the penrose

2

Roger Penrose: Quasicrystals. Spacetime.

Quasicrystal patterns: The discovery of these types of patterns changes fundamentaly the science of crystalography, by showing an infinite number of atom structures.

Representation of singularity and black holes: There are cases when this diagram helps in the visual representation of black holes or showing possible coordinates of wormholes

The Penrose Triangle

Part 5

As the months wore on, Spencer’s attention drew away from his own troubles (and of course the ever-present words) and toward his mother. All the love in the world couldn’t keep her mind from slipping away slowly – and it broke his heart. It weighed him down more than any words ever could, so he did what any loving son would. 

Day in and day out, Spencer searched high and low for something that would help his mother. There was no cure for Alzheimer’s – at least not yet, but there were remedies and treatments that staved off the worst of it for a period of time, and besides her own son, it was her mind that Diana Reid prided herself on. Even if she couldn’t remember him, he wanted her to have some control over her own mind.

Scouting for helpful remedies was much more difficult than he could’ve possibly imagined, but eventually he found a place in Houston, Texas that was conducting a trial. If he could get her in, and she wasn’t on the placebo end of things, she might have a change for a more lucid, if not longer life, and at this point, that’s all either of them could hope for.

Hotch had been very accommodating when it came to giving him time off, but then like so many before him, he had to leave as well. Although it pained him to see another mentor go, this one he had understood more than most. With Scratch after Hotch, he could no longer risk the possibility that Scratch wouldn’t come after Jack, and with Haley already lost to one madman with a desire for driving Aaron Hotchner over the brink, Jack’s life stood above all else, so they went into witness protection in the hopes that Jack would live a long and fulfilling life. That left someone else from the team to step into the role of Unit Chief, and he couldn’t have picked anyone better than Emily. With her experience at Interpol and her experience with and love for the team, she was a perfect fit.

She excelled of course, and she also gave him all the time he needed to find accommodations for his mother. When he took off, he knew they were bringing in another agent, someone to fill the vacancy, but of course, not the shoes, of one of his best friends, Derek Morgan, but he hadn’t met the man yet, so today would be that day.

Finally back from setting his mother up in Houston, he was back at work. There were donuts on the conference room table when he walked in, and although life hadn’t been kind to him lately, he felt like things might’ve finally been on the upswing. His mother was in a great facility, and he was eating his favorite donut. What could possibly have been better? He nearly got lost in thought while he was waiting for the rest of the team to come in, but he was interrupted by deft footfalls.

When he turned around, he saw a man he presumed to be Luke Alvez, the new team member he hadn’t met yet. “No handshakes, right?” He asked, his smile wide and teeth whiter than snow. “Your reputation precedes you.”

“As does yours,” he said with a smile. “Dr. Spencer Reid.”

“Luke Alvez.”

Although he’d always considered himself attracted to both men and women, attracted to personality and intelligence above all else, he’d never found himself immediately attracted to a man. But as Luke stood in front of him, there was something about Luke that put him at ease. Before his mind could wander, the rest of the team came in and got them started on their case of the week, or weeks as sometimes the case had been.

Luke fit in very well with the team. He had a great relationship with Garcia, even though she would deny it until the cows came home. They’d bicker like brother and sister. Emily respected. He was great with Henry and Michael when he met them, so JJ loved him. Rossi and Stephen appreciated his expertise as well. After all, Rossi was the one who had convinced him to join the team in an official capacity. There was nothing about Luke Alvez that didn’t fit in well with the dynamic they already had going.

Spencer couldn’t tell if Emily had noticed the spark in his eyes when he first met Luke, or if it had just been convenient, but he and Luke had been paired off a number of times since he’d joined the team, and every time, he found himself rambling on and on about cases, TV shows, and really anywhere that his train of thought stopped, but the difference with Luke was that he always seemed to be listening – truly listening.

