AS Afflatus: Issue Fourteen

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AS Afflatus: Issue Fourteen

Thu Aug 02, 2018 12:51 am

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If you are a new reader of the Afflatus, welcome! This magazine is meant to be interactive with our members, meaning submissions, suggestions, and nominations are encouraged! For each contribution to the Afflatus, points will be awarded to the house! Through this magazine, we aim to provide tips and inspiration as well as updates regarding the site. To make a submission, you can do so by using this form or even posting directly to the thread.

Submissions that are meant to be shown for the next issues are: Dear Stag, Featured Writing, & Anonymous Compliments/Critique.

Afflatus Contents: Title Post, Updates, Dear Stag, Writing & Life Tips, Character Interview & Prompt, Member Corner, Featured Writing, Adventure Story, Activity Center and Anonymous Compliments and Critique.

Current Staff/Team Members: Rakuen, Thunderofthedrum, Night Fury, Commander Shepard, Snow, Important, Ichor., Kami, Blue, Meraki, Andromeda, Cerise, Darkness, MickeyRose, Caim. Here is our team page.
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AS Afflatus - Issue 14 - Updates

Thu Aug 02, 2018 12:51 am

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Staff Update: We are getting new staff members all settled in and although it’s behind the scenes, we’ve been working on ever improving our team with better resources, protocols, and communication! Also, many of you may have noticed that we have also lost three staff members: Faolan, our sorting archivist, Lady Noellia and Blacksteel Alchemist, our global moderators. We appreciate everything that they have done for us!

Explicit Forum: Make sure you check out announcements and updates - in particular, we now have a better description of what belongs in our Explicit forum area. Please go check it out; it is important to us to respect everyone and to adhere to legal requirements.

Introduction Forum: New users are now funneled to our Introductions area where they must introduce themselves. This is part of a renewed effort to cut down on spam accounts as we know it’s never fun to stumble across a spam thread.

Attendant Activity: Our new Attendants are cooking up a fun little activity to help members get to know the team - we know sometimes we have new faces and that the colored usernames can seem intimidating. We are all human and love chatting with people!

House Discords: For those of you who actively participate in your Houses, we are continuing to work on ideas to help you guys bond and make new friends. We have set up Discord servers for each house that will be run by the Keepers. On special occasions, the Keeper might unlock the server for you guys to join both messaging and voice chat (whatever you feel comfortable with). There is NO obligation to participate; we just wanted to add some fun and let you guys continue getting to know each other and supporting each other!

100 Days of Summer Event: A small reminder that the 100 Days of Summer Event will come to a close on September 9th. The last prompt will be given on the 8th as is mentioned in the main post with the extra day to allow anyone to catch up or tie up loose ends!

Reminders & Point Sytem Post: You can find this post on the top of the second page of each issue of the Afflatus. Some things have been revised and clarified better, as well as added. Please take a moment to look over this post once more so that submissions and the like follow guidelines.
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AS Afflatus - Issue 14 - Dear Stag

Thu Aug 02, 2018 12:53 am

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Dear Stag,
What are some places you recommend for getaways/vacations? (Outside of North America.)Dear Stag,
- Anonymous Unicorn
  • Europe is a very popular place to visit and offers a lot of food, culture, and great architecture. From incredible museums and galleries in London, to exploring the Scottish highlands, to sipping wine over the Mediterranean, to getting lost in the palace gardens of Versailles, to breathing in the sight of fjords in Scandinavia, there are so many great places to visit. Beyond Europe, there is Africa for the more adventurous, such as a guided group hike of Kilimanjaro for a week with provided meals, visiting Iceland in the winter to experience a white wonderland, or hotter climates with incredible history, such as Egypt or Israel. Thailand and surrounding countries are often enjoyed and there are interesting options in Asia such as a 3 week guided group tour through China, complete with a river cruise. If you have a hankering for Middle Earth, New Zealand could be a great destination, or its neighbor Australia.

    It is ultimately very difficult to go into any sort of detail without knowing more information, but some advice would be to have an idea of the language and make an effort to learn some helpful phrases, be aware of the political climate, and do some reading on the culture to have an idea of what customs to expect. For example, it would be disrespectful to wear short shorts and a little tank top to visit the Pantheon or the Vatican if you are visiting Italy (really, any religious place should be dressed for with some modesty - and even more so for places towards the Middle East and where the practice of covering bare skin and even hair may be required/expected). Another consideration is how you will get around while you are there - the rolling hills of the Celtic countryside in Brittany, France are wonderful to visit, but would be very difficult to enjoy without a car or as part of a group tour.

    Main questions to ask yourself: budget, language, how long you can spend there, what culture you feel comfortable exploring, political climate, and current weather climate. These questions really apply to anywhere outside of your home country! For example, if you only speak English and only have 5 days available to you, you may want to stay ‘close’ with somewhere like the UK, as those time zones can really mess you up. Cities are great for getting around on foot or utilizing public transportation, but the countryside and farther out sights can be visited if you have a local friend or are doing a tour. Talk to people with travel experience to get an idea of what to budget for per diem expenses, such as food, transportation, and admission fees.

