[Lost - Vakur - The Fermi Moment]

Do you know what the Fermi Moment is?

Back in 1942 when they were building the first atomic bomb, Teller walked out of his office and casually remarked 'What would happen if you detonate this device in the air? Might you not cause the nitrogen nuclei to collide and become oxygen plus carbon in a nuclear reaction?'

Oppenheimer became quite worried, but Bethe and Teller sat down with Konopinski and showed that it was impossible to set the hydrogen in the atmosphere on fire.

But just prior to the test, an ironic Enrico Fermi turned to the others and casually asked "Now, let's make a bet whether the atmosphere will be set on fire by this test."

The story has been retold and warped to give people the impression that they just didn't know - that it was a risky gamble. But it wasn't, they had the math to prove to it.

Well I've had my Fermi Moment.

The Tale of the Darkest Night before the Dawn will always be mine, even if we let Hecate take the lead on the story. Just as I will always be part of the legend of Pelleas.

I hate that - I hate it more than you can possibly imagine. If every neuron of mine brain had hatred written on it, it might be a tenth of how much I despise and fear the power I wield.

And how much I love it. No nuclear test will ever compare to the rush of letting loose a Story into the world, to watching it grow and shape and shift and change.

I knew. I knew it would work. I saw the looks, the fear, the anger and the desperation. The frustration at people caught up in Stories they didn't comprehend. But I knew.

For all that, for everything... we might have birthed a Gentry that day. We certainly have created ripples in fate that will take years to die.

I know how those scientists felt - I know how Oppenheimer felt when he saw that blast wave and that terrible mushroom cloud that would come to dominate the nightmares of much of the earth.

I no longer fear myself. But I am afraid of what I can do.

[Billy Stillfeather] Fire and Ice

I’ve always been torn between the hot anger of summer, and the cold dark of winter. I am the wing that carries the hero into battle, I am the ear on silent wing. But it’s always been a choice – I am one, or the other.

But now, I am fire and ice, rage and grief, vengeance both hot and cold. My choice is gone, and both consume me.

It’s not that Tristan is dead. Sometimes the hero dies. I would mourn him, remember him, and share the stories of the things he did. It’s that the witch asked for his body, was told “No”, and took it anyway – driving us away with fear so she could steal him, and leave us an insult in his blood. I’ve been to Arcadia and back today, and this is worse.

I feel rage, pure fire in my heart, my hands reaching for pistols that are not there. I want my motley to see the witches insult, so that they will feel this too. I want us to rage together and track her down and destroy her.

I am broken, cold, weeping, reaching out to bend the world around me and hide. I want to be alone. I want to withdraw, and make a perfect plan that ends in the witch’s death, so I can coldly look on her corpse and ask it whether her insult was worth the consequence.

And I feel them both at once. I don’t know who I am today.

Prism wants to clear up the insult in Tristan’s blood so Inaya doesn’t see it. I want to shout at her to leave it, and I want to help her hide the mess, and I can’t even remember which I did.

Silence is here, and his heart is cold and vengeful, and I want to be cold and vengeful too. But I want to burn like the sun with wrath. I can do neither.

Inaya is here – I tell her I want to freeze my heart to ice, so I can’t feel this. She reminds me, that to honour Tristan, I can continue what he started. I want to do that. Do something.

I want to carry the hero into the final battle, to burn up with glory as I bring him close enough to strike the blade into the dragon.

I want to go silent inside the enemy walls, move among them bringing death, and death, and death.

And I can do neither. If I fall, Aurelia falls, and I will still be here to remember that I did that to her.

I am full of fire and ice, and I can do nothing.


Tadeas Novotny has been to war before, but this is different. His wars have been quiet things, wars of running and hiding, trying not to act suspicious, looking at every building in terms of where to hide a radio, smiling at men in uniforms. He does not belong in a battle.