Any one could see that Spencer Reid loved his teammates and that his teammates loved him. They would bleed and had bled for each other, but not everyone truly understood or cared to understand Spencer’s ramblings, but Luke was different. Not only did he listen; he seemed truly interested in what he had to say. After a while, their car rides weren’t silent, like so many before them. Instead, on their way to witnesses’ houses and police departments, Luke would take the wheel and Spencer would sit in the passenger seat, talking in perpetuity about whether or not Steven Moffat would ever give The Doctor a real name (Spencer pondered this but Luke had never seen the show), whether Lord Petyr Baelish was a Faceless Man or not (something both firmly believed) or whether Ferris Bueller was just a figment of his friend Cameron’s imagination. They’d debate crazy fan theories about their favorite TV shows, both loved Game of Thrones, while Luke watched a show called Boardwalk Empire and Spencer, of course, watched Doctor Who.

Luke promised to introduce Spencer to Boardwalk Empire one day and in turn, he’d watch Doctor Who with Spencer, something he couldn’t even fathom. The only person who watched the time-traveling doctor with him was Garcia. Maybe he could get Luke and Garcia to come over and watch…or maybe not because they’d probably bicker like little kids.

Either way, it felt nice to have someone around that truly seemed interested in what he had to say, whether it was about work, or whether it was just about something that made him happy. Whenever Luke would look at him, his eyes wide with interest at his statistic of the hour, Spencer would feel little butterflies fluttering around his stomach. On top of him being kind and funny, Spencer couldn’t help but notice how handsome he was, and on more than one occasion, he’d found himself wondering what it would be like to fall asleep on his shoulder, comforted knowing that he was loved unconditionally. It was still in the back of his mind – that idea of long-lasting love, but it hadn’t fought to the front until he met Luke. He wondered if Luke felt the same or if it was one-sided.

Still – he didn’t really have time for that now.

For now, his mother needed him, and she’d taken a turn for the worse, so every few months he’d travel down to Mexico to procure the supplement that seemed to be helping his mother. It wasn’t illegal in the United States – not strictly, but it wasn’t exactly legal either, so he kept it under the radar. He knew he could lose his job for what he was doing, but there was nothing he wouldn’t risk for his mother, so long as she was alive.

Each time he went, he was careful. He talked to as few people as he could while still obtaining what he needed, but somewhere along the line, he took a wrong step and landed in Mexican jail cell accused of murder, which he knew he didn’t commit, but he also couldn’t remember a damn thing about the previous twelve hours.

Now, here he was, half-drugged on what, he wasn’t sure, with no remembrance of what happened the day before, accused of murder, and the only that mattered to him was getting back to his mother and the BAU – his home.

When, not if, he got out of this mess, he promised himself he’d do the one thing he’d always been so afraid of – he’d take a chance on love. Luke didn’t know how he felt, but Spencer had to know.

Shortly after being released from the prison in Mexico, he was granted trial in the United States and was set for arraignment. He couldn’t say he wasn’t worried, because of course he was, any sane man would be, but he knew he had his family at his back. JJ was helping him with his mother while he sorted this whole thing out, and Rossi had already said that he’d post bail whether it was $100,000 or Rossi had to sell his mansion to do it; he’d do it happily.

That’s why his heart nearly exploded as the gavel hit the table and he was denied bail. Turning back toward his friends had been the worst decision he’d made thus far. Seeing their helpless faces and knowing there was a decent chance he wouldn’t make it out of prison alive made him nearly collapse. The only things keeping him upright were the guards on either side of him.

On his way to the prison, he went numb. How could anyone believe they’d end up in a place like this? Especially someone like him. For more than a decade, he’d spent his days putting people behind bars, and now he was going there himself.

“You’re going to need to take that off,” the guard said, bringing out of his self-defeating thoughts and toward the bandage he’d had on for so many years.

Spencer had to ask for clarification. “What? I can’t.”

“Unless there is a medical reason for it to be there, which according to the in-house doctor, there isn’t, then it needs to come off.”

He swallowed hard, his mouth going dry at the prospect of taking the bandage off. When he did, he’d see the words – the ones that he’d been avoiding for years. As he unwrapped the bandage, he imagined what they might say. He both hoped and dreaded that they’d be the words he remembered.

And there they were.

~No handshakes, right? Your reputation precedes you.~

Luke.

