unleash speed

Not Easily Dismissed: An Alfie Solomons One Shot (requested)

heyyyyyy i’m backkk 😏😉 hope you had a great birthday :))) and ‘birthday wish’ damn darling that was truly amazinggggg i love it️but yes i’m back with another request this one is called 'make up sex’ maybe where they have fight but make up afterrrr 😉😉if ya catch my drift love ya lots 😘😘 –k

Warnings:  yeah Alfie swears and gets some sex, what else is new? 


Not Easily Dismissed

 Alyona shrugged her shoulders and laughed at the oddity of the remark.

“Why would I not be here Ms. Shannon?   I work here don’t I?”

Ms. Shannon’s eyes widened and she cast a quick glance at Gil, who immediately dropped his own gaze to the floor he was currently sweeping.   Her eyes returned to the young woman, who had already proceeded towards the kitchen and was reaching for her apron.   Confusion etched into the lines of her face when she saw a young girl already doing her assigned tasks.    Ms. Shannon waited nervously in the doorway.  He said it was all taken care of?   Once more she watched as Alyona began checking the daily orders.    Yeah, then why is she here?   She shrugged her shoulders and decided it was not her place to interfere.  

Alyona glanced over at the Bakery Manager she had grown to admire and love.   Ms. Shannon was a force to be reckoned with – the only one allowed to get the last word on Alfie Solomons.   Even he wasn’t quite sure how she managed the feat.    She felt the weight of her curious gaze and paused in her labours.

“Is everything all right Ms. Shannon?”

The woman shifted her stance, “Well I don’t rightly know dear.  He said ya’d be fine with the arrangement… but yet, ‘ere ya are.   Showing up and all.”

Her head tilted to the side, brow furrowed, “Why wouldn’t I show up… who said I’d be fine…. what arrangement?”   Her knuckles kneaded alongside her temples, the first tinge of pain taking root.  

“Why the boss did of course.”

“Alfie?”

Ms. Shannon nodded. “Course, who else make the rules ‘round here.”  

She stood a little straighter, eyes narrowed and hands resting on her hips.   “I see… and what rule did Alfie Solomons make concerning me?”

Ms. Shannon noted the change of tone in her voice.  How the words were carefully measured.    Dammit, leave it to that daft man to mess such a delicate thing all to shite.  

She took a deep breath and the young woman by the shoulders gently.  “Now remember Alyona, don’t go shooting the messenger, right?”

~

Alfie and Ollie were at his desk, heads bent studying a recent contract that was causing them no shortage of trouble.   Alfie had already lost his temper several times over the matter and had a good mind to go straight over to the client and solve this matter with his fists.   He was caught mid-sentence by the sudden swinging of his door wide open.   Alyona stood in the middle and he could see her eyes blazing from clear across the room.

“Get the fuck out Ollie.”

Ollie took two steps away from the desk before he remembered she wasn’t his boss.   Alfie stood up and pulled him back.

“Hey fuck now, ya can’t just come in ‘ere love and talk to Ollie like that.”

“Now Ollie.”

Alyona fixed Ollie with a pointed glare and her toe began a steady tap on the floor.    The young man weighed the odds against his current situation as to which one of the two was more likely to explode – at him.   Never mind at each other.  Something in the girls demeanor settled a deeper fear and he moved forward once again.

Alfie’s hand grabbed him about the elbow.

“He don’t work for ya missy.”

Alyona took three strides into the room, her fists clenched at her sides as her anger unleashed.  

“Well it seems I don’t fuckin work ‘ere anymore either, right Mr. Solomons?!”

Alfie’s eyes widened and his jaw went slack as it suddenly struck him that she was not supposed to be here in the first place.   He released Ollie’s arm.

“Get the fuck out Ollie.”

True to form, the lad made a hasty retreat – but beyond the office door, he turned and headed straight for the bakery.  Surely Ms. Shannon would know what this was all about.   The sounds of raised voices followed him down the passageway as he walked, shoulders hunched about his ears to block the volatile exchange.

Her face was flushed and her eyes had swirled into a fury of colours like the sea during a storm.   Normally he would be mesmerized, but instinct told him this was one time he did not want to get pulled into those depths.  Her foot still tapped the floor; a nail pounding into his skull.   Hands settled on her hips and he can see the whiteness of the fists clenched at her sides.  What the hell was she doing here anyway?  And fuck how was she so beautiful when she was angry at him?  

Her breath hitched in.

“Did you actually fire me?”

Oh shit.

Eyes widened and brows raised, “Did ya not get my note?”

