean the most to him is another. Of course with Sir Percival’s suspicions and pressure, Jamie’s smuggling is becoming more dangerous and then with the fire destroying the print shop, Jamie’s enterprises in Edinburgh are pretty thoroughly demolished by the end of the episode. But it doesn’t feel like the willing sacrifice he told Claire he would make to be with her; it feels like bitter disappointment and failure. 

The sacrifice Jamie made in sending Claire through the stones –– the opportunity to help raise their child –– is another one that comes up during the fight that begins (but is interrupted) in this episode. That was another sacrifice that was both willing and unwilling. He would lay down his life to protect Claire and their child and that’s the sacrifice he thought he was making when he sent her through the stones. But what he instead sacrificed was the chance to know and raise his child. Claire’s scolding over lying to Ian and her bringing up his practical inexperience as a parent poke at a wound that will never heal. Though Jamie says he’d sacrifice everything to be with Claire again, he’s made sacrifices before that twisted into something he wasn’t prepared for. 

They are both struggling to reconcile their expectations with reality. They’ve found ways to suppress the pain they felt during those 20 years and seem to hope that simply being together again will make it go away, but all it’s doing is releasing the hold they have on that pain and letting it reach the surface. It’s something they both long to lay at someone else’s feet and the only person who they can do that with is the other while at the same time, the last person they want to blame is the other, especially when they’ve spent so long clinging to the love they shared and building up their memories of each other. The tension between dismissing the pain of the past 20 years and remaining the people they are because of it is making them both act defensively when what they need is to work together to air and acknowledge their pain so they can move past it (and here’s hoping a healthy chunk of that gets properly dealt with next week and that the show doesn’t decide to really drag this out). 

The Best Brother I Never Had: Fergus and Young Ian

While I enjoy the angst of Jamie and Claire being forced to face and navigate their new reality, what I enjoyed most in the episode on the lighter side of things was the relationship between Fergus and Young Ian. I was again completely bowled over by Domboy’s portrayal of adult Fergus and the way he and Young Ian interact with each other that put a dopey grin on my face. I’m not entirely sure what the show is going to do about Young Jamie and Michael Murray, but in book canon, both are a bit more straight-laced and proper while Young Ian is the troublesome Murray lad, always getting into trouble. In the show I get the feeling that Young Ian looked up to Fergus and related to him more than he did his older brothers. Fergus doesn’t have the same background or stake in doing things according to the letter and/or spirit of the law. And of course Fergus learned some of what he knows from Jamie. They’re simultaneously the Three Musketeers and the Three Stooges. I loved Young Ian turning to Fergus for an assessment of Auntie Claire –– and then refusing to believe the rumors Fergus tells him insisting (after only barely having met her) that Auntie Claire wouldn’t kill a man without good reason. It’s like Fergus is giving Young Ian lessons in how to ship Jamie and Claire. Fergus’ advice to Young Ian concerning lasses –– and Young Ian’s earnest and blunt execution of that advice –– was hilarious and soooo sweet. I want to see so much more of this relationship, especially how Fergus reacts to Ian being kidnapped (and then later, how Ian reacts to Fergus’ marriage). 

Other Random Thoughts and Squees:

–– I love how they’re adapting Mr. Willoughby for the show. The level of respect between him and Claire already is downright heartwarming. He may not understand all of what she does as a healer or why, but he does understand the how and why of her personal investment in her patients, whomever they may be. 

–– Ian meeting Claire again and talking about how he and Jenny grieved for her was the most moving scene in the episode. The disbelief on his face and Jamie’s nod to assure him it is real, then the way he closes his eyes and hugs her back. That single fucking tear! It brought me all the way back to Lallybroch and the way he and Claire commiserated over having to deal with the Fraser stubbornness. I want so much more of this relationship!

–– Seriously, Young Ian’s “tell me what you like/want and I’ll do it” attitude was just the sweetest and cutest thing ever. I also adored his attempts to stomp the fire out before realizing, oh shit this is way out of hand.

–– While I greatly appreciate that they got rid of the serial killer aspect of the Campbell storyline, I still think too much time has been spent on it for whatever the new payoff ends up being down the line. Does nothing for me in the book and was bored through those scenes in this episode. 


