2021.10.22 00:33 GrassyKnoll95 Mask materials
Does anyone know how to find the shell material for a certain mask? Specifically I have a Warrior Ritual F1 Senior mask, and I'm trying to figure out whether it's polycarbonate or not. I've checked Warrior's website plus major retailers, no answers.
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2021.10.22 00:33 PlasticWalnut Thanks For Taking Good Care For Orlando.
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2021.10.22 00:33 VinoPopsicleMeow The Troll in Repose
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2021.10.22 00:33 To_Do_or_Do_Not What are the old official 2007ish Naruto Headbands worth?
What would be the lowest and highest price ranges? I can't really find many available - and not many kinds at that. Does that, technically, make them worth a lot?
Are any ones in particular worth more or sought after than others?
Much appreciation for any knowledge on the subject.
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2021.10.22 00:33 Mikey_Dayoff "Support!' OC
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2021.10.22 00:33 sensory26 Character editor not working?
I installed Character Editor bc I just got a pawn from a quest and shes really stuck in her religion and keeps freaking out and breaking things. felt like cheating, yknow. Plus I want to add race mods. When I load my game and try to use the character editor I get an error. Heres my mod list and the debug error I get.
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2021.10.22 00:33 Mysterious-Ear-9323 What was taught in school that actually became useful in your life?
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2021.10.22 00:33 GothKazu Should i try and do hand cosplay (is that a thing?)
Once my Sukuna wrists tattoos heal up, should i see what a Domain Expansion “Hands Only” photoshoot looks like?
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2021.10.22 00:33 Reenavon f30.. got my new hair color
2021.10.22 00:33 thestache23 New York Rangers: Alexis Lafrenière & Sammy Blais Postgame Availability | Oct. 21, 2021
2021.10.22 00:33 KenoKeys SQUID GAME INSPIRED KEYCAP RENDER! FOLLOW OUR SOCIALS DOWN BELOW FOR MORE CONTENT!
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2021.10.22 00:33 _OutcastGaming_ Honest thoughts about 2042
Haven't seen much honest posts on the game here. Honestly didn't know what I would expect from reddit. But in my eyes Battlefield 2042 is doing great and is trying to introduce us to new things.
First things first during the beta I had a lot of fun I was returning after not playing after bfv beta years ago and moving to cod. And the beta was one of their best betas to date. When you compare 2042 beta to bf3 and 4 it's 90% better as 2042 had no true "gamebreaking" bugs that effected everyone. There were some but they weren't like effecting the whole match.. like bf3 and 4 the human centipede and falling under map but still able to play and not get shot and so many other bugs that make them some of the worst betas yet now we look back on those games like damn those were the best. Same with bf1 and v
Now we have had our biggest reveal and update after the beta and they did show that they fixed pretty much every issue I complained about and showcased the missing features. And after seeing that they restored any faith I lost at beta time. I'm honestly truly hyped for the game to come out.
Now when it comes to the biggest change which is being heavily critiqued is the specialists as people are hating them. Now I can see why but I like it as it's just change. Like classes are there they just removed gadget limitations. I do see them adding back that certain gadget will be locked into classes again and do see class specific passive bonuses being added but that will all come as the fame launches and they have to observe the community to balance everything out and see where we all end up.
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2021.10.22 00:33 badumtissssssss What's the different between a Union and an Association?
(University) Trying to create an integrated Association, I was recommended to consider the idea of a Union instead but I don't know what's the difference in terms of legal and financial.
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2021.10.22 00:33 NeedaName062020 Woosed out in tremfya dose
So... I got my first dose of tremfya today and I tried giving it to myself in on my thigh. I woosied out a bit and I guess I pulled my hand up or something because after the injector clicked and I pulled it up, some if the medicine ran down my leg. I'm so bummed. How much do yall think that this will mess with the efficacy??
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2021.10.22 00:33 Alarming-Tadpole747 If a person is born both blind and deaf, how does their thought process work?
Think: Helen Keller before she was taught braille.
Without learning braille, how would a person with absolutely no knowledge of the two main components of thought, sound (the voice in your head) or sight (visualizing things), form a complex thought? No one has had a way to communicate to this person that sight and sound even exist. How would they plan to do any complex task if they don't have a way to communicate that desire with themselves? Could the person build an efficient internal language that allows them to do advanced tasks using only touch, taste, and smell?
Sorry this question is a bit hypothetical and has several components to it, but I've thought about it since learning about Helen Keller in grade school. The human brain is an incredible thing and I'd love to hear some opinions on this!