Her head tilted and he was pretty sure an actual dagger flew out of her eye.   “Did ya fire me … with a note?”

Oh fuck.

He came around the front of the desk, using what always worked for him in any negotiation:  his size and volume.

“Now listen sweetie, it ain’t that big a….”

Her hand raised to shake a fist under his nose, “Don’t ya dare fuckin sweetie me right now Alfred Solomons.”

Fuck. Full name.  Not good.  Bad. Very bad.

“Alyona,” he reached out a hand to grab her own, but she pulled it away.  “Fire is a very harsh word here.  That’s not what I was intending at all.  I just assumed…”

Her hand flew up, “Oh ya assumed did ya?   And what did ya assume exactly Alfie?”

“Well fuck love, I’m trying to tell ya ain’t I, right?”

She spread her arms wide, lifted a brow, lips compressed tightly.

“I thought that with all that’s happened ‘round ‘ere of late, ya know – ya getting shot and all, and of course…” he gestured towards her midsection, “what with the possible changes that might be coming… that is, ya might want to take a wee break, is all.”

“And ya decided this all on yer very own.  Without talking to me first?”

“Well, it ain’t written in stone love, no need to get so worked o’er it.  Fuckin work then.”  

She took a step towards him, chin raised defiantly right beneath his own, “Not written in stone then eh? That why Gil’s sister is already working in the kitchen?” 

His face began to molt crimson.  Veins in his thick neck bulging.   As he spat out the next words, his eyes fair popped out of his head, his own rage at being questioned thus over-riding his good sense.

“Well if ya remember, as I’ve told ya before, I am the FUCKIN BOSS of this enterprise.  YOU work for ME.”  He turned his back and walked back around his desk, before adding more calmly, “At least.. ya DID work for me.”

Her arms folded across her chest.  Head bobbed up and down.  “Did? So that’s that then?”

“Fuck yeah, that’s done, yeah.”

Her eyes glinted hard as stone back at him, but he could see the wetness brimming behind the anger.   Unfolding her arms she gave him one last withering look before turning on her heel.

“Ya got a lot of nerve Mr. Solomons.”

Alfie exploded from behind his desk once more, fist crashing down before the volley of words was unleashed with the speed of machine gun fire.   Words like respect and trust and doing as yer damn told  fell on her ears, yet she stood small and quiet, her back still turned to him; the words not even registering – though they struck deep into her heart.   Alfie paused in mid tirade, half willing her to face him.   He needed to see her eyes… but the wall of her back only incited another unrestrained fury.   He didn’t like to be questioned in such a manner!   And then she began to walk away.  

Fuck.  Fuck. She was walking away.  

No one fucking walked away from him – especially not in the middle of one of his infamous tirades.   He kept telling himself that even as he slowly sank to his chair, eyes locked on the door she’d quietly closed.

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

RIP by Akutagawa :3

Pain, pain, and more pain. It dug its claws into her ribs, sank its teeth into her jaw, used powerful hind legs on her stomach. The sharp, metallic tang of blood was the only thing the young woman had tasted in days. Her stomach cramped and twisted and she groaned, her body stiffening against the wall she was chained to by the wrists, her arms suspended in the air above her head. She gritted her teeth and tried not to focus on her hunger, instead trying to think of what could go right after all of this was over. I’ll see Chuuya again. I’ll see Chuuya again, and everything will be okay.

She slumped against the wall, the shackles digging uncomfortably into her wrists. She hissed through her teeth, straightening her back to alleviate as much pain as possible. She rested her head back against the wall behind her, a wall that had held so many prisoners, a wall that was stained with the blood of the Port Mafia’s enemies, a wall that was now proudly displaying with her own blood. The blood of a traitor to the Port Mafia.

“A… Ane-san…?”

Kouyou’s head shot up and pain drove deep into her skull. She choked on a gasp and dissolved into a fit of coughing, blood flying from her lips to splatter on the floor. “Chuuya…” she sighed incredulously.

“Ane-san,” Chuuya whispered again, still out of sight. “Are you down there?”

“Chuuya,” Kouyou gasped, trying to keep her voice as low as possible. “You can’t come down here.” Why is he here? Why now?

“But Mori-san said I could,” Chuuya replied.

Kouyou’s heart nearly stopped beating right then and there. Mori… why would he let Chuuya see me… what is he planning? “Chuuya. I’m telling you that you can’t see me. Please, go.”

And then there were footsteps coming down the stairs, each one echoing loudly around the room, hammering into Kouyou’s skull the incessant sound of her ignored pleas. She begged it to stop, to cease, to prove that Chuuya was safe and far from here. She screwed her eyes shut, unwilling to look her son in the eye, to see the aftermath of her mistakes.