–– I definitely want Claire to tell Jenny the whole truth in next week’s episode. There have been enough changes from the book so far that I’m not as convinced it won’t happen as I might have been before. I want both Jenny and Ian to know the truth about the stones and Claire (and probably Bree too).

–– Also you can’t name-drop Ned Gowan twice in two episodes if you don’t have Bill Patterson in 3x08. That would just be cruel. 

–– I can see us maybe getting a parallel to Claire’s speech in 1x16 but from Jamie sometime soon. If/when Claire expresses doubt, Jamie coming out with something similar to “I’ll have you any way I can, always” or “it’s the only way I can explain how this is possible, why you’re here.” It’ll depend on how they handle the revelation, fight, and reconciliation. 

Expanded Weapons List 5e

Broadsword: This stout, wide-bladed weapon lacks the accuracy of a longsword, but what it lacks in accuracy, it redeems with deadliness. 

Craghammer: This dwarven hammer has a heavily weighted head, making it resemble a one-handed maul backed by a deadly spike. 

Double Axe: Fitted with an axe head at each end, a double axe offers increased offensive and defensive capabilities.

Double Flail: This weapon has a spiked flail head at either end to maximize attack and damage. 

Double Sword: This well-balanced weapon combines the deadliness of two longswords with increased defensive capability.

Execution Axe: This broad-bladed axe is heavily weighted for greater hewing power. 

Fullblade: This enormous, two-handed sword is favored by fighters and paladins.

Greatbow: This massive, recurved bow stands as tall as a human when strung, and it fires arrows with greater power than a traditional longbow. 

Greatspear: This reach weapon resembles a longspear, but its broad head and strong haft allow it to strike with increased force. 

Heavy War Pick: This larger version of the light war pick delivers devastating strikes. 

Khopesh: This sturdy weapon is identified by the crescent-shaped curve at the end of its blade. 

Kukri: The blade of this heavy knife curves forward for greater potency. A rogue proficient with the kukri can treat it as a dagger for the purpose of the Rogue Weapon Talent class feature. 

Light War Pick: This smaller version of the war pick is suitable as an off-hand weapon. 

Mordenkrad: First used by dwarf shock troops in battle against giants, this oversized two-handed hammer has a massive head studded with spikes. 

Parrying Dagger: This narrow dagger features a specially designed guard that can deflect attacks. A rogue proficient with the parrying dagger can treat it as a dagger for the purpose of the Rogue Weapon Talent class feature. 

Repeating Crossbow: A rectangular magazine attaches to the top of this crossbow. A double-action lever drops a bolt into place as a free action, then fires it as a standard action. A repeating crossbow does not need to be reloaded as long as it has ammunition in its magazine. A magazine costs 1 gp and holds 10 bolts. It takes a standard action to remove an empty magazine and load a new one. 

Spiked Gauntlet: These gauntlets are specially fitted with metal spikes. Unlike other weapons, the spiked gauntlet occupies your magic item hands slot while enchanted. 

Scourge: This lightweight flail has leather thongs inlaid with sharpened bits of metal or bone.

Spiked Shield: This light shield is constructed with a sharpened spike at its center. A spiked shield can be enchanted as a magic shield or a magic weapon, but not both. A spiked shield enchanted as a magic weapon does not occupy a character’s magic item arms slot. Although a character cannot use two shields at the same time, a character wielding a spiked shield enchanted as a weapon can employ arms slot items such as bracers.

Superior Crossbow: This crossbow appears similar to a traditional crossbow, but it has knobs and dials that allow the weapon to be fine-tuned for greater accuracy.

Tratnyr: Also known as the wingspear, this weapon was first crafted by the dragonborn for maximum efficiency in melee and ranged combat.

Trident: This three-tined spear is weighted for throwing over short distances. 

Triple-headed Flail: This oversized flail has three heads for more potent attacks. 

Urgrosh: Originally of dwarven make, this weapon has a heavy axe head at one end (dealing d12 damage) and a sharp spear point at the base of the haft (dealing d8 damage). 

Waraxe: This weapon’s superior balance allows it to be wielded in one hand. 