    Personal recommendations from the staff: Italy (Rome, Pisa, Pompeii, and Florence), Paris, Munich and Berlin, Mexico (Cancun)
Dear Stag,
What are some budget friendly video editing programs?
- Anonymous Wyvern
  • One of the best video editing programmes I've ever used is Adobe Premiere Pro CC, though it is a roughly £20 (26 USD) a year. There are student discounts available though! However, tools such as LunaPic I find work just fine too, and is completely free. It's just nice to be able to get down and edit sound tracks and video clips all in one project, which Adobe PP gives you. Mix that with Creative Cloud and you can create some really high quality material with it. Lightworks is also really nice, and it gives you a lot more working room than LunaPic, too!

    Additionally, if you have a computer with Windows installed, Microsoft has started including a video editing program as well. Another option is something called DaVinci Resolve which offers a full free suite. DaVinci Resolve has gotten great reviews, though I've never used either of these two options personally. It is worth looking into them though!
Dear Stag,
College is starting back up soon. Where are some good places to grab some affordable textbooks?
- Anonymous Wyvern
  • A route to consider is renting - while you don’t get any money back like you might if you buy and later sell back, you at least don’t have to worry about resale value. Campuses often have a local bookstore that will sell or rent you books, and it’s also a GREAT idea to check online. You might find your book on Ebay, or perhaps on Amazon. Amazon often offers the option of renting as well and the rental prices are usually quite low. Of course, always compare prices! If you need to buy the textbook to ensure you obtain an access code for homework purposes, then definitely compare prices from your bookstore, Amazon, Ebay, and other textbook retailers. Also, see if your campus bookstore will match prices so that you can get it right away and not deal with waiting for delivery. Having Amazon Prime pays off A LOT if you’re a student, since you can order textbooks and get them within two days.
Dear Stag,
What are some good ways to bring back someone's writing muse?
- Anonymous Wyvern
  • Don't be pushy. Sometimes people can lose their muse for a variety of reasons; it could be due to an uninteresting roleplay or something happening in real life that keeps them from putting on their writer pants. The greatest thing one can do during such times is to be patient and reassure the person that everything is alright; constantly asking about a reply could just stress them more and result in the person forcing themselves to write - which doesn't make anyone happy - or quitting the RP. Loss of muse walks hand-in-hand with loss of interest, which can happen at the most random of times. Even when you're not expecting it.

    Plotting and talking about the person's interests are one of the best ways to help someone regain their muse for writing. Sometimes a roleplay gets dull or no plotting is happening; sometimes "going with the flow" doesn't cut it for some people as they need to at least have an outline of the story. Writing filler posts in order to get the story moving is an easy way to lose one's muse. Grab your partner and sit down to plot a little; maybe giving the story a dramatic flare or a new side-character will be enough to keep your partner interested. If that doesn't help, maybe taking a break from the story in general will do some good when it comes to bringing back someone's lost muse. Discussing something entirely different from the piece of literature is often enough to give the person's mind a much needed break and let them relax; this often ends in the person getting new ideas and defeating their writer's block.
Dear Stag,
Any tips for long distance relationships? Are they possible?
- Anonymous Unicorn
  • Long distance relationships (LDRs for sake of simplicity) are indeed possible, but they are not for everyone. They take a lot of love, effort, and trust from both sides of the relationship. They're not much different than a traditional relationship, but they do require a few extra steps to make both people feel safe and happy. This is not to say that LDRs are harder, because they don't have to be. The very first thing I recommend is getting comfortable with boundaries between the two of you in order to establish trust. If you can't trust them to be away from their phone (and thus not responding to you), then the relationship just isn't going to work. You both need to have a strong sense of trust and respect for one another, which can be established by speaking and talking things out with them. Tell them what you're comfortable with, and hear them out when they tell you what they're comfortable with. An app you may want to try is Life360. If the two of you download it, you can see where one another is just in case you're worried, can communicate, contact their emergency contacts (such as a parent), and keep tabs on any completed drives they may have. Personally, I believe that this should not be used to control them, but rather as a safety measure. It may help to discuss with your partner future plans on meeting up/living together. It's always best to plan ahead something like this and never last second. Especially if they live in another country. Make plans, and try to make an effort to spend time with them, even if it's just a video call/phone call. Make time for them, and show them that you really do want to put forth the effort that it takes to be with them. Sending gifts over the mail is something that may seem small, but really means a lot, even if it's just a letter! Every small gesture of romance goes a long way when you're not able to show physical affection, so take advantage of that! Here are a few ideas for gifts/ways to bond with them: Watching a movie/show together (either on the phone together, starting it at the same time, or through rabb.it), ordering flowers to their house, making them a playlist, giving them gifts that help them feel closer to you, a handwritten letter, cookies/chocolates/sweets mailed to them, plushies/things they can hold that smell like you. All in all, remember to stay positive, optimistic, and love with your whole heart. Things may get rough at times due to the distance, but if you push through it together, it'll all be worth it when you next see them! Good luck <3
Dear Stag,
What are some ways to make your rpg search listing/thread pop out from the rest?
- Anonymous Wyvern
  • An excellent question! Try making things nice and organized. Make the coding look organized. Adding in color will definitely help and don't be afraid to play around with images and fonts! Make it unique to you and your style. An excellent way to get ideas for how to code your own search thread/post is to look at other people's coding and taking inspiration from them! Do you like the fact that they use sidebars? Incorporate that into your coding? Do you like the fact that information is broken down into columns? You can do that too! A key/legend explaining what you're wanting? There are many ways to make a search thread/post unique to you and still pop out! Pay attention to what calls your attention and incorporate those elements into your own search post. So, if you are attracted by something that looks nice and simple in terms of coding, aim for something like that. If you like things that are vibrant and loud, go for that!
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AS Afflatus - Issue 14 - Writing Tips

Thu Aug 02, 2018 12:53 am

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This month's Writing Tips theme is on Writing Tips from Authors.