“Kouyou-san.”

Her eyes flew open at the sound of a very different voice and her lips twisted into a snarl. Akutagawa. The child with the black beast that can devour anything, even time and space itself. Why is he here?

The black haired boy was standing next to her son, his slate-gray eyes two abyssal pools of silent rage. “Mori-san requested that we come here.”

“Why?” Kouyou bit out. “Why are you here? What does he want you to do to me?!”

Akutagawa tucked his hands into the pockets of his black coat, his eyes narrowing. “You are a traitor to the Port Mafia. He wished that I was the last face you ever see before your insides are splattered across the floor and your blood is staining the ceiling.”

Chuuya’s eyes widened in shock and he took a few steps back. “H-hey! What… are you going to KILL HER?! YOU CAN’T DO THAT-”

Kouyou’s heart started to race. Mori sent Akutagawa to kill me. He sent the the silent, rabid dog with the black beast to kill me. A gasp was forced from her throat. Chuuya. He made Akutagawa take Chuuya with him to punish me.

“Any final words?” Akutagawa growled, ignoring the other boy’s cries.

Kouyou swallowed, tears stinging her eyes. “Obey the Port Mafia, Chuuya. Don’t end up like me. Please.” She let out a long breath, a single tear slipping down her cheek. “I love you.”

Two long manifestations of dark energy, jagged at the edges and glowing red with malice snaked out of the the young boy’s black coat, a silent killer in the air above Akutagawa’s head.

Kouyou cast a soft, sorrowful glance at Chuuya, who had collapsed to the ground with tears in his eyes, screaming for Akutagawa to stop. “Chuuya,” she whispered.

“Take notice, Chuuya. this is what happens to traitors like her.”

And then the black beast was unleashed, speeding toward Kouyou with a thirst for her blood. Rashomon pierced her chest once, twice, directly through the heart. Kouyou slammed back against the wall, blood spilling from her mouth as she tried to scream but only managed to choke. Her body fell completely limp as Rashomon pulled itself out of her body, now only being held up by the shackles clamped around her wrists.

As the world dropped away into oblivion around her, the last thing she ever saw locked his cold, dead, gray eyes with hers and let her die without so much as a single remorse.

I’m sorry, Chuuya. I’m sorry I have to leave you like this.

The silent rabid dog and his black beast are merciless. Please, obey. I love you too much for you to share the same fate as me.

Goodbye.

The Kolor of Kaiju: Part 1

For about as long as I can remember, I’ve been a fan of giant monster movies. In my earliest memory, I’m sitting on the floor watching a copy of Godzilla vs. Megalon I rented from the video store (You parents will tell you about those one day, kiddos.) Kaiju films reared me in a world that quickly moved online to the World Wide Web, a haven where fans like me could connect over what was largely an esoteric genre in America.

Today I wanted to tap into this seemingly ancient part of my nerdom and begin what will be quite a long series that looks at the color identities of various giant monsters.

While many studios have touched the genre in the last century, few have embraced it and influenced on a grander scale than Toho, Japan’s largest production company. Their creations are global icons that have become synonyms for the genre, the industry, and Japan itself. I feel it would only be appropriate to begin this series with a look at the kaiju known as Toho’s “Big Five,” their most popular creations that have survived decades of culture.

King of the Monsters

Eat a breath mint, dude.

There is no argument; Godzilla is the iconiest icon of all kaiju films. Starring in more than thirty films, multiple television series, video games, toys, collectibles, art, parody, and on and on and on, Godzilla is the core of the genre and obviously the first monster to deal with. But what is Godzilla actually about?

In most appearances, Godzilla holds fast to his origins as a primal force awoken by nuclear weapons. He is nature’s retaliation against the technological hubris of humanity. An unstoppable behemoth of destruction impervious to harm. At his core, Godzilla is as Green as it gets (Ironically, he’s almost never literally green, but gray.) He even boasts one of Green’s core mechanics, regeneration.

Godzilla is also a sea monster, however, so I could see a flavor reason to make him Blue too. Blue shares the largest creatures in the game with Green, so it’s not that much of a stretch to push him into this second color.

Here’s the thing: you don’t headline moves for over sixty years and keep everything the same. As Godzilla’s popularity surged with children, Toho started to turn the character into more of a superhero than a vengeful menace. From the late ‘60s through the ‘70s, Godzilla took a more Green/White role as a defender of the earth. Such a role was also used in cartoon series as well.