Practicing non-hierarchical polyamory, to me, is not about saying “Everyone is equal.” I think that’s a common misconception. Many hierarchical folks will argue against non-hierarchical relationships on that basis, saying, “How could someone I just met possibly get as much time or attention as my long-term partner who I have all these commitments and routines with? How is that reasonable?” But that’s a straw-man argument. In some cases, it may just be an innocent misunderstanding of the meaning of non-hierarchical relationships. I don’t know any non-hierarchical folks who have said to a brand-new person, “Okay, I am slashing the amount of time I spend with my spouse in half so that you can have exactly the same amount of time, because I don’t believe in hierarchy.” And I don’t often hear of people who are newly dating someone to ask for that, either.

To me, non-hierarchical doesn’t mean equal. It means equal opportunity, in both a micro and macro sense. In a macro sense, eventually, a newer relationship may grow to a format that involves the same (or even greater) amount of weight in decision-making and similar amounts of time spent together. Or it may not. But it has the opportunity to do so.

And in a micro sense (similarly important), it is about saying “I will own my own decisions, and I will make them as they arise. I will not inform anyone ahead of time that I will always, or even generally, choose one person above another. It will always be a fresh, conscious process.”

Long Live - Chapter 14

I’m really sorry about the delay on this chapter. I really didn’t want to do it cause I knew I couldn’t keep you guys waiting after the last chapter but i didn’t have much choice.Thank you to everyone who was so sweet about it. Thanks to @mylasagnaisraw @ilovemyspoopydad and @gaysonofjafar for editing this chapter!

Pairings: Prinxiety, Logicality

Words: 1356

Tag List: @eternal-sanders @eternalsavvyskies @generalofthefangirlarmy @ireblogstuff-andineedalife @isnt-that-wizard @de-is-me @fander-berb @deadprinxietywalking @datonerougecookeh  @adrianadams1756 @hetaliagurl5 @ilovemyspoopydad @ai-logical @thegreatdot @protecterofalltheaus @fandomsandanythingelse @cutie5780 @bleebtheweeb @justanotherpurplebutterfly @wizxrdscorbus @imnotcrazy-i-swaer @thekwhale @worthless-dude @averaillisa @soulydyingalone @alright-cupid @gaysonofjafar @breckein-blog@kuwata-kun @waste-disposal-unit @swiggtyswag19 @lostgirlgwen @squashymoon-wink  @fandomsandnonsense7 @cutecatwhiskers @sandersandthesides @cleopolitian @mewsicalmiss @musicphanpie-b @wrendoesstuff @breannanyckole @alyrie @novagalaxy4real @prompty-writer @jordisama @broadwaytheanimatedseries @irish-newzealand-idian-dutch @lizziepopanime @satisfied-sanders-sides @piko-blaster @save-the-spiral @dusk-lunari @heartsthetics @la-fandom-freak @irrelevantbutfabulous @cochroachkappa-blog @thestoryoferissur@abstractedthinking @kasylikescookies @awesomelissawho @demonickittykat @not-lonely-but-alone @moonibinbon @everlalvenia @casmyth  @r4v3npuff @pointless-blog-name​ @mazalittlesadist​  @queer-ax@wentzdays @kitsuneprideleader @just-a-living-mistake @abbyaj22 @thebaagelboy @the-baddest-bitch-in-slytherin @pete–the–emu @walrus-fail @imteamdanosaur @just-fic-me-up @softbludemon @notquitewitches @somedobbyoncetoldme  @awkwardeko6 @choco-latte-timtams @mpdgmustdie @thefamouszombiebouquet @idk-and-idc-and-idr @sarcasticshysociopath @balloonllester @twinkly-lights @xcean-eyez​ @jdcupcake040904@superwholock-7234 @gracefullyinsanedancingunicorn @pattononthehaters @podcastsandcoffee @scarlettisafox21 @ad-ap @flemishbitch @minamishipsit @macabreingenue @andy-the-anon @theoneandonlyfangirlofpower @just-a-random-word @i-am-me-i-am-sam @chikacupcake  

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Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12

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Ninjago: The Love of the Dance

The Story of Lou and the Mistress of Earth

Many saw her as a warrior. I saw her as a dancer.

I have had many partners in my life. None of them were like her. Some were too slow, some even stumbled through the steps. But her, she…dominated the dance. Conquered the steps. But she did so with breathtaking grace.

