AS Afflatus: Issue Nine

Where you can find all published issues of the Advanced Scribes Afflatus, our very own newsletter!
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AS Afflatus: Issue Nine

Fri Mar 02, 2018 3:23 pm

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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: Thunderofthedrum, Night Fury, Commander Shepherd, Blacksteel Alchemist, Ichor., DeerInYourHeadlights, Eccedentesiast, Kami, Blue, Meraki, and Snow. Here is our team page.
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AS Afflatus - Issue 9 - Updates

Fri Mar 02, 2018 3:23 pm

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1x1 RP Competition: We are so excited for what you guys have been doing and hope you all push through for a strong finish!! Remember, the points were upped to 5 per person per page and posts much be 300+ words per character. Best of luck to you all!

Group RP: Go check out the related announcement and make sure you guys cheer on the teams!! If you were hoping for a slot or didn’t sign up in time, we are still accepting sign ups for backups in case someone has to drop the competition.

Prompt Event: If you aren’t on a team or your team is going slower than you’d like, you can earn points through the prompt event! Check it out in the appropriate sub-board within 2018 Events

Resorting: The window for this is now closed. You are bound to whatever house you currently have. If you have never been sorted, you are welcome to take the quiz any time!

Afflatus: Staff have been thrilled with the amount of participation we have seen this year! We are always open to ideas, critique, and questions regarding the afflatus. We put this together for YOU, so feedback and submitted material are very appreciated. Also, remember to check out the reminders post!

Social Media: We have officially brought on the Attendants to be doing the majority of the social media. They are eager to help and we are excited to have them contributing content and find neat things online to share with you guys! If you aren’t already, go follow us on our Twitter and Tumblr accounts!

Afflatus Activities: As you guys can probably tell, the system for this will be that you must submit your answers to Thunder by the end of each month before the next Afflatus has been posted. It’s an easy and fun way to earn some points and staff tries to make them fun but not time consuming.
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AS Afflatus - Issue 9 - Dear Stag

Fri Mar 02, 2018 3:24 pm

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Dear Stag,

Necessities, tips, & tricks for moving?

- Ryuk (Halcyon)

This answer ended up being quite long so you can read about it in depth here! We hope this helps you out!

Dear Stag,

Sometimes it is difficult to get used to a completely new routine that wasn't chosen by you. For example, a new job, or just going back to school after holidays. What are some ways to adjust to a new routine quickly, or just organize all the things you have to do daily (both what you have to do and what you would like to do)?

- Sad Kitten (Halcyon)


One of the best pieces of advice that I can give to you, when a routine wasn't chosen by you personally, is to give yourself a brief period of time to be frustrated - but only a week or a week and a half at the most. Hating a routine isn't going to make it any easier on yourself. However, I do have a few tips that can help to make this routine be a lot more manageable. It will take a little while for you to adjust and that is perfectly okay. The best helpful tip that I can give is for you to make lists of things that need to be done. It will allow for you to have time to adjust, physically see everything that you need to have done in order to gain the habit of doing these certain tasks, and allow for you to be better at managing your time. It always feels nice to be able to check things off of a list as well, and to be able to see your accomplishments at the end of the day or even the end of the week. Once you get used to this new routine, adding in things that you would like to do should not be too difficult. It is also a good idea to list off the things that you do regularly, whether this is on a daily or weekly basis to see how this will fit in with your new schedule or routine. As you become more familiar and get into the habit of what is expected of you each day or each week, you will be able to manage your time well and figure out where you can fit things in each week such as taking time to watch a movie, go out to dinner, or even go out with friends. Just remember that with each change, it takes time to get used to something new. It is something that is completely foreign and unfamiliar and takes a while to get into the habit.

Hello Stag,

Can you give any advice on how to create the perfect character for the perfect part? Sometimes its hard finding character inspiration when you don't know here to look. Where should we look for some unique character inspiration?

- Anonymous Phoenix


Perfection is a very relative term, so to say. Every character will have their flaws and their good sides (as we all know, completely flawless characters are nothing more than Mary-Sues, but I doubt you had that in mind). Creating a good character that is capable of surprising people in a story or just keeping things interesting is always a difficult process, no matter how long you’ve been writing/roleplaying.

