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A Tinker's Damn - Chapter 15

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Chapter 15: When Life Hands You Lemons, Make Lemonade
“Come on lazybones, rise and shine. Don't want to miss out on the shindig, do you?”
Diggs stared at her in confusion, as he was already up. Maggie laughed, tossing him a set of clothes she’d snagged during their sightseeing the day before. “Put those on,” she told him, while grabbing her own. Their outfits were almost identical, simple white long shirts and trousers, made with synthetics and loose, with a pair of cheap sandals to complete the ensemble. They dressed quickly, though getting him to leave behind his precious wrench was a bit of a struggle, before she knelt to speak.
“Today is about having fun,” she smiled. “It might seem a little crazy, but it’s okay. You’re safe, and so am I. So just enjoy yourself, all right? Do what everyone else is doing, and you’ll be fine.”
The boy nodded, smiling back. She’d toyed with walking him through the day’s festivities, but she didn’t want to take from him the joy of discovering the Celebration of Life for himself. There were some things she’d have to explain later, as each day of Rendezvous highlighted different events, but for now it was time to get the party started.
They started with a light breakfast, and Freya’s cooks had done themselves proud. A variety of fruits from across the Perseus Arm awaited them, and she snagged a few tasty treats she recognized. There was a selection of breads and meats, and she almost staggered in surprise when she spotted a serving dish piled high with scrambled Caga eggs. Supposedly they were a near match for the kind eaten on Earth, but who could say for certain anymore? All she knew is that she’d loved them ever since she was a girl and seeing the mound of red protein brought back memories. Serving for them both, she ladled on an extra helping of those before they took a seat in the crowded Mess and dug into their meal.
Diggs was tucking it away like nobody’s business, and she realized he’d filled out since she’d found him in that alley. He noticed her staring and gave her a sloppy grin, enjoying the food, before going back to plowing through the menu. Maggie ate slower, saving the tastes and textures, thinking back to other celebrations in times gone by.
Once breakfast was out of the way, it was time to find a good spot for the official kickoff of Rendezvous. Helpful signs abounded to direct them, as the pair made their way to one of the cargo holds...only to bump into a young woman who seemed to have planted herself in the middle of the corridor. Maggie began mumbling an apology, only for the female to turn around and beam down at Diggs.
“Well hello there you,” she purred, raising hackles down the Tinker’s neck. “I’ll bet you’ve never seen this before,” she smirked, giving her a wink before rippling, her body seeming to reform itself before her very eyes. Within just a few seconds Diggs’ jaw dropped, as he stared at two identical versions of his guardian, while the original growled at the duplicate.
“Back off, Protean,” Maggie snapped. “You know the rules...no recruiting til they’re old enough to choose for themselves.”
Her doppelganger laughed, even as her body rippled once more, resuming its original form. “It’s never too early to plant the seed,” she chuckled, pointing towards a nearby hatch decorated with their Clan symbol...a rising phoenix. “If you change your mind...stop by anytime.”
“Don’t hold your breath,” she muttered, steering Diggs away from the shapeshifter who stared at the women until they rounded a corner and were out of sight. Spotting his frank curiosity, she bowed to the inevitable. “When you’re older, if you want to go that route...ain’t nobody gonna stop you,” she explained, “but til then, you steer clear of ‘em. Understand?”
It was obvious he didn’t, not really. Maggie sighed. “Look...those folks, the Proteans...they take crazy risks, implanting all sorts of alien stuff in their bodies. Sometimes it works...like with that lady. And sometimes...it don’t. It’s dangerous, and there’s no tellin’ what you end up like on the other side. So you just stay away, til you can decide on your own.”
Diggs nodded, willing to accept her judgement. “All right then, enough about that. Time to have some fun.” Resuming their trip, they arrived minutes later at their destination, where a crowd was already gathering. They were each handed a plastic bat upon entering, as Maggie guided the boy to one of the several structures scattered around the space, each one resembling a Yīqún drone, simpler versions of the ones that destroyed Earth. They were squatty, with segmented tentacles and pincers and bulging lenses that resembled eyes, painted with a silver metallic coating.
“When we get the signal, you beat the stuffin’ out of that thing with your bat,” she chuckled, “and get ready for a surprise.” Diggs looked at the effigy, then at the bat, before giving her a questioning look. “I’m serious,” she grinned, taking a few practice swings of her own. “Trust me, you’ll like it.”
The boy shrugged, swinging his own bat around like he had during his practice sessions with Blye. More and more people filed in until they closed the hatch, followed moments later by a warbling tone like an old fashion klaxon.
“Welcome everyone, to Rendezvous!” a voice announced over the loudspeakers. The crowd cheered, raising their bats high in the air, as the voice continued. “We’ve spotted the Yīqún in this sector, and it’s up to you to stop them. So get ready...get set...and attack!
With a primal scream the crowd threw themselves at the mockups, wailing away with their bats and smashing them to bits, with each hit releasing a shower of wrapped candies or a spray of colored powder. Fine dust featuring every color of the rainbow spewed in all directions, dyeing the masses with a riot of pigments. Diggs stared in surprise at first, but soon he was laughing with glee as he helped smash the fragile drone piñata, scooping up handfuls of the multi-hued powder and hurling it at his neighbors, who responded in kind.
Even Maggie herself was having a grand time, though it was moments like seeing Diggs shriek with delight as someone smashed a handful of bright yellow dust on his head that brought her the most joy. Grabbing a handful herself she snuck up behind him and dumped it down his back, only to squeal like a young girl as he returned the favor. The crowd descended into a free-for-all, as everyone did their level best to find any remaining spot still uncolored on those within reach, and correct the error. It was madness, a joyous release, as howls and squeals and whoops of joy descended in pure exhausted laughter, as one by one the participants collapsed onto the floor and retrieved the candies, wiping their eyes and mouths clear as they enjoyed the tasty treats.
Diggs and Maggie found a remaining bit of the effigy to lean against as the relaxed, the boy’s eyes going wide as he tasted the confections for the first time. Soon he was shoving them in his mouth as fast as he could before Maggie intervened. The last thing she wanted was for him to get sick, not when there was still so much in store for him.
As the hatches opened once more, the crowd began rising to their feet, shaking off the excess powder before they began filing out. The Tinker ran her fingers through their hair and brushed the worst of the debris from their clothes, though they were hopelessly stained now. Not that it mattered, the clothing would be recycled at the end of Rendezvous and used to make clothing for the next festival.
It was amazing how much the mood had changed, how much brighter things seemed. People chatted with whoever was nearest as they wandered the halls, making their way to the next event. She felt Diggs tug her hand as something caught his attention, following a stream of younger folks filing into another compartment. Pounding music and flashing lights could be seen and heard, and in the bursts she spotted writhing bodies swaying to the beat, grinding together as they shed their clothing.
“Not there, young man,” she admonished, pulling him away, “not til you’re a few years older.” After the Holi the crowd split in two...those in their prime hooking up with random partners, while the young and old would eat and drink and dance and sing elsewhere.
...it was no coincidence the birthrate spiked nine months after Rendezvous.
They’d already made plans to meet with Blye for the festivities, as Prash had already made his plans known, and she doubted they’d see him til the end. Likewise, for Kai and Rúna, they were both young and healthy, and if the guarded looks she’d seen from the corporal were any sign, the sergeant was likely in for a big surprise, despite his opinions on the matter. Rendezvous was a time when rules were set aside, when one gave free rein to their desires. It was an intense, wonderful, magical time...and probably for the best that it only came once a year.
The mess Hall they’d picked was already full and finding Blye would have been impossible in the sea of multi-colored humanity. Luckily they’d swapped minicomp IDs, so it was just a matter of homing in on her signal. When they found her she was munching away at something, waving them over as she chatted with those seated nearby.
“You made it!” she grinned, giving Diggs a hug before pointing at a nearby table. “Food and drink is over there, help yourself.”
“Don’t mind if I do,” Maggie smirked. “You stay here with Blye while I fix us up a plate.” The boy nodded, happy to see the young Chevalier once again, smiling to see her just as coated as he was with colored powder.
The post-Holi meal was finger food, and a wide variety of options awaited her, some she recognized, others she didn’t. She settled for a sample plate, a little of everything, while pouring two mugs of juice for her and Diggs...though to hers she added a healthy splash of high-tension ethanol. It was a party, and by God she was gonna enjoy herself.
A raised stage at the far end of the compartment had a group of musicians playing something lively with a mixture of instruments, both electronic and traditional, along with something that had to be from some alien race. It looked like a bizarre combination of cymbals and trumpet, but the gal playing it seemed to know what she was doing. Judging by the strange clothing she wore, she was likely a Dharmist, one of those who’d chosen to live among the aliens. A few attended Rendezvous every year, to recruit as the Protean had tried to.
A huge viewscreen filled one bulkhead, and she spotted an odd mixture of beings having their own little soirée. Avatars then, the uploaded personalities. They often changed their appearances at a whim, and she spotted a few natural humans engaging them in conversation. Any other time of year they’d likely have nothing to do with each other, but then Rendezvous was special. The yearly truce kept things from getting out of hand...mostly...and was the glue that kept this fragile coalition in one piece, despite the infighting.
Returning to the table, she set down the plate between them and handed Diggs his mug while taking a healthy swig from her own. The alcohol warmed her belly and relaxed her mind, as she and the medic got caught up, while others in the space danced. This had always been her favorite part of Rendezvous...well, except when she’d discovered sex...where she could sit back and just be; no demands, no one needing this or that, just being able to relax and enjoy herself.
She had no idea how long they remained like that, as Diggs tried the various foods she’d grabbed while following the surrounding conversations, silent as always. A couple hours, perhaps...when a squeal of static from the stage diverted their attention. An older man waved at the crowd as he spoke into some invisible mic.
“Hey everybody, I hope you’re all enjoying yourselves?” A roar of approval answered back, as he grinned from ear to ear. “Glad to hear it. To all our guests, I want to welcome you to Freya, and this year’s Rendezvous. Now I know you’ve all been waiting for this, it’s been a favorite since before I was a lad, so without further ado…” His voice trailed off as the band played the opening notes to the song everyone loved, when their host sang:
“When your shipment needs protecting, to a dark and distant star, The Corsairs stand to fit the bill, once you pry us from the bar. But when our ships are shot to hell, you greet us with that song,”
The entire crowd joined in, drowning out his voice as they shouted out the last line:
“Move along, you filthy Terran, move along!”
Laughs and smiles were all around the space, as a woman stood to take up the next refrain:
“When your subjects start acting out, or the neighbors cause a stir, You’ll hire on us Valkyries, with the hope we will deter. But as we count our casualties, you appear amidst the throng, Move along, you filthy Terran, move along.”
The tune fascinated Diggs, as everyone craned their necks around to see who’d take the next stanza. Much to their surprise, Blye stood up, with a strong contralto:
“When PR requires charity, to give to those in need, You ask the Knight’s Hospitaller, knowing that is our creed. But when your plight is over, you bang that familiar gong, Move along, you filthy Terran, move along.”
People were now clapping in time with the music, as a young lad not much older than Diggs climbed up on a table, belting out in a sweet tenor, while Maggie gave the Knight’s arm a squeeze as she sat back down:
“When the core is glowin’ hot, and your ship begins to burn, You’ll cry out for a Tinker, before that Point of No Return. But even when we save your hides, still you say we don’t belong, Move along, you filthy Terran, move along.”
A wall of sound came from the viewscreen, as the odd-looking figures sang in chorus:
“When there’s data you need to have, documents you want to steal, You’ll send out for an Avatar, to learn what they conceal. But once the job’s completed, you’ll just say we did it wrong, Move along, you filthy Terran, move along.”
A woman rose to her feet...at least, Maggie thought it was a woman, but with the strange grafts welded to her body it was hard to tell. At least one of her arms looked like it had too many joints...and as she leaned closer, it seemed that at least some of her skin had been replaced with a polymer...but there was nothing wrong with her voice, a gravelly alto that sent chills down her spine:
“When there’s a cure you want to try, new genes you wish to splice, You’re thrilled to see us Proteans, to implant some new device. But when it all goes sideways, and our lives you can’t prolong, Move along, you filthy Terran, move along.”
And finally, a man in robes like the musician’s on stage got up...brother, maybe, based on the resemblance...bowing to the crowd before singing like those before:
“When you want to prove you’re civilized, your culture great and grand, You’ll reach out to the Dharmists, and offer your Promised Land. But when you see we’re different, too brash and too headstrong, Move along, you filthy Terran, move along.”
The crowd roared out the final line, repeating it once again, before breaking out in whistles and cheers as they applauded the musicians, the singers...and themselves.
Maggie wasn’t sure how old the song was...a century maybe, or even older...but it was still a favorite at Rendezvous. It had become humanity’s anthem, and while the lyrics might change from one year to the next, the sentiment never did. She contemplated a splash of graffiti on the bulkhead, one she noticed as they’d entered, something she’d seen again and again her whole life.
“We may be down...but we ain’t out.”
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Finished chapter 10! (Ending spoilers, of course)

