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Everything posted by Veloci-Rapture

  1. So far, so good. I have a few readers, and one person who's finished it so far. The person who finished it had rave reviews, which makes me happy. 😄 There's no time limit, and the more eyes I can get on this thing, the better it's going to be!
  2. On the theory of "The worst they can do is ignore me", I'm pushing aside my anxiety and asking for beta readers. Improvisational Jazz is an urban fantasy/mystery and is about 90,000 words long. There's a lot of cussing, some blood, and some moderate violence. Story details below, for anyone who's interested: After three revisions, it's finally come to the point where I need other people to read it so I can answer the following questions: 1) Is this garbage? 2) Is the mystery too easy? 3) Is the mystery impossibly complicated? 4) Will anyone like the characters? 5) This is garbage, isn't it? Anyone who wants to help me answer those questions, let me know. If I know you, and have written with you before, be assured that you can ignore this and I won't take it personally. Reading some n00b's unpublished manuscript is often at least as painful as finding someone to read some n00b's unpublished manuscript is.
  3. I have finished editing my book. I have completed a book. I wrote a fucking book!!

    Anyway, now that I'm done deleting close to a hundred unnecessary "just"s (and about 15 unnecessary "actually"s), I have time for other things. I owe a couple of posts that I promise I will be getting to here in the next week or so, probably closer to wednesday than friday. I also have some lore to finish up. It shall be done!

  4. Brigid pursed her lips in annoyance. She gestured at her cane. "Do you have any idea how hard it is for me to clean blood from the floor? You really are a caveman, aren't you?" Well, he'd pushed the issue, and apparently did in fact believe he could kill the entire city guard single-handedly. And if she didn't let him try, she'd have to explain two dead bodies in the doorway of her shop. There was really only one other option. "Fine, you win," she said. She raised her hands to show they were empty, and, leaving her cane propped up against the counter, she hobbled slowly backwards away from the safe. "Come take your prize, caveman. And whatever other shiny things your tribe values." She limped her way back to the farthest corner of the shop and leaned on her workbench, making no sudden movements and keeping her hands in the air. Her facial expression was more irked than afraid, which irked her further; she recognized that appearing afraid could have significant benefits when facing an unpredictable man who only thought in power/submission paradigms. Afraid was submissive. Exasperated was not. Fortunately, her indignation would be resolved in a few moments. Watching this so-called "black knight" run screaming down the main street of town after he'd made even incidental contact with the invisible monofilament blood threads criss-crossing the safe opening would be a perfect balm for her current ills.
  5. It'd be awesome if he could time it to coincide with one of my bipolar upswings, but the only person who has a chance of being able to pull that off is our lord and savior, RNGesus. And unless shit goes super downhill in the world at large, I still plan to be putting around here in 2025. I may need a recap if it takes that long tho.
  6. I'm just over here watching this discussion like "Why does this concept seem so confusing to some people?" So, for the record, I have no complaints and need no clarification at this time. I'm just here to roll along with Raxy's story, happy to be invited, fine to follow the narrative and thrilled if I can create a few moments of character growth for Vetiver along the way. I don't care so much what happens as long as it happens, ya know? Carry on!
  7. Well, social media has finally broken me. I no longer have the energy to debate unsubstantiated or poorly-substantiated claims. Going forward, my only response to such claims will be: "lol, nah. Proof or gtfo."

    1. Show previous comments  2 more
    2. Raptor
    3. supernal


      Write your lengthier responses to recurring topics into a blog post that you can then link every time you come across the argument. Update it as needed 

    4. squid peanut

      squid peanut

      I often get the inverse of this where I get my information from people who go digging through tons of evidence themselves so I know a bunch of things but don't ever have sources on hand.  That and then there's the people who flood in with circumstantial evidence and paper thin sources.  *sigh*