Modern interpretations of Godzilla push him back towards the nuclear menace role, but he’s still occasionally an antihero that ends up saving the world from a worse monster. With a new Japanese film released next month and Legendary Pictures with plans for an entire Godzilla franchise over the next few years, I’m sure the character will be reimagined in new ways once again.

Gentle Giant

*angry moth noises*

Almost as recognizable as Godzilla is Mothra, the incredible insect that starred in her own film before duking it out with Godzilla (and later becoming his friend). Despite all her various incarnations, Mothra has changed very little as a character over the years. No matter what film you’re watching, Mothra is a guardian of peace.

Guardian roles tend to fall into White, which is where Mothra ends up. She’s all about fighting bad guys and protecting the people of Infant Island in her first film. Mothra later gets Godzilla and Rodan to work together to fight against the evil King Ghidorah; forming alliances is another White trait.

Many of Mothra’s powers are also White. She’s willing to sacrifice herself in order to defeat the enemy, a classic martyr move that White likes. Her signature attack involves shedding her scales to disable Godzilla and stall for time. Classic White tapper. In Godzilla vs. Mothra, these scales are even reflective, bouncing Godzilla’s beam back into his own face.

Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (hereafter referred to as GMK) brought a different spin on this guardian role. While Mothra still embodies many of these White traits, she’s also a nature guardian. That pushes her into Green/White territory.

And then there’s the Rebirth of Mothra trilogy, which just has to be different than any other Mothra canon. Momma Mothra dies and we watch the baby, Mothra Leo, grow up into a formidable force to be reckoned with. His powers in the first film may stray into Green/White, given his ability to almost instantly regrow huge swaths of woodland. Transformations abound! Aqua Mothra and Lightspeed Mothra from the sequels tap into Blue flavor as well. Armor Mothra and Eternal Mothra seem to go back to the classic mono-White.

Flappy Bird

The real eldritch moon!?

Another monster with a solo films before joining the Godzilla franchise, Rodan is a gigantic pterosaur that can fly at supersonic speeds and unleash mighty sonic booms against those unlucky enough to get in its way.

Like Godzilla, the Rodans (yes, the original film has a double dose of titular terror) were reawakened through humanity’s impact on the environment. This time, however, coal mining is to blame. The Rodans, a mating pair, erupt from the mine and wreak havoc on populated areas. Green is at it once again, punishing humans for their treatment of nature.

Despite their Green motives, however, the Rodans tend to use Red means. They are supersonic fliers (Flying + haste is a trait usually seen on Dragons and Phoenixes.) The tragic end of the film solidifies the Rodans as Red/Green characters. Attacked at their volcanic nest, one of the Rodan’s falls to its death in a lava flow. Deciding not to live without its mate, the other Rodan sacrifices itself by diving into the lava too. Such love is the embodiment of Red sacrifice.

Like Godzilla, Rodan eventually became one of the good kaiju, defending the Earth from other monsters. That shift in the character pushes it to Red/White (White goal with Red means).

Rodan’s later appearances in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1993) and Godzilla: Final Wars lack both the environmental allegory and the guardianship, leaving Rodan as a mono-Red character. Fitting for his ‘90s incarnation, who takes the name “Fire Rodan” after developing a heat ray similar to Godzilla’s.

Intergalactic Planetary

Remember when Ghidorah shot Godzilla in the crotch? Classy.

If Godzilla has an arch-nemesis, it’s the space dragon, King Ghidorah. An alien menace that destroys planets for fun, King Ghidorah has faced off against Godzilla more than any other foe.

Big dragon that spits lightning? We’re already frontloading the Red identity of King Ghidorah. His wanton sense of destruction also seems to align with Red as well. Is Ghidorah Black in his original appearance also? I don’t think so. He doesn’t stick around on the planets he destroys nor does he seem to have any desire to conquer them as a new leader. Destruction is the only goal here. See spells like Obliterate and Worldfire to understand this attitude in Red. Some kaiju just want to watch the world burn. It’s probably this lack of ambition that lead to King Ghidorah’s enslavement by multiple alien races.

Things changed for King Ghidorah in the ‘90s, as he was no longer an alien. Instead, King Ghidorah was created by time travelers who brought genetically engineered creatures to the site of the atomic bombings that created Godzilla. Instead of Godzilla being created from a leftover dinosaur, King Ghidorah was born. The monster was controlled by the time travelers in order to destroy Japan. When Ghidorah broke out of that control, however, we saw the same chaotic destruction and willpower from his earlier incarnation. Still Red.