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2021.10.22 00:33 WillingHuckleberry1 How strong is the smell from a weed plant?
I found a seed yesterday and I'm germinating it right now. Since winter is coming I wont be able to grow it outside. Will the smell stink up my apartment if I grow it inside? If i were to keep it inside of some sort of enclosure would it make it better? I'm thinking about maybe a closet or maybe inside of a kitchen cabinet until it gets big. Would the smell be able to leak out of that? Roughly how long will it smell before I can harvest the buds?
Google says it starts to smell after 3-6 weeks. I grew a plant before and it was around 3 weeks old and it was still tiny and only had 2 leaves. It didn't smell at all. The light fell on it and broke the stem so I never got to experience the smell. Growing and smoking weed was recently legalized in my state but most people dont know this and I would rather not have my door kicked in because it smells like weed 24/7.
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2021.10.22 00:33 CulturalWindow Cold Reads An Open Sketch And Improv Show
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2021.10.22 00:33 judge-b Possible line combos?
I know this is super unlikely, but I had a random idea. What if the lines were
LW-Matthews-RW LW-Nylander-Marner LW-Tavares-RW 4th line
I doubt this will happen, maybe when JT gets a bit older idk. But I think this would be cool to try. You would get the opposing team to be in matchup hell. JT carried his line in New York for years. We’ve seen Matthews carry Hyman and Brown in his rookie season. And Marner and Willy would be a new interesting combo.
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2021.10.22 00:33 SpaceNvgtor Se imaginan orinar lo que ustedes hayan tomado?
Se imaginan que cada vez que orinen salga lo que tomaron? por ejemplo licor, leche, jugo, agua, etc
Si bien se hara "todo" el proceso, solo se ignorara el sistema urinario, pero esto va a seguir entrando por tu boca y saliendo por tus genitales
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2021.10.22 00:33 I_am_Kooky Do I get the new dress? or do I keep the one I have?
| || I don't want to have regrets, but. . . . How do you feel about your dress and your day? |
Hey Y'all, (cross post from weddingplanning and PlusSizeWedding)
So I got my dress last year during COVID, under the pretence that my husband would make it within 3 months. He was locked out of Australia because he is not in Australia. So I haven't seen him in almost 2 years. I have the dress I got last year, it's okay, it's pretty enough. I got it because it was physically there, and it fit me perfectly, and I do really like it, it had sleaves.
But it wasn't the style I wanted, (I love off the shoulder) I then found this other dress a few weeks ago after I realised how much I don't like the other dress for not being that dream puffy, sparkly princess dress I have always wanted. (the one you dream of when you're a child) I talked to the supplier and they can make it in my size (because I'm plus size) and have it out to me in 3 months, but I don't know if it will look good on me, I hope it will, it's a classic design that should work, and I love it so much but. . . .
So with all the bits and bobs I want with it, it's gonna cost the same amount as my other dress.
The second Snag is that because my husband is overseas, I might be going to him, and thus our plans changed and money has become really tight. I have given up all the other wedding trappings, and I just want the dress, but can I justify another $1500 for a new dress with everything and HOPE it fits and looks good when I already have a dress? I know secondhand dresses don't sell for much (even if never warn) Because not international flights are gonna be money, and fertility issues because of the length we had to wait, etc. It looks like I am gonna be doing two weddings, one overseas and one at home.
Do I suck it up, and do what I can to the other dress, or do I get the new one?
edit - Added the photo comparison because I am still learning Reddit and photos)
The one I want vs the one I have.
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2021.10.22 00:33 max_mm1 My “first uk pressing” of Aphex Twin’s ‘Come to Daddy’ EP bought off of discogs just arrived however it is the 2001 repress. Is this a common thing and how do I get a refund?
2021.10.22 00:33 ColorfulResolve Any similar/dupe Barton Perreira Norton?
2021.10.22 00:33 SesameMalcolm99 sorry if this is a generic question but can permanently deleted files be recovered?
I use Windows 10 just in case anyone asks and I'm wondering if I can undelete a few videos I had downloaded that I permanently deleted a few years ago, and if so, how can I undelete them?
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2021.10.22 00:33 HLMenckenFan A book recommendation
2021.10.22 00:33 EducatedName The Book of Jude, or Astrian Mythology Regarding the 'Return of God' and the end of the Tribal Pantheons [RHYE7]
The Book of Jude.