@adropintheocean1234567 @milkandcookies528 @remember-me-forever-silent-angel @gubl-oser @sammi9406 @rda1989 @stunudo @stay-wokke  @brywrites @spencersolves @zombies-bunny @grayskiesandoceaneyes @the-slytherin-ice-queen @rosyreid  @twelveyearoldchildprodigy @felisarunswithscissors @ultrarebelheart @lookingforgalifrey @live-love-be-unique @sammikeys23 @sassygeek77 @imawkwardhelpmeh @imagicana @original-criminal-fanfics @sonhadoraativa @madamredwrites @tenderlysaltyalpaca @nevernot-broken @crazysurvival @un-kinder @just-a-localdreamer @geek13freak @pleasedftbaforever @chocok22 @sierra—king @whymesswperfection @camigt1999 @clockworkballerina @brooke0297 @unstoppableangel8 @reid-my-fortune @madjeknotts @nobravery

samwpmarleau  asked:

Kind of going off that bastard ask you received, why do you think (so far as we know) Elaena Targaryen was never treated poorly despite having twin bastards from her affair with Alyn Velaryon? If she had been shunned at all, that seems like something that would have been pointed out, but instead the fact that she had bastards is merely a passing mention. Did Daeron prohibit negative talk about her? Was she left alone because she was so beneficial in her de facto position as Master of Coin?

Wellllll… you have to consider the timeline, it helps give context.

Princess Elaena Targaryen was freed from 10 years of imprisonment in the Maidenvault in 171AC, at age 21, after her brother Baelor’s death. It’s not certain when she began her affair with Lord Alyn Velaryon (nor whether his wife Baela Targaryen was still alive at the time), but she agreed to marry Lord Ossifer Plumm in 176 AC, a year after Alyn was formally declared lost at sea. Elaena’s cousin Aegon IV became king in 172 AC.

So I’d say it’s most likely that Elaena and Alyn’s affair primarily took place during the early years of Aegon’s reign. And after King Viserys II’s sudden and mysterious death, and then with Aegon the Unworthy on the throne… going through one mistress after another (the Bracken scandal was in 172 AC), sleeping with every maiden and whore and married woman in King’s Landing (that the gold cloaks would bring to him)… quarreling with his son Daeron, accusing his sister-wife Queen Naerys of adultery… attempting to start a war with Dorne in 174 AC… Well, with all that going on, a love affair between a princess and the hero Lord Admiral Oakenfist probably wouldn’t have even been noticed.

Also, this might be a bit ficcy, but I’d bet that Elaena only discovered she was pregnant after Alyn set off on his last voyage. She had hoped to marry him, probably on his return– it may have been that they were even formally betrothed before he left. I’d think a major reason she held out for a year after he was declared dead was not just the hope that her greatest love would return to her, but also the hope that their marriage would post-facto legitimize their children Jon and Jeyne. Alas, it was not to be.

But note that it was Aegon who insisted that Elaena marry the elderly and wealthy Ossifer Plumm. You can imagine the pressure he was bringing to bear, as she was unmarried with twin bastard children… maybe Aegon was the one who shut down any potential negative talk, for her cooperation? Maybe he even offered a carrot of legitimization? Also note that it was Aegon who almost certainly fathered Viserys Plumm on Elaena after Ossifer died on their wedding night… and while it’s been speculated that Aegon was “comforting a widow”, or that she was tempted because Aegon was still handsome and not at all gross yet… maybe it was a little more hinky than that. Maybe there was pressure there, too. :/  And considering that the infant Viserys was used by Aegon to take the Plumm wealth and lands away from the more definitely legitimate heirs… well, whether Elaena had a real choice in the matter is something, knowing GRRM, that I’d be hesitant to say.