She had no idea how beautiful she was when she was in my arms. How we would gaze at each other as our feet just moved in perfect harmony…I will never forget her soft eyes that burned into my mind like a warm bonfire. Her amazing power was evident but controlled. As I stared into her eyes, I could sense the power she had: to move mountains and hold weight greater than any man…but to also pierce my heart and make me weakened to her grace.

I remember the first time our eyes met. It made my energetic body freeze like the spirit of dance was sucked out of my soul. I was scared of the woman garmented in her elemental robes and her dark short hair creating waves over her cheekbones. What made the spirit of dance return was that she met and held my gaze. Never once did she look away, well…only once. After she dropped her gaze that one day….

Our son was born from the dance. Every night we would cradle him and sing with him and rock back and forth in our dance. There was nothing more beautiful in our life.

There were times when she had to leave the dance and return as her role as a master. She would leave for a few days but she always returned. Her missions grew less and less as the years went on and Cole grew. As Cole grew so did the dance.

Our dance never ended, it would just split at times. My favorite times of our dance were after Cole’s bedtime and we would sneak out on the terrace and waltz in the moonlight. She was an angel in the light, her hair floating and her gown slipping through the air as if the world was in slow motion. I could never let go of her hand when we danced in the moonlight in fear that I would not be worthy enough to take it back.

The only time a dance can truly be over is when the song comes to an end. The song of our love began the moment we laid eyes on each other. We promised each other when we wed that we would forever dance to our song for as long as it played.

I didn’t realize the song had ended until she never returned from one of her missions. Ever since then I have lived in silence, not bringing myself to dance with anyone ever again. There was no music, no song to even make me tap my foot. I was lost in this silence. I made the mistake of sending my only son to boarding school, which separated my son and I for many years to come. You never realize how deafening silence can be until the record player breaks.

I shall never dance again. Not without her.



The Ocicat is an all-domestic breed of cat which resembles a wild cat but has no wild DNA in its gene pool. The breed was established from Siamese and Abyssinian stock; later, American Shorthairs (silver tabbies) were added to the mix and gave the breed their silver color, bone structure and distinct markings. There are twelve colors approved by most registries, including The Cat Fanciers’ Association, Inc. standard for the Ocicat breed: tawny, chocolate and cinnamon, their dilutes, blue, lavender and fawn, and all of them with silver: black silver (ebony silver), chocolate silver, cinnamon silver, blue silver, lavender silver and fawn silver. 

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Pairing : Mac x Reader

Summary : Imagine attending a talk by the Phoenix Foundation and Mac is surprised when you answer all his questions.

(gif belongs to fyeahgeorgeeads)

Having a lawyer for a mother and a father that ran the FBI, your career was clear. You would be a part of law enforcement. You often studied different cases with your father growing up and he was pleased you were following his lead.

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Hello, it’s #optomstudies here again with another Study Tip about dealing with bad (academic) news! I’ll speak from personal experience, you can have a look at my Fresh Start post from a while back haha

So~ after finding out your results there’s usually 4 standard reactions, with individual variations. 

  • Over-the-moon! A result or rank higher than you expected :D
  • Satisfied that the mark you received was the result of the work you put in
  • Disappointment when it missed the mark and
  • Utter shock or extreme sadness when you receive a terrible result

Obviously the first two, you’ve put in the work and things are as sunny-side-up as your nutritious breakfast. Great job, and have a pat on the back! But we all have had that result that felt anywhere from disappointment to soul-crushing depression. Here are some tips on how to deal with the bad news. 

The first couple of steps help with coming to terms with your result and not allowing your emotions to overwhelm you. 

Check your results as soon as they come out. Majority of the time (or when you’re lucky with the less organised professors) you’ll be aware at least the morning of, that the results are coming out. My advice is not to put it off unless you have an important exam or event before your day finishes. You’ll have completed your test/assignment 2 weeks prior, so why delay the inevitable with added anxiety?

Take a deep breath and calm down. Especially for assessments with greater weighting. Ensure you are seated so that you feel grounded and in control. 

Take a step back from everyone and everything. It can be quite stressful being surrounded by both underachievers that stress and overachievers that celebrate. 

