inland oceans

Propelled by relentless ocean waves and strong onshore winds, small grains of sand accumulated to form the impressive dunes of Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes National Wildlife Refuge in California. Stretching inland from the Pacific Ocean, the migrating dunes are home to a unique ecosystem of plants and animals, like the northern elephant seal, the western snowy plover and the California red-legged frog. Two remote hiking areas offer visitors a chance to explore this dynamic landscape in peace and solitude. Photo by Ian Shive, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

THE GUARDIAN: St. Vincent: ‘I’m in deep nun mode’

For years, the Grammy winner was best known for her experimental music. Then dating Cara Delevingne put her in the spotlight. What’s next, asks Tom Lamont?

Saturday 19 August 2017 06.00 EDT

The musician St Vincent, a 34-year-old Texan whose real name is Annie Clark, is talking about body piercings. Though her outfit today includes such exotic items as a leopardskin onesie and a pink blazer made of some sort of wetsuit fabric, Clark doesn’t have any outlandish piercings herself; she just has droll and strong opinions about them, as she has droll and strong opinions about a lot of things.

“Didn’t it always make you laugh,” Clark says, already laughing, softly, in the museum in London where we meet one summer afternoon, “how people in the 90s who had, like, tongue rings? How they’d always make some sort of comment, intimating that it made them, like, better at oral sex? That was the whole wink-wink thing, right? That a tongue ring meant they were kinda kinky? But then, I guess the challenge – because they were constantly fidgeting with this gross thing in their mouth! I guess the challenge became: no one wanted to get head from them.” She hoots with amusement, just loud enough to turn heads in the hushed museum.

Conversation with Clark is like this: a bit unexpected, a bit arch, a bit sexy. She sometimes speaks so slowly and carefully it’s as if she’s reviewing individual words before committing to them. But, as with the lyrics of the songs she writes as St Vincent – always inventive, always making disarming leaps between ideas – you can never predict where her thinking will travel next. Quickly the chat about oral sex gives way to the matter of her own death, and her expectations of a brisk cremation. Before I know quite how, she’s got me talking about an irrational fear of being buried alive. “Get cremated!” she urges.

I ask Clark – who will soon release her fifth solo album, a follow-up to 2014’s self-titled St Vincent – why she suggested we meet in London’s Wellcome Collection, to combine our interview with a tour around the museum’s collection of antique medical equipment. Clark peers with interest at a display of old enema syringes and explains that in every unfamiliar city, “you should try to see something real and strange”. It was something the Talking Heads frontman David Byrne once advised her about touring the world, and she’s stuck to it ever since.

So far I’ve enjoyed the kind of success where I might get a free appetiser sent to my table. But it’s never a main That phrase – “real and strange” – describes Clark’s appeal as a musician. She is a generational talent on guitar, one of those poised, unperspiring types who can do the manually ludicrous while hardly appearing to try. Seen live, Clark’s fingers flit over the strings of her instrument with utmost precision – that’s the real in her. The strange comes via the writing and the composition, which on her four St Vincent albums since 2007 have tended towards the experimental and jagged-edged. Lyrically, she might choose a thing (prostitution, CCTV surveillance, prescription drugs) and then chew it over in repetitive, often anguished ways, before elevating the mood with a sudden joke. “Oh, what an ordinary day!” she sang on a track from her last album. “Take out the garbage… Masturbate.”

Genre labels won’t stick to her. Song to song, Clark might channel Björk then Iron Maiden, then belt out a disco number before pretending to be a fey, shoe-gazing whisper-singer. In the manner of FKA twigs or Héloïse “Christine and the Queens” Letissier, she is a performance artist as much as she is a performer; last year Clark played a gig dressed as a toilet, complete with cistern, protruding bowl and flush. And like twigs, who for many years has been in a relationship with the Twilight actor Robert Pattinson, Clark has managed to cultivate a shadowy, unknowable persona while at the same time dating a wildly high-profile superstar. For 18 months or so, until a break-up made public last summer, Clark was going out with Cara Delevingne, arguably the best-known model in the world.

St Vincent and Glass Animals play in London, February 2014. Photograph: London News Pictures/Rex

In the museum, while leaning over a glass display of clay death masks and shrunken human heads, we discuss Clark’s scaling achievements as St Vincent. From album to album, over a decade, her sales as well as her reviews have improved in happy tandem. The most recent album, 2014’s St Vincent, was her best to date, a wild, raucous thing, written in part during Ambien-soaked nights on tour, that eventually won her a Grammy. “It sounds like a very Pollyanna-ish thing to say,” Clark says, “but my ethos has always been to just make the music that I hear in my head. And I’ve been incredibly lucky, so far, that that’s seemed to correspond to external progress.”

