anonymous asked:

hey, can you break down the differences between the adventure zone and critical role for me? i haven't listened to either and now i'm curious

Oh gosh, okay. They’re delightful but… very different approaches to the same general idea (broadcasting a D&D game), and I think the fans of one show tend to have a sort of skewed impression of the other show, so here’s my thinking.

Just the basics, to begin with: The Adventure Zone started running in late 2014, and it’s an audio-only podcast in which the McElroy brothers and their dad start a brand-new D&D campaign from scratch. Critical Role started running in early 2015, and it’s a video podcast in which a bunch of best-friend voice actors started filming the D&D campaign they’d already been playing for years at home with the same characters. TAZ is (generally) prerecorded and lightly edited down, CR is 100% live. Both have a lot of howlingly funny and surprisingly touching moments, both get a lot more intense the more you get into them, and both are good shows that are a Good Time, especially when they make you feel things you didn’t sign up for. The main canon of TAZ is currently 56 one-hour-long episodes, with new episodes every two weeks, and CR is currently 85 four-hour-long episodes, with new episodes every week. Most of the reason for CR’s absurd length comes down to (a) three times as many players, and (b) no editing.

The DMs both put a ton of work into the world, but they also have very different approaches. Griffin (TAZ) is DMing for the first time, while Matt (CR) has talked about how DMing D&D games for the past 20 years is what got him interested in acting in the first place. The world of TAZ is much more of a sci-fi/fantasy hybrid, while CR sticks more to traditional fantasy.

TAZ plays fast and loose with the rules, which can be both a delight and a frustration for storytelling reasons—for instance, until the latest arc both spell slots and HP were not really tracked, which means (a) Griffin has had to come up with incredibly creative ways of introducing risk and limitations to the game, and (b) those incredibly creative ways can start to get pretty damn brutal. The mechanics of the game feel like an imposition on the story, most of the time—it’s rare that you get a dice roll that makes a huge difference to the plot (but when you do, as in the most recent episode, it’s pretty darn cool). As a result, the biggest spanner in the works of Griffin’s plans tends to be in the form of out-of-the-box thinking from his players, which they excel at; I think there is a tendency to railroad the plot as a result, but it’s a good story and it’s well worth a little bit of elbowing to keep everyone on track. Magical items also play a huge role, with viewers of the show submitting awesome new trinkets for the heroes of the story to use/abuse/completely forget about.

Because CR tilts more towards the rulebook (although Matt gets more than his fair share of shit for homebrewing and letting things slide and defaulting to the Rule of Cool), chance plays a much bigger role in the story. Matt’s simultaneously battling some incredibly creative players and dice that seem determined to roll as dramatically as possible. Entire subplots have been wiped out by a strategic roll, and in order to be able to adapt to that on the fly, Matt has to be hyper-prepared and have a lot of possible branching points. It’s absurdly open-world, especially now that the characters have the ability to travel instantly through different planes of existence, and Matt keeps pace with a story that feels more character-led than DM-led; railroading is practically nonexistent, which means you get incredible plot developments and super-deep characterization… but it also sometimes leads to long circular conversations trying to figure out what to do next. Because the players are all actors, there’s also a lot more that’s just straight-up improv theater: it’s not unusual (especially lately) to go for verrrry long stretches of riveting conversation without anybody rolling dice (I can think of a moment where Matt could’ve just had everyone fail a charisma saving throw against an NPC but instead just straight-up charmed them all in real life with words).

I’ll put it this way: CR is a basketball pickup game between friends who’ve been playing together so long that they kind of have their own home rules going and stick to them. TAZ is out there playing fuckin’ Calvinball. Both are great fun, but if you go into one expecting the other you’re in for a bad time.

Both shows have a lot of great NPCs, although Critical Role’s format gives them a lot more time and depth to shine (there are episodes where an NPC will have as much or more “screen time” than some of the player characters). Both shows have LGBT representation among player characters and NPCs alike that, while not perfect, is generally improving as the show goes on. For me personally, one of the more frustrating things about going from CR to TAZ was going from three female player characters and a metric fuckton of extremely deep characterization for all the female NPCs to no female player characters and many great and memorable female NPCs who nevertheless don’t get too much screentime or development just because of the the structure of the show.