  8. Who knew Tunisia had a metal scene? I certainly didn't.
  9. I'm glad it worked, and I'm super surprised on how it worked. It changed the URL to the new title, but somehow the link (whose URL did not change) still redirects to the new URL. Baffling, but also awesome. Thank you!
  10. Hopefully a quick technical question with a quick answer. If I edit a thread I made and change the name of the thread, will that break links to it, or to specific posts within that thread? Since I noticed that the link has the thread title in the URL, I thought I'd better ask before I end up dynamiting my own lore work.
  11. Va Madar: Inhabitants: Vendal The Vendal are a race of human-like people who make their home in the volcanic mountains and valleys of the western side of Va Madar. Physically, they are taller and heavier than the Valdar, but are otherwise indistinguishable from their eastern cousins. They have the same level of intelligence and magical aptitude as the Valdar, but evidence suggests that they lack the empathic connection to the air of Va Madar which every other being on the planet experiences. Either that, or they simply enjoy causing suffering. Society: The Vendal are organized in a strict, almost feudal, hierarchy. There are no individual clans or tribes (although archaeological evidence seems to point to a tribal past); rather, they function as a single societal unit that is highly stratified into distinct classes: peasants, crafters, warriors, priests, and royalty. They live in houses made mostly of volcanic stone and primarily eat meat; every Vendal of any class is also a hunter. They reluctantly practice agriculture and animal husbandry out of necessity, but they will always choose fresh-caught flesh over farmed or dried when they have the option. Their preferred method for hunting is to mortally wound their prey, then track it until it bleeds to death. They dress in tanned pelts that are crafted in such a way that the head of the beast it came from is mostly intact, usually as a way of displaying the most fearsome creature they've killed to date. They accent their clothes with jewelry made of bone, tusks, and teeth. To outsiders, they often appear to be polite and receptive, happily showing off their city and providing information about their history and accomplishments. Unfortunately, this information is mostly lies. Lying to outsiders is considered good practice, as social mobility is predicated on a combination of intricate planning and clever deception. Moving up in the hierarchy usually involves tricking someone into a situation where they are at a disadvantage and then engineering their death. As a result, trust is almost entirely absent from Vendal psychology, and it's a wonder such a people could have gotten together to form a functioning society in the first place. Religion: That wonder comes in the form of the Vendal spirituality. They worship Va Viel'duar, which they believe to be malevolent destroyer/trickster entity, with a backwards form of karma as a guiding principle. Essentially, they believe that one attains the favor of Va Viel'duar by amusing him; performing spiteful, destructive acts on others in clever ways is what allows an individual to rise to the top. Those who are not engaged in the practice of grinding others under their bootheels are not amusing to Va Viel'duar, and thus Va Viel'duar will amuse himself at their expense by giving them bad fortune. The good guys stay at the bottom, while the bad guys rise to the top. Virtue is, in and of itself, a vice in Vendal society. How this translates to keeping a society together is actually fairly simple: Va Viel'duar would be highly amused by the collapse of Vendal civilization, and therefore the Vendal seek to display their power over their god by not allowing him the pleasure of watching them fail. In short, the Vendal's guiding tenet as a society is staying together out of spite for their creator. Priests of Va Viel'duar are the lawgivers of Vendal society; they are each individually judge, jury, and executioner, and use that status to brutally suppress public disunity. This serves a dual purpose: they incur the individual favor of their god by enacting harsh punishments while also keeping Vendal society outwardly cohesive. The Vendal priests are also fans of poisons; the slower the lethality, the better. Any blade point or cutting implement that isn't going to be used for hunting in the immediate future can be assumed to be coated with something vile. Politics: The royalty of the Vendal function as both the executive and legislative branches of government. As no one person could ever be trusted to be a sole king or queen (though, again, archaeological evidence suggests they tried that for at least a little while), power is shared by various small groups who each have exclusive dominion over a limited range of Vendal activities. The power structure is complicated and byzantine, and which individual has the most influence is entirely fluid over any given time period. This effectively creates a "small government" situation, where the machinations of one council frequently cancels out the machinations of another, leading to few significant or lasting regulations trickling down to the day-to-day activities of the commoners. The only arenas in which