woefully-equiped

Back when I was making the Banished Prince Funk vid, and reviewing all of the footage from Book one with Zuko in it, something really stood out to me that I hadn’t realized before.  Zuko’s exile isn’t just unhappy because of his father’s rejection, and how much he wants his father’s love and to go home.  His exile itself is pretty miserable independent of how it contrasts with what Zuko wants.  Being at court with his father and sister was bound to be pretty humiliating for Zuko, never measuring up, constantly being put down, but you would think that as much as Zuko hates exile, it might have been a break from that.  No, Book One tells us, it was not.

If Zhao is any indication, and I think he probably is, even fairly minor officers feel free to treat Zuko to ever more indignities, and carry on that same dynamic he grew up with in the Fire Nation palace.  And the structure of Zuko’s exile doesn’t help.  He isn’t stripped of his title, and he isn’t sent to some remote estate somewhere.  He’s sent to hunt the Avatar which we all know is a cruel spiteful joke, and so do all of the moderately well connected officers and colonial officials.  Zuko is a prince, and when he makes port, he’s probably expected to visit with the highest ranking Fire Nation official like he does with Zhao.  Sure, Zhao is particularly odious, and some of the officials may even sympathize with Zuko, but all of them know that his father won’t stop them from treating Zuko any way they please, and a high percentage of them probably treat him with a great deal of more or less well mannered contempt.  This means Zuko regularly gets his nose rubbed in the fact that no one respects him.

Zuko’s own crew doesn’t respect him, and he is woefully ill equipped to earn their respect.  Even Iroh, who loves his nephew so much does not respect Zuko’s mission, and in Zuko’s eyes, probably doesn’t respect him.  Throughout Book One and into Book Two, Zuko does everything he can to force other people to take him seriously, and clings desperately to any trace of dignity he can get his grubby little hands on.  And yeah, he throws his weight around and has tantrums, and doesn’t respect anybody else, so when every tiny ounce of dignity he manages to gain is knocked away from him repeatedly, it’s hard not to laugh.

It’s also hard not to feel bad for him, and not at all hard to see why Iroh’s lessons about pride and humility don’t sink in.  Iroh probably never faced anything like the kind of sustained attack on his self respect that Zuko is facing, at least not until he was an adult, and it’s a lot easier to be humble, and not cling to scraps of your pride when other people treat you like you matter.  I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Zuko doesn’t start really understanding Iroh’s lessons until he’s back at court being treated like a prince.

How to Make An Intelligent Fighter or Strategist:

There really isn’t an easy way to describe to a viewer who doesn’t think critically how and why Mavis Vermillion fails as a tactician, her one famed trait. But I think I’ve figured out a way.

When you want to craft a character who is skilled in battle situations because of their intelligent means of fighting, their cunning, or their excellence when it comes to strategy, there are certain ways you have to show it for it to be believable. Showing characters like these is done several times in Fairy Tail and there are good examples, Mavis just isn’t one of them. 

The keys are subtlety and, more than that, audience inclusion.

What I’m saying is, when you show how a character is a good strategist, the audience has to be able to come to the same conclusions they do. Not necessarily obviously or as soon as it happens, but the audience definitely needs to know what’s going on in a character’s brain.

Bad example: Mavis in “Fairy Tactician”, where Mavis accurately directed all members of the Fairy Tail team in the Grand Magic Game and, for the most part, accurately predicted who would show up where. This example is bad because all we can see is Mavis saying things will happen and then those things happening. She is promptly lauded for her great tactical thinking and we are told about her great reputation as a tactician, even scoring many victories in a war because of it. However, the audience cannot see how Mavis comes to these conclusions, nor the thinking behind them in any way–we simply see the effects. That makes this an informed quality–and informed qualities are not good. “Tell, don’t show”– a reminder of the greatest rule of subtle writing.

Good example: Erza vs. Midnight. Jellal is at an absolute loss as to how to circumvent Midnight’s seemingly invincible and manipulative powers. Erza meanwhile, far beneath him in power level, figures out two crucial ones and successfully exploits them, leading to Midnight’s defeat at her hands. We aren’t told what these weaknesses are right off the bat, but when they’re exposed to us, we immediately understand how they work and how Erza was able to figure them out. The first weakness is not being able to manipulate the human body, and the second is only being able to manipulate one space at a time. While we’re watching the early stages of the fight, it doesn’t occur to us why Midnight doesn’t simply bend Erza’s body instead of his armor–his powers are still mostly unclear to us, and he isn’t pursuing a strategy of his own, just his sadism. After we realize why though, we also realize that this makes sense and was hinted at–when Erza requips into a different armor, Midnight doesn’t change tactics and bend her body, but continues bending her armors, hinting that he can’t affect her body directly. The second weakness is only manipulating one space–this one’s a lot clearer. When Erza manages to throw a sword past her twisted armor, Midnight uncharacteristically dodges it nonchalantly, coolly but still in contradiction to his recent refusal to move an inch from any incoming attack. It’s definitely meant to draw the eye, but it’s not clear to us why he does it until we’re told, and then we again realize that it was obvious all along: while he was bending her armor, he couldn’t bend the space around himself. Since Erza came to these conclusions before the audience did, but the audience can still come to those same conclusions after the fact with no issues, Erza comes off as an intelligent fighter who was able to spot and take advantage of weaknesses that others couldn’t or didn’t.