But the logic of the machine is inescapable: the juggernaut is the most powerful mobile weapons platform the freeholds have, and could be decisive accompanying the assault group. And the crew assigned by the high command are a weak link: enemy deserters pledge-bound to serve. To serve, Tadeas thinks, but not necessarily to be any good at it. The juggernaut will be most effective in the assault group, and it will be most effective with a good engineer aboard. Perfectly logical.

As the armoured bulk clanks and hisses toward the ruin of the Wall, though, what Tadeas sees is anything but logical. Into the space of blackened ruin created by the fall of the fortress, the army -- army is a strong word, he thinks, for the scrapings of the Lost forces mingled with hob mercenaries -- deploys itself in a line, separated by Freehold. The banners hang limply in the still, stunned air. He sees. through the bright bar of a vision slit, the lords of Summer and the knights of Dawn striding back and forth, their mouths moving as they deliver rousing speeches. He can't hear them over the hiss and rumble of the machine. He sees the black, motionless mouths of the guns among the crude rubble barricade. He sees the silent shadow of the Moonshine Mama slide across the ground. He lines up the targeting reticule on a gun nest and tries not to think of the life inside it.

In flashes of fire, the barricade speaks. He listens to the bullets splash of the steel hull like rain on a shed roof and he replies. The juggernaut retches flame and a section of barricade turns into an expanding cloud of burning gas edged with metal, stone and thorn fragments. He speaks again, his voice raised in an inhuman shriek to be heard over the roar of the engine.

"Load. Target acquired. Fire. Load. Target acquired. Fire. Load. Target acquired. Fire. Load. Target acquired. Fire. Load. Target acquired."

His rhythm is interrupted by a movement seen through the slits; the assault group is advancing into the storm of fire. Ogres bellow in fury so loudly that they can be heard even over the din of the fighting compartment. He sees one lope forward, knuckle-running like a gorilla, eager to bring death, only to be scythed down by fire from the barricade.

"Ahead three-quarters; fire at will." No point in aiming as the machine lurches forward over the uneven ground, but with any luck the steady fire will keep some of the gunners' heads down. He edges forward, ploughing ahead of the line through the lashing vegetation to clear a path, to offer some cover from the deadly fire ahead. The logic is inescapable.

Tadeas doesn't know the driver's name; he just thinks of him as Driver. Driver dies first; a stray shot penetrates the commander's vision slit, a one-in-a-million bullet no doubt guided by some cruel oracle, and shatters his jaw. He bleeds out shrieking and Tadeas and Loader lose vital moments dumping his body out of the belly hatch. Tadeas takes his position, bloody hands slipping on the steering levers. The barricade is close, close enough.

"Ahead full," Tadeas says before he remembers that Driver is dead and he needs to do it himself. The armoured prow of the Juggernaut smashes into the hastily-assembled barricade like a snow plow. Father Wrath carves the stones next to the breach like snow, widening the breach, and Mizzery's squad pour through to maul the defenders who are even now turning their backs and running.

The second line, though, is another problem. Tadeas has only seen the Arcadian Guard as figures on a map, but in person the elite soldiers of the Lords of Light are an unmoving wall of white, untouched by the killing, undismayed by the rout of their lesser comrades. Projectiles fly from the rear rank, one of them a bolt that strikes the glacis plate of the Juggernaut. A seam fails and heated metal spalls into the compartment, spraying Gunner. Blinded, he lets out a wail equal parts pain and despair. Tadeas and Loader do what they can to get him out of the hatch before Tadeas climbs into his position. The Juggernaut will not move again anyway, its treads tangled in vines and slick with gore.

Already the heroes of the Freeholds are advancing to meet the shieldwall, so Tadeas aims and fires hastily, tears streaming unnoticed down his face. The main gun shatters the ranks like a marble bowled at a row of tin soldiers. The racket of the engine means that the maimed and dying make no more sound than tin soldiers, but tin soldiers don't stem grimly into the gap made by the shattered lives of their fellows. Tadeas places the reticule over one woman in a high plumed helm and squeezes the trigger to murder her.

