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CasualCrisis last won the day on April 10

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About CasualCrisis

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    The Black Queen

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  1. I have been holding off on formally acknowledging the ‘ending’ of Valucre for as long as possible. I don’t know if tonight is the last night I have to say anything on the matter, or if in fact there may be more time. The point is -- I should probably say what’s on my mind before I lose the chance. Mostly, I just want to express my gratitude. Writing, more specifically this particular style of writing, is so special to me that I can never really put it into words but I know that the majority of people who have spent their time pursuing stories on this site know exactly what I am talking about. We’re not really writers in the conventional sense (although some of us absolutely are), and we’re not just avid readers (although most of us absolutely are) -- we are our own type of people, very distinct, wholly unique, and so incredibly fortunate to have found a place to gather. I know many of us had places we gathered before Valucre (and I for one remember how devastating it was to lose those places and how good it felt to find Val), and I know there options now as we turn away from what is familiar and safe -- so I know it's not the end. I am sorry if this is coming off as overly sentimental. But I just wanted a chance to say how lovely Valucre has been -- how charming and enchanting. I want to just say how important this place has been to me. It was a sounding board when I felt very alone, and it's been my quiet retrospective corner of the internet for many years in a way that social media could never be. I want to say how happy I am to have met so many people that I would have otherwise never had a chance to meet, both online as well as in person. And just a huge, general thank you -- thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing your writing, your stories, your settings, your characters, your plots, your ideas. Thank you for putting yourself out there and sharing your imagination with us and inviting us to be a part of it, and thank you for letting us cooperate with you. I am so honored I got the chance to write with so many of you. I really hope that I get to continue to do so in the future
  2. I remember sitting in the car with my brother. He handed me one of those massive CD-booklets with the zippers that looks like a bible. He told me to look for a CD that had DMX on it. I remember feeling so cool being in the car with him -- just me and my big brother. 

    Earl Simmons was an extrordinarily talented man, but this music was also a link to a time and a place, back when me and my brother were the closest. Today I feel Mr. Simmons loss and I also feel the loss of my relationship with my brother. 


    1. amenities


      ❤️ That was very heartfelt and I, too, will miss the X.

  3. Even if you stagger, you ain't gots to fill Well, even if you fall down, you get back up Whatever you think it is, it ain't that rough ’Cause there's gonna be a time when enough is enough You get up ’cause you're fed up, straight up, call the Devil’s bluff
  4. Goodbye to my hopes and dreams
  5. I wanted love, I needed love Most of all, most of all Someone said true love was dead And I'm bound to fall, bound to fall For you
  6. Low life for life 'cause I'm heartless
  7. And I wanted it, I wanted it bad But there were so many red flags Now another one bites the dust Yeah, let's be clear I'll trust no one You did not break me I'm still fighting for peace I've got thick skin and an elastic heart But your blade it might be too sharp
  8. "When you are not fed love off of a sliver spoon, you will learn to lick it off of knives."

