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A comprehensive guide to the Occult

2023.05.30 05:57 Oonoroi A comprehensive guide to the Occult

Hello, I've been working on revising an old magic system to fit with a new story, and I wanted to get some feedback on if my system works well or not. It's a long one, but feel free to hit me with any questions/comments/criticisms about it! Please excuse the inconstent capitalization though, I'm working on it.

An Occultists’ Guide to Boundaries
All of reality is built on boundaries. A boundary is a metaphysical container for both the physical matter and the concepts defining an object. For example, imagine for a moment a ball sitting on a table. Now imagine an invisible skin, wrapped tightly around the entire surface area of the ball, encapsulating all the information and properties of the ball. Now imagine that invisible skin suddenly disappeared, leading the concepts that once filled it to just drift away. They might be infused into the table, making it ‘bright red’, or ‘round’. They could get into the air making it ‘bouncy’ or ‘safe for children ages 2+’. The stuff that makes the ball would still be around, but the ball itself wouldn't. For an object to exist, it must be distinct from the things around it. Without boundaries separating ‘thing’ from ‘thing’, the whole universe would be just one big ‘thing’.
This is the basis of Occult practices. Being an occultist starts with the manipulation of boundaries, as the space within them is where magic is performed. That is why, when an occultist begins their studies, the first power they gain is usually simple telekinesis, as manipulating the position of a boundary is good practice. We tend to call those who never move past that stage ‘espers’ or ‘psychics’ or something of the same effect, and even though they are just scratching the surface of what the occult can do, they can get to be fairly powerful.
A basic, widespread (but not universally applicable) law of boundaries is that they have a natural resistance to being manipulated, which is in most cases tied to the surface area of the object. An interesting application of this is that there is functionally no difference in trying to telekinetically move a cardboard box and a solid steel cube of the same size. However, when it comes to destroying a boundary, the difficulty of doing so is all in the ‘complexity’ (this is hard to define, but it will make more sense later) of the object. Stronger occultists will be able to destroy or create more complex phenomena at larger scales.
Since the creation, destruction, and manipulation of boundaries is a fundamental skill for occultists, many different exercises have been devised to help expand a beginning practitioner's skill in doing so. One popular one is trying to destroy the boundaries of small objects, such as playing cards or snack foods, and quickly capturing all the escaped concepts by creating a spherical boundary around them. This can lead to some delightfully non-euclidean objects, especially when you destroy and re-capture the concepts of two different objects into one boundary, but it is a very dangerous way to practice. One could end up not capturing the concepts in time and end up turning themselves ‘easily tearable’ or ‘appetizing to ants’ without the knowledge of how to reverse that.
The analogy of a weightlifter in training may be the most appropriate since an occultist’s ability will grow like a muscle over time, only one that doesn’t plateau in strength. But like any muscle, they will get tired if they go on too long, which will greatly increase their chances of causing an accident.

Reality and You
Reality is everything that is real. Every object, entity, or phenomenon that exists and is not fictional is a part of reality. If you can measure it, it's real. There aren’t very many other ways to describe this, but humans generally have a solid grasp of what is real and what is not due to being real themselves. However, not all parts of reality are equal.
All magic happens inside a boundary wherein reality is measurably degraded. There is a special, magical, and incredibly complex machine that can measure the ‘level’ of reality within a boundary. The baseline level, the level wherein everything that isn't the occult takes place, was set to be 10 on the Non-Reality Scale (the NRS for short), and anything below that is magic.
But why would one want to degrade reality? Hypothetically, when someone is pouring themselves a cup of water, they would prefer a fresh, clean glass, to one that hasn’t been washed in years. This is because they want to avoid contamination. Spellwork has the same idea, where to pour what they want into a boundary, the occultist first has to ‘wash’ everything they don’t want out.
That is not to say that less reality is always better. A reality that is too low level can mess with spellwork, or cause a dangerous accident if the boundary is flawed. This is because to complete the final step of the casting, one must reintegrate their degraded reality back to the baseline (that is, if they want anything more than an intangible illusion). The extent to which one would want to degrade reality fully depends on what they want to do with the boundary they are creating. For example, one did not want to use it for drinking, but it would be perfectly fine to use it to water a houseplant. And most people would not be bleaching out a clean cup before drinking from it, even if it has a bit of dust in it. In the same way, in most cases, an occultist does not need to purge absolutely everything from their boundary, and will instead want to selectively degrade reality to a certain level.

Mana, the Soul, and Concepts
A Concept is the abstract idea of the matter within a boundary. For example, the boundary of the ball I described earlier contains the physical matter of the ball, but it also contains the Concept of the ball. The Concept can be imagined as an index of every piece of information about the ball, with each piece being called an Attribute. Attributes of the ball’s Concept could include its weight, size, bounciness, flammability, or any other property that one could measure from the ball. Being a Concept and being an Attribute are not mutually exclusive, and it is relative to what the caster is referring to at the moment. Technically, all Concepts are Attributes of the Universe, which contains everything, so it's best to think of each Concept as a part of a greater whole, which is in turn made of smaller parts. With this comes the idea that a concept cannot be created or destroyed (of course, there are those annoying exceptions), only constructed and deconstructed.
The basis of spellwork is simple. Create a boundary, degrade its reality, fill it with a bunch of Attributes to form the Concept of the phenomena you want to create, reintegrate reality, and presto, you have a spell. This process is fundamentally the same for most spellcraft, making a well-practiced occultist very versatile. However, it is the complexity within each of these steps that requires research to understand, skill to navigate, and training to pull off.
Every living thing has a boundary, and every living thing has a Concept. Except for living things, we tend to call the Concept a ‘soul’. There is no real difference, and there is a constant debate over what has a soul. Bacteria are generally deemed soulless, robots and magically animated constructs have been rhetorically argued to have souls, and there is debate around what stage of birth or death does the soul of a corpse become just a Concept. But it is generally agreed that living humans have a soul, and within the soul, there is an Attribute called mana. Mana is the fuel that is required to perform anything to do with the occult. Manipulating boundaries, degrading and reintegrating reality, and working with concepts all require mana.
Almost everyone starts with a very low amount of mana. Most humans only have enough to perform small miracles in moments of great stress, such as a parent being able to lift a car to save their child or a firefighter obtaining enhanced perception in a burning building. Mana, however, can be grown over time like a muscle. After continuous depletion of one's mana reserves, the maximum amount that can be ‘refilled’ during rest increases.
There is a widespread standard for measuring how much mana one has. It requires a half-inch diameter, clear glass marble enchanted with a Concept that causes it to output light in a manner directly proportional to the amount of mana poured into it. An occultist can push as much mana as they can into it and measure the irradiance of the light produced by the marble with a photometer to find their maximum output.
Besides mana, the soul also contains Attributes for one's familiarity with other Concepts. Concept familiarity determines how well an occultist can summon, read, or build a concept. Familiarity is gained in several different ways. For example, an occultist skilled in the art of pyromancy may be a grad student who’s spent many sleepless nights studying thermodynamics and exothermic reactions, a person from an icy village who spent a lot of time near the fireplace as a child, or a serial arsonist who thinks fire is incredibly beautiful. All of these people would be familiar with the Concept of fire. In other words, research, experience, and passion are all equally valid ways to gain familiarity with a concept.
There are three ways to get a concept into a boundary. The first way is to summon it, using one's will to draw in a concept and use it directly during spellwork. This is generally considered the best method for any occult performance for various reasons, as its only real downside is that it requires a very high level of familiarity with the Concept one is trying to summon. However, it requires no material components to pull off and does not produce any backlash (an important idea that will be explained later). This is why most mages choose to spend their life within one field of similar Concepts, increasing their familiarity with a small group of Concepts, trading some versatility to be able to pull off Concept summoning efficiently.
On a side note, there is the popular idea of the ‘four elements’ system of magic. While the idea of earth, air, fire, and water being base elements of the universe has no real truth to it, the fact that they are things one commonly interacts with and are fairly visual makes them perfect for summoning.
The next way to obtain a Concept is through reading. This method takes an object that has a desired Concept or Attributes, destroys its boundary, and adds said Concept or Attributes into the spell. Reading allows an occultist to work with a Concept that they aren’t familiar with, although they should have some level of familiarity if they want to work with it safely. Unfortunately, reading requires you to destroy a material component and leads to backlash. The result is that spellwork done with Concept reading needs more preparation than summoning, and may require rare or expensive materials. The amount of material destroyed, however, does not matter when trying to read a Concept, so long as it is enough that the occultist can reasonably focus on it. For example, if one was trying to read the Concept of gold, the casting will be the same with a few specks of the stuff as with an entire bar.
The final method, Concept building, is the least. Building requires a mage to take several different Concepts and use them as Attributes to construct an entirely new Concept. For example, the Concept of ‘the superpower of human flight’, which doesn’t exist naturally, could be built using the Concepts of ‘weightlessness’ and ‘propulsion’ and ‘human will’. Building has all the drawbacks of reading compounded, so it is very rarely used and requires great skill. But the power to make fiction reality, even more so than any other type of magic, is incredibly appealing, and many occultists spend their entire life trying to bring a permanent concept into the world.
Concepts are not completely objective. For example, a modern person likely associates the color black with things like death, darkness, or despair. In ancient Egypt, however, the color had a more positive connotation, being associated with fertility and festival, since black soil, not white, is where one could grow the crops. Concepts work similarly, and different ones can have different meanings to different people from different cultures and backgrounds. It is completely unknown how modern magic continues to work with so many different ways of looking at the same Concept.

And Now for the Bad: Backlash
Once again, imagine a ball sitting on a table. Remember how I said destroying its boundary could lead to the table and air around it lead to the table and air around it obtaining some of its properties, or as we now know to call them, Attributes? This is also how I described some of the side effects of improperly doing the ill-advised boundary exercise from the boundary section.
Both of those are simplified examples of backlash.
When an occultist performs a Concept reading, they are picking out the Attributes they want and exposing the rest to outside reality. If left uncontained, the rest of the Attributes will diffuse into other nearby boundaries, giving the caster’s surroundings (and likely the caster themself) properties that they likely do not want. This is a backlash. Worse, as the free Attributes look for a new boundary, they randomly and chaotically deconstruct themselves into simpler Attributes (for example, the attribute ‘fire’ may deconstruct into ‘heat’ and ‘light’), multiplying the number of Concepts diffusing over time, increasing the scale and chaos of the event.
The resistance of an object's boundary to being destroyed scales somewhat on the complexity of the Concept it contains, and therefore, more complex objects that would cause bigger backlashes are naturally harder (as in they require more mana) to destroy. This acts as a sort of natural safeguard for the occult, stopping just any aspiring wizard from accidentally rending cities uninhabitable or wiping large swaths of land off the map.
Be they geometric shapes or runes in an unknown language, the main purpose of a magic circle (or any shape for that matter) is to contain and safely dispose of backlash. Over time, occultists have found ways to take common aspects and successfully break them down into their most harmless components, allowing them to be dissipated safely, and history has provided a good base for the backlash of just about any spell to be properly contained, with a bit of research. A very skilled occultist will be able to properly command backlash to harness it and enhance their spells, controlling the decay of Concepts to find simpler Attributes needed for the main spell or to set off smaller secondary spells to support the original.
Another way of dissipating backlash is with somatic action, or using one’s body in the same fashion as a magic circle. The danger of this should be clear, but it allows the caster to dissipate backlash without having to prepare a magic circle.