Michael Moorcock
1. Read everything that you can lay your hands on. If you want to write a fantasy or sceince fiction or romance, stop reading everything in those genres and start reading everything else from Bunyan to Byatt.

2. Introduce your main characters and themes in the first third of your novel. If writing a plot-driven genre novel, make sure all of your major themes and plot elements are introduced in the first third - the introduction. Develop your themes and characters in your second third - the development. Resolve your themes, mysteries, and so forth in the final third - the resolution.

Zadie Smith
3. Protect the time and space in which you write Keep everyone away from it. Even those most important to you.

4. Work on a computer that isn't connected to the internet.

Rose Tremain
5. In the planning stage of your novel, don't plan the ending. It has to be earned by all that will go before it.

6. Listen to the criticisms and preferences of your trusted "first readers."

Will Self
7. Always carry a notebook. Short-term memory only retains information for three minutes. Unless it is committed to paper, you can lose an idea forever.

8. The writing life is essentially one of solitary confinement.

9. You know that sickening feeling of inadequacy and over-exposure you feel when you look upon your own prose? Relax into the awareness that this ghastly sensation will never leave you. Ever. No matter how successful and publicly lauded you become. It is intrinsic to the real business of writing and should be cherished.

Jonathan Franzen
10. It is doubtful that anyone with an internet connection at his workplace is writing good fiction.

11. Interesting verbs are seldom very interesting.

12. Fiction that isn't an authors personal adventure into the frightening or the unknown isn't worth writing for anything but money.

13. The reader is a friend. Not an adversary, not a spectator.

Diana Athill
14. Read it aloud to yourself because that's the only way to be sure the rhythms of the sentences are OK. Prose rhythms are too complex and subtle to be thought out. They can only be got right by ear.

Anton Chekhov
15. Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.

Sarah Waters
16. Don't panic. Work through these crises that you may experience - fear of bad reviews, embarrassed friends, failing career, and so forth - and you will get to the end. Leaving the desk for a while can help. Talking the problem through can help recall what you were trying to achieve before getting stuck. Going for a long walk can get you thinking about your script in a new way. And if all else fails, there's prayers. You can pray to St. Francis de Sales, the patron sain of writers, and if you want to spread your net more widely, you can try appealing to Calliope, the muse of epic poetry.

Joyce Carol Oates
17. Be your own editor and critic. Sympathetic but merciless!

Elmore Leonard
18. Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose. If you have the knack of playing with exclaimers the way Tom Wolfe does, you can throw them in by the handful.

Neil Gaiman
19. Remember that when people tell you something's wrong or doesn't work for them, they are almost always right. However, when they tell you exactly what they thing is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.

20. The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you're allowed to do whatever you like. So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly, and tell it as best as you can.

Helen Simpson

21. Shut up and get on with it.
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AS Afflatus - Issue 14 - Life Tips

Thu Aug 02, 2018 12:54 am

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This month's life tips is over Convention and Cosplay Etiquette: The Survival Guide for New Convention Attendees. This article was written by ~SongOfFlames~.

A world-wide sensation that was once a spark has burst into a great flame with the rise of pop culture, gaming, animation, and everything glorious in-between. Because of such an increase in popularity, conventions for individuals to share their love for their interests has begun popping up across various countries. A few well-known conventions to serve as an example is the San Diego Comic-Con, Anime Expo, Sakura Con, and many more. It is basically Disney World for young adults that share an interest with various subjects. Comic book artists, cosplayers, actors and actresses, and many more can be present in a convention. Everyone has a first time when it comes to attending such a convention. Here is your survival guide as to what to expect and the etiquette that is expected from you when you attend a convention.

Convention Do’s and Dont's

Prepare: Seriously. Book those tickets, hotel rooms, flights, etc. MONTHS before a convention. Do not let laziness, procrastination, or whatever else delay you from purchasing tickets. A convention can sell out in a matter of a few days. You read that correctly. A few days. I was fortunate to snag a weekend ticket pass before they sold out overnight. There are the less fortunate that waited too long, and cannot attend because the convention has reached capacity. Do not wait till the last minute unless you fancy a long and tiring search on your local Craiglist for overpriced tickets from people trying to squeeze a few bucks out of you.

Hotel: There are a lot of options. Sometimes, a convention may list a few hotels that provide shuttle services to and from the convention and a few other benefits such as a VIP pass to skip past autograph lines. This may be a bit of a pricey option for attendees, because a one-night hotel stay can range from $100 to $300. Another option to look into is Airbnb. Airbnb is a service that operates much like a hotel. A home or apartment is offered up by a host for a guest to rent for a couple nights similarly to a hotel guest. This may be a more cost effective solution for attendees that are on a budget. Let's look at an example shall we? Dragon Con takes place from August 30th to September 3rd at Atlanta, Georgia. At Airbnb, the lowest goes for 77 USD for a private home versus a shared home (private room) which goes for 30-40 USD. There are some rules to these listings such as a minimum stay of 3 days, no smoking, and other considerations you should look into when browsing. Also, there are times that you get what you pay for. If you book a hotel or Airbnb space for a convention at a low price, do not expect Hilton hotel quality. Look into the pros and cons for each place before settling on a choice. As I mentioned earlier, you should book your place of stay as soon as possible. Bookings for conventions tend to sell out fast.