Where does she place herself right now in the music industry? “So far I’ve enjoyed the kind of success where I might get, like, a free appetiser sent to my table,” Clark says. “And that’s awesome, I’m thrilled by that.” She fixes a level gaze before adding: “But it’s never a main.”

A word about her hair. Three years ago, while touring and promoting that self-titled record, Clark had a fantastic and unforgettable do – a triangular mountain of silver-bleached curls that made her look, in her own words, “like a scary cult leader”. I half-expected her to show up that way today, under the same teetering pile of silver, but Clark says the bleach killed off that haircut years back. She had to shear off her frazzled curls, “and then my look was less cult leader, more ‘Why do you have a rodent on your head?’”

She has a flair for naming her own haircuts, having cycled through such past constructions as “the Audrey Hepburn with anger issues” and “the Nick Cave minus the receding hairline”, and when I ask about the straightened black parting she has today, Clark decides: “I want to call this one… the Lara-Flynn-Boyle-in-the-90s.”

She isn’t quite such a speedy creator of names for her albums. The new LP still doesn’t have a title. I’ve heard about two-thirds of it and it’s superb – the same appealing, enigmatic, genre-spliced collision of ideas and influences that St Vincent fans cherish, only this time with a sleeker, more accessible through-line that ought to further expand her listenership. Some of the tracks, such as the scratchy, stirring Hang On Me, would work as well over the titles of a grand HBO drama as played through fizzing speakers in a dive bar. There are moments of peculiar, wonderful poetry. “Sometimes I feel like an inland ocean,” Clark sings, on a track called Smoking Section. “Too big to be a lake, too small to be an attraction.”

A number of the songs certainly sound as though they pick over the end of a serious relationship, in particular an astonishing meta-epic she has written called LA, which seems to be about a break-up (“How can anybody have you and lose you and not lose their mind, too?”), while at the same time being about a fiercely avant garde musician’s reluctance to do anything as obvious as write about a break-up. “I guess that’s just me, honey, I guess that’s how I’m built,” Clark sings, “I try to write you a love song but it comes out in a melt.”

Delevingne would be the most likely identity of “honey” here. But Clark is far too cool in person – and too determinedly non-specific as a lyricist – to admit to anything like that. “I don’t love it when musicians speak about their records being ‘diaries’ or ‘therapy’,” she says. “It removes that level of deep instinct and imagination that is necessary in order to make something that transcends.” She adds that such ways of talking too often become “erroneously gendered, in the sense that the assumption from the culture at large is that women only know how to write things autobiographically, or diaristically, which is a sexist way of implying that they lack imagination.”

This being said, Clark concedes, “my whole life is in this record. And this is one of the first interviews I’ve done about it. And I guess I haven’t 100% figured out how to talk about it. I mean…” She laughs suddenly, a brilliant, solemnity-shattering hoot. Clark is aware there will be an assumption that a lot of her new songs are about her ex. “I’ve really got to figure this out, right? If I’m going to ever be able to talk about the record?”

As is her custom whenever she’s finalising an album, Clark has currently placed herself in what she calls “deep nun mode”. Single. Work-focused. “Completely monastic. Sober, celibate – full nun.” I’m pretty sure she’s joking when she adds, in her slow, funny, unpredictable way, “I mean there are always sex plans. But none for, like, a month.”

Photograph: Arcin Sagdic for the Guardian

Clark was born in 1982, briefly an Oklahoman before her parents separated and Clark relocated with her mother and two older sisters to a suburb of Dallas, Texas. “My mom was a social worker. She dedicated her life to doing very admirable things. One of my sisters more or less followed on that path, making the world a better place. But I did not.” Though Clark would see her father during school holidays, she describes her teenage years as “matri-focal”. She was surrounded mostly by women. “And Mom’s mantra was: ‘We girls can do anything.’ She didn’t explicitly call it feminism, but it was baked into our DNA.” Her mother had a quirky, creative streak.

Once, after she’d accidentally crashed the family car, she was so intrigued by the aesthetics of the wreck, she climbed out to take photographs of it. “There was probably a picture taken of me and my sisters every day of our childhood. Have I seen any of those pictures? No. Has she gotten them developed? Mostly not. It was just her way of feeling safe, I guess, as if things would last for ever because she had documentation of it.”