Reintegration and Types
The last part of any occult spellwork is normally the easiest. You just have to stop trying. For sorceries and rituals, firing off a spell is just like firing a bow. If creating a spell boundary is notching the arrow, and gathering Concepts is pulling back and aiming, then the final casting is simply letting the arrow fly as it will. There is some skill involved with the speed and grace of an occultist's mental disengagement, but for the most part, reality itself will do most of the job as it brings one's Concepts back to a level 10 NRS and makes the phenomenon ‘real’. This means that after one creates their fireball, all they have to do is bring it into existence and define its parameters, and throwing it costs no extra mana on your part. That also means that a fireball, once thrown, cannot be altered or taken back unless one creates a completely new boundary to counter it.
I mentioned sorceries and rituals. Those are two of the three ‘types’ (not to be confused with ‘schools’) of the occult.
The first is sorcery, the stereotypical form of magic. Sorceries use summoned Concepts and don't require materials or magic circles or somatic actions. If you see a wizard concentrate for a moment, and something weird happens afterward, you saw a sorcery.
Next are rituals. Magic circles, material components, somatic gestures, and multiple casters are all hallmarks of this type, and it includes anything that creates a new boundary but isn't sorcery.
Lastly, there is enchantment. Enchantment either creates an instant phenomenon on another material, or a permanent artifact meant to be used repeatedly. The idea is, that the spellwork one does is not within a completely new boundary, but is done by adding or removing Concepts from a pre-existing boundary. For example, an occultist could permanently add an ‘unbearably cold’ concept to the blade of a sword, or instantly change the enemy's skeletal system to be ‘highly combustible when submerged in blood’.

Schools and Applications
There are quite a few ‘schools’ of the occult, general categories occultists put spellwork into. Schools can include things like ‘divination’, ‘necromancy’, or ‘war artifice’.
An example of a specific school of magic is called ‘name sympathy’. Almost all human souls have a ‘name’ Attribute, as it is standard practice to name your children in modern times. One’s name generally is one of their most prominent Attributes, so it is not a difficult task to target a person by using just their name. This is where the school of name sympathy shines, using traces of one’s person to find out their name and affect their soul directly. Sometimes this is used for good and is especially effective when used in conjunction with the ‘healing’ school of magic. Most times, though, it's used for magical murder.
Immortality is not a school of magic per se, since it is just one Concept, but that concept is so hard to build that it takes as much research and effort as any real school. The thing about immortality is that it is very hard to balance. The human body is made up of millions of small parts, all of them living and reproducing and dying constantly. Sure, one could just enchant themselves with the Concept of ‘life’ and apply their mana, but that would immediately give them cancer in every organ. And since there are no real immortal creatures to read the Concept from, in practice, an occultist seeking immortality has to build the Concept from the ground up, and doing so has taken so long and has been failed by so many that most believe that it's completely impossible.
An occultist may completely copy a concept into another boundary. That is called conjuration, one of the other greatly researched struggles of the occult. In most spells, the physical material attached to the Concept within the boundary is left out. When an occultist tries to completely recreate an object with mass or energy, (for example, if you were trying to use gold to make more gold), they are trying to add more matter to the universe than there originally was. And they will accomplish this, thoroughly breaking the law of conservation of mass. However, reality hates when its laws are broken, and it will attack the conjured object, destroying it completely within moments. The whole problem with conjuration is trying to make it work long enough to be applicable for anything more than its primary use for split seconds of attack or defense in the middle of battle, especially given how mana intensive it is. A promising line of study has involved trying to create an equal amount of ‘dark matter’ at the same time as the actual conjuration, balancing out reality.

All About Artifice
Artificing is another application of the occult, but it is an expansive field that warrants a section of its own. It is generally defined as using enchantment to permanently imbue an item with a Concept.
Artifacts are the most accessible way to use magic. Unlike sorceries and rituals, which require magical knowledge and practice to use, the only real requirement for activating an artifact is to push mana into it yourself. And since everyone with a soul has at least a small amount of mana, anyone can pick up an artifact and use it with minimal training. A good example of this was the ancient Greek phalanx, which was not only the name of the military formation, but also what they called the combined magical gear used by the people in it, comprised of animated spears that automatically targeted vital points, shields that inflicted magical fear, and helmets that stopped arrows in their tracks.
Potions are another example of artifice, though technically they belong to its subschool, alchemy. A potion is any ingestible, magical liquid that gives a beneficial effect to the drinker when they apply mana to the unmetabolized quantity of it within their bloodstream. Solids versions of this concept are called boluses, and gasses are generally deemed too hard to work with. Potions can only be activated by the drinker, meaning there are not many ways to create alchemical poison without convincing one's victim to course mana through their own bloodstream.
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2023.05.30 05:48 The_Alloquist [A Lord of Death] - Chapter 48

