king of the peak

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Now Damen felt the bright, heady set of new desires that had had him breaking from his royal entourage in the last miles, spurring his horse to gallop ahead alone as he wished—as he so giddily wished.
         He tossed his reins to a servant, was told, “By the east fountain,” and pushed his way past the branches of myrtle hanging low over the paths to the marble flags, to a balconied garden where a figure stood, looking out. On the horizon, the sea was a sudden open view, huge and blue.
         Damen looked too—at one thing only: the breeze playing with a strand of blond hair, at the cool, pale limbs in white cotton. He felt his own rising happiness, the speeding of his pulse. Some part of him, absurdly, wondered how he would be received: the fluttering, enjoyable anxiety of a new lover. It was nice also to just look, to see him when he thought he wasn’t being observed, even as the familiar voice spoke in a precise, assured fashion.
         "Tell me as soon as the King approaches, I want to be informed right away.“
         Damen felt a burgeoning delight. "It’s not a servant.”
         Laurent turned.
         He was standing before the view. The breeze that was playing with his hair was also playing with the hem of his chiton. Laurent wore it at mid-thigh, which was the fashion for young men. In Ios, he had worn only Veretian clothing, perhaps a testament to his fussy skin that would not darken, only pink, then burn. This blowy version of him was new, and wonderful. He hadn’t worn Akielon clothing since—
         —the Kingsmeet, and the trial that followed, two days and two nights in the same tattered garment, sleeping in it, even after kneeling in it at Damen’s side, until it was wet with Damen’s blood.
         "I was watching the road.“
         "Hello,” said Damen.
—  Exclusive excerpt from the upcoming short story The Summer Palace
10

∆ TWIN PEAKS TAROT ∆: SWORDS & WANDS

TAKE A PEAK AT PART I
TAKE A PEAK AT PART II
TAKE A PEAK AT PART III

TAKE A PEAK AT CUPS & COINS

Direct visual inspiration drawn from the Rider Waite Tarot deck.

Penguin Emoji Review by a Penguin Expert

Because “Penguins are the Pinnacle of Dinosaur Evolution” (Thomas Holtz) 

Just a head? Why just a head?! You literally took the generic bird emoji and colored it differently. Can’t even tell what kind of penguin it’s supposed to be. They were probably going for King but it’s too ambiguous for my tastes. And that beak is too short for a king! There are short peaked penguins out there that they could have overlayed on the generic bird emoji, this is like they weren’t even trying. 4/10 

The Little Penguin! A good boy, a fine boy, a happy boy! They picked a happy chub. 100/10 

Okay, I can definitely tell that that’s supposed to be a King, so an improvement on Apple. But it’s so… blocky? Penguins are smooth, man. Streamlined. For ocean movement. You dig? 5/10 

A smol friend! There aren’t a whole hecka lot of penguins that are grey as adults but this could be the White-Flippered Penguin, a close relative of the Little Blue. Props for picking a not very well known penguin! It doesn’t have an orange beak though. Gotta take off points for that. Could be a Yellow-Eye, but their feathers aren’t that grey, and their beaks are pink, not orange. 6/10

Generic Penguin. Could be anything. They are a mystery. How can we know they deserve our trust? Why is their top beak so much longer than the bottom? 2/10

WHY IS THEIR SMILE GOING OUTSIDE OF THE BEAK AREA DO THEY KNOW HOW BIRD MOUTHS WORK -100/10

Generic Penguin, but Friendlier. Can’t really see the sides of it’s head for proper IDing, but it has orange feet and an orange bill. Might be a Gentoo except it’s head is too white in the wrong place? 3/10

These are the mysteries. No orange patches to indicate it’s an Emperor or a King; orange feet but no white patch on the head to make it a Gentoo; no weird cranial ornamentation for the bulk of orange footed penguins. Who is she? What penguins have yellow beaks? 1/10

ITS EYES, THEY HAVE NO PUPILS. HOW DOES PENGUIN SEE. -17.8/10

Another White-Flippered Penguin with… a chinstrap? Come on, guys. You’re not even really trying. I don’t. These don’t match any penguins. 1/10

I do enjoy the nose detail, I do, but once again you see you have ORANGE FEET and an orange beak and NO CRANIAL ORNAMENTATION so we don’t KNOW WHO YOU ARE. People just don’t know any penguins anymore. 3/10

Holy crap. Make that beak longer and it’s an actual Emperor. We finally got there, people. 10/10

Okay so hear me out but AIR HOCKEY AU

High school au set in the late 80’s/early 90’s at the peak of arcade culture

Jack is the king of air hockey at the local arcade that his dad owns, in his “burger king robber” outfit fucking wrecking every kid that tries to take him on

Bitty’s family transfers to Samwell from Georgia and maybe brings some pie to a little cousins birthday party at the arcade and sees this tall brooding guy acting like hot shit at the air hockey table and Bitty can get competitive so he goes over

He rocks up in his bright preppy sweater and neon converse and strikes up a friendly conversation with the guy in his sweet southern fashion

And Jack is rude/dismissive of this bright smiley newbie fogging up his glass and Bitty can hear kill Bill sirens he’s like nope fuck this play me boi

Bitty challenges Jack to a game, a hush falls over the arcade

Rans and Holster and Shitty and Lardo and the gang are like Jack’s posse, they all have their own games they play at the arcade and they all play decent air hockey but Jack is the King ™, and they’re all huddled around the table as this new kid tries to turn it out against Jack fucking Zimmerman

So they play and Bitty loses but he goes down swinging, and Jack is amused and a little endeared because no one actually /tries/ to beat him ever, genuinely, no one thinks they actually can, and he felt Bitty’s genuine effort and he saw he was having fun playing even as he was losing

(But he keeps that to himself because he’s Jack Zimmermann and he doesn’t talk about his feelings)

And so Bitty is grinning and like I’m going to wipe that smug grin off your face I will beat you at something

And Jack is a cocky butthead and he’s like name any game

And without missing a beat Bitty says “that one,” points to Dance Dance Revolution

Jack has no rhythm, Bitty slays him

It’s brutal

The gang is watching on the edge of their seats and they scream and punch each other and Jack is EXHAUSTED and he LOST but he’s SMILING ANYWAYS????

and then Bitty walks away, smirking playfully over his shoulder, “same time next week? Next time try to break a sweat, darlin’”

Jack is a little bit in love