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  1. Axiom’s End was good. I read through it really fast, which I don’t usually. Maybe because the pacing was very quick, which it kind of had to be for the particular story. Finished French Fashion, Women & the First World War after months of dragging my feet through each section, but I did really enjoy learning about the economic impact of war on civilian women. Just a little dry. Now I’m torn between The Name of the Rose and Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World..
  2. Gil

    Mood music requests

    Maybe not all melancholy, but I have a playlist for low moods. https://youtu.be/zEmtfA8FETc https://youtu.be/M3VY8oRiPxg https://youtu.be/L6hFNoAp4V0 https://youtu.be/mbwUs1rnuQg
  3. Gil

    Easy meals

    Tabouli is pretty easy- tomatoes cucumber green onions tons of fresh parsley a little fresh mint (all chopped) Olive oil lemon juice cinnamon allspice salt pepper bulgur wheat (soaked in water for 30min-1hr and drained through a cheese cloth) - combine all in large bowl My family recipes don’t really do steps (or measurements a lot of the time)
  4. “Hmm.” she hummed and watched as Ains turned over the cards. She wondered if his touch was disquieting to them.. If it would taint their reading somehow, or perhaps he lacked the qualities needed to serve as a conduit. But the story reflected back at them as he turned the cards one after the other seemed to resonate. The first card was easy enough to guess, even without knowing the mage's history. Well.. maybe easy was not the word. As secretive as he was, Ains had the kind of cautious demeanor of one who knew betrayal. The seer assumed he was well acquainted with it. Perhaps it was even an old friend of sorts, but that was only a fleeting speculation. The other card, however, was a bit off putting. “The Magician..” she replied, “One of strong will and the means to pursue their desires. A symbol of manifestation. I am afraid we will not be able to simply find a solution to this poison..” She sighed, pushing the breath through her nose while she pursed her lips slightly. “We will have to create one.” It was a far cry from anything like a clear solution, but that much was not unexpected. The seer reached forward, tapping the center card with the tip of her finger, hesitating before sliding it between her fingers and turning it over. Upon the card were three tradesmen convening under a temple arch. This was their present circumstance, and their means of creating this apparent solution. “Three of pentacles. The architect, the stonemason and the carpenter all have a hand in making the temple arch.” She stood up from her chair, leaving the rest of the cards in the cross formation face down for the time being. “Are you well enough to stand?” she asked, “To walk?” Enid offered him a helping hand, though she did not expect him to take it. He did not seem comfortable with being handled (not that she could blame him). “I am afraid I will require your assistance, much though I would prefer to let you rest. But the parlor is not the place for such work. Come.” Whether he accepted her hand or not, she beckoned him to follow through the door to the kitchen. The space therein was remarkably small, scarcely able to accommodate one cook, let alone two. It was not unlike the storefront, stocked with dried herbs and oddities, though they were neatly organized and tucked as far out of the way as possible. They did not linger in the kitchen, however. The witch stepped right past the stove and the pantry and turned a sharp corner through a doorway covered by yet another curtain. Through it was a small landing at the top of a stairwell and a heavily locked back door that sat tight in its frame. Enid breezed past the door to descend the stairs. She paused a few steps down to look back at her weakened companion. “Are the stairs too much?” she asked, concerned, though her tone did not reflect it, “It is not a short way down.” In fact, it was quite long, and the individual steps were narrow. It would have been easier to walk sideways to keep from missing a step and falling the rest of the way down. She was sure to go slowly just ahead of Ains in the event of an accident. When they reached the end it was dim, much like the rooms above, scarcely illuminated by faintly glowing orbs of greenish light. “Please, forgive the mess down here.” she said, as though he could see much of anything clearly. “Have a seat while I adjust the light.”