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Physical

Jinder Mahal/Reader
1660 words; Smut/Explicit

A very nice anon requested Jinder smut. Though this ended up extremely sappy as well as smutty, I don’t know why I do that so often, SIGH.

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You can’t help but be proud of him, of how hard he’s worked, how hard he still works, every single goddamn fucking day. And the amount of shit he gets in response… you know he’s being sold as a heel, so heat is technically a good thing but sometimes you listen to what the audiences chant at him, or, even worse, glance at the comments on his social media, and what you see there can literally take your breath away, the sheer poison of it: accusations about steroids and racism so vile it makes your blood boil with rage. But Jinder will simply shrug, let it roll off him. You know it has to get to him on some level, but he’s so ambitious, his focus so clear-eyed, that it’s impossible not to find inspiring.

You stir early one morning in your shared hotel room when he kisses you, full but close-mouthed on your lips. “Hey,” you say, sleepy.

“Good morning, beautiful,” he says, and you smile.

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Please Don’t Leave Me

Because I needed a little more domestic Nessiann fluff with a hint of angst.

Summary: Cassian goes away on what’s supposed to be a simple training mission, leaving behind his pregnant mate behind.

Rating: K for Kavity

Word Count: 4,668

Find it on AO3 or FF

Likes and reblogs welcome


It’s supposed to be a training exercise.

A simple training exercise; one he’s done a thousand times before they met, and hundreds more in the five decades they’ve been mated and married. Take the newest group of cocksure and arrogant novices who think they’re ready for the Blood Rite out into the wilderness. Hound them for a few days when they can’t use their magic, or their wings, and show them how woefully ill equipped they actually are.

They are only supposed to be gone a week. A week, two tops if the weather holds, or one of the Illyrian novices was feeling particularly stubborn. Because heaven forbid the little baby General Commander of the Night Court’s armies sleep out in the cold for longer than necessary.

And he promised, promised, he’d be in touch, through their bond, or Cauldron boil him if it came down to the worst case scenario Rhys’.

No more than two weeks so that he would be back in time to visit Elain in the Spring Court. Their last trip before the baby’s born. Before his stupid Fae male instincts kick in and she spends the last month of pregnancy locked in their townhouse to keep him from making a total ass of himself trying to protect her and their unborn child.

So Nesta doesn’t bat an eye, isn’t worried when they leave. She has plans with Feyre to go shopping down across the Sidra that day, so she doesn’t even see them off at the Illyrian war camp. Just a kiss on the cheek in the foyer of their home, one that turns into a long lingering kiss that Azriel has to interrupt with an awkward clearing of his throat. The depth of Cassian’s smirk rivals that of Nesta’s flush, and she has to grab his arm to keep him from giving his brother in arms a snarky reply. He gives her kiss to the forehead, and one to the swell of her stomach. Then with a cheeky grin and a flippant comment staring at his ass as he leaves, spreads his wings and takes off into the skies of Velaris. She makes a crude gesture at his retreating form, and from the trickle of mirth she feels down the bond he knows she’s making it.

And Nesta doesn’t worry. She honestly doesn’t.

But then one week turns into two. Two weeks and she finds herself pounding on the front of Rhys and Feyre’s townhouse in the middle of the night, like a crazy woman.

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A study found that most of us are woefully ill-equipped to defeat the mask’s trickery, falling for the illusion an absurd 99 percent of the time. Schizophrenic volunteers, however, revealed themselves as the Michael Jordans of hollow mask detection. They were only fooled about six percent of the time. So while schizophrenia is a horrible affliction, at least suffers can boast one bona fide if extremely limited superpower.