Flight: Finding a flight, let alone, planning a trip to another state can be difficult. It doesn't have to be! It's as easy as 1-2-3! You just want a good deal on a flight? Google Flights is your BFF. You can filter your flights for the amount of stops, airlines, time, class, duration of the flight, etc. Some good airlines in the US are Delta, Southwest, and American Airlines. Typically, airline tickets are cheaper during the week and during early mornings or late nights. If you are looking for a package deal for a hotel, Google can do that too! Some other alternatives to booking sites for airlines and hotels are Priceline, Travelocity, Expedia, etc. There are websites that will even offer a car rental service. However, in the US, you have to be 25 or older to rent a vehicle. If that is not an option, then there are apps such as Lyft and Uber that are similar to a taxi. Uber allows for you to carpool for a lower fare to your destination. They also offer a free ride for your first time using the service. Please do your research if you are booking a hotel. The last thing you want is to land in some rinky dinky hotel with a strange smell coming from the refrigerator and cockroaches crawling on the wall of your hotel room.

Practicality: Are you planning on cosplaying? Are you traveling to a con that is a few states away? Be practical with your cosplay. Unless you are driving to the con and shuttling your cosplay pieces, then it is best to stay away from bulky cosplay pieces. If you have not started with the creation of your cosplay, look into ways of making your cosplay “collapsible.” If one of your props is a staff, try and find a way that you can break it down into smaller pieces so that it can be placed with your checked in luggage. This is the most ideal for travel. Though if this is not an option, you may look into a more pricey alternative of freight shipping and have it sent to your hotel of choice. Some good companies to consider in shipping your items are UPS and FedEx. Ensure that any delicate pieces to your cosplay is secured and safe. Bubble wrap anything that can break by rough handling of the luggage or the items that are going to be shipped. If you are bringing items in your checked luggage, it is VERY important to look through the TSA guidelines. The guidelines can be found here on what is acceptable to bring and what is not acceptable to bring.

Budget: At a convention, it is really easy to blow through money. From celebrity meet and greets to parking, the amount can add up really quickly and make your wallet weep. Plan for the day. Put a set amount of money (100-200 USD) in an envelope and have it dedicated for that day. That will be your spending money for any merchandise, autographs, food, etc.

Food and Drink: Have you ever visited a theme park and decided to fetch a soda fountain drink to combat the scorching thirst only to be greeted with an outrageous price? Ten dollars for a hot dog and chips? Common sight here in a convention. Eat a meal before you arrive. Bring snacks and drinks, and store it in a car if you brought one. If you do not have a car (or did not rent one), carry a breakfast or protein bar. Or, eat around locally at a fast food restaurant. Attendees are given a bracelet or I.D. for entry in the convention. So, you may choose to leave to go and have lunch and simply return back hassle free. You are doing a lot of walking in that convention center. You need to consume food and beverages to make up for the loss in calories. Please don't forget to take five minutes of your time to refuel and rehydrate.

Convention Rules: Each convention has a set of rules that an attendee MUST abide by whether you are a cosplayer or not. An example of a rule book is displayed on the San Diego comic Con site. Some rules are self-explanatory as to not harass other guests, hand out pamphlets to guests for your personal business, do not operate any drones, etc. Some other rules may not be as obvious. Prop checks are mandatory! They are usually secured with a visible and vibrant zip tie for easy identification by security. No projectile props such as Nerf guns can be used unless proven to be inoperable. Another rule in regards to costumes is that if you are wearing a costume (such as a head piece) that hinders your vision or movement, you MUST have a handler. A handler basically aids the cosplayer in guiding them through the vicinity. These are some considerations you must account for. Every convention has their set guidelines and rules. If there is a convention that you are interested in, browse through the official convention website for their rule book.

Arrive Early: If a convention opens up at 10 AM, you should be there before 10 AM. If you are not early, you are late. Parking is a nightmare, especially if it is on the weekend. Arriving early ensures a parking space and for props to be checked by security, exchanging paid tickets for identification badges or bracelets, etc. Make sure you have everything prior to leaving for the convention. You don't want to be halfway to the site of the convention, and completely forget that you left your phone behind where you need to pull up your QR code to get in.

Last Minute Prep: Have your tickets either on your phone ready for the QR code to be scanned or tickets stowed in an organized folder. Just in case service is bad, taking a screenshot of the ticket or QR code is a great idea. Create a check-list to ensure you have everything packed and ready to go so that you do not accidentally leave anything behind at the hotel or at home. Bring a phone charger, at least twenty to forty dollars in cash, batteries for your camera if you brought one, a small tube of super glue in case your prop breaks, etc. You can never be over prepared.

Patience is a Virtue: You are going to be waiting in lines… A LOT. Whether it is to grab some grub, getting an autograph from a voice actress, or even to go to the bathroom there is going to be a line. It's a convention with thousands of people. It is something that is to be expected. If this is something that may bother you, you may want to go to the con on a less populated day.