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The blade forging left Sorore exhausted, the failure left her frustrated, and the cold gave way to fear as the night drew closer. As day faded into dusk, she reflected on a morning that had been as full of ups and downs as the mountain paths they’d travelled. The very fact that she had been able to use magic, that it had crashed from the realm of fairy tales and church warnings into the very real everyday occurrence was already an earth shattering experience.
Then she’d moved water with a thought, seen monsters fall from the sky, and watched the paladins cleaving them in two. Her head spun with the strangeness of it all, the sheer onset of fanciful things blurring and mixing together with reality. She began to wonder what else might be true, of the fairy tales in the myth she had heard on the seas in her father’s ship. Of the old folk stories of Erratz, often dismissed as nothing more than old wive’s tales.
A new world had opened up before her, and she wasn't sure to be fascinated or terrified of it. Certainly the paladins didn't want any part of it, and they certainly didn't want her to be involved. And from everything she knew of the church scripture, they were absolutely right. She felt the danger, the power of the matter, and knew that it was only a small fraction of what it could do. She even felt a certain degree of fear towards the masked man in the black robes, as respectful as he had been as a tutor.
At least he didn't use a switch to reminder of when she had failed.
But even in the murk of her disquiet in that moment, she also felt a smouldering frustration underlying it. The knife had been hers, her project, her duty, and she had resolutely failed to craft it. Part of her shifted the blame elsewhere - it was a new technique she had picked up over the course of an afternoon. Efrain himself had said as much, even going as far to say that he hadn’t expected her to do it.
Now that was something she didn’t like at all. When people expected her to fail, despite all her efforts.
However, that resolution meant little now, given that she had been excused from the effort. At least now the mage had the basic shape to work on. She let her hand drift on the rough stone walls of the church. Thousands of individual perfections, many thousands of years old, the stone functioning despite it. Perhaps it would be enough, the basic, overall function, but she recalled all the pittances and channels carved in her vision of the knife.
She knew what was driving the doubt. It was curiosity, that sticking bug that clung to her, despite all her prayers to the contrary. She just couldn’t seem to shake it, despite the ‘assistance’ of church teachers when it reared its head particularly high. She had expected the snap across the palms from Efrain when he drew that piece of wood. It had been a relief when he’d tossed it over his shoulder.
The thought was an unworthy one, she immediately considered. She should’ve been grateful to the various priests and scholars who’d spent years teaching the twins. Some had even prepared their entire lives, just on the chance they’d meet the beloved Bequeathed. If they were strict, then so be it, it was for the sake of preparing her and Frare for their duties.
The church was once more a buzz of activity as people prepared for the night ahead. She and Lillian found their way to the altar, attracting only minor glances. The villagers clearly had gotten used to their presence, although some offered a respectful and perhaps wary gaze for Lillian. One of Frare’s eyes opened as they approached, but he quickly returned to his half-rest leaning on a pillar. Aya was still very much asleep, chest gently rising and falling under the furs where Sorore had left her.
Sorore sat on the wide steps, put her chins on her hands, and began to think. It was a rather dangerous proposition, considering her recent failure. She had a tendency to ruminate on them, and often her twin would find her staring plaintively before loudly disrupting it. This time was no different, as before anything but impotent frustration could boil over, he plopped down behind her back.
“Stop that,” he said, “I can hear your teeth beginning to grind.”
She leaned back to lie upon his lap, despite the admonishment she heard in her head about proper sitting position. His eyes were closed again, and she followed suit, letting the minutes wile away as night crept into the word. She was shaken out of this reverie by a loud pop and Aya’s yelp. The girl was both mid yawn and bright red as both the paladins and the twins turned to look at her. She insisted that she was fine, and took to straightening her clothes subconsciously.
It was a mere temporary distraction for Sorore, who was largely engrossed in considering the knife. Rather than merely wallowing in her problems, she was invested in its function. She could almost see the stone parting before her, revealing the source of that smothering cold behind the door. Maybe if she had tried one more time, maybe if she reduced the complexity of the form, then increased when she got the basic shape. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.
It was all of very little use. She was inside her head once again, at a complete loss of what to do. Maybe, within the grand archives of Angorrah, the answer was contained in a dusty scroll. Some offhand fact or technique of forging, long forgotten in the darkness of the shelves. But these were several weeks of travel away, and she wasn’t sure that she’d see the next sunrise. So then, what could she do to get them to bridge that gap? Just one more day, that’s all they needed, to hold out until the next sunrise.
Nothing. That was the simple truth of it - she was a lost little girl in a small village surrounded by terrible things. The thought was not a comforting one, and she wriggled, trying to nestle deeper into the legs of her twin. Aya by that point had come to sit down beside them, looking greyer as the dark came on. No wonder, for she knew she all felt the chill roll forward as the fog waxed in the night.
Another meal of common fare came and went, though Sorore noted that many soldiers were taking care with it. Perhaps it was common practice, to relish what very well may be your last meal. For her part she found it rather difficult to keep it down, the coming dread of the hours ahead offsetting her appetite.
The faces of the paladins had settled into that implacable, stoney cast once more. They quietly rebandaged their injuries, readjusted their armour, and set to sharpening their great blades with long deliberate strokes. Sorore idly thought that their sleeping faces were significantly more pleasant, if rarer to see. Thus it was that they crossed over into the late afternoon, where the light was quickly fading.
“I would like to take one last little walk,” Aya spoke up, “before… you know.”
The paladins looked up, their eyes twisting with barely veiled misapprehension at the request.
“My lady…” Lillian began.
“We can’t,” Niche said, “Not now. Not so close to dark.”
“Just barely outside the door,” said Aya, “Just so I can see something other than the church. Just to stretch my legs.”
The paladins looked at each other, looked back, and set their faces.
“Well, I suppose it can be accommodated,” Lillian said, “only just outside the church, and only for a few minutes.”
Her tone warned of dire consequences if these conditions should not be strictly adhered to. The children all collectively nodded and the party of five set out past the doors. The barricades within the church had grown in size and strength, at least as far as Sorore could judge. The villagers, under the supervision of the soldiers, had proven diligent in the daylight hours. She could only hope that it would be enough for the onset of the creatures, should they breach the church.
She had a dread certainty that it would indeed be breached, sooner or later. Though she hadn’t heard of any specifics, whispers of just how many of the things lurked outside were passed around. It was a small stroke of fortune that the windows were narrow and ensconced in stone. The last thing they needed was one of the flying beasts to crash through the glass.
The faint red-pink cast to the grey outside was beginning to fade into blackness as the sun shrank. Occasionally, the banks of fog would strip away, revealing the abominable silhouettes standing still past the wall. They would close just as quickly, removing any clarity, and leaving only the icy fear in its place. The remaining soldiers and villagers watched them with anxiety and exhaustion.
The garden around the front of the church was almost non-existent. Most of the flowers had been trampled either in preparation for or during the course of the battle. The only things left relatively untouched were the central beds around the side of the church, which grew produce for its tenants. Some trees still stood, showing minimal damage from the fog and its creatures.
The five ducked under the boughs of the closest one to the doors. The additional chill brought by its shade was a trifling concern at the present. The green, muted as it was by the overcast sky beyond, was a lively anchor in the cold, dead mists. Such was the comfort of the place that Soroe let herself lean back onto the bark of the tree and eyes drift closed.
The trunk was solid, a comforting sensation that seemed to offset the malevolence of the fog.
Enough so that Sorore began to wander the netherworld of half-sounds and sights that characterised pre-sleep. They all wandered with her, some staying, some peeling off, guided by their own demented logic. Little and less was coherent, but it took her away from the horrible reality of what lurked a few hundred steps away all the same.
She fell deeper into this other-state, letting the visions wash over her as the real world slipped away. Time became a mercurial concept, which led her to question when exactly everything had settled. But settled it had, into a hazy blackness which the eye could not pierce. There, in the distance, a bright ribbon of twisting warm color glowed. A piece of fresh-forged metal perhaps, the day’s task going straight to her head. Or maybe it was the remnants of another dream that day, one that was already a blurry memory.
From a great distance, she heard a crash, unmistakable in its ringing clarity. A forge hammer singing out a song of its own, for now merely a rhythm. It shifted in tone as it rang out through the abyss once more, adding progression, then melody, all written in singing steel. Sorore’s fingers began to drum out the sequence on her thighs as she felt it reverberate through her. Then, with a sliding screech, she was left alone in the half-dream, with nothing but darkness remaining.
Still, the bright memory of the song remained, and in the darkness another voice took shape. It was a deep, rich, and handsome sound, that spoke of a confidence of such immensity that you were convinced its wielder could do anything. Sorore had never heard the likes of it before, either on the docks, or in cities, or on the open waves.
“Come now,” it said, “this little thing is giving you trouble?”
Sorore’s eyes slowly open, pulling her from the dreamscape back into the dreariness of the real. Aya had her knees pulled to her chest, leaning back into the trunk. The paladins, tired but alert, scanned the endlessly shifting banks of fog.
Sorore had a fleeting impression that the answers were just beyond the pale mists. Maybe something would come through, parting it like thin curtains, and impart the inspiration she needed. Or maybe a whole set of schematics will drop into my lap from the sky, she thought with dark irony.
The vision was quickly fading into the abyss of forgetfulness. Perhaps Aya had shared it once more with her, but she was in conversation with the paladins. Not wanting to interrupt, Sorore looked at her outstretched legs. Past them were a handful of leaves that had fallen despite the summer of the valley, with a couple long decomposed to nothing but their skeletons.
She reached out to grasp at the leaves, looking at the yellow-grey veins that raced across its surface. The large ones spread from the central stem and the hundreds of smaller capillaries that interconnected them. Holding up to the sky, she screwed her face, trying to discern the details of this piece of nature. After a few moments of tepid stillness, the clouds parted for just a moment, letting a ray of sunlight lance down to catch their hill in its beam.
For a second, the leaf seemed to glow, shimmering like metal catching glare.
And Sorore had her inspiration.
With that, she sprang to her feat so fast that one of the paladins almost jumped. Both looked around with questioning and slightly alarmed expressions. Sorore didn’t have much of an answer - in fact her mind was going so fast that she could hardly even articulate the solution that had been revealed to her.
“The- the- the-” she said, snapping her fingers, trying to put words to the idea, “I know what to do. I need to find him.”
“Find who? The mage?” asked Lillian.
The fiery certainty of the thought sent Sorore tramping out onto the grass, leading to calls from the paladins to slow down. She didn’t bother to wait for them, consumed by this need to find the mage, the knife, to try again.
The forge was more or less empty, save for the few labourers packing up the tools and ferrying them into the church proper. With a furious set of questions, she gleaned that he’d vacated the premises some time ago. The paladins called for her to stop as she doubled back, but she couldn’, not now.
The scenery seemed to blur as she rushed through the church doors, past the bustling barricades, and to the captain’s tables. A somewhat perturbed Damafelce told the young girl that Efrain had been seen entering the door at the end of the church. With that, Sorore broke out into a run, past the altar, through the door and down into the darkness of the Catacombs.
She stepped out onto the sand floor, the members of her party at her heels as she tried to seek out the path to the black wall. She stumbled more than once as she felt her way along in the darkness, fortunately with no skeletal interruptions this time. Down the stairs and into the long corridor she came, the smothering cold increasing as she pushed forward.
As she had surmised, Efrain was there, just about to start whatever process pried apart the stone. The tip of the blade was raised, pressed into the stone above his head. He turned at the approaching footsteps, cocking his head at the lack of isolation. Sorore didn’t even wait for him to say something, instead thrusting out her head for the crude metal knife.
“ I know- I can- I can do it now,” she said, breathless from the long run from the surface.
Delicately, Efrain removed the metal from the stone, and looked down at her. There seemed to be a questioning quality to the look, at least as far as she could read the emotionless mask. He looked at the cat, then back to the girl, and then to the rest of her party.
“How?” he said, “ If I let you undo this, we may not have enough time to recreate it before the attacks begin.”
“Leaves,” she said, putting a hand on the wall to steady herself as her lungs complained, “it- was the leaves.”
“The… leaves?” he said, “ All right. Stop, take a few breaths, and start from the beginning.”
And so she did, explaining how she sat under the bows of the trees, the half-awake dreaming, and the skeleton of the leaf.
“I got it. I was trying to build the whole thing out myself, all at once,” she said, stumbling over her words, “instead of letting nature do what it wants. The metal wants to come together - I don’t need to force it into its final shape. I just need to build a- a-”
She snapped her fingers at the air, trying to reach past this new blank as Efrain regarded the knife.
“You want to build a frame,” he said, “and let the metal fill in the rest of the empty space.”
After a moment’s hesitation, he turned over the knife, hilt first, to the girl.
“Well then,” he said, “let’s hope you know what you’re doing.”
She did, or at least she hoped she did this time. Within moments, the metal was flowing over her hands like a cold stream, but instead of trying to sculpt it, she began to spin filaments outwards. Like the skeleton of the leaf, little veins of metal stretched outwards, stopping abruptly, and folding back into themselves. If it had been hard before, it was now brutal, the smothering cold dragging at every attempt to shape the material.
Hands trembling, sweat beginning to bead on her forehead, she managed to split the metal into dark fingers. All she had to do was resist gravity and prevent it spilling over the imaginary bounds of the shape. From those dark fingers, snaking vines spread out and connected with each other. Slowly, slowly, branching and arcing, they filled in the skeleton she’d created and fused.
The final product wasn’t altogether too different from what they’d created during the afternoon. The shape, a heavy chisel tip, tapering out to twin furls like a plough, a longer tang. Sorore, half blind by stinging salt, didn’t fail to notice swirling furrows spreading across its surface. She had no idea how she’d managed to etch those designs, or perhaps the metal remembered, just as the stone did.
“Well,” said the mage at last, “suffice to say, I am impressed. Now, hold it up.”
She did so, despite the exhaustion of her arms, the tip wavering as his finger touched its point.
There was a rush of something, extending over the surface of the blade, stopping just short of her hand. It was like a coat of mail had been pulled taught, the links aligning at the same time, snapping together in a regular structure. From the tip of the chisel, down to the tang, the metal shuddered and settled. By the time it disappeared under her grip, it was rigid as any steel tool.
The mage gently took it from her, holding the blade up to that little flickering light above his head. Flicking it this way and that, he seemed to find whatever he was looking for, and pressed the tip to the wall. Sorore, despite her fatigue, was practically exploding with excitement. She’d done it, not only conquering the task, but she was about to see what was behind those dark walls.
Then, before he pressed the blade into the stone and drew it down, he paused.
“Paladins,” he said, voice quiet, “it would be best to take the children back into the church.”
Lillian frowned and put a hand onto her hilt as she stared at the door.
“What?” said Sorore, aghast, “ But I-”
“No buts,” said Efrain, “we don’t know what’s behind this door. It may be dangerous, it may not. But I strongly suspect it’s not something you would want to see. Very well done, little one, but this is something I should deal with on my own.”
The tone of academic authority was not an unfamiliar one to Sorore. But unlike in virtually all other occasions in her life, she attempted to object. Before she could speak more than a few words, Lillian took her by the shoulders, her mind apparently made up. All three of them were carted up the stairs as barely contained rage began to bubble up inside her.
“Do you think we should…?” said Niche, gesturing to the surrounding stone.
“No, not yet,” Lillian said, “putting aside everything else, we still might need him.”
Niche nodded and said no more.
They had made a steady pace, overtaking half the hallway as the scream of metal on stone echoed out. It was followed by a grating rumble as presumably the doors opened. If the temperature below the surface was cold when they came, the resulting drop was freezing. The mist that rose up behind them whispered things in long mournful sighs as the surroundings began to buzz with what must’ve been magic.
Then, from up the stairs there was a long, terrible wail.
[←Chapter 47] [Cover Art] [My Links] [Index] [Discord] [Subreddit] [Chapter 49→]
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2023.05.30 05:47 GreenAfternoon7904 Camry maintenance 120k

I have a 2013 Toyota Camry with 116k miles. I have only done oil changes every 10k miles or 1 year, which is recommended by Toyota. However, online forums tells me that I need oil change every 5k or 6 months since I drive to work 5 miles one way on city streets with red lights. Will my engine still worth keeping, or should I sell this car and buy a new one? Mechanic has not reported any issues with engine yet. Other than oil changes, i have regularly done coolant flush, transmission flush, brake flush, air filters, brake pads, tire rotation etc.
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2023.05.30 05:36 V_Asharam Fluffy Hair and Brita Modding Help