they come together reliably are war and the severe inhibition of dissent from below. Loyalty within councils, like everywhere else in Vendal culture, is usually secured through threats and the application of brute strength., or else by building a reputation for being a particularly ruthless schemer who isn't one to cross. Royal titles can be inherited, but existing royals can also grant nobility to individuals of reknown for a variety of reasons, most commonly as part of a larger scheme. The gift of nobility never comes without strings. Technology and Weapons: The Vendal are solidly iron-age in terms of their technological sophistication. Access to free-flowing magma in their geologically active homeland makes metalworking commonplace, though it's still not known how they are able to tolerate the toxic gasses and extreme heat in order to make use of such a resource. All Vendal weapons are crafted specifically to cause as much pain as possible before killing a target. Arrowheads are wickedly barbed, blades are serrated, and hooks and spikes are common additions to any weapon. While the warrior class is trained in a wide variety of armaments, the favorite weapon of the traditional warrior is a serrated sickle attached by the base of the handle to a long, fine-linked chain. Magic: The Vendal are the only native inhabitants on Va Madar who can use both fire- and death-based magic. Their power is muted on the western side of the island, but still potent enough to be a concern. It is rumored that especially powerful Vendal priests can even raise the bodies of the dead, though this rumor is as yet unsubstantiated. Healing magic, on the other hand, are much less common among the Vendal, and rarely used for their intended purpose. Vendal priests who have bothered to learn the healing arts (due to the loci of the area greatly suppressing their power) only do so to keep prisoners and criminals alive longer, so they can be tortured more. War: Wars are mostly internal conflicts between the Vendal royalty, fought in dark alleys or rural environments to keep them out of the gaze of the ever-vigilant priests. Such wars are governed by a set of loose rules that aid in keeping the conflicts secret, minimizing the overall economic damage, and keeping the conflicts from spreading through the population as mass unrest. Threat: Due to their relatively isolated location, interactions with other inhabitants of Va Madar are usually limited to terrifying raids on outlying settlements, or chance encounters with Vendal hunting parties that have wandered further afield than normal. All Vendal, except the priests (possibly due to their fondness for poison), are known to eat the people they kill; the signs of a Vendal attack are therefore unmistakable. A victim of a Vendal encounter will be field stripped of their choicest cuts, and will usually have some organs missing as well, depending on the preferences of the individual. Vendal have no respect whatsoever for life; their paths are easily traceable in the larger jungle by the burned or defoliated vegetation and the skinned and mutilated animal corpses they leave behind them. This is the only thing that keeps the other inhabitants of Va Madar relatively safe; the Vendal make no attempts to disguise their passing, and are known to be "loud thinkers", allowing their presence to be detected well in advance of their attacks if one is keeping a lookout for them. Scouts from Pa Valadar are therefore the first line of defense against Vendal raiding and hunting parties. In an altercation, Vendal will fight as a team right up until they decide not to. When any one of them decides the conflict isn't winnable, that one will turn and flee, usually resulting in the rest doing the same in a staggered fashion. They will leave their wounded behind without a second thought. Cornered Vendal, however, will fight to the death; they do not have a concept of "mercy", and therefore expect none from their opponents, and will not willingly allow themselves to be taken prisoner. A captured Vendal will continue to attempt to cause harm to their captors in a bid to force their captors to kill them. To date, only the Mountain Goblins have succeeded in transporting live Vendal prisoners to their home, but what happens to them there is pure speculation. While it's difficult for the Vendal to organize themselves for a concerted war effort against the other inhabitants of Va Madar, it has happened at least twice in the recorded history of the Valdar, though far enough in the past that they are only remembered by the oldest members of the community. The average citizen of Pa Valadar is not likely to be concerned about such an event occurring in the future, but the possibility still weighs heavily on the minds of the decision-makers.
  12. Nunzio listened to Riforte, only giving away his emotions at the word "meathead"; he frowned for a moment, then shrugged. "Meathead" was probably valid. "Yeah, I'll snoop with you. I'll have a list of good snooping targets as soon as we hit the front porch. I intend to snoop them real hard. Maybe even recruit them to help snoop around on the bottom of the river." He was relieved to hear that Isadora was not yet a vampire; seeing the wisps of smoke from her skin earlier had sent his heart straight into his gut. He was convinced they'd already turned her. That relief did little to quell the cold fire burning in his core, however. He stood and took his coat. "I'll go see if my people have my info for me yet. I'll meet you out front whenever you're ready for some percussive snooping." He turned his attention to Jacob and inclined his head. "If I may, Don Fedele?"