Is Clark the same in her songwriting? Documenting and so holding on to vanishing events and feelings? “I’m trying to get rid of things,” Clark laughs. “I’m trying to expel them.”

We walk to Regent’s Park, where the warm weather and an outdoor art show have drawn a milling crowd. A sculpture installed by the park entrance resembles a tall pile of replica footballs. Fitting, as Clark was quite a player when she was young, soccer one of an eclectic assembly of high-school interests. “I was probably insufferable. I was the president of the theatre club, the kid who put Bertrand Russell quotes on their wall.” When I ask who her friends were at the time, she does not hesitate: “Oh, the sluts and the weirdos.”

Clothes from a selection, garethpughstudio.com. Styling: Priscilla Kwateng. Stylist’s assistant: Stanislava Sihelska. Hair: Stephen Beaver at Artists & Company. Makeup: Dele Olo. Photograph: Arcin Sagdic for the Guardian

Music was her main obsession. “I was a 10-year-old fan of Pearl Jam and Nirvana, and I would’ve got into a fistfight defending them. Art mattered.” Her maternal uncle, Tuck Andress, was a touring musician, half of a jazz duo called Tuck & Patti, and during the summer Clark graduated from high school he gave her a job assisting his band on tour. Clark enrolled at a music college in Boston after that and lasted a couple of years before dropping out and heading back out on the road, this time as a musician in her own right. She toured successfully as part of the expansive, experimental band the Polyphonic Spree and later as a guitarist for Sufjan Stevens.

She’s always been a political liberal – these days, one in mourning over last November’s election (“I feel like we watched America vote on their daddy issues”) as well as the reign of President Trump, a man she refers to as “a cartoon yeast infection”. As early as her teenage years, Clark had to get accustomed to the fact that a great many political and social norms, predominant in the suburbs where she grew up, were not her norms.

She believes in the essential fluidity of sexuality and of gender. (“Boys!” she sings on a new track called Sugarboy, “I am a lot like you. Girls! I am a lot like you.”) “The mutability of gender and sexuality, as you can probably imagine – that was not a prevalent subject in the suburbs of Dallas when I was growing up. Not even a little bit! And no shade on it now. I love Texas, I’m there all the time seeing family. But I was always gonna get out of there. It felt imperative that I get out of there.”

I can only write about my life, and dating Cara was a big part of my life In her 20s she moved to New York, borrowing the name St Vincent from one of the city’s hospitals, by way of its mention in a Nick Cave song. (St Vincent’s hospital was where “Dylan Thomas died drunk”, as Cave sang in There She Goes, My Beautiful World.) She released a debut record called Marry Me in 2007 and toured it through Europe to dispiritingly inattentive audiences, carrying away from London a special memory of “playing in a pub where you definitely couldn’t hear me over the crowd”. Between her next couple of records, Actor (2009) and Strange Mercy (2011), her career really started to take off. She performed on US chatshows; wrote and wrote; founded an influential creative relationship with Byrne, after he approached her at one of her gigs. “I was kind of stunned,” Byrne later said, of seeing Clark play guitar for the first time. The pair would collaborate on a celebrated 2012 album, Love This Giant.

By the time her 2014 album won the Grammy for best alternative album, Clark was entitled to ask, as she did ask: “Alternative to what?” Prince came to one of her shows, and she was invited to guest-guitar for the surviving members of Nirvana, later for Taylor Swift. As an award nominee at the Brits in spring 2015, Clark came and went on the arm of Delevingne – and pretty much overnight her public persona became a curious, split thing. As St Vincent, she was a fiercely respected musician, patiently fattening a fanbase in the most honourable way, by writing and recording and touring hard. As the “secret girlfriend” (Metro) who was “secretly dating” (Mirror) Delevingne, she was tabloid feed. Clark saw first-hand what it was like for somebody she cared about to be “hounded, hassled, hacked – all of that stuff”.

‘Certain levels of fame are unenviable’: with Talking Heads’ David Byrne

“Having seen certain levels of fame,” Clark tells me, “having been, y’know, fame adjacent… That in and of itself seems very hectic to me. If it’s a natural byproduct of doing what it is you love? Then great. But there are certain levels of fame that I’ve seen, just by proxy, that are unenviable.”

If the upward trend of her music continues, she might find herself in a similar place, whether willed or not. Clark shrugs. “I can’t control any of that stuff. So what am I gonna do? I’m just gonna keep making music. I know this is another Pollyanna answer, but it’s about the music. Did I write better songs than on the last album? Did I sing them better? Did I play better guitar? Did I connect?”