TAZ is pretty shaky throughout the first arc (Griffin’s fighting a bit of an uphill battle getting everyone to sit down and actually play the game, which is funny in and of itself), but things slowly start to come together and the real potential of the show becomes clear once they break the heck out of the 5e Starter Set. I think the “Murder on the Rockport Limited” arc is what started to pull me in, and it’s not until the latest arc that I’m starting to get the character development I really crave in that show. Critical Role also takes a little while to find its footing, and to me the Briarwood arc (starting around episode 24) is where the mood of the show starts to solidify, with episode 40 and beyond really pushing from “this is cool, I’m enjoying how these interpretations of fantasy tropes are sometimes kinda unusual and off-the-wall!” to “how is this the most honest and genuine character development I’ve ever seen in media what the heck is happening here”.

So yeah. TAZ isn’t total chaos with no plot or effort put into it, CR isn’t a humorless wasteland of mathematical minutiae and rigid formulaic approaches. Both shows are great fun, both are IMO in an upswing and getting better and better as they go along, and I heartily recommend them both if you know what you’re getting into. Have fun!

When I was in elementary school, I knew that gay people existed. Many people had told me it was wrong, but I knew they existed, I knew it was an option.

When I was in middle school, I knew that bisexual people existed. Many people had told me it was wrong, but I knew they existed, I knew it was an option.

Eighth grade rolled around and my friends started talking about how hot male celebrities were and I got this fuzzy feeling of confusion: I wasn’t attracted to them like I was supposed to be.

So there I was, thirteen years old at a lunchroom table, assuming the only orientations that existed were gay, straight, and bisexual. I wasn’t attracted to guys. I assumed I had to be gay.

And gay became an integral part of my personality. I created a tumblr, followed gay blogs, shipped girls together, I did everything I thought a gay girl was supposed to do.

Only, as the years passed, I felt less and less at home, because every time I saw a post about how hot a female celebrity was I got this fuzzy feeling of confusion: I wasn’t attracted to them like I was supposed to be.

But I ignored it. I was fifteen years old, laying in bed, scrolling through posts I didn’t fully identify with. The only options were gay, straight, and bisexual. And I wasn’t attracted to guys.

In sophomore year of high school, I came out as gay.

Over winter break, I spent a lot of time on the internet, feeling broken and confused. I was gay but I wasn’t attracted to girls. I scrolled through the lgbt tag, looking for an answer, and came upon a list of identities.

I found asexual and demisexual in it. Gay had been a huge part of my identity for two years. I grabbed demisexual and ran with it, because maybe, if I found the right person and got close enough, something would click.

It never did. As the school year flew by, I thought about asexuality more and more, and in early spring, I settled with it. It made me feel a little broken, but hey, I was still homoromantic, so I couldn’t be all that broken, could I?

By the summer between sophomore and junior year, I no longer felt broken. I still had a safe space in the queer community and I was loud and proud about who I was.

That same summer, I met a bisexual girl and an aroace girl, roommates at a summer program. My asexuality and homoromanticism became something I talked about often, an even bigger part of who I was.

Junior year of high school, a girl asked me on a date and I said yes. After all, I liked spending time with her and I wanted to be closer to her, that’s what romantic feelings were, or so I thought.

A month into the relationship I realized my feelings couldn’t be romantic. I liked cuddling with her and I liked talking to her, but I never wanted to kiss her. I never wanted to hold her hand.

I looked back, and I realized every single ‘crush’ I had was exactly like this. I wanted to cuddle and I wanted to be closer. I never wanted romance. I just wanted a stronger freindship.

It was terrifying. I felt so utterly broken and confused because if I wasn’t gay, who the hell was I? I remembered aromanticism and I talked to my aroace friend, and for the first time I truly identified with what was being said.

Despite this, I continued to feel broken. I found some aromantic blogs, and I sent anons, and I read the faqs, and day by day, I accepted myself more

But there was still something missing. The fandoms I had become a part of, the girls I still shipped, that hadn’t changed. What changed was the fact that suddenly I wasn’t welcome there.

