Mor up intro

Dissertation on Occultic Activity

2020.10.12 21:36 Melchezedek57117 Dissertation on Occultic Activity

Treatise of Occult Activity, Groups and Orders
Backed by Magisterium, Sacred Scripture, Catechetical Works, Theological Support and Authorial Support
8“Again, the devil took him to a very high and shewed him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them,
9 And said to him: All these will I give thee, if falling down thou wilt adore me.
10 Then Jesus saith to him: Begone, Satan: for it is written, The Lord thy God shalt thou adore, and only him only shalt thou serve.” (Gospel of St.Matthew Ch 4:8-10)
Introducing this passage makes one thing very clear: If Christ was tempted by that Ancient Serpent, what makes us humans believe we are exempt from trial? From the very beginning, since the fall, humanity has been sick, sick with the sin of pride. From Lucifer and his apostate angels, to the very age we are in now, pride has been the downfall of many. Holy Mother Church acclaims this, Sacred Scripture exhorts this and Christ hammers the need for humility and dependence on God Almighty alone.
We stand on the foundations of an age devoted to the self, moral relativism, ego, self love and denunciation of the Cross. With this comes the sickly curse of pride, not in the form of a forbidden fruit, no, but in the form of power and prestige, luxury, debauchery and evil. From the very makings of history, the occult, which is defined as; “Supernatural, mystical or magical beliefs, practices or phenomena.” (Webster’s Dictionary) With these descriptions of a disappointingly large sect of beliefs, we have an enemy arrayed against us masquerading as a soothsayer, a healer, mediums, ‘prophets’, wiccans, witches, warlocks, psychics and worshipers of That Ancient Serpent.
Holy Mother Church, has delegated to her children, and as the Mystical Body of Christ, we are to be “In the World, but not of the world.” This is something all of the faithful, all ages, creed, sex, race or culture are called to be. We are called to be warriors, soldiers, priest, prophet and king. In our Baptism, we are made “a new creature.” Quote; “Baptism not only purifies our sins, but also makes the neophyte “a new creature,” an adopted son of God, who has become a “partaker of the divine nature,” a member of Christ and co-heir with him, and a temple of the Holy Ghost.” (CCC Article 1265)
The world has the allure of the flesh and temptation of Sin to all humans. We are all given the choice to take up our cross and follow Our Blessed Lord, or deny Him and take ourselves up to the heights of malicious ecstasy and perdition. With the advent of technology, this is made even more apparent. Pornography, unclean material readily available for children, adults. Blasphemy and sacrilege made manifest through art, music and literature. All these are openings that the demonic make use of, but none more deadly than the occult. Pornography is forgivable, many don’t see it as the scourge it is. Unclean shows, movies, music? Easily given up if the soul learns self-mastery. But to worship the Beast, turn back on God to follow the allure of power? To take part in the worship of demons through pagan, esoteric beliefs? These are the self-giving to the Devil in totality.
I by no means claim academic prowess, or scholarly wisdom. I hope to simply pass on the teachings of smarter, better and wiser souls than I, to help others and inform, to point in the direction of help. That is my goal. To help and inform, to spread the dangers of the occult and the lies of that proud, rebellious serpent. Within these pages, I will use the backings of Magisterium, Sacred Scripture, The writings of the Doctors of the Church at my disposal, Catechetical writings and authorial support from learned demonologists. It is my sincerest hope that if I can help but one person, I’d count myself blessed. May the Love of the Holy Trinity be with all.
Ad Jesum Per Mariam
Part One
Catechetical and Magisterial Support/Scriptural
We approach the avenues of written laws of the Church. What she teaches, what she proclaims and speaks of. First we need to look at what is condemned in the Old and New Covenants, specifically relating to witchcraft, superstition, pagan sects, secret societies and demonic worship in society, culture and our lives. First, let’s see what Sacred Scripture has outlined for us as the Church Militant on earth, during our sojourn in this Valley of Tears.
Let us begin with The Old Covenant; (From the Douay Rheims and Latin Vulgate)
Book of Leviticus:
“Go not aside after wizards, neither ask any thing of soothsayers, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God.” (Lv 19:31)
“Non declinetis ad magos, nec ab ariolis aliquid sciscitemni ut polluamini per eos. Ego Dominus Deus vester.” (Vulgate Translation Lv 19:31)
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“The soul that shall go aside after magicians, and soothsayers, and shall be commit fornication with them, I will set my face against that soul, and destroy it out of the midst of my people.” (Lv 20:6)
“Anima, qual declinaverit ad mago et ariolos, et fornicata fuerit cum eis, ponam faciem meam contra eam, et interficiam illam de medio populi sui.” (Lv 20:6)
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Book of 1 Kings
“Because it is like the sin of witchcraft, to rebel: and like the crime of idolatry, to refuse to obey. Forasmuch therefore as thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, the Lord hath also rejected thee from being king.” (1 Kings 15:23)
“Quoniam quasi peccatum ariolandi est, repugnare: et quasi scelus idoloatriae, nolle acquiescere. Pro eo ergo quod abjecisti sermonem Domini, abjecit te Dominus ne sis rex.” (1 Kings 15:23)
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Book of Deuteronomy
“When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God shall give thee, beware lest thou have a mind to imitate the abominations of those nations. Neither let there be found among you any one that shall expiate his son or daughter; making them to pass through the fire: or that consulteth soothsayers, or observest dreams and omens, neither let there be any wizard.” (Deut 18: 9-12)
“Quando ingressus fueris terram, quam Dominus Deus tuus dabit tibi, cave ne imitari velis abominationes illarum gentium. Nec inveniatur in te qui lustret filium suum, aut filiam, ducens per ignem: aut qui ariolos sciscitetur, et observet somnia atque auguria, nec sit maleficus, nec incantator, nec qui pythones consulat, nec divinos, aut quaerat a mortuis veritatem. Omnia enim haec abominatur Dominus, et propter istiusmodi scelera delebit eos introitu tuo.” (Lv 18:9-12)
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“Lest perhaps lifting up thy eyes to heaven, thou see the sun and the moon, and all the stars of heaven, and being deceived by error thou adore and serve them, which the Lord thy God created for the service of all nations, that are under heaven.” (Deut 4:19)
“ne forte elevatis oculis ad caelum, videas solem et lunam, et omnia astra cieli, et errore deceptus adores ea, et colas quae creavit Dominus Deus tuus in ministerium cunctis gentibus, quad sub caelo sunt.” (Deut 4:19)
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Book of Ezekiel
“Therefore thus saith the Lord God: Behold I declare against your cushions, wherewith you catch flying souls: and I will tear them from your arms: and I will let go the souls that you catch, the souls that should fly.” (Ez 13:20)
“Propter hoc haec dicit Dominus Deus: Ecce ego ad pulvillos vestros, quibus vos capitis animas volantes: et dirumpam eos de brachiis vestris, et dimittam animas quas vos capitis, animas ad volandum.” (Ez 13:20)
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Book of Genesis
“For God doth know that in what day you shall eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened: and you shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil.” (Gen 3:5)
“Scit enim Deus quod in quocumque di comederitis ex eo, aperientur oculi vestri, et eritis sicut dii, scientes bonum et malum.” (Gen 3:5)
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We see, that from the select passages given above, that Our Father has set aside strict laws against every form of the occult, every divination and sorcery. We know that the old law is not to be ignored, we are not under the Law, but under the Law of Grace. This still does not excuse us to practice any diabolical magick, occult activity or pagan worship. Our Blessed Lord said; “For amen I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot, or one fittle shall not pass of the law, till all be fulfilled.” (Matt 5:18) We as christians have no excuse to worship demons or creation, for creation is not worthy of worship. Worship is due to the Blessed Trinity alone. Let us approach this from the New Covenant as well.
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The Gospel of Saint Matthew
“For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive (if possible) even the elect.” (Matt 24:24)
“Surgent enim pseudochristi, et pseudoprophetae: et dabunt signa magna, et prodigia, ita ut errorem inducantur (si fieri potest) etiam electi.” (Matt 24:24)
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The First Epistle of Saint John
“Dearly beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits if they be of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. By this is the spirit of God known. Every spirit which confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is of God. And every spirit that dissolveth Jesus, is not of God: and this is Antichrist, of whom you have heard that he cometh, and is now already in the world.” (I John 4:1-3)
“Carissimi, nolite omni spiritui credere, sed propbate spiritus si ex Deo sint: quoniam multi pseudoprophetae exierunt in mundum. In hoc cognoscitur Spiritus Dei: Omnis spiritus qui confitetur Jesum Christum in carne venisse, ex Deo est: et omnis qui Jesum, ex Deo non est, et hic est antichristus, de quo sudistes quoniam venit, et nunc jam in mundo est.” (I John 4:1-3)
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First Epistle of Saint Peter
“Be sober and watch: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking the whom he may devour.” (I Peter 5:8)
“Sobrii estote, et vigilate: quia adversarius vester diabolus tamquam leo rugiens circuit, quaerens quem devoret.” (I Peter 5:8)
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The Book of Galatians
“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are fornication, uncleanness, immodesty, luxury, idolatry, witchcrafts, enmities, contentions, wraths, quarrels, dissensions, sects, envies, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like. Of the which I foretell you, as I have foretold to you, that they who do such things shall not obtain the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-21)
“Manifesta sunt autem opera carnis, quae sunt fornicatio, immunditia, impudicitia, luxuria, idolorum servitus, veneficia, inimicitae, contentiones, aemulationes, irae, rixae, dissensiones, sectae, invidiae, homicidia, ebrietates, comessationes, et his similia, quae praedico vobis, sicut praedixi: quoniam qui talia agunt, regnum Dei non consequenter.” (Galatians 5:19-21)
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The Book of The Apocalypse
“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, they shall have their portion in the pool burning with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (Apocalypse 21:8)
“Timidis autem, et incredulis, et execratis, et homicidis, et fornicatoribus, et veneficis, et idolatria, et omnibus mendacibus, pars illorum erit in stagno ardenti igne et sulphure: quod est mors secunda.” (Apocalypse 21:8)
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“Blessed are they that wash their robes in the blood of the Lamb: that they may have a right to the tree of life and may enter in by the gates into the city. Without are dogs and sorcerers, and unchaste and murderers, and servers of idols, and everyone that liveth and maketh a lie.” (Apocalypse 22:14-15)
“Beati, qui lavant stola suas in sanguine Agni: ut sit potestas eorum in ligno vitae, et per portas intrent in civitatem. Foris canes, et venefici, et impudici, et homicidae, et idolis servientes, et omnis qui amat et facit mendacium.” (Apocalypse 22:14-15)
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“Neither did they penance from their murders, nor from their sorceries, nor from their fornication, nor from their thefts.” (Apocalypse 9:21)
“et non egerunt penitential ab homicidiis suis, neque a veneficiis suis, neque a fornicatione sua, neque a furtis suis.” (Apocalypse 9:21)
The End of Scriptural Evidence
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We have seen in both covenants, Old and New, that witchcraft, idolatry of the creation (Paganism), worship of demons and divinations are in clear violation of the Divine Law. From the Law of Moses to the Law of Grace given from Jesus Christ of Nazareth, The Logos. At this point, we will look at what magisterium teaches, from catechetical and saintly support. We will do this with varying sources from the Council of Trent, to the Catechism promulgated by St.John Paul II. Let us begin with the Catechisms.
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The First Commandment commands with sacrosanct authority: You Shall Worship The Lord Your God and Only Him Shall You Serve.
I will be quoting and paraphrasing when necessary from the Catechisms. I will provide necessary citations, as the work being quoted is not mine. I claim nothing, but wish to spread awareness and information.
(CCC 2110) “The first commandment forbids honoring gods other than the one Lord who has revealed himself to his people.” (Pg 568)
The worship of anything else outside of the Holy Trinity is perverse and evil. To worship pagan idols, or nature itself is a grievous sin. Creation is not worthy of worship, it may be worthy of being aesthetically beautiful to one’s sight, but nothing more. To replace God with another item, being or belief is idolatry, and idolatry is biblically, a mortal and grievous sin. Polytheism, as the Catechism speaks of, is constantly rejected in scripture. (Pg 568 CCC 2112) It also speaks of not confusing it with false pagan worship, but of a constant temptation to all humans to not put anything above The Eternal Father. When The Israelites crafted the golden idol of the calf, did not the earth open up and swallow them up? Even as they danced and orgied themselves underneath The Father’s Holy Mt.Sinai? The Catechism even adjures us to “Reject all forms of divination.” (CCC 2116).
This means either conjuring up or seeking the aid of spirits or the dead. Even more so the worship of demons to reveal the future, to which we have to reject in totality. Horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of dreams and omens, clairvoyance, and recourse to all mediums are to be rejected. (CCC 2116)
Practices of magic or sorcery, which attempt to take control of occultic power, for the sake of ego and wicked pride, must be shunned and destroyed. There is no excuse for any invocation of powers, spirits or demonic entities for the sake of even carrying out good. It must be shunned. (CCC 2117).
Wicca, witchcraft, white, black magic, Satanism, philosophical or deistic, voodoo, shamanistic practices must be shunned. They oppose the glory due to the Divine Nature and Three Persons of the Blessed Trinity. They advocate the worship of the creation and not the Creator, who is due all honor and glory.
Question 1161 of the Baltimore Catechism is as follows; “How do we, by believing in spells, charms, mediums, spiritists and fortune tellers, attribute to creatures the perfections of God?
A. “By believing in spells, charms, mediums, spritists and fortune tellers we attribute to creatures the perfections of God because we expect these creatures to perform miracles, reveal the hidden judgements of God, and make known His designs for the future with regard to His creatures, things that only God Himself may do
This commandment does not forbid images of Christ or His Blessed Mother, and the Saints
~”But to make and honor images of Christ our Lord, of His holy and virginal Mother, and of the saints, all of whom were clothed with human nature and appeared in human form, is not only not forbidden by this Commandment, but has always been deemed a holy practice and a most sure indication of gratitude.” (Catechism of the Council of Trent, PG 345) It goes on to proclaim; “Against this Commandment all those who sin who have not faith, hope and charity. Such sinners are very numerous, for they include all who fall into heresy, who reject what holy mother Church proclaims for our belief, who give credit to dreams, fortune telling, and such illusions; those who, despairing of salvation, trust not in the goodness of God; and those who rely solely on wealth, or health and strength of body.” (Council of Trent, PG 339).
The Council clearly calls those who place their trust in such heathen and occultic beliefs are considered heretics by their sin. But it is not the hope of God, nor should it be any of our hope, that anyone who is in error should perish. It is our fervent prayer as the Mystical Body of Christ and of heaven, that all should be loved and forgiven, for we are all sinners.
~ Idolatry is the worship of a creature which is regarded as a deity; the sun, fire, animals, images, etc. (The Catechism Explained, by Rev. Francis Spirago, PG 298, 299, 300)