But then the barely-alive corpse is rebuilt hundreds of years in the future. The cyborg is imbued with time-traveling abilities and sent back to combat the new, larger Godzilla that has been created with modern nuclear weapons. Mecha King Ghidorah keeps the lighting-spewing dragonosity of the monster while showing off a very Blue-aligned technological side.

Things change one again in GMK, as King Ghidorah is now a good guy. Yeah. Weird. Lightning attacks and being a dragon still put him in Red, but his role as a guardian kaiju definitely adds another color. In the film, he’s a nature guardian protecting Japan (the dirt, not the country) from the terrible power of Godzilla (AKA humanity’s hubris). Like Mothra, this puts a Green spin on the character.

Speaking of Mothra, Ghidorah also shows up in the Rebirth of Mothra trilogy. Desghidorah in the first film feeds off natural energy and unleashing deadly pyromantic attacks. This is the Black/Red look for the character. Grand King Ghidorah in the third film is back to the classic lightning beams, but also feeds on the life force of children. Once again, this incarnation of Ghidorah is Black/Red.

Tired of Ghidorah yet?

He makes one final appearance in Godzilla: Final Wars (ha) as Keizer Ghidorah, the final form of the mysterious Monster X. We see a Black/Red character once again, as this Ghidorah has a vampiric bite that nearly drains Godzilla of all his energy. Keizer Ghidorah is also the ace-in-the-hole for an alien race looking to conquer Earth, finally exhibiting the Black side that the original King Ghidorah lacked.

Doppelganger

Big bada boom.

While Mechani-Kong did the robotic duplicate thing first, history has been kinder to Mechagodzilla. The machine has seen three different incarnations, one in each era of Godzilla storytelling.

The original Mechagodzilla was built in the ‘70s by the Simians, an ape-like race of aliens looking to relocate as their planet drifts into a black hole. A technological terror, Mechagodzilla first parades around with fake skin to look like the real Godzilla. Only after encountering the true king does the alien menace reveal their weapon. Deception and destruction are the tools in Mechagodzilla’s arsenal, solidifying it as a Blue/Black monster.

Mechagodzilla returns in the ‘90s as a product of a United Nations effort to stop Godzilla once and for all. It boasts synthetic diamond armor that absorbs Godzilla’s heat ray and fires it back at him. Classic White move, which aligns with the robot’s mission of protecting civilization. No longer a vessel of conquest, Mechagodzilla is a military machine built with science and hope. The forethought and sophistication of the robot make it a White/Blue character.

Finally there’s Kiryu, the codename given to the Mechagodzilla built in the ‘00s. This time it’s built on the skeleton of the original Godzilla, utilizing a DNA communication process to give the robot a fighting style similar to the monster it’s replicating. Technology usurps nature in a White/Blue machine once again, which even boasts an ice-flavored weapon called the Absolute Zero Cannon. The Green vs. Blue conflict of nature vs. nurture is put on display in the film, as Kiryu constantly ignores its commands and goes on a Godzilla-esque rampage of its own (triggered by Godzilla’s roar). In the end, the skeleton within Kiryu wins command of the being, becoming a Bant character that grabs Godzilla and drags him down to the inky depths of the Pacific Ocean.

*BONUS* The Star-Crossed Lovers

Plutonium: the way into every woman’s heart.

While Legendary Pictures’s Godzilla is still in somewhat recent memory (and because this section will be quick), I guess I’ll be nice and touch on these lovebirds. Lovebugs? Lovebugs.

Like Godzilla, the Muto are prehistoric monsters that feed on radioactivity. Awoken by mining activity, they quickly adapted to modern life by feeding on nuclear energy. They wanna make some babies too, since that what animals do. Eat, bang, repeat. Since the Muto are basically just wild animals, they’re squarely in Green. And I do mean squarely; look at all those angles!

Get Ready to Crumble

You may already have begun to identity a few character tropes arising from today’s article. One is the prehistoric monster awoken by humanity’s hubris, a trope that existed long before Gojira was released in 1954. The ‘60s and ‘70s saw a rise in the alien foe in Japanese kaiju films, another trope that has been popular in the genre. As I continue this series, you’ll see these patterns consistently influencing the films of every country from every era. You’ll even see a few more pop up.

Until next time, planeswalkers, try not to get stepped on.