Because my junior year is this year, and as I was finally feeling comfortable with myself, the discourse began. I am told that I’m basically straight, that I have no place in the community I have called my home for three years.

Maybe if that’s all it was, I would be able to brush it off as hate and reassure myself I was queer, that I wasn’t doing anything wrong.

But the thing is, I’m also being told that I’ve never experienced oppression, that I never felt like an outcast because of who I was.

And you’re partially correct, I have never felt like an outcast because of who I am. But every day I have felt like an outcast because of who I’m not.

Since I was old enough to talk I’ve been told I will have crushes. Since I was in middle school, I’ve been told by my parents it’s okay who I have crushes on, that if I like a girl it’s okay too.

But I’ve never been told it’s okay not to have a crush. In fact, during truth or dare, every time I said I didn’t have a crush people told me I was lying, and I learned to make them up.

Since I was in middle school, I’ve been told it’s perfectly normal to be sexually attracted to girls or guys or even both. All are normal.

But I’ve never been told it’s normal not to be sexually attracted to anybody. And so when I was lectured by adults on how I need to be careful when having sex, even if I’m really attracted to the person, I smiled and nodded, not bothering to correct them.

Since I joined tumblr, I’ve been flooded with posts about how it’s okay to love who you love. No matter who you’re attracted to you’re a valid individual. I never had to look to find these posts.

But I’ve never just stumbled across a post telling me it’s okay to not have crushes and it’s okay not to be attracted to anybody. I had to search those out by following ace and aro specific blogs.

So now I’d like to present to you the definition of oppression:

[uh-presh-uh n]
1. the exercise of authority or power in a burdensome, cruel, or unjust manner.
2. an act or instance of oppressing or subjecting to cruel or unjust impositions or restraints.
3. the state of being oppressed.
4. the feeling of being heavily burdened, mentally or physically, by troubles, adverse conditions, anxiety, etc.

And I dare you to tell me that I’ve never experienced oppression.

When people criticize Hannigram as a toxic ship I’m just like…have you ever read literature? Have you ever looked at art? Have you ever watched film? Art isn’t always supposed to be nice, pretty, and wrap things up in perfect little bows of how ideal life and relationships should be. Art can be complicated, raise moral questions, show the dark side of humanity and love.

I feel like there is this general misunderstanding with like 18 year old kids on this website of how to engage with complex art and representation. Critique and analysis are essential. But I don’t understand this imposition that creative works be positive, healthy, and safe. Like that’s not how art works??

Trans Women: Go through intensely painful medical procedures like having our faces literally burnt by high-power lasers for the express purpose of avoiding violence at the hands of cisgender people.

Cisgender People: Act like being asked to call us by our real name and pronouns is some kind of huge imposition.

President Trump’s frequent trips during the winter to his Florida property, Mar-a-Lago, sparked protests from nearby residents, ethics watchdogs and some elected officials.

But here’s something that’s mostly escaped public attention: The trips are also bad for sharks.

Blacktip sharks are seen migrating along the southeast Florida coast. (Stephen M. Kajiura)

Granted, Trump has expressed his distaste for sharks more than once, so he probably wouldn’t lose sleep over disrupting research on the ocean’s top predator. On July 4, 2013, he fired off multiple tweets denigrating the ancient species, writing, “Sharks are last on my list — other than perhaps the losers and haters of the World!”

Stephen M. Kajiura, a professor of biological sciences at Florida Atlantic University, has conducted an aerial survey for the past seven years to record the abundance and migration patterns of blacktip sharks.

The aerial surveys involve a low flying plane that takes off from an airport included in the no-fly zone activated when President Trump is in Mar-a-Lago.

“He has no idea that he’s doing it, but it does mean a significant reduction,” Kajiura said, hastening to add that he’s “not complaining” but does believe it represents the first time there has been “a direct imposition on data collection by a visiting president.”

Because the president traveled to the property seven times over the course of his first 11 weeks in office, it reduced the number of surveys that the marine biologist could take during that period by one-third.

Read the rest of the story: Trump’s love of Mar-a-Lago is bad news for sharks

Mute!Tony: Part Three

Okay, finally, jeez. the stubborn jerk really didn’t want this thing to end happy. It was a fight. But I won. And just to warn you, I cried. I never cry. I pretty much have no soul. So, uh, buckle up? I’ll port this to Ao3 another day. Because it is now complete. 