~ Another form of idolatry is when a human being gives up his whole self to a creature.
~The service of idols is high treason against the majesty of God, and the most heinous of sins.
The above beginning intro to each section that Rev. Francis Spirago goes in depth is but a portion of what he delivers. It is truth that it is treason to worship any other creature, spirit or man than the Almighty, Supreme Lord of Creation, The Father of Majesty Unbounded, and His Only Son, Our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost, The Paraclete.
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Theological Avenues of the Church and Authorial Support
We come to the writings of intelligent men who have studied at length with their lives the foundations of theology. I will present as best as I can the questions and answers written down by these saints. Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Alphonsus Liguori.
First Article of Question 95 of Volume III of the Summa, Whether Divination is Sin?
~Objection I: “It would seem that divination is not a sin. Divination is derived from something divine: and things that are divine pertain to holiness rather than to sin. Therefore it seems that divination is not a sin.” (PG 1,593 Article One, St.Thomas)
Reply To Objection I: “Divination takes its name not from a rightly ordered state of something divine, but from an undue usurpation thereof, as stated above.” (PG 1594, Article One, Objection One, St.Thomas.)
Article IV: Whether Divination Practiced by invoking the Demons is Unlawful?
~...On the contrary it is written (Deut. xviii 10, 11) :Neither let there be found among you... anyone that consulteth soothsayers... nor... that consulteth pythonic spirits. I answer that, All divination by invoking demons is unlawful for two reasons. The first is gathered from the principle of divination which is a compact made expressly with a demon by the very fact of invoking him. This is altogether unlawful.” (PG 1596, Summa, St.Thomas, Fourth Article.)
Above, St.Thomas Aquinas clearly states, by the very fact of invoking a demon, which could be through ouija board, divination, soothsaying, pacts, curses, hexes, witchcraft, Wicca, are unlawful and are therefore, a sin before God.
He continues; “The second reason is gathered from the result. For the demon who intends man’s perdition endeavors, by his answers, even though he sometimes tells the truth, to accustom men to believe him, and to lead him on to something prejudicial to the salvation of mankind.” (PG 1596, Summa, St.Thomas, Fourth Article.)
Question 96: Of Superstition and Observances. First Article.
~Whether it is unlawful to practice the observance of the Magic Art.
Objection I: It would seem that it is not unlawful to practice the observances of the magic art.
St.Thomas, answers beyond the three objections, and for the sake of brevity, will apply it here. “I answer that, The magic art is both unlawful and futile. It is unlawful, because the means it employs for acquiring knowledge have not in themselves the power to cause science, consisting as they do in gazing on certain shapes, and muttering certain strange words and so forth. Wherefore this art does not make use of these things as causes, but as signs; now however as signs instituted by God, as are sacramental signs. It follows therefore, that they are empty signs, and consequently a kind of agreement or covenant made with demons for the purpose of consultation and of compact by tokens.” (PG 1602, St.Thomas, Summa, First Article, Question 96)
St.Thomas clearly explains that the use of divination and occult work is unlawful, therefore a sin before Almighty God. Whether it be a pagan sect, satanism, Wicca, witchcraft, sorcery or voodoo. It is a mortal sin, and an opening to the demonic.
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Let us see what St.Alphonsus has on the writings of pagan superstition, occultic beliefs and idolatry of heathenism.
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(Text taken liberally from Moral Theology, Volume II, for the use of academic purposes, although shortened for brevity.)
Dubium V
23. What is a malefice, and how manifold is it?
24. What remedies would it be lawful to apply against a malefice?
23.- “Resp. I. A malefic is a force to harm others, from a pact or cooperation with a demon. It differs from magic because this intends to do wonders that are directed to do harm.” (Moral Theology, Dubium V PG 23, St.Alphonsus)
24.- “Resp. II. Exorcisms and sacraments of the Church, pilgrimages, invocations of the Saints, etc.;” (PG 24 of Moral Theology, St.Alphonsus) {Response One differed from text, so it was inapplicable to the discussion at hand. I omitted it for a reason for brevity. All credit to St.Alphonsus.}
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We see in Dubium II, that Saint Alphonsus speaks of divination, and the chief modes of divination, {occult}, activities. I will quote from the text, and instead of writing on a separate page of the response, for the sake of brevity, I will include it under the question, thought the original text offers it on the other page.
Dubium II
On Divination. What is it and how manifold is it?
  1. What is divination?
5.-”Resp. I. Divination is, when someone tacitly or expressly invokes the aid of a demon to know matters touching upon or clearly what is going to happen, or otherwise secret or totally unknowable.” (Moral Theology, PG 5, St.Alphonsus, Dubium II of First Commandment.)
As what the learned Saint speaks of, points to all facets of the occult. In the occult, all manner of esoteric knowledge is greedily grabbed upon. Mankind has the innate need to be curious, and this curiosity is not innately sinful, to no degree, but can become sinful when it dredges on matters of the occult or evil. In John LaBriola’s book; “Onward Catholic Soldier,” he describes the New Age practices that open ourselves to demonic assaults, he lists them as; “Prana, crystals, enneagram, reiki, EST, gestalt therapy, primal scream therapy, transactional analysis, centering prayer, Ayurveda, rebirthing, past life regression, etc..” (Onward Catholic Soldier, PG 124, John LaBriola.)
A quote he provides on the next page illustrates this perfectly;
“Modernism is the synthesis of all heresies.” (Pope Saint Puis X)
And on the same page, Mr.LaBriola sums it all together; {“New Age is simply a term for old heresies that have been recycled. It is the offspring of paganism and gnosticism. With Satan as its spiritual leader, the New Age promotes the two lies he espoused in the Garden of Eden, “You certainly will not die,” and “You will be like gods.”} (Onward Catholic Soldier, PG 125, John LaBriola.)
The author even shows the hard to swallow information of the growing New Age practice of Yoga. While the physical aspect of stretching and exercise is something that could be beneficial to the body, the spiritual aspects must be avoided. The soul is encouraged in Yoga to reach a ‘higher plane’ of ascension, to reach Brahma. This is a heresy, which is expressly forbidden by both Scripture and the Catechism, as well as many saints. (Onward Catholic Soldier, PG 124, John LaBriola) Let us return to Saint Alphonsus, and probe the depth of theology regarding the Occult.
Dubium II
On Divination. What is it and how manifold is it?
  1. It is one thing with express invocation of a demon, another with tacit invocation.
6.—“Resp. 2. Divination is twofold: one, in which it is an invocation, or an express pact with a demon, and in general is called necromancy, such as when a demon teaches occult matters through soothsayers, the possessed, illusions through persons appearing from the dead or the living, or other signs in the air, water, fire, and mirrors. The other is in which there is an only an invocation or a tacit arrangement, whether interpretive, such as geometric figures of the body, voices, the chattering of birds and familiar things, in which demons usually mingle themselves, knowledge is understood to which these things are disproportionate. St.Thomas, quaest. 95” (Moral Theology PG 5 and Summa, St.Alphonsus and St.Thomas Aquinas, Summa Q 95)
In the same question in St.Thomas’ Summa, Question 95, Pt. II-II Q-95 Art. 3, St.Thomas Aquinas outlines the various forms of divinations, all declared unlawful. {I will provide definitions and answers.}
~Prestigiation: Invoked demons revealing themselves to human sight and hearing by mock apparitions to foretell the future.
~Divination By Dreams: Making use of dreams
~Necromancy: Apparitions or utterances of the dead.
~Pythons: Foretelling the future through living men.
~Geomancy: Signs appearing in wood, iron or polished stone.
~Hydromancy: Signs appearing in water.
~Aeromancy: Signs in the air.
~Pyromancy: Signs appearing in fire
~Aruspicy: Signs appearing in animal entrails sacrificed on the altars of demons.
~Astrologers: Knowing the future based on the observance of the stars and their movements.
~Genethliacs: Those who take notes on the days people are born.
~Augury: Observing the cries of birds or movements of birds, the movements of animals, or the limbs of men.
~Omen: Observations made based words uttered unintentionally, which others twist so as to apply to the future that one wishes to foreknow.
(Summa, Pgs 1595-1596, Art. 3 Pt. II-II, St.Thomas)
This is a plethora of knowledge one must have when studying the matters of spiritual warfare. Pulitzer Center, a website, reports that in 2014, estimated that 0.3% of the American population identified as Wiccan or Pagan (https://pulitzercenter.org/reporting/witchcraft-too-mainstream) Close to one million souls identified as witches, and no doubt the number has grown exponentially over the six years since. This is alarming to one who views such matters in the realm of demonology or the study of spiritual warfare. As we have seen, scripturally, theologically, and catechetically, magic, paganism, divination, sorcery, witchcraft and worship of demons is unlawful, a mortal sin and in the Old Covenant, punishable by death under the Mosaic Law.
{Many in today’s culture will argue that they do not use ‘magic’ for destructive purposes such as hexes, curses and malefice, which is ‘black’ magic. They claim to use it for ‘white’ magic} (Onward Catholic Soldier, PG 129, John LaBriola). This is extremely debatable, as all power they claim to use comes from demonic origin, {whether it be pagan or Neo-pagan in origin}. “While it is true that some change can flow from those who dabble in the occult, e.g. physical healing, solving of crimes, etc., you need to discern from where their power originates. Satan is more than willing to bring about a good if it will lure or lull you into complacency toward him, or worse, complicity with him.” (Onward Catholic Soldier, PG 129, John LaBriola)
In our culture, we see a horrific desensitizing toward the occult. Our children our pushed towards ‘toys’ such as Ouija Boards, Tarot Cards and the like as focusing points as entertainment. Such things are diabolical and unholy, and must be avoided. It is true, that if one were to engage the Ouija Board, nothing may happen. This is true, but why risk the opening of the soul to the demonic or preternatural in the first place? Shows, with their explicit content seek to destroy the family by pushing the normalization of hookup culture. Sex is supreme in our society and has destroyed hundreds of thousands of lives in the process of souls indulging their Ids and pushing away the light of Truth. The destruction of the family, the removal of the father figure from the home, as well as the mother figure from the life. The child is ambushed and indoctrinated to be desensitized to the demonic.
For the lukewarm or irreligious, the thought of the demonic is laughable. Lumped in with Hollywood charlatans and folksy ghost ‘investigations’. They laugh off the biblical support for Lucifer and his apostate angels, the reality of sin and the dangers of witchcraft. Michael Freze, S.F.O, has brought demonology from the view of holy mother Church, into a brilliant investigative view, as he describes the hierarchy of the demonic. (Demonology, The Devil and The Spirits of Darkness, Full Series, Michael Freze, S.F.O, PGs 125-126-127) Below are some of the hierarchy listed by Mr.Freze. I have paraphrased the definitions to some degree, as his work is obviously not mine, and I borrow liberally from my sources.
~Lucifer: The Prideful Serpent, cast out by Saint Michael the Archangel. Chief of the Seraphim, the one cast out of Heaven and chained in Hell.
~Mammon: (Avarice)
~Asmodeus: Prince of the Seraphim as well, tempting men with lust. (Lechery)
~Satan: The Accuser (Anger)
~Beelzebub: Prince of the Seraphim, next unto Lucifer. (Gluttony)
~Leviathan: (Envy), Prince of the same order as Beelzebub, tempting men with heresies.
~Belphogor: (Sloth)
We see, that in one short excerpt, the hierarchy of demons exist like the one of angels in Heaven. The lukewarm and irreligious refuse to believe in the possibility of primal evil, for they believe truth is subjective, and thus, moral relativism is a cancer upon modern times that must be rejected. Christ is the Truth, The Way and the Life, He is Objective, not subjective. We also learn that such occultic practices open oneself to demonic infestation and oppression.
~Demonic Vexation: Activity present around a location or object.
~Demonic Infestation: Activity in the home, location. The low grade sights or sounds.
~Demonic Oppression: The Person or persons is assaulted, harassed with terrifying or visual phenomena designed to break their will.
~Demonic Possession, Partial Possession: The act of a demonic entity subverting and dominating a person’s will and taking control over one’s body and mind. The Ritual of Exorcism is needed, by a priest with ecclesiastical authority.
~Perfect Possession: A rare, but horrifying moment where the person gives over total control of their psyche, body and soul over to the demonic force invading them. Also, in Luciferianism or Satanism, one willingly gives themselves over to be invaded.
Such examples of Oppression and Infestation are:
~Ocular: Manifestations or apparitions of black masses, faces, body parts, lights. Hallucinations, or horrifying specters, phantasms.
~Auditory: Loud, explosive knocks. Hissing, scratches on walls or ceilings. Yelling, disembodied voices or growls.
~Olfactory: Rotten meat, flesh. Human excrement, blood, sulphuric or ‘egg’ smells. Fire, smoke, decaying or ‘dead’ smells.
~Physical: Scratches, bites, physical assaults, sexual assault from incubi or succubi entities. Thrown down, or flung across the room. Grabbing or pulling.
~Emotional: Depression, suicidal tendencies appearing out of nowhere. Lethargy, exhaustion, anger and extreme mood swings. Impatience, anxiety, fear.
~Spiritual: Irreverence toward Holy items, indifference to God. Revulsion to sacred objects or places. Increase in temptations, mortal sin. Spiritual lethargy or sloth, profanity towards sacred things.
{Note: Just because you experience these things does not mean demonic oppression or extraordinary activity of demonic activity is at play. There are resources you can reach if you experience suicidal or mental deficiencies. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255. Please contact your primary care physician or health care provider if you experience symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, nervous disorders. Therapy can help anyone who wants it, don’t be afraid to reach out. Also, frequently check your home for Radon exposure, CO2 exposure, CO exposure, High EMF or Electromagnetic frequency as these can cause medical issues that can produce hallucinations. Houses settle at night frequently due to the temperature fluctuation occurring naturally.}
______________________________________________________________________
Our world is not the beginning and the end, as so many have ignorantly believed. This life has an ending, and a beginning before the Just Judge of Creation, where all will give an account of their deeds. It is sadly a world hellbent on the road to perdition, moral relativism and occult worship. Our culture, our society, is sick and infected with the sin of pride and greed. Pride to be masters of the self, “To be like gods..” As the Ancient Serpent cried out in defiance; “Non Serviam!” And in doing so, infected humanity with sin and the curse of hell. Now, mankind cries out the same words in defiance to the Creator, worshipping themselves, making idols out of demons and venerating hedonism in the form of “progress”.
Souls willingly serve themselves and seek out fame, power, wealth and prestige through the occult. It was my intention to bring to light the dangers of such a culture that does so. To inform with evidence and the backing of the Holy Catholic Church, and her Saints, the error of the occult and the danger of engaging such dark worship. We must shun the occult, we must turn our faces away from the worship of demons at all costs. We must be on the watch, for the devil always prowls about, seeking the ruin of souls.
Be vigilant, and above all, be kind, love one another and forgive each other. Inform the ignorant, pray for your enemies. May the Love of God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost be with you all in these trying times.
Omnia Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam
submitted by Melchezedek57117 to SPPA [link] [comments]