Hello, I've been modding a server for my friends to play on G-Portal. I'm having trouble trying to add Brita's weapon pack and Fluffy's Hair. With a bit of tinkering, I can get Brita's weapon pack to work, but Fluffy's Hair I don't know if it is compatible with website hosting servers. I read Fluffy's mod page, but it says it is compatible with multiplayer. If it helps here is my mod order on G Portal as well as the numbered workshop ID.
Mod Names:
modoptions;BedfordFalls;North;South;West;tsarslib;ItemTweakerAPI;ItemTweakerAPIExtraClothingAddon;RepairAnyClothes;RepairAnyMod;Arsenal(26)GunFighter[MAIN MOD 2.0];Arsenal(26)GunFighter;Brita_2;DeadMayCry;AlkanshelsConfigforBritasWeaponPack;ReadingIsNotBoring;mrnvsbhltr;rideabletrucks;MandelaBowAndArrow;StalkerArmorPack;CosplayShop;BoredomTweaks,jumpThroughWindows;Tactical Weapons;FC4WT;wringclothes;Max;70dodge;SwapIt;BecomeDesensitized;noirrsling;SpnCloth;Swatpack;UndeadSuvivor;ScrapGuns(new version);RV_Interior_MP;WaterDispenser;snowiswater;ScrapArmor(new version);FuelAPI;cherbourg;AquatsarYachtClub;TMC_Trolley;MapLegendUI;BB_CommonSense;ScrapWeapons(new version),SpnHair,BCGRareWeapons;ToadTraits;ExpandedHelicopterEvents;amclub;TheWorkshop(new version);P4HasBeenRead; ExtraMapSymbols;OutTheWindow;TrueActionsDancing;EasyConfigChucked;Authentic Z - Current;BCGTools;FH;RainWash;FRUsedCars;FRUsedCarsNLF;ATA_Bus;autotsartrailers;TMC_TrueActions;BetterSortCC;Brita;PlayersOnMap;UBPropFix;KillCount;NCWBP;HordeNight01;CleanDirt;Pyromania;REORDER_THE_HOTBAR;Dodge_CC;90pierceArrow;CraftEngineParts;lx_autotsartrailers;FJ_Cruiser_TTE;60falcon;radialmenuapi;ToyotaX90fhq;ReloadAllMagazines;ToyotaCorollaB41;1989Porsche911Turbo;Mitsubishi_Evolution;ATA_Petyarbuilt;WearableLeashes;AuthenticZStudderFix;92nissanGTR;VVehicleEnhancer;FurryMod;AnthroZeds;CheatMenuRB;blkt_crosshair;TheStar;VehicleRecycling;VehicleRecyclingPatch;SpnOpenCloth;MoreDescriptionForTraits4166;exhaustion-fitness-robboinnit;exhaustion-fitness-reduced-robboinnit;EssentialCrafting;VISIBLE_BACKPACK_BACKGROUND;DRAW_ON_MAP;MapSymbolSizeSlider;sapphcooking;sapphcookingbettersorting;RainCleansBlood;RPActions;DragonSlayer;SlayerArsenal;AntiqueArmarment;WaifuDakis;WaifuDakisShop;FancyHandwork;AuthenticAnimations;CombatText;AnimeTV
WorkShop ID
2169435993;522891356;2392709985;566115016;2810800927;2142622992;2297098490;2944763110;2200148440;2876661279;1949441990;2901552077;2877551501;2208315526;2831715402;2707905930;2725360009;2688884240;2324223029;2752895143;2696083206;2492565135;2873290424;2366717227;2627877543;2786499395;2684285534;2091564445;2713921292;2125659488;2822286426;2687798127;2704811006;2658619264;2688538916;1827428289;2392987599;2478768005;2710167561;2875848298;2122265954;2463184726;2432621382;1299328280;2458631365;2778576730;2680473910;2544353492; 2701170568;2659216714;2648779556;2529746725;2335368829;2423906082;2447729538;2657661246;1510950729;2592358528;2282429356;2487022075;2460154811;2313387159;2732804047;2883755057;2553809727;2931426209;2714850307;2711057211;2685625532;2903771337;2855010579;2942793445;2744114761;2699856770;2741984715;2083894944;2735579575;2805957063;2920899878;2275577847;2567438952;2683532719;2782258356;2901167199;2911197660;2846036306;2788428718;2930890411;2732834772;2893930681;2814165668;2619072426;2289429759;2833065348;2812326159;2685168362;2794699088;2903127760;2808679062;2804531012;2734705913;2832136889;2956146279;2876610875;2653684336;2836541309;2926802017;2756636139;2286124931;2904920097;2207282444;2847406722;
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2023.05.30 05:36 skeriphus On the Nature of Sorcery: Chapter 0.2 — Tea Time.

Motivation — A Close Reading of Tea Time

"I'm six feet from the edge and I'm thinking: maybe six feet ain't so far down?"
Nimander Golit
Chapter V of Weathered
2002 BS
Click Here for the Introduction to the essay series.

Prelude to the Close Reading

Why, hello there, again. It’s been a few weeks but I promise that this endeavor is still moving forward. For those that don’t know, this essay is a part of a collection I’ll be putting together which investigates the Eleint, their blood, and sorcery within the Malazan shared secondary universe. We’re still laying down our foundations, and today we’ll be covering a sequence of scenes in Chapter 8 of Toll the Hounds.
My intentions were to cover all of the scenes in a single post, but that has proven itself to be difficult. As such, I’ll cover the first scene in this sequence in this post. There’ll be one or two follow-up posts.
There are ten scenes that are in this sequence:
  1. Nimander 1
  2. Desra 1
  3. Desra 2
  4. Skintick 1
  5. Desra 3
  6. Nimander 2
  7. Desra 4
  8. Kedeviss 1
  9. Nimander 3
  10. Kedeviss 2
I’ll be approaching these scenes (including the one discussed today) through a few lenses.

A ringing of bells.

In his musings on writing, Erikson discusses the notion of a bell. I’ll let him speak for himself.
In the scenes we’ll be looking at, some of the bells that I believe are used are (and not all of these are represented in this first particular scene):


Particularly the genealogy of continental philosophy that led to Sartre’s existentialism and the shared/adapted/bifurcated philosophies of his contemporaries (such as de Beauvoir, Camus, and Merleau-Ponty). This wasn’t my initial intention when I decided to use this sequence of scenes as a launch pad into my collection of essays. However, the beauty of close-reading is that you go into a text with a hypothesis seeking evidence and support, and then end up with new insights.
Some of the concepts that will be brought up are:

Genre conventions as grammar.

Particularly, we’ll look at Erikson’s use of genre conventions from the likes of Gothic literature and Weird Fiction — namely the Sublime, cosmic horror, and the Weird — as the subtle language used to convey tension that is congruent with some of the other subtexts. If these grammars are subverted, we’ll try to point that out too.
We will later delve more into Malazan’s literary genealogy in other essays, but I want this lens to be present during the reading to see how Erikson aligns or subverts these genre conventions.
We’ll be using Professor Michael Moir’s YouTube lectures on Weird Fiction as reference.

What the fuck is happening?

This is a question about plot that I will answer at the end of all of the scenes, but keep it in mind as we go through. It has less to do with existentialism and Gothic literature and more on what Gothos was trying to do during these scenes.

Pre-TtH Context

We first meet Nimander and his siblings (unnamed) in House of Chains on Drift Avalii. By Bonehunters, they had left Drift Avalii and ended up at Malaz City, where they then joined Tavore Paran’s fleet while fleeing Malaz City. In Reaper’s Gale, we find the siblings had been ‘adopted’ by Sandalath while they traveled to Lether with the Malazans. Phaed wanted to kill Sandalath. Nimander stopped Phaed from killing Sandalath. Withal (Sandalath’s husband) throws Phaed out a window. The murder is taken as a suicide. The siblings intern Phaed and then meet Clip, who offers to lead them to Anomander in Black Coral via Kurald Galain.
This gets us to Toll the Hounds, where Nimander is being haunted by Phaed. They’ve left Kurald Galain and are now on Genabackis (but not yet to Black Coral). Nimander fears the future meeting his father and the rest of the Tiste Andii. The siblings and Clip ‘stumble’ on Morsko, where Clip is curious about its cult of the Dying God. A ritual takes place there. Nimander and Skintick are nearly enthralled, but are saved by Aranatha (and thus Mother Dark herself). The group then find Clip, who is in a coma. They collect him, and set off in a wagon to follow the Dying God’s priests to Bastion. Along that journey, the siblings stumble upon the High King, Kallor, who reluctantly chooses to not kill them and instead travels with them.
The sequence of scenes in Chapter 8 that we’ll be discussing follows some time after Kallor joins the siblings.
Now that the administrative stuff is out of the way, let’s dive into the first scene.

Nimander 1

Rum-induced memories.

We start this sequence thrust into Nimander’s introspection on ‘rage’ as a breaking of a vessel, impossible to fix. He recalls Deadsmell’s musings that ‘rage in battle’ was a gift while the two drank rum. Rum that awakened memories once ignored by Nimander.
(Note: in Scene 2, we’ll see Desra’s view of Nimander, and we’ll see that Nimander’s ruminations on rage here are what inform Desra’s view of him, and not in the way that Nimander’s doubt imagines.)
In the previous post, we discussed memories and their decay. So much of this series and the lore surrounding it is driven by the memories of ancient beings. Nimander is younger with respect to ancient beings (but ancient nonetheless), and even he struggles with his memories. Perhaps this is a result of the traumas he’s experienced with respect to his being in diaspora and perceived abandonment by his father (a symmetry itself with Rake’s — and the Tiste Andii as a whole — relationship with Mother Dark).
He recalls the rum lighting “a fire in [his] brain, casting red light on a host of memories gathered ghostly round the unwelcoming heart.” He reminisces on the time after Kurald Galain (but before Drift Avalii) and his father’s emotional indifference. He recalls the pranks him and his kin would pull on Endest Silann; the arrival of Andarist and his arguments with Anomander. It is unclear what the arguments were — if you’ve read Forge of Darkness, you might be able to infer what’s likely, but I’m curious if the argument is Andarist asking to take the siblings and Anomander refusing, or Anomander asking Andarist to take the children and Andarist was reluctant? Was the argument about Anomander thrusting the Hust blade, T’an Aros/K’orladis (i.e., Vengeance / Grief), onto Andarist or did Andarist already possess the blade? We don’t know exactly to my knowledge, but it’s fun to speculate.
Regardless, Nimander recalls, like a certain inscribed hearthstone, there was peace. Andarist was to take them all through a threshold, a portal elsewhere (as mentioned, portals end up being a rung bell, so pay attention). Nimander remembers Endest’s weeping as the children were pulled through a “portalway into an unknown, mysterious new world where anything was possible.”
Andarist raised the Tiste Andii children on that portal’s other side, on Drift Avalii. We know (or can infer) that this was a task to protect the Throne of Shadow, but Nimander and his kin didn’t understand this as children. But Andarist led them with his pragmatism, he ensured they learned how the world was. With our knowledge of Kharkanas, this is so powerful. We know Anomander’s hubris was abused as a motivating factor for Hunn Raal’s despicable acts. We know that Andarist likely lacks children of his own in response to this, and so his taking on guardianship over the children of his brother — that very same brother that rejected Andarist’s grief in favour of vengeance (and materialised in the T’an Aros/K’orladis dichotomy) — is a stark, challenging, and ultimately selfless decision.
But this pragmatism created child soldiers. The collision of reality’s necessity to survive and carry out the duty of protecting the Throne of Shadow came at the expense of what little remaining childhood innocence Rake’s brood still had (even as a people on the run, exiled from their home due to a sociopolitical schism). Andarist became a stern teacher, juxtaposed to the echoes of Endest’s gentleness. “The games ended. The world turned suddenly serious.” Nonetheless, the Tiste Andii siblings grew to love Andarist.
Nimander continues his introspection:
See a bored child with a stick — and see how every beast nearby flees, understanding well what is now possible and, indeed, probable.
This reminds me of a general rule of advice: ‘never fuck around when a child has gun.’ Tiste Andii or not, children can be cruel especially when mixed with unknown doses of trauma and violence. Regardless, I want to call attention here that this notion of children and beasts are each bells rung. To Nimander, Andarist “unleash[ed] them, these children with avid eyes.” He “had made them good soldiers,” ones that know rage.
Vessels broken.
As such, from his own experience, Nimander suspects that the Dying God is a child. He speaks to the dialectic between gods and their worshippers (another bell rung):
The mad priests poured him full, knowing the vessel leaked, and then drank of that puerile seepage. Because he was a child, the Dying God’s thirst and need were without end, never satiated.
The group stumbles on desiccated bodies staked among fields: dried up, tapped of their libations. This speaks to a particular exploitation between mortal and god, symbolised literally as worshippers feeding a god to then become the harvested. This perpetuates the Dying God’s power to accumulate more worshippers via addictive kelyk. The language here shows that the Dying God has stumbled upon a sort of cheat code, an exploitation of the god-mortal dialectic that allows him and his priests to arbitrage power. Like a cancer that, via the law of large numbers, is equipped with the mechanisms to divert a body’s resources to it while it slowly destroys the body.
The scarecrows being in fields is such a perfect choice of this analogy: things to be harvested. A product, a commodity — a thing with both use-value and exchange-value, for our Marxians out there. I believe Erikson has said that he was thinking of oil here, and that is fine by itself, but I do like the mirroring to Eucharistic transubstantiation in Catholicism (due to my being a very-very-lapsed Catholic). Especially with wine, an extremely addictive substance, transcending into God’s blood to cleanse us as cannibalistic sacrament.