Finally beat the game and it was a fantastic experience! I plan on writing out my overall thoughts on the whole game in a separate ‘review’ thread, so this will just be my thoughts on chapter 10 and the ending. It's really long this time because I wanted to really get most of my thoughts on this final chapter in there. As with the previous threads, I’ll be marking Xenogears, XBC, and just a small bit of Xenosaga episode I spoilers this time for those who haven’t played them.
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Continuing on from the opening scene of chapter 10, we head inside the elevator and are greeted by space! The view outside the window is really neat, and again it goes to show how far we’ve come, from Azurda’s back on the Cloud Sea all the way to space. I also enjoyed that heart-to-heart where Zeke and Pandoria are trying to find the Titans and Morag starts claiming that she’s also finding a ton of them, just to win their competition. It shows a fun side to Morag that we don’t get to see, at least in the main game.
Following this, Malos makes it to the Architect and we find out that all the data from Malos (and most likely Mythra too) is being carried to him, (Xenogears spoilers) which reminds me of the memory cubes that carry the party’s data to Solaris.
As we head up the Rhadamanthus Portal, I also like how it’s kinda reminiscent of a security clearance, definitely feeding into the idea of Elysium being a space biome that people moved into and/or out of. The long hallway to it and the ambiance of the moment really adds to the buildup of finally reaching Elysium, and when we pass through the gates...it’s a barren wasteland. While expected, it still hit actually seeing the ruins and hearing Rex’s and Pyra’s despair at what remained of it. After all this buildup, it felt pretty surreal running around Elysium and seeing the rundown modern highway, the park, and all the other structures. The wistful music playing in the background also totally captures the feel of a once great but now decrepit civilization, which I loved for a different reason than I do the other field themes. I have to admit though, while unintentional, I burst out laughing when Rex touched the bike and it dissolved into dust instantly.
After that, we head to the church, which actually reminded me of (Xenosaga episode I spoilers) the church in the Encephalon when Shion and the party are trying to find KOS-MOS for her data of the Gnosis attack on the Durandal (just recently got to that point before I started getting really into XC2). In that area, part of the church is breaking down and that segment in the game revolves around the party having to face their painful memories and seeing illusions from within the party’s souls (which will come into play for XC2 in just a bit). There’s also Febronia inside the church, who longs for a place where the Realians could find peace, mimicking Rex’s own journey to find Elysium. Admittedly, the connection is still very broad and it doesn’t fit cleanly, so I don’t think it means all that much in this context.
After we enter the church, we get a pretty sudden and kinda eerie moment where we hear a high-pitched sound effect and the party suddenly disappears, which also gave me Xenosaga vibes since I remember segments that were kinda like that. I’m a sucker for surreal segments in games, so this and what comes afterwards got me really intrigued and invested (more than I already was).
After Rex moves forward, we find ourselves in a landscape with Ardainian soldiers walking by and skulls surrounding Rex, which I interpret to be what would’ve happened if the war between Mor Ardain and Uraya broke out. Then we encounter Nia and Dromarch, who are unnervingly upset with Rex and we engage in battle with them. I can see where they’re going with this, and I'm already loving this segment. Relating to what I mentioned earlier, we’ll most likely be experiencing Rex’s deepest fears of what the party thinks of him and theoretical doomsday scenarios.
Onto the fight with Nia, I liked the eerie sounds in the background and the resentful quotes from Nia. From what I could pick out, there’s:
“We came all this way...and for what?”
“There is no Elysium. There never was.”
“Everything we’ve done...it’s all been for nothing.”
“Damn you for not picking me. This whole time and all this way: Pyra. Pyra. Pyra. Pyra. Pyra.”
“Why don’t you take more notice of me?”
After the fight with Nia, we move onto Morag and Brighid, who are upset about the death of Mor Ardain's people. As for the lines here, I heard:
“You disappoint me. I had high hopes for you.”
“And you call yourself driver of the Aegis? Niall? My people? This is all your fault.”
“How long do you intend to continue this charade (I think she said charade)?”
Then we move onto Zeke+Pandoria and Tora+Poppi, the latter of which is definitely the most shattering. Poppi shouldn’t be allowed to be bitter. XD Also, the lines continue to be good:
“The Aegis isn’t for the likes of you, chum. She needs a real man.” (I bet this one really shattered Rex.)
“Tora wanted to be real driver, but it is impossible to become real driver!”
“Just a kid, ain'tcha? Nothing special.”
Also, this fight was surprisingly hard. It took me a few tries to win. Tora was especially annoying because he kept blocking near everything, so I just focused on Zeke first. It was pretty hard trying to hear the clips and I actually went and watched other videos on these fights to see if I could pinpoint any more, but I probably still missed out on some quotes. If anyone has compiled a list of everything that’s said during this segment, I’d love to see what else was said.
After this, we get Azurda lamenting his lack of purpose and long life with no goal, and Rex continues to be pained by everyone's uncharacteristic bitterness. Then we return to Fonsett and find Pyra and Mythra oddly making dinner for him. After Rex washes his hands with his gloves on, he returns and after the two start to argue, Rex completely breaks down. I really like this scene for showing how completely off-guard and broken he is after all this turmoil he’s facing (which isn’t something we’ve really gotten aside from a brief moment at the start of ch.7), and as he’s trying to get his words out, you see how he tries to hold his tears back but can’t help but break down.
After the scene ends, we finally meet the Architect and he is confirmed to be Klaus. He informs us that his purpose behind giving us the illusions was to see how mankind has changed, and then we’re greeted to a massive lore dump that completely flips everything as we know it on its head.
We learn that Klaus believes the natural state of man is to harbor desires and try to realize them, and we get further elaboration on his goal that (XBC spoilers) reframes/changes his motive for creating a new universe. Just as Amalthus did, he lost hope for mankind and when he discovered the Conduit, he seized the opportunity to change the world for the better as he perceived it. We also learn that parallel universes are a thing and that the Conduit essentially acts as a doorway between them, which opens the door to the other Xeno games potentially being shared within this multiverse. Upon creating a new world, parts of Earth were scattered around the different universes, and what remained of the old world was Morthya’s ruins and...half of Klaus’ body, which I definitely was not expecting.
The fact that Morthya was already in ruins when it was transported to Alrest is interesting, as I thought it was humans with the power of core crystals who led that land to ruin, and considering it was a part of Earth before, they didn’t have core crystals (as will be elaborated on a bit later). Also, (XBC spoilers) the fact that Klaus is halved here bares the question of why is Zanza in XBC whole? (I haven’t played XBC in a long time, so my memory won’t be the sharpest and may be wrong, as fair warning) For now, I assume they’ll explain it as Klaus essentially living as the Bionis - rather than as himself - but then moving his soul into the Monado after his ‘death’ in the battle between Bionis and Mechonis. Then, it is only through regaining his power via Shulk that he is able to reproduce his own whole body.
Even beyond that though, it draws the question of whether Klaus is the god/Architect of all these different universes, and if so, how is he present in all of them when one half is already in Alrest alone and he establishes that the other half is in the XBC dimension? I feel like it closes the door on opportunities for more of these universes - and potential stories - to feature Klaus, unless Klaus is an unreliable narrator and he’s unaware of other matters in the multiverse himself. Considering that Zanza doesn’t make any mention of his body being halved, I guess it could be reasonable to assume he didn’t know about Alrest Klaus’ existence, which could then be applied to Alrest Klaus himself too. That just sounds like a mess of retcons and goes down a rabbit hole in how much you could stretch that though, I feel, so I don’t really think that’s the case. That, or maybe Zanza’s defeat and Klaus’ passing could recomplete him and send him into another universe. I can definitely see XBC:DE adding on and changing stuff to make sense of this all.
Going past this revelation, we learn that Klaus sees this as his punishment for changing the world, and he sought to restore what remained of it here by first creating the Cloud Sea, which had the ability to disassemble and rebuild matter, aka fix the ruins of Morthya. Next, he created the core crystals, which contained memories of Earth’s former organisms, and scattered them across the Cloud Sea, where they eventually grew and evolved into Titans, then other organisms, and eventually mankind again. Despite this, he still didn’t trust the new world in fear of another ‘him’, prompting him to create the Trinity Processor consisting of Logos (Malos), Pneuma, and Ontos. Unfortunately for him, Ontos ‘triggered a space-time transition event, and disappeared forever.’
(More XBC spoilers) The similar wording between Klaus’ ‘space-time transition event’ and Alvis’ ‘phase transition experiment facility’ could point to Alvis being Ontos. Considering Malos flat-out has a Monado, that also opens the door to Ontos also having a Monado, which could kinda fit with Alvis. The fact that they’ve retconned ‘The Birth of a Universe’ really means anything could be on the table, so there’s a number of ways to take this and make pieces fit into place. The major point of conflict I see is Alvis’ statement that ‘he is Monado’ and that he was there since the beginning, which shouldn’t be the case if he actually existed as one of the Trinity Processor (TP) cores that were created after Alrest Klaus’ creation of Alrest. I guess it could be argued that in the short timespan between Klaus’ creation of a new universe and the birth of Bionis and Mechonis (B&M), Alrest Klaus went through the opening stages of Alrest up to the creation of the TP. As we know, Logos’ and Pneuma’s power source both come from the Conduit, so it stands to reason the same applies to Ontos. Because of this, Ontos can leave to B&M - via the power of the Conduit - to create that world, and thus ‘was there since the beginning.’ Interestingly, if Alvis/Ontos also plays by the same rules as Blades in Alrest, it could be that he resonated with Shulk, hence why Shulk doesn't get harmed by the Monado while Dunban does. It could also be that Alvis is simply part of a higher plane of existence that’s tapped further into the power of the Conduit - considering he’s the administrative computer of a phase transition experiment facility aka the computer that initiated the creation of the new universe - and was essentially trapped/brought down into one of the TP cores upon their creation, (Xenogears spoilers) somewhat similar to the Wave Existence being trapped within the Zohar and escaping at the end. (end XG spoilers) This could give him the power and opportunity to create B&M but then also be pulled into Alrest as one of the TP cores, before leaving for B&M. Admittedly, I’m typing this segment fairly late at night, so all of this may not be totally comprehensible.
Going back to Klaus’ lore dump, we learn that Logos and Pneuma were meant to manage the Blades and that the core crystals of each Blade feed their information about their drivers and the world back to the Aegises, hence why Malos earlier said that their cores contain the very blueprint of all life. This info is then sent back to the Blades to create newly advanced and evolved lifeforms that later become Titans and so on, all for the purpose of restoring the world. He then tells us about the survivors from the old world who still remained in Morthya and unfortunately turned into those mutated creatures after experimenting with core crystals in search for immortality. Yet another product that shows the folly of man and how they bring about their own destruction, similar to Klaus with the old world. That said, if I interpreted it correctly, it was also from their experiments that the Blades and Titans were later created, so that did contribute to Klaus’ hopes. Also, thinking back to Elysium, I guess it’s now more likely that Elysium was actually a space colony that the workers of the Beanstalk and maybe more people (due to the presumed destruction on Earth’s surface) lived in, which fell into decay as a result of the people being teleported elsewhere and/or to Morthya.
After this, Klaus talks about the fears people contain within themselves and how they begin to question who they are, using Amalthus as one such example. In this way, that ideal was also impressed upon Malos. We later learn the Conduit has began stirring again and that it is indeed the power source of Pneuma. Amidst all this tension and heavy lore, Rex then comes out with yet another golden line of the Salvager’s Code and shows how hopelessly optimistic he is.
With that, we are told that Klaus will disappear soon and the Conduit with him, serving as the high-stakes ‘timer’ for this finale. Then as Rex and co leave, the Architect has a small little line about possibly being able to face Galea again that could possibly point to something else in the future, if it’s taken literally. I could also see it just being from a spiritual standpoint, in that he’ll be able to face her in the afterlife, realizing how foolish he was and having been humbled rather than being the self-righteous man he once was.
After we leave the room, Pneuma goes and confirms that Malos is headed for Aion to destroy the world, who’s definitely going to be our final boss. What I found neat is that you can actually run around the Architect’s room afterwards and even talk to Klaus, which I wasn’t fully expecting, so that’s nice.
Following this, we see the destruction the Artifices are wreaking on Alrest (which fortunately doesn’t apply gameplay-wise so you can go and restock on stuff :P) and head into a massive hangar, which - combined with the music - really suits the buildup to the final boss.
Entering the final boss room, we get one more conversation with Malos, and I like how they highlighted Malos’ connection with Jin and how he kinda saw/used that as validation for wanting to rid the world of everything. I think it leaves it up for interpretation whether this isn’t really just Amalthus’ influence making him see this as additional justification, or whether it’s Malos’ own beliefs that shine through here. Also, I really liked the delivery on his lines here; I could feel the anger behind “Come at me, kid! Come, my partner!” In general, I think Malos was one of the best voices in this game.
Now we get into the final boss, and his theme is fantastic. I legit got chills when the crescendo hit right when you start the fight and unsheathe your weapon. They definitely got the timing on that one right. The chorus of the song (I assume 1:10 and 2:49) is definitely my favorite part of the track for how grandiose it feels and how hard they go in. I’m a sucker for those kinds of swells when it comes to JRPG final boss themes, which is a big part of why the final boss tracks are generally some of my favorite songs in games.
As for the fight itself, my party was again Rex, Nia, and Tora (I pretty much ran that team for the entire game), all at level 60. Because of that though and probably my setup (as of chapter 8, it was pretty much a straight shot to the end of the game for me), a lot of the named attacks, like Blizzard, took one or more of our members down to low health or dead. For Rex, my setup for pretty much the whole game was high critical rate with critical healing, that way I could keep him healed while fully being on the offensive. The Arts Chain ability plus food combo to boost arts recharge and party gauge gain is fantastic, since it let me spam the arts to charge up the specials and quickly fill up the party gauge. It was certainly needed for me to counter how often Rex and Nia would die. I pretty much just used Mythra/Pyra for the whole thing for Rex.
For Nia, I put the two other healing rare blades she had, Vess and Boreas, and prioritized her HP Potion gain and the power of her healing arts. For Tora, I didn’t get QTpi (nice name) so it was only alpha and QT for him. When it came to upgrading them, I just relied on the ether crystals I got from the expansion pack. Fortunately, she didn’t require much to still be pretty good; I think I used about 15 or so thousand of them total for Tank Mod IV, opening some special enhancing ram slots, expanding capacity, and giving them aggro plus chips. I hate the fact that they tied Poppi’s entire upgrading mechanic to a minigame, so if it weren’t for those free crystals, they’d probably have next to nothing upgraded on them.
Once we got to two-thirds health remaining, another cutscene started where we got some more action scenes for the party and an insane moment that surprised the hell out of me: Shulk’s iconic quote, “Today, we use our power to fell a god, and then seize our destiny!” Not only was it great to hear that quote again, but the realization that both final bosses were happening simultaneously shocked me in an awesome way.
For the rest of the fight, it took me probably 7 or so tries to get him. On one of those attempts, I managed to get far enough that he used Prometheus (this man legit just threw a meteor at us) and we died because I just barely didn’t have the party gauge full to pull off a chain attack. Fighting the Artifice Colossus (Colossi I guess?) actually got the party a couple of levels throughout my attempts so Rex got to level 62, Nia got to 61, and Tora got to 62.
After beating the final boss, Rex and Pneuma deal their final blow, where the Aegis Sword undergoes swordception and grows swords out of its swords, and Malos is defeated, just as Klaus and the Conduit disappear from the world. But before he goes, Klaus does some final deed that will probably provide a new world for the people after the destruction from the artifices is over.
With that done, the space station begins to fall apart with the disappearance of the Conduit, and of course, we get our self-sacrifice from Pneuma. Poppi’s gonna have a hard time dealing the blow to Rex. She also touched Azurda’s core crystal, so that’ll definitely give him some energy to come into play for later. Then Rex and co. enter the port with the ships and he comes to the realization of what that means.
Now we get to the real kicker of the scene. Pneuma tells them that she has to stay behind to destroy the World Tree and Rex pleads Poppi to save her, and you can see all the shock and sadness on her face. I also liked Rex’s delivery when he temporarily breaks down, as short as it was. We then get Pneuma transferring the rest of her core crystal to Rex, and as we heard earlier in the game, she’ll be able to act without it for a bit of time. After she sends them out, we hear Logos ask her about being alive and she most likely says “I love you” or “Thank you” to Rex.
After their ship breaks apart, Azurda comes in with that energy from earlier and turns back into his older form, and they come down to see the land of Morthya. This part kinda confused me at first since they just go through a rift to suddenly find the rest of the world there, but now I realize it was just that the Cloud Sea dissipated by order of Klaus and because Morthya is right below the WT, that’s the first thing they saw before the rest of the landmass and the ocean came into view. I assume this land is also either something brought over from the old Earth or was created by Klaus for them to live on. To end it out, we get the party flying out to the new landmass while energy particles from the space station’s collapse rain down, and then credits roll.
For the post-credits scene, we return to them flying to the new landmass when one of the particles falls onto Pneuma’s core crystal. I assume what happens here is that within those particles were parts of Pneuma’s data, and considering the Aegises contain data from all life, she was able to hook herself back to the crystal and revive Pyra and Mythra by implanting their own data, though they’re probably just like any other Blade now. Without the Conduit, I think Pneuma and Logos are most likely gone forever.
Anyway, going back to the ending, Pyra and Mythra return to us for a really touching scene with Poppi coming to hug them and Nia and the party encouraging Rex to greet them. I especially love that final moment when the lyrics end and we get that small motif from the main theme as one of the girls say something to Rex and he walks over to them, followed by the hard cut to the chapter title card. That said, I do have some more thoughts about this ending, but I’ll save that for later. Besides that, I loved the ending song. It definitely joins Xenogears' (still top though) and XBC’s for being great ending songs IMO.
As a little ending note, that brand new Monolith Soft logo movie is real smooth. I love the background and how it represents the sci-fi focus of their games. Then we come back to the main title screen, where Rex, Pyra, and Mythra are now looking up at the World Tree from the new land, which was a very sweet touch.
Overall, I really enjoyed this game in pretty much all of its aspects. Again, I’ll save my final thoughts on the game for a separate “review” thread where I go over the different aspects of the game, some music rankings, and more on how this game references and connects to the other Xeno titles (if I don’t separate that part by itself). I want to take the time to read Perfect Works and that Siren figurine box and maybe rewatch some XBC cutscenes. I have to admit, I wish I played Xenosaga previously so that I could’ve also touched on more possible references and reused themes from that series as well.
submitted by UnboundMonado to Xenoblade_Chronicles [link] [comments]