2020.09.25 01:33 darynak How We Grew Our SaaS Blog Traffic to 30k Monthly Visits in 6 Months [Case Study]

Hey, Entrepreneur!
In the last 6 months, we’ve been able to grow our blog’s search traffic from 500 to 30k monthly visits. This doesn’t count any direct traffic, by the way. And it was meaningful traffic too. In fact, 18% of our sign-ups in the month of August came from our blog, making content our 2nd highest growth channel.
While we’re still very early on this journey, I thought I’d share my learnings so far and how we got here. If you’re a founder getting started with SEO and content marketing, this post is for you. I wish I read it last year.
I'm pasting the content here but if you want to see the full post with all screenshots, check it out here:
How We Grew Our SaaS Blog Traffic to 30k Monthly Visits in 6 Months ⤴️
********

Why are we investing in content marketing?

We identified SEO and content marketing as a key growth channel for us for several reasons:
  1. High keyword search volume for terms related to business phone systems, VoIP, business phone solutions, etc. Thousands of people looking for what we’re building, how can we get in front of them?
  2. High intent. Folks already looking for a solution like ours have higher intent than those who we serve a FB / IG ad. We can convert many of them into customers.
  3. Fresh perspective. A lot of existing content on topics related to business telephony is very dated. We have a chance to become the go-to source for modern companies and folks who don’t want to be stuck in the past. For example, do you really need extensions in 2020? 🙂
  4. Compound impact. SEO is one of the few channels that compounds as you grow.
  5. Create once, distribute everywhere. This has been inspired by Jeff Chang‘s tweet below and holds true to how we think about content. A lot of articles we publish serve the double-duty of creating more value for existing customers and bringing on new customers. For example, we share our 25 business text message templates with all new users as a part of OpenPhone onboarding. It’s also bringing new customers to us via Google Search.

How we grew our blog to 30k monthly visits

Step 1: Started writing on Medium and forums

In late 2017 I set up a Medium account for OpenPhone. I had experience writing on my personal Medium before so it was the easiest way to get started. We hadn’t launched at that time so the handful of posts I wrote on Medium were pre-product and very much experimental.
I got ideas for what to write about from the questions I saw folks ask in different forums for startups and small businesses (our target audience).
Ultimately, I didn’t get many views on my Medium posts and put them on hold while we were in YC. It was only once I published about our experience at YC (meta, I know) that I saw the potential of content for OpenPhone. Surprisingly, a good number of folks discovered and signed up for OpenPhone through that post.
At the same time, I contributed to business telephony questions on Quora and Reddit.
While initially posting on Medium and online forums helped refine my writing skills, I wish we would have started with our own dedicated blog from day 1. This way, any content we published would live on our own domain and improve our site ranking. Instead, I contributed to Medium’s SEO.

Step 2: Set up our dedicated blog

In December 2019, we set up our dedicated blog (where you’re reading this post). It’s a simple WordPress blog hosted on WP Engine and with the Contentberg theme.
As you already know by now, I wish we set it up on day 1. Do me a favor and don’t make my mistake. Start writing on your own blog, not on Medium.

Step 3: First content on the blog

As soon as we had our blog ready to go, we had to make sure it doesn’t sit around empty. Besides importing some of the content from Medium, we had to start from scratch.
The first two articles we published were answers to the frequently asked questions from potential customers.
80+% of entrepreneurs use their personal phone numbers for business, which means that most folks get their first business phone number on OpenPhone. I’ve heard a lot of stories from customers who regretted using their personal cell # initially and thought that it would be useful to have them outlined in an article for any prospects we were already talking to. I didn’t want to copy and paste my answers all the time.
This article was inspired by an email I received from an OpenPhone customer. Turns out having your personal cell number easily available online is a very bad idea.
This prompted me to research data removal. I also learned that I had to scrape my own number from the Internet, too.
It turned out that this topic is relevant to other founders so when I posted my post on different forums, I got great feedback. I recently realized our post is ranked #2 on Google for this topic and has brought almost 5k visits in the last 6 months.

Step 4: Basic SEO research

In January 2020 I started trialing SEMrush. It was fun to couple my content instincts (from talking to customers) with insights into what people actually search for.
We started out with a simple principle. What search terms are bringing our competitors the most traffic? Of course, not all traffic is created equal. Some queries have high intent to purchase a solution while others have little to no intent. At this stage, I wanted to understand what others in our space were doing and where we can fit in.
If you’re using SEMrush, you can find this quickly from the Domain Overview section. Just type the URL of any competitor. Here are our current top organic keywords, as an example.
The topic of “voicemail greetings” quickly emerged as a good topic to cover. Several of our competitors like MightyCall, Telzio, and Talkroute had this topic bringing them a lot of traffic. That being said, a lot of the examples in their posts were outdated. We thought we could do better and created our collection of 21 voicemail greetings with text + audio examples for people to download.
Also, since setting up a custom voicemail greeting is a part of the onboarding flow for OpenPhone users, we included the link to this post in our onboarding. 1 piece of content —> multiple use cases.

Step 5: Create a content strategy

By February, we saw glimpses of success. We finished the month at around ~500 visits to our blog. Unlike paid acquisition, content takes time to rank and result in direct ROI. So while I was patient, I knew it was time to get help.
Thanks to Omri Mor (Co-Founder at Routable), I got connected to Taran Soodan who has been working with us on our content ever since.
Taran suggested the following content plan:
  1. Optimize existing posts ranking on the 2nd page of Google for high-volume keywords to quickly improve our search rankings and traffic
  2. Create content comparing OpenPhone with our competitors
  3. Create new content focused on topics relevant to OpenPhone + questions we get from our customers
Below I’ll share with you our exact steps.
1 – Optimize existing content
By March, we already had a handful of posts ranking on the second and third pages of Google for target terms.
We started with a handful of posts, but let’s look at how we optimized our 21 Professional Voicemail Greeting Examples post.
The post provides 21 valuable examples of good voicemail greetings. It’s a great post with lots of actionable examples. Seems like a slam dunk for SEO, right? At its best, it would only rank in the middle of the 2nd page on Google.
So why didn’t it rank even though it provides value? It was missing relevant keywords and didn’t have an intro.
As a part of our efforts to improve our ranking for “professional voicemail,” we ran a search in SEMrush using their Keyword Magic Tool to see which keywords we needed to include in our post. We could see from the below screenshot that we needed to include a few variations of the keyword.
Now that we knew which keywords to use, we updated the post. The original post didn’t have much of an intro section, so we added an intro and incorporated keywords from the research we did with SEMrush. Once we republished the post, we hit the first page of Google within 2 weeks. Within 2 months, we hit the #1 ranking for “business voicemail greeting.” And it’s still at #1.
Does it sound like what we did was really simple? That’s because it was. Content optimization is a good path to pursue because making just a few changes to existing posts that are already ranking can result in faster results than posting new articles.
2 – Create content comparing OpenPhone with competitors
At OpenPhone, we’re building a calling and messaging solution for startups and small businesses. From conversations with our customers, we knew they compared us with services like Google Voice, Dialpad, and RingCentral when making a choice.
We knew we needed to show the advantages of using OpenPhone and how we’re different.
The great thing about comparison pages is that folks searching for alternatives or looking to compare tools generally have high intent.
We know Google Voice is a popular VoIP service given it’s free. But that means it has a lot of limitations when used for business. So we used our blog post to highlight the limitations of Google Voice for folks looking for a better option.
That post ranks #1 for Google Voice alternative and it’s one of our best-converting blog posts right now. We’ve used the same principles to create content for other competitors.
3 – Create new content focused on topics relevant to OpenPhone
Tools like Google Trends, Ahrefs, and SEMrush can make it easy and fun to perform keyword research and see what topics people care about. I like combining that data with the things I learn when talking to customers as prospects. That way, the content we publish is relevant and useful to our target audience.
Here’s the process we use for keyword research when determining new topics for OpenPhone:

Step 6: Go beyond SEO to deliver value to your community

While the focus of this post has been on SEO and getting more customers to discover you via Google, you have to keep in mind why you’re creating content in the first place.
For us, it’s all about helping fellow startups and small businesses grow.
Whether we do it by recommending how to set up your SMS workflows or sharing how we use Zapier, we want to make sure everything we put out there helps you succeed.
Creating high-quality and shareworthy content is above all else for us. Only truly useful content can earn backlinks and shares, increasing your SEO juice, and generating more visitors for your blog as a result. So please do let me know if you found this post useful. 🙂

Results

To sum it up, here are our results from February to September 2020. We’ve published 33 articles within this time. That’s 4.7 per month, on average. Our search traffic to the blog went from 500 to 30,000 visits per month. This doesn’t count any direct traffic to blog posts. We didn’t do any paid content promotion. And we didn’t ask for (or pay for) backlinks either.
18% of all our sign-ups for the month of August came directly from our blog. Let’s see what we have in store for September!