  5. “Hm?” Oh, I have no idea.” she answered honestly, “But a fantastical affliction must have a fantastical solution.” She left him to sit at the other side of the table, where the cross pattern of cards lay neatly before her chair. How did she know this stuff? That was a difficult question to answer with any detail or clarity. She wasn't sure if it could be explained. It could be understood, certainly, but finding that spark of comprehension was like waiting to be struck by lightning. Although, the storm outside increased the odds of that somewhat. “How do you know what you know?” the witch turned the question back on him. Maybe he hadn't been looking for an answer; it was difficult for her to tell in his state. “I'm not sure I know much of anything.” she admitted. “No more than you do, I mean. We just happen to know different things. And I know how to look for things better than most.” Enid sat in her chair and turned her attention to the cards that had been laid out before his arrival. “I felt a sudden urge to shuffle the cards before you stumbled in.” she explained, “They're old and they bend more than they used to, but they want to feel useful. And they prove their worth time and again. They may have had some sense that they were needed, so let us assume that this cross is yours.” The seer sat on the edge of her seat and looked on her guest intently, pointing to one side of the cross pattern. “I assume you are familiar with such readings. You know, then, that this card reflects upon your past. And on the other end lies a glimpse at your possible future. Both may offer guidance in our search for an antidote.” “So,” she said, meeting his glazed eyes with an even stare, “where do we begin?”
  6. I really enjoyed The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa. It was initially published in the 90's, but I don't think it had been released in English until recently. It's surreal and sad and I devoured it immediately. And most of the other stuff I've been reading is not narrative driven; I don't think they would count.
  7. Enid nodded along with the description as though she understood. She didn't. Rather, she couldn't place the description to a specific substance when it could be applied to a number of them. And what of unique poisons? The kind that are made with a very particular result in mind. Or worse, the kind made with no particular intention. One would think the witch was alchemically adept in this area, but potions and poisons were about as similar as snakes and salamanders: They share a passing resemblance (limbs notwithstanding), but are a different class entirely from one to the other. (Although, both provided common ingredients for a variety of potions, but that was beside the point). If Ains had fallen under the influence of a love potion, or had he been spewing out his innermost thoughts at the behest of a truth serum, she might have known what to do. As it was.. Well, she would do her best. “I can imagine the sudden prick of a needle must feel like a vicious bug bite.” she said, running her hand absently over the back of her neck. What sort of life must this man live, she wondered? It was a passing thought, however. She turned away from the window as he addressed her directly now, more apologetically. It was an amusing juxtaposition to the cold sweat of fear and desperation that had clung to him when he first stumbled in. Of course, that might have been the rain. “You're no bother,” she assured him, “You are a trouble, certainly, but not a bo-” The sudden spark of something magical gave her pause. It was brief and unpleasant, sort of like a hiccough in the middle of their conversation, but much more troubling. There was a stillness about the room, and the fraction of a second that followed seemed to stretch on for minutes; or that was how it seemed to Enid as a cold lump settled in the bottom of her stomach. “Tim-!” she couldn't spit out the whole of the nickname she'd given him before she had rushed to his aid. He was doubled over, and she knelt before him, reaching out to keep him from falling to the floor. It was quite the reaction, to say the least. And when he held his arm out, she saw that it was pale, and the motion of his fingers stiff. “..Peculiar.” she said, her tone flat and measured once again. She took hold of his arm and turned it gently over to inspect it from all sides. “I've never known a common poison to react with one's magic like it did just now.” She hummed, thinking. “This..” she said, “I can work with.”
  8. “And why should someone put something in your drink?” She bent over him again, ignoring personal boundaries as she placed a gentle hand on Ains' cheek. “I wasn't sleeping.” she reassured him, “I wasn't expecting company either, but this hardly seems like an intentional visit on your part.” The witch shifted her thumb and held his left lid open just a bit wider to inspect his pupil and the glazed look in his eye. She caught flickers of the candlelight reflecting in the whites of his eyes, and she took it as a bad omen. “I'm not the most gifted healer,” she admitted, “But if I know what you've ingested, I can better help you..” She looked at him, not expectantly, but she left some space for him to fill with any ideas about his current condition. He seemed delirious, though. Weak. It was quite a state. “And yes,” she added as she stood up strait, “I'll get you something for the pain.” ~~~ The seer returned a short time later after having disappeared into the kitchen. She carried with her a glass bottle filled with a purplish tincture and a cold compress for the man's head. “Here.” She offered him the bottle first. The liquid inside was floral and potent, more like perfume than medicine, and it burned on the way down. “Think of something pretty and swallow three times.” she instructed quite seriously, “Perhaps four for good measure.” Then she passed him the compress and left him a moment to choke down the concoction without her watchful eyes upon him. Enid went to the window and looked out into the falling rain. It was was also an omen, in a way. Whereas the flames reflected in Ains' glassy eyes was ominous, the rain seemed, to her, like a cleansing presence. She only hoped the feeling would prove to be true. “Have you been poisoned before?” she asked him from across the room, still looking out into the downpour past the velvet curtain. “....Do you need to lay down?” The offer seemed like an afterthought. She was still wrapping her head around the situation, deciding what to do next, or what what would be best.. They were in for a long night.
