#just imagine if it was a continent today and you could travel to it
A Holiday in Middle-earth Would Look Like:
The world isn't in your books and maps, it's out there
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“ throw yourself into the unknown
with pace and a fury defiant ”
- achilles come down ( gang of youths )
“Could you imagine living all those thousands of years ago? What do you think people back then were like?” Mama asks him one day. They’re standing amidst the ruins of a hypostyle hall, surrounded by faded hieroglyphs and fallen columns of the once grand mortuary temple. The sun beats down on them, flushing his pale skin.
Milo doesn’t answer, instead traces a weathered marking on the wall. It might be a cloth, or it might be a feather - he can’t tell anymore. Wind and sand and the passage of time has worn away the once delicate work.
But he can feel.
The magic rooted here still remains, however weak. He feels the spells of days gone by, when the mystical and mundane were once so intimately intertwined. He traces down the indent, letting the magic pull at him.
He’s thirteen - all long limbs and wild eyes, and stretched so, so thin.
In a thousand nights, and in the blink of an eye he watches the funeral procession make their way through the sea of carved columns one last time. Slaves carrying litters, servants carrying gold, and words of a bygone time float by him and a dry breeze.
He can’t understand what they’re saying, but he understand their magic; safe passage for the soul, protection of the earthly remains. It’s so far removed from everything he knows, yet it resonates in his bones. A familiarity that’s foreign to him.
He meets the eyes of one Egyptian magician. A man so far removed from the wizards of present. There is a thousand lifetimes between the two of them, and yet this man is both less and more than he’ll ever be. Envy and longing race through him.
The colours of the painted temple fade. Sand and time wash over the ruins, dragging the procession back into obscurity once more.
He faces Mama, who’s timeless smile grounds him amongst the rubble. She pushes her disheveled hair out of her lively eyes, as she dreams of the dead. Mama never feels, but she likes to think, and likes to imagine. She dreams of the colours that always dance through his sight.
“I can’t imagine it was anything wondrous,” is his cheeky reply. “Certainly nothing like the splendour of today.” He’s ever the contrarian, yet Mama smiles all the same.
“Hush you! Perhaps instead the Ancients were twice as grand as any marvel today. No, thrice!” Mama insists, ever romanticizing what she cannot see and cannot feel.
Milo laughs at her assertion, watching her twirl away in a flurry of sand-battered and sun-bleached linens. She follows the forgotten procession through the complex, towards the shade of the inner temple where Grandpa waits for them, surrounded by his books and excavating equipment.
Violet eyes gaze over the endless rows of columns that still stand. Surrounded on all sides by sand or stone, the mortuary temple may remain, but it cannot outlast time. Magic may linger, but time always wins.
Milo sees it, feels it. Violet eyes shine with the magic of a thousand endless days, and a thousand sleepless nights.
Nothing can last, no matter how lively and vibrant and brilliant.
Hogwarts is cold and miserable compared to Egypt. Or maybe Milo just left a part of himself in another continent.
He floats through the dreary halls, trailing after his father and the headmaster. They talk a lot about Hogwarts and her history. Of their boyhood spent in these halls, and how Milo will soon find his place.
“You’ll be a boon to your house, of that I am sure.”
Milo has his doubts. Traveling the continent with a muggle mother and grandfather don’t make for the best magical homeschooling experience. Especially when one’s magical father only visits a handful of times a year. Milo can sing of the wrath of Achilles, read hieroglyphs with ease, knows the Pantheons inside and out.
But magic? His grasp of the most simple spells is just that, simple.
He doesn’t want to be here. For here he feels too much and nothing at all. Hogwarts has watched students come and go, paying no mind to time marching on.
The magic claws at Milo, yet he can never seem to find it. Like a whisper on the breeze of secrets past, but when he looks the moment is gone. Always out of reach, always one step behind. It unnerves him how Hogwarts has that deep rooted familiarity he feels in his bones, yet it makes him sick to his stomach.
The school has a thousand stories bouncing through the halls. All disjointed and overlapping. Everything is right, and yet, nothing seem to last.
They linger and they fade in time, even the ghosts, their magic replaced in due process.
There is always new magic in the school.
Perhaps that is just how she is, Hogwarts. The trade off. To protect herself from the agony of a thousand lives, and a thousand monsters who walked her halls, she allows herself to forget. Protect and care for her students, her children, but let them go. Forget them, forget the thousand endless days and thousand sleepless nights.
Milo doesn’t want to forget.
helloooooo I don’t know where this came from, but hey have a random drabble about my dear boi milo.
uhhhh so as I’ve mentioned, he’s the son of two history buffs. and is a history nerd himself. but i also like the idea of him having sorta seer powers. but the opposite. instead of seeing the future, he sees the past. what has been rather than what is to come. so it’s great when it’s just you and your muggle fam on an archaeology dig in egypt. but not so great at an old magical castle.
this is essentially the prologue for milo. a bit of a somber look as to when he arrives late at hogwarts.
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Monday, 16 April 1827
my bowels tolerably well – sat half asleep near half an hour on the pot – the washer woman came at 8 1/2 – settled with her in 5 minutes –
at my desk at 8 35/60 – wrote the 2 last lines – read over Marian’s letter – from 7 55/60 to 10, wrote 2 pages and the ends, and under the seal to Marian – glad of the good account of themselves – so will not dwell upon the disagreeable intelligence of Northgate not being likely to let – trust Marian speaks generally, and has no reason to apply particularly to me what she observed about its being ‘very necessary if not absolutely necessary for a person of moderate fortune to live not very distant from their inheritance’ – If she or my father thought my presence necessary of course they would tell me so –
‘we are now so comfortably settled, that I should have no difficulty in leaving my aunt for any length of time, that could be necessary – In fact, from harass, or anxiety, or 1 thing or other, I have been a little out of sorts lately, and mean to change the air a little by and by – what we shall do next year, it is as yet quite impossible to say – my aunt’s general health is certainly better here, than it was, or than those, who ought to know best, thought it would be, in England: – but I do not mean to say, that the complaint is, or is likely to be, driven away from her limbs – However by next spring, she will be better able to judge for herself – to me, so long as we are sufficiently within reach of our affairs, it is matter of indifference where we live – It is possible to be happy anywhere, if the mind be right – the loss of those whom we have all our lives been accustomed to see, is a greater loss than we may have imagined till it has been been tried; but even this may be got over, if there be adequate reason for it – I suspect that, as you grow older, you will let slip many of your own schemes of going here and there – Perhaps you have already 1/2 forgotten many of your dreams about St. Petersbourgh etc – ‘a rolling stone gathers no moss’ – If moss stands for money, nothing can be more true – we do pay dear for most things; and there are many things cheaper in England than here: – but we have no doctors’ bills to pay as yet; and perhaps we should not have saved much at the year’s end by going to any place in England, which has yet occurred to us – But saving is not the question – I am only anxious to do what is best for my aunt; and whatever she even fancies, be it what it may, we shall try – send our remembrances particularly to Mrs V– (Veitch) with a kind message from my aunt, and remembrances to all the principal of our connaissances – make what use you like of my remembrances at Market W– (Weighton); but do not forget Mrs Skelding – I conclude Mrs I– (Inman) is still at Lancaster – if they go to Hull to give my thanks etc to Mrs Knight for the Euripides Medea by Parson given me in remembrance of Mr K– (Knight)
mention the reports in the French papers of yesterday (Journal des Debats) of Mr Canning’s being prime minister and to make his own cabinet – and how all the liberal French are delighted – read over my letter wrote the above (except the 1st 1 1/2 lines) folded and directed my letter to ‘Miss Marian Lister Shibden hall, H–x (Halifax), Yorkshire Angleterre, post payé’ and sent it in to my aunt to read all which took me till 10 40/60 –
from then to 11 10/60 at breakfast – then sent back volume 10 Anquetils précis de l’histoire universelle ‘à Madame Madame Sené avec les compliments and les remerciennes de Mademoiselle Lister’ written on the paper in which the back was folded – then sent off my letter to Marian (vide 4th line above) at 11 20/60 – then finish dressing –
Talking to my aunt – considering what things should be got, etc etc went out at 1 – Took George with me – bought several things at Bertrand’s – Sardines à l’huile not in season – for they should be fresh to be put in oil (and Bertrand had not any), and would not come in of 3 months – En passant chez Lesueur (rue des Petit Champs No. Number 31.) saw some nice looking beef (ribs) asked the price 10 sols a lb. (pound) – bought 6 1/2 lbs. (pounds) they were giving me a lb. (pound) of rejouissance at 9 sols – would not have – then must pay 1 sol a lb. (pound) more for the beef – did so – asked the price of mutton – 14 sols a lb. (pound) – nice but not so small as Mignand’s –
just before entering the place des Victoires turned to the right down to the passage Verododat – thro’ it, and came out into the rue St. Honoré opposite the oration – En passant went into No. 82 rue St. Denis près celle des Lombards – large wholesale confections shop – only asked me 3/50 a lb. (pound) for fine chinois, the same for apricots – the latter not yet egouttés – bought a lb. (pound) of the former determining to make this my shop – for marmalade d’abricots and all such things 2/. a lb. (pound) – the little pots I buy said to contain 3 oz. (ounces) less than a lb. (pound) – 2 francs a lb. (pound) = 2 1/2 sols an oz (ounce) – at this rate I am right to buy of Bertrand’s – I only give 32 sols. for 13 oz. (ounces) and have the pot – from the confection’s (B. Perrot Pezé), to No. 1. rue des Lombards – bought 3 lbs. (pounds) tea, and sent home George –
sauntered down the rue d’Arcis, and to the Marché au Gibier – a woman asked me 18 sols for fineish skewered pigeons (Bertrand said I ought to have very good at 1/. but there from 14 sols to 30 sols!), I could have got them easily for 15 sols, but only offered 12 sols – then strolled along the Quais looking at prints and maps as I passed – the troops reviewed by the king today in the Champ de Mars – a crowd about the port royal (de Louis 16) etc – thro‘ the gardens – just got under the arcade in time (at 4) to Escape a shower – detained there perhaps 20 minutes – the channels in the streets full of water – obliged to cross (from the rue neuve de Luxembourg) over the little communion show in the rue Richepanse – beginning to rain again just before I got home –
came in at 4 1/2 – Monsieur and Madame Sené with my aunt in her bedroom about her bed on account of bugs – they must come from MacDonald’s bed – Madame S– (Sené) now recollects the nurse had this bed once (last year) in a 4rième when they were from home, and she complained much of bugs – the bois de lit is to be taken away and MacDonald to have another – all very civil – talked a while to my aunt –
came to my room at 4 50/60 – wrote the last 20 lines – settled with George, – and went out (to Mrs B–‘s Barlow’s to dine) at 5 35/60 sent George at 5 20/60 to be then to wait till 7 and then come back to my aunt – washed my hands and changed shoes and stockings at Mrs B–‘s (Barlow’s) – Miss Gauntlet had been there some time –
Dinner at 6 1/4 – sent George home in about an hour from then – peas soup maigre – hind 1/4 lamb, and vol au vent at 4 /. asparagées and mashed potatoes – then a Charlotte Russe (a cream enclosed in a pretty pudding-like mould of savoy biscuits) at 5/. For dessert oranges – biscuits and rout cakes almonds and raisins – tea about 9 – joking Miss G– (Gauntlet) about being a physionist – she said there was something wicked in the corner of my eye – I said there was something ditto in the left corner of her left eye – she had heard it remarked before – she said there was something wicked in the corner of Mrs B–‘s (Barlow’s) eye, but it was more hid there in mine – joked Mrs B– (Barlow) about Miss G–‘s (Gauntlet’s) having given her the name of ‘latent wicked’ –
got to talking about Switzerland – had the map out – mentioned our 1st intention of going by Strasbourg – would do very well – Miss G– (Gauntlet) saw Chamouny 16 August – by all means cross the tête noir, but dangerous too early or late in the season – If not go, return by Lyons – very well worth seeing – Dijon a pretty little town – the Deux Cloches there one of the best Inns, and reasonable, Miss G– (Gauntlet) has been at on the continent – At Geneva the Crown very good – will get all sorts of information there but be generally be guided by the Guide book – this always the best – not interested to advise this way or that – 3 days quite enough for Venice – she bought prints of Parni at Florence – Morgan the best and dearest; but the English turned over his portfolio, and said so much inquiry without purchasing, he will not let them do so now – a Miss Trail Travelled thro’ Italy by herself – had 30 letters of recommendation, and thus went from house to house – a singular genius for painting – copies all the famous heads, Raphael’s mistress, Titians Flora. etc etc in miniature – has left her family to study painting in Italy – a gentlewoman – now at Rome – copies most beautifully – many of her things likely to make a great noise in England when she returns – sat talking Till 12 – George had been waiting since 9 1/4 – sent him for a fiacre for Miss G– (Gauntlet)
got home at 12 1/4 – sat up looking over my French cookery books – some useful information in the confiseur moderne about bottling wine – [O two dots, marking discharge from venereal complaint] – Miss G– Gauntlet strongly recommends all persons travelling to get as many and good letters of introduction as they can –
left margin: Fahrenheit 50 at 7 1/2 44 1/2 at 12 1/4 tonight Fine morning then threatening rain – smartish shower about 4 to 4 1/2 – afterwards fair –
reference number: SH:7/ML/E/10/0081, SH:7/ML/E/10/0082
14 Cartoons About Emergency IT Support That’ll Brighten Your Day
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In your ask about how the nameless guy could be the nameless woman, you said that you thought the statute of secrecy is much younger than what is said in the series. Please elaborate how you know (not that I disagree with you. the wizards are s*** at keeping themselves a secret)
So, as I’ve discussed before, one has to take anything about history in the wizarding world with a large grain of salt. Specifically, I doubt the wizarding world approaches the discipline of history the way we do, history doesn’t seem to be much of an academic field (the wizarding world seems to only have two historians, one of which is dead), and there seems to be a strong incentive and tradition of propaganda.
