The party was tasked to find a magical artifact that was being kept and used by this snake cult. They find the hidden entrance behind the waterfall and make it through the relatively empty common room and dormitory with no problem. When they reach the doorway to the inner sanctum of the cult this beautiful thing happened.
DM (me): The hallway ends with a large and heavy set of ornate stone double-doors.
Goliath Fgtr (OOC): Ok. I go to open the doors.
Before the player can even try to see it they’re locked…
Moogle Wzd (OOC): I use my Wand of Fireball on the door! BOOM!
DM and G. Ftr (IC and OOC): What!?
The charge is used and she blasts the door and our fighter for a whopping 33 damage, blowing him to the floor and the doors wide open revealing the whole congregation of the cult inside listening to their leader in the auditorium. They all stand and turn to look at the party as the dust settles when…
Elf Rogue: TROOOOLL!!! IN THE DUNGEON!!! TROOOOLL IN THE DUNGEON!!! (OOC)Bluff check!
She rolls for a total of 34 on the check…
DM: *silent cold glare that slowly shifts to stifled hysterical laughter as all but one of the cultists fail their sense motive rolls* The cult leader and all the cultists, save for one, all look to each other and in a screaming frenzy hurriedly dash for the exit.
Cultist#8 who crit succeeded his save: W-wait…we don’t even have a-
Cult Leader: Timothy, what are you doing just standing there babbling like a mad man WHEN THERE’S A BLOODY TROLL IN THE DUNGEON!?
Cultist Timothy begrudgingly follows them out now second guessing himself.
And with that the whole table broke out into hysterics.
One of our most beautiful memory from Morocco was this small waterfall hidden in the middle of the desert, near Ouarzazate. We had the chance to meet Malika, a doctor woman working for Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), she drove us in some of her favorite places like this one, a miniature paradise swarming with life: birds, frogs, dragonflies, fishes… We stayed there for hours, swimming in the clear water and drawing watercolor sketches.
Stiles is boundless, unrestrained energy that vibrates at a frequency beyond the comprehension of the human mind. Never still, always alive. Derek is the serenity of a glassy river winding through an endless forest that culminates in the deafening roar of a waterfall. Power hidden under a deceptive calm.
Derek and Stiles are two halves of a whole. Yin and yang. Complete opposites in every way, but so similar and unbalanced without the other.
Kira doesn’t know how she didn’t see them before.
After years of gruelling training and struggling to survive in the middle of the desert, Kira had found her center. One that did not involve Beacon Hills or the McCall pack. One that definitely did not include Scott. So Kira had gone home to New York to live with her parents and finish high school.
Running into Derek and Stiles had been an accident, literally. It involved spilled coffee, a ruined paper, and tears, but happy ones.
Stiles had been nearing the end of his third year of college, and Derek had been Derek. He lurked, he brooded, and oddly enough, greeted Kira with an enormous bear hug that she had not been prepared for. Stiles had laughed himself silly and immediately joined in, pouncing on Derek’s back and wrapping his arms around Kira as well.
It had taken Kira four months to see it. Them.
Their relationship was clearly not new, but nothing was different. They acted and reacted as they always had. Stiles, cleverness and sarcasm, antagonized, and Derek, restrained power and control, snapped.
How was she supposed to have known? They never told her. Did they not trust her?
Under the shade of a large tree, Kira tucked her knees up to her chest and hugged them as she watched Derek and Stiles play in the park. Now that she knew, it was obvious. It hadn’t been anything she’d ever given any serious consideration before.
Stiles sprinted across the grassy, sprawling lawn of Central Park with Derek bounding along behind him, nipping at his heels, tongue hanging out. Derek lunged, and at the last minute, Stiles dodged the wolf, all the while, cackling madly.
“They’re so cute,” Kira mumbled to herself, hiding a small smile behind her knees as Stiles and Derek tumbled across the grass in a mess of flailing limbs and dark fur when Derek finally caught the spastic human.
Derek pinned Stiles to the ground and proceeded to lave him with wet, messy tongue kisses. Stiles shrieked, and several onlookers appeared somewhat concerned.
Eventually, red-faced and panting, Stiles flopped down in the shade with Kira, and Derek trotted over, somehow appearing smug, even as a wolf. Stiles dragged Derek down to use as a particularly fluffy pillow.
It wasn’t until later, after Derek had shifted back and changed into a pair of jeans and a tank top, that Kira noticed their hands intertwined and wondered how many times she had ignored the blatant signs before.
Stiles babbled away, his only free hand waving about, and Derek smiled indulgently, listening to every word.
“I’m happy for both of you,” Kira suddenly said, surprising herself with the outburst.
“Huh?” Stiles hand fell back down to his side, and he tilted his head to the side in an action so wolf-like, Kira giggled. Derek squeezed Stiles’ hand, and Stiles glanced down, eyes widening before he grinned back at Kira. “Oh… Thanks!”
Derek nodded, always the quiet presence of calm to Stiles’ chaos.
Kira beamed and threw herself at them, hugging them around the middle. Maybe she did still have a pack.
‘Swee’ brag-worthy destinations you can go to without breaking the bank!
Envy all that picture-perfect photos on your social media feed? Make all your friends wish they were there with you at these ‘swee’ destinations! What’s more, the trips won’t burn a hole in your pocket!