But after that extremely brief marriage and the birth of Viserys, it was at least another 7 years before Elaena married again, to Ronnel Penrose, King Daeron II’s master of coin. (Daeron came to the throne in 184 AC.) So in case you’re wondering why Ronnel might have been willing to marry a woman so touched by scandal (or even why Ossifer was), you have to remember that it had been a pretty long time since those scandals. Also, note that Elaena was really the only marriageable princess the Targaryens had to offer. Rhaena and Baela of Pentos (if widowed) would have been in their late 60s if not dead already, Naerys was dead, Daena was almost certainly dead (as she drops out of the narrative after Daemon’s birth, therefore GRRM=“she died”), Rhaena was a septa, and Daenerys was only 12. (Also Daeron was setting up the Dorne betrothal/treaty with her.) And a princess is a princess – and Elaena grew more beautiful as she grew older, per GRRM. When Daeron requested the match, I doubt Ronnel made even a peep of protest. And even though the marriage was by royal command, Elaena probably found Daeron’s requests far more pleasant than Aegon’s.

So, for the years of her second marriage, Elaena was entirely publicly respectable. She had four perfectly legitimate children. (And after her seventh child, she said if 7 was good enough for the gods, it was good enough for her, and stopped.) Ronnel had a perfectly respectable job as master of coin. (Never mind that Elaena’s brilliant mathematical mind was doing all the work.) And Daeron’s court was such a change from the decadence of Aegon the Unworthy’s, I doubt anyone would have snarked at Elaena’s (ancient) history with Alyn. Even Elaena’s son Jon Waters became a famous knight during this time. (He would have been about 12-16 at Daenerys’s wedding tourney in 187 AC – the final tilt was won by Baelor Breakspear over Daemon Blackfyre, but I bet Jon performed pretty well.)

By the time Elaena was widowed again, I sincerely doubt anyone spoke negatively about her at all. I mean, there was Bittersteel and Bloodraven and Shiera’s triangle, then Daemon’s rebellious rumblings, then the First Blackfyre Rebellion – the court gossips would have had much more interesting things to talk about than Elaena. Her romance and marriage with Michael Manwoody was likely a quiet love of 40-somethings (he played the harp for her, gosh) – perhaps not the kind of thing singers call passionate, without that touch of scandal they enjoy writing about, but just the love she needed after all that time.

Anyway, to sum up – even though a noblewoman having children out of wedlock is normally a huge problem (let alone a princess), Elaena Targaryen’s scandal with Alyn Velaryon was probably overshadowed by Aegon the Unworthy’s far greater scandals at the time. By the time his reign was over, everything was so far in the past, and she was so necessary for marriage diplomacy and her skills with money, that none of it was likely to ever get in the way of her success. I hope that helps!

10

asoiaf meme + [2] Houses

Queens of House Targaryen 

“Kiss the Girl” Glamour Spell (Disney Inspired Spell)

A spell to encourage the person you like to kiss you (under their consent). Wonderful for dates~

You will Need:

  • Lip Gloss or lipstick (preferably red or a vibrant pink)
  • Rose Incense
  • Pink paper
  • Red Marker or Pen
  • Rose Water or Rose Quartz Gem Elixir
  • Mirror (preferably on the wall)

Steps:

  1. Set up your area in front of the mirror you will be working with. Light your rose incense. Let it burn during the entirety of the spell.
  2. Do your make up as you would normally though leave your lips for last.
  3. Take your lip gloss or lipstick and hold it up and view it in the mirror. “Tonight will be the night, for me to meet your lips.” Uncap/open your lipstick/lip gloss and apply it to your lips. While doing this visualize drawing a heart on your lips in pink/red energy and it entering your lips and leaves them glowing, beckoning someone to partake.
  4. “Tonight, I will be kissed by (name of date/person of desire).” On the paper write the person’s name. Kiss the paper to ensure you leave a kiss mark on the paper, imagine it glowing and fading into the name.
  5. If needed touch up your lipstick again but be sure to still be visualizing them glowing in a beckoning manner
  6. Place the piece of paper into a bowl of rose water/rose quartz water and leave it there for the duration of the date. 
  7. Before leaving wink at yourself in the mirror and blow a small kiss at it to close the spell and boost yourself with a bit more confidence. Also be sure your incense is out before you leave.

Note: this is to encourage a kiss, not force someone to. Please, don’t forcibly kiss anyone, that is not okay. This spell is to help set the mood and boost the likely hood of you both sharing a happy kiss.

Tortured artist? Irascible writer? Bitter misanthrope? Disillusioned Simerican? A severe case of resting bitch face?

…Or all of the above? ;) Nathaniel’s story coming soon to a screen near you!