I believe that most of my (personally) inspiration to create characters comes from daydreaming or listening to music. There’s always a song that I can associate with a character or a dream/idea that I can write into said character and make them “make my dreams come true”, in a way. If that doesn’t work, I also sometimes simply browse name generators or lists of various names from different countries and try to find inspiration from their meanings. For example, the name Aaron means “light-bringer”; if you have the time to ponder, there’s always a lot of ways to try and incorporate the character’s name meaning into their backstory and their personality. The fun thing is that this is possible to do for characters of all kinds of nationalities. Finding a good name for your character might even put you on a path of creating them and filing in whatever details you might have forgotten.

If nothing like that works, sometimes it’s better to just take a break from everything. Overworking your brain and simply burning all of the ideas is a thing and when that happens, it’s better to just distance yourself from creativity for a little while. Go make that cup of tea you’ve been longing for for hours, go take a little walk outside or take a relaxing bath. I’m more than certain you’ll have more ideas than when you did before taking a break. And if that doesn’t work, go nag at your friends about your ideas, plots and whatnot. I’m sure they’ll have valuable input if you get stuck somewhere.

Dear Stag,

Do you have any advice on how to not fear the thought of rejection?

- Anonymous Unicorn


Hey Unicorn,

First of all we want you to realize that the fear of rejection is a common feeling that a lot of us experience. It's hard to put yourself out on the line for the judgement of others and not everyone can do it with ease. In a way, it is the fear of the unknown and worrying about an event that hasn't happened yet that hinders us. We think some of the best ways to counteract this very natural feeling is by focusing on the positives.

Rejection is always a possibility, but as the saying goes: "when one door closes, another opens." Rejection from one opportunity keeps you free to others, and it is always a good learning experience. Don't see rejection as an all or nothing scenario that makes you think "If I didn't get this then I can't get anything." From rejection, you can analyze your approach and better yourself to make it the next time. Failure only leads to learning. If you didn't learn anything, then you didn't try.

We also encourage you to not take rejection to heart. It does not mean you are lacking in any way. Recall your strengths and talents and know that there is always places where you will be a valuable asset. If you focus on your goals rather than the hiccups along the way then you will see that on the other side of the obstacle your journey continues and does not end with one rejection. Keeping this positive outlook may repress the anxiety and worry of rejection and help you better cope for such situations in the future.

Also, another thing that may work is just forcing yourself out there. Just take a jump and see what happens. Put yourself in that uncomfortable situation. Albert Ellis, a psychologist, was absolutely terrified of talking to girls. He challenged himself to sit on a park bench and make small talk with at least 100 girls. Sometimes, that's the way to go. Push yourself to do what you're nervous about. You can hype yourself up beforehand and keep repeating whatever mantra you say so give yourself courage!

Dear Stag,

What are some affordable and reliable car brands for someone that is new to the car shopping scene?

- Anonymous Wyvern


(From an American) First, you can use the Kelley Blue Book website to get an IDEA of what you may get for your current car, if you have one. NEVER get your hopes up though! Next, consider your savings and what you can afford each month. Try not to get a loan for any longer than 3 years as you don’t know what the future holds.

For shopping, start with a bit of research. Again, Kelly Blue Book is a good resource, and for recommendations there are publications like Consumer Reports. They may help suggest some fairly reliable and economical brands, models, and years. For example, they may recommend 2000-2004 Honda Civics, but may have evaluated the 2005-2006 models to be lacking. You don’t have to use this as your Bible, but it can help to give an idea! Generally speaking, common brands like Honda, Toyota, Ford, and Chevy (at least in the US) might be easier or cheaper to fix than sports cars or German brands.

DON’T let a salesman talk you into something you don’t need! If they aren’t respecting what you said you wanted, LEAVE. Private owners may be less ‘slimy’, but can be wild cards with honesty. Remember that if you buy from a private owner, you will have to consider taxes and any other things like switching the title over. Be strong and firm; don’t be afraid to walk away!

Another note: make sure you get some quotes for auto insurance and set it up as soon as you have purchased or even before, depending on the policies in your state. Make sure you can afford it in your monthly budget. And save save save! Save now for the car down payment, and if you ever have extra money, put some aside from any future repairs like a busted tire, coolant leak, bad battery, etc.