This is a story I wrote a long time ago for my nation on NationStates. It takes place in the Astrian Empire, a great power that emerged in the earlier centuries of imperial civilization. It had fought for independence from the mighty Helvetic Empire, an empire that had dominated the region. Astria exists on a continent to the south of Helvetica's continent (Calibri). Astra's continent is relatively isolated as the nearest reachable landmass is Calibri in the north which is impassable due to Helvetic opposition. This story tells of Jude's perspective on the myth of the return of god to humanity. This has long been proven to be a fabricated story from the dark ages that spawned a short lived but dogmatic religion.
I am Jude. Second son of Nathan. Tenth son-descendant of Oswalt. Husband of Gamora. Two Bar General of the Infantry. Witness.
It was the 7 Cantivus, the year 142. My duty for the season was to see that the Imperial Guard were fit for combat, in the event that roaming vandals ever besieged the capital. However unlikely, it was the duty of the military to prepare for the unexpected.
I was born twenty-five years before this day. Not in the capital, but in the country-side between the vineyards. My mother, then a consort to the Crown Prince, died so that I would have life. I was thus raised by house maids, midwives, and eventually the military. By the age of 11, my training had begun with the orphans, delinquents, and outcasts of the empire. The commanders of the frontier fortifications were brutal. Mercy was for the city-folk. In the frontier, raw strength and courage were the only thing that would aid in your survival. Many nights the weakest of the day's activities were sent out of the walls to forage until dawn. Many nights none would return. But I did.
Fear was what kept me alive more than anything else. From fear you find strength. From fear you accomplish your task. Fear of death is the ultimate motivation. By 14 I had proven ready for the frontlines. I was given my sidearm, a worn set of armor, and a simple round shield. Assigned to a patrol on the quiet frontier overwatch with Meridia, I was thankful but in angst at the lack of action my company saw. However, by the age of 15 my father remembered his second son, and recalled him to the capital.
The journey was a long one, interrupted by storms, bandits, revolts, and incompetence. Rather than arrive at the capital, I arrived at the Georgian seat of Trudo. A rotten city of dissident heretics. A prison for the prisoners. A colony for the vagabonds. My escort was killed in the night and my horses robbed.
Stranded in the arm-pit of the empire, I saw little choice but to engage in menial labor. My identity would cost me my life, or worse. Thus I lived in secret as a Chesterian orphan run-away from the newly annexed kingdom.
For six years a slave for lodge and ration at the dock of Trudo, loading and unloading trade ships for merchants whose sole inventory was fish. My senses were numb to pleasure. My mind was numb to optimism. I cursed my father for claiming me. I crushed my mother for her death. But in that sixth year, a miracle happened. The Georgian Revolt.
As spring arrived, the Georgians grew tired of the Astiran idealism. They grew tired of the taxes. They grew tired of the ceremony. They longed for anarchy. They revolted by burning crops, sinking imperial naval vessels, and throwing fish back into the ocean. They rose with rusty spears in hand to face the coming Imperial Infantry.
The Georgians were as smart as they were clean. They starved themselves in their revolt. The Imperials waited for the Georgians to weaken, hungry and desperate, and then invaded with a merciless rage. Villages burned. Georgian leaders were purged. The entire duchy reorganized. And with these forces, for the purpose of review and self-congratulations, came the King of All Astrians himself.
At the feet of Emperor Nathaniel II I threw myself. I begged him to recognize me. I begged him to rescue me. I urged him to spare no Georgian.
Emperor Nathaniel II could not spare a glance, but did spare a single word - “Pathetic.”
My eyes rose upon him, in utter humility and shock. Emperor Nathaniel II turned away.
But his first son did not. Joel reached down to me, and with a strong grasp pulled me up into salvation. We rode to Phoenix with haste. The Second Son returned to his people.
At home, I was coached by Joel, on the history of my absence, on the contemporary society, of the royal edicate, of the life I had jumped back into yet had never known. I was presented before the Senate. I was paraded before the Priests. I was displayed before the Court. I was preyed on by the people. Yet Emperor Nathaniel II took no note of this new spectacle.
His Generals promoted me in ceremony, and appointed me to oversee the Imperial Guard, in ceremony. A job that would come to serve as my lifeline in the new world.
A year later, brings us back to the 7 Cantivus.
The task was incredibly mundane, but allowed me to leave the capital. We marched to an ancient fortification twelve links beyond the north gate. There, under the watchful eyes of Four Bar General Niahm, we would spend the lengthy hours of five full days training for close quarters combat. The men of the Imperial Guard were the spoiled disappointments of the Lords and Ladies of the Court, and would definitely abandon the palace in the event of a raid. Nonetheless, until that day arrived, we had to pretend.