So, that alone makes me suspicious of anything we learn relating to The Founders, Merlin, and even the Statute of Secrecy.
And now, JKR’s wiki.
JKR places the statute in the midst of the witch burnings (late 17th century) as basically an emergency action on the part of the wizarding community. Who had been steadily ostracized for about a century.
The children were particularly vulnerable and eventually they put their feet down, across the entire world (Tibet is somehow included in this), and agreed to make all the muggles forget about them.
I actually had thought JKR had made the statute earlier than that, which is my bad, so I would probably date it nearish the same time (and they do probably have records of when they put it into law) but I think the why and the how are a little different than wizards remember.
The Modern Wizarding World
To me, the Wizarding World we see in Harry Potter doesn’t reflect this story.
We see extreme anti-muggleborn sentiment in Salazar Slytheirn (who is supposed to be dated 500 years earlier). Granted, this is likely propaganda/popular legend dated to near when the statute went into effect, showing that “SEE THIS HAS ALWAYS PLAGUED OUR PEOPLE”, except he’s portrayed in a very negative light.
Salazar is a known dark wizard and when he doesn’t get what he wants, he puts a monster in the basement of the school. Even before Voldemort warped society’s perception of Slytherin, this is...
Well, it’s not the kind of legend you have about the other three founders.
That’s... not what your Cassandra should be doing.
Wizards treat the witch burnings as a joke. Oh, they don’t like the sentiment, but within the books Hermione notably reads historical accounts of witches and wizards who enjoyed getting caught by muggles because they liked being lit on fire and laughing in their faces.
Now, this is one account we get to see, but that this is something taught to the children just emphasizes that muggles aren’t viewed as a threat. They’re a nuisance or else a people to be pitied for their lack of magic.
While it has been 400 years, I think that the reasons for the founding of modern wizarding society would run deep. If it was truly because of the witch hunts alone, and fear of persecution, their narrative and attitudes would look very different.
This is not a society that went into hiding because of big bad muggles.
It’s a society that went into hiding because they were sick of this bullshit
The Bullshit Turmoil of 17th Century Europe
17th century Europe was a mess. Large parts of countries changed hands all the time, the continent was nearly always at war, and England might have been one of the biggest messes of all. Civil war, deposed kings, reform of the state religion multiple times, the witch burnings, etc.
I think the wizards just got tired of it and didn’t want to deal with it anymore. They already likely had Hogwarts, their own private, secret, educational institution, and already feel quite cut off from muggle society. Why should they pay taxes to muggle kings who change every week and whose religions constantly persecute them?
So, in the midst of all this chaos, they enact the statute. And I imagine it’s surprisingly simple. Most pack up and move, creating all wizarding neighborhoods, they have a council of their most important families meeting every so often which becomes the Wizengamot, and they become essentially a sovereign nation that just happens to leach off muggle infrastructure.
And as the years go on, and they like this not paying taxes or going to church thing, they slowly become more and more alienated from muggle society until they fail to understand it at all.
And so you have the modern wizard who literally has no clue why they separated off except that the witch burnings had something to do with it. The idea that muggles even have problems like these (politics, civil war, changing of state religion multiple times) is likely an anathema to them.
They’ve completely forgotten that they once had to deal with this too.
What About the Other Countries?
JKR doesn’t really cite when it became an international law but it’s presumably around the same time.
And you’re telling me that they were able to get people from every country, not just Western Europe, with starkly different cultures and attitudes towards magic, to agree to this? All at the same time?
To me, I think it was rapidly adopted in stages in Western Europe. Britain may have done it first then the French wizards went, “Hey, that looks like a great idea!” and went along for the ride.
I think it was imperialism/colonialism/westernization that spread the statue elsewhere. The British wizards get to China and India, sorry locals, you get to use wands, build magical academies, and have to go live separate from the muggles now. Doesn’t matter what you were doing before, our way is the right way!
With westernization, I imagine that the wizarding communities in those nations saw the changing times, and most decided to switch over to the more western model of disappearing as muggles seemed to appreciate them less and less. And even then we still have things like Rasputin happening.
The Statute Today
With increased technology, communication, and travel the Statute is untenable. It will fail. Eventually there will be something wizards can’t cover up with a gas leak. As it is, that’s very nearly Harry and Ron in 1992 when they fly a car over a populated city.
More, the alienation of the wizarding world doesn’t help. They now have no understanding of muggle culture. The only real understanding they have is through muggleborns and they’re disconnected from muggles as well as they’re essentially taken out of that society at the age of eleven.
The way wizards talk, the statute will always hold. Doesn’t matter that the obliviation department seems busier than ever, the idea that this didn’t always exist, that it can crumble, doesn’t even occur to them.
But yes, those are my general thoughts on the statute.
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So i was listening to this song from the tangled soundtrack and my mind went on fluff
So basically this whole scene where rapunzel and Eugene are in the City but make it geraskier
A/n: fluff nothing but fluff, i apologies in advance for the English, it's not my first language and i was soo excited about this one shot 😍 i hope you enjoy it as much as i did while writing it
They go to a town where the people actually aren't scared of witchers at all and they are friendly to Geralt. And the town has a feast in the evening so everything is decorated and looks nice. And they both can walk around the town without worrying much.
Some kids are amazed by Geralt's long whit hair and they can't stop staring. Geralt tries to ignore it as usual but Jaskier notice that the kids smiles "isn't his hair wonderful?" he asks the kids and they just start nod heavily "do you wanna braid it?" just more nods from the children. Jaskier smirks but gets a grumpy look from Geralt.
Even though he doesn't like it in the beginning, Geralt gets his hair braided by the kids. They also put some flowers in there of course. And in the end Geralt actually likes it because the flowers smell nice and not only the townspeople aren't afraid, they smile at him and greet him. And he takes one blue little flower out of his hair and at first Jaskier and the children get sad but then Geralt puts it behind Jaskier's ear because it's a cornflower and it matches his eyes perfectly. And he blushes a bit and Geralt is genuinely happy about it.
Jaskier discovers a small library and he wants to go there so badly, because he wants to show Geralt some of his favourite books. Geralt has a good day so he agrees. They don't have all the books he looked for but some of his favourite poem books from his favourite poets who inspired Jaskier to become a bard. The poems are truly beautiful, even Geralt has to admit that.
Geralt's looks fade away as he imagined a younger Jaskier in the academy of oxenfurt. As he notices a map of the continent on the wall. And now he gets excited and wants to show his friend where he came from and which regions he has travelled so far. So he drags Jaskier to the map and starts talking and explaining. The Bard can't decide what amazes him the most: all the knowledge and stories about the village and towns Geralt has already seen or how much Geralt talks right now.
The big market place is decorated so beautifully and there are so many people standing around talking and laughing, so jaskier uses the audience and starts to play a cheerful melody on his lute. The people start clapping and some other musicians join his melody. And the people start to dance and a little girl drags Geralt into the dancing circle, and he actually follows her. And suddenly Jaskier has a sad look in his eyes. Musicians never dance.
A woman next to him noticed his look towards Geralt, she doesn't say anything she just picks up her own lute and starts to play a long with Jaskier. He looks surprised and she just smiles and nods. Jaskier puts his lute down behind as gentle but also as fast as possible. Immediately as he comes closer to the dancing people he gets dragged in by a big baker, who is still in his work clothes. Meanwhile Geralt dances with a lovely old lady who is insanely fast for her age. Jaskier looks out for Geralt but he can't find him; they all dance too fast. They all change partners and jaskier could get a glimpse at Geralt and he started smiling even more when he sees Jaskier as well. Now Jaskier is dancing with a young girl, and Geralt with a sweet blond woman. But now Jaskier is here Geralt can't focus anymore. His dance partner noticed his look and was kinda jealous at first but when she saw Jaskier's searching look for the fastest way to geralt, she knew what to do. She takes the lead more into the middle of the place and jaskier does the same with the young girl. Partner change again, Geralt and Jaskier both tried to reach out for each other but some other dancers were faster and pulled them away.
They just danced along the happy tune, hoping that they will dance with their dream partners soon. And finally when they both were out of breath they crashed into each other. Geralt's amber eyes met Jaskier's sky blue eyes and they smiled so deeply and they held each other so close. The music reached its peak so before they could start dancing the music was over and the people applauded, but not Jaskier and Geralt. They didn't notice anything around them anymore, they only had eyes for each other. Maybe it was good that the dance stopped, cause Geralt and Jaskier wouldn't have changed Partners anymore, not now, not Today.
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The Average and Unusual Couple: Chapter Ten
About almost ninety minutes later after all of his friends had left from his birthday party, Stan is about to get ready to head over to the Netherworld to see what special gift that Beetlejuice and Lydia has gotten for him. But before he makes his trip, he checks out with his parents one more time to be sure that they won’t bother him for the rest of the night.
Stan: Hey, mom. I just wanna say thank you once again for the PS5, and making this birthday as memorable as possible.
Sharon: Aww, thank you, sweetie. I’m sorry that your father wasn’t as corroborative as I hoped he would’ve been. I tried my best to get him in being a supportive father just for today, but he just won’t budge from his Tegridy obsession.
Stan: It’s alright, mom. You did everything that you could. And besides, all the gifts that I received and having my friends over here outweighs his terrible attitude.
Sharon: I’m glad to hear that. And do you need any help in setting up your PS5 tomorrow?
Stan: Nah, I think I can handle it myself. But if I ever need you, I’ll let you know.
Sharon: Well, I’m all free tomorrow just to let you know.
Stan: Okay. Anyway, I’m about to head into my room for the rest for the night. I wanna check out some of my gifts before I get to bed.
Sharon: Sounds good then. Good night, sweetheart. And happy birthday.
Stan: Good night, mom. And thank you so much for everything today.
He gives his mother one last hug, and then walks upstairs into his room. As he got in, everything was set up for him to make his visit to the Netherworld. His window curtains was shut, and has a candle sitting on his desk. After lighting up the candle, the last thing Stan does was putting on his new T. Rex necklace that Lydia has gotten him recently. He wanted to wear something a little extra for now on whenever he visits the Netherworld, and he thought the necklace would be a perfect fit for that role.
Stan: Though I know I should be wary, still I venture someplace scary! Ghostly hauntings I turn loose…Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!
Much like from his first experience, a huge thunder sound is heard, the wooden walls of the room tears itself apart, and becomes stone walls. The candle disappears, and some bats begins to fly around in the same large room that he and Lydia has been teleported too before. Afterwards, he opens up the door that enters him into the Netherworld, and it only takes him about a few minutes to reach to the Roadhouse. Over there waiting for him were Beetlejuice, Lydia, and a living yellowish car that was Doomie.
Stan: Hi, guys!
Beetlejuice: Stanny boy, happy birthday!
Doomie: Beep, beep!
Lydia: I see that you’re already wearing that T. Rex necklace.
Stan: Yeah, I thought that I would give it a shot as a little extra something to wear whenever I visit here.
Lydia smiling: I think it really suits you pretty well. Being the true prehistoric buff that you really are.
Stan smiling: Thanks.
Beetlejuice: Tell me quickly, Stan, how would you rate your birthday party overall? Was it like a one out of five chickens that still has their heads, or a perfect five out of five chocolate themed beetles?
Stan: Umm, from my point of view, it was a nearly perfect five star party with my dad being the only nitpick thing about it. And I don’t think you would’ve enjoyed my party anyway as we all mostly chit-chatted with each other instead of any dancing.
Beetlejuice: Pfft, I figured. *talks to the reader* Non-wild parties, you know I hate it.
Lydia: Well anyway, are you ready to find out about your final birthday present?
Stan getting excited: Oh, hell yeah! I can’t wait to see what it is!
Beetlejuice: In that case then, hop on aboard with us, and we’ll take you there way faster than a plane trip to Hawaii!
Stan: Hold on a sec, this is a birthday trip?
Lydia: That’s right. Me and BJ had this planned out for quite a while now ever since your first visit here. And the place we’re heading to will make you feel like a happy kid in a zoo.
Beetlejuice: Let’s not waste anymore time, okay! I’ll like to head on over there as quickly as possible too. Let’s go!
Beetlejuice sat on the driver seat while Stan and Lydia sit next to each other in the back.
Beetlejuice: Okay, Doomero! Let’s ride on over there!