  9. Enid did not mean to imply foul intentions toward the little beast. The thought had occurred to her, certainly, but it was fleeting. A genuine curiosity at best. She did not voice this clarification, however. Instead she stared silently at their (hers and Arthur's) intersecting forks. Neither did she appear to register most of her companion's clever quips. The only thoughts running through her mind in that moment were images of Arthur dining, savoring his food, salivating.. “You've contaminated my fork..” Her face rarely contorted with disgust, and this moment was no exception. But she was clearly put off by the gesture all the same. Enid parried his fork, or she tried to, but the prongs had intersected in such as way as to come stuck together. “I'm more human than not.” she finally addressed his question, though she suspected it was rhetorical. And it was true. The witch bore certain features of her lineage, but she was as much human as the mage himself, even if many of her customs were not. “And you needn't flatter me. Entering this competition with my skill set would be akin to a chess player entering a poker tournament.” That was not to say that one was more or less clever than the other; they were just very different games. It was about then that a convenient distraction approached their table. A pretty distraction, Enid noted, though her attention was still largely focused on her companion and his extended fork. The other woman addressed Arthur, and the two exchanged somewhat awkward banter before he turned the question over to Enid. “I'm not sure you have many secrets.” she replied, turning her fork to intersect prongs with his at a ninety degree angle before twisting it in an attempt to flip his silverware out of his grip. She offered Gabriela a curt nod upon introduction, but said nothing to her as of yet; not to be rude or short, she was just lacking for words in that moment. Meanwhile, Cabbage had taken Enid's question and pondered it with an almost philosophical expression. And when he produced what appeared to be an actual chicken leg, she was genuinely taken aback. @Voldemort @Spooky Mittens @Pasion Pasiva
  10. Enid wrinkled her nose at the scent of seared meat. The witch averted her eyes from her dining companions, finding a point at the far end of the room and fixing on it with a vapid stare. It wasn't the meat that bothered her; she indulged on the rare occasion.. extra rare, as a matter of fact. There were just so few prepared foods that pleased her senses, and fewer still that her stomach found agreeable. She absently probed her fork into her salad and managed to skewer a sizable wedge of fruit and dandelion greens. She ate the morsel in bites before resting the utensil on the edge of her plate. The seer dressed better, for lack of a better word, than she would on most occasions. Her dress was long and sleek, and had a layer of lace that was sheer about the neck and sleeves. It was black, like most of her clothes, and the lace pattern looked like shadows in a garden over her skin. “Do you think it wise to brag, Wolf?” She responded to Arthur, “You might be conquered by dessert before you have a chance to face your next opponent.” Her flat way of speaking flattened her joke in turn. The one round she had witnessed was peculiar, to say the least. By that measure, it was difficult to say whether the next would prove a challenge for her friend, or if it would bring its own peculiarities. The two were not mutually exclusive, she supposed. Enid looked to Arthur, then leaned forward to catch a better view of Cabbage's little display of admiration. “Hmm..” she took another bite of greens and pondered over the unusual creature. “Tell me,” she addressed Cabbage, gesturing at him with her fork, “are you all vegetable on the inside, or is there some meat to you?” @Voldemort @Spooky Mittens
  11. The bell over the door was mercifully silent when Ainsworth swung it open. Unusually silent. A stifled chime, as though it were stirring in a deep sleep above the intruder's head. In fact, a sleep-like calm fell over the whole store as the latch on the door clicked shut. The room was dark and warm, and the sound of the rain outside was distant. Ains was alone. Or he seemed to be. For a moment there was nothing but the darkness and the rain, and then came the soft patter of bare soles across the hardwood floor. A glowing, bluish point of light appeared at the far end of the room, presumably having come out from behind the curtain to the parlor. (Certainly Ainsworth would remember the parlor.) “Who's there? Why are you here?” Enid's voice followed the light, which shined out from the end of a sharply pointed wand that she carried defensively. She approached him cautiously at first, squinting over his features until she recognized them. “Timorous?” Her posture eased, and though she could see that he was out of sorts, she went to the door first to check the lock. She rattled the knob and gently shook the door, but it didn't budge. The place had let him in despite being closed for the evening. “You're in quite a state..” she said, turning to him with an outstretched hand, “Whatever happened to you?” Her expression was placid as ever, but her concern was evident enough in her