  9. Why, look you now, how unworthy a thing you make of me! You would play upon me, you would seem to know my stops, you would pluck out the heart of my mystery, you would sound me from my lowest note to the top of my compass, and there is much music, excellent voice, in this little organ, yet cannot you make it speak. ‘Sblood, do you think I am easier to be played on than a pipe? Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me, you cannot play upon me. They had made too many assumptions. But in the end, she had made her own assumptions. And no one's underestimations of her abilities and potential lack of scruples had been worse than her own. She had thought herself untouchable, unmovable, and beyond corruption. It was one thing to have others place you on a pedestal -- to scoff at them and their lofty ideals, to resent their expectations, and to blame your eventual failures on their presumptions. However, what became of those excuses when the pedestal was self constructed and the expectations were self proclaimed… Gabriela had no answer save for the taste of destruction that filled her mouth. It was the taste of ash -- of burnt ground. Was it for her children or for herself? Was it for motherhood or for vengeance? The answers did not come as easily as she would have hoped -- as she would have liked. And was it because she was a mortal woman? Could it be that the answer would have come easier if she was still of vampyric blood? There was something to be said for the closure of a straight answer, but was it to be denied to her now because she had given up her birthright. What a cruel twist of fate that would be! Regardless, she would have accepted whatever the answer was. In her heart, she knew it. Whether it made her a villain or a tragic hero -- she would have accepted it without qualms. But there was no solution to this conundrum. Not in her current state, and perhaps, not in any state. There was a lifetime of pain. Countless transgressions full of agony, of humiliation, of sheer sorrow, and all of them hurled directly against a single person -- herself. She had suffered time and time again the offenses of cruel men and women, gods, and demons, and monsters alike. And the reason -- it was still unclear to her. The strength of her convictions? The goodness by which she was certain she lived her life…It had never made sense, and it still didn’t make sense. Why had she been targeted above all else? Why was she made the object of hate and obsession -- of devotion and of torture? Her jaw clenched in growing anger and remembered hurt, and as Tenebre’s shadow began to fade in his hour of death, a blacker form fell across her from behind. She was so self involved in her remembering that she nearly missed it, but the presence was far too dense to ignore. She was not startled, though it did cause her to straighten uncomfortably in response. Malice needed no introduction. Oddly enough, even without the heightened senses of her vampyric blood, Malice was a presence that was instantly recognized even without her eyesight to guide her. Perhaps it was a mortal's reaction to the very essence of the divine -- who could ever know these things, but whatever it was that gave him such a pungent aura was the very same thing that was slowly but surely feeding into her own spirit as the world began to fall apart and shake under their feet. Defiler of Innocence. She grimaced at the memory of their first meeting -- not upon Valucre, but further back in time. She was a child, a true innocent back then. Kalicity had taken her to a tournament, the Dark Goddess was intent on having her adopted child witness her first bloodletting competition. Gabriela had been brave and outspoken about her views concerning the event, but she had been no more than a child -- a foolish child. She had spoken out of turn to Malice, a creature to whom Kalicity had shown reverence back in those days. Had that single interaction set the wheels in motion for all of this? She had to wonder now, she had to wonder as the sound of the earth falling away into the ocean was slowly accompanied by the choirs of wailing, of crying, of screaming. It was the song of the dying. It was the voices of men, of women, of children -- of tiny infants. And from across thousands of miles, she heard their voices in unison rising up through the heavy, hot, humid air of the tropical island in glorious music, a mighty chant, a prayer to the gods for retribution of this great wrong. Then her anger and hurt, it wavered in response to this greater hurt and this greater anger and for a moment she felt the claws of cowardice grip at her as untold deaths began to pour forth from every direction as the surrounding coasts of the island were swallowed by the sea. Cities crumbled, buildings crashed down and crushed those unfortunate enough to still be inside. And those who had managed to evacuate found no sort of solace beyond their brick and mortar walls. The earth cracked open and water spilled forth flooding everything. Men and animals alike were swept away and drowned. Forests were cleared, entire citizens were decimated, mountain ranges crumbled as if they were made of the most brittle sandstone... The weight of the power that had gathered in the palms of her open hands became too much, and it pulled her fingertips down between her folded knees. There, in the nest of her thighs, she nursed the ball of invisible energy that spun in a sphere within a trembling cage created by the length of her stretched and strained fingers. It wouldn’t be long now. The low growl of the earth was a savage thing