It becomes so routine, singling out lives to end and then screaming to Loader that it takes him a moment to realise that Loader is gone; he has fled through the unsecured belly hatch and Tadeas is alone in the machine. He sings a bar of an old song under his breath and the loading mechanism springs into action, shells dancing from the ammunition hopper into the breech with a spritely life of their own. He resumes his place in the gunner's seat. Through the vision slit he sees a sprawled figure lying amid the corpses that fan out around Humble and laughs at himself; for a second, he thought it was Stitch; but what would Stitch be doing here? He belongs safely behind the lines.

With no one to talk to, he fires again and again, blasting holes in the meat and bone that make up the wall, shattering what little remains of the wall, killing and killing until his mouth tastes like hot metal and his glasses are fogged with his own breath. He does not see when the Red Dragon tears the Moonshine Mama from the sky and sends her crew burning to the ground far below like shooting stars. He does not see the tiny red speck of the flying machine bearing Gwydir toward his target. He does not see the mercenaries starting to edge backward, leaving him with no one but Lanval for infantry cover.

He sees the Arcadian Guard break formation for the final assault, a swirling melee that devolves into one-on-one or two-on-one brawls amid the blood and mud and wreckage, fought with fists and teeth as much as swords and spears. He does not see the guardsman who makes it, against all odds, to within range of the Juggernaut to strike it with lightning. He feels, as if it were a part of his own body, a weakened heat overflow pipe give way and erupt into a flower of metal shards and scalding steam next to him. The explosion shears his leg off at the knee, painting the gunner's seat with his blood, but strictly speaking its the electricity coursing through the inadequately insulated hull that does it, flashing through his body and stilling his already-weak heart. Toymaker slumps in the gunner's seat and the machine finally stops.

He does not see Lanval scramble through the belly hatch to save him; he does not see Wrath and Mizzery collapse on the field as the battle ends. He does not see the Spring courtiers, already bloodsoaked, sprinting toward the silent ruins carrying the very last of their medical supplies. He weeps when he realises he will live, then laughs that he has outlived the machine.

This one, at any rate. On the cot, as they resection the charred stump of his leg, leaving flaps of skin to sew over the stub of his old bone, he is planning his improvements. 

[requiem - Jenny for +Ben Brown's prompt 'love']

The hormone, Oxytocin, is occasionally referred to as the ‘love hormone’. It is known generally to promote the bonding of mother and child, as well as controlling certain parts of pregnancy, as well as stimulating lactation. It is also linked to romantic love, and the reduction of anxiety and fear. Sexual activity has also shown to cause an increase in Oxytocin levels. The hormone is secreted by the Posterior Pituitary Gland, and is one of only two produced there that acts at a distance.

That means it is in the blood.

Vitae is a mystery to us still. Not a complete mystery, of course, it is more like we are a third of the way through novel and we are still trying to work out who did it. But we have some clues.

Capturing Vitae in time to investigate is difficult, so we work on more quantifiable, important aspects; Are there clan identifiers in blood? How can we tell the potency of the blood? Are the clan weaknesses present in the blood? (For those clans that have them, of course)

So perhaps it is time to address the nature of the emotion of the beast. This supernatural element only is considered to feel three emotions: anger, hunger and fear. The Kindred is considered to feel very little in the way of emotion, mostly echoes in the subconscious left over from memories of human life.

I hypothesise that this is due to a lack of hormones. My posterior pituitary gland I suspect has not produced anything much since I was embraced, never mind anything as useless as oxytocin.

So everything I feel must be a shadow. A memory of how I think I should react. People have suggested before that memory is in the blood. Clever, learned people at that. So perhaps love is in the blood still?

Perhaps I can cling to that humanity, that spectrum of feeling. I hope I can still laugh, still cry, still blush. I hope I can still desire a lover's touch, and be moved by their pleasure.