If you need to be sad or mope, then do so but don’t dwell on it. I personally prefer to let all my steam out after getting the result. I’m probably the student you find moping around afterwards to other people, but the next day I’m usually ready to jump back into it again. It’s best to just let your emotions run their natural course. 

The next few steps help with moving on from the result and sorting out any remaining doubts. 

After you’ve calmed down, verify the result. There are the rare times that a bad result was just so out of left-field that it might just be the fact that the professor missed a page of marking your assignment. I’m sure you know at least one person around you who’s had this happen to them. Professors are human too and they do get tired. 

In addition to that, ask them the reasons why they handed you that result, and what you can do to improve. Many studyblrs are probably in existence as a result of performing poorly in the past and deciding that they won’t tolerate that kind of result anymore. If you can take it as an experience that guides your work ethic in the future, then you’ve set yourself up for success. 

Talk to a friend about it. At this point, having someone who will listen without making judgements on how you’ve done is really good for relaying to yourself the whole situation from an outside perspective. It can also help if that friend is happy to help you think of suggestions for how you can improve!

Contemplate your study methods prior to the exam, and implement a strategy to improve. Or think about your essay writing process. Did you do everything possible or was there something that you could improve on? What can you do better next time? Think about whether it was the way you organised or the way you studied. Self-reflection is a critical part of learning, so let it become second nature to you. It is also part of the process of self-actualisation in your day-to-day life. 

If you really feel up to it, reread your notes and have a look at what you didn’t understand. Analysing your mistakes is the only way that you’ll improve, especially for subjects like maths. Try and break things down into different categories or areas, for example, silly mistakes vs. conceptual misunderstanding vs. reading the question wrong vs. forgetting the answer in the exam vs. not studying it in the first place. Depending on what the cause of the mistakes are, the ways that you’ll try and best that will change. 

Now stop thinking about the result and do something you enjoy. After all that’s said and done, take some time to forget about the result and look forward to the future and the possibilities you have open for you. There’s hopefully only one way forward, and that’s up :)




Atlanta Ballet Dancer Alessa Rogers' Open Letter to The Dancer Who Hates Herself

(From the Dance Magazine website. Such a relevant text! So worth the read)

“To The Dancer Who Hates Herself:

I see you. I know who you are. If you think you are hiding your self-loathing, you are deceiving only yourself. It is time to stop. Whatever baggage you are carrying around, whoever told you that you weren’t worthy once upon a time or is still telling you that now—let those voices go.

You’re not alone in this. On bad days when you look in the mirror and feel insecure and invisible and not enough, remember that other dancers have those days, too.

It’s so easy to criticize one’s self. Be braver than that. Be brave enough to love yourself. Tiny acts of forgiveness will add up to something beautiful and redemptive. If you don’t know how to start, start the way you would start falling in love with anyone: slowly and patiently, with curiosity and infinite tenderness.

Don’t be seduced by the feeling that berating yourself makes you a better artist. I know you are trying to protect yourself by saying self-judgmental things so that it won’t sting if others do. But putting yourself down will not endear you to the people in the front of the studio. Habitual self-criticism is limiting and distracting and unproductive. It keeps you mired in small thinking.

Be mindful of the feelings you choose to cling to. A well-rounded artist who experiences the full spectrum of emotions and transforms them into dance is going to give deeper performances than the one who chooses only to suffer. Yes, feel all your valid varied and true feelings. But don’t give greater weight to the bad ones. Happiness is a choice and a practice. The struggling artist trope may seem alluring but it is ultimately a mask that gets in the way of the work. You can make art with joy, too.

Don’t define yourself by what you can’t do. Yes, work on your weaknesses, but work on your strengths more. Whatever is special about you, grab hold of that thing and own it.

Shine your shine.

Try adopting the aura of confidence that certain special dancers have. Imagine how you think they feel at their best, form a soul memory of that feeling. What people see is what you project, so project who you want to be.

And if people want to love you, let them love you! Take that compliment and run and don’t look back. Accept that love into your entire being and let that crack in you heal a little bit.

How you should be, want to be, could be—these are illusions and it is not fulfilling to dwell on them. Get out of your head and into your body. Work so hard you don’t have time to judge yourself. Do your best then let it go, and don’t attach labels to the outcome.