However, on that day, my march never reached the north gate, muchless the outside of the city. Only three blocks from the palace near the Temple to Al’Ashalah, a familiar face burst from the alleyway, calling forth to me.
“Your highness! Your highness! My liege! It is urgent my liege!” Caden, my royal envoy, breathlessly called. “My liege, a private word before you depart.”
I climbed down from my steed, signalling for the guards to continue their march to the north gate.
“Yes, Caden, tell me.”
“Your brother has summoned you. He does not tell why. However, there are rumors among the envoies that the Emperor is moving to assemble a landsmeet tonight. He wishes to proceed with the invasion.” Caden’s voice fell to a whisper. “Nathan will dissolve the Senate to do so, and if your brother stands in the way…”
I pondered his revelation. For months the Emperor had expressed his desire to strike the Helvetic Empire in the far north. Merchants and vandals who crossed the sea into Astria told of a devastating conflict in Calibri. A new force had ravaged Helvetica’s northeastern territories, and the mighty empire was facing cataclysmic losses.
One merchant drew quite the crowd as he told of an epic battle in Santander, where 10,000 men faced each other for the future of the continent.
The Emperor was intrigued. He acknowledged the incredible amounts of wealth that lay in the ancient coastal cities of Helvetic, with its crowning jewels in the capital of Verona. No need to conquer, no need to occupy. Raid the remnants of the once world dominating power and assume its wealth and status. This was to be a quick job that could turn the tides of history.
It wasn’t so appealing to the Senate however. Astria was at peace, and had been for a considerable amount of time. It was wealthy enough for an empire isolated from the rest of the world’s powers. The Senate was content with Astria's reputation as a mighty empire built on trade, fulfilling Oswalt’s desire for isolation and self-preservation. Not to mention, for every merchant telling of Helvetica’s demise, there were two claiming Helvetica was still in its prime. Regardless, attacking Helvetica’s homeland, interior, and capital could be an absolute suicide mission requiring a bulk of Astria’s forces. The risk was far too great for the Senate to ignore.
The Landsmeet, the many generals of the infantry, admirals of the navy, and other military advisors, look fondly on the plan. It had been ages since Astria faced a legitimate threat, or had a serious battle. Peace was good for many, but not for military leaders wishing to display Astria’s prowess, much less their own. The risk to life was tremendous if Helvetic was prepared to fight, but the reward was divine if the odds were in Astria’s favor.
The court stood in confusion and fear, not knowing which side to back. And so they waited for one to prevail over the other. Proving their useless nature was always an ironic deposition for the lords and ladies.
Joel, the Crown Prince, was a close friend of the Senate. He saw the potential of an alliance with a chamber that represents ‘the people.’ It was a power move. And Joel played the game. He publicly opposed any talk of invading our northern neighbors. He championed peace. And for these troubles, he came under Emperor Nathaniel’s gaze.
As for myself, I was inconsequential in it all. No power. No opinion. So why would my brother request an audience with me?
“This is most strange. Did he say what for? Can this wait until after the retreat?” I asked, wanting more to be free from the confines of the capital.
“Come, now, it is urgent.” Caden motioned, ignoring my query.
I told my commanders that I would not be joining them, and sent them on their way. It was a difficult thing to do. Nonetheless I shadowed Caden’s long walk to my brother’s palace. We dipped into alleyways, dodged the busy plazas, and filed in through the kitchen entrance.
Joel was waiting, patiently, atop the grand staircase in the foyer of his home. His greedy eyes came upon me.
“Brother. A sight for sorrowed eyes. I am sorry to interrupt your mission but it is of the most urgent of natures.” He said politically, motioning me up the stairs. I simply smiled, and bowed, following him to his study.
“What could be so urgent that I am of use to you?” I said bluntly. He turned sharply, as if the question were surprising.
“My brother, you are the second son of the Emperor of Astria. All matters urgent to the Empire are urgent to you.” Joel uttered sternly. “Regardless, this moment in time may require us to inspect our loyalties and take our sides.”
“Are we speaking of the Emperor’s plans?”
“Yes. They are most dangerous to the future of the Empire.” Joel leaned in close to me, eyeing our surroundings for open ears. “He has told of his intentions to Lord Farrell - to dissolve the Senate.”
Joel leaned away, putting on his best ‘troubled’ expression.
“You intended to stand up to him?”
“Yes, but I can’t do this alone.” Joel put his hand on my shoulder, firmly. “I need unity.”
Despite my unconventional upbringing, I could see the game he was playing.