Maybe it was that I heard a low-quality version of the track, but on a new-album song called Pills there was a minor failure to connect. I misheard the song as having a lyric about somebody being “defamed by fame”, something I took to refer to Clark’s 18-month stretch in a celebrity relationship and all the demeaning wrangling with paparazzi and gossip bloggers that must have entailed. Clark looks panicked and says, no, the lyric was about someone being “de-fanged by fame… What I was referring to was that people’s art sometimes suffers when they get into that too-big-to-fail mindset. How things get really boring when people get too risk-averse, or too comfortable, or when they have overheads that are too high.” She can’t seem to get my mishearing of the lyric out of her head, though. “Oh!” she says eventually. “Maybe ‘defamed by fame’ is better?”

For a moment she seems to be wondering how quickly she can sprint to Heathrow from here, and fly back to America to rerecord it. In the end she decides she’ll let listeners hear what they want to hear. “There is no way to control how people perceive a song. And if you try to, my God, are you in for a sisyphean task.”

In the park we walk up a promenade between neatly manicured flowerbeds. When we settle on a bench, Clark seems overawed. “This is so beautiful,” she says. “I love this. Do you know how hard we’d have to work, in the States, to keep something this beautiful this beautiful?”

With former partner Cara Delevingne in September 2015. Photograph: Dave Benett/Getty Images for Burberry

She’s now ready to address the Delevingne quandary. When the new record is out, reference to her ex will be exhaustively scoured for – it’s already started to happen, as when Clark released a single called New York in June, and Vice responded with a think-piece: “Is St Vincent’s new track a love song for Cara Delevingne?” Nobody trawled through her past writing about CCTV surveillance, or masturbation, in quite that way. “Nuh uh,” Clark says.

She takes a breath. “Right! Um. I’ve always kept my writing close to the vest. And by that I mean I’m always gonna write about my life. Sometimes, in the past, I did that way more obliquely than now. But it’s almost like an involuntary reflex. I can’t help but be living and also taking notes on what’s going on, always trying to figure out how to put that into a song. And that does not mean there’s literal truth in every lyric on the way. Of course not. But I can only write about my life, and that – dating Cara – was a big part of my life. I wouldn’t take it off-limits, just because my songs might get extra scrutiny. People would read into them what they would, and you know what? Whatever they thought they found there would be absolutely right. And at the same time it would be absolutely wrong.”

Clark looks out across the park. “A song that means something very specific to me, a song in which I might be obliquely or otherwise exploring some really dark things, is a song that another person might hear and go: ‘Wow, this one really puts a smile on my face.’ I’m thrilled by that. I’m thrilled that people might take my songs into their life and make whatever suits them out of it.”

Clark nods: done. She lets her gaze travel over the park, over the sculptures in the distance, a couple of which look like giant ice-cream cones.

Earlier, she said that she’d got to a point in her career where strangers would send over free starters. If this new album does as well it should, I start to say… “I know, right?” Clark interrupts. “If I play my cards right? With this album? I might – get dessert.” She hoots.

• St Vincent’s new single, New York, is out now through Loma Vista/Caroline International.

• Opening photograph by Arcin Sagdic for The Guardian

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Essays in Existentialism: Stud V

omg stud lexa is great. i’m in love. she said it. ah ah ah. hope there’s gonna be a part v!

Previously on Stud

The long and winding driveway that led to the Woods’ estate crept along the creek that slithered its way along the property, connecting inland with the ocean in the distance. The trees fought the good fight against the impending autumn, still lingering in verdant greens while their tops and farthest leaves began to catch fire, flickering with the flames of reds and yellows and deep, deep auburn. In the distance, atop the small hill, the peaks of the roof could be seen every so often, nearly glowing with their lights in the dusk.

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BL Summer Bingo 2017: “Sharks”

Rhys knew that his parents would be mad if they knew he was taking things from the fridge, but that didn’t stop him from stuffing a little plastic bag full of lunch meat from one of the plastic drawers. He grabbed a little carton of cheese crackers and a box of juice as well, because it was hot out and it was a little bit of a walk to get where he was going.

Rhys was getting to the age where his parents were more willing to leave him alone, especially since both of them worked even when the boy was home for the summer. So no one was there to stop Rhys as the boy grabbed the spare key, clumsily locking the door behind him before trundling down through the crude path in the greenery surrounding his house. Much of the homes in the area were surrounded by lush coastal forest, thankfully preserved despite the development of the area.