Conclusion

When done right, content and SEO can be a huge source of growth for early-stage startups. If you think this channel has a lot of potential for you, start right away. You have to start somewhere so don’t worry about making your first posts “perfect”. They never are. Consistency is far more important. If you can answer a question for your customer or a potential customer, you’ve got a useful piece of content that others might find valuable as well.
Hope you found this post useful. If you start a blog or write a post inspired by this, send it over to me. I’d love to see it!
submitted by darynak to Entrepreneur [link] [comments]


2020.09.24 21:36 darynak How We Grew Our SaaS Blog Traffic to 30k Monthly Visits in 6 Months [Case Study]

Hey EntrepreneurRideAlong!
Daryna from OpenPhone here. The person behind this post on here that helped us launch about 2 years ago --> https://www.reddit.com/EntrepreneurRideAlong/comments/8nu4fw/a_month_ago_i_quit_my_job_to_start_a_company/
You've been wonderful and I thought I'd give back in a small way.
In the last 6 months, we’ve been able to grow our blog’s search traffic from 500 to 30k monthly visits. This doesn’t count any direct traffic, by the way. And it was meaningful traffic too. In fact, 18% of our sign-ups in the month of August came from our blog, making content our 2nd highest growth channel.
While we’re still very early on this journey, I thought I’d share my learnings so far and how we got here. If you’re a founder getting started with SEO and content marketing, this post is for you. I wish I read it last year.
I'm pasting the content here but if you want to see the full post with all screenshots, check it out here:
How We Grew Our SaaS Blog Traffic to 30k Monthly Visits in 6 Months ⤴️
********

Why are we investing in content marketing?

We identified SEO and content marketing as a key growth channel for us for several reasons:
  1. High keyword search volume for terms related to business phone systems, VoIP, business phone solutions, etc. Thousands of people looking for what we’re building, how can we get in front of them?
  2. High intent. Folks already looking for a solution like ours have higher intent than those who we serve a FB / IG ad. We can convert many of them into customers.
  3. Fresh perspective. A lot of existing content on topics related to business telephony is very dated. We have a chance to become the go-to source for modern companies and folks who don’t want to be stuck in the past. For example, do you really need extensions in 2020? 🙂
  4. Compound impact. SEO is one of the few channels that compounds as you grow.
  5. Create once, distribute everywhere. This has been inspired by Jeff Chang‘s tweet below and holds true to how we think about content. A lot of articles we publish serve the double-duty of creating more value for existing customers and bringing on new customers. For example, we share our 25 business text message templates with all new users as a part of OpenPhone onboarding. It’s also bringing new customers to us via Google Search.

How we grew our blog to 30k monthly visits

Step 1: Started writing on Medium and forums

In late 2017 I set up a Medium account for OpenPhone. I had experience writing on my personal Medium before so it was the easiest way to get started. We hadn’t launched at that time so the handful of posts I wrote on Medium were pre-product and very much experimental.
I got ideas for what to write about from the questions I saw folks ask in different forums for startups and small businesses (our target audience).
Ultimately, I didn’t get many views on my Medium posts and put them on hold while we were in YC. It was only once I published about our experience at YC (meta, I know) that I saw the potential of content for OpenPhone. Surprisingly, a good number of folks discovered and signed up for OpenPhone through that post.
At the same time, I contributed to business telephony questions on Quora and Reddit.
While initially posting on Medium and online forums helped refine my writing skills, I wish we would have started with our own dedicated blog from day 1. This way, any content we published would live on our own domain and improve our site ranking. Instead, I contributed to Medium’s SEO.

Step 2: Set up our dedicated blog

In December 2019, we set up our dedicated blog (where you’re reading this post). It’s a simple WordPress blog hosted on WP Engine and with the Contentberg theme.
As you already know by now, I wish we set it up on day 1. Do me a favor and don’t make my mistake. Start writing on your own blog, not on Medium.

Step 3: First content on the blog

As soon as we had our blog ready to go, we had to make sure it doesn’t sit around empty. Besides importing some of the content from Medium, we had to start from scratch.
The first two articles we published were answers to the frequently asked questions from potential customers.
80+% of entrepreneurs use their personal phone numbers for business, which means that most folks get their first business phone number on OpenPhone. I’ve heard a lot of stories from customers who regretted using their personal cell # initially and thought that it would be useful to have them outlined in an article for any prospects we were already talking to. I didn’t want to copy and paste my answers all the time.
This article was inspired by an email I received from an OpenPhone customer. Turns out having your personal cell number easily available online is a very bad idea.
This prompted me to research data removal. I also learned that I had to scrape my own number from the Internet, too.
It turned out that this topic is relevant to other founders so when I posted my post on different forums, I got great feedback. I recently realized our post is ranked #2 on Google for this topic and has brought almost 5k visits in the last 6 months.

Step 4: Basic SEO research

In January 2020 I started trialing SEMrush. It was fun to couple my content instincts (from talking to customers) with insights into what people actually search for.
We started out with a simple principle. What search terms are bringing our competitors the most traffic? Of course, not all traffic is created equal. Some queries have high intent to purchase a solution while others have little to no intent. At this stage, I wanted to understand what others in our space were doing and where we can fit in.
If you’re using SEMrush, you can find this quickly from the Domain Overview section. Just type the URL of any competitor. Here are our current top organic keywords, as an example.
The topic of “voicemail greetings” quickly emerged as a good topic to cover. Several of our competitors like MightyCall, Telzio, and Talkroute had this topic bringing them a lot of traffic. That being said, a lot of the examples in their posts were outdated. We thought we could do better and created our collection of 21 voicemail greetings with text + audio examples for people to download.
Also, since setting up a custom voicemail greeting is a part of the onboarding flow for OpenPhone users, we included the link to this post in our onboarding. 1 piece of content —> multiple use cases.

Step 5: Create a content strategy

By February, we saw glimpses of success. We finished the month at around ~500 visits to our blog. Unlike paid acquisition, content takes time to rank and result in direct ROI. So while I was patient, I knew it was time to get help.
Thanks to Omri Mor (Co-Founder at Routable), I got connected to Taran Soodan who has been working with us on our content ever since.
Taran suggested the following content plan:
  1. Optimize existing posts ranking on the 2nd page of Google for high-volume keywords to quickly improve our search rankings and traffic
  2. Create content comparing OpenPhone with our competitors
  3. Create new content focused on topics relevant to OpenPhone + questions we get from our customers
Below I’ll share with you our exact steps.

1 – Optimize existing content

By March, we already had a handful of posts ranking on the second and third pages of Google for target terms.
We started with a handful of posts, but let’s look at how we optimized our 21 Professional Voicemail Greeting Examples post.
The post provides 21 valuable examples of good voicemail greetings. It’s a great post with lots of actionable examples. Seems like a slam dunk for SEO, right? At its best, it would only rank in the middle of the 2nd page on Google.
So why didn’t it rank even though it provides value? It was missing relevant keywords and didn’t have an intro.
As a part of our efforts to improve our ranking for “professional voicemail,” we ran a search in SEMrush using their Keyword Magic Tool to see which keywords we needed to include in our post. We could see from the below screenshot that we needed to include a few variations of the keyword.
Now that we knew which keywords to use, we updated the post. The original post didn’t have much of an intro section, so we added an intro and incorporated keywords from the research we did with SEMrush. Once we republished the post, we hit the first page of Google within 2 weeks. Within 2 months, we hit the #1 ranking for “business voicemail greeting.” And it’s still at #1.
Does it sound like what we did was really simple? That’s because it was. Content optimization is a good path to pursue because making just a few changes to existing posts that are already ranking can result in faster results than posting new articles.

2 – Create content comparing OpenPhone with competitors

At OpenPhone, we’re building a calling and messaging solution for startups and small businesses. From conversations with our customers, we knew they compared us with services like Google Voice, Dialpad, and RingCentral when making a choice.
We knew we needed to show the advantages of using OpenPhone and how we’re different.
The great thing about comparison pages is that folks searching for alternatives or looking to compare tools generally have high intent.
We know Google Voice is a popular VoIP service given it’s free. But that means it has a lot of limitations when used for business. So we used our blog post to highlight the limitations of Google Voice for folks looking for a better option.
That post ranks #1 for Google Voice alternative and it’s one of our best-converting blog posts right now. We’ve used the same principles to create content for other competitors.

3 – Create new content focused on topics relevant to OpenPhone

Tools like Google Trends, Ahrefs, and SEMrush can make it easy and fun to perform keyword research and see what topics people care about. I like combining that data with the things I learn when talking to customers as prospects. That way, the content we publish is relevant and useful to our target audience.
Here’s the process we use for keyword research when determining new topics for OpenPhone:

Step 6: Go beyond SEO to deliver value to your community

While the focus of this post has been on SEO and getting more customers to discover you via Google, you have to keep in mind why you’re creating content in the first place.
For us, it’s all about helping fellow startups and small businesses grow.
Whether we do it by recommending how to set up your SMS workflows or sharing how we use Zapier, we want to make sure everything we put out there helps you succeed.
Creating high-quality and shareworthy content is above all else for us. Only truly useful content can earn backlinks and shares, increasing your SEO juice, and generating more visitors for your blog as a result. So please do let me know if you found this post useful. 🙂

Results

To sum it up, here are our results from February to September 2020. We’ve published 33 articles within this time. That’s 4.7 per month, on average. Our search traffic to the blog went from 500 to 30,000 visits per month. This doesn’t count any direct traffic to blog posts. We didn’t do any paid content promotion. And we didn’t ask for (or pay for) backlinks either.
18% of all our sign-ups for the month of August came directly from our blog. Let’s see what we have in store for September!

Conclusion

When done right, content and SEO can be a huge source of growth for early-stage startups. If you think this channel has a lot of potential for you, start right away. You have to start somewhere so don’t worry about making your first posts “perfect”. They never are. Consistency is far more important. If you can answer a question for your customer or a potential customer, you’ve got a useful piece of content that others might find valuable as well.
Hope you found this post useful. If you start a blog or write a post inspired by this, send it over to me. I’d love to see it!
submitted by darynak to EntrepreneurRideAlong [link] [comments]


2020.09.20 02:22 Elementia7 Xenoblade Chronicles 2: But very poorly written.

Chapter 1: iS ThaT tHe XeNOBlaDE?
Our story begins in the sky that is also an ocean. A small, blue child is seen diving below. You know what, fuck it, who needs intros. His name is Ronx and he loves to pretend to eat. He arrives at capitalism to sell his shit. He gets called in by some fat guy named banana to do a job for a lot sheckles. He meets the gang that'll join him, for 10 minutes. We got malos, he doesn't like little shits. Next up is Sephir- I mean jin; he is a weeb. Finally we have the catgirl nia, she is a cat. Reex leaves without parental supervision to go die. Another nothing personal kid later he finds one of three big titty xenoblades and dukes it out against malos. He gets his ass kicked and goes to gormott.
Chapter 2: The land of cat people who also speak Scottish
Recks lands and walks to a salad town. Nia is kidnapped by a big titty fire chick and meets a pervert. Nia is saved after Rocks takes out an entire military airship. They are stopped by a scottish gal and the lesbian. They lose again and drop a water tower on the ladies. They meet a creepy uncle and get a boat that immediately gets eaten by a titan.
Chapter 3: RIP Vandham
The squad drops into the titan only to meet a guy. This hunky son of a bitch is vandham. He also dies in like 3 hours. They kill a spider and are attacked by a terrorist. He makes the pyro from tf2 orgasm and leaves. The gang heads out and meets ZEKE VON GENBU, CHAOTIC BRINGER OF CHAOS. Nobody actually knows him but he falls and isn't seen until later. They watch a play and our big titty sword is baited. We try to save her but vandham is now very dead. Riccs is big sad but then best waifu mythra shows up and nukes the boys. Also he leads a massive pmc but nobody cares.
Chapter 4: Tora gets character development
The gang stop some bad dudes from doing bad things and hit up Mor Ardain. After trumpets blast our ears we head after a robot maid that also karates good. We lose her and become best buds with the lesbians. We meet the CHAOTIC BRINGER OF CHAOS, ZEKE CON GENBU and he leaves. Rick Grimes from the walking dead finds a hidden factory making robots and learns that banana is bad guy. We beat him up and meet gun lady who has no pants and some guy who hits on all the girls. After a very intense action scene the scottish lesbians save the day and we nuke the shit out of them. They survive somehow and haze arrives.
Chapter 5: walking simulator plus jin is edgy
After dropping onto the vibin titans the gang visits rekk's hometown. Oh and his parents are dead. Anyway they leave and find Ozychlyrus Brounev Tantal and befriend him. With the squad complete they arrive at the totally not evil church cult. After walking a lot they learn that terrorists are using artillery to attack people for war. We go to beat the edgy kid up but then he gets super philosophical and he books it. Oh and haze gets shanked. Everyone is big sad then they leave for tantal.
Chapter 6: Somebody gets kidnapped again
Roncks and the crew head to theosoir only to be arrested because the pyro from tf2 is big danger. We save her but genbu is trying to commit sudoku because laser. We stop the big boy with a magic rubix cube but get stopped by the terrorists. We beat them up but then malos and jin show up to grab the cube. Malos is vibing but jin Nomura's their asses and rex becomes big sad. Everyone beats the shit out of him and he goes to the vibing titans to grab the op sword.
Chapter 7: The Third Xenoblade
Roxanne from pokemon ruby enters the big man himself and learns that zeke is also part blade. They find the sword but it breaks. Spooky ghosts try to kill them but cat lady becomes water cat lady and they leave. Once at the dead titan the group heads on in until they meet malos. He tries to kill them but with the power of friendship and cancer he dies. Until he doesn't and now jin is here. Ruby Rose from RWBY has character development and a fight ensues. With the power of friendship best girl spawns and animes jin. Then they fall.
Chapter 8: The race to god
After they fall jin acts like an edgy kid again and they travel through zombie town. Once they leave jin hops in with the boys and heads up the world tree. The squad climbs the very not natural tree to the skyport where indol is bad people and tries to kill everyone. The terrorists also have a massive fucking robot and fists the indoline titan. The gang get going to stop jin and malos while the big ass robot nukes itself and somehow somebody survived.
Chapter 9: Fuck you amalthus, you are one stupid motherfuckin piece of shit godammit I was stuck for almost a fucking day fuck you
Roxy from pokemon black and white along with the pals almost make it to the top but then jin tries to Nomura them but rox animes him back, then amalthus appears and reveals his evil plan. The edgy kid does something for once and commits death to the tentacle boy. And then he dies lmao murder is cringe bro.
Chapter 10: Ngl Rex is gonna have a threesome after this
We see modern stuff and klaus. Also he makes a multiverse but who cares lmao. Malos is like hey dad wtf. Klaus is like yo. Malos then tries to kill everything with big robot. The folks finally make it to a space station and arrive in elysium which is also a desert. Then they see bad stuff and god is like yo what's popping. He sees that humanity is fucking retarded but hey this kid seems cool. He shows them how to get to the hangar. They arrive for a final battle with malos. After beating him up with an entire orchestra he yeets out of the mech and in like, lmao what a simp, and dies. Ryu from street fighter along with the gang escape while the xenoblade nukes the big tree. Uncle Grandpa takes them to a big place that god just dropped in because fuck it and that's xenoblade chronicles 2 but very poorly written.
Holy shit this took like 3 hours.
submitted by Elementia7 to Xenoblade_Chronicles [link] [comments]