Doomie: Beep, beep, beeeep!
And without any extra thought, Doomie begins to drive fast for the trip to their destination.
Stan: So, what is the place that we’re heading to?
Lydia: It’s one of a few large parks that the Netherworld has to offer, and it’s also the biggest one of them all. It’s called Extinction National Park.
Stan: Extinction National Park? What kind of a park is it?
Beetlejuice: It’s more like a wildlife preserve kind of a place, except this park holds every extinct plant and animal species that used to live on Earth. Its landmass is about the size of Australia and Antarctica put together, and it even has its own ocean.
Stan: Holy shit! I didn’t ever think the Netherworld would never have such a place like that.
Beetlejuice: Well, Heaven and Hell couldn’t accept any extinct animal as they usually take in people and domesticated animals. That’s why the big man himself created such a large continent just for them.
Stan: What is it like over there?
Beetlejuice: There’s no fences or anything like you see in a zoo as you get to explore freely anywhere in this huge park. It’s the ultimate prehistoric wild safari that’ll make Jurassic Park look like a petting zoo. And all the extinct species that you can imagine, you can find them all at Extinction National Park. Prehistoric marine animals, all the extinct mammals, and every single dinosaur that has ever lived!
Stan excited: Fuck yeah! The kind of trip that is fully right in my alley! And how long will it take us to get over there?
Beetlejuice: It’ll take us about thirty minutes to reach the ocean, and then it’ll be an hour fly across the open waters from the beach to our destination.
Stan: I’ll try to get some sleep as much as I can for the time being. What about you, Lydia?
Lydia: *yawns* I’m with you. I need as much sleep as I can get too.
Beetlejuice: I’ll give you two a strong odor from me when we get there.
Lydia: Promise us that it won’t smell too disgusting.
Beetlejuice: I can’t make any promises, but I’ll come up with something. *uses his magic to place pillows behind their heads* Dream something gross for me.
Both Stan and Lydia shut their eyes to get some sleep.
Beetlejuice: *talks to the reader* Love may be the pits for me, but I ain’t gonna lie, they’re literally meant for each other. Just promise me that you won’t say that to them.
After about over an hour and an half later since leaving the Roadhouse, Doomie was flying across the ocean as he and Beetlejuice sees a huge land dead ahead. And as they approach Extinction National Park, a couple pteranodons were flying by near them. One of the pteranodons gets too close to Doomie.
Doomie: Beep, beep!
Beetlejuice: Don’t worry, Doomie. I got something to let out that should scare him away.
He lets out a huge sticky burp to the pterosaur. The pteranodon smells the disgusting burp, and flies away from them.
Beetlejuice: Hmm, I still got some left in me. *chuckles* Time to wake them up.
He lets out the remaining burps he had left, catches some of them with his hands, and then blows the stinky burps towards Stan and Lydia. They both smell the burp that causes them to wake up in a couple seconds.
Stan: Ugh, something smells like a stink bug.
Beetlejuice: That was because I had a small bag of stink bugs as a snack while we were traveling.
Lydia: At least I can tolerate this kind of a smell unlike the stunk deodorant that you use.
Stan: Oh my god! Lydia, look!
Lydia turns to where Stan was looking at, and she sees them. A small group of pteranodons flying from a short distance away. They both reacted in such awe by seeing the type of natural sighting that the Earth itself has not seen in over 66 million years.
Lydia excited: Deadly Vu! Actual pterosaurs right in front of our eyes!
Stan: I can’t believe that I’m actually seeing them. They look so magnificent!
Lydia uses her camera to take some pictures of the pteranodons.
Beetlejuice: If you two thought that was cool, then take a look underneath you.
Stan and Lydia take a look at the mass open water as they see a pod of marine animals that were dark shaded, and looked like something between a dolphin and a marlin.
Stan excited: Ichthyosaurs! This is so awesome!
Lydia: Aww, there’s even some juveniles within the pod. They look so adorable!
While Lydia takes some pictures of them, one of the ichthyosaur takes a quick jump out of the water like a dolphin.
Stan excited: Wow! They can jump just as good as dolphins!
Lydia excited: Yeah, and they’re behaving similarity too despite of them being marine reptiles instead of mammals.
Stan: This is definitely a wonderful example of convergent evolution right in front of our eyes.
As Stan and Lydia were geeking out on seeing the ichthyosaurs pod, Doomie sees something approaching the pod that looked like a huge marine snake.
Doomie: Beep, beep!
Beetlejuice: Hmm. *sees the big marine animal* Oooh, looks like we’re about to see a hunt being carried out.
Stan: A hunt? Then where’s the predator?
Lydia: I see it! Pull over for a second, Doomie!
Doomie stops flying, and is now floating so that way they can all see the hunt. The predator targets one of the juvenile ichthyosaur that was having a tough time keeping up with the rest of the pod. Stan looks closer to identify what type of animal it was. Its body looked so much like that of a snake, but it had front flippers, and at the end of its tail was a whale like fluke.
Stan: It’s a basilosaurus.
Lydia: Oh, yeah. The prehistoric whale that looks like a slender version of a mosasaur.
Beetlejuice: Oh, thank god. For a moment I thought it a was a giant seaworm.
The basilosaurus opens its jaws, and lunges them into the young ichthyosaur. As its teeth grips into its prey, the basilosaurus moves its head around for a bit, and then makes another bite into the ichthyosaur. The prey dies immediately from the second bite, and there was a lot of blood everywhere at the scene of the hunt. The prehistoric whale then swims away with its meal while leaving behind a trail of blood.
Stan in shocked: My god. It feels so surreal to actually see that kind of a hunt in front of us instead of seeing it in a nature documentary.
Lydia: Yeah, same. I just wish that the victim didn’t had to be that poor juvenile.
Beetlejuice: That’s nature for ya, Babes. They don’t carry out any rules like how we all do. And frankly, that’s my most favorite thing about it.
Doomie feeling unease: Awww.
Lydia: I know it was hard to watch, Doomie, but that what happens in nature everyday. Let’s try to move on, and see what exciting things that this mega park has to offer, okay?
Doomie starts to fly again as they getting closer to Extinction National Park. About a minute later, they’ve finally made into land, and Doomie lands into an open field on the beach. Already they see some big scorpion like creatures hanging around.
Beetlejuice: Well, well, looks like we got some sea scorpions.
Stan: Or eurypterids as the paleo community calls them. Although sea scorpions is a pretty cool nickname for them, they’re not true scorpions. They mainly spend much of their lives in the sea, and only have to come into land during mating season and laying their eggs. And from what we’re seeing here, those guys must be laying eggs.
Lydia excited: Nice! I’ve seen fossils of them during my trip at the Field Museum, and it’s so awesome to see them in person. Especially since arthropods are my favorite group of animals. Stan, can you take a picture of me with those eurypterids?
Stan smiling: Sure!
Both Stan and Lydia get out of Doomie, and head towards to where the eurypterids are at. Stan first takes a picture of Lydia with the eurypterids, and then Lydia does the same thing for Stan. And while Lydia takes a few close up pictures of the big arthropods, Beetlejuice does a staring contest with one of them.
Beetlejuice: If I win, I’m gonna make a barbecue out off of ya.
The eurypterid uses one of its pincers to pinch Beetlejuice’s nose.
Beetlejuice: Owwwww!! Let go of me, you fucking scorpion!
He uses his hands to pull the arthropod’s pincer off of his nose, but his nose gets pulled off along with it.
Beetlejuice frustrated: Give me that!
He physically grabs his nose back from the eurypterid, and then puts his nose back on. He can feel the pinching pain on his nose.
Beetlejuice: Next time, I’ll be sure to use duck tape. *magically holds a duck head with tape coming out from its mouth, and the duck makes a couple quacks*
Stan: Come on, dude! We’re ready to see some dinosaurs!
Beetlejuice: Keep your noses on, I’m coming!
They begin to move within the huge park. Along the way, they drove by a big cotylorhynchus, some small pterosaurs, and some extinct horses. And as they get closer into the forest, they’ve spotted an interesting creature. It looked like some kind of a dog but with a long tail, and it had stripes on its back.
Lydia: That must be the Tasmanian tiger. They were once the top predator of Tasmania until humans came into the island and wiped them out.
Stan: It’s a shame that they’re no longer with us, but from the looks of him, he seems to be having a peaceful lifestyle here. I’m glad to see that at least. Hopefully the wolves in America won’t end up like him.
Beetlejuice: That critter wouldn’t happened to be named Ty, would he? *turns himself into Ty the Tasmanian Tiger*
Lydia: *laughs* I doubt it, but who knows.
The Tasmanian tiger notices them, and for a few brief moments it was staring at them. And then after Lydia takes a quick picture of it, the small predator moves on into the forest.
Stan: That was amazing. The way he was staring at us like that, reminds me a bit of a wolf.
Lydia: Exactly what I was thinking too. They were also called a Tasmanian wolf due to how they behaved similarly to them despite on being a marsupial.
Beetlejuice: And you know what, I’m also surprised that Doomie here didn’t go crazy during that moment. That critter really did looked like a dog after all.
Doomie: Beep, beep!
Lydia: The skull on his hood is also his nose, remember?
Beetlejuice: Oh, right. I can’t believe that I actually forgotten about that.
Stan: I didn’t know that you could smell, Doomie. You were able to tell that the Tasmanian tiger that we just saw was a marsupial instead of a dog?
Stan: *laughs a bit* Good to know then.
They then drive on into the forest. There, they’ve encountered many different type of prehistoric animals such as a group of small planet eating dinosaurs call leaellynasaura, a small meat eating dinosaur call ornitholestes, and a huge ape call gigantopithecus. About a half hour later, they come across into an open field where there was some big trees, and a huge watering hole. And also in the open field were some of the largest animals to ever lived. The whole group couldn’t helped but gasped in awe by witnessing the type of natural beauty that’ll never happen on Earth.
Lydia: Deadly Vu.
Beetlejuice: Even for a gross guy like myself, I gotta say, this is one hell of an awesome sighting.
In the open field, there were many different type of dinosaurs such as a couple Argentinosaurus feeding on the big trees, a group of brontosaurus roaming in the field, a herd of parasaurolophus, some pachyrhinosaurus, and a single stegosaurus drinking at the watering hole. But dinosaurs weren’t the only animals in the area. Other extinct animals in the open field includes a large paraceratherium along with its young calf, a small group of lisowicia, and a traveling herd of Columbian mammoths.
Stan: I’m a lost for words here. I’ve never ever seen anything like this in my entire life.
Lydia: This is like the ultimate safari sighting unlike any other. A one of a kind that’ll never happen in human existence, and you and me are the very first living human beings to ever see it.
Stan smiling: Well said, Lydia.
Beetlejuice: Anyway, are you gonna take some unforgettable pictures, Lyds?
Lydia excited: You bet your ass that I’m gonna be doing that, Beetlejuice! Let’s do it!
Beetlejuice: Woah, I haven’t seen you this excited in quite a while, Babes. *talks to the reader* And you know me, I really fucking love it when she gets this excited! It makes things even more fun! *laughs*
They start off by flying for some close up pictures of an Argentinosaurus eating from the large conifer tree, along with one picture of Beetlejuice sitting on top of the sauropod’s head. Followed by a couple pictures of the brontosaurus herd. Then took pictures of the Columbian mammoth herd, including a close up one of the little mammoth calves. And took pictures of the watering hole area where many animals including the parasaurolophus herd, the stegosaurus, and the paraceratherium were having their drinks. But Lydia wasn’t done taking pictures yet. She wanted to take some group photos next.
Lydia: Okay, Stan. Since it’s your birthday, how about we start off by having a picture of you along with the animals in the background.
Stan smiling: Alright.
Stan sets himself up by standing up while smiling towards the camera along with so many prehistoric animals such as Argentinosaurus, pachyrhinosaurus, and lisowicia in the background. Then Lydia gets a picture of herself with the brontosaurus herd. And finally a group picture of Dommie in the center along with Stan on the left side, Lydia on the right side, Beetlejuice floating above them in a lying pose, and the many prehistoric animals drinking at the watering hole in the background.
Stan: You guys, this has been the most exciting birthday moment that I’ve ever had, and I don’t think anything else will ever top this moving forward. I can’t thank you all enough for giving me this kind of an adventure. I feel like the most happiest person in the Netherworld right now.
And then suddenly without warning, they begin to hear stomping noise coming from the forest along with a sound of a loud booming noise.
Doomie feeling nervous: Uh-oh!
Beetlejuice: Sounds like the king himself has arrived to find his new meal.
Lydia: King? You don’t mean it’s…it’s…
Coming out of the forest was a dinosaur that they all knew too well. It was a very large bulky theropod dinosaur, with small arms that had two fingers each, big head with excellent binocular vision, and had banana shaped like teeth.
Stan: Tyrannosaurus rex!
Stan was having all types of reactions going on in his mind right now. On one hand, he was so extremely happy in finally seeing his all time favorite prehistoric animal in the fresh. So much in fact that he wanted to get up close to it really badly. But on the other hand, he also knew very well on how dangerous a T. Rex can be, and he needed to be cautious even though he’s afraid of being eaten. A Tyrannosaurus can run up to at least 17 mph, had wonderful eye vision, strong sense of smell, and its bite force is so powerful that its job was to crush bones within its prey. One bite, one kill.