Rhys carefully continued walking even the the ground started to get loose and muddy, his little tongue stuck out in concentration as he did his best not to slip. Slowly, he could hear the sounds of his destination—a little stream that cut through inland from the nearby ocean, full of swirling, brackish water and fish that often traveled from the saltwater up inland for spawning and hunting.

Rhys crouched down by the edge of the pool, eyes scanning the water as he opened the cartoon of cheese crackers and carefully setting a couple afloat in the gently turning water. He watched the crackers for a few moments, and just as disappointment started to set in, something broke the surface and snatched the crackers in a whir of clawed hands and teeth.

“There you are!” Rhys proclaimed happily, grin reaching from ear to ear as the small, sleek head popped above the surface of the water, stuffing its face with the orange crackers as it blinked wide, green and blue eyes up at Rhys.

The boy had discovered his new friend only a few days ago, while he was trying to catch toads at the muddy banks of the stream. The creature in the water was sort of like him, looking like a young boy maybe a couple years older than Rhys from the waist up, if you ignored the gill slits and unnatural eyes and really really sharp white teeth. But where his legs should be was only a smooth, sleek gray tail that looked like the sharks in Rhys’ picture books.

Rhys hadn’t told anyone about what he had found, too worried that his new friend—who he’d named “Jack” after his old fish—would be taken away. So for the past couple of days he had been sneaking food out to him, watching as his friend slowly regained his strength. Rhys had asked him questions about how he got there or where his mommy and daddy were, but Jack wasn’t really a conversationalist….or didn’t know how to speak English.

“Yeah? You like the goldfish crackers, huh? Almost as good as real ones.” Rhys stated as he upended more in his hand, before setting them down into the water. He was careful to keep his chubby little fingers away from his friend’s snapping jaws, giggling happily as Jack greedily gulped down the food before swimming closer, looking up at Rhys with slitted, expectant eyes.

Rhys barely had the cold cuts out of his bag before Jack was snatching for them, shoving the meat into his ravenous mouth with tiny, claws little fists. His tail splashed with delight at the food, quickly emptying the bag before going in to nuzzle affectionately up against Rhys. The other boy giggled, ruffling his fingers through his friends damp hair as he relaxed in his lap.

Rhys was sad the next day when he went back to find that Jack was no longer there, no matter how many goldfish crackers he sent adrift in the water. Though loneliness tugged at his chest, he tried convincing himself that Jack had merely been reunited with his parents out in the open ocean. A balm to his sadness was the little, ivory shark tooth he found half buried into the mud at the bank of the river, which sat in the drawer by his bed for months before he had his mother fashion it into a cute little necklace, a constant reminder of the strange friend he’d met on those sunny summer days.


Rhys had been so sure that he was about to die.

He had felt his consciousness, his fight to live, struggling underneath the inky pull of the ocean as the cold, suffocating waves had pulled him under. He remembered seeing silvery bubbles burst from his lungs, remembered the fear that had seized his heart at realizing this was the end, that there was nothing he could do and that nobody could save him now. He’d clawed at dark nothingness, screaming out the last of his air as he’d started to black out, and then—

And then out of the dark he’d felt something firm and surprisingly warm grab his hand and yank him up towards the surface. His head had broken the water as whatever had grabbed him had pushed him up, supporting his bulk with its own to keep him afloat above the surface. He’d taken several painful, hoarse breaths, colors popping in his eyes as he’d felt whatever was holding onto him slowly moving him in the direction of the surf. Waves had crashed over the top of his head as he’d slowly been urged to shore, his knees finally hitting the rough sand as he fell on all fours, still gasping and choking up burning saltwater as he tried to get back to breathing evenly.

He’d eventually collapsed onto his side in exhaustion, inhaling heavily as his vision slowly swam back to him. It was a couple more moments before he became aware of something heavy shuffling and moving behind him, still a mere dark fuzzy shape to his recovering senses. He’d jolted when he felt something trace over his heaving chest, his hand snapping up dumbly to grasp a smooth, warm wrist.

Rhys had nearly lost his breath again when his vision had finally swum into place, letting him see the creature that was hunched over him. Rhys saw the teeth first, exposed and brilliant in the moonlight behind a downturned lip, followed by the wild, wet hair slicked down in places while stuck up in others. Slits in the creature’s neck pulsed. Something wet and smooth flopped against Rhys’ side, drawing his sight to see a glistening tail twitching up against him.

A scream started to build in Rhys’ chafed throat, his hands digging into the sand and ready to fight, when suddenly he noticed the creatures eyes.