body language. He seemed weak in that moment, but he might have managed well enough on his own. Still, she didn't give him much choice as she looped an arm around him to shoulder his weight. The witch guided him carefully through the storefront and past the velvet curtain into the parlor, which looked almost the same as it had upon his last visit. Only this time the lamps were off, and the room bathed in the warm, amber light of what seemed to be two dozen or so candles placed around the room. Five of them sat on the round table between the two large, cushioned chairs, along with a deck of cards that lay face down in cross pattern. One of the curtains along the wall had been pulled aside to partially reveal a large window. It looked out over the street, which was increasingly obscured by the evening's downpour. The longer one looked out of that window, the more it would have seemed odd, given the placement of the front door and the rest of Enid's shop in relation to the neighboring buildings. There almost certainly couldn't be a window there (and if there were, it would look onto a brick wall at best). The witch extinguished her wand light and set it on the table before helping her visitor into one of the big chairs. “Easy does it.. Oh-” she wrinkled her nose, having caught a whiff of something on the man's breath, “Have you been drinking?” She stood up strait and rubbed her nose absently, as though it might wipe away the smell. In the candlelight it was easier to see that Enid was dressed in a long, black nightgown and a sheer, black robe over the top of it. She was resigned for the evening before receiving his unexpected visit. And she had locked the door after business hours, but the shop let him in anyway. She had to wonder why.. Curious, she thought.
  12. @AngryCacti idk, it’s a bunch of nerd shit that I cycle through every couple of years. But sewing is fun, just tedious. I mostly make small stuffed animals for for friends and family with small kids. have I seen your drawings?? I wanna see your drawings!
  13. Drawing is more of a vocation than a hobby, but I do that too. I used to volunteer in the nature science section of the local science museum, and I started collecting bones and insects (for pinning) after working with them there. I learned how to spin yarn at the museum too, but it’s a hobby I haven’t visited in a while. Caring for my plants. I like when they get big enough to propagate, and then I trade the clippings with other plant people. Collecting comics/comics conventions/zine fests @AngryCacti I don’t make costumes, but I enjoy sewing too. I just don’t have a machine, so it takes ages to make small stuff. *and wearing cute shit; it’s a hobby if you do it right
  14. The bench was hard and cold. That was all Enid could think about as she peered down into the arena, shifting uncomfortably where she sat and folding her arms tight to avoid bumping elbows with anyone who sat near her. She didn't give much thought to her surroundings otherwise. A flutter of movement to one side of her vision, a flash of something blue on the other, and the swell of cheers came from all around. She liked people. Really, she did. But the revel of the spectators reminded her of something primal and ancient and all too familiar. It was an unusual feeling. Enid fit in well enough with the rest of the crowd; There seemed to be a general preference for dark, mostly black attire. Everything from the tip of her pointed hat, to her embroidered coat, to the heels of her boots was black on black on black, save a few blooming flowers atop the hat's brim. The pink and purple blooms stood in stark contrast to the otherwise dark ensemble and the green tint of her skin. The witch was not generally drawn to competition (though, she would confess, she was no stranger to it either), but this was an exception. She watched Arthur as he'd paced about in the center of the arena, looking the part of a wild animal in a cage. He wasn't agitated, though, just eager. She could tell that much even at a distance. Of course, she'd known him for longer and far better than anyone else in her life, save maybe her own mother. If the witch couldn't recognize his body language by now, then she'd never really paid attention. Still, it had been a long while since she'd witnessed her friend in proper (mostly) sporting combat. His opponent, by contrast, seemed calm. He approached Arthur with an even stride and an empty gaze, and it took some time for the seer to realize that the other man was at least partially, if not completely blind. “Interesting..” she thought aloud, though the word wouldn't carry over the sounds of the crowd. The exchange between them was brief, and in the span of a breath the fight had begun. Both men moved with purpose, but Arthur's way of advancing on the other was, for lack of a better word, aggressive. Beyond aggressive. Which only made sense (it was combat, after all), but there was something simultaneously joyful and furious in the way he moved. And though the other man was swift, she wondered if it would be enough.
  15. Ah, kk. Yeah, I might be up for something like that. I can send you a message later with my character and more Q’s
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