I’m so sorry about that ridiculous intro, lol, but I’m nothing if not corny. XD But anyway, the main reason I’m posting him yet again is that I still need a few more sims for this challenge. I don’t mind making them myself, but if anyone is interested in creating an author to join Nathaniel at the writer’s retreat please contact me. I realize that I’ve been moving slower than a herd of turtles on this project, but after a year and a half the world I intend to play in is finally finished and ready to go and I’m eagerly anticipating getting his story started for real.

If you’d like more information about the challenge before deciding whether or not you’re interested, you can find the original post I made about it here. It’s a bit wordy, but my inbox is always open for questions and I promise I will do my best to respond in a timely manner. Thank you so much for your consideration! :)

It has been said that, in scale, a human being is about halfway between an atom and a star. Interestingly, this is also the regime in which physics becomes most complicated; on the atomic scale, we have quantum mechanics, on the large scale, relativity. It is in between these two extremes where our lack of understanding of how to combine these theories becomes apparent.

The Oxford scientist Roger Penrose has written convincingly of his belief that whatever it is that we are missing from our understanding of fundamental physics is also missing from our understanding of consciousness. These ideas are important when one considers what have become known as anthropic points of view, best summarized as the belief that the Universe must be the way it is in order to allow us to be here to observe it.
—  Bang! The Complete History of the Universe, Brian May
The Penrose Triangle

Part 1

The meaning of the word soulmate had apparently changed a lot over the years. At least, that’s what Spencer Reid had learned from his extensive studies. He was always an interested child. Interested in everything from why The Doctor was named so (still never stated, much to his dismay) to the possibility of genetic mutations leading to superpowers (apparently not possible, so there went his dream of becoming the next Professor X) to was there a God (in Spencer’s mind, there were either a ton of them, or none at all – it didn’t matter, he just wanted to have his ashes put into one of those biodegradable urns so he could grow into a tree). Knowledge was his food, and he sought it out like his next breath, so when he was young and saw the people around him walking about with words on their arms, he wanted to know what it all meant. 

“Those are the first words their soulmate spoke to them, or will speak to them,” his mother had said. That’s was how it worked. Once your soulmate was in “your path” a set of words appeared on your skin – and those were the words they’d speak to you. Some people had such a banal and everyday word that you actually couldn’t tell who your soulmate was, others had spoilers from what would be their favorite book or television show (WHAT DO YOU MEAN SNAPE KILLED DUMBLEDORE?!) and others would have such a distinct set of words strung together that they’d know their soulmate the second they heard the words leave their lips.

The word soulmate had changed so much over the course of history. Spencer had learned that in Plato’s Symposium, written in 885-830 BCE, Aristophanes told Socrates that human beings used to have four arms, four legs and two faces, and that they were happy and complete. Though Spencer knew that wasn’t scientifically possible, he enjoyed the history of the word just the same. Apparently Zeus had been jealous of how content humans had been, so he split them in two with his thunderbolt and doomed humanity to searching for their “other half.” The idea had been with humanity ever since.

“The word was actually first recorded in a letter written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge,” Diana had told him. “At that point, the word referred to a lover, but that’s not necessarily the case anymore.” She smiled, looking at the word on her own arm.

Over the decades since the word was first recorded, soulmate became a word that tended to have as many different meanings as there were snowflakes in a storm. That is to say, everyone that used it defined the word differently, and in doing so the words that appeared on one’s arm didn’t necessarily belong to a future romantic partner.

The word soulmate was used by most, but for those that needed to differentiate between a romantic or sexual relationship, and everything else, the idea of a soul companion came into being. But the words on one’s arm referred could refer to either. The more Spencer thought about, the more he believed that this was evolution’s way of ensuring that everyone ended up with words to look forward to, because so many that hadn’t had that experience became isolated and depressed. Basically, it was science’s way of ensuring human happiness. 

As a child, Spencer wasn’t a people person, but when it came to those mysterious words – the words that could make some people ecstatic and others cry – he paid attention to others. Some people had multiple sets of words over a lifetime. Others never got them at all (though that was rare nowadays). Some ended up realizing that the words belonged to a best friend, who they could never imagine living without and others only had one set of words their entire life. Further still, some people could have multiple sets of words at once, and others, like his mother, had only one word.