Part One is Here.

Part Two is Here. 

He hadn’t been seen near them since the fight that blinded – that made Tony – when Bucky almost –

Since the day that Tony left Avengers Tower.

There had been a few skirmishes with minor evil, but nothing serious. Nothing they called Tony for.

Nothing they needed him for.

He checked.

Then he set up Jarvis to alert him even if they didn’t, because it didn’t damn well matter if they wanted him there when things got bad. It didn’t matter if they didn’t want to hear him; if things reached DC levels again, Tony would fly his ass into the middle of it.

It wasn’t like they could hate him any more than they already did.

Not after what he’d put them through.

They sent a few messages. Right at the start. Right after he left.

The first of them popped up on the HUD when he was over Nebraska, two hours after walking out of Bucky’s room with his throat in scorching pain from suppressing any further sound. The displayed showed ‘James Barnes’, and a tiny video preview of the man sitting on the hospital bed.

Tony declined the call.

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flonde  asked:

On punching Nazis: if you advocate violent suppression of opposing viewpoints you might be a fascist.

On liberals that misunderstand fascism so severely that they ignore every other characteristic of fascism (e.g. hostility to socialism/liberal democracy; perceptions of community/national decline/obsessions with myths of nationalist rebirth & greatness; an emphasis with racial or national “purity;” the scapegoating of “others,” often racist in nature; the fetishization of violence as a political tool to purge or “cleanse” the nation of “corrupting” or “alien” elements; prioritization of military might and national security; seeking to replace the current ruling elite with their own idealized class; the imposition of their brand of “order” on the rest of the population; an obsession with nationalism/ultra-nationalism; wanton disregard for human rights, intellectuals, and the arts; rampant cronyism and corruption coalescing around the ownership or control of government by one person or a tiny group of people) in their ahistorical attempt to paint anti-fascists as fascists using false equivalence: if you believe that fascism is an “opposing view point”  and not a completely discredited, potentially lethal, utterly illegitimate belief system; if you think fascists can be prevented from murdering people with your liberal witty repartée or hugging it out; if you’re completely oblivious to the use of physical force smashing fascism during world war two or beating back the fascists of Daesh in our times; if you sit on your fucking hands and do sweet FA when fascists are openly organizing in your community but rush to condemn those brave enough to stand up to them before they start shooting up mosques or calling bomb threats into Jewish centers or setting immigrant-owned businesses on fire or randomly shooting racialized people or stabbing black men to death in the streets or attempting to beat refugees to death; then you’re just as bad as the fascists are.  

As Joy Kogawa put it, “if there’s just one thing that history teaches us, just one thing, it’s that bystanders and perpetrators are both on the same side.“  

We’re don’t need to hear your tired, old, liberal-ass nonsense, flonde.  Give your head a shake and do something fucking useful for once in your life or GTFO of our way - we have important, life-saving work to do.  

Baby It’s Cold Outside

Summary: You and Bucky share an intimate moment during a cold night in.

Characters/Relationships: Bucky Barnes x Reader

Warnings: Mostly fluff; a car crash in a snow storm, mentions of blood

A/N: This is my entry for @lovelynemesis‘s Sam’s Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree Writing Challenge. My prompt was: Stranded on the side of the road in a snowstorm. Luckily a kind stranger finds you and offers for you to stay in their cabin to wait it out. This is post CA: TWS Bucky but pre CA: CW Bucky. 

Italicized words are memories. 


Originally posted by thesoldierchildren

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I’m so proud to be a lesbian. I’m so proud of how far I’ve come. I’m so proud of my identity and what it means for me. Being a lesbian has saved my life; the community, the culture, my love for women - all of these things make me who I am. I love being a dyke; I’ve fought hard for this label, had it nearly torn from my hands more times than I can count, but it’s mine. I love the energy that I give to and receive from other women. I love my sisters in the lesbian community; our spaces have endured so much trauma, so much hatred, so much criticism, and so much imposition from forces who hate us. But we’re here, we have always been here, we will be here until the end of time.

And just for the record? Don’t call me queer.