The T. Rex sniffs into the air to locate its next meal, and it didn’t take too long for the predator to find one. It spotted the group, and starts heading towards them.
Lydia: Crap, it’s coming for us!
They all up on abroad into Doomie.
Stan: Take us out of here, dude!
Doomie tries to get moving, but he’s not able to move for he had just ran out of his gas.
Beetlejuice: Had to run out of gas at the wrong time, you bucket of bolt! Good thing I keep a fuel can in your trunk for situations like this.
Lydia: You keep the T. Rex busy, while me and Stan get Doomie filled up.
While Stan and Lydia go get the fuel can to fill up Doomie, Beetlejuice appears floating in front of the large predator. The T. Rex stops moving as soon as it sees Beetlejuice.
Beetlejuice: Yo, Mr. Rex! I was thinking about putting on a new head to scare off my future victims. What do you think of this? *he transforms his head into a head of a spider with big fangs* Pretty scary, am I right?
The T. Rex looks at Beetlejuice with a confused look on its face for a moment, and then heads toward him to make a bite out of him. He quickly flies backwards to avoid those deadly teeth.
Beetlejuice: Not impressed, huh? Okay then, how about we put your nose to the ultimate test to see if you can withstand the most disgusting feet that the Netherworld has ever seen!
He takes his shoes & socks off, revealing his filthy feet that was covered with rotten eggs, dead cockroaches, and dirty toe nails. The smell of Beetlejuice’s dirty feet goes into the T. Rex’s nose. The predator takes a few sniffs from the filthy smell, but the smell only encourages for the T. Rex to hunt down Beetlejuice.
While Beetlejuice flies away from the large dinosaur, Stan was filling up Doomie with the fuel can and Lydia was sitting on the driver seat.
Stan: Okay, that’s all of it. Give it a try.
Lydia uses the car key to get Doomie running again, and as she does it, the motor was starting to work in full strength.
Doomie: Beep, beep!
Lydia: All right! Now, let’s get the hell out of here!
Stan hops onto the front passenger seat, and then Doomie starts to fly into the sky.
Stan: Beetlejuice, hop on!
Beetlejuice: You got it! *turns his attention to the T. rex* It was fun talking with you while it lasted, but right now, I must be hopping off. *magically puts metal springs onto his feet, and then take a huge hop from the ground* Smell you later, big guy!
He lands into the back seat of Doomie. And as he got in, Stan, Lydia, and Doomie all can smell Beetlejuice’s dirty feet.
Lydia disgusted: Beetlejuice, put your shoes back on for us, would ya?
Beetlejuice: Fine, but if something tries to attack us again, I’m taking them off. *he puts his shoes & socks back on*
Meanwhile on the ground, the Tyrannosaurus rex turns its attention to the herbivorous animals, and moves towards them.
Stan: Hold on a second, guys. I wanna see the T. Rex doing its hunt. Especially since it’ll be something that we’re probably never gonna see again.
Lydia: Yeah, and I do want to take some pictures of the Rex before we leave. However, if that predator tries to kill a calf, we’re leaving no matter what. I just don’t want to see something so young getting killed again.
Stan: I understand.
As the gang watch from the safety up above, the T. Rex makes its pursue for a kill. First it tries to go after the parasaurolophus herd, but they were too fast for the large predator. Next it tries to go for the Columbian mammoth herd, but they put up an aggressive defense by forming a straight line with the calves behind them. The T. Rex knew better than trying to attack the large sauropods and an over protective paraceratherium mother. And the pachyrhinosaurus, and lisowicia herd were fully gone as soon as they saw the large dinosaur. The last animal in the area was the single stegosaurus. It was moving very slowly as it couldn’t run. The T. Rex locks its eyes into the plated dinosaur, and then moves towards it.
Lydia: Looks like we’re about to see an epic fight here.
Stan getting excited: Whoever wins, this fight will be worth remembering for the rest of our lives!
Beetlejuice: It’s showtime! *pulls up a music player, and plays The Rite of Spring song from Fantasia*
As the T. rex comes closer, the stegosaurus positions itself in full defensive mode to make sure that its thagomizer can get a good hit of the predator. The Tyrannosaurus stops close enough to be in a safe distance from those spikes, and the two are now in an intense stalemate. The T. Rex makes the first move by trying to make a bite in the legs, but stegosaurus swings its tail hitting the upper thigh, and the Rex backs off with only minor wounds. Next it try to move sideways in order to get a better shot in biting the neck, but the plated dinosaur was moving along with it, and the two stopped moving. The Tyrannosaurus then tried to get the stegosaurus move back by making a fake attack display, but the opponent hold its grounds and swings its tail again, almost hitting the predator’s head. The T. Rex decided to move backwards a little, and makes a head butting move against the stegosaurus. The predator successfully head butted its opponent before it had a chance to use those thagomizer again, and the stegosaurs falls into the ground. The tyrant lizard makes the final fatal blow by using its powerful bite into the stegosaurus’s neck, resulting in an immediate death. The Tyrannosaurus rex had won the battle, and begins to feast onto its prize.
Beetlejuice: The king sure dose know how to put on a good show.
Stan: That was so fucking awesome! Now that’s what I call an epic prehistoric fight for sure! Even way better than those shitty fights done in Jurassic Fight Club. Did you get some really good pictures, Lydia?
Lydia: Not only did I get some really cool pictures of the T. Rex hunting, but I even video recorded the whole fight too.
Stan: Nice! Be sure to send me that video whenever you can.
Lydia: Sure thing.
Stan: And by the way, since this is the second animal kill that’ve we seen in this trip, do they actually stay permanently dead for good unlike how the rest of the Netherworld works with its death rule?
Beetlejuice: In Extinction National Park, whenever an animal dies, they’ll be reborn back into their juvenile body with their old memories wiped out, and have to start all over from scratch. In a nutshell, everything works here like a recycling routine. *turns himself into a recycling symbol*
Beetlejuice: So, Stanny boy, anywhere else in this mega park you like to visit? There’s a snowy area that has all the ice age animals such as woolly mammoths and cave lions, a swampy area where all the carboniferous giant insects live at, or even a desert area where you can see all the dinosaurs that once lived in the gobi desert. Actually, now that I think about it, let’s not go to any region that has deserts. I don’t want to be eaten up by any sandworm.
Stan: I seriously would love to see them, but I need to be heading back home to get some sleep. It’s almost 1:30 am.
Lydia: Me too. I plan on talking to Bertha and Prudence on Skype during the afternoon, and I don’t want to look tried in front of them.
Beetlejuice: Yeah, I’m getting sleepy too. How about you, Doomero?
Doomie: *yawns* Beep!
Beetlejuice: You and I can sleepover at a cave in the nearby mountain that I know of.
Lydia: Just be safe from any dangerous animals when you two leave in the morning.
Beetlejuice: Don’t sweat it, Lyds. We’ve faced situations worse than this. Doomie and I will make it home without a scratch.
Lydia: Okay then. And Stan, you must be feeling like a happy camper right now. *chuckles a bit*
Stan smiling: Again, I can’t thank you all enough for giving me this unforgettable adventure. This will go down as the greatest birthday experience that I’ll ever have. And I’m so happy to have you all as a part of my life now.
Lydia: I have a little extra gift that I want to give you before I leave. Can you close your eyes for a moment?
As Stan closes his eyes, Lydia suddenly gives him a kiss on his right cheek. Stan immediately blushes on having his very first kiss from a girl in serval years. He really didn’t expected for Lydia on making the first move to express their true feelings for each other.
Lydia smiling: I’ll see you at school, Stan. Sleep well. Home, home, home! *she disappears*
Beetlejuice: Well, well, looks like Lyds was trying to tell you that she loves you.
Stan: *sign* I honestly didn’t think she would do something like that so soon before I had the chance to tell her about my feelings for her. I love Lydia very much, but I also want to tell her at the right moment without acting too quickly about it.
Beetlejuice: Just do me a favor though, when you two convince your love for each other, don’t do it when I’m around because I find that kind of stuff too disgusting. *closes his eyes and sticks his tongue out*
Stan: Umm, okay. But anyway, thank you for the exciting adventure, BJ. And same goes to you too, Doomie.
Doomie: Beep, beep!
Stan: Have a good night sleep, you two. Home, home, home!
He is then teleported back to his bedroom, and everything still remains as the way he left them.
Stan: I can’t believe that she kissed me in a way to say that she loves me without even saying a single word about it. That was totally unexpected.
While getting himself ready for bed, he was thinking about on when to tell her that he loves her too. Then he remembers that he and Lydia are planning on going to a Halloween party together along with Beetlejuice that’s gonna be held at the South Park community center. And then when the two are truly alone together during Halloween night, he’ll finally make his move to convince his love for her.
Stan: I’ll tell her on Halloween night. Especially since it’s her favorite night of the year, it’ll be the right timing for it. I’m gonna make damn sure that it’ll be the best Halloween night that she’ll ever have.
He then heads into his bed, and closes his eyes to get a good night sleep.
In the next chapter, Stan and Lydia have some fun at the Halloween party, and convince their true feelings for each other.
Somebody inquires: are you still a marxist? Never before has the devastation caused by the pursuit of profit, as defined by capitalism, been more extensive than it is today. Almost everybody knows this. How then is it possible not to heed Marx, who prophesied and analyzed the devastation? The answer might be that people, many people, have lost all their political bearings. Mapless, they do not know where they are heading.
Every day people follow signs pointing to some place that is not their home but a chosen destination. Road signs, airport embarkation signs, terminal signs. Some are making their journeys for pleasure, others for business, many out of loss or despair. On arrival they come to realize they are not in the place indicated by the signs they followed. Where they now find themselves has the correct latitude, longitude, local time, currency, yet it does not have the specific gravity of the destination they chose.
They are beside the place they chose to come to. The distance that separates them from it is incalculable. Maybe it’s only the width of a thoroughfare, maybe it’s a world away. The place has lost what made it a destination. It has lost its territory of experience.
Sometimes a few of these travelers undertake a private journey and find the place they wished to reach, which is often harsher than they foresaw, although they discover it with boundless relief. Many never make it. They accept the signs they follow and it’s as if they don’t travel, as if they always remain where they already are.
The details in the image on this page were taken by Anabell Guerrero in the Red Cross shelter for refugees and emigrants at Sangatte near Calais and the Channel Tunnel. On orders from the British and French governments, the shelter was recently shut down. Several hundred people were sheltering there, many hoping to make it to Britain. The man in the photographs — Guerrero prefers not to disclose his name — is from Zaire.
Month by month millions leave their homelands. They leave because there is nothing there, except their everything, which does not offer enough to feed their children. Once it did. This is the poverty of the new capitalism.
After long and terrible journeys, after they have experienced the baseness of which others are capable, after they have come to trust their own incomparable and dogged courage, emigrants find themselves waiting on some foreign transit station, and then all they have left of their home continent is themselves: their hands, their eyes, their feet, shoulders, bodies, what they wear, and what they pull over their heads at night to sleep under, wanting a roof.
Thanks to Guerrero’s image we can take account of how a man’s fingers are all that remain of a plot of tilled earth, his palms what remain of some riverbed, and how his eyes are a family gathering he will not attend. Portrait of an emigrant continent.
“I’m going down the stairs in an underground station to take the B line. Crowded here. Where are you? Really! What’s the weather like? Getting into the train — call you later…”
Of the millions of mobile telephone conversations taking place every hour in the world’s cities and suburbs, most, whether they are private or business, begin with a statement about the caller’s whereabouts. People need straightaway to pinpoint where they are. It is as if they are pursued by doubts suggesting that they may be nowhere. Surrounded by so many abstractions, they have to invent and share their own transient landmarks.
More than thirty years ago Guy Debord prophetically wrote: “the accumulation of mass-produced commodities for the abstract space of the market, just as it has smashed all regional and legal barriers, and all corporate restrictions of the Middle Ages that maintained the quality of artisanal production, has also destroyed the autonomy and quality of places.”
The key term of the present global chaos is de- or relocalization. This does not only refer to the practice of moving production to wherever labor is cheapest and regulations minimal. It also contains the offshore demented dream of the new ongoing power: the dream of undermining the status of and confidence in all previous fixed places, so that the entire world becomes a single fluid market.
The consumer is essentially somebody who feels or is made to feel lost unless he or she is consuming. Brand names and logos become the place names of the Nowhere.
Other signs announcing FREEDOM or DEMOCRACY, terms plundered from earlier historical periods, are also used to confuse. In the past a common tactic employed by those defending their homeland against invaders was to change the road signs so that the one indicating ZARAGOZA pointed in the opposite direction toward BURGOS. Today it is not defenders but invaders who switch signs to confuse local populations, confuse them about who is governing whom, the nature of happiness, the extent of grief, or where eternity is to be found. And the aim of all these misdirections is to persuade people that being a client is the ultimate salvation.
Yet clients are defined by where they check out and pay, not by where they live and die.