  13. Brigid continued to grind her herb, unhurriedly. She glanced up at Siegfried, then returned her eyes to her task with a sniff. "Or what? You'll beat me up, murder me, and take it?" Brigid chuckled and shook her head. "Is that how it works in whatever barbarian frontier you hail from? A big scary man comes into town, kills a storeowner, ransacks their shop, and leaves with whatever he likes, while steely gaze convinces the cowardly local lawman to keep his distance as the brute rides off into the sunset?" Brigid set her pestle down and carefully examined the dusty mixture in front of her. Satisfied, she stood up with the help of her cane and slowly walked to the counter, balancing the full mortar in her free hand. "What a shock civilization must be to you. It never occurred to you that of the thirty people who watched a stranger walk into my store in broad daylight, at least four were plainclothes agents of the guard, who even now are spreading your description around the district. They are not deaf to the whispered rumors of my involvement with the criminal underworld. One will pretend to be a browsing customer and try the door here in a minute; when they find it locked, the call will go out for even more guards." Brigid set the mortar down on the counter and shifted her oil painting aside, revealing her safe. Nimble fingers began working the combination as she continued to speak. "Regardless of what happens here, you'll be followed and probably detained before you reach the district gate. When the others find my brutalized body and communicate that to their fellows, do you plan to kill them all? The entirety of the Port Mars militia? Or do you think you just need to escape the city, and once you've accomplished that you'll be forgotten about, free to live your wildling life with your pretty shiny prize?" She turned to look at him with her hand on the safe's lever, as if torn between curiosity at his answer and getting him out of her shop as fast as possible. The shop's doorknob rattled as someone outside attempted to open it, and Brigid decided on the latter. "Fortunately for you, as a member of a civilized nation, I'm reasonable. We can come to an arrangement." She opened the safe and very carefully took a piece of paper off the top shelf, then slid it across the counter to Siegfried. It was an invoice; it listed every herb and concoction she'd used to attempt to treat the dead thief; including a charge for the disposal of his body, cryptically written as "synthesis process: accelerated alkaline hydrolysis". The total on the bottom line was seven thousand pieces of gold. "When I have payment for services rendered--and do note you're getting the guild discount, even though I doubt you're entitled to it--I'll happily hand you your item," she gestured to the pouch in the safe, "along with several bags of medicinal materials which will allow you to avert all suspicion upon your inevitable detention. Welcome to society."
  14. @Ataraxy And talk about "simple answers to complex problems"; this guy just boiled down every atrocity that occurred during the Cold War to being caused exclusively by "diversity" and "equity". Like, wait, WHAT? That's it? There were no complex geopolitical intersections between the east and the west, there were no deep-seated resentments leading to civil wars, there were no resources or strategic geographical positions at play? It was JUST THIS? Making people feel guilty about themselves leads directly, quickly, and inexorably to mass death. He believes that anyone who makes him feel guilty is literally trying to kill him. As a psychologist, he might want to examine that in himself.
  15. I forced myself to watch the whole video, yes. Through the stomach-churning anger and unnecessary personal attacks on people who weren't there to defend themselves. Partly because I won't allow myself to fall into tone-policing, but mostly because I kept waiting for him to reveal the linchpin of the entire argument: how does "diversity" and "inclusiveness" and "equity" get to "millions of dead corpses on a truck". It wasn't there. He literally believes the two concepts are so deeply interlinked that it doesn't require an explanation; that the only reason millions of people died under Communist regimes is because of the idea of equal rights for everyone. That's literally it. He jumped from "equity" to "millions of deaths" (and ignores the vast number of historical examples where inequity leads to millions of deaths in the same circumstances) as if the connection were self-evident. He reminded me of a dude version of my ex-wife. Who was an unashamed female supremacist. They'd share a lot in common, especially they're opinions on gender identity and trans, and the deep anger and hatred that is inextricably tied to the way they choose to express their opinions.