An inhuman blue and green, almost glowing in the moonlight—but wholly familiar.

“I…” Rhys began, his own eyes widening, but anything that he wanted to say was cut off as a clawed, strong hand slid under the shark-tooth necklace still hung around Rhys’ neck, lifting it off of the young man’s heaving chest.

“J….Jack…?” Rhys croaks, staring up at the powerful merman who had just saved his life. Jack closes his hand around Rhys’ necklace, expression so oddly contemplative as his eyes flick up to the young man’s face. When the merman’s lips move, his voice is as deep and rolling as a deep sea current, sending shivers up his spine.

Rhys.”

thanks to the bingo discord for helping me with this prompt! i think it turned out well enough, and i love shark mermaid jack a bunch…..

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smoking section st. vincent

sometimes i sit
in the smoking section
hoping one rogue spark
will land in my direction
and when you stomp me out
i scream and i shout,
“let it happen let it happen let it happen”

and sometimes i feel
like an inland ocean
too big to be a lake
too small to be an attraction
and when you wander in
and start to flail a bit
i let it happen let it happen let it happen

sometimes i stand
with a pistol in hand
i fire at the grass
just to scare you right back
and when you won’t run
i’m mad, but i succumb
let it happen let it happen let it happen

sometimes i go
to the edge of my roof
and i think i’ll jump
just to punish you
and if i should float
on the taxis below
no one will notice
no one will know

and then i think,
“what could be better than love?
than love than love?”
and then i think,
“what could be better than love?
than love than love?”

it’s not the end
it’s not the end
it’s not the end
it’s not the end
it’s not the end
it’s not the end
it’s not the end
it’s not the end
it’s not the end
it’s not the end
it’s not the end
it’s not the end

Somewhere deep in the dry and desolate Sonoran desert, there is a shipwreck.

It certainly seems an unusual place to find the remains of a seafaring vessel, so far inland from the Pacific ocean; and yet there it lies, its blackened and decaying body half-buried in the pallid sands. Stranded from the watery grave it deserves.

Tourists and explorers come to marvel at it and search it for abandoned treasure. They all wonder how a ship could become wrecked in a remote desert.

But they never ask us what we, the ghosts who guard this ship, know about it.

If they asked, they’d learn its true history. We remember that in 1615, a Spanish captain sailed to China and snatched away the enchanted water nymph whose lovely songs had the power to control the waters. The cruel captain, docking in the Sea of Cortes east of Baja California, demanded that the nymph flood the Colorado River far inland, in order to sail his ship into the desert and unearth the treasure buried in the mountains. He promised to set her free if she did this. She obeyed.

But when they found it, he did not keep his vow to her. He gathered his newfound Spanish gold, his perfectly-round pearls, and his vibrant rubies. He used them to make her bridal crown, and he married her.

To punish his treachery, the water nymph sang away the flooded river with a piercing shriek, driving it back to its faraway canyon.

The Spanish captain and his men were run aground. Trapped forever in a waterless desert, a month’s walk from civilization, they died where they stood, thirsty yet gloriously gilded.

If they asked, those modern-day explorers would learn that we see this ship arise from its grave every night, sailing across the sands lit silver by the cold moonlight. It moves silently and solemnly, as if drifting on calm seas, searching for the long-lost treasure. For the hidden gold in the mountain carried its own curse: those who find it are doomed to repeat and relive their deaths, every night, for eternity.

If they asked, they’d understand that not far from the ship is the tiny skeleton of a water nymph, its hands and neck bound in chains, its brow bedecked in the most rare pearls. Her bones have been gnawed upon; perhaps the sailors killed her and attempted to eat her. And her unearthly voice, dried up from thirst and torture, failed to summon a final wave to bring her escape. We still hear her wails in the night, echoing mournful and despairing through the canyons.

But they never want to know these stories. All they ask us about is the treasure the ship must possess. So we reveal it to them, hidden quite close by under a thin layer of sand, and we encourage them to take home a souvenir. Nobody leaves here empty-handed.

So I’m working on another post when I had this thought

and instead of derail the other post I’m just putting it here.

The machine that created the Arcanist was also responsible for the ability for the Sea of a Thousand Currants to exist.

So Sorienth, the continent, is a Pangea-like super continent that covers probably about 2/3 of Sorienth, the planet. Except… its got this weird fucking huge body of salt water in the middle of it.