Bubble.

Diana Reid’s arm read “bubble.”

When her son was young, he’d asked her how his father (who’d since walked out of their lives) said the word bubble to her. He’d been under the impression before his mother told him so, that those words responded to people who were in love with each other. “That wasn’t your father’s first word to me. It was yours.”

“Mine?” The young Spencer had asked.

“Yes, my sweet boy,” she’d said, bending down to kiss his forehead. “Although you said mama and dada first, the first time you spoke to me, you pointed to a bubble, looked at me, and said bubble. That’s when I learned that soulmate or soul companion didn’t just refer to people who were in love with each other but to people that loved each other too. To the ends of the earth.”

“So I’m your soul companion, mommy?” The little boy was so inquisitive it warmed her heart. There was no other being on this planet she’d give the world for – if that wasn’t the meaning of soul companion or soulmate, then what was?

Diana Reid took her son into her arms. She and his father had been having issues lately, but he gave her Spencer, and for that, she would be eternally grateful.  “Yes you are, Spencer. The only one in the world I would give my life for.”

—-

Hello, Dr. Reid? I’ve taken a look at your scans and I think I’ve come up with a treatment that can finally alleviate your pain. 

Those were the words. At the age of 25 they showed up on his arm – no indication of when they’d be spoken, no indication of who would speak them – just the fairly long “opening lines” of the person who would play opposite his lead.

Being who he was, the instant they’d shown up on his arm, he’d tried to dissect them, which only sent him further into a panic. Pain? He didn’t like pain. He wasn’t good with pain. Was he going to be dying? Why was he going to be in pain? After perseverating over the words for weeks on end, he allowed the concern to fade into the back of his mind, though it was always there lurking.

Though of course his teammates didn’t fail to point out the grim nature of his words when they’d popped up on his arm – that was after the shock of finding out Spencer had “received” his words from the universe. Spencer had been surprised himself, wondering if he’d ever have that kind of soulmate. He already felt like he had several; he worked with them.

He loved them, but dammit if they weren’t trying as all hell. “Isn’t it driving you bonkers not to know what the pain is referring to?” Garcia kept asking.

Morgan agreed, slapping him on the shoulder. “It would eat me alive inside.”

“Me too.”

“Me too.

“Yea, definitely.”

“Of course it drives me insane!” he’d ended up screaming. “I have to deal with the fact that I’m going to be in pain and I don’t know why! Do you know how hard it is for me to not know why? For anything? For everything?” Spencer rarely yelled, whether it be in anger or otherwise, so when he did, it took those around him by surprise.

After a few moments of silence, Rossi had to go and open his mouth. “You? Dr. Spencer Reid? You don’t feel comfortable not knowing everything? Noooooo…”

Then, three years later, came the migraines. The agonizing splitting of his head that he couldn’t control and couldn’t correct no matter how hard he tried. He didn’t get them often at first, but the became more frequent and greater in intensity as the months wore on: it was to the point that he’d wear sunglasses on cases, he’d wear noise cancelling headphones on flights, and on rare occasion, he’d even have to run to the bathroom to throw up from the pain. It was getting ridiculous. It was getting in the way of him being able to do his job to the best of his ability – there were very few things he hated more than that.

It had to stop.

He had to find a way to make them stop.

After doing a plethora of research, Spencer had a variety of scans done on his brain. It was his most valuable asset in his opinion so if something was happening to it, he needed to take care of it. He had CT scans, MRIs, magnetic resonance spectroscopy, single photon emission computerized tomography, magnetoencephalography…if it might have helped, he had it done, and finally…almost a year and a half after most of his tests, he had an answer.

And those words.

Hello, Dr. Reid? I’ve taken a look at your scans and I think I’ve come up with a treatment that can finally alleviate your pain. Call me back and I can give you a recommendation on how to proceed.