Dal Honese burial practices.

Nimander sees these fields as “bizarre cemeteries, where some local aberration of belief insisted that the dead be staked upright, that they ever stand ready for whatever may come." This makes him recall some shipwrecked Dal Honese on Drift Avalii. He thinks on the ancestor cult and burial practices of Dal Hon: literally constructing their homes with their dead in the walls as both material and essence, the building stretching out with additional rooms as time moved on and kin died.
This reminds me of the Neolithic proto-city, Çatalhöyük, found in Anatolia within modern-day Türkiye where ancestors have been found to be buried beneath platforms in living quarters. See: Chapter 6 of The Dawn of Everything by Graeber and Wengrow.
With or without intention, I like to view this ritual via an existentialist lens, particularly Sartre’s notion of the Look. To Sartre — in contrast to other phenomenologies — being is in flux, some path of a given chaotic double-pendulum switching to and from poles of being-in-itself***\**1* and being-for-itself***\**2*. The Look, to Sartre, is a sort of symmetry breaking — a realisation by being-for-itselves that decentralises it, the sudden awareness of its being an object, an Other, to Other consciousnesses.
A heuristic often used to showcase Sartre’s notion of the Look (or Gaze) is that of a voyeur peeping through a keyhole into someone’s room that hears a noise down the hall. Regardless if that noise is from another person (another being-for-itself) or not (say, the house settling), the subjective voyeur suddenly objectifies themselves, collapsing the chaotic pendulum from being-for-itself (nothingness as "no thing-ness") to their facticity — their being-in-itself, their thing-ness — whose meaning to Other being-for-themselves is relative to a separate centre than the voyeur’s own.
To Sartre, the resulting anxiety experienced snapping from subject to object is a proof against any nihilistic approach to solipsism. The fact that we can Other our own being-for-itself means that we can also recognise being-for-itself external to us since those we Other too can Other us as we Other ourselves. The reflexivity as a result of the Look is evidence against solipsism to Sartre.
As a result, this Dal Honese practice is a cultural self-burdening via Sartre’s Look by literally having your ancestors clay-filled bodies decentralise your subjectivity and externalise you as an object that can be judged by its facticity. This results in a sort of collective Dal Honese being-for-others, Sartre would argue. This isn’t inherently good or bad to existentialists, but it does necessitate a calculus that discerns if the living descendants are authentically expressing their freedom with each moment they accept this practice, or if they are living in bad faith.
Regardless, though, this is a haunting of the Past. This haunting isn’t something that is only important to existentialism or other philosophical traditions (such as post-structuralism — see: Derrida’s hauntology), but to the genre conventions and tropes of Gothic horror and its descendants (such as cosmic horror, weird fiction, and their influences on sword and sorcery, etc.).
There are mappings (some more subtle than others) between the Sublime and the existential anxiety and dread experienced in phenomena similar to the Look. The experience of looking upon the vastness of the sea, of stumbling upon an ancient statue, of learning of the size of the universe — which are described as the Sublime, the Weird, or Eldritch in some literary traditions (e.g., Romantic, Gothic, Horror, the Weird, etc.) — are the same experiences that are often analysed in continental philosophies using words such as angst/anxiety/despaiabsurdity/alienation.
Nimander goes on to further expose the relationship between this Dal Honese ancestor cult and inter-tribal conflicts that lead to deaths and stolen bodies that leave physical voids in Dal Honese architecture. He muses how this physical representation of wounds begets a cycle of vengeance (a cultural tradition, a product of facticity and bad faith): “blood back and forth,” he says. He mentions that this cycle is what pushed the shipwrecked Dal Honese from their homes, an act of revolt and perhaps even authenticity to Sartre. Eventually the Dal Honese recovered and “paddled away — not back home, but to some unknown place, a place devoid of unblinking ghosts staring out from every wall.
I love that Erikson has this whole little short story in this scene, especially in the contrast of its being some rum-induced reflection by Nimander on his own past’s haunting of him and his siblings. Moreover, these Tiste Andii are travelling with Kallor, the Undying Unascendant: a being-for-itself that literally manifests the past’s haunting on the present — a man cursed, jaded, who carries the past with him wherever he travels. All of these together show that one’s freedom can have one flee (even be redeemed — which balances with other plotlines in TtH), but that doesn’t necessarily — nor sufficiently so — annihilate the past.

Finding a tower.

After this, Nimander’s reminiscing is interrupted by his hearing Kallor nearby (like a footstep in a hallway). Kallor comments on the use of the corpses and notes that the flora “[is] not even native to this world, after all.” Nimander replies that the corpses are being used for saemankelyk. The mention of the plants not being native to this world should orient the reader back to the Weird, especially since it brings upon a sense of unease, an Othering — the house settling that again serves to reduce both Nimander and the readers to our thing-ness
‘The past’ versus ‘the present’ versus ‘the future’ (and their hauntings of one another) bubble up again with some banter between Skintick and Kallor about the state of things. Kallor states ‘nothing changes.’ Skintick counters ‘it keeps getting worse,’ to which Kallor claims is but an illusion.
I find this dialogue to be a comical little conflict between Kallor’s perceived-postmodern, nihilistic judgement of the state of things being inert versus Skintick’s pseudo-Rousseauian, inverted-Hegalian, modernist grand narrative of things getting worse.
Again, it alludes to a haunting of the past on the current generation. Interestingly, this is a trend within the Book of the Fallen in general: not as an espousing of the ‘old vs. young’, but Erikson’s decentering/challenging/deconstruction of that binary. Think of Raest in GotM; Menandore, Sukul and Sheltatha in RG; Karsa in HoC; the Witness trilogy. He does this via a sort of Ancient's Hubris colliding with its differences to the Present’s Ingenuity, and this being dual to the Present’s Naivety colliding with the Ancient Wisdom.
Kallor eventually hits a sore spot with the Tiste: he brings up Rake. Unlike the Dal Honese whose freedom had them flee the cultural practices of letting their ancestors haunt both literally and figuratively, Nimander and his siblings were pulled/pushed away from their father (and people) as children — by what very well could be their father’s request. The Tiste siblings are haunted by Anomander’s active absence. Their continued distance from their father isn’t an act of expressing their freedom against an Ancestor’s Gaze — it isn’t an act of revolution — it is their facticity and a source for their Othering of themselves. We often see this from Nimander’s POVs up to and including this sequence.
Kallor sniffs out this weakness and presses upon the wound. Nimander gets flustered and retorts. To which Kallor responds:
'Anomander Rake is a genius at beginning things. It’s finishing them he has trouble with.'
Damn, Kallor.
Also, I didn’t need my ADHD called out so harshly, dude. What the fuck.
Without diving into what Erikson was dealing with while writing this book, this hits hard for Nimander, and is an interesting commentary nonetheless. His father, Anomander, is the leader of a diasporic people who’ve been without home, without a centre, for 400,000 years. I think Kallor’s words hurt Nimander so much because the Tiste siblings don’t know Anomander’s current plans nor have they experienced the "settling-down" from the unveiling of Kurald Galain in what is now Black Coral. They are unaware of Rake’s teleology for his people, for himself even. Regardless, we see again and again that Kallor isn’t just a strong skirmisher, his words cut nearly as well as his blades.
Kallor goes on to confirm that he knows Rake before the group notices a ruined tower among the alien plants and scarecrows. Kallor says its Jaghut. Kallor trudges forth indifferently, pushing corpses out of his way as he bee-lines it to the ruined tower. I don’t think such a sequence of action has ever described Kallor’s whole raison d’être and modus operandi so well: just a man seemingly indifferent to the corpses in his path as his will pulls him forward.
We get a small interaction between Skintick and Nimander that reveals Skintick’s acuity in reading Kallor’s take on Rake. Kallor sees their father as an equal (it isn’t just the readers that need to be keen to subtext, characters do too).
Skintick offers the idea of sicking Kallor on the Dying God, hoping he “decid[es] to do something for his own reasons, but something that ends up solving our problem.” I like the use of “deciding to do something for his own reasons,” as this aligns so well with authenticity in existentialism (and the absence of some absolute morality for authenticity).
As Nimander approaches the tower behind Kallor, both Nimander and the readers get a great sense of horror, the weird, the uncanny, and the sublime with how Erikson describes the scenery:
Drawing closer to the ruin, they fell silent. Decrepit as it was, the tower was imposing. The air around it seemed grainy, somehow brittle, ominously cold despite the sun’s fierce heat.
The highest of the walls revealed a section of ceiling just below the uppermost set of stones, projecting without any other obvious support to cast a deep shadow upon the ground floor beneath it. The facing wall reached only high enough to encompass a narrow, steeply arched doorway. Just outside this entrance and to one side was a belly-shaped pot in which grew a few straggly plants with drooping flowers, so incongruous amid the air of abandonment that Nimander simply stared down at them, disbelieving.
Nimander notes an incongruity of this place — its aesthetic of abandonment juxtaposed with a curated garden. “The cold despite the sun’s fierce heat.” This evokes a certain unsettledness to Nimander (and thus, the reader). These genre conventions are sources of tension and anxiety, similar to non-diegetic violins building up to a real or false jump-scare in a slasher flick.
Arrogantly, Kallor chooses to go out of his way and insult the presumed Jaghut within the tower. Classic Kallor. The Jaghut replies “nothing changes,” resulting in Kallor shooting Skintick and Nimander a “pleased smirk.”

Tea time, but before falling into a rabbit-hole and not after.