‘But xazz it says in the lore that the Sea is fresh and-’

you be quiet.

that is a river running from the ocean (we’re not even going to go into why a river would run fucking inland from the ocean and uphill) through the Sunbeam Ruins (meaning that that river is 100% salt water and worthless for crops or anything but mangrove forests along said river) and then cascading into a waterfall into the Sea… from a cliff.

From a fucking cliff bro.

Which begs the questions: what sort of bullshit physics lets a water go from a greater source to a smaller source? (Ocean to the Sea) And then if the Sea is at sea level, and the ocean is (obviously) at sea level… HOW DOES IT GO FUCKING UPHILL BRO? HOW????

This leads me to the conclusion that the Sea is not just like… this naturally occurring thing. It is the massive crater created when the machine that made the Arcanist just blew the fuck up to kingdom come and destroyed all life on Sorienth up to that point. Its why there are cliffs on the Border of Light/Lightning/Fire/Plague (not counting Wind cause I headcanon its a high altitude plateau so it’d always be cliffs) and Water. But… not Shadow.

Shadow shares a natural beach/shore border with the Sea that is different than every other Flight territory. Know what? Cause Shadow is sunken. The Tangled Wood and the Forum of the Obscured Crescent like… used to be part of Light and the Sunbeam Ruins. Like you go west enough in the Hewn City and you will just end up at a cliff and at the bottom of that cliff is the rest of the Hewn City that resides in the Tangled Wood.

So the Wood is sunken. And like I said it shares an actual shore line with the Sea where as everything is literally a sheer fucking cliff. So all that land just… moved. It just fucking moved down. Which happens when tectonic plates in the earth move. Meaning that that probably didn’t just happen. Something very drastic had to happen to make the earth move that much to sink the Tangled Wood and create this gigantic hole in the middle of Sorienth.

Something like… an earthquake caused by the explosion of a huge magic making machine that literally birthed a god

Nevada Local Cultus
  • Poseidon of the Plains-wild horses run through the plains in northern and central Nevada
  • Amphitrite of the Wasted Sea- there was an inland ocean here a LONG time ago, and school in Vegas will take field trips into the mountains to look for shell fossils
  • Artemis Charleston- Mt. Charleston is a forest covered mountain outside Las Vegas
  • Dionysus Freemont- Freemont street in Las Vegas, bar crawls, club hopping, neon, music, and the art festival on the first friday of each month
  • Ares Nellis- Nellis airforce base
  • Hermes at the Dam- I will fight anyone who tells me that Hermes doesn’t hang out at Hoover damn in his khthonic aspect to guide lost souls
  • Hekate of the Desert- just try to tell me that the desert isn’t a place for wandering, for making decisions, for finding yourself when you’re lost. They may not be crossroads, but those sands have just as much meaning for me with Hekate as any intersection does

tmirai  asked:

OOooo alright then! Gimme headcanons on coastal cultures, and if you have any thoughts on sub-cultures or societies outside of Silvermoon but in Quel'thalas. Taye grew up in a small town in Eversong Woods (in the southwest below the mountains of Sunsail) and I've been trying to think of interesting features of such a fictional town beyond it being rural or country like we would imagine a small town to be.

*GENTLY WHISPERS TO THE HIGH/BLOOD ELF COMMUNITY*

DO YOU WANNA BUILD A BOAT?

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So Paul said he put something in the dreams as a little clue to the viewers, a little something special. And clearly, it is the color scheme. If you notice, in every single one of them Stefan is wearing a shade of Blue. and on the other hand, Elena is always wearing a shade of red. There is also red all over the kitchen and their environment.

Of course, this is very analytical of me, and it could not mean anything but i don’t think it doesn’t mean anything either. And may i remind you of that one episode in season 4 when Elena was offered both the blue and the red scarf, these colors are brought up a lot in TVD. And if Paul really did all of this on purpose, i sincerely applaud him for the way he did it.

Let’s take a look at the symbolism behind these two colors, in relation to the Stelena relationship. (All of these definitions come from colormatters.com)

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Cooperating Satellites Could Help Find Planes And Ships Lost At Sea

by Michael Keller

A virtual constellation of satellites already in orbit could help searchers find planes and ships lost at sea.

A team of space scientists and remote sensing experts tapped into the surveillance power of 54 Earth-observing satellites, which are currently tasked with recording only images of land beneath their orbits.

By expanding the mission of the spacecraft to take pictures of the world’s oceans and inland waters and then feeding the data into a single system, the group believes search-and-rescue operations could be quickly focused on areas of several hundred square miles.