“I can only promise to keep the Imperial Guard on their long-planned mission to train and mission in the north. What happens in their absence is beyond my control.” I said, without answering his question directly. He seemed to have bought the position.
“That is only a part of the picture, my brother, but a picture you can see which has greatly assured me.” Joel grinned, standing and ushering me from the study. “Keep yourself available brother - time is no longer anyone’s friend.”
Joel shut the study door and left me to find my way out of the palace. I reflected upon what transpired and decided that I should consult the Emperor. A rare audience with my liege.
It was difficult to achieve, actually. Spending hours chasing after his minders, flagging down his advisors, and pleading my case over and over - I am his son, I demand an audience.
“Second son.” They would scoff. Nonetheless, by chance, we walked into the same room at the same time. And Emperor Nathaniel II gazed upon his second son.
“Father.” I lowered to my knees, and kissed the outstretched hand of the highest Astrian. “I have worrisome news. From Joel.”
His eyes narrowed, and he flicked his wrist. The servants left and with them the doors shut.
“Speak. Carefully.” He said so softly, I almost forgot who he was.
“He will not stand down when you attempt to dissolve the Senate.”
The Emperor’s head turned slowly. And he smiled.
“And the Imperial Guard are still on their march north. The Royal Sentinels are all that stands between you and the wilds of the capital.”
“My son,” he addressed me for the first time since Georgia. “Joel is foolish.” He echoed a deep, chilling laugh. “For what reason would I have to dissolve the Senate? They decide not where our armies march. Think further - what reason would I have for certain people to think
I am dissolving the Senate? Multitudes.”
I thought for a moment on this, sensing a long political rivalry between father and first son that I was not privy to. I did not care.
“My only question, father, is where are my men to be in the coming days?”
“Exactly where they are marching. But you remain close by. You will know when the time has come.” He turned sharply and exited the room. Like Joel, he offered nothing but cryptic assurances. I exited the palace and met my men on the march. We camped at the halfway point, near a stream long polluted and irrigated. I kept my eye on the horizon, waiting for a sign.
The morning came quickly. Panic among the early risen men spread through the encampment. Smoke rose in mass from the direction of the capital. The Imperial Guard, save a few brave souls, were ready to ride off into the north never to look back. Cowards.
As they prepared to do so, myself and the remaining dozen fighting men prepared to ride to the capital’s aid. We were stopped dead in our tracks however, at the sight of the awesome formations of Lord Farrell’s army. Expertly armored. Trained to be ruthless. Undefeated on the battlefield. They marched stone-faced towards the Phoenix.
Lord Farrell signalled all to stop. His gaze met mine and a righteous arrogance was clear as day.
“Young prince, what of your men? Do you not see the omen in the skies?” Farrell said, spatting at my feet.
“My men are cowards. Those who will fight march with me.”
“A reflection of you is the whole of your men. You are a coward. March with my men or stand aside.” Farrell rode off in a fury and his men marched behind. The fool, not wishing to acknowledge that his only son, fat and useless, ran to the north like a child with the rest of the guard.
We marched a small distance behind Farrell’s men, not wishing to be caught up in their mission. As we approached the North Gate, the smell of burnt thatch and the sound of combat filled the air. Farrell readied his men, then split into groups and charged through the open gates.
We waited a moment for them to clear our sight, and followed forward.
The city was clearly in chaos. Store fronts raided, trash filled the streets, bodies of soldiers - Astrian - lay waiting for their last rite. These men were from many different provinces, some from the capital itself. The combat sounded near, yet it was hard to find. Small bands of men squabbling here and there. The fires seemed to be near the Senate. We made our way there.
Before we reached our destination however, I chose to make a quick stop at my brother’s home - which too seemed sacked. Its oak front doors splintered and pushed aside. The riches that filled his walls were gone. Those many servants, nay slaves, that pampered his royal highness were nowhere to be found. The door to his study, however, was rigidly barred.
It took three tries, ramming a bookcase with all of our strength, to break the study door. It fell with a thud as we spilled into the ornate room. It was untouched, save for a large puddle of blood near the rear window. Clearly, my brother Joel was injured, and made his escape through the back garden. We left the palace, a barren shell, and continued for the Senate.
As we approached, we again encountered Farrell and his men, regrouped in formation near the opening to the Senatorial Plaza. Peering around them, into the public square, we could see several other formations of fighting forces, all positioned around the Senate’s front entrance. For a moment I thought the golden armor of the Emperor glarred across the plaza, but Lord Farrell’s horse moved into my view. I pushed through his men, moving swiftly to reach the front line.