Extensive areas that were once rural places are being turned into zones. The details of the process vary according to the continent — Africa or Central America or Southeast Asia. The initial dismembering, however, always comes from elsewhere and from corporate interests pursuing their appetite for ever more accumulation, which means seizing natural resources (fish in Lake Victoria, wood in the Amazon, petrol wherever it is to be found, uranium in Gabon, etc.), regardless of to whom the land or water belongs.
The ensuing exploitation soon demands airports, military, and paramilitary bases to defend what is being siphoned off, and collaboration with the local mafiosi. Tribal war, famine, and genocide may follow.
People in such zones lose all sense of residence: children become orphans (even when they are not), women become slaves, men desperadoes. Once this has happened, to restore any sense of domesticity takes generations. Each year of such accumulation prolongs the Nowhere in time and space.
Meanwhile — and political resistance often begins in a meanwhile — the most important thing to grasp and remember is that those who profit from the present chaos, with their embedded commentators in the media, continuously misinform and misdirect. Their declarations and all the plundered terms they are in the habit of using should never be argued with. They have to be rejected outright and abandoned. They will get nobody anywhere.
The information technology developed by the corporations and their armies so they could dominate their Nowhere more speedily is being used by others as a means of communication throughout the Everywhere they are struggling toward.
The Caribbean writer Edouard Glissant puts this very well: “the way to resist globalisation is not to deny globality, but to imagine what is the finite sum of all possible particularities and to get used to the idea that, as long as a single particularity is missing, globality will not be what it should be for us.”
We are establishing our own landmarks, naming places, finding poetry. Yes, in the Meanwhile poetry is to be found.
As the brick of the afternoon stores the rose heat of the journey
as the rose buds a green room to breathe
and blossoms like the wind
as the thin birches whisper their stories of the wind to the urgent
in the trucks
as the leaves of the hedge store the light
the day thought it had lost
as the nest of her wrist beats like the chest of a sparrow in the turning air
as the chorus of the earth find their eyes in the sky
and unwrap them to each other in the teeming dark
hold everything dear
— Gareth Evans
Their Nowhere generates a strange, because unprecedented, awareness of time. Digital time. It continues forever uninterrupted through day and night, the seasons, birth, and death. As indifferent as money. Yet, although continuous, it is utterly single. It is the time of the present kept apart from the past and future. Within it, only the present is weight-bearing; the other two lack gravity. Time is no longer a colonnade, but a single column of ones and zeros. A vertical time with nothing surrounding it, except absence.
Read a few pages of Emily Dickinson and then go and see Lars von Trier’s film Dogville. In Dickinson’s poetry the presence of the eternal is attendant in every pause. The film, by contrast, remorselessly shows what happens when any trace of the eternal is erased from daily life. What happens is that all words and their entire language are rendered meaningless.
Within a single present, within digital time, no whereabouts can be found or established.
We will take our bearings within another time-set. The eternal, according to Spinoza (who was Marx’s dearest philosopher) is now. It is not something awaiting us, but something we encounter during those brief yet timeless moments when everything accommodates everything and no exchange is inadequate.
In her urgent book Hope In the Dark, Rebecca Solnit quotes the Sandinista poet Gioconda Belli describing the moment when the Somoza dictatorship was overthrown in Nicaragua: “two days that felt as if a magical, age-old spell had been cast over us, taking us back to Genesis, to the very site of the creation of the world.” The fact that the U.S. and its mercenaries later destroyed the Sandinistas in no way diminishes that moment existing in the past, present, and future.
A kilometer down the road from where I’m writing, there is a field in which four burros graze, two mares and two foals. They are a particularly small species. The black-bordered ears of the mares, when they prick them, come up to my chin. The foals, only a few weeks old, are the size of large terriers, with the difference that their heads are almost as large as their sides.
I climb over the fence and sit in the field with my back against the trunk of an apple tree. The burros have made their own tracks across the field and some pass under very low branches where I would have to stoop double. They watch me. There are two areas where there is no grass at all, just reddish earth, and it is to one of these rings that they come many times a day to roll on their backs. Mare first, then foal. The foals already have their black stripe across their shoulders.
Now they approach me. They smell of donkeys and bran — not the smell of horses, more discreet. The mares touch the top of my head with their lower jaws. Their muzzles are white. Around their eyes are flies, far more agitated than their own questioning glances.
When they stand in the shade by the edge of the wood the flies go away, and they can stand there almost motionless for half an hour. In the shade at midday, time slows down. When one of the foals suckles (ass’s milk is the closest to human milk), the mare’s ears lie right back and point to her tail.
Surrounded by the four of them in the sunlight, my attention fixes on their legs, all sixteen of them. Their slenderness, their sheerness, their containment of concentration, their surety. (Horses’ legs look hysterical by comparison.) Theirs are legs for crossing mountains no horse could tackle, legs for carrying loads that are unimaginable if one considers only the knees, the shanks, the fetlocks, the hocks, the cannon bones, the pastern joints, the hooves. Donkeys’ legs.
They wander away, heads down, grazing, their ears missing nothing; I watch them, eyes skinned. In our exchanges, such as they are, in the midday company we offer one another, there is a substratum of what I can only describe as gratitude. Four burros in a field, month of June, year 2005.
Yes, I’m still among other things a marxist.
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12 Do’s and Don’ts for a Successful celebrity cell numbers
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On the political map of Europe one can find about 50 independent states, most of them are well created industrial-agrarian international locations. Premier countries in Europe: Ukraine, Spain, Germany, Italy and Poland. The entire range 50 states also involve the six smaller States: Vatican, San Marino, Liechtenstein, Andorra, and Luxembourg. Today Europe is described by geographers given that the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia.. Geographically Europe is split into: Japanese Europe, Southern Europe, Central Europe and Western Europe. Europe is the next-smallest continent by space on the planet. In keeping with United Nations inhabitants projection, inhabitants of Europe will lower to as small volume as 7% of world's whole inhabitants till 2050
The Populace of Europe In 2007, the populace of Europe in accordance with the United Nations was 731 million. This can be a little multiple-ninth with the the population of total planet.
Each and every European state is beautiful and distinctive in its own way. Just one can find lots of incredible destinations to find out in any state of Europe. The historical past of European nations is incredibly loaded with cultural functions. The strongest states of Europe are France and Wonderful Britain Essentially the most spoken languages in European nations are English and German.
What Are you aware about abnormal spots to visit in Europe in the course of your voyage trough this continent? Let's discuss probably the most acknowledged of them.
The primary position inside the record belongs to Tour d'Eiffel in Paris, France. When it had been constructed for the 1889 Exposition Universelle (Environment Honest), marking the centenary with the Revolution, the Tour Eiffel faced huge opposition from Paris' inventive and literary elite.. And these days It is just a actual symbol of Paris.
An additional popular spot to see in Paris art museum is Musee d'Orsay. The Musee d'Orsay is located in a old practice station. Quite a few website visitors of your museum go straight for the higher amount to begin to see the well-known Impressionist paintings by Monet, Renoir, Sisley, and Pissarro
A great deal of people dream to go to Louvre Museum. It had been built being a fortress by Philippe-Auguste while in the early 13th century. The paintings and sculptures that are shown in the Louvre have been assembled by French governments in the last 5 hundreds of years. During the Museum 1 can find functions of artisanship from all over Europe great collections of Etruscan, Coptic, Islamic and Greek art and antiquities.
Italy also has a lot of locations to visit. The principle sight of Italy is Colosseum. The Colosseum is often called the most abnormal monument in Rome.
Amid the preferred locations to see in Rome is Pantheon. No uncertainties Pantheon probably the most uncommon monument of Rome. Pantheon is surely an outdated Roman temple which has been standing for almost two thousand yrs. The capital of Italy is likewise popular with these types of monuments of architecture as St Peter's Basilica, Trevi Fountain, Galleria degli Uffizi. Referring to other countries of Europe we should say about Charles Bridge in Czech Republik, Park Geell Barcelona, La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona (Spain), Dubrovnik Metropolis Walls (Croatia), Belem in Lisbon and plenty of Some others. European international locations normally ready to simply accept vacationers sort all over the entire world. Vacationer will discover a lot of pleases to go to in Just about every point out.
What I Found In The Leaves
Last August, as the lease to my apartment was about to end, the roof began to smolder until the place I lived was full of smoke. When all was settled and done, my apartment had no roof. My room was spared and most of my things were okay—this part of the story being set in late capitalism, I am required to assure you that the things I purchased were okay too—and I decided to leave New York City to return to New England with my family. One of the first things I did when I arrived was look at the sky and imagine I was up there. Falling or sailing or flying. It didn’t really matter. I wanted to touch a cloud, to feel the whipping wind.
I promise… this is leading to something.
In the months since, in spite of comfort and proximity to my family… in spite of the arrival of my nephew into this world—a child I would climb a mountain and punch God for if I needed to—and in spite of a happy job… I have spiraled into depression. My solution was work and writing. To throw myself into my job and to, somewhat foolishly, take on the task of novelizing my favorite game: Skies of Arcadia. Because if you’ve read my work long enough, it always comes back to Arcadia. I am proud of that project but it sparked a yearning in me. To truly connect to the world I was writing. It lit a fire.
Before we proceed, let me be clear that by depression I don’t mean the woes of pandemic living or some disaffection with the reality of entering my 30s. I mean a deep and painful darkness with all the implications therein. Regardless to say, my efforts to combat it drained me. To the point that I burnt myself out and with some prodding from my boss, took a vacation. Which I am currently on. This is not the first time this series of events has played out. I made a promise to myself when I started vacation: no writing. I am breaking it because I have found, yet again, a moment where I must desperately drain the wonder in my heart and attempt to explain to you that I think there are magical things in the world, and that I believe there is some type of magic in art—in that strange alchemic or shamanistic way—that transfers to us. This will be my second attempt to explain it, and to explain what it has to do with video games.
(Forgive the indulgence of this introduction by the way; an editor would surely have cut it all but I need you to understand two things: I am in pain and there's a part of that pain which I think points to something important.)
This is a story of ritual and tea. Of how my senses and imagination came together to send me on a journey around a fictional world, in search of heroes who both do and do not exist.
As part of my love for Skies of Arcadia, I’ve become something of a paraphernalia collector. I bought an old light novel from ebay, I used my rudimentary Japanese skills to set up a warehouse dropbox so that two fan magazines could be sent there and then subsequently shipped to America, and I have drank tea based off the game. At the time, I wanted to collect the little tins the tea came in; they seemed excellent collector’s items. What I found with my first round of tea was art unto itself; balances of flavor and spice and blends that symbolized characters and connected me to them. These were crafted by a dedicated fan and fellow writer.
I don’t have the time to sit and research all the ways in which tea is used in ritual. Because I am tired and older and depressed and writing a blog post that perhaps thirty people will read. Regardless, to my delight I found that the tea-maker had created blends based off the various moons that dot Arcadia’s skies. For those who do not know the game, which I assume is many of you: each nation of the world rests under a magical moon. There are six, with one—a Black Moon—theorized to have gone missing. Here was my opportunity for a journey.
I bought teas based on each moon, and one based on the world itself. I will post a separate collection of all my individual tastings and reviews later. The important thing is this: I had been given an amazing gift. With these teas, I had something of that digital world which was actual. When we play games, we hear them and see them. Perhaps with certain haptics we can feel them. But we do not smell them or taste them or literally consume them. Eight teas, eight chances to smell and taste that wonderful world. To touch the clouds.
This is a famous question asked by an angel to the three Marys visiting Christ's tomb: his mother the Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalene, and Mary, who is the sister of Lazarus—the man Christ brought back to life after his death. It means: “whom to do you seek?”
I was journeying, one tea cup at a time, around Arcadia. From continent to continent, I tasted their spices and experienced hints of their values, their cultures as expressed through the tea. The question played in my mind: Quem quaeritis? Whom was I seeking?
The answer is complicated. First, I was seeking something of myself. The part of me that understood magic and wonder. The part of me that believes in the soul and believes that art, in allowing the complex interaction of creators and characters with players, performs some type of soul-magic. It impresses upon us, real and actual changes. I was seeking that piece of me; that part of me that understood that each cup was a ritual that brought about a communion with a distant world. I was searching for the younger part of me that believed in wonderful things.
I drank the teas in the order our heroes travel the world, and in doing so I was performing a sort of perseveration of their journey. I communed with some place distant and followed in their footsteps.
Which answers another half of the question. Whom did I seek? I sought my heroes. I sought the adventurous Vyse and his dogged determinism, I sought the firecracker Aika and her swift rushes to action, and I sought Fina. The woman I wish I could be: feminine, slight, beautiful, kind, brave.
All of this sounds like nonsense and when I try to explain the nonsense, I feel a deep embarrassment. To care in the 21th century, particularly in America, is to be weak. To be publicly vulnerable is to make yourself a target. You must be hard and solid as a rock. You cannot believe in magic or else you are doomed. But here I was, chasing myself and my heroes one cup at a time. And I need you to know that it hurt to do that.
I went to the corner store today to buy some energy drinks. When I got back home, my father asked: “did you find what you were looking for?” I told him “That’s a very complicated question.”