Dance is only ever a process. A big opening night, an injury, a failed audition—these are but moments. You will never fully understand the trajectory of your career until you view it from afar, years down the road, and realize everything was falling into place, maybe not how you expected, but exactly as it beautifully, imperfectly should.

Progress can be achingly slow. But trust me, one day you’ll look back on the years of struggle that felt hopeless. The months that you never saw improvement. Improvement is a shadowy friend: You can never see it right in front of your face, it’s only looking back that you realize it was there all along. 

There won’t be a day when we won’t let ourselves down in some tiny or profound way. But you have to love and forgive yourself anyway, even when you are all scraped knees and stumbles, messy hair and missed rehearsals. There is nothing shameful about showing up and being vulnerable and falling on your face. Shame is in closing yourself up and trying to be perfect when all you can ever be is you.

You’ll never have a different body, or different training, or get to take back the choices you’ve already made. Your work is to love this fleeting, glorious career fiercely, to value your place in it and cherish the body that lets you do it. There is no one to prove anything to unless you can be content in your own skin.

Here’s what I think. Your self-hatred is just an excuse to not be as bright as you are. But you are better than the fear you have grown used to. Loving yourself takes guts. It is revolutionary. It is worth it.

Let yourself shine.”

GROUND BREAKING Broad Study Proves Low Fat WFPB Diet is the best for weight loss & Health.

Published in the highly esteemed Journal of Nutrition & Diabetes, the Broad Study is the first ever comprehensive review of a low fat whole food plant based diet & the results VERIFY diets like WSLF & Starch Solution are THE BEST IN RECORDED HISTORY FOR WEIGHT LOSS / BMI / HEART / DIABETES & MORE.

The BROAD study: A randomised controlled trial using a whole food plant-based diet in the community for obesity, ischaemic heart disease or diabetes


This programme led to significant improvements in BMI, cholesterol and other risk factors. To the best of our knowledge, this research has achieved greater weight loss at 6 and 12 months than any other trial that does not limit energy intake or mandate regular exercise.

!!!!!!NO CALORIE LIMIT & NO EXERCISE JUST LIKE WSLF!!!!! & RECORD BREAKING WEIGHT LOSS.  BTFO Restricter Cal-in Cal-out debunked blood letters.

“The whole food plant-based (WFPB) diet is high in micronutrient density and the most frequently researched iterations are low in fat, which comprises approximately 7–15% of total energy.”

All my high fat zombies, trolls and haters who smear me in other slander hosting Youtuber’s & Instagrammers comment sections to spread your ill health and disease message please do me a favor and find your delete button & make up for your hater lives and actually feel what it feels like to help people and animals by getting a vegan message out there that everyone can benefit from, especially the poor, who were the focus of this study.  

The intervention involved patients from a group general practice in Gisborne, the region with New Zealand’s highest rates of socioeconomic deprivation, obesity and type 2 diabetes.

This diet helps the poorest & sickest people.  Shame on anyone who subverts this message, totally despicable.  Spiking my potato and doing my victory dance!  WORLD CHANGING RESEARCH!

A little more insight for those in disbelief;

We placed no restriction on total energy intake. Participants were asked to not count calories. We provided a ‘traffic-light’ diet chart to participants outlining which foods to consume, limit or avoid (Supplementary Table S1). We encouraged starches such as potatoes, sweet potato, bread, cereals and pasta to satisfy the appetite. Participants were asked to avoid refined oils (e.g. olive or coconut oil) and animal products (meat, fish, eggs and dairy products). We discouraged high-fat plant foods such as nuts and avocados, and highly processed foods. We encouraged participants to minimise sugar, salt and caffeinated beverages. We provided 50 μg daily vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin) supplements. 


Minor changes to trial design

At the 6-month end point, we observed significant differences between the intervention and control groups, and we offered the intervention to the control group. Ethics approval was obtained to extend follow-up to 3 years total, and the protocol was updated.

Basically means at the 6 month mark they could not ethically not offer the control group the amazing benefits of the low fat WFPB diet!  

Not only that they measured Quality of Life, Self Esteem & Mental Variables, Food Enjoyment, cost of food & more!  Each was improved on the diet! 