2020.09.02 19:25 MicaD-S FFXIV cinematics for the new player and nostalgia for the old.

For those new players I just wanted to compile all the trailers we have gotten because I think it would help you understand ffxiv a little better. No spoilers in the first half. Will warn you when they begin.
Original 2010 trailer
Our introduction to the derplander and crew. Shows us how Mor Dhona looked prior to the battle of silvertear lake and shows us the end of that battle when Midgardsomr takes down the Garlean ship which you now see in Mor Dhona.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzC510DpbU0

The End of an Era + Flames of Truth + A New Beginning
These are 2 trailers, both showing the End of an Era where we get to see the Battle of Carteneau, which is heavily discussed all throughout the game, the fall of Dalamud and the destruction of Bahamut. This is also one of the few remaining glimpses of the great Louisoux and him sending us Legacy players to the start of A Realm Reborn.
In the first you also get to see the extender version where Louisoux stopped the complete destruction of the realm.
And in the second it cuts away after we are teleported to the future and us Legacy players triumphant return to the realm. One really cute moment in this, is the lore behind the Legacy chocobo having blackened feathers is due to your chocobo having spent the 5 years between the Battle of Carteneau and your return searching for you. So when you whistle and your chocobo comes running squealing with joy, its one of those 'right in the feels' moments and still is why I often still use my legacy chocobo today.
Also the beardless Cid we knew and loved from version 1.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xOOFCltZuc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h542YbZuwkQ&t

*** This is where the spoilers really begin, you have been warned ***

Heavensward
The intro cinematic showing the events that ended ARR and our sojourn to Ishgard. Shows a lot of dark possible story lines, but the story was driven to be a little more light on the request of the higher ups at SE according to Yoshi P
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAoBojYsuOI

Stormblood
This cinematic trailer gives us our first glimpse at a mysterious protagonist, the Ala Mhigan territories and the far East. Also derplander got ripped and became known from here on out as the daddylander lol. Looking back on it now, this is also the least exciting trailer we have had thus far as it has very little substance and is mostly just "hey everyone look at the perdy".
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jt1h1MinlLI&t=

Shadowbringers
Likely the best cinematic we have gotten since the End of an Era, this cinematic is the most recent and shows the end of stormblood and our arrival in the First. As well as giving us glimpses at characters new and old. Gotta give Soken a shout out here as well for likely the best song this game has besides Answers, the theme of End of an Era. This is how a game trailer should be done. Full of substance while still showing off all the perdy.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tyuIh12_HU&t
submitted by MicaD-S to ffxiv [link] [comments]


2020.08.31 04:01 Riddler208 My Thoughts on XC:DE Having Played XC2 First [Spoilers for Both]

Intro

I initially picked up XC2 for the Holiday season it released, knowing nothing about the game or series ahead of time. I legit only saw the cover art and decided “man, that looks cool.” XC2 quickly became my favorite game on the Switch, and one of my top games ever, if not my top. It wasn’t until after finishing it that I learned of XC1. As I didn’t have a serviceable Wii at the time, I shelved the idea of going back and playing XC1. Until Definitive Edition was announced, and I finally resolved to getting it and playing through it. I’ve seen talk about play order and a lot more talk comparing the two. Thought I’d throw in my two cents as someone who played XC2 knowing nothing about the series then played XC:DE after. There’s probably gonna be a lot of words (edit after writing it all out: there’s a lot of words) so first, TL;DR: While I think XC:DE is overall a better game, XC2 was by far more enjoyable to me and will always be my favorite of the two.

Callbacks between XC2 and XC1

Ok, so I’m going to start off with this, mostly because I think this is the most unique insight I can give in terms of play order outside of just comparing the two games. I’ve seen a lot of people say that playing XC1 allows you to understand a lot of the callbacks in XC2. And while I can see how this is true, honestly I think nearly all of them work the same, but in opposite order, and there’s even an extra callback in XC:DE to XC2.
First off, the references/similarities between Shulk/Monado and Malos and Mythra. I’d argue that these absolutely work in the opposite direction. Hearing the Monado in XC:DE after listening to Malos’s art name spam for an entire game immediately had me on my toes. My initial thought was that a version of Malos was somehow gonna show up here, too, as I tried going into the game as blind as possible. Seeing then later in Chapter 1 that Shulk had Mythra’s Foresight with the Monado threw me for another loop, and got me a lot more invested in the origins of this Monado.
And Alvis. Good god, seeing that core crystal was a massive hype moment. I don’t know if it’s because I realized the connection to XC2, but Alvis quickly became one of my favorite characters. Of course, seeing the crystal I was able to piece together how he fit into the Monado problem (which made the first Telethia battle both more predictable but also kinda more hype, as I knew he was gonna start pulling out new abilities with the Monado) and I could begin fitting together the origins of the XC1 world, though a lot of it was still very much in question. In this way it didn’t spoil many of the major plot points and revelations outside of flashback stuff and that “I am Monado” line which was still awesome.
The only callback in XC2 that didn’t really work was hearing Shulk’s line from the Zanza battle coming from the Architect. Part of me wishes that DE would have added something in the reverse, like they added Alvis’s core crystal. The line as it’s played in XC2 really doesn’t stick out, so I didn’t remember it was a thing until I rewatched the Ch 10 cutscenes after playing DE. It’s a really cool callback if you’ve already played XC1/XC:DE. This is the only thing I can really say I really felt like I missed out on playing XC2 first.
Last up I wanna talk about the cutscene. Perhaps my favorite cutscene in either game, the “Birth of a Universe” scene. It doesn’t necessarily fit in this section, but it doesn’t really fit anywhere else and I really wanna talk about it. And honestly, I don’t quite know where I sit on this one yet. I like the rendition played in XC2 significantly more. To start with, the track that’s played with the XC2 version is one of my favorite tracks in the series. It fits the scene so well, and the DE version without any music behind it feels more… empty. For two, this is pretty much the only time I can say the voice acting was better in XC2 than in DE. But at the same time, I can’t write off the version in DE entirely. The two show very different versions of Klaus, and I think they’re both intrinsic to the games they’re in. the way Klaus is shown in XC2 feel much more human, especially with the extra context given. It shows he’s trying to do what he thinks is right, despite his actions being misguided- a pretty good representation of his Architect self. The version in DE, between sounding much more forceful and lacking the context in XC2, plays up his thirst for power a lot more, and shows how Zanza was born from Klaus. I think it’s the fact that both of these scenes show the same event, but at the same time show very different things, is why I love it so much.

Voice Acting

I wanna get this out of the way next, because I think it’s one of the most universally agreed upon aspects of XC. The Voice Acting in XC2 is… not good. Or, rather… the acting is good, but there is a very apparent lack of voice direction in the base game. It makes the dub very awkward to listen to at times. XC1/XC:DE, in comparison, have some very solid dubbing. Like, all of the main characters do an amazing job, and it’s a joy to listen to. that being said… TGC managed to have a really good dub, and makes we wonder why the base game was so bad.
Standout performances in each go to Xord and Malos to me. Xord’s VA just managed to nail every one of his lines and struck a balance between being menacing, slightly comedic, and very obviously somewhat mentally deranged. Malos’s VA, especially in TGC and Ch 10 of the base game, put so much ham into his performance but still managed to convey Malos’s snide amusement at the world that he stood out so much among all the other performances.

Main Story

In general I think XC1 had a better story. It was much more focused on what it wanted to say and accomplish, and it managed to do that. Each new area had its own story chunk that directly drove the overall story in a unique way.
XC2’s story felt more fragmented, in that it had a lot of plot threads that it wanted to handle at once. There was the overall goal of get to the world tree, but mixed in was the Torna and Amalthus plot lines, with all three not really converging until the end. And then there was also the matter of unlocking the full Aegis powers which, while similar to the need to get Monado II, was much more tangential to the other plot threads than Monado II ever was.
Both stories had their fair share of “filler” sections. XC2 had the entirety of Ch 4 on Gormott and Mor Ardain, while XC1/DE had the entire Juju section from Bionis Leg thorugh Ether Mines and the Telethia in Makna Forest. While I didn’t care much for any of these segments, Juju’s existence at all brings XC1/DE down a few pegs.

Characters

Alright so Imma just get it out of the way with early in this section. I think the characters in XC2 were more memorable than those in XC1/DE. Just comparing the main characters… Shulk to me is more likable but Rex has better character development overall. You can see Rex maturing throughout the game, especially when his character is challenged in the Ch 6-8 range. He starts off as a child who is thrust into being the driver of the Aegis seemingly by chance. And throughout the game, he has to learn how to deal with this. He has to grow up and become responsible not only for himself but for many, many others. He has to decide what he wants, learn what Pyra/Mythra want, and carry those burdens with him. All while being multiple years younger than even Shulk. This all comes to a head when he nearly quits his journey after Tantal, and he is given the final push by the party into accepting all of this, culminating in the events of the Spirit Crucible and later unlocking Pneuma.
This brings me to my biggest problem with XC1/DE. Zanza. The inclusion of Zanza as a second twist to the story (yes, second twist) undercuts so much of Shulk’s character development throughout the game, I almost wonder if the game wouldn’t be better if it just ended with the Egil fight. Shulk’s entire arc up to this point has been dealing with his internal conflict- he was unable to save Fiora, and he wanted revenge on all Mechon. And then we got the first plot twist on Prison Island- one that legitimately challenged Shulk’s character and made his change and grow. His arc is entirely flipped: Fiora is now alive, and Faced Mechon have Homs inside of them. Now, his quest for revenge is thrown into question: not only is Fiora, his reason for yearning for revenge, alive, but he can no longer just get his revenge by killing all of the Mechon. He insists on saving the Homs inside the Faces, despite being Mechon. He must now decide what to do once he saves Fiora. His arc is about working through his revenge and finding another way to solve all of their problems. And then Zanza is unveiled and it’s revealed that Zanza was inside Shulk the whole time! And not only that, but it’s very heavily implied that it was Zanza fanning the thirst for revenge inside Shulk. What had been a compelling internal struggle is undercut by a last minute twist villain who is suddenly responsible for everything. Even Egil’s development is undercut as his choice to join Shulk in peace is irrelevant after Zanza is revived.
As for side characters… the main side characters to receive tangible character arcs are Nia and Melia. Nia’s runs parallel to Rex in that she has to learn to accept who she is, and Melia’s is a journey for the confidence she needs to lead her people. Other than that most party characters felt pretty one dimensional… Fiora is the sickeningly sweet love interest, Reyn is the lovable meathead, Dunban is the father figure, Riki is the comedic relief Nopon, Sharla is the secondary love triangle female, Morag is the antagonist-turned-mother figure, Tora is the comedic relief Nopon, and Zeke is both the father figure and more comedic relief. Tora at least has Ch 4 to give him more development, showing a cool little arc where he and his father and grandfather worked through their inability to bond with core crystals and built their own blade. And Dunban has a nice thing in his relationship with Mumkhar, though that really benefits Mumkhar more than Dunban to me.
And for antagonists, Malos and Jin combined just have such a compelling dynamic between their motivations and relationship, they pretty much rival Egil. That is, before TGC. TGC adds sooo much more to both of their characters, it cements Jin as my favorite video game character period. Amalthus, Bana, Mumkhar, Xord, Loritihia, and Zanza are all pretty much one note villains to me. Only Dickson is left, a man who was always mysterious, and yet still charming.