that they could all hear -- the dying God, the God who stood as witness to it all, and the fledgling God who knelt through it all and had set it all upon this dreadful course. Bones sinking like stones… Tenebre was little more than a shade at noon, a pale thing with no voice. He was hardly a figure. But he lingered, watching perhaps. But he had no features. And yet his presence presented a powerful thing, a messenger perhaps of comfort as it remained close to the sarcophagus where Gabriela’s children remained resting. The life that he intended to take, he did as he promised, and passed on to the two children. However, in the mess of it all, with screaming souls swirling about them all running away from their violent deaths right into the awaiting maws of the Great Devourer, who knew what would become of the two tiny spirits of her beloved children. Gabriela herself was in an odd state. She lingered on her knees trying to contain the surge of power that she had collected in her hands, which, had she remained a mere mortal, would have destroyed her by now. But as Tenebre faded, and as she grew in power, she maintained. The change was not visible. She did not know how to make it so. In fact, she did not know what the change meant, if it meant anything at all… The birth of Darkness was no little thing, but as a fledgling there was so much to learn, and already so much she didn’t know. Gabriela clung to what she did know. She knew that she was human, she understood the body she had been occupying for the past year. That was the reality she held onto. But she needed to tap into the power that had just been gifted to her, at least long enough to survive, and at least long enough to snach back something out of the clenching jaws of death that tore and ripped at everything she loved -- everything she had needlessly sacrificed. Turning from her position on the floor, twisting on her knees so that she could keep her hands together -- pushing them closer together in fact, forcing the ball of flickering energy, of heat and shadows, into a tighter and more compact sphere -- she shifted far enough to regard the purple-haired fiend. Deep inside me I’m fading to black -- I am fading. Took an oath by the blood of my hand won't break it. There, upon the floor of the mausoleum, where everyone that she loved lay dead -- including the only true father figure she ever had, there knelt the new Tenebre. There was a woman, or rather a creature in a woman’s guise. Everything was the same, except her presence. Except her eyes. Not a hint of the glorious gold remained. Black as night, they looked up at him heavy and full of gravity. Nothing escaped them. She saw his mouth open. His lips curl. He smiled to prove a point, but she saw the vastness of eternity in the gesture. He showed satisfaction and pride -- all the love of a father witnessing his tiny fledgling take flight. “All hail the new Mother of Darkness, in this life and the next.” “You once told me that ‘no man may have more than they can take,’ and that, ‘no soul stretch farther than their reach.’” Slowly, as if it caused her great pain, Gabriela rose to her feet and wavered upon her legs as if they were new -- as if she did not know them. “You have had enough. You have feasted enough. You have gorged yourself at my expense, but it is enough and you will have no more…” Once she was up, and from this humble height of hers, she opened her hands and dropped the orb which she had been nursing and cradling. It fell and cracked at her feet. There wasn’t much she could do. There wasn’t much left to fight. Malice had a control over La’Ruta, especially the darker side of it that Gabriela had never come to understand, much less command. He was always meant to be the other half of the magic. She could have never been his equal, and so the proportions would have never found balance had they attempted to fulfil the prophecy together and the island would have forever been in dissension. But she could do this much, and with Tenebre’s gift -- with his dying wish finally completed, she could at the very least pushback this much. The destruction of Orisia was stopped, at least to this degree, at least around the borders of the capital city -- beyond that it was all lost. It was exhausting, her first task as a fledgling god, and it left her utterly spent. Every ounce of her strength and power went into stopping the very thing she set into motion. Every soul she fed the beast, every soul that was meant to feed her own transformation. Left with nothing, she dropped right back down like a wilted flower and sat on the floor once more, breathing hard and pushing through the sudden tiredness that felt so much more potent than anything she could ever recall as either a mortal or a vampyre. But the earth, it continued to groan and to growl. She may have stopped things for now, but could the gears that she had set into motion truly be stopped now? She pinched her brows in confusion and set her hands on the smooth marble floors, pushing aside the glass-like substance of the shattered orb she had just dropped. She shifted past the material, she felt for the connection she shared with the land, but felt it weak and distant. She was losing her bond with La’Ruta -- with the land. Meanwhile, what was left of the island still seemed intent on self-destructing. “Please,” she whispered down to the ground, “...please, stop it. Stop it now.”
  10. But he's driving, and striving, and hugging the turns And thinking of someone for whom he still burns
  11. You'll be happy to know The situation is worse
  12. Just a few more posts. 