The Senate was the fire. Blazing as if hell had come to the very center of Phoenix. The marble columns, twenty, that lined its front face were black with soot. Its stone outer walls were crumbling in the heat and pressure from the collapsing inter wooden structure. The towering statues of Senators-past that sat atop the roof line lay in pieces at the structures feet. And sure enough - the Emperor sat on his throne - watching the republic burn.
Despite the ire of the Lords gathered, I walked definitely to my father’s side, and knelt upon my right knee beside his throne.
“Your brother did this. Joel did this. He thought me, and all of Astria, a fool. Joel. Did. This.” He said in a cold, stern, whisper. His expression solemn in the heat of the blaze. “Find him. Bring him to the palace. I will be waiting. Should neither of you return, you both will be dead before nightfall.”
I rose without delay and hoped upon the nearest horse. My men, in confusion, took formation with Farrell’s army.
If Joel were to be hiding, it would be in the capital. If he had ever seen the empire beyond Phoenix’s walls, then that would be a surprise. This was all he knew. And he knew it well. For hours I searched: his palace, his gardens, the estates of his lovers-past. No Joel. I circled the city once more as noon approached.
Perched atop a watchtower at the western gate, I pondered what my brother could possibly be doing now. I did not know him. We talked rarely upon my return to this life. He was as much a stranger as any other person in this city.
“We both have a curious appreciation for natural beauty.” Said a voice from behind me, startling me to my side arm.
“Do not strike me brother, I am not armed.”
“You are wanted, though, my brother.”
“Indeed I am.” He said, taking a seat opposite me. “Curious how we both came to this spot to ponder. Never have I ascended this tower. Never have I come to this part of the city. I’d say we are here by fate, brother.”
“Fate or not - you must return. Before nightfall.”
“I have every intention of doing so. The Emperor thinks I am hiding, but from what? His fire at the Senate?”
“He says the same of you, and your fire.”
“The first is real. The owner of it is metaphorical.” Joel leaned back in his chair. “You know nothing of the people of this city, Jude.”
“I know the people well, I do not know its leaders.” I responded, thinking of the bitterness of Georgia. “The people are the same across the empire. They are hungry. They are bored. They are sinful.”
“A surprising take, my brother. But what the people know, they are taught by their leaders. If the people are bitter and sinful, their leaders are the personification of vice.”
Joel, leaned in close, smirking.
“What you have missed in these decades is that our world has changed. The ideals of antiquity have come back around. The people yearn for democracy like the Alpikan’s.”
“The Helvetic Empire was not the first the world had seen.” Joel taught. “Far, far in the east, beyond the highlands of Avaria, beyond the Blue lands, across a sea - a mighty empire walked the earth. Alpikos, they called it. A land of thinkers, writers, singers. A land of artists. No kings, only man. They build mighty temples atop the highest hills. Wonders adorned their sprawling cities. Their armies were unmatched. The fate of their states fell to the people in mass. Only when greed dismissed the people in favor of oligarchy did the empire fall.”
“So far away - how did the Helvetic know of the Alpikan?”
“The world beyond our own is much more connected. We are blessed with isolation. Seas impassable on all sides and a great empire to our north. An empire we defeated as a fletchling frontier of angry tribes. I believe these things are the way they are for a reason.” Joel looked longingly at the banner of Astria flying full in the afternoon breeze.
“We are to be great - Alpikos in the west. It is destiny. I can feel it with every fiber of my soul.” Joel reached for my hand. “My brother - it is the will of Tsarra.”
I pulled my hand quickly from his. He spoke of the goddess of wisdom and secrets, lady of the seas.
“It is dangerous to claim to know the will of the gods, brother.”
“It is. But Tsarra has come to me. Tsarra has spoken these wisdoms to me. At her temple here in Phoenix.” Joel pulled from his breast pocket an amulet to the sea goddess. “She is with me now, always. I am her avatar on earth.”
“Brother.” I said with pity, knowing well the fate of men who make similar claims. It is heresy, and a sin not taken lightly. He will be skinned, boiled, and hanged from the temple’s altar as a sacrifice to Eletha, goddess of justice.
I rose, and motioned for him to descend the tower.
“We must return to the Emperor, Joel.”
“I was hoping you’d be ready for the truth, but I am disappointed again. I am not afraid to advance Tsarra’s plans alone.” Joel rose, sighed, and descended the tower with me.
We rode in silence through the littered streets, as terrified citizens began cleaning up their city. Soldiers here and there were ready for combat upon sight of us but we rode straight on, quickly for the palace. Its pure marble walls glistened in the hot summer sun. The orange clay tiles lining its sloped roof sizzled in the daylight. We rode straight through the open grand entrance, past the Imperial Sentinels and right up to the throne room.