My ultimate, rather heavy rant on the mentality here and the show (part 2 in comments):

GREETINGS, MOTHERFUCKERS OF THIS WRETCHED HIVE KNOWN AS STEVENUNIVERSE! IT IS I, FUBARMEMESDX, WARRIOR OF HATRED AND MISERY! I AM HERE TO DESTROY YOU AND ALL OF YOUR MISCONCEPTIONS REGARDING THIS FINE ENTERTAINMENT PROGRAMME!
Anyway, as for my first point, which I have argued in the past, here is why Diamonds Did Nothing Wrong™ (nothing that's not reversible or inconsequential):
I love the Alright Diamond Authority so much. They're my favourite virtual band. So cute and heartwarming. However, there is an issue here. Whenever you so much as mention a Diamond who isn't coloured pink, you fools immediately start screeching about politics. What I question here is "why?". I shall address all of the common "arguments".
They committed genocide!
As much as the sub loves this word, they don't know what it means. It's the systematic, targeted extermination of an ethnicity from society.
Stop trivialising this word. We need a new word for actual genocide. By your own stupid standards, by eating plants or animals who eat those plants, you have """""""""""""""""""""""committed genocide""""""""""""""""""""""", with massive sarcasm quotes, and I am about to explain this. Who did they commit "genocide" against?
Against planets!
If Peridot's cluelessness about complex organics as a "scientist" and Jasper being a "perfect soldier" while fighting with a crash helmet and breaking down to cry in the middle of a fight didn't already tip you off, Rebecca's 2013 pitch notes for the show, which are identical to the final lore, and a tweet by Ian (https://twitter.com/ianjq/status/1166481003780530176) confirm that Earth was the first planet with intelligent life encountered by Homeworld. Pretty much, the colonies were a good thing, because they created lots of cute Gems, while only sacrificing plants (which you also do, by necessity to live as a human being) and possibly animals (and, if you haven't been vegan for life, you're in no position to preach) to do so. I am a vegan (cue "HAHA HE TOLD US" jokes) and have been for several years, but understand that consumption to continue your species is not fucking genocide. I bet you think Animal Crossing's fishing renders the game an extended metaphor for the genocide of Native Americans. By the way, I'm glad Steven is veggie now. It makes sense, because I always wondered why Steven gave White shit for her "lower lifeforms" stuff, while continuing to consume beings he saw as "lower". Glad that angsty Future Steven is consistent. Also, White isn't wrong. Every lifeform in the show other than Cluster and Obsidian stands at a lower height than her.
Against off-colors!
First, let us establish that an off-color Gem is an imperfect one. An imperfect Gem is one who shows any emotion in their decision-making whatsoever, as androids designed for unfeeling self-reproduction.
White is motivated to stay in her room doing fuck-all because she is afraid that people will see her imperfect body and no longer love her.
Blue is demotivated by pure grief. ("What good will any of this do? The more I make these Gems suffer, the more I long to see you again, Pink.") As far as she knows, the Crystal Gems murdered her daughter, just for doing her job of colonisation. She still doesn't just crush them under her comically oversized fingertips. If that isn't merciful, I don't know what is.
Pink has transitioned into Steven. When he's not out there encouraging the other three to be honest with their emotions, he's emulating White and beating himself up over the fact he can't make everything perfect.
This brings us to our interlude - why Steven is trans Pink:
But GONE!
That meme line doesn't mean what you think it does. Steven has her body (both the gemstone and the light form, seen as a past form in Change Your Mind), her memories (reawakened in Jungle Moon, Can't Go Back, Familiar, Together Alone and Change Your Mind), her powers (to create life, to raise the dead, to cure corruption, the shield) AND her position (as a Crystal Gem and member of the Diamond Authority).
The only things different are the identity, and the flesh body (which is weak and cannot function as an independent human being, and can shapeshift and fuse).
Basically, if you interpret GONE as meaning "he never was her", it's the story of an asshole who abandoned everyone who ever loved her, then dropped all her problems onto her son.
On the other hand, if you interpret GONE as meaning "he no longer identifies as Pink", it becomes the story of a trans boy who became kinder and fixed his mistakes.
It is very clear which one fits more with the show's central theme of self-improvement.
But Pink wasn't an asshole! She saved Earth!
Nope. White did. Can a single Lapis drain Earth's entire ocean? Yes (albeit not killing anyone doing so, since people outside of the cast only exist when the show calls for them to, and Earth would be irreparably fucked in Ocean Gem if the realistic consequences of ocean draining applied, so it's safe to say they don't). Who commands Lapises? Homeworld. Who commands Homeworld? White. Pink's rebellion was non-lethally ended with a single hand attack. If Homeworld really wanted Earth to be destroyed, they could and would do it. They're a bunch of filthy tsunderes.
The point is here is not that Pink was evil, or that Pink was an angel. It's that Pink was bad, but she got better as Steven.
The trans Steven interpretation is further supported by
  1. Blue's "she prefers to be called Steven".
  2. The Tale of Steven book, a retelling of Change Your Mind's dedication to trans kids.
  3. White's pointing out that Steven knows things (the aforementioned memories) that he could not know if he were never Pink.
  4. The parallels between Pink and Steven, especially with Cactus being the new Spinel.
  5. Rose's tape saying she's going to become half of Steven (the properly functioning gem half). Not die for Steven. Become "half of" Steven. Love being him.
This is blatantly obvious. I'm not even trans... or maybe I am and don't know it yet. Anyway, that's irrelevant. How this stuff flies over the heads of 99% of you puzzles me. Hell, it even flies over the head of faelapis, who is otherwise the smartest person in the SU fandom.
Anyway, now that's out of the way, back to the main subject:
Yellow, the only Diamond who even pretends to be competent (she is who you commonly refer to as "the Diamonds"), and is motivated by a desire to look strong and please White, Blue and Steven. Her big boots allow to her stomp any of her enemies into the ground with ease, yet she cannot bring herself to even shatter Amethyst, who is defective, a rebel, an Earthling and directly fighting her,, when given the opportunity. If she won't shatter Amethyst, then who will she shatter? No-one.
Basically, they are off-colors. They also create all the other ones and cast them away as their imperfect parts, their waste which they are ashamed of.
You might bring up those drones, but the fact that Padparadscha, who sees constantly into the past, is still alive, that the drones only scan the gemstones, you can hide behind a fucking rock, and that the drones are indiscriminate and attack Steven, a Diamond, defuses any threat the drones may pose. Either Yellow knows they're useless and is just keeping her reputation up, or she is too naive to be dangerous. Take your pick.
Yellow, after knocking Steven out in Reunited, doesn't even stomp on his body. That's right. She won't even kill the person who, as far as she knows, is the Rose Quartz who murdered her beloved Pink. She says "time to execute" in The Trial, but if she was really so dead-set on that, she would just... do it. With her bare hands. They're big enough. Her later speech about being "brittle" and not cut out for the job suggests the "pretender" interpretation.
Now, to continue:
They're fascists!
Diamonds possess an unholy amount of physical power. They say they'll shatter off-colors and rebels, and could with their bare feet, but don't. This leaves two possibilities: either they're tsundere characters who don't really want to, which is in line with the show's theme of "you're better than you think, you should stop being so hard on yourself", or they're too stupid to realise that they can do that. Either way, they don't pose a real threat, and certainly don't enforce a political ideology. Unlike most "evil emperor" villains (think Star Wars' Galactic Empire), who do kill their enemies, albeit inconsistently as the result of an "idiot plot" required for to the heroes to win, Diamonds are so physically powerful that they literally cannot be defeated in battle by the heroes (Blue can take her entire ship crashing onto her without a scratch), and have the ability to poof enemies or take control of their minds instantly. They absolutely could kill their enemies effortlessly, but 100% consistently don't. This means that they, for whatever reason (probably just being big softies), are merciful and don't actually want to.
Stop poisoning this show with politics. All of the characters are motivated by raw emotion. If they had grand political goals, they wouldn't break down, they would be mechanically dead-set on achieving them.
You might cite Jasper's speech in Earthlings as "fascism", but in the very same episode, this is rendered moot - she, as Homeworld's "perfect soldier", stops fighting to cry, with no tactical advantage.
Pretty much, picture this:
You are God - an invincible being who creates every person as an imperfection of you that you split from yourself. You are also a robot, created with express purpose of assimilating the cosmos with no second thought. You also have very big sandals, allowing you to stomp anyone who dares oppose into the ground. You are faced with the opportunity to do this countless times. Instead of actually doing it, the job makes you miserable and you choose not do it.
Instead of praising you for your bravery in defying your programming and showing everyone mercy, a subreddit forms a lynch mob saying you need to be executed, as pointless vengeance, for things you didn't do, after you opened up.
This is the story of White Diamond.
I feel that most people who disliked Change Your Mind, were operating on the false premise that this would be a show about "beating muh fascists", ignoring every single hint that it gave them about its personal themes and every single time the antagonists spared Steven and co. The show couldn't make it more obvious that its combat was irrelevant and inconsequential, but I guess you're so accustomed to conventional "good guy kills bad guy" shows that you forgot this one was different, and desperately grasped for ways to degrade it into a show about evil.
You also claim that White was rushed, which is probably based on your fallacious idea that "character is x% evil, they must take x long to change". White Diamond is my favourite fictional character. She's been a real source of comfort to me and my OCD, with her whole "feeling guilty and embarrassed about things she really shouldn't" thing. She's a bit like Pink from The Wall, with the "learning to break your metaphorical wall of isolation" theme.
Pink (Floyd, not Diamond), funnily enough, imagines himself as Hitler at one point (In the Flesh Part 2, Run Like Hell, Waiting for the Worms). I can relate to these power fantasies, the feeling of wanting things under your control, then realising acting meaner won't solve anything. Not to the actual Nazi aspect, but to that.
White, however, has none of these. She's like The Wall but with none of the political charge or Roger Waters' bitterness. Of course, the sub still tries to Nazify her anyway. Perhaps it's because of her name... poor choice.
They're dictators!
No, they're gods. They don't possess just political power, they create every other member of their species out of their excrement, are near-invincible, can raise the dead, and every other member of the species is inherently predisposed to following them. Do Christians complain that the biblical God, who is actually massively homicidal in his depiction, is undemocratic? Do you go on "Mario-critical" rants because Princess Peach, a "dictator" - a member of a fictional royal family, albeit one who actually does stomp her enemies, is portrayed in a positive light? Of course not.
They cause corruption!
Yeah, and that was great. It ended the rebellion without killing anyone. It only muted and confused Gems, then Diamonds healed it. White's initial reason to come out of her room is to reverse corruption. It worked out in the end, and we see that the formerly-corrupted Gems are still friends of Diamonds.
They made the Cluster!
If you're talking about destroying Earth, remember that the Cluster's concept art shows her as only 12 temples tall, which matches her arm length in Reunited of about 3 temples tall. She couldn't. I have said "I want this planet to die" before, in one my blow-outs. Depression is a bitch. Sometimes I feel like that. Doesn't mean I'm actually gonna destroy the world. It's just Yellow spouting shit to reassure Blue. Either that or she is dumb and harmless. Pick one. What competent general's best weapon is a friendly anxious girl who gives you thumbs ups?
If you're talking about suffering, have you forgotten Gem Drill? The Cluster isn't a crime. She's a person. One who is capable of peaceful existence and learns to love herself. She stops worrying once Steven assures her that she is not alone and has company in the form of all the shards composing her. This can apply for other forced fusions, too.
I always thought the Cluster's arc was about body positivity - if you're shaped differently, but are not at risk from your physique, there's no reason to worry. Undertale fans commonly make the same mistake for Amalgamates - for characters who look weird but are friendly and capable of peaceful existence, the mistake of portraying them as endless suffering for the sake of sounding edgier.
Pretty much, the shattered Gems composing her found new life. She's good. And the other ones are safely bubbled in Yellow's room along with the Crystal Gems in Change Your Mind.
They're rapists!
Not this fucking shit again. Fusion isn't sex. Sharing food can be used as an analogy of consent. That doesn't mean food is sex. If you say this, you also call Pearl (Cry for Help) and Steven (Change Your Mind) "rapists", which is incredibly insensitive.
They're slavers!
Creating AI servants then, out of your own compassion, allowing them to act freely, isn't the same as finding free people and enslaving them.
They made the zoo!
The zoo is a "cruise ship", as Y-6 describes it, where caveman and Quartz inhabitants (except Holly) live blissfully in utopia. The show has a theme of "if it makes you happy and harms no-one, keep doing it". What's wrong with staying in the zoo, then?
Do not mention actual human zoos. Those were not utopian. Those were racial segregation prisons. The human zoo in the show is one in name only.
They're Hitler / any other real political/criminal/racial/religious/economic/military figure!
https://i.imgur.com/kkczmoN.jpg
Have this. As for non-Nazi individuals or organisations you may mention, they obviously don't exactly match the left checklist, either.
Godwin's law isn't cool.
For the few of you tankies here who think that Andy is a Nazi, see this: https://faelapis.tumblr.com/day/2019/06/06/
Nazi Germany and World War II are interesting historical subjects, and funny ones to satirise, but this show doesn't feature them at all.
Now I am done explaining why they are not bad. Your entire view has been shattered. Or not. You might still try to argue your objectively wrong view by repeating the word "genocide" over and over, but you cannot argue against what I have just explained. I cited the sources and the show themes. The crew and u/PixieDustFairies are both (unintentionally?) on my side. You have lost.
I say "Diamonds", but I mean "any character from this show", including but not limited to Lapis, Jasper, Bismuth and Spinel.