Schedule: Almost all conventions have a magazine or schedule of all the events that are occurring at the con. Keep that guide with you at all times. Mark the ones that interest you the most, and keep a good eye on the time. You don't want to miss that panel you were looking forward to all year all because you weren't checking the time.

Cosplay Etiquette

Do Not Touch: You may think that I am joking or simply making this up, but there have been attendees that will literally sprint up to a cosplayer screaming the name of the character they are dressed as and throw their arms around them, smack their prop out of their hand, etc. DO NOT do this. DO NOT touch them and DO NOT touch their props! Oh, but it is okay if their prop is leaning up against the wall right? I can hold it right? N-O. ALWAYS ask for consent to touch any of their props or even the armor or costume they are wearing. These are artists that have poured their hearts, souls, sweat, and tears into making this. It is extremely upsetting seeing a prop or armor piece broken because of carelessness. Be respectful.

Photography: For the most part, cosplayers are totally okay with you snapping a photo or even have them featured in a video. Like I have said before, ask for consent! DO NOT snap a picture of a person without them knowing and without their consent. Would you run up to a random person in public and snap a picture of them without saying a word? (Please say no.) Cosplayers are people too. What if you are shy about asking to take a picture? Simply ask something along the lines of, “I love your cosplay. Can I take a picture of/with you?” They will most likely be happy to oblige! You also will get an excellent angle and an awesome pose!

Respect is Golden: Each and every single cosplayer worked hard on their costumes whether they are a beginner or a professional. DO NOT critique or compare someone's work with another cosplayer that you saw earlier that you believe they did a better job than this cosplayer. You can be any gender, any race, any orientation, etc when cosplaying. So what if that woman standing at an artist’s booth is dressed like Han Solo? So what if that man speaking with another is dressed like Sailor Moon? That's cosplay! You express your creativity, your fandom, and the love you have for the cosplay! The best part of the cosplay community is that there is a great amount of respect amongst each other. Don't be rude. If it is not nice, do not say it. Such behavior won't be tolerated. Speaking of respect, if you are sitting at a full panel and your prop is taking up another seat, be mindful and move it so that someone else can sit. Be considerate of others.

The Play in Cosplay: Cosplay is defined as the practice of dressing up as a fictional character from a movie, book, video game, anime, etc. Some cosplayers even act as their characters. Though, not all cosplayers are into that. You will be genuinely surprised that some attendees act as if the cosplayer is indeed the character. Don't harass the Sailor Moon cosplayer and badger her with questions like where the rest of her squad is and where Luna is. That cosplayer is a real person, and not the actual character that derives from a specific universe. As I mentioned before, treat everyone with respect.

Have Fun: You dumped a lot of time and money into all of this. It's finally the day of the convention where you can visit all of those amazing panels, view the artist’s alley, take some gorgeous pictures, purchase some awesome loot for your home, make some memories, and so much more. Enjoy the day!
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AS Afflatus - Issue 14 - Character Interview & Prompt

Thu Aug 02, 2018 12:57 am

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1. What is your character's name and how did they get it?
2. How do they feel about their name?
3. What items does your character keep next to their bedside?
4. What did your character want to be when they were younger? Are they doing that or working towards it? If not, why?
5. How does your character feel about family functions and events?
6. Does your character make friends easily?
7. What was your character's first romantic encounter like?
8. How does your character display affection?
9. How does your character flirt with another?
10. What is your character's least favorite food?
11. Describe your character in three words and explain why you chose each.
12. What is your character's greatest regret in life?
13. Does your character keep their promises?
14. What are some values your characters hold?
15. Is your character a leader, follower, or lone wolf?

x Prompt x
"Just like old times?"

"Just like old times."
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AS Afflatus - Issue 14 - Member Corner

Thu Aug 02, 2018 12:59 am

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Ask the Staff has now been moved from the General board to the Games board! This thread is a great way to ask our current staff members questions and get to know them better! Questions can be directed directly to one specific staff member - "quoting" them to "tag" them will ensure they see it - or to the staff as a whole.
Compliment Circle is a new game started by the site's archivist, ichor, in order to spread more love and positivity! The game is simple: you compliment the user that posted before you. The compliment could be about their signature, coding, writing, etc. etc. and doesn't need to be anything long or elaborate. A simple sentence or more if you want.
--
Anonymous Unicorn wrote:
Should there ever be another questionnaire on Staff, perhaps the Staff could answer or give facts that are hinted on their profile somewhere. Either via their profile setup or posts in the past. To make it a little easier and so we don't go in completely blind xD
  • After putting the activity up, we definitely felt that the Staff Questionnaire activity would be difficult to complete, especially compared to last time's. Hence, we created a little hint guide and will likely do so from now on! We also encourage our users to participate in the Ask the Staff game mentioned above! We would love to answer questions, and who knows, maybe you'll get lucky to find an answer there!
Anonymous Unicorn wrote:
Will there be an ability for the site to give (anonymous) feedback on the 100 DoS prompts after the event? Like a poll or something?
  • There will be a poll held at the end of the event, though it will likely not be anonymous. We will let everyone know more about this once the time is near! Rest assured though that there will be a poll so we can see what everyone who participated thought of the prompts. We wanted to try something a little different than last years, so it wasn't repetitive.
Do you have ideas as to what you would like to see here? Don't be afraid to share through our google form!
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AS Afflatus - Issue 14 - Featured Writing

Thu Aug 02, 2018 1:00 am

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Colosseum by Deer
Hidden text.
He hated sightseeing. He really didn’t know what people found to be so interesting about this. But Gavin had insisted on going on holiday to Italy together, and Dan hadn’t really been able to get out of it because Gavin had collected too many ‘Sorry I was a dick’ cards from Dan so he sort of owned it. So off to Italy they had went, Gavin being all happy and excited about it while Dan thought of all of it to be… okay.