Let me explain. Let me do the thing that I feel I cannot do well anymore; let me do some game criticism. In the world of games, the entities we control exist as two things. They are actors; manipulatable bodies, guided by code and controller inputs, that we guide around as we see fit. In this way, players have extraordinary power. In some ways, it is a… fraught power. We can, as Soulja Boy did, leave Braid’s protagonist in a perpetual flux state: jumping and rewinding. Back and forth, forth and back. Eternal puppets for our amusement, avatars for our power fantasies. Sometimes, as in the case of a game like Skyrim, our controllable actors are little more than flesh suits But actors are, more than anything, just… avatars.
Video game actors are also characters. Within their worlds, which are fictional, they have motivations and wants and desires and dreams. They want to live and grow and succeed. Cloud Strife wants to defeat Sephiroth and uncover the truth about himself, Joel wants to protect Ellie and survive in a cruel world. Arthur Morgan wants to find a calmer life and redemption for his sins. They are, as characters, people. But since they are also actors, we can deny them their hopes and dreams whenever we want. We can have Cloud while away his days gambling at the Gold Saucer and, if we want, we can force Arthur Morgan to murder to population of an entire town.
The core truth of a player's relationship to the character is this: we decide if their dreams are fulfilled. I find that troubling and I will try to explain why. But first let’s be clear: I do not think the character in games are sentient entities. I outlined this relationship of players and characters in a GDC talk a few years ago, using highly rhetorical terms and my reward was the ridicule of countless gamers who questioned my sanity. Some made videos about my presentation.
It was hell. To be a woman, perhaps especially a progressively minded trans-woman, in games is to know a very real hell. To this day, I cannot go a week without some type of horrid experience on the internet. Some judgment of my worth, some assumption about my competency, or in the worst cases some proclamation about my right to live. No doubt this is part of why I needed my vacation.
But here is why I find the player/character/actor relationship troubling. It is not merely the abstract notion, the thought experiment that elicits fun but meaningless philosophical natter. The reason I find that relationship troubling or at least complicated is because for all of their fiction, the characters in games can give us real things. They can, through some type of power—a deep power found in the act of story-telling itself—impart aspects of themselves on us.
For instance, they can teach us lessons which we then carry into the rest of our lives. My father, for reasons I can’t recall, once told me: “the meaning of life is to serve others.” Though he does not know it, that truism has been etched into my soul. It is a “thing” that my father has given me. But my father is not the only person who has etched something into my soul. Vyse, that dashing pirate, has etched many things into my soul. For instance: “impossible is just a word people use to make themselves feel better when they quit.” That is etched on my soul too. Just as much as anything my father has taught.
So we come to the heart of it: what does it mean that Vyse can so alter my being and values, and that he can do it with the same strength and “realness” of my father? What does it mean for a character, who is also often an actor that I guide, to give me such a powerful gift?
Because let us be clear: values are “real” things. When I tried to explain that I believe that certain things are actually true, for instance that looking at landscapes does mean that we are looking at something real…. I spent an afternoon with former Jeopardy! contestant Arthur Chu and a cohort of Twitteristas attacking my philosophical surety. So, again, fuck the internet…
Let’s explore: I believe in the realness of things because of the depth of the emotions those things make me feel, and I refuse to believe that life is just endorphins, hormones, and instinct. That music or games or anything else can make us weep for joy is proof-positive to me of the existence of a soul; of an ineffable thing that is “us.” Not necessarily all enduring but certainly extant. And if this thing exists, it can be acted upon. I know this because my father, with his truism, changed my soul. Changed the core of me. I know this because Vyse and the others did so as well.
I’ve written that games criticism is a kindness; that it seeks the good in art and attacks the banal explicitly because art is beautiful. I write today to suggest this: art is magical. It alters us, not metaphorically, but in the ways it can affect our souls. Which brings us back to character and actors. I control Vyse since he is an actor and I am a player; but he is a character with dreams and hopes and personality. And values. Wonderful values which he shared with me.
So what does it mean now that I can send actors to their doom? What does it mean that I can control them utterly when I know for a fact that they can affect and change me? I do not have clean answers for this. Perhaps there are none. Perhaps all I have written is silliness, even as I beg you to please understand. Please.
Understand the power of stories, understand it in the way that Tolkein did when he said:
“Creative fantasy, because it is mainly trying to do something else … may open your hoard and let all the locked things fly away like cage-birds.”
Understand that I am telling you that the locked thing is your heart and soul, and that just as a lover or parent or mentor can open that thing… so can the people we meet in our fictional journeys. Vyse is not just the captain of a ship. He is my captain. That means something.
Art is ritual and play is ritual. In creation, we place something of ourselves in another thing. In play, we allow ourselves to be transmuted and changed. This is magic, of a sort.
I am left wanting however. I followed the path of my heroes in as literal a way as I could, pulling on new senses to understand the world they live in and touch their skies for a fleeting moment. But I cannot reach them; I am Tantalus in the mire. Ever reaching, ever chasing. For that moment I can be the person that my heroes trusted me to become. Note by musical note, word for written word, tea cup by tea cup, I am chasing my captain.
When I went back to my apartment the day after the fire, I looked up at the spot where the roof used to be. All I could see was blue sky and I thought I might fall into it.
Perhaps in superficial ways I have shared something with my heroes; I have tasted something they have, even though the tea is not actually from Arcadia. It was merely a conduit to my imagination, to the transformed parts of my souls. Yet, I did not find him and I could not find myself. Which is why it hurts, in spite of how wonderful it was.
Quem quaeritis? He is not here. So I will keep sailing after him.
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So, how’s your digital transformation going?
If your immediate reaction is that you don’t have a digital transformation underway you may want to reconsider, since every one of your competitors are going digital.
You’ve Already Had Many Digital Transformations!
There’s a popular misconception that digital transformation is something new. We have been doing business transformation for years. We strive to get better, better flows, better processes, better outcomes. The only difference now is we have really cool tools to do it with.
What you’re really changing in a digital transformation is how you and your people use technology to work better, faster, more efficiently, and more enjoyably. Digital transformation is more about you than it is about technology.
Think back to when mobile phones first came out. The first call was made in 1973, albeit on a hefty handheld device at that time, but it was during the 1990’s that they became much smaller, much more widely available, and really popular.
The phone calls you made were pretty much the same as they were on your wireline phone, but some things had changed. You made phone calls from places other than your office. You didn’t worry as much about missing calls because you always had your phone with you. Instead of waiting to get back to the office before you followed up on the promises you just made in a meeting you started as soon as you were out the door. You, you, you. You changed. Yes, the technology changed, but the more important changes were in how you used the technology.
Not long after the mobile phone began gaining wider acceptance, everyone started transforming how they ran their businesses by putting the new World Wide Web to use across the internet.
Then there were the big changes you could not imagine making, like the introduction of Genesys cloud computing. Initially many people were concerned about security, delay, or lack of control. Over the past few years, however, most everyone sees that cloud computing is far more agile, cost effective, and even more secure than most on-premises company networks. They’re glad they don’t have to worry about their own hardware anymore, or their own operating expenses.
There’s Nothing to Be Afraid Of
Some people approach the idea of digital transformation with trepidation. Perhaps they’re concerned it will be expensive. Or they’ll have a hard time learning the new technologies. Perhaps they’re not certain how to get started.
Given that you’ve already done many digital transformations, you should already be realizing there’s nothing to be afraid of.
How to Launch Your Next Digital Transformation
Any digital transformation occurs at the nexus of people, processes, and tools. People wanting to execute those processes better than they already do, typically need new and better tools to help them achieve new efficiency, new effectiveness, and increased job satisfaction.
The very first thing to do is to start thinking of it simply as a business transformation. What processes do you feel most need improvement? Which of your people is in deepest need of new and better tools? Ask yourself how you can transform the way you do business into a whole new paradigm of work enabled by new technologies. It’s not so much what the technology is, it’s what it enables you to do that’s important.
Once you’ve developed a target list of the business operations and functions you feel would benefit most from transformation, the next step is to determine what available technologies could help you accomplish that.
How Do You Know What Technologies Are Available?
You already know that new technologies are constantly emerging and improving. You already have a full-time job, so how are you going to find time to learn about all of them? You’re not.
This is probably the first and foremost reason companies seek out technology partners to help them with their digital transformation. Their full-time job IS keeping current on all the latest technologies and evaluating which are best for what kinds of companies. Armed with your list of business operations ready for improvement, they can immediately start helping you identify the best, most cost-effective solutions for each process on your list.
Selecting that partner should be approached with the same level of care you employ when seeking legal representation, or financial advice. Your partner needs to be someone you trust to provide you with the best information and decisions based on your specific needs, not a “one-size-fits-all” solution that they happen to be authorized to sell. Your best choice of partner is not a reseller of technology products, they are an expert consultancy with professional engineers and technicians on their team.
Start with Something That Will Benefit Everyone Because Everyone Does It
While different people in your organization perform different processes and tasks, literally everyone needs to communicate to successfully perform their job. It’s the universal tool that everyone must have in their kit.
Communication technologies have been constantly emerging and improving since Alexander Graham Bell told Watson he wanted him. Most recently the changes are more profound than ever. Changes in the bandwidth available to communicate more data types — voice, video, text, telemetry, imagery, and more all travel on your network and across the public internet to other networks. In fact, using the internet may someday eliminate need for a public switch telephone network (PSTN) altogether. No longer will companies need to manage two parallel networks, one for telephony and another for everything else.
In fact, companies can choose today to conduct all intracompany communications between offices, between floors, even between cities and continents, all over their own internet protocol (IP) network without having to pay any additional tolls or tariffs. The only time they’ll interact with the PSTN is when making calls to other organizations that don’t have their communications securely connected to the internet.
Today, these technologies are redefining the ways in which people communicate and collaborate with each other, the very definition of a digital transformation. Users can start out checking to see if the person they want to reach is present on the network. Finding they are, they can begin sending text messages to them. As the conversation goes on, they may decide it would be better to talk with each other. All they do is click and they’re talking. Need to add more of a personal touch to the conversation? They can click and add video. They can also share applications and simultaneously work on documents together. Each user only needs a device with camera, microphone, and speakers, or a headset. It could be a computer, a tablet, a smartphone, and they all connect to each other effortlessly.
Speaking of effort, there is no need to hire new staff to install and run this kind of system. Simply open a subscription for each user to Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS). All the servers, storage, Mitel connect services, and interfaces to services are managed for you by a UCaaS cloud provider. Today’s UCaaS solutions bring email, fax, messaging, phone, voicemail, video, screen sharing, contact center, conferencing, team collaboration, analytics, and more to every device in your organization securely and efficiently.
And the consistency of operations between all these applications means your training and support costs will be significantly lower than when they each stood alone.
It is projected that a third of the $7.4 Billion that will be spent this year on digital transformation is being spent on UCaaS. Beyond that, the immediate benefit enjoyed by every person in your organization will dramatically improve your ability to win buy-in and adoption for your next digital transformation, and your next.
The Strategic Goal of Digital Maturity
In earlier times many companies saw information technology (IT) as a pure expense with no available return. A cost of operations. A cost of doing business.
Much has changed over the past few decades and perhaps the biggest digital transformation companies are experiencing is their progression along the “digital maturity” model, a construct that illustrates how companies may start out using technology ad hoc, wherever its needed, without much planning. Then they begin to achieve some economies by standardizing on some processes between departments or divisions. As they continue, IT and ShoreTel Phone System becomes part of the fabric of their business operations. Finally, at the far-right top of the maturity chart the company is leveraging technologies as a strategic competitive advantage, keeping them ahead in their markets and contributing directly to the bottom line.
Select Your Best Guide
Every great journey begins with a roadmap. You can’t get where you’re going when you don’t know where that is!
Select your guide, your “Sherpa”, based on their knowledge of business processes, technology tools, and the needs of people. Packet Fusion has been bringing these three key elements together for clients for many years.
Steve Riley x Mick Cripps
Requested by: Anonymus on wattpad
Warnings: Nothing bad really, just the word "Fuck"
It's pure fluff and cuteness, enjoy
Story: Their adopted daughter meets the band for the first time
It was a cool, breezy night with a calm sky full of stars. Steve and Mick were sleeping peacefully next to each other while their daughter Bethany was sleeping in the room next door. They brought her home a week ago but she hasn't met the band yet. Mick thought it was a better idea to let her get used to her new environment before meeting those three crazy boys, and Steve agreed. Beth however got used to her new living space quite quickly, already calling Mick or Steve Dad or Dada by accident a few times, but of course, none of the boys minded.
At first, the band was quite surprised when the two announced that they are together but they weren't bothered by it, and thinking back to all the times they caught the two of them cuddling it wasn't surprising either. When they decided they wanted to adopt a little girl it was a long and tiring process, considering that they are two men in a rock band, but with the help of the band and a few family members after more than a year of waiting they could bring home Beth.
Before bringing her home they've met the little girl many times in the park or in the temporary home where she lived, and when they told her that she'd get to come home with them she was shouting and jumping from happiness.