Happy Pride Month.

Lyanna Mormont & Feminism

I just have one tiny thing to say about Lyanna Mormont’s speech. I’ve seen quite a few people go after her for this particular line: 

“I don’t plan on knitting by the fire while men fight for me.”

A lot of people have said it was very anti-feminist and an insult to women, which I understand where they’re coming from, but Lyanna wasn’t mocking those women. She was mocking the rigid gender norms placed upon girls and women in her society. It was decrying the social construct that dictates women cannot fight their own battles and are only good for what society deems ‘feminine pursuits’. Lyanna’s speech was deconstructing what it meant to be female at that time and declaring that women do not need men to fight their battles for them; that they are perfectly capable of fighting their own battles. We, as modern day women, cannot define her speech by our understanding of feminism today. Feminist discourse would have been largely unheard of in that period of time. What women of that day value most is incomparable to what we as modern viewers value now. For such a toxic patriarchal society, giving women autonomy over their own futures, and thusly their own battles, was a far more needed pursuit. The comment about knitting by the fire was not to say those who do knit and enjoy it are weaker and thus unworthy of being a woman, but rather it was to decry these archaic gender roles placed upon them. Women are capable of far more than society has given them the chance to display. 

It’s completely unfair to view Lyanna’s speech through our twenty-first-century lenses because the circumstances are different. It’s the same argument we use when we apply feminist theory to literature. Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, if read through modern day goggles, would not be considered as groundbreaking a novel as it was at the time of its publication in 1847, but it very much was. 

“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”

“Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts, as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, to absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer.“

To us, these quotes would not be that powerful. As beautiful as the language is, the concept that women feel just as men feel is not revolutionary for us. But at the time, Bronte’s Jane Eyre was certainly revolutionary in its attempt to dismantle this cultural imposition on women over their need to be the passive and submissive “Angel in the House” (a concept of the penultimate feminine ideal described by Coventry Patmore in his poem published in 1854).

Imposing twenty-first-century notions of feminism on a culture that has yet to actually experience any wave or trickle of feminism is unfair. Contextually, Lyanna’s speech was for its time revolutionary and so was Jon’s decision to have both men and women fight. Even Sansa, who is not a fighter, acknowledges this by her smirk during the speech. It is not a slight towards those who are more domestic, but a slight towards culturally imposed notions of what it means to be feminine by men who see women’s worth as only mothers, caretakers and nurturers, without acknowledging them as a whole human that is far more complex than these strict roles allow them.

And for each woman, the question of femininity is always going to be different. For Lyanna, her fight has always been against those who underestimate her right to lead and the power she commands, and that is what she specifically addresses. There’s a famous conversation by lecturer and professor of literature and gender studies Ann Snitow in her 1989 essay ‘A Gender Diary’.

Her friend says in regards to the feminist movement: 

“Now I can be a woman; it’s no longer so humiliating. I can stop fantasizing that secretly I am a man, as I used to, before I had children. Now I can value what was once my shame.”

In contrast, Snitow said:

“Now I don’t have to be a woman anymore. I need never become a mother. Being a woman has always been humiliating, but I used to assume there was no exit. Now the very idea of ‘woman’ is up for grabs. ‘Woman’ is my slave name; feminism will give me freedom to seek some other identity altogether.”

It’s always been these contradicting ideologies that simultaneously fuels feminism as a movement and hinders it. Feminists for decades have struggled to reconcile both ways of thinking, but personally, I believe neither is wrong. For me, feminism is the freedom to believe in either. 

This is why I don’t see Lyanna’s speech as being particularly anti-feminist. Saying so is too black and white of a statement, which has never been something you can attribute to feminism. The movement itself is too nuanced, as are most movements.   

(This isn’t saying anything new, it’s just taking another angle on a commonly discussed topic in case some people find this angle easier to relate to or engage with).

Most people can tell the difference between communities where they matter and communities where they don’t. It’s often really hard to nail down, specifically, the set of differences between these communities, but that doesn’t mean you don’t get a feel for it. There are places where people see you and people like you as a peer, a partner, a friend, and there are places where they see you as an imposition they tolerate for the sake of politeness, or a potential threat, or a waste of time and energy.