The doors swung open and we slowly entered the room. Lords and Ladies lined the walls, sitting in their pretend thrones eyes the two of us with hate and spite. The room’s tall, narrow windows were shuttered, leaving only a few fires and a dusty sky light to brighten the room.
Emperor Nathaniel II sat upon his ancient oak throne, its purple cushions providing support. He had taken off his golden armor, but his crown remained. A vibrant crimson toga wrapped his body.
“Jude. Thank you. The Empire is grateful for this bounty.” He flicked his wrist and the lords and ladies bowed their heads.
“Joel. Step forward. Kneel before this throne and beg for mercy.” The Sentinels raised their pikes in our direction. Joel inched forward slowly, smirking as if he were to have the last laugh.
“Beg? For Mercy?” Joel giggled. “I have committed no crime. I have no offense against this empire. I have only my conscience, and the truth, my liege.”
“Stop.” Joel froze. “Then tell your truth, tell this court of your innocence.” The Emperor declared, leaning forward with interest.
“Tsarra knows my innocence.” Joel said, sternly, eyeing the Emperor.
The room gasped, and whispers fell upon the lords and ladies. Nathan seemed unsure how to respond.
“Silence!” He bellowed. The court grew cold. “You dare, boy, speak for the gods?”
“You dare, pretender, act for the gods?” Joel opined.
The Emperor slowly rose to his feet, stepping down the steps from his throne’s mount and out onto the court floor. His crimson robes trailing him.
“I act for Astrians.” He said, motioning towards the crown atop his head. “You are brave to speak such heretical words in the presence of the Emperor. Muchless deny the burning of the Senate. What cause have you for these actions, boy?”
“The will of Tsarra, old man.” Joel brandished a black stone sword, glistening with golden runes. “This will be her foray into the world of man. To bring about democracy and give a voice to the masses. Only when man has taken the mantle of ture civilization will her secrets once again pour into our minds. This palace - this temple to lust, greed, and sloth - will be buried and a wonder of enlightenment will sit atop its foundations. Phoenix will rise into the sky as a beacon for wisdom! We will be greater than Alpikos could ever have been.” Joel let out a cheerful laugh, pointing his sword at the Emperor.
Emperor Nathatniel II told his Sentinels to stand down.
“Are you to strike down your Emperor? Nay, your father?” He asked, his head turned sideways in child-like wonder. “With that… relic.” He opened his robes to show his bare chest. “Then, if it is the will of Tsarra… so be it.”
Joel stood, staring deep into his father's eyes from across the hall. Sword still outstretched. The room was deathly silent.
“Well, we are all waiting.” The Emperor said impatiently.
Sweat was pouring from Joel’s face.
The Emperor walked slowly toward him. Looking upon Joel as if he were a stray puppy, he shook his head and snickered.
“The will has suddenly left your body, it seems. What a shame. Tsarra will be disappointed, I would imagine.” He said, arriving at Joel’s sword. The tip now pressed against the Emperor’s chest. “All you have to do is… push.”
Joel’s hand trembled, he wavered, and stumbled backward. The relic fell to the ground, shattering into little black pebbles. The room erupted in laughter. Joel fell backwards and sat upon the floor, looking as if he had lost everything. A tear fell down his cheek.
“Pathetic. The first son of the Emperor of Astria turns on his empire, on his father, on his faith!” The Emperor yelled, silencing the room. “He dares to point a sword at me! He dares throw away the stability of the empire in favor of a delusion! What am I to say? What am I to do? It is clear. He is to be treated as all vagrants are - he is to be executed. Let the people see their icon hang.” He turned, intent to storm back to his throne.
But Emperor Nathaniel II was met with that which he had taunted.
Nathan was born as the first, and only child, of Emperor Titus and Lady Morril. He was born in the winter, and he was cherished. His mother was obsessed with his upbringing, never leaving his sight. From tutoring in his toddler years to military training in his teenage years. His mother was there. She died, however, on the eve of his commissioning as an officer. He was devastated but his father was overwhelmed. He became a recluse. Titus was seen rarely and in dire conditions. Frail, pale, and unable to move on his own accord. The bitter suffering of the lonely soul.
The Lords and Ladies of the day were very quick to take regency of the empire. It was balkanized and the power of Phoenix faded. They warred in secret against each other and raced for dominance in hopes of the Emperor’s timely death. Nathan saw this, and took a central role in Phoenix politics.