Why? Well, at certain angles, the mask fools the average person because the brain can’t gather enough visual cues to determine that the mask is concave, which faces usually aren’t. So to make sense of the alien freak staring it in the eye, your brain forces you to see what it thinks is correct. As the mask continues to rotate, the queer play of light along the edges reminds your brain to freak out once more as the illusion is disrupted. This of course doesn’t stop it from falling into the same “Holy shit, I know what that is, a face!” trap all over again.

Schizophrenics, on the other hand, are unable to fully conceptualize incoming sensory information. Their minds skip the intermediate step and make no effort to rectify the mask’s odd appearance – the empty hell-face isn’t weird enough for their brain to correct.

6 Tiny Things That Indicate You’ve Got Huge Medical Problems

We Really Need An Equalist => Red Lotus Asami Story...

Watching season three of Legend of Korra really makes me wish they’d done more with Asami. It also really makes me wish I’d written that story I’ve been thinking about since season one since it would have led to a nifty alternate version of seasons two and three. Here’s how I’d write that story now, knowing what I do about season three:

The biggest change in the timeline is that rather than being uninvolved with the Equalists, Asami is actually Amon’s protege and second-in-command. When Korra arrives in Republic City, Asami arranges what appears to be an accidental encounter so that she can befriend her.

As Asami gets to know Korra and the others, she starts to realise that not all benders are the monsters her father and Amon have made them out to be. She is particular taken with Korra, who is not all what she expected the Avatar to be like. When she finds out about how Korra was raised, she begins to have her first doubts. Korra might be enormously powerful, but she has lived her whole life under the control of the White Lotus.

It is during this time that Asami uses her connections to begin investigating the White Lotus more closely, learning about how the organisation has changed since the Hundred Year War. Certain members within the White Lotus pick up on her investigation and reveal themselves as members of the Red Lotus. They want her to join them and use her influence, both with her family’s company and the Avatar, to help their cause. Asami tells them she’ll consider it and keeps the information to herself - the first time she’s held anything back from her father or Amon.

When Amon finally makes his move, Asami chooses to side with him, pretending to be kidnapped so that no suspicion falls on her. When the truth about him is revealed, she feels utterly betrayed and makes no move to help him when Korra and the others attack. After his defeat, Asami gathers the remaining Equalists, giving some positions in her company and asking others to infiltrate the government and the companies of her competition.

During season two, Asami reaches out to the Red Lotus and joins their organisation. They need her resources, and she wants to know more about the new world they have planned. They can also tell her far more about the Avatar cycle than the White Lotus are willing to share. However, she is disturbed to find out that they want to either control or destroy the Avatar. She finds a way to leave hints about this information so that Korra can find it, learning more about how her powers as the Avatar work.

Despite everything, Asami still thinks highly of Korra although she finds herself increasingly frustrated with the other woman’s naive decision making with regards to the Water Tribe conflict. It is then that she comes to something of an epiphany - both the Red Lotus and the White Lotus have taken the wrong approach.

By sheltering Korra too much, the White Lotus have left her woefully ill-equipped to serve as a balancing force. But the Red Lotus’s plans for the Avatar are little better - clearly a good Avatar, like Aang, can bring about positive change in the world. The correct course of action would have been to educate Korra and let her learn as much about the world as possible, allowing her to make informed decisions while offering advice if necessary. 

Asami’s point of view is only reinforced when she learns of the Red Lotus’s attempt to kidnap Korra as a child. She finds the thought of either organisation (Red Lotus or White Lotus) brainwashing Korra to be horrifying. If Korra is to come to the right decision, she wants her to be able to make that decision for herself - to choose right.

Asami’s faith in the Red Lotus is further shaken when Unalaq’s scheme is revealed in full. The aftermath of the Harmonic Convergence shows her that, for all their fine talk, the Red Lotus are just as deceptive, manipulative, and destructive as the White Lotus and the Equalists had been. 

Keeping her involvement with the Red Lotus secret, Asami continues to rise through the organisation’s ranks. She no longer agrees with their course of action, but she wants to gain as much information from them as possible and to subvert or otherwise gain the loyalty of as many of their agents as possible. She also enacts her own plans regarding Korra: she starts teaching the other woman as much as she possibly can about history, politics, philosophy, economics, technology, and any other subject that might help her make better decisions. She is particular careful to expose Korra to philosophies and lines of thinking that will lead her toward greater independence and free thought. This brings her into conflict with a Tenzin and Lin, who worry about whether or not Asami might be a bad influence on Korra.

When Zaheer and the others escape, they swiftly establish contact with Asami. Realising that this isn’t a situation she can easily control, Asami is forced to go along with their plans, providing information about Korra and the others. However, she also acts to sabotage their plans, leaving little hints and clues for Lin and Tenzin to find.