So lots of people go into a community and they get a visceral sense of ‘wow, this is a place where people like me aren’t welcome.’ And it’d be nice if they could pin it down beyond that - say 'this is an interaction I had which sucked’ or 'these are the rules that exclude me’ or 'this was the thing which made it clear to me that people like me were unwelcome’ - but often you can’t pin it down that precisely. You know perfectly well what you experienced, but all of the evidence that got you there is nothing all by itself, or is almost completely intangible. Sometimes communities have an explicit rule that everyone is welcome, and if you say “I’m unwelcome” they will point at the rule and say “no you’re not”. But you are.

I know a lot of people who are confused or stressed by the discourse surrounding microaggressions. They read through lists of them and see a mix of some things that are obvious misconduct and some things that look harmless, that they do all the time with people of every background, that don’t seem horrible at all. So they dutifully memorize every list they run across and anxiously try to avoid it in future, even though they don’t have any idea why it’s bad, or else they unhelpfully argue with people about how it isn’t that bad.

But I think the actual thing with microaggressions is that feeling of 'people like me are not welcome’ or at least 'people like me are only conditionally welcome, welcome if we’re friendly and careful and unthreatening and reassuring and match other peoples’ narratives about us and aren’t angry and don’t make anyone uncomfortable and toe the party line’. It’s really helpful for people to collect and corroborate and discuss and complain about all of the little cues which add up to that impression, but scrupulously memorizing the list of cues and avoiding the things on your list won’t actually make spaces where people feel welcome. The problem is the 'this space is not for people like you’ thing.

I think this is also what’s going on with a lot of discussion of bad allies. Lots of bad allying seems to amount to 'loudly saying that people are valued while continuing to be the kind of space where they are palpably not valued’. 

Which, of course, isn’t worse than being a space where people are not valued while not even giving lip service to the idea that they should be, but it can be uniquely frustrating because in a space that says 'we hate gay people’ you can say 'I am uncomfortable there because they hate me’ while in a space that claims to be supportive and fails at it all you can really say is 'uh. it sucks, for some reason’. Or you can give reasons that seem trivial and insignificant and which, if they were fixed, wouldn’t actually be sufficient.

“One must not affect scientific manners where the time has not yet come to be scientific, just as one must not falsify things and thoughts at which one has arrived in another way by imposing them on a false arrangement of deduction and dialectic.”

—F. Nietzsche, The Will to Power, §424 (edited excerpt).

What the question boils down to is really quite simple: if you genuinely think cis women can’t have any measure of gender dysphoria (despite the facts that a lifetime of messaging about what we are supposed to be and want and do includes impossible and painful ideals, that the social imposition of a painful gender role since literal birth might make you not want to live out that role and the lack of visible gender nonconforming women might make gnc womanhood seem implausible, that you might under these circumstances see yourself as fundamentally outside that impossibly narrow category, and that the social role of women is such that being seen and treated as a woman means being seen and treated poorly) then I wouldn’t necessarily call you an individual misogynist or homophobe but it’s an essentially misogynist and homophobic position. This is especially the case inasmuch as gender nonconforming lesbians have been writing for years about experiences with dysphoria, sometimes using that term and sometimes using other terms depending on culture, historical period, etc. But there’s a very solid and long history of lesbians and women who are to some extent uncomfortable being perceived as women and for many of whom a lot of their secondary sex characteristics cause significant distress in a specifically gendered way. Like it or not we’re here and have been for a long time.

11/14/2017, 04:31pm

Enough things exist in our individual lives that there are other pieces of subject matter that are subject to de-emphasis no matter how much other people want to impose it on us. It’s not that we shouldn’t care about it, but we don’t have to actively create an opinion or thought on something which is not relevant to our lives. We are distinctly ourselves and we should be this way, so long as we don’t harm others. 

It’s not necessary to stretch our arms over everything and have an opinion on every single bit of information that may or may not be relevant to our own lives. There seems to be enough monomania of certain subjects nowadays that we needn’t posture in any way in front of others if they’re finding their own way. To participate is another thing altogether.