Music

Let it be said that the music for both games slaps. That being said, I wholly believe XC2 has the better soundtrack. So many of the area themes are instantly memorable: Argentum, Torigoth, Gormott, Mor Ardain, Tantal, Leftheria, Indol, the World Tree, even Morytha. As much as I love Gaur Plains, Frontier Village, and Mechanical Rhythm, I can’t help but feel like the rest of the area themes fall short. The Unique monster theme in DE is better than both of the unique monster themes in XC2. As for the rest of the memorable tracks, DE has Engage the Enemy, which is easily my favorite track from DE, but has to compete against the trio of Counterattack, Drifting Soul, and One Last You. And this isn’t even counting TGC, which would be completely unfair, given how perfect the entire soundtrack is.

World Design

There’s no comparing them. They’re both too beautiful. Uraya, Satorl, Eryth, Leftheria… ok so maybe I just really love all the water areas but they’re all especially amazing.

Combat

Whew boy. This is probably going to be one of the more controversial sections. For as well made as the tutorials are and easy to understand the combat is, I can’t help but feel that XC1 is more clunky and basic. Granted, on the topic of complexity, I love a more complex combat system, so XC2 is going to come off better there. But there’s tow things about the DE combat that really annoy me. First, you have to constantly scroll back and forth to select arts. Having every single action mapped to a button or at worst two buttons away in XC2 makes combat so much more smooth. Secondly is the constant visions. While I like the concept, having the vision animation constantly interrupting combat or setting it into slow-mo for a few seconds grows tiring after a short time.

Miscellaneous

For the last section Imma just talk about all the smaller stuff that I haven’t yet- the stuff that isn’t comparable between games. The blade gacha system was cool at first but grew tiring, and this comes from someone who plays gacha games regularly. The Aux Core/Gem systems in each game are both unnecessarily annoying. I like how diverse the options are for both party systems, with a lot of arts for XC1 and a lot of blades for XC2. Merc missions I actually enjoyed in XC2 (except Ursula, fuck her). Field skills in XC2 suck. And lastly, I really hate how hard it is to 100% XC1/DE without knowing what to get when ahead of time. The fact that so many things become unavailable after story flags and that’s the only real reason to go through NG+ besides just wanting to replay the story rubs me the wrong way.

Conclusion

As I’m sure most of you do, I love both of these games. Xenoblade is by and far my favorite game series (and I’m seriously looking into trying to pick up the earlier Xeno games). XC2 is my favorite between the two games. It just has so much more personality to me, probably mostly because of the music (I’m a real sucker for good soundtracks in media). That being said, I think XC1/DE is a much safer recommendation, and a better overall game because of that. It does a lot right, and it has a widely compelling story and characters that has let it stay a classic among Nintendo titles.
submitted by Riddler208 to Xenoblade_Chronicles [link] [comments]


2020.08.27 05:54 The3Daku Unpopular opinion: Legend of korra is a shit-show and should not be canon

Now the title is extreme but I think it is necessary. There are so many glaring issues with the LOK that everyone seems to overlook. A few of these are:
The relationships In korra suck. A lot of the show is directed towards korras love relationship with mako and asami. It made the mistake of centralizing a area of a show that ATLA made sure to stay away from for the most part. The thing between asami and mako was stupid as it came up basically only as a roadblock for korra and makos relationship. And as we all know that ended like crap when he lied to korra when she lost her memory. What made this worse is that so many characters knew that they broke up that were in the room and they didn’t say ANYTHING. The only relationships that were good in my opinion was tensins relationship with his family and the befong family relationship. Maybe there were a few others that were decent but ehhh. That was literally it for now. Now on to character development. The avatar starts out as a naive girl who doesn’t have a solid understanding of the avatars duty. She’s brash and hard headed and then when we get to the end of the season and not much has changed. Her character development is equal in interest to a fried pear zucchini waffle that was marinated in pickle juice. If we talk about other characters then Batman, OH so sorry, I mean Makos personality is extremely generic. As for bolin, Every interesting thing that happened to him was shrugged of. Every chance of a interesting storyline was discarded. He has a abusive relationship? Let’s laugh that off. He has conflicted feelings about serving koviera because he thinks that her tyrannical reign might be preferable to the utter chaos and anarchy that he witnessed that came from zephyr? Hahahahhahahahah! That’s just bolin being dumb from the other characters point of view. Because koviera is pure evil blah blah blah blah blah. Now onto asami. Her whole intro is as I mentioned early just a wedge between mako and korra. She is generic pretty rich girl. I didn’t think she had a good character ark besides the thing with her father and the future industries Varik thing. Other than that she was just makos side piece and at the end of the story she and korra had a moment but nothing happened so it had to be confirmed by the writers after the show ended. They basically were like LGBT avatar at the last second so the show wouldn’t have any backlash if fans didn’t like it. I think they should have pushed it earlier in the season so the relationship could be mor flushed out. But hey that’s just me. Now I could get into the villains and plot things and why they suck but I’m done with this ted talk for now. And If you made it to the end then... well..... props to you.
submitted by The3Daku to TheLastAirbender [link] [comments]


2020.08.14 13:16 Moritary Metal music recommendations to deal with frustration

I dont know, if this is the right subreddit to post this but whatever.. As the title already suggest, I'm looking for some metal music recommendations, that helps to deal with frustration. I've been feeling down for the last few weeks/month now, and I feel like there's this constantly growing anger and frustration inside me, and I need to get that off instead of bottling it all up. So I'm looking for some new music to deal with it.
I like pretty much every metal genre, but I'm mostly into Melodic Death Metal and Black Metal, and I'm not the biggest fan of progressive metal, so please no songs with a length of like 10-15 min and 5+ minutes of intro. And please no alternative metal, metalcore, post hardcore, deathcore etc. I dont wanna start a debate here, there sure are some great bands in these genres. I just dont like them.
To give you a better idea, these are some bands that I really like: Insomnium, Mgla, Machine Head, Dark Tranquillity, Primordial, Mors Principium Est, Kreator, Trivium, This Ending, At The Gates, Kvelertak Amon Amarth, Audn, Schammasch, Anomalie, Avatar, Kataklysm, Lamb Of God ...and many many others

Thanks in advance for all recommendations \m/
submitted by Moritary to ifyoulikeblank [link] [comments]


2020.07.25 20:34 Flowbase Top Powerful Spell Cards

(Ignore the intro below if you just want to read the list)
(TLDR is at the Bottom)
Hello everyone, making this as a guide to show what I think the power house cards in this format are. To give a little background about me, I've been playing magic for 6 years, competitive magic for 3. Top 4 in a pauper side event in Las Vegas, Top 2 in my LGS store qualifier for standard with Izzet Wizards a few years ago. I am Diamond in historic on Arena, will be going for Mythic soon. And I brew and test constantly when I stream and offline.
Note: This is my opinion / hot take. I can be wrong, I just want to give my insight.
Ill order it by spells then permanents in another post. Ill list it by COLOR then TIERS of:
(S - Amazing, Meta defining, A - Good and very playable, and D - Playable)
I will not include sideboard cards, just things for main deck play. There are tons of sideboard tech out there, too many to name, also will not be naming adventure cards either.
EDIT: The reason these cards are S or A is because they CAN or DO more than the other alternatives.
:
Spells:
(Draw/Cantrip)
Explore [G] [A]
Frantic Inventory (U) [S]
Growth Spiral [UG] [A]
Village Rites [B] [S]
Of One Mind [U] [D]
Track Down [G] [D]
Foreboding Fruit [B] [D]
Thirst for Meaning [U] [A]
Winged Words [U] [A]
Distant Melody [U] [S]
Sphinx's Insight [UW] [A]
Hypothesizzle [UR] [A]
(Removal/Burn)
----------------
Edit:
Moment of Craving [B] [A]
----------------
Final Payment [WB] [B]
Grasp of Darkness [B] [S]
Heartfire [R] [S]
Collateral Damage [R] [A]
Fruit of Tizerus [B] [D]
Innocent Blood [B] [A]
Ram Through [G] [S]
Scorching Dragonfire [R] [S]
Swift Response [W] [A]
Vicious Offering [B] [A]
Ob Nixilis's Cruelty [B] [S]
Savage Smash [GR] [A]
Skewer the Critics [R] [S]
Suffocating Fumes [B] [A]
Artful Takedown [UB] [D]
Bake into a Pie [B] [S]
Blood Curdle [B] [A]
Chandra's Outrage [R] [A]
Flame Lash [R] [S]
Tendrils of Corruption [B] [A]
Last Gasp [B] [S]
(Utility)
Cloudshift [W] [S]
Karametra's Blessing [W] [S]
Applied Biomancy [UG] [D]
Lofty Denial [U] [A]
Momentary Blink [W flashback U] [S]
Quench [U] [S]
Teferi's Time Twist [U] [A]
Fortify [W] [S]
Soul Salvage [B] [A]
Devious Cover-Up [U] [S]
Goblin Wizardry [R] [S]
Memory Drain [U] [A]
Syncopate [U] [A]
Blink of an Eye [U] [S]
------------------------------------------
TLDR: Here are all the S Tier spells that I think define the format:
-----------------
EDIT:
Murder [B] [S]
-----------------
Frantic Inventory (U) [S]
Village Rites [B] [S]
Distant Melody [U] [S]
Grasp of Darkness [B] [S]
Heartfire [R] [S]
Ram Through [G] [S]
Scorching Dragonfire [R] [S]
Ob Nixilis's Cruelty [B] [S]
Skewer the Critics [R] [S]
Bake into a Pie [B] [S]
Flame Lash [R] [S]
Last Gasp [B] [S]
Cloudshift [W] [S]
Karametra's Blessing [W] [S]
Momentary Blink [W flashback U] [S]
Quench [U] [S]
Fortify [W] [S]
Devious Cover-Up [U] [S]
Goblin Wizardry [R] [S]
Blink of an Eye [U] [S]

submitted by Flowbase to PauperArena [link] [comments]


2020.07.24 05:14 metalmike6666 I challenge you! Need a suggestion for a decently priced Speaker AMP

Ok, So I have a problem. I'm into tech death metal mainly, with a sprinkling of progressive rock/metal and other various genres thrown in... The issue is that I cannot seem to find reviews of various amps for my kind of music. Why does that matter you ask? Well, because the stuff I listen to is incredibly dynamic. So while an amp may do well in the clean parts it suffers horribly when the fast as hell double bass kicks in.
As an example I picked up an SMSL SA300 because all the reviews I saw about it praised it's clarity and what-not. Yeah apparently they didn't attempt to play anything remotely challenging with it because it fell apart completely when the fast double bass kicked in. Soooo boomy, and empty sound with absolutely NO punch at all. Even when EQ'ed it raises bass in the 100-130hz range. Who the hell wants that raised??? That's the boomy ugly bass. The Bluetooth is garbage with static on vocals and symbol hits, but that could be my phone I guess? But even through analogue or the onboard DAC It's horrible, not musical sounding at all in a more general sense, and just hot garbage. The highs were clean though with no distortion through analogue or the DAC, yay I guess? In short, I'm returning it
I currently use an original lepai LP-2020A+ and while it executes those blazing fast double bass hits quite well, it suffers from some distortion on the highs. It also can't get very loud before it loses itself. I'm driving a pair of klipsch rp160m's. I ran them also through an ancient Aiwa "hifi" (LoL ok Aiwa, sure) amp I had laying around from the late 90's I think haha, and they sound shockingly outstanding but again the distortion on sharp cymbal hits is pretty in your face and hard to ignore. BUT it did a fantastic job with punchy great sounding bass drums.
I apologize for the wall of text, but I'm at my wits end with figuring out what I should buy. I know my speakers are capable of achieving the sound I want because I'm not far off. If you have a couple minutes to yourself, listen to this and see how your system handles it. I heard it first hand bring a Rega Brio to it's knees and fall apart on the low end. So I know price does not indicate ability.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMorAdnCixg
Sections to note for testing (if your willing?)
The intro is beautiful in my opinion, and probably will sound lovely on almost anything.
2:21 Gets pretty heavy, a lot of different sounds coming in here, mid paced bass hits, nice bassline and various noises make this part tough to pull at high volumes.
2:48 take everything I said before and now add blazing fast double bass and two vocalists singing at the same time. Can you get it clean sounding AND punchy kick drums at a decent volume?
5:14-6:08 Awesomeness ensues, but can you get this as crisp as it should be, intricate guitabass palm muted riffing synced with the kick, and a violin playing through it all.
I'm willing to spend up to $400, maybe a bit more if someone can just confirm the amp is capable of achieving what I'm looking for. I'm sorry for being so wordy on my first post here, I'm just not sure what to grab and no review seems to cover what I listen to. I truly appreciate any time you can spare towards helping me.
submitted by metalmike6666 to BudgetAudiophile [link] [comments]


2020.07.07 05:42 skwunk1 After my most recent rewatch, I ranked every episode of the show

https://www.imdb.com/list/ls098051790/
Not sure if this was worth it, but I had fun doing it as this is my favourite show of all time. The episodes that my opinion increased on the most after this rewatch were "YHWH", "SNAFU", "RAM", "Terra Incognita", "6,741", "Mors Praematura", "Cura Te Ipsum" (mostly just forgot how good that episode was), and even though it is ranked fairly lowly compared to the others, "A More Perfect Union" was one that I enjoyed a lot more during this rewatch.