Dear Stag,

What are some good laptops for school/college that are underneath the $300 budget?

- Anonymous Wyvern


Firstly - what do you want it to be able to do? Do you want touch screen? Are you okay with refurbished? Do you need much disc space or processing power? If you just need to type papers and utilize a web browser for research, then most products will work just fine. If you are working with a tight budget, there may be some features you are not able to get - such as impressive space or the ability to play high graphics games. Chromebooks are often around $150-300. Otherwise, when looking on Amazon with the criteria of $350 and below, the results include Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Acer for the most part. If you have specific games or other software you want to install, make sure you check the compatibility. For example, various games might require a certain standard of graphics card in order to perform optimally.

Dear Stag,

How do you cope with anxiety and stress? It's been weighing me down a lot and I'm not sure what else to do.

- Anonymous Unicorn


No one wants to live with anxiety and stress. If you feel that it's beginning to weigh down on you more than it should then it is definitely time to find some useful strategies that may help you better manage your stress and/or anxiety. Some of these might work better than others; it all depends on the person themselves! The first and best strategy that is always recommended is exercise and movement. Stress can make a person want to mope around, but when they do that their thoughts and worries can accumulate. By being up and active it helps your body release positive hormones and keeps you distracted from unreasonable thoughts. Even relaxing activities like meditation and yoga can be extremely helpful as it teaches mindfulness and encourages calm thinking. Another thing recommended is to identify the sources of stress and anxiety. With anxiety, the origin of it can sometimes be something that isn't so worrying at all. Identifying and rationalising this reason may cause it to shrink in size and become something manageable. With stress, people tend to avoid the thing that is stressing them out, such as schoolwork. By avoiding it, the work load only grows, so it is good to identify it early in order to better grasp and manage it.

Pacing yourself when facing stress related activities is really important. If you don't want to write that entire essay in a night, make sure you plan your work load. A couple words here and there, take a break and enjoy yourself, return and repeat. This control of your environment makes things seems a lot less hectic, chaotic and overwhelming for you. When a day seems particularly good, express gratitude for it. Appreciate the little moments that distract you from your stress and anxiety and find ways to experience that good thing again. While organization and control definitely helps, don't overburden yourself. You can't control the weather so don't stress trying to and instead take initiative and prepare; check the forecast, make sure you're wearing the right clothing. If you feel your anxiety is overwhelming, express it to someone who can comfort you like a friend, parent, or professional. Most of all, realize that emotions do not control your life. When the storm ends the sun comes out.
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AS Afflatus - Issue 9 - Writing Tips

Fri Mar 02, 2018 3:25 pm

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This month's Writing Tips theme is on How to Silence Your Inner Critic. Tips 3-5 were taken from this site.

Oftentimes, during the writing process, we are our own worst critic and standing in the way of your own writing whether it’s because you’re worried you’re not writing something correctly or because you spend most of your time comparing your work to someone else’s can put a serious halt to your flow. Sometimes, critiquing your own work can be beneficial; you know your own guidelines and it helps you complete your best work. However, in many cases, your inner critic hinders your ability to write freely and progress without judging your ability at every point.

Here are a few tips to help avoid your inner critic/censor:

1. It’s important to stop worrying about writing correctly. There is no “right” way to express an emotion, life experience, etc. because everyone has lived differently, under a different set of circumstances that impact their story. You can do all the research you want and, unfortunately, you still won’t manage to please everyone so write for you. Write the stories you want to read.

2. Stop comparing your work! No matter how hard you try, you will never write something for the first time. History repeats itself; everything that you say has been said before and will be said again. This does not lessen the impact of your words so do not silence them. Your writing is important regardless of how many other stories there are that may be similar to yours. Just because someone else wrote your idea first does not make it second-rate or worse in comparison. The world needs your story, so what if it’s similar to another piece of writing?

3. Write fast: The faster you write, the less your inner critic can express itself.

4. If you write with your computer: Write with white letters. If you cannot see what you write, your inner critic will let you in peace. Change the color once you have finished your writing session.

5. Calm your inner critic. Tell it, for example: “This is only a first draft, I will improve it later!” or “Now I just want to experiment, to play with ideas.
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AS Afflatus - Issue 9 - Life Tips

Fri Mar 02, 2018 3:25 pm

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This month's writing tips is over moving.