But it's like I'm pissing in an ocean. No matter how many people receive my message, the sub's dominant mindset will be "muh war, muh genocide, muh vengeance, muh dead Pink". They will always be ignorant and follow the zeitgeist of objective incorrectness. I can't voice my frustrations enough. The Muse lyric in my flair was chosen because I wish I could destroy the city of delusion that is this sub.
Anyway, onto the second point: Self-improvement.
Even in an alternate universe where Diamonds actually did any of the bad stuff you mindlessly accuse them of, that wouldn't change the fact that they want to help, and there's no reason not to let them.
You might bring up real-life criminals who pretend to improve to escape prison then re-offend, but the difference is that Diamonds aren't in danger. They couldn't be imprisoned or killed, and their enemies are always at their mercy. Furthermore, these criminals are motivated by psychopathy or political ideology, whereas Steven Universe villains are always motivated by raw, genuine emotion. Any improvement they show is, therefore, out of kindness and not ulterior motives.
Also, why would improvement in a show about self-improvement be fake? This is not a show about "people trying to kill you" (the villains stop themselves, and saying "I'll kill you, Steven, Earth go boom!" is the status quo in the show, not a special "evil" exception). Steven lampshades this in Space Race from season 1. He's used to it. The villains are not representations of real attackers (the poof/bubble system exists to stop real combat comparisons). They're you. Representations of different issues you might have, and how you shouldn't hate yourself for them. If the show were to have a "some people are just irredeemable lol" message, it would be giving up on you. I've seen a lot of people say "oh, this show's only real flaw is that it redeems everyone". Nope. That's its strength. That all of its major villains, who are essentially therapy dolls, find hope. The reassurance that you will find hope.
"Some people just can't change" is also objectively wrong. You can't change other people. They can. You might say "muh hitleother reviled political figure", but the difference is, Hitler and co chose not to change. It would be an entirely different story if they did. Too bad for you and for them, they didn't. IRRELEVANT! INSENSITIVE! FRIVOLOUS! FUTILE! Saying "Steven redeems (insert character)" is a critical misunderstanding of what Steven does - he encourages the villains, but ultimately, the villains themselves make the choice to open up.
Why would a show about emotional comfort suddenly switch to being a cynical court of law? If it were a court, Amethyst would be jailed in Gem Glow and Steven in Laser Light Cannon, for theft of Cookie Cats and destruction of Beach City respectively. The point here is, anything that doesn't result in any permanent damage to characters is irrelevant. Why would the characters be Machiavellian manipulators in a show explicitly intended as a therapy tool for its author and its viewers?
A fandom with a similar problem is Undertale. Sans explains in neutral routes that, although "self-defense" would be acceptable in real combat, your save/load powers mean you're never in any danger. The best way to explain Undertale is with kittens. That is to say, a kitten scratches you, in an "attempt to kill you". You know for sure that the kitten can't hurt you. Why would you stomp on the kitten, then? That's all it's saying. Not anything specifically about combat. Just "be nice when reasonably possible", nothing more complex. In the game, because you are an immortal time-travelling puppet, it's always reasonably possible. The other things it says are "you can doesn't mean you have to, don't push it" and "depression is a bitch". Fans seem to disregard this, and that's where the common but inaccurate names, "pacifist" and "genocide" runs come from. The "pacifist" run isn't pacifism, it's just common sense. The "genocide" run isn't targeted, it's "destroy absolutely everything". It's omnicide if anything.
The monsters don't give a fuck about politics, and just want freedom, which could be obtained with your soul, but even then, they're willing to turn over within minutes if they like you. Asgore did nothing wrong, because he (1) keeps the human souls alive in jars, and they help you later, (2) arranges a duel with you and will only fight you with your explicit consent, (3) is responsible, along with Papyrus, Alphys and Flowey, for the freedom of monsters without a second war, (4) wants you to win and (5) holds back in battle. He's too hard on himself, and so is Toriel too hard on him, but fans often forget all of the previous to paint him as an evil murderer.
Anyway, if SU were trying to be a combat manual, why would the characters be magical androids whose bodies are made of light and can be poofed and bubbled? You cannot be forced to kill Gems, Steven has psychic powers allowing him to confirm mental processes, and humans in-show can be revived by Diamonds, so any real stakes are dissipated, leaving a solely emotional and personal context. A glorified talk show with fantasy battles to look exciting.
Here's point three: They are near-invincible.
As explained in the point about Blue taking the whole ship, you would be at their mercy. Attempting their murder would not be a good idea. If they so wanted to, they could crush you in an instant. Befriending them is the only way forward here.
Fourth, they create every other Gem:
If you were to kill even one Diamond, you would fuck Gemkind forever. It's not cool to end a species for the sake of vengeance. Diamonds themselves are cool enough not do that, despite having Lapises and boots at their disposal.
Now for point five: They are required to heal corruption.
Are you forgetting that Yellow, Blue and the Crystal Gems' explicit goal is to coax White out her room and heal Nephrite and co? If you murdered her, you would never be able to do that. Keep this shit in mind.
Point six, you can poof and bubble Gems.
Even if Diamonds were hypothetically evil, unwilling to change, not invincible, not mothers and not required to heal corruption, there would still be no reason to shatter them. Poofing and bubbling is easier, more effective and causes less suffering.
Do you support the death penalty? If so, why? I'm not talking about war or defense. I'm talking execution here.
It can only be performed after the target is imprisoned and helpless, so it has no advantage in public safety over life imprisonment.
The only purpose it serves is vengeance for the sake of it, which has no place in a justice system, something which is logically intended to protect the public and nothing else.
Basically, say, there's this guy who eats babies, stabs grandmas and kicks puppies. You might say he "needs" to die, but if police have already captured him, they can just throw him in jail and be done with it. He can't hurt anyone further. Killing him will not un-eat those babies. It simply enacts vengeance, which is understandable to want, but the death penalty isn't just for this guy. It's a system. One which kills helpless prisoners and, sometimes, innocent people.
But that's not really relevant. Diamonds couldn't be imprisoned in-show anyway. Too powerful. They aren't baby-eaters, either. As I explained earlier, this isn't about justice, or crime, or survival. The show defuses itself.
Finally, the seventh: They're fucking fictional. Warning, Star Wars ahead:
Even if Diamonds were just one-dimensional symbols of evil and corruption, like Palpatine (who is my favourite Star Wars character for that reason - being over-the-top, smug pure evil), it would still be okay to like them. Fictional villains, if they even kill, which Diamonds are shown not to, kill other fictional characters. Not real people. Liking villains doesn't make you recreate them. They're here to drive plots. Liking Vader doesn't make you kill children in military strikes. Working for the US Army might. Liking Hux doesn't mean you like blowing up planets. Liking Poe doesn't mean you like blowing up planets. SW is a series in which brazen mass destruction and ridiculous numbers of background character deaths are commonplace. This says nothing about your personality if you think its characters are cool. It goes for heroes, too. Liking Luke doesn't make you a space-wizard-fighter-pilot. Liking Han doesn't mean you like smuggling spice. I could go on and on.
Oh, and don't get me started on Kylo Motherfucking Ren. This dude kills a bunch of fictional characters, including his daddy. He does so because he's an unstable goth witch. His First Order, while containing Nazi-inspired imagery in some areas, hires black soldiers, so he is certainly not a (fictional) Nazi. Also, stop calling him a school shooter. He didn't shoot up a school. He lightsabered up a Jedi Temple, a military academy. But, you have fuckers on the internet saying that you support the KKK if you have a picture of Kylo Ren on your cereal box. You can relate to Ben without stabbing your dad, just as you can relate to Luke without getting your hand cut off by your dad. Liking a character doesn't mean re-enacting them. Characters are vehicles with which to drive the plot.
Here are some handy things to remember before you spout politically loaded terms about cheesy villains: did your character shoot up a school? If not, they're not a school shooter. Is your character an anti-Semite? If not, they're not a Nazi. Does your character pass up an opportunities to kill their enemies when they feel like it? If so, they're not a fascist. Does your character believe that the state should control all resources? If not, they're not a communist. Is your character a military agent? If so, they're not a serial killer. Did your character sexually violate someone? If not, they're not a rapist. Is your character an adult attracted to prepubescent children? If not, they're not a paedophile. Is your character fighting for Islam? If not, they're not a jihadist. Is your character fictional? If so, it's okay to like them regardless of their in-universe status. https://dingdongyouarewrong.tumblr.com/post/187991068090/yall-have-gotta-stop-using-words-like-abusive is a post that summarises my feelings here.
Kylo Ren is perhaps the character with the most obsessed hatedom of all time. He does bad stuff, they all say "HES EVIL KILL HIM". He decides to stop doing bad stuff, they all say "REEE HES NOT ALLOWED TO BE GOOD". He can't catch a break either way. If you're looking for an asshole Star Wars character who has no conflict within him and relishes in pure demonism, see Palpatine. If you're looking for a court of law, if you're looking to see a lynching, don't watch Star Wars, a series whose original trilogy stars technically a terrorist as its protagonist. That's right. If SW were a court like you wanted, rather than an adventure film, Luke would be executed. The Empire is the government, remember. Is this what you want?
I wish SU's fanbase was as chill as Final Fantasy VII's. FF's fanbase overall is split as fuck, to an even greater degree than SW's, but let's talk VII specifically. Everyone likes Cloud, Rufus, Sephiroth and whoever. In-universe, one is an ecoterrorist, one is a corrupt businessman, and the other is an arsonist. The fans seem to understand, for the most part, that these characters are just driving a fictional plot - didn't hurt any real people, aren't in a court, and it's okay to like them and even ship them.
I hate your "anti-improvement" attitude. If this fictional edgelord wants to become kinder, why not let him? That's what I don't understand. Your obsession with "justice" doesn't protect anyone further, it just tries to make sure bad never becomes good. I say Vader's redemption is "deserved", because you get the right to be less shitty, by, well, being less shitty. Who cares if he killed children? So did Obi-Wan and Yoda. It's Star - it's fantasy, and it's Wars - it's massively destructive in-universe. It's Star Wars, not Real Isolated Incidents of Violence. Do you say Luke is irredeemable because he killed 1.2 million background characters in a terrorist attack? It's not about the actions. It's what they represent. The younglings represent Anakin killing his innocence, whereas the Death Star represents Luke beating the odds, stopping the doomsday weapon. What matters is that Anakin showed his ability to care, reawakened by Luke. That Luke was right in saying Anakin wasn't completely fucked.
Anyone can improve. This is an objective fact. If you strive to be the best you can, that's enough. Some people, like the politicians and criminals you always bring up, choose not to. If the real Hitler hypothetically decided to stop the Jew-killing thing and join the Allies, why stop him? Of course, he didn't. This disqualifies him as a comparison here. The desire to improve is what, fictionality aside, separates characters like Anakin and Ben from MUH POLITICS. The obsessed antis are all like, "y u ship rey with dad killuh?", which is like saying "y u ship leia with drug smuggluh?" - they're fictional - explorations of concepts and personality, not criminal records. As soon as you're space, you're not Hitler. I am sick and tired of all these useless and often asinine comparisons. If you try to equate fantasy villains 1-1 with real figures, you're gonna have a bad time.
I also find it very insensitive to put fictional villains on the same level as real depraved criminals. Someone who kills fictional characters to drive a plot of entertainment versus someone who destroys real lives for no purpose. I like playing as Bowser in Mario Kart. I don't like kidnapping princesses. I like Radiohead's Knives Out. I don't like cannibalism. Town of Salem is my favourite online game. I don't like witch hunts.
On a related note, emphasis is everything. Luke Skywalker might have more kills than a slasher villain. That doesn't mean he's more disturbing than one. It's all about focus and narrative purpose. Luke is no sadist or pervert. There is no emphasis on the pain and visceral suffering he might cause. This is also why, for example, I am more comfortable with Ravenholm in Half-Life 2 than I am with, say, a screamer shock site. Ravenholm may be more "graphic" (screaming zombies, dismemberment and whatnot), but it serves its purpose as part of a whole - a good game, with a specifically and effectively spooky part. The hypothetical screamer, on the other hand, is a cheap one-trick pony with no greater purpose or tonal merit. Anakin burning is more disturbing than the destruction of Alderaan, because despite being zero deaths vs. countless, the former has emphasis on pain and desperation, whereas the latter is simply a depiction of a big rock exploding. I like Town of Salem, but I probably wouldn't like it if its lynchings were less comical as a gameplay mechanic and actually tried to depict suffering.
Finally, this is why your government is probably less despicable than a terrorist organisation. Your country's government might have killed greater numbers, but it is probably less targeted and ideologically extreme, and serves a purpose other than to destroy. This is also why despots are less viscerally disturbing to discuss than serial killers. It's why Waiting for the Worms has more artistic value, and is less disturbing, than actual neo-Nazi propaganda - it serves a tonal purpose within its greater work, rather than simply being a glorification of Nazism. Depiction and advocacy are two different things.
But, enough Star Wars (and real wars). Diamonds and co don't even do anything like that.
Anyway, I hoped you enjoyed the complete absolution of Diamonds. You probably won't listen. You will probably ignore all of the evidence and citations I have provided, and will counterargue with politically-loaded words whose usage I have already debunked.
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Climbing Mount Readmore: Reading Our Top Fantasy Novels Part 17 - 65-60