Before Kallor can announce himself, the Jaghut lists off Kallor’s titles, his facticity. Kallor’s reputation precedes him and there’s an asymmetry here in which the Jaghut knows who Kallor is but Kallor doesn’t yet know who the Jaghut is. This is our first hint that this meeting isn’t serendipitous, and is instead an intentional interaction with regards to the plot. And if this Jaghut knows of Kallor, does he know those who Kallor travels with? Who is this Jaghut’s intended audience among those options?
I also like the play here with facticity: the Jaghut lists out things about Kallor, but is Kallor some sum of those thing-nesses? How many are true, how many are manufactured myths? It’s an act by this Jaghut to Gaze upon Kallor, to show to Kallor that he’s being seen. It’s a deliberate tactic to destabilise and decenter Kallor: an offensive.
We as readers are informed of Kallor’s limitations from the Azathanai curses via Draconus, K’rul and Nightchill, but these limitations on Kallor don’t necessarily restrict his freedom until Kallor allows them.
We get a flash of Jaghut humour and guest rites — this ancient dismisses Kallor while inviting everyone in for tea. Interestingly, Erikson has this Jaghut use the proper noun of ‘Others’ which lends me to think that an existentialist lens hasn’t been the worst pick (not that ‘Othering’ is strictly existentialist by any means).
So, we’ve had corpses drained dry for kelyk, alien plant-life, a ruined tower of an unknown age stumbled upon beyond the urban, a preternatural creature to Nimander and his kin (something they’ve maybe only witnessed a handful of times) and then we get this description:
The air of the two-walled chamber was frigid, the stones sheathed in amber-streaked hoarfrost. Where the other two walls should have been rose black, glimmering barriers of some unknown substance, and to look upon them too long was to feel vertiginous — Nimander almost pitched forward, drawn up only by Skintick’s sudden grip, and his friend whispered, ‘Never mind the ice, cousin.’
Ice, yes, it was just that. Astonishingly transparent ice–
I love this. First: “it was just that” screams “no it isn’t” to anyone paying attention to the words Erikson is using to make the reader uncomfortable. We know: Jaghut + Ice = Omtose Phellack. The atmospheric setting here is directly being called out in not just a sublime way, but his description has an added layer of horror to Omtose Phellack.
Erikson uses “vertiginous,” giving both Nimander and us a sense of vertigo, being decentred and unoriented. This isn’t too different from descriptions found in works like Vandermeer’s Annihilation or other New Weird authors. This ice wall calls to Nimander, draws from him feelings of unknown when he’s caught himself staring for too long — emphasis on staring.
For all intents and purposes, this ice wall is a thing, a being-in-itself, neither active nor passive. But its effect on Nimander is similar to the Dal Honese ancestors’ Gaze — this ice wall objectifies him, calls to him, evokes his being-for-others, and emotionally alienates him. The pull Nimander feels is his submitting his being-for-itself with the freedom of those that Gaze upon him. A justification of his facticity, his bad faith. This will be important later.
Eventually we get this awesome line from the Jaghut host:
’Once, long ago, a wolf god came before me. Tell me, Kallor, do you understand the nature of beast gods? Of course not. You are only a beast in the unfairly pejorative sense — unfair to beasts, that is. How is it, then, that the most ancient gods of this world were, one and all, beasts?’
There’s so much going on to unpack in this paragraph.
Later, again, we get this Jaghut saying Others as a proper noun, and then the Others are called Tiste Andii.
‘Ah, and what of the Others with you? Might not they be interested?’
Clearing his throat, Skintick said, ‘Venerable one, we possess nothing of worth to one such as you.’
‘You are too modest, Tiste Andii.’
‘I am?’
'Each creature is born from one not its kind. This is a wonder, a miracle forged in the fires of chaos, for chaos indeed whispers in our blood, no matter its particular hue. If I but scrape your skin, so lightly as to leave but a momentary streak, that which I take from you beneath my nail contains every truth of you, your life, even your death, assuming violence does not claim you. A code, if you will, seemingly precise and so very ordered. Yet chaos churns. For all your similarities to your father, neither you nor the one named Nimander — nor any of your brothers and sisters — is identical to Anomander Dragnipurake. Do you refute this?’
Above, the Jaghut goes on to describe genetics, but also calls out the fact that they are children of Anomander — dude definitely knows more than he’s leading on, that’s for sure, and is winking directly to us readers, seemingly going over the heads of both Kallor and the Tiste. Also, the bit about chaos in blood will come up again and again in later scenes and later essays.
Moreover, we see that the Jaghut says that which he scrapes "contains every truth of you, your life, even your death" — our genetics are facticities, among our thing-nesses. "Yet chaos churns," the Jaghut rebuts. That chaos in our blood is a source of our "no thing-ness," from which we may express our freedom against the determinism of genetics — of facticities — and transcend.
For each kind of beast there is a first such beast, more different from its parents than the rest of its kin, from which a new breed in due course emerges. Is this firstborn then a god?’
I love this for two reasons. One, it speaks to a criticism of the assumption that a prime-mover is necessarily divine. But, through the existentialist lens, it’s a challenge and criticism of the presumed Authority of Genealogy. Jumping back to the early musings on ancestry: if ancestors haunt us and dictate our facticity as a result of suppressing our being-for-itself, then where does that chain of dictating/suppressing end? And is that terminus also an Authority above all generations below it just due to its being something new, something sufficiently different from its own genealogy, its ancestors ‘behind’ it?
I also like the subtext of trauma as hereditary here with the double entendre behind ‘beast’, we can think of this Jaghut as asking if the primordial source of generational trauma has authority over its descendants? What does this dialogue mean for Nimander and his siblings and their place with respect to their father and the rest of the Tiste Andii people? Does this inform an analysis of Nimander’s chaotic double-pendulum between being-in-itself, being-for-itself, and his being-for-others?
A huge thing I would like to point out here, too, is that neither Skintick, Nimander, nor Kallor have used the Tiste Andii’s names, yet this Jaghut knows them by name. Kallor could deduce they were Rake’s children, but he didn’t know their names. Even though Skintick showcased an acuity to subtext when considering Kallor’s opinions of Rake, he doesn’t catch onto this subtlety. This Jaghut not only knows of Kallor, he knows of Nimander and his siblings. The evidence that this meeting isn’t serendipity continues to build.
‘You spoke of a wolf god,’ Skintick said. ‘You began to tell us a story.’
‘So I did. But you must be made to understand. It is a question of essences. To see a wolf and know it as pure, one must possess an image in oneself of a pure wolf, a perfect wolf.’
‘Ridiculous,’ Kallor grunted. ‘See a strange beast and someone tells you it is a wolf — and from this one memory, and perhaps a few more to follow, you have fashioned your image of a wolf. In my empires, philosophers spewed such rubbish for centuries, until, of course, I grew tired of them and had them tortured and executed.’
This sequence of dialogue is fantastic and reminds me of arguments foagainst the strong/weak Sapir-Whorf hypothesis/es. We see the Jaghut musing on a seemingly prescriptive Platonic idealism that Kallor interrupts with a more descriptive, pragmatic, empirical framework in which he follows with a jest of torturing and executing philosophers (remind me to never live in the Kallorian Empire).
Kallor speaks as if his words contradict the Jaghut and show the assumed idealism to be wrong. But, by Kallor’s own argument, the Jaghut’s words of ‘pure’ and ‘perfect’ are just as empirically contingent to one’s memories as ‘wolf’ is. The combinations of signs and symbols language users use give flesh to those signs’ and symbols’ own meaning — but bury that meaning beneath the flesh by doing so. The concept of a ‘perfect wolf’ (i.e., ‘perfect’ + ‘wolf’) emerging from one’s own contingency with the notion of ‘perfect’ and ‘wolf’ is entirely possible without that imagined ‘perfect wolf’ being actually some idealisation, i.e., some Platonic Perfect Wolf.
The Jaghut responds with laughter to Kallor’s absurdity: both in his misinterpretation of the Jaghut’s musings as well as the nature of Kallor’s brutal reaction to those that question things he finds to be rubbish. This pairs well with Skintick’s future POV in this sequence, but the contrast between Kallor and this Jaghut is entertaining nonetheless. Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish when Kallor is telling the truth about his brutality or if his mutterings are just words congruent to his reputation.
The two then have a pissing contest. We find out the Jaghut was in disguise — I don’t have the evidence or time here to say, but there are ideas that this particular Jaghut is a d'ivers and it is fucking awesome even if untrue. The discussion here points to some T’lan Imass’ Jaghut War. It being the Kron, I’m inclined to wonder if there is a relationship with the bones Karsa stumbles upon in HoC (where he and his war party find Calm).
Skintick squatted to pick up two of the cups, straightening to hand one to Nimander. The steam rising from the tea was heady, hinting of mint and cloves and something else. The taste numbed his tongue.
Don’t take candy from strangers tea from Jaghut, people.
We find out that Raest is this Jaghut’s child. We find out that this Jaghut took on 43 T’lan Imass and a Bonecaster, killing them all. This is a threat rallied back against Kallor’s assertion that he’s killed Jaghut.
Teeth bared, Kallor bent down to retrieve his cup.
The Jaghut’s left hand shot out, closing about Kallor’s wrist. ‘You wounded that wolf god,’ he said.
Oh shit. What follows is one of the first times I can recall that Kallor is scared. Contrast with his earlier treatment of Rake as equal.
'Oh, be quiet, Kallor. This tower was an Azath once. Shall I awaken it for you?’
Wondering, Nimander watched as Kallor backed towards the entrance, eyes wide in that weathered, pallid face, the look of raw recognition dawning. ‘Gothos, what are you doing here?’
‘Where else should I be? Now remain outside — these two Tiste Andii must go away for a while.’
The revelation: the Jaghut is none other than the Lord of Hate himself, Gothos. You can understand why Kallor, always so arrogant, submits to Gothos and listens to his instruction.
Immediately after the reveal, Skintick and Nimander succumb to the effects of whatever extra ingredient Gothos had slipped into their tea. We get this final sequence:
Nimander’s eyes were drawn once more to the walls of ice. Black depths, shapes moving within.
He staggered, reached out his hands–
‘Oh, don’t step in there–’
And then he was falling forward, his hands passing into the wall before him, no resistance at all.
‘Nimander, do not–’
Again, the readers eyes are drawn along with Nimander's to the icy, abyss-like, objectifying, Gazing threshold. Here's where the sublime and the weird really flavour the setting in this scene.
There's a bell’s echo here from the start of this scene: this sequence starts with Nimander discussing the uncertainty related to moving through a portal with Andarist away from the rest of his kin, a breaching. During these final lines of this first scene, we get a tension between us and the unknown, between what has happened and that-which-is-to-come, between what we’ve imagined about Malazan’s cosmos and some contorting of those assumptions. What’s beyond the veil decentres not only Nimander in its draw and pushing him to being-for-others, but it decentres the readers too. Hic sunt dracones, terra incognita, the sublime, the enigmatic, the terror. We’re made to feel small and inconsequential by this icy threshold.
It isn’t mysterious because it evades our Gaze like other fantastical things (e.g., many renditions of some archetypal tricksters found within various folklores), instead it invites our Gaze eventually since It Gazes back (almost Nietzschean).