Necessities: boxes or containers, padding (packing paper, bubble wrap, etc), tape, and a permanent marker.

Firstly, think about how far you are moving and how it will all get there. If you are moving without any help, you may have some decisions to make about what can come with you and what needs to be rehomed. Assuming that part is done (or you have space to bring everything), next up is packing. Take a couple days and start putting together a list of handy things that you’ll want available to you as soon as you arrive at your new residence. This often includes a couple changes of clothes, toiletries to shower, paper towels and hand soap, trash bags, pet food, charging cords, and cleaning products. If it’s a far move with a lot of belongings that will take time to sift through and unpack, maybe things to get through a few days would be on the list, such as bedding, a few outfits for work, a rain jacket, pet belongings, etc.

Start early. Don’t try to pack a whole apartment in one day! You’ll be tired, stressed, and totally over it. Start a couple kitchen boxes, a couple living room boxes, and a couple bedroom boxes of things you don’t need for a week. As the date approaches, you could tackle each room and just leave the necessities for last.

Labels are SO IMPORTANT. If you have cardboard boxes you could write directly on them. If containers and you don’t want them permanently marked, write on tape that can be easily removed later, such as blue painters tape. Label at least two sides for easier reading.

Pack based on room, or some other theme. The most typical example is packing all kitchen items in the same boxes rather than mixing with DVDs, clothes, or other belongings. A shoebox is great for utensils! This method of organizing will make it easier to know where to set down boxes upon arrival, as well as making the process of unpacking go smoother.

Don’t make boxes too heavy. It may be satisfying to a perfectionist to fit 47 novels exactly so in a box, but you’ll regret it when it’s time to carry it up any stairs. Boxes made too heavy with breakables like dishes can also increase the odds of dropping it. For example, in the kitchen you could pack all dishes together but keep the boxes small so that you can’t accumulate too much weight in them. Alternatively, you could pack fewer dishes and be generous with padding by using other kitchen items such as pot holders and dishtowels, which would also help to keep the weight in check by taking up a fair amount of box space. Pack heavier things like a couple casserole dishes but then fill the top half of the box with lighter items like cupcake tins. Make sure you adequately pad and protect breakables!!! NOTHING should be clinking together like glass or ceramic. Some brands are fine to stack together (such as Corelle dishes), but if they are very delicate then you can put a paper towel or piece of packing paper in between each to avoid any rubbing or jostling.

Pack folded clothes and other linens in duffel bags if you are short on boxes or going a short distance. If you are moving without the help of a company and a short distance (such as staying in the same town), you could take several reusable shopping bags (ideally cleanish) and put clothes, linens, DVDs, or books in them to fill your vehicle. This is NOT recommended in moving trucks or for long distances, since the bags are more easily squashed and are not closed.

Make sure you know where any important documents are and pack cleaning supplies last. Make sure you reserve adequate box space, but leave them out until the last day. If you have a lease, it’s likely they they expect you to clean the place. This can depend - some people charge for it not being clean, some simply do not refund the pre-paid cleaning fee if it’s not clean, and sometimes the fee is not refundable. You can save money by doing it yourself, but don’t be afraid to get dirty - when moving out, it can be expected for it to be 100% clean, including the blinds, ceiling fan blades, appliances, etc. It’s not too bad, but can take you by surprise if you weren’t aware or haven’t been living in a clean space.

Last few tidbits: get friends to help and repay them for their kindness! Buy them dinner! If they contributed their vehicle to help, pay for the gas with some extra. When you are done with cardboard boxes, post online or leave them at the curb in case anyone else needs them. If you have a lease and did the cleaning yourself to save money, see if someone from the office will do a walk-through with you to verify that it’s acceptable. Take pictures to be safe.

CLEAN BEFORE YOU UNPACK - the new place SHOULD be clean but this is not always the reality. Take pictures of the state of it upon your arrival to document anything dirty or damaged. Wipe down all surfaces, the toilet, check in the fridge, and vacuum. Go ahead and use shelf liners in all of the cabinets if you so desire - although you are tired, it’s much better to do these things now or else you likely never will.