Steve's dreams were interrupted by something or rather someone jumping on his chest and a quiet "sowwy dada, didn't mean to". He glanced at the clock on the wall and it read 10:23 am, might be time to wake up Mick. "Hey angel can you wake up Papa too?", as soon as these words left Steve's mouth Beth was already poking Mick in the face and shaking his shoulders. "Mornin' kid, are you excited to meet our friends today?' Mick asked as he slowly sat up lifting Beth in his lap, Beth nodding her head really fast "wowwy, 'ts making me dizzy" she giggled.
Beth wanted to choose her own outfit, but the dress she wanted to wear was really warm for a summer day, so finally, she agreed to wear a Hanoi Rocks t-shirt with a puffy striped skirt. Breakfast consisted of pancakes and fruits and Bethany made sure to put as much chocolate on her pancake as she can before either of her dads notice, she managed to stuff quite much in her mouth before Steve noticed something was up,
"What are you hiding kiddo?" a muffled "Notin" came back "You sure about that? Because I think there's chocolate smeared around your mouth" Steve said while trying not to laugh. " Maybe 'ts choco, but "ts yummy'' Beth said pointing at her tummy. "Alright kid, I'll let it slide this once, but don't tell Papa about it"
"What shouldn't I know about?" Mick asked when he walked into the kitchen. "Dada said I could eat this choco pancake if I don't tell you" she quickly blurted out making both of her fathers laugh and smile at her adorableness.
After getting ready and putting the dishes in the sink the little family sat in their car to travel to the park. Their plan was that they'd meet the guys there and maybe later for lunch go back to their house and the boys could come if they want and then later, they'd have a concert. Saying Beth was excited could be an understatement, she was jumping up and down in her car seat and when the park came into view, she tried to stretch her neck to see if anyone was there already, but that proved hard as she didn't know who to look for. As Mick parked the car she was ready to get out already and both of her fathers took one of her hands into theirs and started walking towards the playground, her trying to pull them to go faster.
When they reached the playground area with benches one seat was occupied by a long black-haired dude who gave them a wave as he saw them approaching. "Hi, guys. Nice to meet you kid, I'm Tracii" he said while stretching out his arm towards the little girl. "Tracii, that's a girl's name? 'm Beth, nice to meet you." said Beth as she took his arm and jokingly shook it. While Beth played with the chains on Tracii's pants another voice could be heard talking to her parents and then looking at her. "Hi love, my name is Phil" the guy, Phil said with a funny accent. "Beth, you're not from America, are you?" she questioned while standing up from next to Tracii and sitting down next to Phil "No, I'm British, that's on another continent" Phil answered. Beth looked puzzled for a bit but then her attention was on a motorcycle parking in the parking lot and another black-haired guy got down from it. "Wowy, 'ts cool" she exclaimed to no one in particular and then only looked away from the motorcycle when the guy stepped in front of her.
"Hi little one, my name is Kelly, it's nice to finally meet you" Beth thought that the guy was very cheerful "Why do you have a girl name too? Oh, I'm Beth" she giggled and almost forgot to tell Kelly her name. Kelly faked being offended and that only made Beth laugh harder, finally when she calmed down, she convinced Kelly to climb onto the slide thingy at the playground with her, Kelly being...well Kelly he of course agreed with very little persuasion needed.
It proved to be harder than they thought to go down on the slide together because Kelly was taller than the top of the slide and they got stuck at least five times, when they got down Phil was laughing his ass off and the others had a smile on their faces too. "Let's play tag" Beth shouted and then slapped Phil's hand signaling to him that he was 'it'. So now Beth and five men who looked really funny were running around the park, the guys, of course, running slower to let Beth win. After about ten minutes Beth got tired and decided she wanted ice cream, and to her luck, an ice cream parlor was right on the other side of the street from where they were standing. Carefully crossing the street Kelly and Beth were discussing what flavor of ice cream they are going to get while Steve was still wheezing a bit from the game of tag. The little group arrived at the parlor and ordered their frozen treats. Beth ordered her favorite, chocolate ice cream and now probably more was smeared around her face and hands than in her mouth, but she was enjoying herself nonetheless.
After cleaning up they decided that they should probably head back to the house because it was getting increasingly hotter outside and wearing black didn't help much either, plus the guys were getting hungry and the ice cream didn't do much.
When they arrived inside Beth was eager to show her toys to the guys and even invited them to play dress-up with her. She was the princess and decided that Phil will be the prince on the condition that he will let her do his hair. "No, nope, sorry love but no." Phil said and as Beth was looking around she saw Tracii also shaking his head in protest. "Kelly, pwease?" she did the puppy eyes so of course, Kelly was now sitting in front of her while she asked Mick to bring her some hairspray and a comb "I'm going to make your hair pwetty, like Mike Monroe's" Beth cheered as Mick handed her the supplies.
She was not so gentle with the teasing and Kelly tried not to make any noises but the look on his face described everything. When they were done Kelly looked like anything but Michael, more like a bird decided to nest in his hair. But of course, he wasn't going to tell that to the little girl "Thank you kid, I look like a true prince now".
"See Phil, you would look pretty, but you didn't let me do it, you're not pretty now" Beth said half serious half joking while staring at Phil, Kelly tried to at least make his hair a bit less messy while Beth wasn't looking, but to no avail. They played princess for a bit more, but Beth got bored of it and the guys were hungry, so they decided to order pizza.
"Can we play hide and seek? Pweaseee"
"Fine kid, who should seek?"
"Alright, I'll count to two minutes" Mick said as he closed his eyes and leaned against a wall.
Steve hid under the table, Kelly tried climbing into a closet but gave up and hid in the shower instead, Tracii quickly stood behind the curtain in the living room and Beth climbed under the bed, but she didn't want to be alone, so she asked Phil to go with her. Somehow Phil managed to fit under the bed, but climbing out probably won't be easy.
"Ready or not, here I come" Shouted Mick downstairs. The first to be found was Tracii because let's face it, the curtain only covered him above the knee. Then he found Steve under the table. Kelly was only found because he sneezed and then slipped and Mick heard it, "What in the name of...Kelly, what are you doing on the bathroom floor?" Mick questioned "I, ugh might have slipped?" Kelly said laughing a little
"Beth, Phil, where are you?" Mick shouted, no answer. He was searching for maybe a few minutes when he heard a small whisper from under the bed. "Found you" He exclaimed when he looked under the bed, and to his surprise, two pairs of eyes looked back at him.
"Ah, nice to see you too Mick, now please would you help me get out from under here?" Phil asked after a failed attempt to get out, in the end, he somehow climbed out but swore to never climb under a bed again.
When the pizza arrived it was probably around three in the afternoon and everyone was hungry. Beth was getting increasingly tired, but she acted like she didn't care because she wanted to spend as much time as she could with her new friends. After the pizza, everyone agreed that watching a movie would be an awesome idea. They watched The Little Mermaid as it just recently came out and Beth hasn't seen it yet.
"I'm a mermaid" Beth yelled as she was now running around the living room imagining that she was underwater. Then she decided to draw the guys and herself down, it was basically five black-haired people-shaped things and one smaller brown-haired thing. Steve decided that this drawing would look fabulous on the fridge.
After this Beth had to take a nap because she was going to see them play live tonight and she needed to be well-rested for that. While she was sleeping Kelly combed his hair out with a bit of help from Tracii in the back. When she woke up it was already time to go to the venue, so Steve dressed her up and strapped her in the car, "See you there" she waved to the other three guys.
There were so many people outside when they got there and some noticed them and screamed making the little girl whimper "It's okay kid, everything's okay" Mick whispered as he held her even tighter. Inside was a lot calmer and there were many doors and corridors and people running around setting up everything for the show. The next time Beth looked up she was in a dressing room with her fathers who were teasing their hair and putting on their stage clothes. There was a knock at the door and seconds later Kelly came in sitting down next to the kid "You want to cause some mischief before the show?" He asked with a grin "Yeah, like what?" Beth asked "You'll see kid, don't worry we'll meet you guys at the stage" he said the first part to Beth, the second to Mick and Steve.
"Okay, so we'll hide here behind the door and when Tracii or Phil comes by we'll jump out and scare them, ok?" Kelly explained the plan as Beth eagerly nodded, excited to scare people. They only had to wait a bit before an unsuspecting Tracii came out from the room, they jumped out causing him to yell out a surprised "Fuck".
Beth copied Tracii "Fuck". "Okay, um, kid you probably shouldn't say that or at least don't tell anyone I said it okay" Tracii tried explaining it to Beth before she yells out the word again. Luckily Beth forgot about the bad word in a few minutes and when Phil opened the door and they scared him, he luckily just made a loud gasping sound, no curses.
When the four of them got to the stage Steve and Mick were already there waiting for them "So you'll sit on top of the chair and stay there, okay?" Mick asked, pointing to the side of the stage where a chair was already placed for Beth. "Okay Papa"
She enjoyed the show sometimes standing up and dancing a bit or trying to copy the guitar sounds with her mouth or singing the words... kinda the words, but she tried and that's what matters. She was exhausted when the show ended and almost didn't Phil lifting her up and bringing her to his changing room to let her fathers have a bit of alone time.
"I'm sleepy, I wanna sleep" She mumbled as Phil placed her down on the couch and lifted her head into his lap. He started singing softly and she was asleep in a minute, smiling in her sleep.
Later Phil helped Steve put her into the car and buckle her up before saying goodbye and going on his own way. When the little family got home Mick lifted Beth out of the car and with the help of Steve opening the doors he placed her into the bed, tucking her in and both men placing a kiss on her forehead. "Sweet dreams angel" and with that, they closed her door and went to their own room to take a shower and then snuggle up in bed and also fall asleep.
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Preparing for the Reunion
Fandom: The Witcher
Relationshps: Geralt & Jaskier, Jaskier/Vesemir, mentioned Geralt/Yennefer
Rating: Mature (there is no smut though)
Summary: Geralt just wanted to stock up supplies, but of course his best friend had other plans. That´s how the Witcher found himeslef in a store that sold mainly lingerie, with the task to help Jaskier choose a set to wear for his reunion with Vesemir.
A/N: This was supposed to be short. Then suddenly there were more words than I planned to write. Typical life of a fic writer I guess. Special thanks to @bunnygeneral for beta reading. And I also hope of course everyone who reads this enjoys!
Jaskier was obviously excited but also nervous. Winter was close, and that meant he and Geralt had begun their way to Kaer Morhern. This not only meant he could be there and see a relaxed Geralt and continue his bonding with the White Wolf´s brothers, no, he would also finally see his lover again.
Being away from the older Witcher had not been easy, as Jaskier found himself missing Vesemir often. Geralt, proven himself to truly be his best friend, had only occasionally shown his annoyance when he talked about Vesemir non stop. Geralt already knew more about their relationship than he ever wanted to know. He wasn't like Lambert, who, after realizing what was going on between the bard and the oldest Witcher and after his first shock about that wore off, went to Jaskier, fishing for details, apparently hoping to be able to embarrass Vesemir with the knowledge.
That backfired however as Vesemir told Lambert that “At least I have manned up and have done something about my attraction. You are still trailing after your cat Witcher like a lost and lovesick puppy for how many years now? Four? Five?”.
How Vesemir even knew about Aiden was a mystery. At least to Geralt, who barely knew anything about the cat Witcher. Though it seemed like Jaskier already knew a lot about Lambert´s crush, so maybe he had told Vesemir about him? Or Vesemir had just eavesdropped on them. Or the old Witcher had spies all over the continent, who kept him updated on everything his students did. Geralt honestly was at a point where he wouldn't even be surprised by that.
Anyway, Jaskier had looked so in love with Vesemir whenever they were together. So basically the whole time when he wasn't drinking with Geralt and his brothers, reading in the library or when he had his prank war with Lambert. It caused the White Wolf to be certain that the bard would not travel with him come spring. Geralt had already prepared himself for that but then he was surprised by Jaskier as he, after a long farewell from Vesemir, joined his side once again.
His confusion and surprise must have shown clearly that day as Jaskier took one look at him and chuckled. “Vesemir is my lover and I enjoy every minute I get to spend with him, but you are my best friend and my muse, there is no one I'd rather travel the continent with. Plus, can´t have you missing me too much, that would only make you even grumpier.”
And while Jaskier had sometimes whined about missing Vesemir, he never once said he regretted his decision. It made Geralt feel strangely loved and appreciated.
Today, however, as they were in a bigger town, one of the last before Kaer Morhen, as Geralt actually wanted to stock up their supplies, Jaskier suddenly pulled him into a shop that was slightly hidden at the end of an alleyway.
It didn't take long for Geralt to realize what kind of shop this was. It sold mostly clothes, but not just any, no, it seemed to be specialized on underwear.
“Jaskier,what are we doing here?” he growled, keeping his voice low.
The bard smiled at him, not intimidated, like always, and answered:”Well, you see, my dear Witcher, as I am soon reunited with my beloved again, I thought I should get him a nice surprise.”
Now Geralt looked at his friend as if he was crazy. “You want to buy Vesemir lingerie?” he questioned, mortified, trying hard not to imagine his mentor in any of the clothes he saw around them.