Welcome to a fairly successful attempt to not do any actual work at my job because dammit, there's reading to do! Each month I will be reading 5 books from our Top Novels of 2018 list until I have read the starting book from each series. When we last checked in, I started the 70s tier. Now we finish the 70s begin the 65s:
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65. Consider Phlebas by Iain Banks, Book 1 of the Culture series (58 on the 2019 list)
Horza is a Changer, a shapeshifting spy, working for the Idiran Empire in its war against the Culture, the hivemind of humanity that rules most of the known galaxy. When a mission extraction goes awry, Horza is captured by pirates and must take over the identity of their inept leader to find his way back to his comrades so that together, they can recover the lost computer that contains vital information relevant to the war.
Iain Banks is a legend that I've never actually read before and judging by this book, that's a tragedy that needs correcting. I was struck immediately by the decision to make the main character non-human and to have him fighting against humanity in the central conflict of the novel. Humans are explicitly portrayed as being in the wrong and needing to be stopped by force from the very beginning. That's...a rarity in sci fi where we still largely appreciate having a human perspective or at least pro human viewpoints delivered through the protagonist and even if there is an anti human message, it's usually delivered from the lens of a more moral human who wants society to fix its ways. Horza himself is a rather interesting character and he has the difficult role of both being protagonist and providing the reader with a lot of the worldbuilding. Most of what we learn of the Culture comes through Horza's eyes which, despite sometimes being expository, is a fascinating way to do it because it bakes a singular bias into the revelations which makes the reveals of the world far more interesting than simple explanations would be. For instance, one could have written "The Culture was a communist paradise" to explain the Culture's dominant political system but instead Horza complains about the fact that the rulers of the Culture already have their communist paradise but they still can't stand not meddling in the affairs of others. This may seem like a subtle distinction but it twists the information from simple exposition to also be an expression of character; you learn about Horza's motivations and his problems with the Culture in the same sentence you learn about how the Culture governs itself. It's an economical way of storytelling that makes sure information is almost always being conveyed on multiple levels.
One surprising weakness I found in this novel was that for a war story, the action was the least interesting part. Banks is usually quite skilled at blending characterization in with the rest of his writing but that skill stumbled in the action category where it feels like it could happen to almost any character. It's still technically well written action that's clear and theoretically exciting on its own but it often felt like the plot and characters were are put on pause for an action scene to interrupt. I guess the best way to put it is that for such an otherwise inventive and interesting novel, I would have expected the action to be a little more imaginative and less boilerplate. The frequency of the action also throws off the pacing of the book which could have been a much tighter 300 or so page book if the majority of the action scenes were either cut or curtailed. There is also an extended an rather pointless scene where Horza gets captures by cannibals and an extended sequence where he watches them devour someone alive that maybe some people will find horrific but I was mainly bored by because it was so disconnected from the rest of the story. Luckily it only lasted for one chapter before Horza returned to his main quest. But, those weaknesses aside, it's still a good book that I enjoyed quite a bit.
63. Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone, Book 1 of the Craft Sequence (72 on the 2019 list)
The newly graduated necromancer, Tara Abernathy, has been recruited to a renowned firm as a junior associate. It's everything a woman with her magical talent could hope to achieve but there's one small problem: her first assignment is to somehow resurrect a god, a feat that should be beyond the abilities of even a team of the most skilled necromancers even if she didn't already have to fend off attacks from whoever killed this god.
Do you like heroic necromancers? Do you like a blend of fantasy and legal work? Do you like emotional rocks? Then boy is Max Gladstone's Three Parts Dead the novel for you. Boasting some fast pacing, quirky characters, and a unique tone, this book is fairly different from many fantasy novels. The worldbuilding is one of the more unique ones I've seen in that it resembles the modern world heavily but it has clearly gotten to that stage solely through magical means. Where urban fantasy is the real world with magic grafted on, this could almost be described in the opposite way: a magical world with the modern world grafted on. The decision to focus on unusual protagonists like necromancers and doing a job analogous to legal work was a bold one that I'm not totally sure the novel pulls off but I certainly can't fault Gladstone's ambition deciding to write within these constraints. The characters are also all likable and intelligent, always making reasonable or even clever moves in pursuing the plot.
Unfortunately, I found it a bit dull with the main issue is that the investigation angle of the story didn't quite work for me. The investigation pulls double duty in the narrative as it allows the characters to give exposition about the world in a natural way without it feeling forced and it also lays the groundwork for the plot but part of the fun of a mystery in most books is that you can presumably put the pieces together yourself to figure out what happened if you're observant enough. That can't really be the case in a fantasy story though, through no fault of the author's, because it's close to impossible to get all the necessary worldbuilding and magical theory underpinning the murder put together until very late in the book. Sometimes it can't even all get in there before the reveal as is the case with this book where you will be incredibly lucky to untangle the complicated web of stock bundling analgoues that goes into forming the underlying mystery of this book. The other problem though is that even though you can't really put the solution together as to what happened on a first read, it is damn easy to guess who the villain is and that he did it even if you don't know how while the characters still run about wondering aloud who could have committed such a crime. It is odd to have the mystery be complicated while the bad guy is so transparently obvious because it undercuts tension from both ends. I lost interest in the mystery and became frustrated with the characters for not catching on to the obvious villain until late in the book. These are far from damning problems but they did dampen my enjoyment of an otherwise enjoyable read.
It was a good book, I think, but one that I didn't quite enjoy as much as I think I was supposed to. It's certainly fun and interesting but I can't help thinking it just needed a tighter plot and I always have trouble overcoming the hurdle of investigation plot lines, which are just never my thing. A decent read, well worth a shot, maybe I'll try a later book and see if things improve for me.
63. Sailing to Sarantium by Guy Gavriel Kay, Book 1 of the Sarantine Mosaic (70 on the 2019 list)
Caius Crispus (Crispin) is a talented mosaicist who receives the opportunity of a lifetime when the emperor of Sarantium commissions his work. Setting out with a mechanical bird named Linon that was ensouled by an alchemist as his companion, Crispin begins the long journey from Rhodias to the city of Sarantium.
Jesus, GGK, how do you keep writing this well? The Sarantine Mosaic is arguably only a mid tier Kay book (it's not as epic as Tigana, as beloved as Lions of al-Rassan, nor as beautiful as Under Heaven, and I think I've even seen Song for Arbonne recommended more than it) yet it may be his most poetic work both in terms of the lyrical nature of the prose and how directly the story works to elaborate on the themes of a famous poem by William Butler Yeats Sailing to Byzantium. Those themes are largely: how things change, passing from youth to old age, exploration of the world, and also an interrogation of how political and religious powers intersect. Of these themes, I'd say change is probably the best explored one as the title is both a literal description of the events of the book (the main character is traveling to Sarantium, of course) but within the book the phrase "sailing to Sarantium" is also an expression characters use repeatedly to mean a time of great change and upheaval. So "sailing to Sarantium" is effectively synonymous with "taking a daring risk." This is underscored by just about every character in the book who are all about to jump into larger conflicts they don't understand from Crispin who is unprepared for the Sarantine court's political intrigues, to the emperor's plans to reconquer Rhodias, to the kindly alchemist who must confront the place where he learned his strange powers by the end of the book. Naturally being in such a position makes almost all of the characters varying degrees of wistful and introspective which is where the book derives most of its poetic power as the reveries the characters fall into are some of the best written sections of the book and get the reader to reflect on the temporary nature of things without forcing the reader to come to any singular conclusion.
From a more technical perspective, Kay has always described his works as "history with a quarter turn to fantasy" and so it's probably no surprise here that the name similarity between Sarantium and Byzantium is not a coincidence. The Sarantine Empire is a pretty exact recreation of the Byzantine Empire under the rule of Emperor Justinian right down to the importance of sports team fandoms in determining the course of politics (yes, really). It was especially interesting to read this work in particular because this is the first time I've actually had some familiarity with the era Kay has drawn on for inspiration and I had great fun sussing out which characters were analogues to the historical figures I could remember from this era. The world is also one of the most magical Kay has written so far, with strange creatures that are beyond mortal comprehension and alchemical powers that can create ensouled beings lending much intrigue to the world. The characters are also well drawn and varied though I was occasionally frustrated that though there are many interesting characters in the book, only Crispin's story is examined consistently. Other characters, even ones who are his important traveling companions on fascinating journeys of their own, tend to drop out of the narrative's focus even though they are still present. I know there is a second book but Crispin has had a full character arc while characters like Kasia only have a quarter of a journey and so they can feel frustratingly incomplete by the end.
One not quite weakness but definitely something I can tell will lose a lot of people is that this novel throws you in the deep end with the names and locations and concepts right away in a way Kay's other works I've read haven't done. Even for someone like me who more or less knows the era being written about, it was shockingly complicated to get a handle on the first chapter. I'd put it on par with the opening chapters of Malazan in terms of difficulty finding your initial bearings. Another flaw is that Crispin can also be a little too competent at times. Obviously he knows a great deal about mosaics (his specialty) but in the course of the novel he also proves to be a master schemer, incredibly socially adroit (to the point that he can stumble in to the Sarantine court and easily impress everyone there), a shrewd business person, a mechanical expert, a capable fighter, an irresistible ladies man, and can easily solve difficult puzzles involving things he's only seen once before without difficulty. It did strain credibility by the end even if I thought it didn't quite stray into Gary Stu territory. But despite those flaws, I truly loved this book and can't wait to read the next one.
62. The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks, Book 1 of the Night Angel trilogy (70 on the 2019 list)
The orphan Azoth is taken in by Durzo Blint (editorial note: barely controlled laughter at this name) the most famous of the highest level of magical assassins known only as wetboys (editorial note: raging, uncontrollably laughter at this name). Renamed as Kylar Stern, he begins training to follow in Durzo's footsteps and become a professional assassin. There are only two things that stand in Kylar's way: he lacks the ability to use his magical talent in any way and an unknown enemy is plotting to overthrow the kingdom he lives in, Cenaria.
I'm not a fan of this book. Largely it's because I find Weeks' writing is lacking in most of the areas I really care about - areas like character and narrative cohesion. This is probably most notable in how Weeks employs timeskips throughout his writing and they, almost without fail, come at points that skip over conflicts or time periods that seemed like they were most likely to be interesting. A good example: Kylar is tasked with befriending Logan Gyre, a possible heir to the throne, because Logan might be a useful unknowing source for him in the future and he succeeds. I found myself really intrigued what would happen next. How is our assassin hero going to hide his purpose from the honorable heir while still maintaining a successful friendship? There's a serious conflict of interest there, whole narratives have been built out of characters who are torn between two loyalties trying to figure out how to remain faithful to both parties. Well I'll tell you how he does it: a sudden timeskip to several years later where they've just easily stayed friends without any tension and Logan never finds out Kylar's true role in this book. That is a disappointing approach to storytelling. This is matched with pretty flat characterization throughout. Most characters are one-dimensional, Kylar and Durzo manage to be two-dimensional but they're still pretty flat and don't really have emotional arcs that would help them stand out as characters. Well, Kylar does arguably have something of an emotional arc in the beginning when he first learns to kill which is why I think he edges into the "most developed character" position but past that he limps into a rather uninteresting arc of "I want to be a really good assassin" (no prizes for guessing how that arc resolves) and never really wrestles with any emotional turmoil again.
It's easy to see areas where this book has potential (there are a good number of cool ideas in it and the action is reliably solid) but the questionable approach to storytelling and extremely lame fantasy names make this book pretty groan-inducing. I don't know why Weeks thought the best name for a super magic assassin was "wetboy." I get that it comes from "wetwork" but did he never read it aloud? Did no agent or editor ever tell him that "wetboy" sounds more like an insult a 2nd grader might come up with than a serious name for something? And that's without even getting into whatever bad ideas made "Durzo Blint" happen. This character manages to have 19 (19!) named aliases and while I don't imagine "Pips McClawski" or "Zak Eurthkin" would have been great names to go with either, they somehow all manage to be slightly better than "Durzo Blint."
When the action finally gets going in the final third, it is well done and if more of the book had been closer in tone and execution to the climax (particularly in the tension created when Kylar is forced to face down Durzo as an enemy, I think I wouldn't be so negative about this book. However, a major twist wherein Kylar becomes immortal and gains an incredible level of magical power that enables him to easily overpower his own mentor in seconds seriously took all of the remaining tension out of the rest of the book and makes me wonder how any future book can stay interesting. To me, this book reads like a collection of ideas the author thought were really cool rather than a real story and while some of the ideas are indeed cool (though some are very much trying to hard and fall flat), I'm not sure cool ideas can make up for what I see as pretty serious failings in prose, plot, and characterization. People tell me that Brent Weeks didn't come into his own as an author until the Lightbringer series and I certainly hope that's the case because I would hate to read another book that's on the same level as Way of Shadows.
60. Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher, Book 1 of Codex Alera (60 on the 2019 list)
On the world of Alera, humans having only survived for as long as they have because of their bond with elemental beings called furies. Tavi, a young farmboy, has no fury and believes he will never receive one since he is well past the age of being able to receive one. His perceived failure leads him to act out to impress others leading to a situation that imperils his uncle when scouts from an invading army wound his uncle. It is up to Tavi, with the help of an imperial courier named Amara to alert the country to the impending invasion and save Alera.
The book that was famously written on a dare that Butcher couldn't make a good story out of two bad ideas. The two ideas he was given to work with were 1) the lost Roman legion and 2) Pokemon. Honestly, I think whoever made this bet with Butcher could have come up with worse ideas. "You want some bad ideas? Well I've got some bad ideas. How about you take this millennia old mystery that has fascinated countless writers throughout history and combine it with one of the most marketable and successful multimedia franchises of the past 30 years? Good luck succeeding with those ideas, Jim." But even if the ideas are not as terrible as the unknown bettor believed, the resulting mix still works far better than it had any right to be. The characters are all likable, the pacing is solid, and the plot is interesting. That's not to say this is the greatest book ever, I think it's basically just a solid read, but for a popcorn novel you can do a lot worse. There are some clever twists in there and the bad guys especially prove to be fairly interesting in how competent and human they are which does elevate the book somewhat. This book isn't as good as anything I've read in the Dresden Files, the easiest thing to compare it to since its Butcher's other major series, but I still enjoyed it.
If there are weaknesses in this book, I'd say the major one is that some of the twists are telegraphed a little too clearly. By the fourth time Aldrick mentions that no one but Araris Valerian could beat him with a sword, you really should have put it together that Valerian will definitely appear in this book. By the tenth time he says it, you should have asked yourself "okay which of the characters that I've already met is Valerian?" at least a few times. I also read that Butcher worked hard to make Tavi completely different from his other big protagonist, Harry Dresden, but I'm not sure he really succeeded there because Tavi is still a clever wiseass with an authority problem who is easily distracted by women. I don't think it's a flaw that Tavi has a few major similarities with Dresden but if it was Butcher's intent for him to be the opposite of Dresden, I don't think he he made them quite as different as he thinks.
So it's a decent read with a few rocky patches. I certainly found it easy to read many chapters in a single sitting even if I wound up having a lot less to say about the book overall. Soft recommend if you know you like the Dresden Files and want to see its author tackle a more traditional fantasy world.
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And that's it for this month! Be sure to check back same time next month. As always, feel free to comment with your thoughts on any of these books and their respective series. Contrary opinions are especially welcome as I'd like to know what people saw in these series that I didn't.
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Eris Vasha