Arbitrary category time!
Episode with the best action: Relevance
Episode with the tightest script: RAM
Episode with the best editing: Tie between If-Then-Else and Terra Incognita
Best season finale: Deus Ex Machina (not including Return 0 in that category)
Episode with best one off case: Tie between No Good Deed (he shows up in a simulation later but I'm not really counting that), Razgovor, Mors Praematura, 4C, Search and Destroy and Cura Te Ipsum. This was definitely the toughest category to choose.
Episode with the best cinematography: Tie between The Devil's Share and Terra Incognita
Episode with my favourite Ending: Tie between The Devil's Share, Terra Incognita, Deus Ex Machina and Relevance (I love "Do you think she'll call us a taxi?" more than I should). This might've been a tougher category actually.
Episode with my favourite intro: Tie between Zero Day, RAM and any episode in season 5 with Greer narrating.
Best 3+ episode arc: S3 E8-10, the generic choice but it is so good.
Best twist: Okay this is probably the hardest category, I lied about the last two. Any of Witness, Firewall, Deus Ex Machina (specifically "This wasn't about winning, it was just about surviving") any of the "twists" in If-Then-Else, and of course "Right building Finch" in Return 0. If I had to choose one I guess it would be Return 0 but I really don't want to choose one.Also honourable mention to Terra Incognita's "you're time is running out" and 6,741's big reveal, they lose points for being fairly obvious but they weren't really meant to be unexpected, more significant character moments for John, Samaratin and Shaw.
Best use of licensed music: Okay maybe the hardest category to choose is which category is the hardest to choose. You could honestly list any use of licensed music and it would be a justifiable choice. I'm just gonna list a few of my favourites, The Devil's Share (all 3), RAM (I Might Be Wrong), Deus Ex Machina (Exit Music (for a film)), Return 0 (both songs), Witness (Sinnerman), YHWH (Welcome to the Machine may be about how the music industry fails its artists by controlling their image and their personality but come on, machine's in the title and that scene is awesome), Terra Incognita (Happy New Year by Nat King Cole) and Prisoner's Dilemma (Eminence Front).
Best use of OST: Yeah the hardest category to choose is definitely which one of these random categories I came up with is the hardest to choose. Firewall's use of "Listening With a Million Ears" is stellar, Asylum's use of "YHWH" is incredibly cinematic and If-Then-Else's "Til Death Do Us Part" is possibly the most memorable OST of the show, repurposing Shaw's theme.

At this point I don't know what the purpose of this post was, but at least if you read this wall of text you know the opinions of some random 18 year old on his favourite show. I guess I was bored.
submitted by skwunk1 to PersonOfInterest [link] [comments]


2020.06.21 00:52 Le_Bleizy The Paladin Oath of Crusade, when you want to burn your foes to the ground, and the Oath of Inquisition, to play a violent inquisitor

As I made the V4 of the Oath of Crusade, I ended up creating two different subclast with mostly similar mechanic but slightly different flavour :
The Oath of Crusade
The Oath of Inquisition

Differences between the two :
- Flavour (first tenet and intro)
- Oath spells
- One of the Channel Divinity option

Update from V3 for the Oath of Crusade :
- Oath spells have been modified
- Changed of the number of creatures targeted by the channel divinity : Zealous acusation from 3 + Ch Mod. to Ch Mod (minimum of 1)
- The Aura of Brutality can only be used once per turn now
- Modified the Unrelenting feature wich can no longer be back on short rest but can be used even if you would have been killed outright
submitted by Le_Bleizy to UnearthedArcana [link] [comments]


2020.06.17 00:42 p3p3ron Black skaters, Black-owned businesses and stories to follow and support

I originally posted this to Rollerblading but a lot of this information can be useful for quad skaters as well, trying to share this with as many people as possible. If you have more Black-owned businesses you'd like to add, please comment below and I'll add them to this list! The original list is mostly inline skaters, but please recommend anyone to add, ESPECIALLY women and non-binary folk. Thank you!
Trying to find information about Black skaters on Google is plain difficult and sad, I’d say over 90% of results are listings for buying black skates, or stock images of Black people skating. It goes to show how little representation the sport offers Black culture, when Black culture and music is so deeply integrated into the sport.
Here's a list of Black skaters, Black-owned businesses and stories to follow and support:
Before the rest of the world knew who they were, the pioneers of rap, including Dr. Dre, Queen Latifa, and N.W.A., got their starts performing in rinks, Skateland, a well-known rink in Northridge, was the venue for a memorable N.W.A performance later depicted in the biopic Straight Outta Compton. Source.
CHANGELOG 6/16 10:35p EST fixed formatting, added 1 section. 6/17 12:29a EST added 5 new sections. 6/17 1:23p EST added 7 new sections. 6/17 1:40p EST added 1 section. 6/19 9:17p EST added 5 sections. 6/19 9:45p EST added 1 section. 6/23 10:53p EST added 2 sections. 6/24 5:30p EST added 2 sections. 6/28 3:50a EST added 1 section. 6/26 8:20p EST added 3 sections. 7/3 7:55p EST added 1 section, updated another. 7/6 2:00p EST added 1 section.
submitted by p3p3ron to Rollerskating [link] [comments]


2020.06.16 21:15 p3p3ron Black skaters, Black-owned businesses and stories to follow and support

I posted this as a comment over on the Black Lives Matter sticky, but I want this to be it's own post so it reaches as many people as possible. If you have more businesses and skaters you'd like to add, please comment below and I'll add them to this list! Looking especially hard for women or NB skaters!!
Trying to find information about Black skaters on Google is plain difficult and sad, I’d say over 90% of results are listings for buying black skates, or stock images of Black people skating. It goes to show how little representation the sport offers Black culture, when Black culture and music is so deeply integrated into the sport.
Here's a list of Black skaters, Black-owned businesses and stories to follow and support:
Before the rest of the world knew who they were, the pioneers of rap, including Dr. Dre, Queen Latifa, and N.W.A., got their starts performing in rinks, Skateland, a well-known rink in Northridge, was the venue for a memorable N.W.A performance later depicted in the biopic Straight Outta Compton. Source.
CHANGELOG - 6/16 3:50p EST - added 8 new sections. 6/16 4:20p EST - added 2 new sections and expanded on David Miles. 6/16 5:40p EST - added 9 new sections. 6/16 6:00p EST - added 7 new sections. 6/16 10:30p EST fixed formatting, added 1 section. 6/16 11:45p EST added 5 sections. 6/17 1:10a EST added 1 section. 6/17 10:50a EST added 3 sections. 6/17 12:50p EST added 2 sections. 6/17 1:22p EST added 1 section. 6/17 1:40p EST added 1 section. 6/19 9:15p EST added 5 sections. 6/19 9:45p EST added 1 section. 6/22 8:20p EST added 1 section. 6/23 10:53p EST added 1 section. 6/24 5:30p EST added 2 sections. 6/26 8:20p EST added 3 sections. 6/28 3:50a EST added 1 section. 7/3 7:55p EST added 1 section, updated another. 7/6 2:00p EST added 1 section.
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2020.04.22 12:14 takvertheseawitch Earthsea Reread: The Farthest Shore Chapter 11, "Selidor"

Hello everyone. Welcome back to the ursulakleguin Earthsea Reread. We are currently reading the third book, The Farthest Shore, and this post is for chapter eleven, "Selidor." If you're wondering what this is all about, check out the introduction post, which also contains links to every post in the series so far.
Previously: Chapter Ten, "The Dragon's Run."

Chapter Eleven: Selidor

They come to Selidor, the last isle in the west. No humans live here. The dragon Orm and the hero Erreth-Akbe both died here centuries ago, having slain each other. Everything comes full circle. In Earthsea there are always repeats, echoes, cycles.
Arren recalls his father's throne room, which has a map of all Earthsea painted on two adjacent walls, and how Selidor was at the very edge of the map. It occurs to me that the corner of the wall is very much like the two pages of a book meeting at the spine. So the map Arren remembers is folded like the one I remember.
They beach Lookfar, and Arren belts on his sword, "this time with no questions in his mind as to whether or not he should do so." The reader will remember that this sword has a lineage which goes back all the way to Serriadh. It names Arren the son of Morred. At the beginning of the journey he said it made him feel like a fool, but now he has grown into it.
Ged stops at a clean sandy dell, and asks Arren to stand guard while he sleeps, since he was awake all night.
Orm Embar arrives while Ged is napping.
It alighted on huge talons on the summit of the dune. Against the sun the great head was black, with fiery glints.
The dragon crawled a little way down the slope and spoke. "Agni Lebannen," it said.
Standing between it and Ged, Arren answered: "Orm Embar." And he held his bare sword in his hand.
Safe to say he wouldn't have been capable of such nerve at the start of their journey. He really has grown into a man. He still doesn't realize the dragon is naming him king, though. Agni.
Unbelievably, Ged does not wake up for any of this. I've said before that man could sleep anywhere. Orm Embar settles down to wait ("Arren was aware of his yellow eye, not ten feet away.") And as neither mage nor dragon stir, eventually Arren slips into sleep as well. He wakes up after Ged does.
The mage, the dragon, the king. All three are there. But as Ged begins to speak with Orm Embar, Arren draws his sword, seeing a fourth.
There stood, bright lit by sunlight, the faint wind stirring his garments slightly, a man. He stood still as a carven figure except for that flutter of the hem and hood of his light cloak. His hair was long and black, falling in a mass of glossy curls; he was broad-shouldered and tall, a strong, comely man. His eyes seemed to look out over them, at the sea. He smiled.
Yes, it is the enemy. He does a bit of typical monologuing, mostly focused on Ged. Arren he dismisses as "a prentice mage no doubt." Ged answers in kind. The conversation ends as soon as Ged raises his staff; the man vanishes. It was only a sending, Ged explains.
"A presentment or image of the man. It can speak and hear, but there's no power in it. . . . Nor is it true even in seeming, unless the sender so wishes. We have not seen what he now looks like, I guess."
No. . . given the themes of the book so far, it is hard to believe that a man who attempts to deny death could be so handsome and full of life as the figure they saw.
As sendings may not cross the water, their enemy is somewhere on Selidor. Orm Embar agrees to hunt him down. Ged calls the dragon the Lord of Selidor, and kneels to him. Rising, he tells Arren, "Now you have seen me kneel. And maybe you'll see me kneel once more, before the end." Arren doesn't ask what he means, though he mistakes it for an evil omen.
They head inland until nightfall, when they make camp. In the night they are visited by the silent spirits of the dead, a dark crowd of them. They do nothing, but silently watch until Ged banishes them ("O you who have lived, go free!") It was the enemy's doing, but Arren asks how it was done.
"They come at his summoning. This is what he promises: eternal life. At his word they may return. At his bidding they must walk upon the hills of life, though they cannot stir a blade of grass."
Does that mean their enemy is also dead, then? No, says Ged. A dead man could not have done that. ("He has the powers of a living man; and more.") Arren finds the shadows terribly frightening, which Ged understands.
"You fear them because you fear death, and rightly: for death is terrible and must be feared. . . . And life also is a terrible thing," Ged said, "and must be feared and praised."
Ged tells Arren that the enemy will inevitably lead them into the land of death. He gives Arren a chance to choose whether he wishes to go on, warning that he is not sure of the outcome ("I think I have met my match.") Arren answers three times yes, saying "I will go with you," and again "I will go with you," and finally "I will return with you." Despite Ged's deception and sometimes-harshness; despite the danger; despite his own terror of death, Arren has always answered yes. He has always consented. And now he knows that he is strong. He will not turn back now.
The next morning they go on walking, without much purpose, since they are waiting on news from Orm Embar. The isle of Selidor has not only no humans living on it, but also few animals. It is nothing but desolate, grassy hills and silent marshes. Arren, feeling on edge, eventually bursts out "This land is as dead as the land of death itself!"
"Do not say that," the mage said sharply. He strode on a while and then went on, in a changed voice, "Look at this land; look about you. This is your kingdom, the kingdom of life. This is your immortality. Look at the hills, the mortal hills. They do not endure forever. The hills with the living grass on them, and the streams of water running. . . . In all the world, in all the worlds, in all the immensity of time, there is no other like each of those streams, rising cold out of the earth where no eye sees it, running through the sunlight and the darkness to the sea. Deep are the springs of being, deeper than life, than death. . . ."
He stopped, but in his eyes as he looked at Arren and at the sunlit hills, there was a great, wordless, grieving love. And Arren saw that, and seeing it saw him, saw him for the first time whole, as he was.
"I cannot say what I mean," Ged said unhappily.
But Arren thought of that first hour in the Fountain Court, of the man who had knelt by the running water of the fountain; and joy, as clear as that remembered water, welled up in him. He looked at his companion and said, "I have given my love to what is worthy of love. Is that not the kingdom and the unperishing spring?"
"Aye, lad," said Ged, gently and with pain.
What a beautiful, moving passage. I think for Le Guin, love is always tied up with pain. Think of how much it hurt Ged and Tenar to love each other, after they escaped from the Tombs. Joy and love and pain and loss, all together, mixed up. And don't overlook that Arren has seen Ged for the first time as a person, as simply himself.
Arren sees the land around him with new eyes now ("the living splendor that was revealed around him.")
That night, the dead come again. Arren recognizes one of the spirits as Sopli.
Next morning, Orm Embar flies overhead, but something is wrong: his speech has been taken from him. He has met the enemy and been stricken by him. But unlike the dragons they saw on the Dragons' Run, he still has his mind. Ged and Arren follow Orm Embar to the western edge of Selidor, which is the westernmost isle of the world ('the end of earth.") There they find the bones of the great dragon Orm, and the silent spirit of Erreth-Akbe. Everything comes full circle. Ged weeps that Erreth-Akbe's spirit has been summoned by the enemy, and sets it free.
Ged summons the enemy to come to him, a great spell, but it is missing the enemy's name. This is curious, because in an earlier chapter, he said that he did learn Cob's true name, and that he still remembered it. So why does Ged not use it here? Could the enemy's name have changed, from the powers he's used and the times he's walked in death?
But even without the name, the enemy comes, wearing that same handsome form. He is holding an enchanted blade. He says he has come by his own choice, which might even be true. Ged and Arren both seem to be frozen in place, as he reaches out to kill them. But Orm Embar gets there first.
. . . the great body of the dragon came in one writhing leap and plunged down full-force upon the other, so that the charmed steel blade entered into the dragon's mailed breast to its full length: but the man was borne down under his weight and crushed and burnt.
The great dragon cannot survive the piercing of the enchanted blade. Here's where history diverges. Orm Embar has killed his enemy, as his father Orm had before him; and been killed in return; as his father Orm had also been, even in this same spot on this same isle; but this man does not die even in death.
. . . there lay something ugly and shriveled, like the body of a big spider dried up in its web. It had been burned by the dragon's breath and crushed by his taloned feet. Yet, as Arren watched, it moved. It crawled away a little from the dragon.
The face lifted up toward them. There was no comeliness left in it, only ruin, old age that had outlived old age. The mouth was withered. The sockets of the eyes were empty and had long been empty. So Ged and Arren saw at last the living face of their enemy.
This man has died before. We know it. Orm Embar reported it, saying that the dragons were afraid of him because he always came back from death. Now he is going to do whatever it is that he does, to come back from life. A doorway opens before him, into the dry land. He crawls through, straightens up as if stronger, and walks on, further down the slopes of death. Ged and Arren follow.
Next: Chapter Twelve, "The Dry Land."
Thank you for reading along with me. Please share your thoughts in the comments.
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2020.04.21 03:30 takvertheseawitch Earthsea Reread: The Farthest Shore Chapter 10, "The Dragons' Run"