Embark on a food, art and architectural expedition at Penang George Town, Malaysia
It’s easy to fall in love with this charming colonial town when you think of how much you can enjoy with so little money. This renowned paradise of multi-ethnic flavours is home to a variety of cheap and signature fares, from Char Kuey Teow and Penang Laksa to its most popular local dessert, Penang Chendol!
Food isn’t the only thing George Town is known for. Take to the streets to uncover Penang’s famous wall murals and navigate past traditional shophouses, Chinese temples and colonial architecture to fill your Instagram with #swee-worthy snapshots.
Find adventure around Borobudur, Indonesia
For those in search of wonder and awe, visit the ‘Garden of Java’ for stunning views of the region’s lush greenery and verdant rice fields.
Getting to Borobudur is a short plane ride to Yogyakarta (AirAsia is a good direct option for cheap and flexible flights), followed by an hour’s bus ride from city.
Admire the sacred wall carvings and ancient stone statues at the world’s largest Buddhist temple and witness the early morning sunrise over this colossal monument. Be sure to have your cameras and selfie sticks ready to capture your next epic profile pic with the alluring sunrise that will have your friends grumbling with envy!
Hit the beaches of Cebu, Philippines
Cebu is the perfect weekend getaway for budget travellers and short-term vacationers alike. Food and accommodation options are cheap in this bountiful seaside town, with plenty of offshore and inland activities to keep you entertained.
Island hop to the nearby white beaches and snorkelling sites, discover underwater magic and vibrant coral gardens around Balicasag Island, or take a beginner’s diving course at one of the many scuba schools that offer amazing rates for dive packages.
Explore the old temples of Chiang Rai, Thailand
Changi Rai is easily the best place to stick to a budget. Filled with food, fun and friendly locals, escape to Thailand’s northern province to experience beautiful mountain landscapes, laid-back vibes and affordable adventures!
Embark on a tour the many mesmerizing Buddhist temples, take an enchanting jungle trek in search of exotic waterfalls and hidden hillside tribes, bargain for exotic handicrafts and cheap eats at the daily night bazaars, or take a liberating motorcycle ride through the remote province of Mae Hong Son.
It’s easy to fly direct from Bangkok, where you can stopover for a quick city sojourn before embracing nature!
Get in touch with your spiritual side in Pondicherry, India
Feeling exceedingly stressed out? Sign up for a short stay at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram to enjoy an (almost) free stay with healthy vegetarian meals provided to all who’ve come to deepen their experience with yoga and meditation.
Not digging the pious life? You won’t have to go far to find cheap booze and fabulous fusion cuisine from this former French colony that will leave you craving for more!
Dalat is the perfect destination for tourists looking to beat the heat and relax in the cool mountain air of this beautiful hillside city. Temperatures hover between 15°C and 24°C daily, making it ideal for trekking, canyoning and other outdoor activities that would usually leave you sweating buckets.
Explore the elegant architecture and French-colonial vibes of the inner city, visit Dalat’s oldest Pagoda (Chua Linh Quang), or cruise through the countryside on a motorbike while passing acres of strawberry and coffee plantations on your way to the legendary Elephant Waterfalls.
the boy with the bloody teeth and bruised fingers doesn’t come back from the battle.
instead, he becomes something too heavy to carry. he becomes unsent letters. he becomes the air, thick with burning corn husks. he becomes the crunch of sand under bare feet, the waves carving the rocks into smoother shapes. he becomes the red mud painting the boots of his fellow soldiers. he becomes the first fistful of dirt across his own casket.
six years of comfortable silence and casual touches become an absence of comfort and an overabundance of silence.
it’s a tragedy. war is a tragedy. the lack of control, the lack of soft love, the lack of choice over when to say good things, when to hold each other close is a tragedy. it’s a perpetual state of mourning over soft parts left unexposed, over hardened knuckles and hardened faces and tenderness left unexpressed and unfelt. it’s a cheery song in minor. without the lyrics it’s just noise.
there’s parts in the story, parts that take place in the weeds, that take place in the hidden clearings, in the waterfall slosh and white-hot toned silence, in the sway of the shadows, parts where bones collide and teeth collide and then there’s hands, and they’re always rough, and it’s always guilty, parts of it almost aggressive, almost angry, desperate for anything soft to break and get those hands on, hungry for the release of pent-up love, hungry for something more.
freedom. words have meanings. sometimes the freedoms we get aren’t freedoms at all.
the boy with sharp eyes and a tender heart collects anger while his heart collects dust. it’s hard to love like this. it’s hard to properly verbalize affection that shouldn’t be there when the war drags on and it’s easier to just pretend that rough hands on already bruised skin mean anything more than want.
anything passes as love these days. against the backdrop of death and gore anything with softened angles looks like love. doesn’t even have to be genuine, and even when it is it doesn’t have to be properly voiced. it can be invisible. it’s allowed to exist without a form.
the boy with the ink splatter wrists isn’t invisible. he walks into a gunfire and he doesn’t come back from the battle.
in his head, before he walks into it, he sings -
oh freedom oh liberty i’m tired of loving like a martyr i want to love like i’m still alive i think i’m burning alive, oh let me love like i’m still alive -