As season three progresses, however, Zaheer begins to suspect that Asami is playing him and the others. He hides some of his plans from her, culminating in the attack on the air temple and Korra being kidnapped and poisoned. 

After Zaheer’s defeat, Asami’s resolve to help Korra is strengthened. Just like Unalaq and Amon, Zaheer has proven himself a believer in the idea that the ends justify the means. This is not something that Asami can agree with, especially not when she has to help Korra through the psychological and physical trauma of her ordeal. All of the organisations she has been a part of have seen the Avatar as a weapon or a means to an end - she refuses to see Korra that way.

With Future Industries back in the swing of things and with Zaheer and the others either dead or imprisoned, Asami makes her big play - she goes for control of the Red Lotus. This is where all of the spies and moles she’s planted throughout the world (former Equalists and members of the Red Lotus that are on her payroll) come in handy. After a brief, but bloody conflict, Asami is successful in gaining control of the Red Lotus. But it comes at a cost.

As Korra recovers from her injuries, she has a lot of time to think. With all the knowledge and training that Asami has given her, she starts to put all of the little pieces together - all the help she and the others have received over the years, all the things that could have gone so much worse but didn’t, and the short business trips that Asami took… all of it leads to one conclusion.

Korra confronts Asami about it when Asami returns from another “business trip” (in actuality, a trip to shore up support for her control of the Red Lotus and the new agenda she wants to push). Korra asks Asami how long she’s been a member of the Red Lotus and whether she is going to kill her now that she’s too weak to defend herself. She feels particularly betrayed that Asami has been manipulating her - just like everyone else in her life (a fact that she’s also realised due to the help Asami has been giving her).

Asami explains that she has no intention of harming Korra. Instead, she explains that what she wants is to open Korra’s eyes, to help her see through all the lies and manipulation that she’s lived through. Korra points out that Asami has been manipulating her too, to which Asami replies that she’s the only one who’s ever admitted it and that she’s given Korra the tools to realise when she’s being manipulated so that it can never happen again. She’s also given Korra the tools she needs to make good, informed decisions about everything, from how to handle the politics of her position to how to consider the economic ramifications of her decisions.

Korra can’t help but feel betrayed by all of this - she feels like her whole life has been a lie. She tells Asami to leave. Asami agrees to go, but not before pointing out that Korra will never have to live a lie again, thanks to her. Asami also gives Korra all the information she has about how the White Lotus has changed, advising her to make changes of her own. If the White Lotus is going to exist, Korra needs to take control of it, not let it control her.

They part ways for several years, with a mid-twenties Korra eventually meeting Asami again. This Korra is older and wiser, surer in her power, and undisputed leader of the White Lotus. She has also proven her mettle in a number of conflicts, living up to the legacy of her predecessor, Aang, by ensuring fair and peaceful solutions. She is an Avatar in her prime.

Their meeting takes place at formal negotiations designed to bring peace between the Red Lotus and the White Lotus. Korra expresses only mild amusement at the fact that the mysterious and unknown leader of the Red Lotus was actually Asami. She had known that Asami was a member, most likely a senior one, but hadn’t realise she was quite that powerful.

Asami asks Korra if she is still angry. Korra admits that she was angry for a while, but she finally understands what Asami was doing. Korra asks Asami if she regrets doing what she did. Asami replies that she spent a long time wondering if she’d turned into the people she despised, if she too had fallen into the trap of believing that the ends justified the means. Korra says that she isn’t like the others (i.e., Amon, Unalaq, and Zaheer) because she didn’t try to put Korra in a cage or kill her - she set her free. She then challenges Asami to a game of Pai Sho, claiming that she’s become much better over the years.

And from there, I suppose, you can conclude that things went better, and there was much Korrasami goodness.

4

The Blacker Bombard,

After the evacuation Dunkirk in World War II, the British were woefully short of heavy equipment, most of which had been abandoned on French shores. One dire shortage was of anti-tank guns. After Dunkirk, the British Army only possessed 167 modern anti-tank guns in Britain, and had so little ammo that units were forbidden from conducting target practice. Due to a shortage of conventional guns, the British Army sought a cheap and easy to mass produce alternative. 

The Blacker Bombard was a spigot mortar developed by Lt. Col. Stewart Blacker. Unlike a conventional mortar, a spigot mortar does not possess a barrel, and instead there is a steel rod known as a ‘spigot’ fixed to a baseplate; the bomb itself has a propellant charge inside its tail. When the mortar was to be fired, the bomb was pushed down onto the spigot, which exploded the propellant charge and blew the bomb into the air. The Blacker Bombard was a 112 lb spigot mortar specially developed as an anti-tank weapon.  Manned by a crew of 3-5, it could fire bombs at a rate of 6-12 a minutes, and came equipped with either a 29mm caliber 20 lb anti tank bomb or a 14 lb high explosive anti personnel bomb. Optimum range was around 75-100 meters.