The Signs Learning to Drive

Aries: HOLY SHIT DRIVE FASTER! *speeds up* OH MY GOD IM GOING TOO FAST WAIT WHO CARES NOT ME *unleashes inner speed demon* HAHAHAHAHA
Taurus: AM I GONNA HIT THE POLE? AM I GONNA HIT THAT CAR? AM I GONNA HIT THAT PERSON? Who knows? Not me. Who cares? Not me. *drives perfectly anyway*
Gemini: WEE WOO WEE WOO I’M THE POLICE! *swerves and accidentally speeds up* shIT IT ACTUALLY IS THE COPS IM SCREWED WHAT DO I DO
Cancer: I GOT THIS! *pulls out of driveway* *hits mailbox* No.. I don’t got this… :(( *pulls back up the driveway and parks the car*
Leo: *checks self in mirror* I’m lookin fiiiiine so that means I’m gonna drive fiiiiine ;) *drives perfectly*
Virgo: I can do this… *pulls out of driveway* oH GOD *hits a car’s mirror on the side of the street* *slams on the brakes* WHEN DID THAT CAR GET THERE NO N O HELP ME SOMEONE PLEASE
Libra: Man this is a piece of cake tbh *drives without mistakes and looks hot while doing it* yeah that’s right fuck you all bye
Scorpio: *blasts music* I’m a Scorpio, I got this, bitches. *almost hits like 5 people while driving* Hahaha. No. Not today, Satan.
Sagittarius: *has all their friends in the car* So guys what’s the plan- hEY FUCKTARD WATCH WHERE YOU’RE WALKING! *smiles at friends* Anyway, where do you guys wanna go? : )
Capricorn: *speeds like a fkin demon then laughs it off like its nothing* I’m so good, we didn’t even die.
Aquarius: I must warn you before you get into the car this may be the last time you ever step into a car. *winks* *drives perfectly*
Pisces: I’m going to actually try to hit the speed limit today. *goes the speed limit for 10 seconds, gets scared, then starts going hella slow* Man… Pretty sure my
grandparents drive faster than me. But at least I’m safe!

Class Feature Friday: Fey Bloodrager Bloodline (Bloodrager Bloodline)

Fey are typically thought of as playful, fragile, trickster beings that live lives of leisure far away from mortal concerns. Hardly bloodrager material…

…that is until you look deeper than the surface and banal generalizations, in which case you see how terrible the wrath of the Good People can be.

From the drunken rage of the satyr and leprechaun, to the savage fury of an enraged dryad or swan maiden, to the elemental fury of more abstract nature spirits, and so on, today’s entry, the fey bloodline for bloodragers, channels that power and fury.

With such a diverse pool of creatures to draw from, these magical warriors might have any sort of appearance you can imagine, from animal features, to flowers growing in their hair, to the mandibles or a vexgit gremlin or other insectile fey, and so on, perhaps hinting at the nature of their fury, whether it be unbridled natural rage, wild euphoria and abandon, or something else entirely.

What remains the same, however, is their skill at punishing foes.

This bloodline lends itself to agility, so it makes sense that the training associated with it is based around using that agility for defense and attack, as well as showing off their skill with their weapons.

Their bloodline spells, similarly, focus on inducing erratic behavior, turning nature against foes, and enhancing their speed and agility further.

When in their rage state, the wildness of the natural world and fey realms courses though these scions of the wild. As such, particularly lethal wounds dealt by them channel some of that power into their foes, leaving survivors maddened and erratic for a short time.

This energy also pervades their form, blurring it as they move.

Calling upon the supernatural quickness of certain fey, these mystic warriors surge with speed upon unleashing their fury.

Recognizing the connection these bloodragers have with nature, animals and mobile plants make no move to harm them unless defending themselves. Furthermore, powerful sharers of this bloodline can use that connection to travel long distances using trees as a conduit.

The most powerful among them, however, turn the worst of fey ire on their foes, able to empower their weapons with energies meant to slay creatures of their target’s type with ease.

Want a powerful, atypical choice for your bloodrager? Look no further! The fey bloodline is an excellent option for an agile bloodrager. In fact, with their ability to bound or glide over difficult terrain, and their natural tendency to be hasted. I would recommend a haste and control spell based build, coating the battlefield in such effects while moving over them at great speed with east, unleashing the fury of your full attacks upon foes. Pack some ranged spells too, to deal with those who have the gall to fly over or circumvent your hazards.

While these ragers can be aggressive as any other, I can’t help but imagine that most fey bloodragers prove to be a bit more “playful” in combat. Not necessarily mischievous or focused on pranks, but maybe not taking the fight as serious as the other combatants on either side, viewing it as a deadly game they aim to win.

 

There are only a few Vilderavn, but in every kingdom they ruin with their machinations, the fruits of their fey dalliances are a constant reminder. Half-fey and fey-influenced children, born with black feathers adorning their form, are treated as dark omens and the sign of disaster on the horizon. For their part, these children often grow up with the spirit of battle and bloodshed in their veins, using their reputation to further themselves as mercenaries and warriors.