The only upside about this was that they had enough time to spend together and actually act like a couple together. Okay, perhaps Dan was just trying to be the tough guy he always had to be. There were worse things as to be stuck in Italy with your boyfriend… Like visiting the colosseum. Gavin had insisted on seeing it, but to Dan it was just some crumbled building.

He didn’t really get why people went to visit this and take pictures, but whatever. At least Gavin was walking around with a goofy smile on his face, and that brought some joy to Dan’s face. That, and the outlook on beer. He could use a beer. Or two. Maybe three. And some shots. Yes, that sounded good. He could use some alcohol.
Gravity by periwinkle
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"You did well today." Ethne's quiet voice reached Sybil's ears as the Irishwoman entered her bedroom. The black-haired woman shut the door softly before padding across the room, sliding into bed next to the youth. Sybil closed the book she had been attempting to read - the brunette had read all but three pages in the hours she'd spent holed away in her room that day - and set it on the side table next to the bed. Then, she turned to Ethne, her eyes conflicted and filled with sadness. "Just because I didn't cry in front of everyone doesn't mean I did well on the inside," the girl breathed out shakily, her hands moving to absently fiddle with the edge of the quilt. Ethne hummed quietly in agreement, remaining silent. Sybil would talk when she was ready, and she did so quite soon. "I can't believe it's been two years already," she confessed, looking down at her hands. They were still twisting the fabric, only more anxiously now. On this day, two years ago, her first love and best friend had died. The Kavanagh family had ceased to be with the death of its only heir, and for many months after that Sybil had ceased to be as well. She couldn't count how many days she had remained in bed, unable to move after being filled with crippling sorrow. She couldn't count how many tears had fallen from her eyes, or how many hours she had laid still in numb, disbelieving silence. The one man that she thought to be invincible, gone. Ethne had mourned too, of course. Her childhood friend and mentor had been killed on a mission, one that should have been easy for the man but was made complicated by unforeseen circumstances. Sometimes, she blamed herself for not being on the mission with him. That was when she would go to the training room and practice until her lungs ached for air and her body felt like giving up and collapsing. Every minute she didn't blame herself, however, she spent with Sybil. In a way, Ethne was thankful that she was spared from dying that day. The brunette next to her in the bed had needed the comfort only she could provide as the closest mutual friend to Ray. The female assassin spent the first night in Sybil's bed on the day the news of Ray's death was announced, and the two had been sleeping in the same bed ever since. They had leaned on each other heavily, and found solace within each other that had formed an unbreakable relationship. "You want to know the worst part?" Sybil whispered hoarsely, making Ethne look over at her with a raised eyebrow. The youth's blue eyes raised from her hands in order to meet Ethne's darker blue orbs; there was guilt hidden deep within the depths of Sybil's. "I feel like I don't even miss him anymore," she choked out. "When he first died, I couldn't stop thinking about him. Now, a few months ago, that started changing. I think about him maybe once every few days. I still miss him, but it's just..." she trailed off, not knowing how to describe the feelings currently rolling about in her heart.
Goddess by blue
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Over the months that had passed, I had watched her body change but had never lost my sheer admiration for how beautifully and effortlessly she carried our child. I was aware how difficult it was for her as her belly grew rounder, each step she took sapping more of her energy until she could hardly manage any more than lounging around our large apartment in a loose-fitting robe; her hair tied up in a knot at the very top of her head.
Her skin was awash in the most stunning glow I had ever seen, her cheeks supple and pink and her face bright and cheery with every smile. When I met her, her athletic build wasn't what originally drew me to her, however her laugh and her dynamic energy was like a magnet for me. She had grown self conscious of her figure even in the early stages of her pregnancy, poking at prodding at her soft middle, a hardly noticeable protruding bump where she housed our growing baby. She worried herself sick that I'd stop finding her as breath-taking as I did when I first laid eyes on her, even if she didn't even express her concern, I could sense it. She was fooling herself. Her mind and body had become the most healthy and strong versions of themselves I wished constantly that some of it would rub off on me. I vowed that once she'd given birth, I would never stop cherishing person she'd become on her journey to motherhood. And I would be ever grateful to have experienced that time with her for those sacred nine months.
Even as she lay, uncomfortable, in that hospital bed; monitors strapped around her round stomach filling the room with the rhythmic sounds of our child's heartbeat, she was a goddess. Her hair fell over her shoulders in cascading, flax-colored waves. An expression of discomfort but also of impatience knitted her brows together- she was just as anxious as I was to meet our baby son.
I posted myself at her bedside for what seemed like- and probably was- hours, kissing her bare stomach that had become solid with each intensifying contraction. I pressed my ear against the wall of her belly, focusing on any sound I could make out. She laced her fingers through my hair and kept them there.
And for those last few hours of just us, I took in every inch of the even more beautiful woman my wife had become. I looked forward with a child-like eagerness to all the lessons we'd learn together as first-time parents. In the warmth of the late afternoon in that hospital room, I made a silent promise to myself to give my son and his mother everything I had and more.
"I did it because you told me not to." by Deeplight
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A young aqua-haired girl was twirling her hair, seated on a seashell seat, while looking out into the endless expanse of sea beside her. It was deep and blue, with schools of fish passing the class by and orca's further away past their kingdom's borders. There was a way that light would come from the surface world, cascading down through the depths of the ocean and then presenting itself in depths of color. The spectrum of light, as Queen Doris would lament while stringing her harp beautifully.