Edit (4:38PM):

Simultaneously, we don’t need to turn so far inward that our narcissism overshadows any qualities that people can possibly see in us. There is a necessary balance, but there is no exact method and no exact point to which we must arrive. But we should have a focus, and not have nebulous thoughts and desires.

a moment.

When news of Viserion reaches Winterfell, Jon takes Daenerys aside to grieve. [a jon x daenerys fic, set just after the season seven finale]

She doesn’t question him as he leads her silently to his quarters, hand hovering just over the small of her back, unwilling to touch her only to have her recoil from him. He’s not certain he could bear it, if she were to reject his physical affection. Not today.

Her quiet should be indication enough of her mental state, silent and shuffling at his side, curled in on herself and seeking the cover of shadows cast by his flame. He’s never seen her look quite so small, chin tucked into the furs about her neck – firelight dancing along her porcelain skin.

The woman, instead of the queen.

The grieving mother, instead of the fierce conqueror.

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kelsiq  asked:

I've got kind of a bummer prompt if you're into it lol: Prompto's parents actually survived the fall of Insomnia but just never tried to contact him. How would the other three react if they found out? Your call whether Prom knows about it or not :P


Author’s Notes: Man, this was a GREAT prompt. It kind of broke my heart, but I definitely had a good time working on it. Sorry I didn’t get all the boys’ reactions in there. Hope this still works for you!


Broken Ties


They’re standing in the market at Lestallum when it happens.

Ignis is at the stall of the spice vendor, weighing out a packet of cumin. Prompto’s by his side, chattering idly on about the best methods for levelling up a character in King’s Knight. “Grinding’s boring,” he says. “So the trick is, you wait for the timed hunts. Then you just –”

“You just?” says Ignis, idly.

But Prompto’s stopped mid-sentence, and he gives no signs that he means to finish the thought.

When Ignis glances up to see what the matter is, Prompto’s gone absolutely sheet white. His face is slack, mouth open, eyes wide and staring. One hand gropes out to find Ignis’ arm, and the fingers clench there, grip painfully tight, palm like ice despite the heat of the day.

“That’s,” says Prompto. “Those are.”

His throat works; his face seems to be attempting every expression at once but not quite managing anything decisive.

Ignis follows his gaze across the market.

At first, he misses them. There’s something of a crowd, after all. But then the woman smiles, and the curve of her lips matches the smile in the photograph Prompto always keeps carefully folded in his wallet, and Ignis recognizes them for who they are.

They are an attractive enough couple, middle aged. Their heads are bent together as though sharing a secret. Ignis has never met them in person, but he’s heard stories: treasured childhood tales from Prompto, family outings dating a decade and a half ago, before the demands of their careers drew them away from home for longer and longer stretches of time.

Prompto’s hand, trembling now, draws away from Ignis’ arm. He takes a step toward the man and the woman, and his lips part, like they’re forming a silent plea, or perhaps a prayer. Then he calls: “Mom? Dad?”

They don’t hear him; the market is too loud.

He starts to move, like a man in a dream. “Mom!” he calls. “Dad!”

This time, they hear. Ignis watches as they glance up from their private conversation. He tracks the expressions as they flicker, there and gone: surprise, and then guilt. Finally, smiles that don’t quite reach their eyes.

“Prompto,” says Prompto’s mother. “Oh, my gods. What are you doing here?”

Ignis pays the vendor for the cumin, bags it, and turns to follow.

By the time he arrives, Prompto has his arms slung around the both of them. He’s crying – trying not to – saying, again and again, “I thought you were dead. I thought I was never gonna see you again.”

“It’s okay, honey,” says Prompto’s mother, like she’s embarrassed, and Ignis notes that the hand she has on her son’s back isn’t embracing him. It’s barely touching him at all.

“I kept calling,” says Prompto, and his voice breaks. “I thought – I thought for sure something happened.”

“You know how it is,” says Prompto’s father. “It was an evacuation; we had to leave everything. Damn phone’s probably still sitting on the counter.”

Ignis’ eyes flicker down. He finds the outline of a rectangle, in Prompto’s father’s front pocket.

It’s not the first time he’s felt this icy chip of anger slip into his bloodstream when Prompto’s parents are involved, but it’s by far the strongest. A wave of distilled ire rushes through him, along with the impulse to pry the boy away from them and take him back to their room at the Leville, where he’ll be surrounded by people who adore him.