Name: Team: Age: Gender: Species: Aura:
Eris Vasha 18 Female Faunus (Vampire Bat) Gold

Attributes

Mental # Physical # Social #
Intelligence 2 Strength 2 Presence 4
Wits 2 Dexterity 4 Manipulation 2
Resolve 2 Stamina 2 Composure 3

Skills

Mental -3 Physical -1 Social -1
Academics 0 Athletics 1 Empathy 1
Computer 0 Brawl 0 Expression 4
Craft 2 Drive 0 Intimidation 0
Grimm 0 Melee Weapons 0 Persuasion 2
Science 2 Slight of Hand 2 Socialize 3
Medicine 0 Ranged Weapons 4 Streetwise 1
Politics 0 Stealth 0 Subterfuge 0
Dust 0 Investigation 0
Survival 0

Other

Merits # Flaws # Aura/Weapons #
Fame 2 Reckless 1 Aura 1
Sniper 3 Short Attention Span 1 Semblance 1
Resources 2 Malfunction (Eye) 1 Weapon 5
Long Range 1 Poor Reaction Time 1
Modern Armor 1 Malfunction (Arm) 1

Advantages

Health Aura Pool Armor Passive Defense Speed Initiative Perception
9 6 2 / 3 1 11 6 5

Attacks

Name Value Notes
Brawl 1
Ranged 13
Thrown 10
Melee 6
Aura Strike 7 2 AP
All Out Aura Strike 9 No Defense 2 AP

Semblance

Melodic Discord - Major (4 AP)
Eris channels her inner voice and unleashes it on foes in front of her. A wall of purple sound that shatters glass and moves earth as it pierces the ears of anyone caught out without protection. The wave is so strong that it creates uneven ground in its aftermath and forcibly moves anyone, and almost anything, that's close enough.
Effect: "A wall of forceful sound erupts in front of Eris, having an effective range of [Presence + Stamina] length and [Semblance] width. Anyone caught within the area takes an attack of [Semblance] - their [Passive Defense]. Additionally, anyone caught within range is pushed to the end distance of the semblance, and must make a Contested [Strength] vs Eris' [Presence] check or be knocked prone. The ground within range costs +1 to move through."

Physical Description

" Eris stands at a towering 5' 1" and weighs a hefty 110 pounds. In all seriousness, it makes her quite the contrast to her actually heavy weapon, with it being quite possible to mistake her for a little girl. This is because of her short stature and her rather cute face (In which you should plan on being bit once you do mistake her for one.) For clothing, she wears black suede knee-high boots with frilly white thigh high socks that stop just above them and fan out. Above that is a short black dress that ends at the middle of the thigh with matching white frills that come from under the dress. The dress has no sleeves, is rather slim fitting (besides the frilly bottom) and covers what little chest she has. The short dress is open back and wraps around the bottom of the neck with a single gold button sitting just above the collar. The dress has the design of a crossing white X that meets just below the chest, with a large dark purple diamond over it that starts below the collar bone, ends just below the belly button, and wraps around her sides.
On her back are two impish black bat wings that are visibly too small for flight. Both boney and sinewy, she doesn’t find them to be the most attractive thing in the world and tends to keep them folded behind her. For special occasions and stage performances she wears a collection of golden rings and chains that run along the bottom of her wings, leaving minuscule holes in the sinew. Her golden blonde hair is tied up in a messy bun while the frontward sides (run down and over the temples) stop just above the shoulders and fan out slightly just above the ear. There is a black barrette that sits halfway down both of these. Her bangs are cut to stop flatly at the middle of the eyes and are pushed slightly towards the left side, creating a brief v shaped opening over her both eyes. Intertwined with the knot is a black cloth square with ornate gold borders that is used for the hair tie. It hangs down from the knot and drapes down on either side. Most noticeably is her black metal left arm that is attached at the shoulder. It has full functionality, with a shiny gold for the fingers. Along the arm are 6 half-dollar sized circles, these are colored white with gold rings that run along the outside. They glow with a dim purple LED, like her eye, when the cables are not attached to the arm. These are located down the entire arm, one on the top of the shoulder, on the side of the upper arm, another where her bicep would be, then the last three equidistant on the top of her forearm. All of these open up when M.A.N.T.I-CORE is in operation and the cables from the weapon are fitted to it. Speaking of her eyes, her natural eye color is a deep-sea blue color, but the cybernetic right eye is a vibrant purple. Light traces of dark purple eye shadow and black eyeliner accentuate both eyes. The same right eye has a scar that runs from the corner of her eye and stops just before the temple. The artificial eye looks like any other eye besides its bright purple LEDs. One bright purple ring runs around the outside of the pupil and a second one runs around the outside of the iris. A black crosshair is formed over the eye in an X shape and seems to wrap around the eye and over the LED iris in 4 places. In the center is a small purple diamond in the middle of the pupil. When her eye squints, the crosshair closes in with the center diamond turning white. If the eye is damaged or inoperable for the time being, she wears a black eyepatch with the same crosshair shape over it, just a dark purple color. Her personal emblem is located on the outward side of her right boot. It is the purple stylized face of a vampire bat, with her signature crosshair behind it but in white, and a gold diamond behind the crosshair. It is also located on the battery pack of M.A.N.T.I.-CORE. For accessories, she wears 2 golden hoop earrings on either ear that grow smaller as the piercing goes up the ear. The larger is in the lobe and is the size of a half dollar. The smaller is in the upper lobe and is the size of a quarter. She wears a single black leather glove on her non-prosthetic arm, it ends just before the wrist. Last for accessories, a black choker with white frills is worn around her neck.
Finally is the large case that holds the M.A.N.T.I.-CORE system. It looks like a case used for stage speakers, maybe an odd-looking guitar case if someone wasn’t too familiar with stage equipment, and possibly even a coffin if you squint really hard. Naturally, it is almost as big as she is and comes with a belt that clips around her waist as well as a leather strap that is worn on the opposite shoulder. The case his black with a large purple X that wraps around the case.
"

Weapon Description

" The Multi-Array Neural Tachyon Interface Core, or M.A.N.T.I.CORE for short, is a scientific wonder produced by Prof. Nikola Vasha as his life’s work. The piece de resistance of his inventions if you will. Sporting an advanced particle battery pack, an auric generator the size of a small amp, and a high output particle emitter it fits any disintegrating need you might have.
The gun itself is quite large, standing at a towering 6ft long and 2ft in diameter it wasn’t exactly made with mobility in mind. It was however made with ease of use. The gun was meant to be hefted over the shoulder or held at the hip with a swiveling and locking trigger guard as well as a carry handle on the left-hand side and top of the weapon. The bottom back end is padded and elevates slightly, for ease of aim while on the shoulder.
The gun itself is of a black metal, with a box end for the battery pack that slowly angles down an inch and rounds out at middle section which contains the generator. The generator continues its flat bottom and arched top and forms the barrel which holds the same shape. The arched top above the barrel has 6 curvilinear triangle-shaped plates that lay over each other in a tiered fashion, with cooling vents hidden under each one. They run from the beginning of the middle section, with the last one just hanging over the end of the barrel. Each of these vents emit steam after firing. The barrel itself remains it flat bottomed arch look, but has one 5-inch-long, 2-inch-wide rectangular cut in either side of the barrel.
3 electrical cables from the battery pack and 3 more from the bottom of the barrel run from the gun and connect to Eris’ prosthetic arm.These cables are black with a purple tiger stripe pattern and gold metal connectors. The battery pack and midsection are painted a glossy white, while the barrel keeps its black metal finish. The entire gun, despite the plates, has thin angular gold lines that run along the sides of the gun. The plates on top of the gun are painted a glossy dark purple. On the side of the gun are multiple stickers as if it were a guitar case, most notably the acronym M.A.N.T.I.CORE on the battery pack in dark purple letters with gold borders. On the left-hand side of the gun, above the plates and over the battery pack, sat a much larger plate that acts more as a shield for both the battery pack and the user. When fired, a small amount of dust is released into the central chamber of the weapon and is charged with incredible amounts of electrical energy from the battery pack. When the trigger is pulled, a little bit more dust and energy from the battery are pumped in, causing a chain reaction that rockets the particles of dust at the target. This blast is a blue and purple color that fires in a large beam, and the particles that the beam consists of rips through the designated target. After the shot has been fired, steam is ejected out of the top and in between the plates of the shield.
"