"Princess?" A handmaiden tried to break Aubry out of her dream-state, and it took a couple of tugs on her arm before she finally came to. "What is it?" She tried to maintain her poise, as had been instilled within her. "Your instructor will be arriving shortly." Her handmaiden bowed and took her leave.

Aubry released a heavy sigh as soon as the water gates were closed shut. Streams of water that flowed from Mimir's Well - the life waters of the world. Her instructor soon passed, a green skinned woman with beautiful moss-green hair. She was an Angelfish-hybrid, and was one of the most skilled Hydromancers in Ny'athuna. Her mother wanted nothing but the best for her.

"Princess," her instructor greeted her, and Aubry bowed graciously in return. "Shall we pick up where we left off?"
Unconditional by Deer
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He wasn’t feeling that well. His stomach was feeling annoyed, and he could feel the sweat drops on his face. He knew what this was, the churning of his stomach together with the majority of sweat appearing on his body: he was afraid. He was scared. That were the symptoms and therefore he had to be scared. That he was bleeding from his side and laying on the street during the warmest hour of the summer day, that was a detail he forgot to take into account.

Damien closed his eyes, hand slowly moving to rest against his side. He was held back by her gentle touch, her voice quiet but stern. “Damien, don’t. I’ve got this.” she spoke, pressing the cloth she had been holding a bit firmer to his side. “You just got to give me a few minutes.”
“How?” he questioned, causing for Jasmine to glance down at him momentarily until she understood what he was referring to. The man was wondering how he could literally give her some minutes. “Just wait. That’s enough.” she rephrased herself, removing the cloth before watching the wound beneath his clothes.
One, Two, Three, Floor by cider
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Glass bottles clinked together inside their paper bags. She had huffed her way up the stairs, carrying her treasure carefully in her arms. Her mind picked their door open and shoved the metal handle away from her, taking the door with it so that she could easily walk inside. “Kaleb,” she called out. Her foot kicked back to close the door, mentally locking it behind her. The silent roommate didn’t answer, but a fluffy dog came trotting over to greet her. The bag thudded as she sat it on the counter and turned to scratch the husky under his chin. “Where’s you buddy at, Jax?” As if to answer her, he sat down and looked back the way he had come from. Feet moved back the hallway quietly, her destination his bedroom. When she arrived, she found him with headphones in. It was now no wonder he didn’t answer her, though she was sure he knew she was here when Jax had left him. His head turned to her and she motioned for him to pull an earbud out. “Come on, lazy. I want to play a game.”

The Saw movies came to mind as she walked back out the hallway and she hoped for his sake it was something he had never seen. Not because that was really the kind of game she wanted to play, but because she was sure he had seen enough blood and gore in his time. Plus, he didn’t need any ideas for ways to get rid of someone that had wronged him. Surely enough, when she grabbed the bags to take into the living room, he had followed her out the hallway. It seemed that the longer they lived together, the less he argued or fought her about things.
"Round up the usual suspects." by Jazzyleia
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"Phew phew! Dad look out! They're on our tail!" Xavier couldn't hold back his smile as he and his two children played in one of the large rooms in the house that he had made into a playroom. There was one side that was basically the entire control part of the Milennium Falcon from the Star Wars movies, which both children seemed to love playing in. Xavier normally ended up being Chewie, as his son and daughter both always said he looked like him. So Xavier was sitting in the passenger seat, Andrew acting as Han while Melody was going between being Leia, R2, or C-3PO. Honestly she was a little older but she could never set her mind to being just one person.

The lights and everything worked on the model as well, because honestly he couldn't just put something into the house and have it just be a decorative piece. Any exception was actually Serena's art, and of course whatever his two children made at school. But the playroom was all interactive, and his children were both very special and so imaginative. They had taken after their mother with their artistic minds. Xavier was brought out of his loving adoration of his children as Andrew yelled that they had landed on some random planet name that Xavier knew didn't exist, but he allowed him to have his fun. "We need to find the rebels and make them pay."
"I have not come for what you hoped to do, I've come for what you did." by ichor.
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She did not want to be here, but she had something to take care of. The moment Chelsea saw the castle come into view, her stomach twisted into knots. She had to make sure she wasn't caught. The likelihood of that happening, however, was extremely slim, given her training, and she knew that. But there was always the possibility. When she first stepped foot onto the castle grounds after sneaking past the guards that were on duty and patrolling, flashbacks of the last time she was here flickered through her mind. Reynard, fighting to stay alive for just a little longer. Reynard, bloody and beaten, barely able to move. Reynard, body still. Lifeless. The last memory she had of the castle was enough to wipe every other good memory from her mind. Enough to make her ache and rage all at once, her fingers curling into tightly balled fists at her sides, nails digging into her palms. She paid no mind. Chelsea was here for a reason. She couldn't let the man who was responsible for her father's death get away. No. Of course, she was to blame - in her opinion - for things reaching where they had, but...Reynard should not have been punished for her mistake. A mistake that she didn't regret now. A mistake that she now saw as a blessing.