  13. Pale but warm fingers curled around the edge of the sarcophagus. His words echoed in her mind like a curse -- they accused her, and tempted her, and she felt them digging at her innermost desires. Was there anything in this life that she wanted more than to be a mother to this little child? She had fought so hard for him but ultimately failed. And that failure had been so painful because of its proximity to success. So many failures, but not once had she come so very close to success. No, not once. So much of her hope had been placed upon that little child before his birth that she was certain that it had crushed him before he ever had a chance to take a breath of air. She felt responsible for the loss of his life, and it was that guilt that made the allure of Tenebre’s offer all the harder to resist. There was a dark and greedy part of her heart that yearned to snach up the opportunity, and it urged her forward on the basis that it was not for her own benefit but for the sake of that child who never got to live. After all, didn’t Philippe deserve a life? Didn’t he deserve the chance to have a loving mother? Past trembling lips she let out a gasp from a breath she did not know she was holding. It was ragged -- nearly a sob. “...I know you will not decline my offer.” “No,” she replied, shaking now from head to toe as she pulled her hands from the edge of the tomb. She wrapped herself in an embrace to keep from going back to her child’s side. In that moment she knew that if her golden eyes should happen upon the remains of her child once more that any and all resolve that she had left would melt away and she would be lost. “No...I can’t.” Tenebre recoiled as if he had been struck. But the creature had no distinguishing features, not even the markings of nose, of a mouth, or eyebrows -- there was no way to read an expression. There was only body language, and even that was exaggerated to a point that seemed difficult to trust. Even so, the message was clear. He was offended that his generous offer was refused. And where the easy and comfortable familiarity that they shared had once been, she felt the creeping coldness of discontent start to settle. And perhaps it was in response to his sentiments of displeasure that she felt a prickle of power zap at the balls of her feet through the thick leather of her booted feet. It was as if the fire coursing in the earth itself, deep under the mantle of rock and gravel, had felt her distress and jolted in response. “There it is,” said the shadow. The crackle came again, the spark of fire and electricity that burned and sparkled in her blood but did not hurt her in the least -- it made its way up through the earth, into her body through the soles of her feet. She felt it in her knees, circling around and around, until it climbed the inside of her thighs and pooled into the empty womb. She held her belly as if it hurt, and grimaced because of the sensation, but it was not pain. “They thought that they could bind you with children. They did not know,” the shadow went on, as he reached into the tomb -- and for a moment, Gabriela watched in mute horror, as she expected him to take out the frail bones of her son, but instead it was an orb of pure black that he pulled forth. “...They did not know the fierceness of your love, and they quaked and rattled in the presence of it. And then they gnashed their teeth in rage when they did not understand it. You ended her life before it ever began in order to ensure that he never had influence over her.” Beyond merely holding herself, Gabriela was stepping back. Back into the shadows, back through the fading light of day, back further and further from the open sarcophagus and the remains of her dead son and now also, the exposed fetus of her unborn daughter, for Tenenbre had dropped the black veil away from the orb he had pulled out of the tomb. And that’s what he held, some artificial womb that held the tiny creature aloft in amniotic fluid -- floating and careless. Alive, but not alive. Sleeping, as Gabriela had wished her to be. Here, in this isolated and abandoned mausoleum where the supposed remains of the Black Queen had been laid to rest perhaps some two years ago, this is where her children now awaited her. “If you will not take my offer for one of your children, then perhaps you will take it for two of your children. If not Philippe -- then perhaps for Ophelia as well? You don’t have to pick between them. They can have you both, they can both have their mother.” She gripped at her stomach harder. For so long now, the power of the land had been called La’Ruta, but as she thought of it in this moment, and as her eyes grew glassy with tears, it all seemed silly and inconsequential. To give a name to power, to give forces of nature any sort of title -- to come to feel any sort of connection or familiarity to a thing such as Tenebre. It was utter nonsense. He was no more human than an actual shadow. He spoke, but he did not speak. His words had no more meaning than individual letters scattered across the floor. He was trying to make some kind of point and express some sort of importance here, but it was all meaningless in the end. He was a being of infinite age and wisdom, against whom she could have never hoped to compete. She was a creature of emotions and sentiments. Her mortal ties to her mortal children had been her downfall. She nodded her head. La’Ruta -- or whatever it was, whatever old and terrible power inhabited this little island, it was heavy and dense in her body now. It had been pouring upwards into her through her feet, and it was filling her up. But she nodded her head, looking at him through teary eyes, looking at the orb that he held and the floating child within the amniotic fluid. It was one thing to see the bones of a dead child, and something totally different to see flesh, and blood, and tiny movements of life. He was right, and maybe he didn’t understand it himself. But he was right. Nothing else mattered. No number of lives -- not a dozen, not a hundred, not a thousand, not a million. Just her two babies. That’s all that mattered now. “I’ll do it,” she whispered, feeling the weight of the power in her limbs pull her down to one knee. And she did go down, rather hard. It felt like a crushing force bringing her onto the polished flower below, sinking her until she was flat on her bottom, her knees spread out on either side of her body. It was uncomfortable, but she managed. When she set her hands on the ground to steady herself, it gave the earth beneath her another anchor point to grip from. More fire and more lightning crackled and burned at her. This time there was pain, and this time she couldn’t help from clenching her jaws tight as her eyes rolled into the back of her skull. The earth began to shake. It was a gentle rolling at first, just the slightest shaking.
  14. Can you help me unravel my latest mistake? I don't love him
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