I hope to stay me.

[Devil's Advocate - Excerpt]

“Micheal, Stop talking.” The japanese woman scowled at Mizzery as she sat down on the side of the bed. He smirked a little and peeled off the shirt he’d been wearing for the weird little goblin restaurant they’d spent a lovely evening at. “I’m just saying that Oni’s are basically Devils and all I do is big you up to my friends… I advocate for you. I’m the De…”
“... Micheal. I will hit you with my club” Momo raised the huge Tetsubo casually as if it was a part of her arm. “This is not a threat. If you continue with your weak wordplay, I will harm you.” She pointed out, straight faced, wrapping her words carefully around her accent so he couldn’t use the excuse of not understanding her again.
    Mizzery gave her a fond smile and a shrug, before miming zipping his mouth shut. “Though, for the record? Theres nothing weak about my wordplay” He said, making sure she got a good look at him lowering the shirt down around his shoulders, twisting slightly to improve his muscle definition as he did so. “I’m a fairly cunning linguist.”
    The woman known as ‘Kaku Momo Nashi Ume’ rolled her eyes at him and turned her face away so that he couldn’t see her faint blush deepen the natural redness of her cheeks.This was allways how the game was played and how it would be won. She loved the way that he toyed with her, treated her like a person, not a woman, not a member of a criminal organisation. She had given him that freedom and he had not betrayed her like many in her life had before.
She called him an “Idiot” as she turned herself a little to bring her knees onto the bed, her feet still hanging off and covered in her shoes. Momo allowed herself a small smile, her eyes drifting back over to him. Seeing the oppurtunity to capitalise on his earler striptease, Mizz moved closer to the bed, raising a single knee up to rest on it and putting his hands on his belt. “You want to see more? Don’t think i don’t see your face going red…”
“My face is allways red, Micheal. All of my body is red.”
“Yeah, but i’m talking about a specific shade of red” He grinned at her, clearly enjoying himself...


[Miss Wilkinson / Requiem]


Rolling Stones - For +Rebel Wulf

'67 was a pretty good year.

I mean - close as I've come to having "did someone Dominate me into forgetting stuff?" gaps, in all the decades I was in service to kindred... but honestly, I was just high for a lot of it.

Human drugs are strange, when you're a vitae junkie.

Dope's a bore - kine all strung out, braiding hair, fucking drum circles - hugging Avebury stones like they're going to hug back. Not an entirely unpleasant sensation - being on dope, that is, never did start humping stones. Even I've got some limits. But it smells rank - nearly as bad as its users - and good god they talk a lot of bollocks.

Acid and mushrooms (bracketing the psychedelics for brevity - don't mix!) are... surreal. You can spend an hour discovering a whole imaginary universe in a blade of grass; or be utterly convinced that the clouds are closing in and plotting to kill you in incredibly complex and believable ways - that will quite inexplicably become impossible to explain when you come down. And yes, kine are still total staring, shivering loons while they're spaced out. Mildly better smelling - these are your weekend daytrippers, not dyed-in-the-wool flower children.

I hadn't thought about the summer of love for years - then someone started supplying way too much crystal meth to Exeter, to the point that the blood supply became dangerously tainted for kindred.

Not sure what De Mantissa's done about the meth problem - but back in '67, some little grass shopped the Rolling Stones, and a bunch of other musicians, to the police. Now, what kind of a bastard would shut down a party like that?

History is written by the Victors +Kat Abercrombie +Rebel Wulf

The blood splashed across his muzzle, the taste of flesh filling his mouth. As the sound of whimpering and whining fills his ears. Slowly The Silent Howl backs away from the collection of bleeding and broken Pure.
Sliding back into his human form, the gore and blood falling in a large puddle at his feet. He turns to father wolf reborn. His pack silent and disbelieving. A single child of Black wolf should not be able to do this. A half moon CAN’T do this surely.