He worked closely with its elders and helped to bring in a fresh style of governance, a fresh personality to the city's leadership. In the absence of his father, it was natural for him to rise to the forefront of capital politics. By the age of 20 he was the mayor of Phoenix, and the commander of its forces. With this position, he united its province, and brought into it key allies of his dynasty and of the Astrian Empire itself - mainly a powerful friend form the north. Lord Farrell.
Together, they toured the empire. Bringing with them their forces to remind the lords and ladies just who would sit upon the throne when Titus passed away. He battled in Georgia. He sqaubbled in Madison. He conquered in Alexandria. Nathan and Farrell spent five years recentralizing the empire’s authority.
Yet after all this time, Titus remained alive. Clinging to the crown. Yet, upon the return of Nathan to Phoenix, Titus finally let go and death took him onward. With convenience, Nathaniel took the throne. His closest ally, Farrell, near his side.
Nathan ruled for more than twenty years. He did so effectively. Peace continued to grace Astria. Stability continued to provide for the people. His rule was good. And over time his reliance on Farrell, and his court, waned. His authority was beyond strong - it was absolute. He was Astria alone.
Now he stood in his own throne room, in his own palace, in the capital of his Empire, in the presence of his court, the sight of his sons, with a dagger thrust nine inches into his chest. His eyes fixed upon those of his assailant.
The dagger slowly inched out of Nathan’s chest. He fell to his knees.
“This… this… is how… Astria falls… in heresy… in… betrayal. Sgrios a bhith ort!” He moaned, blood pouring from his mouth. He collapsed.
Lord Farrell tossed the dagger aside.
“My peers, when the moment presents itself, it would be foolish to pass it up.” He said, with a chuckle. The lords and ladies joined his laughter as the Sentinels exited the room. “My boys, what say you?”
“What say me?” I responded, taking in all that had transpired. “I say nothing.”
The lords and ladies laughed.
nothing.” Farrell spat. “Leave this place and take that pathetic lunatic with you.” He said pointing at Joel.
I stood Joel up and pushed him through the door, which closed hard behind us.
“What happened?” Joel asked, with the tone of a child.
Before we rounded the corner towards the entrance to the palace, a scream came from the throne room like no other - one no human could muster. A priest would describe it as the shriek of a siren. I pushed Joel aside and ran for the throne room, its doors glistening and hot to the touch as if the firmament of the heavens lay on the other side. I pushed hard on the doors with all my strength, screaming from the agony of the hot wood on my skin.
I fell through the threshold only to take in a sight of a divine nature.
Nathaniel, the fallen Emperor, arms outstretched and feet together, ascended above the floor, shrouded in a heavenly light that pained the eye. The shriek came from his gaping mouth. The lords and ladies clung to the walls in fear and awe. His body rose ten feet off of the ground, and the ceiling of the throne room burst open with a mighty blow. Light, brighter than that of the sun, flooded down upon Nathaniel. The shrieking grew louder and a wind, with the force of a deep sea storm, pushed into the room. Chairs and paintings, and loose spears and papers bounced around with ease in the gales. The fires in the center of the court raged as if they had burned into a wealth of fuel. The lords and ladies cried and moaned and the gales pinned them to the walls. I, clinging to the heavy, hot oak doors, watched in horrified amazement.
The Emperor slowly lowered to his feet upon the court floor. The light dimmed and the winds calmed. Silence drew upon the throne room. Slowly, the lords and ladies stood, staring in fear at the Emperor. I too stood, still clinging to the door.
The Emperor, still shrouded in light, pointed at Farrell, who had taken refuge in the throne.
“Stand. Face your judgement.” The Emperor’s voice said from the heavens, his mouth sill gaped. “Stand.”
Farrell did not move.
“So bet it.”
The Emperor lowered his hand and looked up to the heavens through the open ceiling. The building rumbled briefly before Ferrell moaned in agony.
His entire being erupted in flame, bright and so hot it could be felt from my position across the hall. He screamed, he moaned, he rolled across the floor. Behind him the throne of Astria burned too.
As the flames died away, Farrell’s charred remains crumbled to ash before our eyes. The throne creaked and creaked in two, falling from its mount.
“Learn the word of god, mortal men. Learn the divinity of the creator. Repent your sins. Live for salvation. God will return to judge all those who have, do, and will walk the earth. Heed my words. Glory be to god.” The Emperor’s voice rang, and his body vanished as if he were the light and it was extinguished.
I looked upon the body of Nathan. I witnessed the return of god the creator. I am saved.
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