First the undergrowth entraps the wagons, and now the party is under attack from Artemi deerfolk raiders. Their leader is covered in intricate woad glyphs died into her fur, and her body practically glows with fey magic. In all likelihood this will become a deadly battle, but perhaps a cunning party member might stop this fight?

Wielding a scythe and wearing iron-shod boots, Edgar the Bloody isn’t just trying to emulate a redcap, from some perspectives the gnome practically is one. Fascinated by bloodshed and the patterns of spilt guts and fluids, the sadist fey-kin is a truly deviant mind, but stopping him won’t be enough. Discovering the forces that twisted him into this state is the next step.

Full credit for the Artemi race goes to@ayellowbirds

Why Art of Fighting matters

By itself, Art of Fighting/Ryuuko no Ken introduced more things to the fighting game genre that are considered standard, or at least interesting, than almost any other series:


Supers (“super death blows”)

In AoF1’s story/arcade mode you had to unlock these moves in a bonus game, an option you only got after beating your first 2 opponents, but it was there. Once you used the move, it looked and felt significantly more powerful than your regular specials:


The Haohshokoken super projectile was so huge that it was practically unavoidable, and even if blocked it would take a noticeable chunk from the opponent’s life bar. In return, it ate up practically all of your power bar.

And since you had to perform the motion correctly a few times to be able to unlock it, a few playthroughs let you figure out if it was within your reach, or if boosting your life or general power was a better use of your early bonus game attempts.

Some games give you a choice of supers, but not many let you pick “none of the above” and let you boost something else in exchange.
Speaking of something you can boost…


Power bars (“spirit bars”)

Under the characters’ life bars you’d have another bar that would affect the moves available to you - this may be standard nowadays, but it wasn’t always so.The extra bar affected AoF more than it does most modern game, in that it wasn’t just for supers but was also consumed by the use of specials, which meant these had to be used carefully to make it count - a notion that appears to have been entirely dismissed during the past decade, where physics-defying attacks that do block damage in exchange for commands unguessable by beginners are treated like a part of the game that’s taken for granted by everyone else.
In AoF, if you lack the power bar to use a special, it will either came out in a very weakened state or not at all, which means no fireball spamming for applicable characters, since that’s not sustainable over time (also, regular attacks can destroy projectiles if timed right). You’re better off mastering your basics, and leaving the specials for actual special occasions when their particular properties are an actual advantage. The bonus game that let you boost the bar consists on trying to chop off the top of a bunch of beer bottles, like Mr Miyagi in Karate Kid, further illustrating how unusual the abilities it powers are supposed to be and the focus they’re meant to require:

The bar starts out full each round, and slowly refills itself over time. It’s spent by using specials and supers, and by being taunted by the opponent. You can refill it manually with a charging command, and you can increase the bar’s maximum size in one of the bonus games.
This bar is the heart of the series’ gameplay, and its effect on the use of specials to prevent over-reliance on some moves is something I’d like to see more often - instead of a standard “1 level of power bar = 1 super”, using different smaller fractions of a level of bar to pay for the use of some moves, and tweaking those values over time with patches if needed is something I could get behind.


(Relevant) Taunting

As mentioned above, these were used to drop an opponent’s power bar - to break their concentration, so to speak. Doing so at the right time could not only be the difference between an opponent being able to threaten you with a move that could counter your tactics, it could also annoy him in general - other series would mostly stick to the 2nd use in their own implementations (meaning it’s practically never used in an actual fight in those), but it was nice to have the option of the 1st one.


It was also a nice way to provide a bit of characterization to characters outside stuff like victory poses, endings, stages and limited dialogue, which were among the very few sources of lore in the genre back in the day. Dan Hibiki’s reputation exists because of this.


“Super supers” (“desperation move”)

They could have settled for inventing supers and be pleased with themselves, but then that would just be an maximum power special. SNK didn’t settle for that.

AoF was a fighting game, but it was also a story, and a story could always use a few dramatic moments. Snatching victory from the jaws of defeat with a desperate special attack that only works when your life is really low and consumes all the power bar you should have probably used to avoid reaching that point sounded dramatic enough to them. The Haohshokoken, however, was a projectile you first use in the controlled environment of a dojo against a distant and stationary target before you get to use it on opponents - it’s nice to have, but had its limits as a dramatic battle event, so an entirely different move was made for the occasion: a dash into just about every regular move the character had unleashed at an incredible speed - the Ryuuko Ranbu.