Last step: order takeout to your new address because you are tired and hungry from moving, damn it!
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AS Afflatus - Issue 9 - Character Interview & Prompt

Fri Mar 02, 2018 3:26 pm

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What kind of discipline did your character receive at home? Strict, lenient, none?
Was your character overprotected and/or sheltered by their parents?
Did your character feel rejected as a child by their parents or anyone else? If so, why?
How does your character feel about religion?
Does your character like school?
Is/Was your character involved in any sports, clubs, etc. in school?
Did your character graduate? If so, what’s the highest degree they have?
What does your character do for a living? Are they where they want to be?
Does your character travel? How often and where have they been?
What does your character want from a partner?
What are your character’s hobbies and interests?
Is your character forgiving or do they hold grudges?
What is one thing your character can never forgive? Has anyone done this thing? Who was it and how did the character feel?
What is one strong memory that has stuck with your character from their childhood? Why?
What is your character typically doing on a Saturday afternoon? Give details.

x Prompt x
You wake up in a room to find that the only way to escape is by writing the name of a real person on a piece of paper. This will kill that person.
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AS Afflatus - Issue 9 - Member Corner

Fri Mar 02, 2018 3:26 pm

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Sono Reizin was nominated and earned her house a point for doing all activities in the blink of an eye upon joining Halcyon!

Savannah-the-Caracal was nominated and earned her house a point for being quick to let staff know when there is an issue and doing so quickly - it's appreciated!

How many point(s) do each mini-prompt for the alternative to the group rp earn?

- Vipera's Danger Noodle


Depends on the length, but each prompt you write a post for can earn between 5 and 15 points. If you do several, that can really add up!
-Thunder

Will there be categories that can earn us points in the future whenever we participate in a site event rpg? Ex. Instead of whoever has the most points win, having multiple categories like best original plot idea, fan favorite character, etc. Then the points are added up to tiers like first, second, third, and fourth place? I find this or a similiar system to be more fair for those who are unable to login everyday.

- Anonymous Wyvern


Interesting idea! Staff will definitely take this under consideration. Threads are limited to one poll and it wouldn't be practical to vote between 37 entries (for example), but we will definitely begin to discuss how to implement this sort of idea. Rankings do make it easier for staff to count and award points, and I think the idea of letting the 'winners' be decided by the site as a whole is a great idea, especially as I know some people aren't always able to participate but still like to read along.
-Thunder
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AS Afflatus - Issue 9 - Featured Writing

Fri Mar 02, 2018 3:27 pm

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Hands of Gold by natsu
Hidden text.
The moon shone brightly overhead, casting shadows across the grass and coating the blonde hair of the lone soul who dared to be out at such an hour in soft shades of silver and grey. The man mounted his horse, leading it away from the stables. Once the pair were clear of the view from the manor on the hill, the rider dug his heels into the steed’s side, spurring it on as fast as it could go. Hooves pounded down the cobblestone path, dirt and bits of stone flying up behind them as they ran.

A small house sat at the bottom of the hill at the end of the path, red paint peeling and floorboards rotting, but to the lord running from his manor, it was more home than anywhere he had ever been. The door was pulled open before he could even raise his hand to knock, eyes dark as the night sky above him greeting him with a glimmer, and he smiled warmly at the sight. Arms opened to welcome him home, and he stepped into them gratefully, burying his face into the raven black hair of his lover. The darker male chuckled at his reaction, stepping back with a small smirk on his face.

“You came.”

The lord smiled and shook his head, blonde hair in a windswept disarray. “Of course I came, Sasuke. I will always come.”

Sasuke did not answer, instead holding out a hand, which Naruto gladly took in his own, following the raven-haired man through the small house, to the bedroom in the back where they had spent many a night together, wrapped in each other’s arms.
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AS Afflatus - Issue 9 - Activity Center

Fri Mar 02, 2018 3:29 pm

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This month's activity will feature writing short poems about AS Staff Members! There are a total of 11 staff, so for each poem written, you will earn 2 points. If all 11 staff poems are written, then you will get an additional 3 points for a total of 25 points! Poems must be at least 4 lines long (haikus are the exception) to be awarded points. You may post these poems directly to the thread - please keep all poem submissions in one post!! Title the post Staff Poems Activity

Answers for previous issue:

ACROSS
1. Speak friend and enter. JRR Tolkien
8. It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. Jane Austen
10. Was I secretly gay? Or not? William Shakespeare
11. Swish and flick. JK Rowling
12. Dragons. George RR Martin

DOWN
2. I wrote one novel, but I'm an author. Love me. Oscar Wilde
3. Emo edgelord with birds. Edgar Allan Poe
4. Runaways and racism. Mark Twain
5. Brilliant deduction. Arthur Conan Doyle
6. The Butterfly Effect Ray Bradbury
7. I give your nightmares nightmares. Stephen King
9. Sparkle Fangs. Stephenie Meyer

Have suggestions for future activities? Don't be afraid to share through the google form!
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AS Afflatus - Issue 9 - Anon Compliments & Critique

Fri Mar 02, 2018 3:29 pm

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Anonymous Unicorn wrote:I want to give Thunderofthedrum a compliment because I am so proud of everything she does for the site. She really tries to make AS a happy place for everyone and to include everyone everywhere. Thunder is a great admin and I want to say: keep up the good work! I'm proud of you managing all of this like you do. I know it isn't easy at times.
Anonymous Unicorn wrote:Shout out to Deer for being a sweet pea and an amazing housekeeper! I guess I can forgive you for ruining our count thread on a consistent basis....maybe. I love you & your writing is a blessing for my eyes. Keep being you <3
Anonymous Unicorn wrote:Chemically poisoned is so sweet. She's a great partner and an amazing friend.
Anonymous Phoenix wrote:I just want ariel. to know that I love and adore her, and that all the work she has put into her characters and stories inspires me to be a better writer and author. She's one of my dearest friends and greatest motivations. Thank you for being such a sweetheart even after all these years!
Anonymous Unicorn wrote:.marsh is the best role-play partner ever! Plus, they're always just so funny and kind. They deserve love, but I'm sure that everybody already gives them love. Even so, I think that they deserve even more love!
Anonymous Unicorn wrote:Tiramisu! You've quickly became a good friend of mine, and ilysm. Keep being you~
Anonymous Wyvern wrote:I love reading the afflatus. Keep up the good work ichor!:D
Thank you, you lovely snek! <3
Anonymous Unicorn wrote:Commander Shepard seems like a pretty cool person
Anonymous Wyvern wrote:This little tidbit is for our house keeper blue. We know you’re trying your best for the house to get us motivated and your effort is truely showing. Keep it up!
We have an untitled work submitted for critique by Amaranthine's sin. This is the beginning of their work and they would love to receive PMs if you're interested in reading more of it!
Swirls of sand settled against the windows, crafting a delicate picture that belied the storm outside. A man and his son sat on a thick carpet, unfazed. The man read a book, while the child sat cross legged with a stuffed toy kitten in his arms.

“So, uh, what is fire?” I asked.

His eyes didn’t move from the shivering window as he answered, word perfect:
"Fire is a chemical process in which substances react with oxygen from the air, releasing heat, light and various other byproducts.”

“Good. And since when is it banned worldwide?”

His eyes flickered to mine and back, making a face.
“Since… 2046?"

“48. 46 was just in a couple of places.”

“Oh, right. And it was banned because it may result in confa.. Congra…"

Before I knew it, I burst out:
“Conflagration.”

"Yeah, that means it can become large and destructive, threatens human and animal life, health and living conditions. It also pollutes the atmosphere, water supplies and removes protective vegetation and causes the soil it grew on to become infertile due to losses in nitrogen."

"Exactly. It was banned after a series of disastrous events shook the world, to ensure the safety of all citizens." I added, finishing off that particular page.

He rolled his eyes and rocked back and forth, grinning at the fireplace as it roared with light.
“Yeah yeah. Fire is bad. Fire is uncontrollable. Fire is dangerous. Never even think about dabbling in it. It’s strictly illegal. Unless of course you live in the desert and you need to keep warm for the night. ”

A smile flitted across my face “Pretty much. Just don’t write that in your paper. “

“No shit, dad.”

_______

innocence is indeed bliss.

The room was nondescript and the smell of recently spilt milk emanated from the carpet. A humming filled the air. He was already annoyed.

Another smell reached his already disgusted nose; strong [harsh] mens cologne, evident even through the screen door a tailored suit had just stepped through. A cigarette in hand, although instead of smoking it he was twirling it around his fingers in a pretentious manner.