Calling back to the genre conventions, this extended scene is one that definitely plays with the established conventions of Gothic literature and its descendants. Constantly, Erikson hits us with tension sewn into his choice of words in Nimander’s ruminations, his angst associated to diaspora, the notion of Dal Honese ancestors gazing upon their descendants from clay walls, absent ancestors that too haunt the same, the fields of scarecrows as desiccated (and harvested) bodies of worshippers, the alien plant-life, the ancient Jaghut tower, the ice threshold. Each of these (and those unmentioned) add onto to the dissociation (de-centering) of both Nimander and us, the readers. Each of us seem small and inconsequential to the dynamism of the cosmos: everything we know, including that of what we already know about the Malazan universe (and our own) can be challenged. We’re each just travellers who have stumbled upon a shattered visage in the desert that reads: “My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings. Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
This stands in contrast to — almost a revolution against — the modalities one can garnish from the Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment that favour an almost religious rationalism and positivism. This is why I believe (and hope I have shown) that the existentialist (and those schools of thought peripheral to it) lens is apt. The genealogy of Gothic literature serves as a grammatical sandbox that gives way to exploring the things that existentialism tries to frame in its study, such as the dread and anxieties — the nothingness (no thing-ness) — of being.
Not only are the Dal Honese clay-filled ancestors present to alienate the reader by entertaining a certain ‘exoticism’ (by the readers’ juxtaposing such practices against what we consider ‘normal’ — here's where Sartre is applied to White or Male Gazes), but they are there as conduits for understanding how Nimander is affected by Others, by their Looks — his siblings, his absent father, his dead uncle, Kallor, Gothos, and the icy threshold — even if this ‘othering’ is one done only by Nimander onto himself (the house settling perceived as a footfall). This becomes more important in the scenes that follow.
So, how does this relate to the Eleint, dragonblood or sorcery? If you want to know now, please read ahead in the text — i.e., he future scenes in this sequence in Chapter 8 of TtH — you’ll find out. Otherwise, I’ll attempt to provide more clarity in the follow-up post(s). Until then, I just want put forth some questions:
Beyond those questions (which align with my grander narrative shared in this collection of essays) — in regards to the plot, I think it is smart to continue asking, ‘why has Gothos ensured that Anomander’s children and Kallor would stumble upon his tower?’
1 the facticity of what can be understood as objective states ascribed to things, including social constructions — thing-ness — e.g., how things are thrown into the world, a mode of existence that simply is, the contingent being of ordinary things, such the language(s) one speaks, one’s occupation, etc.
2 the mode of existence of consciousness that stands in contrast to being-in-itself, “no thing-ness”, that which negates being-in-itself
submitted by skeriphus to Malazan [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 05:25 False_Cup_4321 2023 Toyota Tacoma trd off road

2023 Toyota Tacoma trd off road
First Tacoma and I am impressed bye the way this truck handles.
submitted by False_Cup_4321 to ToyotaTacoma [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 05:22 jakedasnake110 Reason #69 why I love this setup, from camper to pickup in less than 10 minutes myself

Reason #69 why I love this setup, from camper to pickup in less than 10 minutes myself submitted by jakedasnake110 to ToyotaTacoma [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 05:10 Easey03 Full size spare

Hey all,
I have a spider roof rack and currently running 235/75R15 tires. Planning to go down to 225.
Need a full size spare and need input on either attaching to my roof rack or getting a spare tire carrier.
submitted by Easey03 to Crosstrek [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 04:59 g00121 Need help with picking wheels for my 2013 toyota corolla le

So im new to the car scene, i got a stock 2013 toyota corolla le. I do plan on lowering the car on coilovers later on but for rn i just wanna get wheels and tires. Id like a flush fitment. Anyone have any recommendations ?
submitted by g00121 to FitmentIndustries [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 04:58 Tumbaad Inquiry from a first time new vehicle buyer

So I went to the classic toyota dealer in tyler and put in a deposit of 1K for Toyota tacoma sport 4x4 which is due to be shipped next month.
I looked up to all the addons that i can add or removed. But there was a dealer instal option added at last which was $2995 which basically includes carpet mat, tint, PDR, and repairs.
Is it worth it to get this DIO package? Can I even negotiate the options? I know I should have inquired about it before putting the deposit which they said was non refundable, pretty noob on my part.
submitted by Tumbaad to askcarsales [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 04:51 jlo7693 Tire Information And Lifting Points Quick Link - Mitchell 1 ProDemand

Tire Information And Lifting Points Quick Link - Mitchell 1 ProDemand
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Properly placing a vehicle on a lift is a crucial first step to performing service and repairs accurately. Not only does lifting a vehicle correctly improve the technician’s safety, but it also helps to avoid vehicle damage.
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Tire Information And Lifting Points Quick Link - Mitchell 1 ProDemand
submitted by jlo7693 to prodemand [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 04:50 Sufficient-Bit-890 Tire discussions (1/10th scale truck/buggy)

Running 1/10th buggy/truck on a backyard clay track, tight corners, medium size jumps and few high speed sections. Dirt conditions are pretty ideal, not a blue groove like an indoor clay track but hard pack that gets watered between sessions. Has small pits and a few sections get a little tore up but overall it develops a nice fine powder that is definitely tacky to the tires.
So the question/discussion
Buddy and I discovered that running carpet spikes in the rear and slash tires up front provided best control with fastest speeds. With the carpet spikes in the rear and electrons up front there was heaps of under steer, rear end was just pushing the car through the corners. With the slash tires up front the cars could hook up the front and corner while being pushed.
Granted once the track got dry and hard pack it was all once again a loose ride.
What’s your findings on tires for weird track conditions?
submitted by Sufficient-Bit-890 to rccars [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 04:38 Foreign-Boat-1058 23mm Tires: Latex, Tubless, Butyl?

I have a 2014ish Cervelo P2 which flies but has a maximum tire width of 23mm clearance.
I have some HED JET+ wheels that I am planning on pairing with the bike. My question is can I run tubeless or use latex at the 23mm tire size width? I am more of a BOP or MOP so I perhaps I should just run butyl?
I haven't seen anything on running tubeless with the older narrower tire size.
submitted by Foreign-Boat-1058 to triathlon [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 04:24 theboxer16 Can 17” rims be run on the Elantra N and what are the downsides?

I much prefer smaller lighter rims. Are there any major downsides to running 17” rims on the elantra N? Also what size tires fit 17” rims?
I’m thinking it would be better to run 17” vs 18” for even lighter wheels, better acceleration, better fuel economy, and smoother ride (Michigan pot holes).
Only downsides I can think of is maybe poorer cornering, but this car is just a fun daily driver for me.
submitted by theboxer16 to ElantraN [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 04:04 Famous-Brilliant772 Help me make my coffee great again!

Disclaimer: I’m kind of a newb to the pourover game.
I was making excellent coffee for a couple months, and then all of a sudden it started tasting sour. Nothing changed; still using the same amount of water, grounds, same beans and grind size. It’s not just me, my wife tasted it several times and said the same thing.
So I tried slowly scaling down the grind size over that past month, but I haven’t been able to replicate the rich, robust coffee I was consistently making. It has gotten less sour yet lacks that robust coffee-ness that lingers after a drink.
I have a suspicion that my grinder just sucks because the manual suggests using setting 4-5 grind size for a pourover, but to make the best coffee I was using the max grind size of 12.
Any suggestions are welcome. I’m just tired of burning through $22/lb beans to make mediocre coffee.
I use a Chemex and I use the square Chemex filters that you fold into a cone. Grinder is the Krups GX550.
submitted by Famous-Brilliant772 to pourover [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 04:03 Profitinhibitor 2018 Jk Sport ABS traction control light pops on briefly when accelerating down On-ramp.

My jeep has over size tires and OEM suspension. Feels like the transmission or brakes slipping very suddenly and slightly lose control when the light comes on. Any suggestions?
submitted by Profitinhibitor to Wrangler [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 03:51 OT2be2022 Toyota Dealer Benefits

I’m trying to buy a 2023 Highlander and got to a good point on negotiations until I asked them to take off the {Dealership Name} Toyota Benefits. I’m pretty sure all dealerships have these benefits on their receipt: paint and fabric protection, surface sanitizer, rain repellant, headlight protection, stolen vehicle assist, collision credit, roadside assist, a/c refresh service, nitrogen tire service, and a couple more things. All of this for $3495.00. I asked them to take it off because I was getting some of that stuff with the packages I had added and since this is the first car I’ve bought, wanted to try to save that money. When I asked for that off, the manager declined, so I walked. Has anyone been successful in having that off their price? Or is it so worth it that no one ever questions it?
submitted by OT2be2022 to Toyota [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 03:36 najnajnaj1212 Did this fall off my RAV4 or is it random junk?

2013 Rav4 bottomed out in deep sand. Found this piece of hard but flexible plastic while trying to dig out the front driver-side tire. Did it fall off the car during the sand debacle, or is it unrelated junk that happened to be buried in the sand nearby? Size 10.5 boot for scale.
submitted by najnajnaj1212 to AskMechanics [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 03:34 Adam-best Electrical Hip Muscle Stimulator

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submitted by Adam-best to McrOne [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 03:32 CapnTytePantz Relentlessly

Broadcast 43499AZ-Sigma:
"Khol'ren sho lah! I am Primus Kizzur’kst, and this will be our final report. We do not expect to survive this mission...not anymore. Our doom is approaching, on tireless legs. We were sent to capture and kill H'lussah scientists from their remote monitoring outpost on a dead planet in some backwater star system at the edge of an equally remote and undeveloped galaxy. Our Tol'vorii wanted to know what brought the prey to such a remote place. Was it a secret weapons facility? Was it the beginning of a remote colony to preserve the last of their species in this futile struggle against us, the finest, fastest, and fiercest warrior race of all the known galaxies? Our leaders wanted to know, and so we were sent to capture, interrogate, and ultimately eliminate the pathetic H'lussah cowards.
We infiltrated the red planet, on its dark side, concealing our ship in a crater. I will admit, now, that it took considerable time to filter out all the noise emanating from the third planet of the system, so much so, that we almost missed our window of infiltration. Whatever the H'lussah were doing to that planet, it was not pleasant, even by our standards. The amount of radiation and scattered noise bombarding the surface would make it practically unlivable by any normal standards.
Regardless of this interference, however, we made it to the surface undetected and quickly covered the distance to reach the H'lussah outpost in a matter of five planetary rotations. The gravity of the red world was similar to that of our home world, so we had little difficulty traversing the barren and rocky surface. Once we reached the outpost, our talons and teeth made quick work of the guards. They did not have time to raise any alarm. We were confident in our victory, given that the H'lussah are a soft species, inferior to us in every way but dying. We indulged ourselves in a bit of slaughter. That was our first mistake.
If I'm being truly honest, my Tol'vo, our first mistake was entering this system, to begin with. The H'lussah had indeed found something, several somethings, in fact. Within the structure, we discovered the remainder of the H'lussah, working around three other, bipedal creatures. While others worked, one H'lussah, in particular, was conversing with the three creatures. Another H'lussah was taking notes on one of their inferior crysplates.
We crept up on the unwary scientists, so engrossed in their research and fidgeting with their vaunted tech. Kulvik thought he saw one of the strange creatures notice him and paused, sending out warning scents to the rest of us, while maintaining silence, like a true Ikshen Shadestalker. We froze, maintaining our natural camouflage and monitoring our quarry for any other signs of alert. The unknown creatures and the H'lussah continued their futile chatter, in what we assumed would be their final moments.
I marked the lead H'lussah as our primary target, and my warriors moved in to eviscerate the others. That's when things went wrong. The one Kulvik had identified as noticing us lunged past the H'lussah holding the crysplate and tossed a liquid it had been imbibing in the face of T'ksiil. It was some sort of clear solvent. My warrior screamed and fell to the floor in convulsions, as the solvent continued to eat away at his flesh. One of the other creatures shielded the lead H'lussah scientist, while another took up arms next to the one who acted first. My warriors began attacking the other H'lussah, but these aliens did not quake and shriek like the weaklings they associated with. They leapt into battle, as fierce as any of my warriors. They used sharpened tools to puncture my warriors' carapace armor or rupture their respirator lines. They were brutal and efficient, with no signs of panic in their predatory eyes.
Shuul nah voh! It is my dishonor, but I grabbed the H'lussah with the crysplate and signaled my remaining warriors to retreat. One of the creatures saw this and tackled Kulvik, tearing off his arm and using my warrior’s own claws against him. I signaled Vah'sho to breach the front entrance, causing all compartments to undergo violent decompression, as we sprinted into the thin atmosphere and dusty wasteland of the red planet. I heard an inner door slide shut and its atmo seals engage. Foolishly, I smirked, thinking that the H'lussah survivors and their new pets were trapped within, long enough for us to escape, successfully.
It was only one rotation before we saw the bipedal creatures on the horizon, following our trail. Each time we spotted one of them, we would break into a sprint to put distance between us as we carried our captive. They did not seem to possess weapons that could reach us, and so we assumed we could simply outrun them, with our superior speed. Every time we would stop to rest, however, it became shorter and shorter intervals before we saw them on the horizon, again.
We questioned the H'lussah scientist we had captured, during our intervals of rest. She called them ‘humans’, an unknown species in the universe. The way she spoke of them gave my warriors pause. She seemed to fear these humans, but the odd shifting of her skin coloration and the curl of her vocal flaps made it appear she also liked them, or at least one in particular. H'lussah are weak and odd. They are not warriors, and their worlds were easy to conquer, their people tasty to devour or pleasurable to enslave. The way she looked when talking of the humans, however, made it seem that she held them in reverence, like some sort of saviors. 'Choh'nah! What does a H'lussah meatbag know?!', we thought to ourselves.
By the dawn of the planet's fourth rotation, the creatures were on our heels. They never relented, never seemed to tire. They pursued us, doggedly, without pause or hesitation. By then, we could clearly see that only two of them followed us. We did not see any other H'lussah, however, and assumed that the third had stayed with its masters. That day was one of insufferable anguish and dishonor. My warriors had reached the end of their endurance. One by one, they collapsed, dead or exhausted from tireless pursuit. As one of these humans approached our fallen brothers, they would place a boot upon the base of their heads or use one of their sharpened tools and sever the central nerve chord or puncture our primary artery. They would not stop to feed on their kills, however. They would just continue pursuing us. We knew our brothers were dead and doom was upon us, but we could not stop. Instinct and our mission drove us forward.
There was no end to the fourth day. There was no longer any time. Ks'shiva and I were the only ones left, the only ones strong enough to continue. We carried the H'lussah female, because our mission demanded it, though both of us wanted to leave her and flee with all the strength left in our limbs. It didn't matter, however.
The morning of the fifth day, we saw the ridge of the crater that held our ship. It was rimmed by the glow of the ship's wreckage, with its fuel still burning. A single human sat upon the ridge, waiting for us. At this sight, the H'lussah female began to laugh. She told us that this is something her people had observed before, in the human species, along with a domesticated, pack predator these humans called a 'dog'. According to her team's research, these humans would employ these creatures to hunt with them, often running down or cornering prey for their masters to overwhelm and kill. Even without these creatures, humans would use similar tactics in small groups, dating back millions of cycles into their history.
We made a grave mistake coming here, to this planet of death. We thought the H'lussah had found a new home or were researching for some weapon to defeat us. What they had found was an ally. A relentless ally that could hunt their enemies and kill them with brutal efficiency. The mightiest solvents and toxins are their sustenance. They even breathe gases that are corrosive to our species and produce terrifying bacterial cultures within their own mouths, poisoning any with their bite. If the H'lussah are able to breed more of these creatures, they may have a formidable tool to pursue us across the stars. I would like...[clackshhhh]..."