“We’ve been looking at ways in which spacecraft can be operated in a coordinated way to acquire imagery over areas of water in such a way that those images may be used at a later date in the search for ships, small vessels and aircraft that go missing and which are very difficult and time-consuming to find when rescue crews are out there looking for survivors,” says Nigel Bannister, a physicist at the University of Leicester in the UK who led the research.

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Alright, so here’s my analysis of the locations of the various dots representing Gem installations on Earth from “It Could’ve Been Great.” Only two of them really hold any major significance.

A. Somewhere in the American southwest. There are two places I think this could be: either Meteor Crater in Arizona, or Area 51 in Nevada. Note that this is where the Cluster was injected into the earth.

B. This roughly corresponds to the site where the HMS Titantic sank. Not sure if this means anything.

C. This is a not-quite-accurate drawing of the borders of the Bermuda Triangle, which is known for strange events which are sometimes blamed on extraterrestrials. Florida seems to have been separated from the mainland, here.

D. and E. are both sites in the Atlantic Ocean, neither of which seem to correspond to any real-world events or locations.

F. This is roughly the site of the city of Brasília, capital of Brazil. I couldn’t find any other things this could correspond to.

G. Right in the middle of the Iberian peninsula. Roughly centered over Madrid.

H. Three sites in Scandinavia. Two in Sweden, one roughly on the Finnish-Russian border. Again, not sure what these correspond to, if anything important in the real world.

I. Southern Libya. This isn’t the most high-resolution map, but this seems to correspond to a large basalt lava flow.

J. Placed roughly in the Tibetan plateau.

K. The other big one. Besides the fact that this is placed in the middle of a huge, circular inland ocean in the middle of Russia, this is approximately the site of the 1910 Tunguska event. To me, this inland ocean looks like a huge impact crater. The fact that the dot is centered on Tunguska adds another layer of mystery - did this happen long before the beginning of colonization of Earth by gems, or did it happen as a result of it? It seems unlikely that whatever caused this occurred in their 1910, as (besides being a hugely destructive event that the Earth probably wouldn’t have recovered from) the map would have either not updated to show the topographical change, or would have updated to show the destruction of the facility. Not update the topography but not the installation status.


Overall this is a hugely interesting piece of worldbuilding, here. I can’t wait to see how much of it gets explained.

a soft place to land

vague future canon fic: they find land, and maybe hope, too || ~1k, ao3

title from Sara Bareilles

When they find the land, she smiles.

It’s soft and sure, pouring a summer’s worth of light into her eyes. He’s getting to see it more and more these days.

The clearing is small, but there are pines and oaks and the type of maples that turn fluorescent in the fall around its edges, stretching as far as he can see. They could build. They could fish and hunt and plant a garden where the soil feeds patches of wildflowers.

He can picture the firepit, the smokehouse in the back corner, the cabins with porches and maybe even yards for children to play in someday.

They could have enough.

Bellamy can hear the river to his back, far enough away that they would be safe from the spring floods but close enough that Raven could build pipes and irrigation to provide water to their people with ease.

This could work, he thinks, and breathes.

He watches Clarke as she walks the length of the space with her feet directly in front of each other, marking the location carefully on the map she’s drawn on a scroll of the paper they’ve learned to make from willow branches and cornhusks, sturdied against a smooth expanse of tree bark.

Her hair is shorter now, and he likes it–likes that she looks lighter with it, that the sun bounces off her shoulders every time she moves.

Other things are different now, too.

Octavia never stays for very long. She’s happier as an emissary to Luna’s people, travelling between them and the other clans every few weeks, moving and negotiating and returning to camp as regularly as she can. She says it makes her feel closer to Lincoln, to what he would have wanted. Bellamy understands, but just knowing that this river flows to the ocean makes his sister feel a little closer.

He thinks, maybe, eventually, she could be okay in a place like this, too.

It still isn’t fully healed, isn’t good–he’s not certain if it ever will be–but it’s getting better. A little easier. A few less shouts in the night.

Clarke returns to his side, wheels in her mind already turning, and he lets himself throw an arm across her shoulder, tuck her face into his neck. Lets himself breathe in the peace that she brings him.

That’s getting easier, too.

Bellamy has trouble believing sometimes that he deserves to touch something good, but, every day, when he wakes up, she’s still there.

“Things could be good here, right?” she says, words pressed low into his skin.

“Yeah.” He looks over her head to where the sunlight falls on the earliest of spring’s blooms. The smallest are the same shade of blue as her eyes. “They could be good.”


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