Adherence was high & those keeping a food journal did the best;

Multiple intervention participants stated ‘not being hungry’ was important in enabling adherence. Intervention participants were highly adherent with the dietary changes, although this decreased with time. Diet at 3 months correlated with weight loss at 12 months, but starting diet did not. These findings suggest an audited diet diary may be useful to predict success with a WFPB diet, and that those starting from a typical Western diet could expect similar results.

The key difference between this trial and other approaches to weight loss was that participants were informed to eat the WFPB diet ad libitum and to focus efforts on diet, rather than increasing exercise.

Many patients are interested in making dietary changes, and the WFPB diet can be offered as a safe and effective option for losing weight and obtaining some reduction in cholesterol, without necessarily increasing exercise. The main advantage is in eating to satiation without restricting the amount of food eaten. 

THANK YOU NEW ZEALAND & everyone there who took park in this study!!!  

Strengths of this research include randomisation, and the ‘real world’ nature of the programme, which involved community-dwelling adults who were provided skills and education but were responsible for their own food choices.

Well this is pretty much the best thing I have ever read.

Second Sunday in May, Mother’s Day in Brazil.

I was thinking about what daughter I am to my mother, certainly not perfect, but not so bad! And I thought: “What kind of mother am I?” I realized, I am nothing of what I imagined. I have 3 children, as I mentioned in some moments, three jewels. They are my children of heart, we adopt them, my ex husband is a great father, fortunately, however we agree that there is a greater weight in the maternity, in this case, because they live with me. And then, when we decided on adoption, I prepared myself in every possible way, reading, sharing experiences, adopting support groups, everything, and I thought: “I’M READY!” And the truth, for biological moms and adoptive moms: “YOU WILL NEVER BE READY TO BE A MOTHER!” There will be a moment, even if remote, that you will see your ideology on the ground. I’ve come to think that, you actually become a mom in the exactly moment you first see your child, something like pushing a button: “ON”. So I am a 34 year old woman with an 18 year old son, who already works and went to live alone, a 13 year old daughter with fire hair, so beautiful that I am afraid, and a little girl of 3 years , and it was this little girl who ended the transformation in me. There is not a day that I do not think I’m going crazy with motherhood, so I count to 10, I take a deep breath, I withdraw the patience of the impossible, I close my eyes and think of that exact moment when I first saw each of them for the first time , the colors, the smells, the voices, the eyes and the hugs. I’m doing my part, they got my best … and, why am I saying all this? Because the world gave me a gift, and they chose me to be their mother, they welcomed me and accepted me, and this was the choice that makes me celebrate this day with the most beautiful words I can hear: “Mom, I love you, happy mothers day!”

I leave a big hug for all the mothers, for the dads who have taken on this function alone, for each person who chose to take care of another life, making it a piece of yours.

—  Luciana Maciel - Earthly Perceptions

Eileen Atkins as Ellen Terry

Here, first at the age of 79, and then again at 81, Eileen Atkins serves as incontrovertible proof that age is not and should not be a barrier to older actresses playing any role they want. The Terry lectures might have been solely about Shakespeare, but the wisdom of Terry within them and the talent of Atkins in performing them is applicable to any damn role out there and any actress. When Eileen Atkins, as Terry, plays the Juliet’s poison scene, you believe - what’s more, you want her to continue. Likewise with Rosalind talking about love - you yearn for her to do the whole play, because it’s all there - Rosalind’s spark, her vulnerability, that ache for love and fearing that this is her last chance. Her age makes it all the more emotionally riveting. There’s greater weight to her words, just her very age alone makes that fear of not having love all the more poignant and urgent. It’s as moving as anything I’ve ever seen in a theatre because what Atkins does, and what so many older actresses can do that their younger counterparts simply do not have the life experience to convey, is the raw emotional truth. As Terry herself suggests, an actress is only emotionally ready to play Juliet when she is considered too old for the part. I spent the better part of 20,000 words writing a dissertation about this idea - and a third of that was on Eileen Atkins as Ellen Terry. This small 90 minute piece of theatre is quite simply perfection, and a testament to how great older actresses are, and how daft the industry is that doesn’t use them.

Lost Girl - Chapter 1 (Eric and Fox)

Rating: M (swearing, violence, smut, blah blah)

Genre: Drama/Angst

****Trigger Warnings - mention of torture, abuse****

Thanks everyone for the re-blogs and support!!! IT IS SO AWESOME!!!