When he listened to the message, he was stunned by the words. They’d been sitting on his arm for a few years at this point, so they’d stayed hidden in the back of his mind. This was his soulmate – Dr. Maeve Donovan. He was completely flabbergasted; he’d thought it was a long shot that she’d be able to help him. She was a geneticist, so the only options she’d be able to offer were very aggressive vitamin treatments.

The second he’d heard her voice, a warmth spread over him. Her voice was soft and comforting – a lot like his own. For the first few moments of their initial phone call, he’d spaced out a bit, taking in the sweetness of her sound. He wasn’t sure in what capacity she would end up being his soulmate, but he instantly wanted to know more about her. “I think an aggressive regimen of B2 vitamins and magnesium could really help your migraines, Dr. Reid.”

“Thank you,” he stuttered. “I’ll start taking them tomorrow and see if that helps.” Her soft laugh made him smile.

After a few moments on the phone, silence hanging fairly comfortably between them, she spoke. “Umm Dr. Reid, I know this might sound weird considering we’re doing this over the phone rather than seeing each other in person, but the words on my arm…they’re yours.”

“I know,” he replied. He’d never felt these kinds of butterflies before. It didn’t matter what she looked like; she was already the most beautiful woman in the world to him. “The message you left on my voicemail is on my arm.”

That had been the start of their relationship. The whole situation was less than ideal, considering she believed she had a stalker, and in Spencer’s professional opinion she without a doubt had one, but for the first few months they avoided talk of her stalker and his past, instead choosing to learn about each other through the ramblings of the self-proclaimed introverts. They’d talked about everything from the works of Sherlock Holmes, the flaws in Einstein’s theory of Relativity, to the Penrose Triangle. He specifically remembered her telling him a cheesy joke about it, but he’d laughed. Because that’s something he would’ve said. It was when he knew she was the one himself regardless of the words on his arm. “Every Penrose triangle has its thorns.”

Eventually, after they got to know each other more, Spencer wanted more than anything to meet her in person, but she refused to leave the house. Basically she’d burned her identity off the map, worked from home for a genetics lab nearby, and was constantly afraid for her life. On multiple occasions, he’d asked if he could help her. They’d talked so much about their jobs in recent months; he could help her. He wanted to help her, and the team would have no issues helping her, especially if it meant that one of their best friends could finally meet his soulmate face-to-face.

Then she’d said those words. He’d asked her again if he could help her; she wouldn’t have to live in fear anymore.

“I don’t want him to hurt you.” The break in her voice nearly broke him too. She was so scared. But now it wasn’t for herself, but him. “If he knew about you,” she cried, “If he knew about you, and he hurt you…I don’t…”

And that was one of the last things she ever said to him. They weren’t the last, but they were the ones that were burned into his mind.

When they’d finally figured it out, that Diane was the stalker and not Bobby Putnam, it had been too late. Bobby had been shot and killed and Maeve was left alone in the warehouse with that psycho. Diane was exceptionally smart, but she didn’t get the recognition she felt she so richly deserved, so she’d developed an unhealthy obsession with obtaining everything Maeve ever had – including him. Diane wanted Maeve to “see” her, and once Spencer had walked into her life, she wanted to take him away from her too.

He’d offered Diane a deal. “Me for her.” He’d done absolutely everything in his power to convince Diane that he loved her and not Maeve – anything he could possibly think of to save the woman he loved and had so little time with. 100.5 days. That was it. He was so afraid that’s all he’d ever have, and no matter what he tried, he knew the moments were numbered. As he continued to try in vain to get Diane to let Maeve go, his mind was working overtime, memorizing the light blush of her skin, the color of eyes and the flecks in them, the soft brown hair that cascaded beautifully around her shoulders. She was everything he could’ve ever imagined and more – and then she’d said those words. The ones that told him their time was almost up.

“Thomas Merton,” Maeve said, her eyes heavy with tears as she took in every curve and every line of Spencer’s face. She was at her end. She knew it and by the look in his eyes, so did he, thought he tried…he was trying so hard.

Diane’s head snapped between the two, desperate for an answer she would never have. Diane knew everything about everyone in that circle and it was killing her not to know. “Who’s Thomas Merton?” she asked frantically.

“He knows,” Maeve breathed. “He knows.”