The Pack of five Ashshaga were telling everyone that would listen that the Elder of Edinburgh was a murderer and a weakling. He killed children in their beds, murdered teachers with silver and stole mates from the worthy. Silent Howl’s pack kept look to him, expecting a response. He kept quiet. Then they came within arms reach. The crack of bone was the first sound of the fight.

“I judged and executed Zi’ir that raped my friend. I cut down in combat a hunter of Dire wolf’s tribe who threatened my faimly. And if these little shits come within a dozen miles of Sara. MY Mate. I will show them what a hunter in darkness does to those that threaten that which is sacred.
If anyone wishes to call me a liar or question my judgement do it now. Or shut the F&* up”

He throws the broken form of the Alpha that challenged him at the feet of Father wolf.


[Mage - Identity]

Moisturiser. Primer. Filler. Concealer. Foundation. Pause.

She looked at her mask in the mirror and smiled.
All covered.
From here she could go anywhere.

She carefully took up a brush and chose a pot.
Covering up her past had never been so easy,
Since the Alumni.
They did not need to know it,
She was sure.
She wasn't that person anymore.

Spark was new. A new name.
None of that old fear.
None of that need to hide.
She was free, Awakened, Mighty.

She grinned to herself in the mirror, That thrill of purpose,
Excitement in her chest and running
Down to her fingertips.
She twirled the brush between her fingers,
And began to cover the mask.

Dark lines, shades and colours,
She painted her armour.
Carefully she created the image.
Large eyes, high brows, healthy cheeks.
She could be whatever she wanted to be.

Her lips she did last out of habit. Tracing her true shape through the mask.
Here she gave the truth, in colour. Her words were hers, and they needed to be said;
They did not have cause to hide.

God gave her the drive to speak again,
And she would speak the truth
From her own lips.

Well.

Most of the time.

She's in my arms, body pressed against mine as we move as one. Even though she's confident I can feel her slender limbs shaking under the weight of mine, every movement I make shoving her this way and that. Despite the immense amount of attention its taking to keep up my pace, I can't help but smell the paint on her breath, notice the clear liquid on my fingers that passes for sweat. Its intoxicating in that 'faceful of fumes' way that some paints can be and I lose myself in the memories it makes.

Its funny how things can change in a moment. I remember when we first met she seemed terrified of me, quietly accepting every torture I put her through in our journey of experimentation and self discovery. I hurt her more than once, having to carry her naked into the lake to recover from my idiotic toying with her body. Now, she accepts me as one of her own, doesn't think twice of coming running when I call her and tell her that I need her.

She takes the lead now that I'm done showing her what I've learned. She's kind, guiding my movements and patiently ignoring the noises I cant help but make. Our legs entwine more than once, my inexpert writhing knotting us up. She speaks softly, tells me its OK and that we'll work on it more another time.

I fucking hate the Waltz.

[Lost - Dance. Requested by +FutureFlyingPhoenix]

She knelt on the loamy Hedge of her garden, careful not to disturb the amaranthine roots as she dug past them. The fruits were already heavy on the stalk, the plant itself outstripping its counterparts a suspicious amount.

"It rather," Sabrina chided the plant, tapping a leaf with a finger, "defeats the purpose if you're going to call attention to yourself."

There was a soft clink as her trowel found what it was seeking. She moved her hand from the plant itself to the dirt, gently brushing off the vial.

Sabrina lifted it level with her face to better frown at it. The vial, in return, glowed softly in her soiled hand. She sighed with irritation that those who knew her might call uncharacteristic, and set it aside so she could cover the roots of the amaranthine once more.

She gazed at her garden in silence, her expression regaining its normal serenity as she contemplated.

Finally Sabrina moved to one of the smaller blushberry plants and dug as closely as she could - again, careful not to damage its roots. There she buried the vial once more. When she was satisfied, she stood up and brushed herself off.

"Nice to see you're good for something," she said to the dream vial that held her love, before leaving the garden once more.
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