  16. @Ataraxy And Jesus, that video is a slippery-slope argument that would make a water park jealous. He really does believe that knit vagina hats will lead to male genocide. And what's with all the "take my word for it" statements? He said like six things in the first five minutes that had me yelling "ACCORDING TO WHO?" at my screen. He's dropping more strawmen than a corn farmer, assuming a vast number of facts not in evidence, and his opening statement is the lovechild of poisoning-the-well and ad-hominem. Dude, you're a lawyer. This is what passes for rational argument?
  17. You're getting lost in the weeds, Raxy. This man believes that mainstream people protesting for broad gender equality are leading to a doctrine of murder. How do you even defend that? How do you even argue that? These are his words from his own mouth. Murderous Equity Doctrine, in reference to knit vagina hats. Is that what you believe too?
  18. Ok, I'll rephrase. OTHER THAN THE CONTEXT IN WHICH HE ACTUALLY SAID: "feminists have an unconscious desire for brutal male domination.... psyche no that's stupid haha, they're actually cool"?
  19. Dude, when Justin Trudeau made a tweet calling public feminism activists "inspiring and motivating", Peterson replied calling that part of "the murderous equity doctrine". Edit: Which is to say, he clearly believes (and I could probably mine quotes on it all day) that the women are out to get him.
  20. So there's a context in which one can say that feminists* desire to brutally dominate males**, and don't even know that's what they want***, and it's reasonable? Really? There's some context that makes that sound ok to you? *as a broad group; not "female supremacists" or "radical exclusionary feminists" **as a broad group; not "sexual predators" or "misogynists" ***"unconscious" Edit: You mean other than "It makes sense that witches live in swamps"?
  21. @Eth Unidus Addendum: I noticed your only attempt citing a source is "go watch [literally the entirety of everything ever posted by] Jordan Peterson". You mean the man who said that feminists have "unconscious wish for brutal male domination"? Yeah, I'll pass on this guy. Edit: Wow, I'm learning a lot about this guy. Like how, when he told the New York Times that "It makes sense that witches live in a swamp", and was told that maybe swamp witches didn't exist, replied: Also, apparently the man believes in "enforced monogamy" as the way to prevent sexually-motivated male violence, in reference specifically to the Toronto van attack and the Christchurch mosque shooting: Yeah, hard pass on this one.
  22. You are using pure emotion with absolutely no discernible thought or logic behind it other than what "feels right" to you, and get annoyed and aggressive every time someone asks you to even define a word you're using. You've never once in your life challenged these ideas, or had these ideas challenged; you're used to people either agreeing with you or just uncomfortably nodding and smiling while you rant, and it's pissing you off that nobody here is taking your words as gospel. So I guess the only real question is: who told you all of this nonsense that you're smearing all over the inside of your reply box, and why did you choose to believe them without any sort of factual evidence backing them up? At this point, after reading everything you've read, I'm going to make some observations: 1) You refuse to define any of your terms or clarify any of your claims because you're not here for a discussion, you're here to proselytize. 2) You refuse to directly cite any sources for your claims because you don't have any, but 3) You expect us to take your opinion as some sort of gospel fact because 5) You are dramatically unprepared to have a serious, in-depth discussion on this topic. I'm going to waste my time now and give you some factual links on the subject; I'm fully, 100% sure you won't read more than the titles (if you even click on them at all), because you are very personally, emotionally invested in maintaining your ability to spout simple answers to complex questions. But I can be surprised. I wish I could get more specific in my sources, but you haven't made a whole lot of specific claims to pinpoint (also an intentional move on your part, since it gives you the ability to slip around and tapdace through a discussion by using "I never said that!" as your reaction once per turn). How common are intersex births? "Neurobiology of gender identity and sexual orientation" from the Journal of Neuroendocrinology "Do Children Need Both a Mother and a Father?" from Science Daily "Gender Identity Development in Adolescence" (PDF) from the Official Journal of the Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology. Now, feel free to whine about my tone and how I'm being mean to you as an excuse to not have to read or reply to anything, since, "if you press them too closely, they will abruptly fall silent, loftily indicating by some phrase that the time for argument is past.” -Sartre
  23. Harry Potter fans: "I want to go to Hogwarts!"

    Divergent fans: "I want to be Divergent!"

    Hunger Games fans: "Nah, I'm good."

    1. Show previous comments  1 more
    2. Dabi


      I wanna play the hunger games!

    3. amenities


      Mazerunner fans:  I'll stick to paper

    4. Heroshima


      How bout Zathura? ; >

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