Diane repeated herself, the tears streaming down her face as Spencer saw the situation for what it was – a twister on the war path. “Who’s Thomas Merton?”

“He’s the one thing you can never take from us,” Maeve replied. Despite the gun at her head, there was a smile in her eyes. There was something Diane would never know – no matter how hard she tried.

“No.” Diane lifted the gun to the side of her head, her own flush with Maeve’s, and pulled the trigger. The two collapsed to the floor, the blood pooling around them and seeping into their clothes. In an instant, Spencer dropped to the floor, the bones in his knees vibrating with the force of his fall. And he sobbed. He sobbed until his throat was raw and his eyes were dry.

There was nothing left.

Life moved around him. Agents flying in and out of the warehouse and gathering evidence as Spencer remained on the floor. In his haze, a small pool of tears had puddled by his knee, soaking into the pant leg and chilling him to the bone.

Maeve’s body had been moved. Her body…like she was just a thing now. Not a person. Not the love of his life. The soulmate ordained by the universe. She was gone. He’d seen the beauty of her face for a brief 4 minutes and 13 seconds.

“Spence.” He heard someone, but he didn’t have the strength to move his head. It had to be JJ; she was the only one that called him Spence. “Spence, it’s me. JJ.” He felt a piece of fabric envelop his shoulders, but it did nothing to warm the chill inside him – it was radiating. “We’re going to take you home.”

Three months of letters. Just over 100 days of correspondence. Why was the universe so cruel? What had he done in his life to deserve so little time with the woman who’d spoken so effortlessly with him?

His head must’ve fallen into the window of the car, because his teammates attempted to use it as an opportunity to say they were sorry. “Reid,” Morgan started. “I’m so-“

“Don’t.” It was one punctuated word, but nothing more needed to be said. Morgan turned, attempting not to be hurt by Spencer’s curtness. He couldn’t even imagine what was running through his mind.

When they got to his apartment, Morgan, JJ and Blake walked him upstairs. Morgan looked around for some water to leave by his side. JJ picked up a blanket and set it over his body as he lay on the couch and stared directly into the wall, and Blake put his bag right next to the leg of the table in front of the couch.

The door clicked closed behind them without another word. Apparently, they’d gone back to the Bureau, because that’s where his bag was. As if it was a cruel joke, the bag tipped over, The Narrative of John Smith falling out from underneath the leather.

He reached over for the book, wanting to throw it across the room and hopefully collapse the universe. What had it ever done for him?

That’s when he noticed. Where before there was a grouping of 25 words, slightly raised, in what looked like black ink, there was now a blank canvas. The words he’d waited so long for were gone. “No…” he breathed, new tears springing to his eyes. How was there anything left? He picked up his knees and curled into himself, a new fountain of tears falling onto a now blank patch of skin.

The words had faded away.

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8

HOUSE OF ESCHER

When coal is brought to the surface, it has to be separated from possible debris, such as pieces of rock. To do this a system was developed that is called “washing”. In this washing installation the dug up coal is put into large silos that have grids at the bottom through which water is added in pulsating movements. On the grid there was a bed of felspar. Due to the pulsating movements the coal moved over the felspar bed while heavier pieces of stone sank through it onto the grid.

This washery was built in the fifties and stayed in service of the surrounding mines for almost twenty years. The building was protected as heritage and the outside already got a makeover in light of the plans to turn it into a public building. After having invested 13 million euros (almost 14 million dollars) the renovation stopped because the necessary funds were no longer available…

Upon entering the building it becomes instantly clear why this location is called ‘House of Escher’. The building has stairs that seem to be going everywhere, while leading nowhere. The association with the renowned lithograph by M.C. Escher “Ascending and Descending” (1960) is easily made…

On this impossiblee staircase it seems you can walk up (or down) the stairs all the way round and always end up on the same step. In three dimensions this is an impossible object. It only exists in two dimensions by toying with the perspectives.

3

Those who do choose to make their homes in the stormlands—whether along the stony shores of the narrow sea, amidst the dripping green forests of the rainwood, or on the windswept marches—are a special breed, however. The people of the stormlands are like unto their weather, it has oft been said: tumultuous, violent, implacable, unpredictable.