At first the British Army was reluctant to adopt the Black Bombard, mostly due to it’s poor ability to actually penetrate the armor of a tank, and its limited range. However, Winston Churchill was impressed by the mortar after attending a demonstration of the weapon. Around 22,000 were produced and were issued to both regular units and the Home Guard (British civilian defense militias) starting in early 1941. Some saw limited action with the British Army in North Africa.  Once the British Army was fully equipped with conventional weaponry, all were transferred to the Home Guard for use. Throughout Britain a number of concrete pedestals were produced on which to mounted the Bombard on.  351 survive today.

Heat [OQ]

Robin and Regina take a detour in Rumplestiltskin’s castle and find themselves in a rather tight situation. Enchanted Forest, missing year. A million thanks to outlawqueenluvr for being a lovely beta! [ffn]


“Hurry up,” the Queen hisses behind him, for the…fourth, fifth time now?

“My apologies,” says Robin, trying very hard to keep an even tone as he fumbles with another lock. Bloody imp and his perverse sense of humor. Trust the man to have rigged this room to transform into a wardrobe the instant its door trapped any unsuspecting intruders inside. Thus far, Robin has managed only three in a series of intricate deadbolts Rumplestiltskin’s magic had thoughtfully fashioned as a way to earn back their freedom. “If you’d give me another moment—”

“And if I don’t have another moment?” she asks imperiously.

“Your Majesty,” Robin says rather stiffly now, “if you think I am purposely delaying our escape simply for the pleasure of your company, then rest assured how very mistaken you are.”

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shirohyasha  asked:

yeah but a les mis dystopia au with les amis as an underground resistance group

omg yes

enjolras who ran away from home in a battered red leather jacket with his hood pulled low because he couldn’t stand that his parents were protecting him while people were dying in the streets and in the factories. enjolras who runs his revolution without fear, and whose one spell in prison resulted in a full scale prisoner’s revolt and a prosthetic arm

combeferre, an ex computer scientist who used to work for the government before he went underground. combeferre who now uses his skills to disrupt government surveillance as much as possible

courf, the ever-smiling, who has worked as a sector guard and a singer and a rent-boy and an electrician and everything inbetween, housing marius after he gets thrown out of his house for disobeying the governments border laws and trying to help this one girl out in the wastelands

that girl being eponine, the wolf, dragged underground by montparnasse and his gang and abandoned by her family.

feuilly working in a factory and smuggling scrap out to the city to help fix people’s heating and water, and sometimes to sell. feuilly, penniless because he sends it all to the orphanage he used to live at, and sleeping inside an ancient oil barrel until jehan finds him one night

jehan and bahorel running the ABC societies school for the most deprived children in one of the most dangerous areas of the city, and at first people think bahorel is guarding jehan from the locals; but they love him, and he teaches their children the old stories, and maths and biology (with combeferres help). Bahorel is guarding jehan from the police, because he’s on every single one of their registers and he knows what they are capable of.

joly who has a crippling fear of radiation sickness, but who works through his hypochondria to do 27 hour shifts in the hospital, which is woefully equipped but at least now has a generator (thanks to a kindly donation from a mysterious man named only as JV)

cosette going out into the city at night to give knitted scarves and gloves to people sleeping rough, and through that meets gavroche, who introduces her to his ‘heroes’, the friends of the ABC

bossuet and musichetta the lawyers, finding all the loopholes they can in order to bring food and machinery and protection to the people in their sector, and beating the robotic lawyers in the courts 9 times out of 10. they got bahorel off a battery charge for beating up a rich creep who assaulted courfeyrac while he was working. they got jehan off a smuggling charge for pirating old copies of ‘wuthering heights’ and ‘the hunger games’ on an ancient e-reader. they once even got enjolras off an ‘aggravating and subverting the peace’ charge (mostly through the accused ‘escaping’ at some point during court proceedings)

grantaire who left home much like enjolras, but sank lower and lower into drink and despair. grantaire who would do anything for alcohol, for drugs, for books. grantaire who ends up unconcious in joly’s hospital, and would have died if it weren’t for the revolutionary who found him while sticking up anti-government posters in the dead of night. grantaire who still doesn’t understand how or why he got through it all, but thinks it might have something to do with the children, so he teaches reading and writing in the school and vows to stick with the ABC until his last breath.

dystopian au. yes. please.