Backstory

" In the middle-class suburban center of Vale lived a young man by the name of Nikola Vasha. A man who was locally known for both his inventive genius as well as his knack for inventions quickly became popular in the small subsection of Atlas. He seemed to roll out small, intricate inventions that always helped someone around him no matter who it was, even if the man’s own health deteriorated from it. Anything from small toys and trinkets to a more efficient way of producing dust were all breakthroughs of his genius. He became popular in the scientific community, and quickly rose to the high life of Atlesian society. He held grand showrooms with new inventions, sold technology to the Atlesian government as well as private companies that hoped to use his mind for their own profit.
This is how he would end up meeting his future wife, Pheme Vasha, her maiden name having been Pipistrelle. A young attractive daughter of a famous Actor and Actress duo with a penchant for both the up and coming and the spotlight. Despite being a bat faunus from Vale, the young man found himself absolutely smitten and she became intrigued by his caring but extensive mind. The two quickly wed, and before long started a family together, the both of them choosing to take the money they had earned early in life to settle down somewhere quiet. The obvious choice was Vale, and the two happily found themselves lost in the quaintness of the city’s outer suburbs. Nikola continued his little inventions, out of interest of course, and Pheme prepared for their soon to be child. Before long the child had arrived, one that had inherited the faunus nature of her mother, but the eyes and hair of her father. There was a problem with the child however, her body hadn’t fully developed from unseen complications, and resulted in the child losing their left arm.
This wasn’t good enough for Nikola, his newborn daughter was everything to him, and she only deserved the best. For her first birthday, Nikola had created a functional prosthetic arm for the little girl. With a little convincing, and a little post-test editing, their child, aptly named Eris for her energetic nature, now had an arm that functioned better than her actual arm. Her name would fit her quite well as she reached her preteens, having a childhood that was known for her acting out for attention from her parents. She was known for wearing out the both of them by mid-afternoon as they simply tried to keep up with her. This ranged from crying for attention, to childish fits over toys, to breaking things around the house on purpose.
After a couple years and a couple new refits of the same arm, Eris had reached the same kind of talent that her mother and grandparents had achieved. The young girl had a surprisingly pretty and well-tempered voice, one that Pheme sought to capitalize on. Before long, the girl was in professional singing classes, a connection thanks to Pheme’s parents, and was well on her way to stardom.
Time with her father was just as interesting, multiple times a week she would sit in with her father as he worked on his life’s work, as well as the occasional little toy for Eris. He would try to teach the girl what he knew, but most of it fell on deaf ears, much to his disappointment. She was simply too energetic to keep her attention. However, one thing would always stick, and that was the moral and values that he so often impressed into her. The value of helping others and using their talents to bring up the community around them was the most heavily reinforced. Solely for self-gain wasn’t something the Vasha’s allowed. Everything done by both him, and Pheme, always became some kind of humanitarian action. Sure, all of his income came from selling blueprints to large tech companies, usually odds and ends like dust condensing, more efficient batteries, and a design on effective electrical output (all of them components for a military contract that was up and coming), but most of his work tended to be about fixing a problem for someone nearby.
As she got older, the ages of seven to ten could be simply described as usual and a little droll. Most weekdays were spent with her vocal coach and weekends were spent with a small group of friends she collected in her pre-teens. Most of them were from the surrounding suburban area, and were a couple years older than she was. They were all heavily invested into music in some way, and this is why they all hung out together. Many Friday and Saturday nights were spent collectively listening to music and showing off the musical talents each of them had recently learned. As they reached their teens, they realized that their collective love of music was more than enough to make a band with Eris at its helm.
At the same time, her father continued his work and it frequently became something that she sat in on. The way he tinkered encapsulated the usually restless pre-teen, and she spent many hours learning about the inventions he worked so hard on. One such night had ended in ruin, with the battery pack he had been working on accidentally short circuited and combusted. It launched flying shrapnel all over the room, with parts hitting both Eris and Nikola. The two went to the hospital soon after, and sadly neither came back quite the same. Eris had lost her left eye; her prosthetic having shielded the rest of her face from the shrapnel.
Nikola came back with the worst of it. Small bits had lodged into multiple parts of his body, making moving difficult and painful. His hands were now uneasy and shaky, and his mind warped by the guilt of maiming the daughter he cared so much for. He couldn’t look at her for a long while without breaking into tears, her forgiveness and care couldn’t erase the guilt. His inventions continued, but always lacked an integral part or aspect to function correctly. Inventions would originally work, but they’d always break or fall apart after repeated use and were no longer as ingenious as before the accident.
It was quickly assumed by both her vocal coach and her mother that with all of her prosthetics, becoming the frontman for a band may just no longer be possible. Ultimately her vocal coaching was ended, and it was assumed that Eris would live off the money her father had acquired before the accident. This depressed her, and she became quite self-conscious, even becoming filled with self-doubt. This is what brought a spark back to Nikola, he once again needed to make her world bright again, and he did so by crafting her a new eye and new arm. It was everything to fix her depressed state, with the only problem being that the eye was the wrong color. Purple rather than her natural blue, but it was special, so she loved it all the same.
Pheme at this point was becoming rather worried however, her daughter had lost her band, her husband lost some of his stable mind, and now these new prosthetics looked oddly… incomplete. As if they connected to something greater. It all began to piece together as Nikola talked more and more about one of his old contracts being nearly completed. Her fears would be realized when Nikola unveiled his completed life’s work. His final gift to Eris on her 13th birthday. The M.A.N.T.I.-CORE system. It was a hulkingly large weapon, one that emitted an amazing output of dust-created energy as its projectile. Now the inventions that he had developed and sold over the past two decades fit together like a puzzle. It was obvious that it wasn't originally meant for his daughter, but it seemed the accident had made a drastic change in its intended recipient.
Well Pheme wasn’t having any of it, her sweet innocent daughter wasn’t going to be fighting anything anywhere and that was the end of it. Eris wasn't exactly on board in the beginning either. The weapon was heavy, loud, and knocked her over whenever she tried to fire it. She couldn't hit anything she aimed at and the idea of a life of using it sounded detestable. Naturally, she gave up on such a gift quite quickly. As days turned into weeks, she began to realize what kind of dismay she was putting her father through. Two decades of progress and to him it was completely wasted. She couldn't bear to see him that way, but at the same time a life of danger just wasn't appealing to such a young girl.
She began to give it a second thought, then after a couple months weeks, a second try. She found that ripping things apart with supercharged particles wasn't exactly a boring experience, even if it was killer on the shoulder. After all, her singing career was shot, it was no longer her main talent in her opinion and maybe she could end doing some kind of good with this hulking mass of energy. The life of adventure and popularity that she was once promised had been accidentally taken by her father, maybe this was his crazy attempt to give it back. In a way, Eris had the potential to be the help that Nikola could no longer provide, while also having a chance of reclaiming her potential fame. Maybe then, after a bit of growth and time, Eris might be able to fix her father while also finding her new purpose.
She didn’t really have anyone to tell her just how to shoot, only her mentally fractured father that explained what the weapon like a broken record. It was frustrating to say the least , but as she began to consistently mess around with it, steady progress could be seen. It turned into a little game, a game of how far she could stand away from a target, usually a cinderblock, and be able to hit it. She also found that the further away she was, the less likely that she’d be hit by small chunks of ricocheting concrete. She quite liked it now that she had spent a lot of time with it, but now she couldn’t really figure out where to go with it. Well besides the local combat school, Pharos. But they wouldn’t accept a self-taught rookie, would they?
After a few weeks of light debate and a deal being struck with her mother, Eris applied to Pharos and after a few in-person demonstrations, she was accepted at the age of 14. The bat faunus began to quickly climb in both the academic and social spheres of the school due to her musical talents and made some unlikely connections in her first year. Naturally, she became driven to help the community like her father once had, with his little crude lessons in the workshop seeming to always be running through her head. By the week, it became increasingly apparent that she could create a lasting impact on others in a way that even her musical talents couldn't aspire to. Professors worked hard to figure out the weapon she had brought with her, and most found it, and its operator for that matter, to be baffling. Still, they knew that it wasn’t meant for any kind of close quarters combat and chose to focus solely on her long-ranged capabilities.
Despite Eris having moved towards a new path, she continued her usual jam sessions with her friends. With a couple connections she had made at Pharos, she found a small venue on the weekends that would pay their little garage band to play on Friday nights. With this small beginning, they began to grow into something more as word got around. After just a year at Pharos, and contrary to her mother’s assumptions, her and her friends became famous in Vale’s underground for their pop-punk band, aptly named Echo Ex. Their gimmick was that their singer didn't even need a microphone to be heard, and that the 15-year-old singer might even blow the crowd away, literally. The first time it happened was during a quiet suburban night in her parents garage, during her band's practice she got a little too into her song and really let loose on one of the high notes. A blast of purple echoes ran wild and catapulted the garage door into the street, luckily hurting no one. Her professors were quite excited to have learned of the accident oddly enough and her second semester at Pharos was spent trying to recreate what was called her ‘semblance’.
While she progressed in her little music career, she also progressed with her combat studies. Many days were spent simply learning how to effectively shoot her weapon and simply not be blown back by the force of it. It took her an entire year to be able to hit the broad side of a barn with it, and not fall over after her first shot. As weeks turned into months however, she found that her accuracy improved to the point where she could be consistently accurate at a distance and even change positions between shots. Finally, as graduation neared, she had the feeling that her weapon was nearly mastered. It also became something that she tinkered with on occasion. No doubt it was a bit of her father rubbing off on her as she found herself occasionally tinkered with minor aspects of the machine. By the time of graduation, she could explain how the weapon worked on a basic level, troubleshoot any problems with the software or hardware, and could even direct someone to its individual components in case it required repair. If there was a question she couldn't answer, she usually directed someone smarter than her, and someone she trusted, to look at her father's blueprints.
The development of her semblance was figured out then improved during her tenure, she learned how to direct her voice towards a point rather than simply making it louder. It created a devastating force that aided her immensely when combat got just a little too close for her long-range style. No longer was it just a band's gimmick, it was a means to keep others and herself out of harm's way.
Unlike her studies however, Echo Ex by this time had come to an end. It was on good terms surprisingly, with Eris possibly shipping off to continue her combat studies and her friends moving more professionally into music they decided to mutually split up. The band name was given to Eris as the others planned on solo or orchestral careers, a decision that Eris was more than happy to agree with.
By the time of graduation, she found that her consistently jovial and gungho personality earned the admiration of both her peers and professors. Despite her singing career being temporarily over, she didn’t much mind. She was sure she’d find someone at one of the higher combat schools with some musical talent. All she had to do was get into one of them. The only problem is that her mother didn’t want her to exactly leave. Eris was her precious little girl and the other kingdoms didn’t exactly sound like great alternatives to Vale. The young girl reluctantly gave in to her pushy mother and chose to apply to Beacon, simply so she could remain close and see her parents. Besides, she needed to make a name for herself in her hometown again, even if it required a whole new band. With the recommendations from her professors at Pharos, she was lucky enough to find a spot into Beacon to continue her training, even if she did arrive a little late.

Personality

Eris obviously inherited some of her father's more…interesting personality traits, while also retaining the bombastic nature of her mother. Having been a performer and singer for so long, she grew into quite the entertainer and socialite. This was only further pushed by her loquacious and caring mother, which would only accept the best for her little child star. This made Eris quite the little brat at times, and only reinforced her mischievous, trick playing nature as none dared to face the wrath of Pheme Vasha if they were unlucky enough to be pranked. It was, and still is of sorts, a way to garner attention from her peers and superiors. This outlandish and mischievous personality was significantly lessened after the accident and her firsthand account of her father’s mental deterioration.
Pranking was obviously her favorite activity as a younger child, and this tends to come out in times of prolonged boredom. Anything from hiding random objects to putting salt in your drink, all types of innocent jokes are within her arsenal.
This is not the norm however; she is usually quite the serious individual when it comes to work and responsibilities. She might not be the strongest or the smartest, but she is still going to make sure she leaves a mark on anyone she meets. Having grown up quite fast, she pushes herself quite hard to progress in both her musical and physical abilities. Jokes may be thrown in with her comments, and she welcomes light-hearted humor, but ultimately when things turn professional, she flips to a determined and serious worker. On stage is where she truly shines however, with the small girl getting frequently lost in the emotion and energy in her (as well as other’s) music. Singing gets loud, dancing is always present, and you can bet that something will get broken. Quiet just isn’t a word she understands, she finds that loud and positive reinforcement is the best way to get her intentions across and that shying away from new experiences only makes her miss out.
Furthermore, she isn’t ever afraid to speak her mind. Do something she doesn’t like? She’ll be in your face about it and surely won’t be passive aggressive, making sure you understand what she’s calling you out on. She finds selfishness and greed to be detestable traits and will be immediately put off by anyone that can’t act for a greater cause. This is reinforced by always needing and wanting to help, even if she isn’t the best option for fixing a problem. This sometimes ends up with her making problems worse, something that is often followed with multiple apologies. On the other hand, she is very easily flustered and is quite naive or innocent when it comes to thoughts like “romance.” It isn’t something she often thinks about, and seemingly has very little interest in, but even a slight advance can turn her cute but angered face red.
Her main goals are to regain the fame she lost on the big stage, but at the same time she wants to help the community around her along the way. Achieving the status both of her parents once held is something that often weighs on her mind and something that is further pressed by the occasional letters from her mother. Disappointing anyone is an often feared outcome. In her free time, she can be found practicing vocals around campus, tinkering with small objects, using something for target practice, annoying friends, or practicing future (or even past) set lists. She often quotes song lyrics while talking to people, but to her dismay most people don't pick up on them. Her range of playable instruments are: Guitar, Cello, and Piano/Keyboard.