Instead, Ignis clears his throat. He forces a smile, diplomat-smooth.

He thinks of what will make Prompto the happiest, and he says, “I’m afraid we won’t be in town for long, but perhaps the two of you would like to join us for dinner tonight? I imagine you’d like to do some catching up with your son.”

Prompto pulls back. In a sea of false smiles, his is genuine: wobbly and wondering, on a face still wet with tears. “Just like old times, right?”

Very old times. Prompto once confided that when last both his parents had sat down with him for a meal, he’d been seven years old.

“That sounds lovely,” says Prompto’s mother, as she extracts herself from the hug.

“We would hate to impose, though, if you already have plans,” says Prompto’s father.

“No imposition at all,” says Ignis, and his smile grows a touch sharper at the edges. “Please. I insist.”

There is a beat of silence, during which Prompto’s parents exchange a pointed look and Prompto, oblivious, wipes at his still-wet face with the back of one forearm.

The silence stretches uncomfortably long, and Ignis has time to think that if they break this boy’s heart, he will make it his own personal, private mission to enact suitable retribution.

“Well, then,” says Prompto’s mother, after far too long a pause. “If you insist.”

Prompto’s grinning again. His eyes are red and puffy, and the last of the tears still cling to his lashes.

Thank all the gods, he doesn’t seem to have noticed that anything’s amiss.

I see many people are confused as to what is going on, as well as about what I’ve said about OnionTaker, so here’s my attempt at clarifying The Problem™ to you, my fellow SONEs. Read attentively.

Let’s start with OnionTaker, who seems to be the person most of you have been relying on the most to acquire information regarding this critical situation. The first thing you have to bear in mind is that, contrary to popular belief, he is NOT a simple “insider.” He is an SM Entertainment employee specifically paid to work on the internet, which means he only tells fans what SM either wants him or allows him to. That being said, it should be obvious to you that not everything he says is 100% accurate, and sometimes, perhaps not even true at all. He posts exclusive pictures and spoilers about upcoming comebacks to lure fans into trusting him so that they will later accept anything he says as the utmost truth. Do not fall for that trap. And if you do choose to follow him or if come across his Tweets, always, always check his replies, because the information you might find there can be much more precious than whatever he has to say.
Bonus point
: Korean fans do not like him. And knowing k-SONEs are the group of fans within the fandom who possess the most information about everything, it shouldn’t be difficult for you to imagine or understand why. 

Now onto SM Entertainment. We’re dealing with a cunning, scheming, and unmerciful company here. The release of every single “scandal” involving an SM artist is carefully studied and sometimes even planned by the company itself, and is based on ulterior motives. Every single thing that has been released about the girls thus far and considered a scandal has either been approved by SM before hitting the news or crafted by them (except for Tiffany’s snapchat incident). They select which news they are going to release or not, and they do that based on their own agenda. The girls, as well as the media (Dispatch, for instance, has enough in its hands to blackmail SM for the rest of their existences)are merely toys. 

SM has been pressuring Taeyeon, Sunny, Tiffany, Hyoyeon, Yuri, Sooyoung, Yoona, and Seohyun to renew the contracts ever since January this year, and the fact that they were resisting SM’s impositions led SM to boycott their latest comeback. Yes; the arguable “failure” of the Holiday Night comeback was entirely calculated and promoted by SM Entertainment as to threaten the girls. In addition to that, news regarding their contracts were not supposed to be released until they were all renewed, and SM’s decision to go public with this matter was supposed to both add more pressure to the girls and give them an uncooperative image, so that they would lose the support of their fan bases. The media is not the one to blame for the things that have been going wrong for SNSD lately; it is SM. 

The best thing we can do now is support @SNSD_FAN_UNION, which is a Korean fan base that is organising a protest against SM’s menacing attitude towards SNSD and the fans. Refraining from commenting about the matter on the girls’ Instagram profiles would also be reasonable, as they do not need more pressure than they’ve already been receiving. Support the girls, support your fellow SONEs, and keep an open heart and mind. Remember that, in times like these, we musn’t be selfish.