She hadn't told Judas where she was going, unsure of what he would have done had he known. Would he have stopped her? Chelsea knew that he didn't have a close relationship with his father - or mother, even - but she also knew that he could potentially not like the idea of her killing his parents. Well, she didn't plan on killing his mother. She hadn't really done anything to her or Reynard, unlike King Oswell. Either way, Chelsea had only told him that she needed to leave for the night and that she'd return before the sun rose. Perhaps he had an inkling of an idea of what she was about to do. If he did, he made no indication that he did. She wondered how he would take the news. She wondered if she'd gather the courage to tell him about her misdeed - not a misdeed, in her eyes - or if he would find out through word of mouth before she could tell him.

She stood in the King's private chambers, waiting for him to arrive. The moonlight that streamed into the room from the window faintly illuminated her outline, but did not reveal her face. That was fine. She wanted him to notice her presence upon entering. She wanted to see the fear that struck through him. Chelsea waited for hours, standing still in her spot. She'd already prepared the tub, filling it to the brim with water. The vampire had considered numerous methods of killing King Oswell that didn't involve her draining him dry of his life force - she didn't want his blood coursing through her body. Posion. Slitting his throat. Suffocating him while he slept. Nothing was sufficient. Nothing was enough to make him feel the pain and suffering Reynard must have felt. The anguish she had felt. Shoving his head underwater seemed to be the best option. She couldn't spill blood. No, she'd be tempted. She was still getting that same control she had had back. Still recovering from the torture inflicted upon her just mere months ago.

Finally, the chamber doors opened.
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AS Afflatus - Issue 14 - Activity Center

Thu Aug 02, 2018 1:03 am

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This month’s activity is going to be pretty simple. We know last month’s was really challenging and that you guys don’t always want the activities to be so tough! To lighten it up, this month you can earn points by participating in the Ask The Staff thread. We know that sometimes the colored usernames can be really intimidating, so we’d love for you to get to know us, especially as we have recently undergone some team changes again! Each user can ask up to 4 questions of the staff, which each question worth 5 points for a grand total of 20 points. These can be deep and philosophical, or lighthearted and silly! You can ask things about us personally, about our writing, about our futures… as long as the questions are not overly personal or inappropriate, you have complete freedom!

Here are the answers for the last activity!

1. MickeyRose
2. Night Fury
3. Ichor
4. Cerise
5. Rakuen
6. Snow
7. Andromeda
8. Blue
9. Thunder
10. Kami
11. Lady Noellia
12. Caim
13. Important
14. Faolan
15. Commander Shepherd
16. Meraki
17. Darkness

Have suggestions for future activities? Don't be afraid to share through the google form!
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AS Afflatus - Issue 14 - Anon Compliments & Critique

Thu Aug 02, 2018 1:04 am

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Anonymous Unicorn wrote:Just wanted to say that hyena is probably one of the greatest people I have ever met on here. Our RP is bumping even though we started it like two months ago now, and it's by far my favorite RP I've ever done. You are so kind and sweet and I don't deserve your friendship, I really don't. Your writing is fantastic as well and I am honored to get to write with you!
Anonymous Unicorn wrote:Jazzy & Deer, you cray fools, making me feel so much with your RPs and prompts <3
Anonymous Wyvern wrote:Ichor always does an astounding job with the Afflatus! Nice Work!
Anonymous Unicorn wrote:Snow always seems really nice; I think it's cool that she is now a global mod!
Anonymous Wyvern wrote:hauntedvenus' art dump thread is cool; their style is simple but really good
Anonymous Wyvern wrote:um can we all take a min and admire caligo's art skills pls - see her thread in Art Corner.
Anonymous Unicorn wrote:Jazzy is a wonderful roleplay partner and I am so blessed that we are expanding our harbour. Over the last few months we have connected greatly and I love roleplaying and chatting with her. Watch out for when I start watching shows because I will find you, Jazzy!
Anonymous Unicorn wrote:Cider is a wonderful writer and her prompts are an enjoyment to read. I am so glad that my wife returned to AS and cries with me about the struggles of our characters. I love you, Hannah <3
Anonymous Unicorn wrote:Sooo, flic, I know you will probably not read this for a while because you only hop online once or twice a year, but I just wanted to say that you are a really nice partner. I enjoy our roleplay to the fullest, I think the storyline is the longest we had. I hope all goes well and that life is good, I'm so sucky at keeping in touch but next time you are ghosting around AS don't hesitate to drop in my inbox <3 You probably know who I am despite this being anonymous c;
Anonymous Kitsune wrote:I have grown so damn close to blue and ichor.; two lovely members of our staff. I can always count on them to be there whenever something goes wrong or if I have something to rant about. They're honestly two of the kindest and most supportive people I've ever had the honour to chat with and I'm incredibly grateful to have someone like them in my life. ♥
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