Non-smoker asshole, or just an asshole?

"Good afternoon," the suit checked a note in his non-twirling hand, "Mr. Polaris".

Time to make an impression
He smiled and stood, extending his hand towards the smell.

"Pleased to meet you, Sir."

He'd like that

____________________

They'd been so particular about him moving, even bringing all of the necessary documentation in.

"sign here" was really the only thing the man had said that he really cared about-

He'd refused.
this house had been built by his forefathers and extended and improved throughout the generations. The result was an amalgamation of structures and rooves, that somehow still worked together in complete harmony.

even disregarding the house - and the house he'd been so generously offered in the city that was surely worth 10x his own - man, they really were desperate - he wanted his son to grow up amongst the sand dunes, the snakes and the hardy creatures that inhabited them. He wanted his son to experience the burning sun, the pumping water, the mentality that made them just keep going however hard it got.

The city was a shelter - sheltered.
Sometimes he could see the flash of light reflecting off the domed roof of the nearest city, far off on the horizon.

The massive structure protected it from the sandstorms and the rain, which when it happened was collected in massive bunkers and then sold to the people.

He'd been there occasionally, and felt trapped. It was stifling. The poisonous rays from the sun no longer reached him but he no longer felt alive-

A prison, not a sanctuary.

He needed the fresh air, the sand on his face and the wind battering against him as he milked the goats at dawn, no matter the weather.

His son had just started walking alone on the dunes, and had kept his love of rolling down them, coming home covered in sand, and cracking a massive smile when he shook his head at his son and began to remove the sand.

_______

acrid smoke entered his consciousness, bloating his mind with desperation to leave the thick scent of charred wood and melting paint behind.
Then, a second thought.

FIRE.

He jumped out of bed and ran towards the heat, crouching along the floor in oder to escape what he knew would take him out.
He was quivering in fear. This was not the first time he'd known fire; campfires were occasionally necessary and allowed in these parts, however, he'd never been up close. Certainly not this close to a beast that was surely quite large, judging from the smoke. And all his education came flooding back. All the leaflets and fearmongering from the city, the tutors who travelled around, telling people who already knew for the umpteenth time that fire was destruction. it would kill you.
it had no capacity for mercy .

The door to his sons room was warm to the touch, and his stomach turned, and his skin turned cold despite the heat. Without another moments hesitation he opened the door, and was almost knocked back by the flames that sprung to meet him. The skin of his face began to heat uncomfortably, only a moments time before he blistered.

He couldn’t enter that room without death meeting him.

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Wind whipped his jacket, bringing down his hood and a a smattering of sand hit his face as he hurried along the road to his job. A pinch of home. Every time the winds turned to bring the desert to the city, sneaking past the filters in the vents, he thought he could smell the remains of his old home. The ashes spun around and haunted in his dreams in those nights. He’d see his son, ashen and helpless, reaching out… before being consumed by an inferno.

He’d awaken bathed in sweat, reaching out to some non-existant entity, the long-healed burns on his hands tingling.

The only reasonable conclusion he’d been able to come to for the fire that night was the man who’d ased him to leave.
His son was the reason he wouldn’t.
So he had had to go.

Made perfect sense.
If you had no regard for human life, a a lack of empathy he wouldn’t have thought possible.
Until they killed his son.

If he ever caught that man, empathy would be the last thing on his mind. He’d show him the meaning of pain, the torture his soul endured ever since the last light of his life had been extinguished. If it was a cruel twist of fate to kill a woman while she brought her son into the world, crueller still was it to steal that son away, with nothing given in return.

The need for veangeance burned inside him ever since that day.
It sustained him when he could not sustain himself.

Lately, though, another image in his mind was distracting him. A lady, who had approached him at his place of work, wanting to have an old pocket watch repaired. That in itself wasn’t out of the ordniary - it was part of what he did for a living, the tinkering of his youth finally paying off. Upon closer inspection, however, the watch revealed the secret to its problems; a tiny scrap of paper jammed between two of the gears.

A magnifying glass was already in his hand as he read:

Do you want revenge for your son? Val-st-251
What’s the weather like? A desert storm.

And turning it with his pincers, a tiny battle cry:

A spark, freedom. A blaze, power.
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