@emmysrandomthoughts@beautifulramblingbrains @iammarylastar @tigpooh67 @bookwarm85  @badassbaker @captstefanbrandt  @treeleaf  @beltz2016  @girlwith100names @gaia25 @readsalot73 @slayer0507 @stone-met @lostinthebeans @lauraaan182 @girlslovestorys  @lacy-love @fuckthatfeeling  @sparklemichele @vitaevandal  @micolegg @frecklefaceb @jaihardy  @bookgirlthings @queenara4  @bluelassbird @mom2reesie @pathybo @letmagichappen @shaunarcanine @equalstrashflavoredtrash @itschibi @elaacreditava @lilu46 @tonyt1995 @jojogoo65 @littlesouthernrebel @sterek-foreverandever


A huge thank you to my beta and Jai-sister @iammarylastar ! Quelle equipe!


What happens if Fox disappears, and is returned to Eric two years later, but is not the same woman he loves???


Eric groaned and rolled over with a curse, fumbling blindly for his ringing cell phone. Finding it, he pressed it his ear.

“Leader Coulter?”

Eric grunted.

“Head Leader Miller wants you down in the vehicle bay sir, ASAP.”

Eric lifted his head groggily and glanced at his alarm. 2:14 AM. What the actual fuck?

“What the fuck for?”

“He didn’t say sir, just to insist you get down here.”

Eric rolled his eyes. “I’ll be there in five.”

Still yawning, Eric pushed through the heavy armoured door of the vehicle bay and squinted in the sudden bright light, seeking out the reason for this early morning foray. Max stood a few dozen paces away, deep in conversation with a few soldiers. Setting his jaw Eric stormed over.

Max flicked a glance in his direction. “Coulter, good. ETA is seven minutes.”

“ETA for what?” Eric grumbled, scratching at the stubble he’d had no time to shave off. He’d barely had time to gel his hair for Christ’s sake.

Max’s face went dead serious and he dismissed the other soldiers with a jerk of his chin. Eric eyed him suspiciously as Max guided him by the shoulder farther away from the bustling men.

The Head Leader crossed his arms over his chest and Eric copied him, raising one eyebrow. Finally, Max dropped his hands, resting one on his hip while the other scratched at the top of his head. “We found her, Eric.”

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rogue one: JUNIOR novel: reaction

So I’m reading the Rogue One: Junior Novel by Matt Forbeck because… look, I’m just desperate for every bit of official Rogue One material I can get and both Guardians of the Whills and Rebel Rising aren’t out for three weeks. I’m also mildly curious as to how a morally dense and complicated movie gets translated for younglings. What’s important to emphasize? What’s not?

(I do wonder in general how Star Wars film novelizations - both the adult and children versions - are handled. How much of the movie do they even see while writing, if any? Is there an Official Person who makes sure the characterizations/internal monologues/etc. are What They Should Be? Is every extra bit that’s in the novels but not in the movies okay'ed as canon? Did Forbeck use Freed’s novel as reference? Etc etc.)

Favorite/Interesting bits:

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In a Crowd of Thousands

@juldooz requested a fic

Fic request: John asks Sherlock about how being lost in his mind palace or deleting things affects his relationships. (Inspired by your fic The Wrong Idea Could So Easily Be the Right One and Whiskey and Words by Emmyjean) Sherlock explains that though the physical memory might be gone the emotional memory remains intact, he gives examples of things Molly (not naming her) has done over the years that have greater emotional weight than what actually occurred (maybe she overhears)

obviously you all must know what they are wearing. Also go listen to ‘A Crowd of Thousands’ from Anastasia the Broadway Musical coz that’s the song I wrote this to, the feelings and the music and memories behind it, and of course, @juldooz amazing prompt!!

“So what happens to memories? In your mind palace I mean. You ever get lost in there? End up deleting stuff?”

“I’m always ‘deleting stuff’,” Sherlock replied, hands still steepled under his chin. “The useless stuff, at any rate.”

“Yeah, but what about stuff you think is useless, but it’s actually pertinent to your relationships?” John asked “Like for instance we are always out of milk, because you take about half a carton in your tea, but somehow, every Monday, there’s another carton.”

“Is this about me doing more of the grocery shopping?”

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