Jaskier rolled his eyes. “Of course not! The surprise will be me wearing them and looking all sexy in it.”
Yeah, Geralt thought, that made much more sense. He mentally slapped himself for not thinking of that first. Then however he wondered “What am I supposed to do here?”
His best friend grinned at him. “You gonna help me choose of course.” he said as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.
Geralt couldn't help but sputter. For a moment he really appreciated that he didn't blush as fast as non-mutated humans. Otherwise he was sure he would be bright red now. “I don't think I am the right person for that.”
Jaskier shrugged. “You are the one aviable right now unless you can teleport either Yennefer or Lambert here?”
“Lambert?!” Geralt looked at the bard in disbelief. Why would Jaskier want the younger wolf here?
“You'd be surprised. The man knows a thing or two about fashion.” his friend snorted and added, “Definitely more than you.”
Geralt wanted to feel insulted by this, however he knew that his knowledge, and quite frankly his interest, in fashion was quite spare. Some would even dare say it was non existent.
“Still,” the Witcher started, focusing on the present problem, “aren´t there skilled people here? You know, the ones that actually get paid for giving you advice?”
“Of course there are!” Jaskier agreed easily. “However, there are two advanteges in having you here with me. For one, I trust you to give me your honest opinion and secondly you know Vesemir.”
While Geralt couldn't deny the first point, he damn well was gonna argue about the second one. “I might know Vesemir longer than you but that doesn't mean I am aware what kind of underwear he likes on man.”
“You Witchers seemed quite fond talking about your sexual encounters though.” Jaskier commented, already starting to look around the shop.
Geralt followed, a bit frustrated. “Yeah, I talk about it with my brothers, not Vesemir! That...that...no! I wouldn't talk about this with my...mentor.” The Witcher had to keep himself from saying father-figure for a moment, because he definitely didn't want to think of Vesemir like that in this particular context. Mostly because that would also mean he had to make the connection that his best friend was his basically father's lover and that was just awkward.
“Oh come on!” the bard exclaimed. “You have to have an idea of what he might like.” He turned to Geralt with a wicked smile. “For example what colour should I go with? Basic black? White, a more innocent look? Or maybe red for passion?” At the last part Jaskier wiggled his eyebrows and chuckled delighted as his best friend groaned and hid his face in his hands.
Geralt was at a point where we wondered if perhaps Jaskier was doing this on purpose. Just to mess with him.
Back when he was trained in Kaer Morhen they told him he would be prepared for every situation he could possibly face on the path. Bunch of lies, he knew now. Nothing and nobody had prepared him for this.
“Geralt, you need to work with me here.” Jaskier whined, as his friend failed to answer the colour question.
“No, I don't. I don't know why you thought this would be a good idea.” Geralt grumbled in response.
“You are my best friends and friends help each other, right?” Jaskier asked, looking at said friend with his best impression of puppy dog eyes.
Geralt sighed and looked up again. “Nobody ever told me that would include helping you choose lingerie for your...partner. As you pointed out I am also not good with...fashion.”
“Well, if it helps, just imagine me as Yennefer and what you would like on her.” the bard offered.
Geralt resisted the urge to facepalm. “I really do not want to imagine you as Yennefer.”
Jaskier only shrugged and turned back to the collection of lingerie.
The Witcher watched him and wondered if maybe he could sneak out and tried to predict how displeased Jaskier would be by this. Or maybe he would get lucky and a bunch of ghouls would decide to attack this town suddenly? Surely Jaskier would let him go then to do his Witcher duty.
Before Geralt could act on a plan or before ghouls found a reason to attack a city, Jaskier took two different sets of underwear, one red and one black and went on. Geralt followed automatically.
“Think he likes stockings?” Jaskier questioned, chewing on his lip, considering his options.
Geralt just shrugged. He did not really want to imagine Jaskier in stockings nor the reaction Vesemir might have to that.
Jaskier stood there a moment before he shook his head. “Maybe another time.” he muttered quietly, more to himself.
“Time to try these on!” he then exclaimed louder and more cheerful.
“So...I can go?” Geralt asked carefully.
“What? No!” Jaskier turned to him dramatically, “Now comes the most important part! You have to tell me how I look in them!”
“Do I really have to?” Geralt sighed.
“Yes.” the bard replied. Softly he added:”I trust you like nearly nobody else. To be honest with me.”
Geralt rubbed a hand over his face and sighed again. “Alright. But don´t take too long changing, we don't have all day.”
Jaskier beaming at him as answer made the Witcher smile slightly.
He watched the younger man skip into the dressing room before he walked to the comfortable looking couch close to it and sat down.
However, Geralt didn't stay alone for long. A woman in her forties, if Geralt had to guess, approached him. She smiled kindly down at him, apparently not fazed by him being a Witcher. Or she just didn't know he was one despite his two swords and catlike eyes. Wouldn't be the first time that happened.
Geralt guessed she was the shopkeeper or a trusted employee. Why she had not approached them sooner to offer help the Witcher didn't know.
“Your boy found something?” she asked, no judgment in her voice. Which was a good thing. He really didn't want to deal with that kind of hate right now and it also would damper his friend´s good mood.
“He is not…my boy.” Geralt stated. “We are just friends.”
“Oh, so he is buying the clothes for himself?”
“He is gonna be reunited with his partner soon.” Geralt said.
The woman grinned. “Oh, so he wants to surprise his partner? That's always a wonderful idea!” she exclaimed. “But you two also must be close friends if you accompine him here.”
“Hm.” was all the Witcher replied. She definitely didn't need to know that Jaskier had dragged him here without asking Geralt first.
“Men visit this shop way too rarely...I mean to buy clothes for themselves. Even though with the right lingerie everyone can look sexy in it.” the woman continued to talk.
Geralt wondered if he should point out that many men wouldn't dare to visit such a shop too openly. Out of fear of judgment and discrimentation. The White Wolf didn't know many men who he was aware liked to wear such clothes, but from those he knew he knew that they had their one trusted shop and basically only brought clothes from there. He actually didn't notice that Jaskier had such a store. Well, he had a tailor in Oxenfurt he favoured but as far as Geralt knew they didn't make these kinds of clothes.
Yet, before he could reply or the woman say something else, Jaskier called, the grin could be heard in his voice:“Are you ready?”
“No!” was the gruff answer which earned him a chuckle.
After a moment of silence and the bard not coming out of the dressing room, Jaskier asked:”Should I come out or do you want to come in?”
Geralt considered this question for a moment. There seemed to be no other customers or even employees present. Just him and the woman, who might give them some good tips and who Jaskier might even be able to charm to get a discount. So he finally answered:”You can come out, if you don´t mind.”
“Wouldn´t ask if I had minded.” the bard replied in a sing-song voice. This statement, in general, was a lie, Geralt knew by now but decided not to comment on it and just hoped that it was true in this specific case.
Jaskier emerged with a confident grin on his face, spread his arms and spun around two times.
He had chosen to try the black lace first. Apart from the lace the panties were decorated with three bows. Two smaller ones on the front, a bigger one on the back. It fitted him nearly like a second skin.
A top also belonged to the set, well, a bustier to be exact. Geralt had seen Yen wearing similar ones. Satin with playful lace details. Two small bows again where the straps connected with the rest. A tie up front, that was a perfect tease. Geralt loved to pull those loose when Yennefer wore something like this.
It definitely pulled attention to Jaskier´s rather muscular chest.
All in all it looked good. Really good. Even though Geralt tried not to look at certain areas too much. Yes, because they traveled so much together they had seen each other naked countless times but this was different. He wasn't naked. He was, well, dressed up for his lover.
The woman next to him had no such problems, looking the bard up and down, clapping her hands in delight and grinning.
“Oh you look lovely dear! Jaskier, the famous bard, right? Your partner has such luck!” she exclaimed excitedly.
Jaskier smiled and rubbed his neck, apparently surprised by this reaction. “Ah thank you. And yes, I am Jaskier. Might I get to know your name darling?”
The woman chuckled and nodded. “Of course! I am Marcia and I am the owner of this little shop.”
“Great to meet you then Marcia!” the bard hummed, “With you here and Geralt, my best friend, I am surely in good hands now.”
“Oh, I too am sure of that.” she agreed, while Geralt only grunted.
Now Jaskier focused on the Witcher again, a little yet teasing grin on his face. “So, I already heard Marcia´s impression. But what do you think of this get up?”
Geralt chewed on his bottom lip in a rare sign of obvious nervousness as he thought about what to say. What was appropriate to say? They were friends and Jaskier wanted his honest opinion, sure, but what if the bard will tell Vesemir about this and the older Witcher does not approve of Geralt´s words? The White Wolf truly had no desire to be ordered to clean all the swords in Kaer Morhen. There were a lot of swords after all.
Finally he settled for:”Doesn't look bad.”
While Marcia looked like she wanted to complain about this statement, Jaskier grinned. Turning to the shopkeeper he said:”Oh, don't misunderstand, from him this is a huge compliment.”
Geralt “hmm”d an affirmative and Marcia nodded even if she didn't look fully convinced.
Instead she suggested that “Stockings would go great with this set.”
“Ah…” Jaskier muttered and rubbed his neck again as a slight blush crept up his face. “You know, I don´t know how my partner will react to this type of clothes, so I don´t wanna overdo it on the first time.”
“I understand that. Then, I think I have a great black silk robe you could wear with it. Nothing overly sexy but it can still have a very seducing effect.” Marcia replied gently.
The bard nodded and smiled again. “That sounds great, I would like to try it on to see how it looks.”
So the shopkeeper disappeared for a moment to get the robe. Jaskier took this chance to look at Geralt again, now with open uncertainty. It took the Witcher aback for a second. Of course he knew Jaskier wasn't always as confident as he acted, however he rarely showed it so openly.
“I really don't look ridiculous. right? You would tell me if I'd make myself a clown in front of Vesemir, right?” Jaskier half whispered.
Geralt's face softened. “Of course I would. You know I am honest with you, that's why you took me with you, didn't you? You look good. I am sure Vesemir will agree…. Well, he probably agrees more and in different ways than I but you know what I am trying to say here.”
This made Jaskier smile again. “Yeah I do.” he said softly.
Right after he said those words Marcia came back and handed Jaskier the robe.
The bard immediately tried it one and looked at himself in the mirror. He hummed in delight. “It's a really nice robe, comfortable.”
Marcia smiled wide. “I knew you would like it.” she exclaimed.
Jaskier smiled back and took it off again. “But before I ultimately decide I need to try the other set on.” With those words he gave Marcia the robe back and went back into the dressing room.
Geralt and the shopkeeper both waited in silence, even though the Witcher sensed she wanted to say one or two things to him. He was glad that she held herself back.
Thankfully it didn't take too long till Jaskier emerged again. This time wearing the red lingerie set. Again Jaskier turned around for them to see everything.
The panties were a bit longer than the previous ones, but hugged the bard´s bottom just as snuggly, but also pulled attention to the strong thighs. There were some lovely, teasing lace details at both sides.
The top, more like a crop top than a bustier this time. It too fit snuggly, hugging that muscular chest in all the right ways. No tied up front. No bows. However, more lace details, making the whole thing nearly see through. Looking closer Geralt noticed that the lace was in a flower pattern.
“Oh! This looks good on you too!” Marcia exclaimed excitedly.
Jaskier gave her a smile and a “Thank you”, then looked to Geralt.
“Hmm.” The Witcher started. He frowned and like before thought about his next words. “It...looks good.” he stated slowly.
His friend raised an eyebrow. “I sense a but.”
Geralt sighed and shrugged. “I liked the black one better.”
Jaskier “Hm”d thoughtful and turned to look in the mirror.
“If you can´t decide, you can always take both. I am sure we can decide on a good and fair price.” the shopkeeper offered after a few moments of silence.
“While I saved money for this exact purchase I am afraid I don't have that much.” Jaskier said diplomatically without turning around.
“I am taking the black set together with the robe.” he then decided.
Marcia nodded. “Alright. I will be waiting at the front for you.”
Jaskier went back into the dressing room and Geralt stood up from the couch.
The Witcher looked outside,wondering how much time they had spent here. He really hoped he could still make all the purchases he had wanted to do today.
It didn't take long until his best friend had changed and came out again. He hung the red lingerie set back where he found it and together he and Geralt walked to Marcia, who was already waiting.
She smiled at them. A pair of black stockings was laying on the counter in front of her. At Jaskier´s questioning gaze she explained:”A little gift from me...even at the chance that your partner doesn't like it you can still wear it for yourself, right?”
Hearing this the bard smiled as well. “Thank you! That is very kind.” he replied.
Marcia chuckled before saying:”Well, I think you deserve it. But also, first time customers get a little gift here nonetheless.” She brought two more items out from under the counter. As Geralt saw what those were he groaned, while Jaskier laughed delighted.
“So,” the shopkeeper smirked, “what will it be my dear? The cute little plug or a simple leather collar?”
Jaskier turned to Geralt, mischief clearly in his eyes. “Hey Geralt, what do you think Vesemir…?”
“I am waiting outside!” Geralt quickly interrupted and didn´t wait for an answer as he already walked towards the door. His best friend´s laughter followed him all the way outside.
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