Notes

  • Malfunction (Mechanical Eye) - 1 While cybernetics are cool and the technology is stunning, a robotic eye still hasn't quite reached the acuity of a human eye. You take a -1 to all Ranged and Thrown attacks and visual perception checks. This flaw cannot be bought back.
  • Fame Triggers: Vale and Rock Music
submitted by Ser_Bedivere to rwbyRP [link] [comments]

How I Pulled Myself Out of Depression and Rebuilt My Life

I put this post together to share with you the things I did in my life to pull myself from the darkness of depression and back into the light. This will be a rather long post, but I think it’s important to detail what helped me get through the hardest times of my life. As a victim of infidelity, I suspect many of you in this sub are experiencing or have experienced the same trauma and emotions that I have. I share my story in hopes that you may find something in here that will help you heal. Please keep in mind that this is a personal journey, so everything below relates to how it helped me specifically. Everything may not relate to you or your situation, but even if you pick up one thing here that makes your life better then it was worth the long read.
A brief background of my story to provide a starting point for my journey - my wife cheated on my for my entire marriage, 6 years in total. I found out through the AP’s wife on Facebook messenger. Up until that day I was living a life I was very happy and proud of. More details in my profile if you want to read.
The day I found out my life I knew evaporated in an instant. Not just the future I had thought I was working towards, but present and past were unknown to me. Every memory I had was tainted. Were they even real? Did anything ever happen the way I thought they did? I lost of sense of everything, and worst of all I lost a sense of myself. I slid into depression, where everything was happening around me and my brain could not keep up. I went down this path for what felt like months, continuously losing any sense of my surroundings.
I got so down that I thought I had nothing more to live for. The life I had, gone. The family I had, unknown to me. The home I lived in, a box. I wrote a letter saying goodbye to my family and my friends, telling them I loved them and hoped they’d understand.
Thankfully I never followed through on my plans that night. I read the letter I had just written and cried for hours. I realized this was not an honorable act, this was more selfish of an act than what my wife had done. Although I did not do anything that night, I stayed in a depressive state for months after.
It is probably close to a year ago since I wrote that note. I’m in such a better mental state today. Am I where I want to be? Not yet, but I’m working on it.
In between then and now I have done a lot of self improvement. Here is a list of what helped me fight through my worst of times and rebuild myself.
...
Find the Right Therapist
You need an outlet, several outlets actually. You have your family, you have your friends, but I found it important to have someone to talk to that is both a neutral party and who has the experience dealing with infidelity. I’ve looked on a popular search engine, but I’ve found that PsychologyToday.com has useful filters for you to narrow your search down.
As mentioned above, find the right one. I was seeing a therapist for over a year but I felt I was not getting any better. I put off finding a new one since I felt like it would be too much of a step back to start all over again. Don’t be afraid to make this move. I finally did and couldn’t be any happier. I have surpassed where I was with my previous therapist and continue to make strives forward today.
Keep in mind that therapy sessions are typically 45 minutes per week - that is less than 1% of your week, it’s not enough. Supplement therapy with the other steps below.
Find Who Your True Friends Are
When you start to tell your story you will hear all sorts of opinions and advice from people. Try to listen to the people who truly care about YOU, and not the ones who are only concerned about themselves. Cut the toxic people out of your life if you have to. It seems odd to suggest to let go of people in a time of crisis, but it is possible for the wrong people to steer you down the wrong path and delay your progress. Be careful who you tell your story to.
Find Yourself Again
Looking back now I realize a lot of my struggles were driven by a loss of knowing who I was. As mentioned above, infidelity has the ability to distort every memory of yourself and your surroundings, past and present. I felt so lost, so empty. And worst off I didn’t know how to explain how I was feeling. I didn’t think anyone would understand.
The most accurate, short but powerful explanation of what I was experiencing I stumbled upon by accident in one of Jordan Peterson’s (more on him later) interpretation of the Book of Genesis in the Bible (28:06 mark in the link below). I thought reconnecting with my faith could help me get past these difficult times and got very lucky to find this impactful clip. https://youtu.be/hdrLQ7DpiWs
Hearing this gave me comfort in knowing that I was not a crazy person. Everything I was feeling was normal for someone who experienced infidelity. Although it was comforting to hear, I still felt lost about who I was. This lead me to stumble on to the vast collection of helpful videos on YouTube, specifically...
TED and TEDx Videos
There is a very large collection of extremely helpful videos on YouTube. I don’t know how I initially came across them but there are many TED and TEDx videos of people discussing various topics. The most helpful video I found was “Who Are You, Really? The Puzzle of Personality” by Brian Little. In this video he touches on the five big personality traits (OCEAN) and how they differentiate between certain people. https://youtu.be/qYvXk_bqlBk
This was another one of those moments where I found myself listening in disbelief as he rattled through a lot of my “weird” tendencies. As a self-described introvert, I found a lot of behaviors alarming and anti-social. I watched this countless times and found many other similar videos on YouTube (Susan Cain - The Power of Introverts, The Gentle Power of Highly Sensitive People - Elena Herdieckerhoff to name a couple). I used these videos as a foundation in self-discovery and truly feel like I know myself more than I ever have. This has doubled its weight in helping me understand others as well, strengthening relationships or letting go of others I was trying to force for whatever reason.
Besides personality related resources, there are also many relating specially to infidelity, including...
Chump Lady
You are undoubtedly filled with extreme emotions - anger, sadness, confusion, etc. If you are like me, you will be angry to all hell after the initial shock wears off. What a lot of people in this sub suggested to me and in other posts as well is reading through [ChumpLady.com](ChumpLady.com). Although I found some stuff on the website useful, I think it’s written with a lot of anger and resentment as if the person never let go or got past what happened to them.
I think it’s very important to express your emotions, including your anger, but I personally think the website is too over the top. Because it is written with such high emotion and a little bit of immaturity, I found myself being in a worse state after reading through it. A more level-headed, resourceful person that helped me was...
Esther Perel
She has been helping people and couples with infidelity for over 30 years. She takes a very practical approach in her material and tries to dig down deep in to the “why” infidelity occurred. At first I found myself getting angry watching and listening to her because I thought she was downplaying the impact of infidelity or even condoning it. This interpretation of mine could not have been further from the truth.
Esther Perel digs down deep to find the true reasons things fell apart. The reason she came off as uncaring to me is because she removes the blinding emotional element of infidelity to get to the true roots of the problems. She has a channel on YouTube with a lot of content and there is also a lot of videos/interviews with people not on her channel. On her channel is an Infidelity Series that I suggest watching. Also she has a TED talk on Rethinking Infidelity as well as an almost hour long video on Modern Love and Relationships. https://www.youtube.com/useperelesther
I think a lot of what I learned from Esther Perel helped me move forward but I found it helpful to move on from the type of content she provides. By no means am I discounting the impact she had on me. She is focused on the “why” infidelity occurred, which was a necessity for me to try to tackle. I think once you are satisfied with this, move on to things and people who will help propel you through life like...
Jordan Peterson
Jordan Peterson is an author and former professor and clinical psychologist. He has a plethora of useful information all over YouTube. He has his own YouTube channel with so much content on it, plus a lot of interviews and speeches he has given on other channels.
Jordan Peterson is one of the most influential factors of me taking everything I’ve learned from the items above and starting to put them all together in a meaningful way. A lot of what I learned from his videos were how my own behaviors were holding me back. His honesty and candid demeanor helped emphasize a lot of his points and made me face myself in a way I never have before. It made me view myself with absolute clarity and did not let me downplay things I found to be unhappy with. If you’re unhappy about something, face it head on and try to fix it.
Here are some of his points that I found to be useful: - Develop a vision/set a goal. Without one you will go aimlessly through life. I cannot stress how important this truly is. If you set up something to strive for then you can do little things each day to get you closer to it. With it brings a little bit of yourself back, and that feeling gets exponentially bigger each day. - Strive for meaning in life, do not make happiness your main goal. Happiness comes and goes, but finding a purpose and living a meaningful life gives you strength to get through the difficult times. Be someone that people can rely on. - You are stronger than you think. You may feel like you will never be able to pull through a difficult time, but people underestimate their ability to deal with seemingly impossible situations. - Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to someone else. This is actually a chapter in his book 12 Rules for Life. I am reading it now and am finding it very useful and enjoyable.
There are so many more things I’m probably missing from him. His videos are one of the few things I listen to on a daily basis in order to help keep me moving forward.
Here are some videos I’ve watched. If you finish these videos branch out into a lot of his other videos, including the ones on his channel. Watch them multiple times. https://youtu.be/714WR_yoJY8
https://youtu.be/vJlTeQJJsAU
https://youtu.be/qBU7FAC5H8U
https://youtu.be/LjIAzKo62MQ
One last note on Jordan Peterson - he made a statement years ago that politicians took off with. There are videos you’ll see on YouTube relating to this. I quickly learned that a lot of these “interviews” were typical political traps to get him to say something to discredit him. If you don’t agree with whatever statement he made do not let it hold you back to the depth of material he has on the internet. I personally think people are too fast to discredit everything one person says based on his or her political beliefs, and vice versa.
Motivational Videos
There are a lot of motivational speeches on YouTube, most of which I have found very useful. There are YouTube channels dedicated solely to motivational speeches (Motivational Madness, Success Chasers, Mulligan Brothers). A good start is to sort by the most views and give a couple a listen.
One speech that sticks out to me is by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Put aside whatever personal beliefs you have about him and give the video below a listen. There are 5 points he stresses as keys to success that I think are important to remember: 1. Have a vision 2. Think big 3. Ignore the naysayers 4. Work your butt off 5. Give back and change the world https://youtu.be/Zh6lZ5mTSAI
Physical Exercise
After you start to get a bit of yourself back, start doing some physical exercise when you’re ready. This has been one of the biggest things to propel me forward. Although I was making a lot of mental progress, it was hard to measure and see progression.
I started going to the gym and lifting weights. Not only did it feel great to exercise, it was the physical progress that I was able to see with my own eyes that helped push me forward. I finally had physical evidence of progress and it has been pushing me forward to this day. I am very proud of where I’ve come from from a physical stand point and it continues to give me goals to strive for.
Dump Social Media
I didn’t know where to put this on the list but getting rid of toxic things like Facebook and other social media platforms gave me more of a sense of reality. These platforms do not promote reality in any sense and can cause you to feel like everyone else is having the best day/week/month ever and you’re shrinking into oblivion.
Guess how many posts my wife had about how amazing of a family she had. Now guess how many she had of the true double life she was living. She portrayed the life she wanted people to see. Think about how many other people are doing something similar, perhaps not to that extent but still posting about how amazing their life is. I deactivated everything last year and have not missed it one bit. Addition by subtraction.
Healing Music
It is hard to explain, but music is something that is very powerful to me. I feel a lot emotions when listening to music, whether it’s dissecting a song’s lyrics or closing your eyes and letting the instrumental part take you on a journey. I had searched for healing music one day not really knowing what to expect and came across a surprising amount of what I would describe as “spa music.” The soft, relaxing tones helped move me from an overactive state of mind to a calmer one. I’ve noticed that there are different frequencies at which some of this music is said to resonate at. Maybe I don’t really have a trained ear because I cannot tell too much of a difference between them besides the different pitch at times. Anyway, here is the one video I have used as a crutch at times to help me sleep at night. When I listen to this I instantly feel my body relax and go into a different state. Hopefully it does the same for you.
https://youtu.be/4wtG01ymIjE
I want to stress that getting past the emptiness and depression will not be a short process. Getting out of the darkness I was in took me months of working on myself and with a therapist. Do not get frustrated if you follow these steps and still feel down. Do as many of the steps you feel appropriate multiple times. Progress may be slow at times, but progress is progress no matter how small or slow.
Well this post was a lot longer than I thought it would be when I first started. If you’ve made it this far you atleast have the desire to improve that you may not have thought you had before.
This post has been weeks in the making and is very important to me. As I mentioned above, the most important thing is to find a goal. I have always felt a bit of satisfaction helping people, and there would be nothing more satisfying than to share my story in hopes that it helps someone move forward with their life.
I want you to know that there IS hope, there IS light at the end of the tunnel, and there IS so much more to life that you know at this point. You didn’t choose to be where you are right now. I bet, like me, you would be on the opposite side of the spectrum. Try to let go of some of the anger and take small steps towards recovery. Recovery is NOT an overnight process. This will take months to get past, if not years. It’s okay. It’s okay. IT’S O-K. The healing starts today, towards a better future. You will go into the unknown, you will explore territory you never even knew existed, and you will persevere. Life is worth living. It’s worth every minute. And one day, you can share your story and show others that it is possible to make it through the darkest time in your life.
Please share anything that you may think other people will find helpful. If I think of other things I will add them to the post. Hopefully all of the links worked. If not just let me know. People that are not comfortable posting publicly can send a PM. Thank you for reading this.
TL; DR
Resources I used to help me get out of depression and rebuild my life: - Find the right therapist - Find yourself again, rediscover who you are - Watch videos on personality traits to understand how and why you think and act certain ways - Take a look at chump lady to help vent a little, but I personally don’t recommend looking at it too much - Watch Esther Perel’s many videos on line on “rethinking infidelity” to discover the “why” it happened, and move on - Take the time watch a lot of Jordan Peterson’s videos and understand his philosophies on life. Most importantly, strive for meaning in life and adopt responsibility. The internet is filled with his videos. He also has a couple of books out, with 12 Rules for Life being a multimillion copy seller. He is my biggest resource right now. - Watch motivational speeches and discover how successful people used certain tools or philosophies to get ahead - Do some form of physical exercise to feel better about yourself and help see progress - Dump toxic social media from your life. I would imagine that mostly everyone who posts about how amazing their life is really isn’t so amazing at all, and it will bring you down thinking so.
Edit: Edited to add Healing Music above as something that I have used to help me get better.
I also wanted to note that I probably should have reemphasized that not everyone is going to agree with everything on this list. That’s okay. We perceive situations and people in life based on the experiences we went though in the past. It doesn’t make it right or wrong, just different. What I hope for is that if someone disagrees with something then they can share their thoughts in a constructive manner so that people can discuss it without feeling defensive. Hearing different viewpoints on topics can be extremely beneficial if done constructively.
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Tom Watson: Fixed odds betting terminals fuel a destructive habit and are linked with crime. That's why £100-a-spin on the high-street has to stop That's why £100-a-spin on the high-street has Sure betting explained. With sure betting, you cover all the outcomes of a match by placing bets with different bookmakers. You make a profit no matter the outcome. How do we detect sure bets? Every second, tens of thousands of odds are updated on different bookmaker sites. Our servers gathers, compares and analyzes over a million odds every Since most tracks have a $2 minimum bet, below is a handy chart to look up the payoff for a $2 bet at various odds. Remember, your actual payoff may differ from this chart, as the odds on the tote board are rounded off, so 2-1 odds on the tote board may actually be 1.9-1 or 2.2-1. Matched betting works by cancelling out the risk on the 'back' bet at the online bookies by betting against yourself at the same odds (know as 'laying' a bet) which you can do at a betting exchange. In other words, you are 'matching' your bet. Following your first or 'qualifying' real money bet, you will then be awarded the free bet by the Common futures bets include betting a team to win a championship at the outset of a season, or betting whether the team will win or lose more games than a set line at the start of the season.

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