"...Mags, have you hacked their comms yet?" came a commanding voice through the Izkilsii’s vox channel.
"Affirmative, sir. They can hear you, but I can't vouch for comprehension," a second, feminine voice replied.
"Guess we'll have to hope these translators the H'lussah worked on are enough," the first said before Primus Kizzur’kst began to lose consciousness.
Major William “Wild Bill” Tanner approached the two scaley creatures who had taken their H’lussah friend, Au’lah. He nodded warmly to her, as a comforting smile curled his lips through the membrane of his human-sized H’lussah atmo suit. Then he turned to the two collapsed aggressors. The H'lussah called these hyper-predators "Izkilsii". According to them, the Izkilsii were a warrior race that hunted other races to extinction and sought to dominate and expand across the galaxy. They did not make alliances, seeing themselves as the dominant predators and viewing all other races as potential food or sport. Those races they did not kill or consume, outright, they would enslave and use to cultivate their hunting grounds or develop greater technology for them to expand their empire.
The H'lussah were on the verge of extinction, clearly losing the war for survival against the Izkilsii, when they made contact. In the hope of finding a better place to hide, the scientists had found a remote world, coated in a shield of noisy radiation, and possessing no advanced civilization or technology to attract the attention of the Izkilsii. They never knew it was inhabited by a race of apex pursuit predators that possessed no natural weapons but had instead developed a keen ingenuity to utilize tools and domesticate indigenous predator species to survive.
Luckily for the H'lussah, humans were also curious explorers as well as adept conquering warriors and had begun to advance beyond their own homeworld. No known race could survive on the human homeworld called "Earth" for extended periods of time. It was a death planet, full of caustic gases, deadly solvents, and virulent strains of microscopic life that would wipe out most other sapient galactic species. The humans described their world with affection, but as endearing as their stories were, it made the H'lussah shudder to think about what terrible death would await any of them upon the surface should their containment suits or adaptogens fail to protect them. That is why the two races had encountered one another on the planet the humans called "Mars". It was more hospitable to the H'lussah with a little tweaking from their Terragen machines, and it presented an enticing challenge for the apex species of Earth.
Despite the initial misconception that humans had discovered "Martians", both species entered into an amiable discourse. A naturally docile, explorer race, the H’lussah found common ground with the humans of this era, who were insatiably curious, a predilection that often overrode their better instincts to run or fight as a first reaction. Any number of terrible misunderstandings could have ended the talks immediately and spelled a second doom for the H'lussah, but they were calm and patient while the humans graciously responded in kind. Both realized their love for exploration and their curious natures held them together long enough to establish an understanding of one another. That and one other thing: they despised being hunted.
Major Tanner rolled the unconscious Primus over, with his boot, while Doctor Margaret “Mags” Zhang helped Au'lah to her feet and made sure the second Izkilsii would not threaten them, again. The third member, who had been providing overwatch, began his descent from the ridge. He shouldered the experimental reciprocating pulse rifle in a low-ready carry as he carefully picked his way down the rocky slope. Lieutenant Alexei “Lexie” Orumov had been the one who spotted the Izkilsii inside the H'lussah structure and subtly alerted the others via comm clicks.
"'Dat vas close, Major. I only just arrived a little vhile ago. Had barely enough time to scuttle dheir ship,” the Lieutenant stated as he stopped in front of the Major and rendered a prompt salute.
"My bad, Lex, but we had to keep ‘em moving at an increasing pace to run them down," Major Tanner replied, returning the salute.
"Understood, sir,” Lex sighed as he returned his right hand to the grip of his weapon, “just cutting it a little close is all."
"Thanks for the hard work, Lex,” Bill said with a grateful smile. “Had to make sure they couldn't get off-world with our friend, though. Maybe you can convince Au'lah to give you one of those H'lussah rub downs," he joshed knowingly.
"Aw, qvit teasingk, Major! You know dhey only do dat for families and mates," Lex replied with a slight blush. For such a brawny stoic, the cosmonaut was a big softie when it came to matters of the opposite sex.
"Hey! What better way to cement an alliance?" the Major said with a cheeky grin.

…A sudden barking noise from the two male humans jolted the Primus from unconsciousness, and he observed the first human strike the other. Perhaps they were fighting over the H'lussah female. She seemed to turn an unusual color and then shrank behind the second human, the one he assumed was female. After the dominance struggle settled, the first human bent over the Primus.
“It won’t be–much longer–, my Tol’vorii,” Primus Kizzur’kst gasped through shallow breaths. His second heart had already stopped beating, and his air sacks were unable to fully inflate. “I am the last–of my warriors–, and we were–run down, like–prey,” he choked out his words across the open comms.

"...Broadcast this to your Tol'Vorii, lizard lips,” the Major interrupted, as he leaned closer to the dying Primus. “I'll try to speak in a manner your kind can understand. You wanna know your first mistake, here?” There was a pause filled with tension, as the two leaders of their teams glared into one another’s eyes. “You walked into our turf and tried to take something that was ours,” Major Tanner growled, “You mess with a friend, a member of our pack, and you mess with the whole damn pack. Soon your people will face the fury of seven billion pursuit predators.”
The human stood to his full height, looming over the prone form of the Primus, and grunted a mirthless chuckle. “The best part, or worst in your case, is that we are only a small, international team of explorers,” he continued while gesturing to the two others beside him, “You have yet to face our military, our fleets, our troops, our true hunters. The H'lussah are allies of humanity, part of our collective pack..."
The human leaned closer and bared his teeth in a hungry expression.
"...so run, you scaly bastards. Run as far and as fast as you can because we are coming for you, relentlessly. [krrksssshh]...”
submitted by CapnTytePantz to HFY [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 03:31 MezcalFlame Used 2023 Trek Checkpoint SL6 SRAM AXS eTap or a brand new Checkpoint SL5?

I have the opportunity to buy a used 2023 Trek Checkpoint SL6 SRAM AXS eTap (1x12) for $2,800 firm or a new Checkpoint SL5 for $3,399.99 plus tax. For the new bike, I expect I'd be able to negotiate the price down to ~$3,000 (plus tax) based on oversupply issues.
I've verified with the original owner that the SL6 isn't stolen (receipt provided) and it has a few upgrades such as Lizard Skins bar tape and Maxxis Ravager 700x40 TLR tires plus it comes with a bottle cage, a frame bag, and either SPD or flat pedals. It looks like it's in good shape and was well cared for based on the photos and the description.
Over the course of a few weeks, the seller had one deal fall through and knocked off a few hundred from the original asking price. With another $500 off ($2,300 all in) I'd have already bought it!
I'm planning on doing a ~1,250 mile (~2,000 km) bicycle touring/packing trip later this year but I already have a 10 year-old Frankenstein aluminum flat bar bike with fenders, a rack, and other upgrades incoming so while I don't need another bike, the Checkpoint SL6 would be nice to have for the right price. (And I'd sell off the current bike for ~$250 or so to help offset the total cost.)
Eventually, I'd like to get into randonneuring via upgrades to the SL6 (e.g., Hunt carbon rims) but I don't have a firm timeline. Still, I'd rather upgrade once (i.e., the SL6) instead of building up the current Frankenstein bike and then tossing it when the aluminum eventually fatigues.
Yes, I'd be forgoing a lifetime warranty for the SL6 frame but as I understand, carbon fiber frame repairs are now $250 to $500 (of course, depending on the severity but we'll assume a crack at some point).
Also, I have a sizing concern as I've read that I should size down for the Checkpoint. I did have a recent bike fit done for another Trek, so I was planning to replicate those measurements for the Checkpoint SL6 as much as possible.
I suppose another way to look at this is if there are going to be more deals in the new and used bike markets later this year and into next year... or if this one is too good to pass up.
submitted by MezcalFlame to whichbike [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 03:29 Vogon-Poet-42 Pen is offset?

Hi I am having an issue where the brushstrokes appear several inches to the left of the pen curser, ONLY on the canvas itself. I just downloaded krita and am using a gaomon PD1560 tablet with an up to date driver (I tried both that the website has). I have 2 monitors plus the tablet which technically counts as a third. The gaomon workspace is set and calibrated to the correct screen, and I have tried using photoshop and gimp with zero issues, so I don't believe this is a tablet issue. In Krita I have tried setting the Tablet input API to windows ink, which works but I lose pressure sensitivity and the lines are jittery. Mapping the WinTab option to a 'custom area' (as the FAQ suggested) causes me to lose my curser entirely no matter what size I put in. Has anyone else had this issue and found a solution that works? I'm so tired of resetting everything 😭
submitted by Vogon-Poet-42 to krita [link] [comments]