In later games of the series different characters would have other very different moves for the same circumstances. In AoF3 beating a character with this move or its character-equivalent would decide the fight - the Ultimate KO feature, meaning if you won a fight using it in round 1 there would be no round 2, since the move was meant to be so overwhelming - this particular feature never returned in any games I’m aware of, which is understandable - it destroys the possibility of a comeback off a match that must have been pretty close, but it was interesting that they decided to try it anyway… something perhaps best left for single-player games, but nowadays most story modes in the genre only make you fight 1 round per character anyway (the MK9 fails at this and many other things in its story mode, despite all the praise rained on it).

It was also a nice way to make use of the game’s zoom feature, if you started the move some distance away, as it would proceed into a nice view of the aggressor and victim’s pretty huge sprites, so speaking of which…


Zooming

Back when fighting games were strictly in 2D there was a bit of a conflict between graphical detail and functionality, especially when projectiles and other aspects involving distance were involved - enough space to move freely and the sprites can’t be too big, make them too big and you’re practically fighting in a phonebooth.
SNK was all like “why not both?”, and made huge incredibly detailed sprites, detailed enough to see bruises on the characters’ faces if they were hit hard and often enough, and used their hardware’s abilities to just zoom everything out if the characters moved away from each other.
It did the trick nicely before 3D brought concerns like camera angles to the genre, and even if AoF’s implementation wasn’t the best, it paved the ground for that and other games that followed, both from its own company as well as the competition’s - this applies to a lot of what this game did, really.


Projectile abuse prevention

I already mentioned the power bar limiting the overuse of projectiles, but it can’t be overstated that SNK’s finest efforts always had some way to prevent projectile-based characters from dominating: Fatal Fury had the place shift system, in Samurai Shodown most projectiles required the use of weapons (which could be lost) and some projectiles could be cut with weapons mid-flight, King of Fighters had dodges and rolls, and SvC Chaos failed in part because it had neither, like the competition it tried to do justice to.
Like I said, the power bar meant if you tried projectile spamming your way through a match, you’d soon run out of power to do so. Additionally, projectiles could be destroyed with a properly timed attack like a regular jab, long before parrying came along in SF3.
Beginner Ryus would find themselves in need of learning their basic moves under this game’s rules.


A balance between action and story

The NeoGeo was both an arcade and home console system, so it had to walk a fine line to cater to both environments - while the arcade focuses on the action, with its owner preferring to see players spend their time trying not to lose so they’ll spend more money, the home environment allows for a more contemplative attitude, which is why narrative-heavy genres like RPGs thrive in it.

AoF took on the challenge, even if it meant going for a classic plot device:

But that was just the part that was visible in-game:

Within that limited frame, SNK did a fair amount with the genre for its time:

  • It told you the plot in the opening
  • Mentioned South Town in that opening, connecting it to Fatal Fury
  • Added dialogue before each fight, providing a little world-building from that dialogue, the information you extracted from defeated opponents and the protagonists’ musings as they traveled between them
  • Included that infamous ex-secret of King’s which still echoes into KoF XIII
  • Left a cliffhanger in the ending for the following game.

And in that following game, Art of Fighting 2:

  • South Town was given an even bigger map that included the old one
  • Every character had dialogue against every other character, with body language to match that was only ever used in those scenes
  • Ultimately it was revealed that the game took place a decade before Fatal Fury by showing us a young Geese while he was still working for the police, hinting at an off-screen story of his own - not to mention you could see his men in suits spying from corners in just about every stage in the game.

Lots of information with minimal interruption in the action.


AoF may not be the best or most fluid fighting game out there, but without it the genre would be a whole lot poorer.
Nowadays it seems unlikely that its principles will be taken out for a new spin, but I’ll always welcome new chapters on how Ryo Sakazaki is following his father’s legacy, and in general how the tale of South Town has more to do with Sakazakis and Howards than it does with Bogards.

30 Doradus Nebula

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has snapped a panoramic portrait of a vast, sculpted landscape of gas and dust where thousands of stars are being born. This fertile star-forming region, called the 30 Doradus Nebula, has a sparkling stellar centerpiece: the most spectacular cluster of massive stars in our cosmic neighborhood of about 25 galaxies. The mosaic picture shows that ultraviolet radiation and high-speed material unleashed by the stars in the cluster, called R136 [the large blue blob left of center], are weaving a tapestry of creation and destruction, triggering the collapse of looming gas and dust clouds and forming pillar-like structures that are incubators for nascent stars.

Credit: NASA/ESA, N. Walborn and J. Mamz-Apellaniz ( Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, MD), R. Barba (La Plata Observatory, La Plata, Argentina)