Hello everyone. Welcome back to the ursulakleguin Earthsea Reread. We are currently reading the third book, The Farthest Shore, and this post is for chapter ten, "The Dragons' Run." If you're wondering what this is all about, check out the introduction post, which also contains links to every post in the series so far.
Previously: Chapter Nine, "Orm Embar."

Chapter Ten: The Dragons' Run

Sparrowhawk and Arren sail at last to the isles of the Dragon's Run, where Orm Embar has led them.
As Lookfar approached the islands, Arren saw the dragons soaring and circling on the morning wind, and his heart leapt up with them with a joy, a joy of fulfillment, that was like pain. All the glory of mortality was in that flight. Their beauty was made up of terrible strength, utter wildness, and the grace of reason. For these were thinking creatures, with speech and ancient wisdom: in the patterns of their flight there was a fierce, willed concord.
Arren did not speak, but he thought: I do not care what comes after; I have seen the dragons on the wind of morning.
It is a profound spiritual experience and an unforgettable ecstasy, one which Sparrowhawk has spoken of before. In an earlier chapter I tried to speculate what on our earth the dragons could be said to represent. Perhaps it is joy-in-life (though it is probably not just one thing.)
Observing certain features of their flight ("At times the patterns jarred, and the circles broke,") Sparrowhawk says that the dragons are angry. ("They dance their anger on the wind.")
And when the dragons spot Lookfar, some of them fly straight toward it with what I can only suppose is vicious intent. But Sparrowhawk raises his staff and speaks aloud words that halt or scatter all of them, except one, who buzzes the boat twice before passing on. When Arren looks at the Archmage, his hair has gone white, being scorched by the dragon's breath.
Now Sparrowhawk amends, or adds to, his diagnosis of angry.
"They seem mad or bewildered. They did not speak. Never have I met a dragon who did not speak before it struck, if only to torment its prey. . . . Now we must go forward. Do not look them in the eye, Arren. Turn aside your face if you must."
Alas, yes. One by one we've been presented with parts of the world we might have hoped would be safe from the world's evil: Innocent, isolated Children of the Open Sea; Roke, full of power and wisdom, at the center of the world; and now the dragons. All have been affected. No one is safe. They all live in the world.
To drive the point home, they soon come upon an "evil sight," a dying dragon. It has been attacked and partially devoured by other dragons. Arren asks if they normally eat their own kind.
"No. No more than we do. They have been driven mad. Their speech has been taken from them. They who spoke before men spoke, they who are older than any living thing—the children of Segoy—they have been driven to the dumb terror of the beasts. Ah! Kalessin! Where have your wings borne you? Have you lived to see your race learn shame?"
There is not much time for talk. The Dragons' Run is not only dangerous because of the dragons. It is also super difficult to sail, "a maze of blue channels and green shoals" which demand all of their attention to guide Lookfar safely through.
Some of these [rocks and reefs] lay low, under or half-under the wash of the waves, covered with anemone and barnacle and ribbony sea fern; like water-monsters, shelled or sinuous. Others stood up in cliff and pinnacle sheer from the sea, and these were arches and half-arches, carven towers, fantastic shapes of animals, boar's backs and serpent's heads, all huge, deformed, diffuse, as if life writhed half-conscious in the rocks. The sea-waves beat on them with a sound like breathing, and they were wet with the bright, bitter spray.
Gorgeous description. Can't you just see it in your mind's eye? I imagine she got some of this from the Oregon coast. They sail past one particular rock which looks like a man from one side, but when they pass it and look behind, it's a cave. The rise and fall of the sea water inside the cave sounds like a repeated word which Arren hears as ahm, the beginning, but Sparrowhawk hears as ohb, the end. Sometimes you don't have to be subtle to make your symbolism work.
Past the reef maze and rock sculptures, they come to "an island like a tower" with black cliffs. Sparrowhawk says it is the Keep of Kalessin. Who is Kalessin? "The eldest," says Sparrowhawk. The attentive reader may also recall that Kalessin is one of the two dragons who knows Ged's true name, the other being Orm Embar.
On the other side of the Keep of Kalessin, then, Orm Embar meets them, hovering over Lookfar to speak with Sparrowhawk. They are talking in the Speech of the Making, of course, which Arren always feels on the edge of understanding, but never quite. He hears Sparrowhawk ask, Aro Kalessin? Then, a little later, Sparrowhawk summons Arren forward with his true name.
"Lebannen," he said, and the boy got up and came forward, though he wanted to go not one step closer to those fifteen-foot jaws and the long, slit-pupilled, yellow-green eyes that burned upon him from the air.
Sparrowhawk said nothing to him, but put a hand on his shoulder, and spoke again to the dragon, briefly.
"Lebannen," said the vast voice with no passion in it. "Agni Lebannen!"
He looked up; the pressure of the mage's hand reminded him, and he avoided the gaze of the green-gold eyes.
He could not speak the Old Speech, but he was not dumb. "I greet thee, Orm Embar, Lord Dragon," he said clearly, as one prince greets another.
Then there was a silence, and Arren's heart beat hard and labored. But Sparrowhawk, standing by him, smiled.
The rest of the conversation is between the dragon and the mage, until finally Orm Embar departs. Sparrowhawk tells Arren what had been said, or rather part of it, for he doesn't say what the dragon thought of Arren, or what Agni means. Apparently Orm Embar has said that their enemy "is and is not" on Selidor.
"It is hard for a dragon to speak plainly. They do not have plain minds. And even when one of them would speak the truth to a man, which is seldom, he does not know how truth looks to a man. So I asked him, 'Even as thy father Orm is on Selidor?' For as you know, there Orm and Erreth-Akbe died in battle. And he answered, 'No and yes. You will find him on Selidor, but not on Selidor.'"
So: He is and isn't on Selidor, and he is and isn't dead. Bit of a riddle there, though not an unsolvable one.
Orm Embar also said that the Enemy has been among the dragons, and is unafraid of them, for when they kill him, he simply comes back alive. Sounds like their guy, all right. He is of course the reason the dragons have lost their speech; he has taken it from them. As for where Kalessin might be, Orm Embar only said, "In the west."
"So then I ceased my questions, and he asked his, saying, 'I flew over Kaltuel returning north, and over the Toringates. On Kaltuel I saw villagers killing a baby on an altar stone, and on Ingat I saw a sorcerer killed by his townsfolk throwing stones at him. Will they eat the baby, think you, Ged? Will the sorcerer come back from death and throw stones at his townsfolk? . . . The sense has gone out of things. There is a hole in the world and the sea is running out of it. The light is running out. We will be left in the dry land. There will be no more speaking and no more dying.'"
It's just like everyone else has said. A hole in the world. But Arren is disturbed for another reason: Sparrowhawk just told him his true name, in such a way that it sounded like an accident. It makes him think of Akaren. But Sparrowhawk reassures him, saying "You will need my true name, if we go where we must go. . . . There, all must bear their own true names." He is speaking of the land of the dead, but he also tells Arren that it is not the dead only who bear their true names.
"Those who can be most hurt, the most vulnerable: those who have given love and do not take it back, they speak each other's names. The faithful-hearted, the givers of life. . . . "
This is a lesson that Arren will take to heart. In Tehanu he bears his true name openly.
For now, a weary Arren soon falls asleep, but Ged stays up, speaking softly to the sleeping boy, and to himself. He speaks openly for the first time of his intention that Arren should become king.
". . . And thou must go thy way, not mine. Yet will thy kingship be, in part, my own. For I knew thee first. I knew thee first! They will praise me more for that in afterdays than for any thing I did of magery."
All the signs were there, from the very first chapter, when he called Arren the son of Morred, and in many other places, but it's never been explicitly referred to until now. Even in the conversation on the rafts, when he told Arren he was using his innocence and fear of death as his guide toward the enemy, Ged never mentioned this (and still has not, at least not for Arren to hear.) These then are the two secret reasons that Arren did not know of, when he agreed to accompany the Archmage on his quest. Reframe all the events of the novel so far, as a journey a young provincial prince takes to become stronger, to become wiser, to have his loyalties grow broader (as indeed they have), to become more ready to be king. Guided and protected by Sparrowhawk.
Presently, as he sat with the guide-rope in his hand and watched the full sail strain reddened in the last light of the west, he spoke again softly. "Not in Havnor would I be and not in Roke. It is time to be done with power. To drop the old toys and go on. It is time that I went home. I would see Tenar. I would see Ogion and speak with him before he dies, in the house on the cliffs of Re Albi. I crave to walk on the mountain, the mountain of Gont, in the forests, in the autumn when the leaves are bright. There is no kingdom like the forests. It is time I went there, went in silence, went alone. And maybe there, I would learn what not act or art or power can teach me, what I have never learned."
I'm not crying, you are. I had forgotten that Ged said this. Time to go home, to be done with the life of doing, and try the life of being that Ogion offered him when he was very young. An ending, but an ending consented to. Can we be that fortunate? That's all for now, folks. We'll pick it up next time.
Next: Chapter Eleven, "Selidor."
Thank you for reading along with me. Please share your thoughts in the comments.
submitted by takvertheseawitch to UrsulaKLeGuin [link] [comments]


2020.04.10 18:48 takvertheseawitch Earthsea Reread: The Farthest Shore Chapter 6, "Lorbanery"

Hello everyone. Welcome back to the ursulakleguin Earthsea Reread. We are currently reading the third book, The Farthest Shore, and this post is for the sixth chapter, "Lorbanery." If you're wondering what this is all about, check out the introduction post, which also contains links to every post in the series so far.
Previously: Chapter Five, "Sea Dreams."

Chapter Six: Lorbanery

Sparrowhawk and Arren are in Lorbanery, which is, honestly, just as shitty of a place as Hort Town was, only more provincial and less populous. They are sitting uncomfortably at the sole inn, in the presence of the mayor and about eight other sour locals who don't want them there. Arren is plucking idly at a lute, while Sparrowhawk is attempting to gather information, with some success.
The locals all agree that there has never been any such thing as wizardry in Lorbanery. Yet their general malaise, and the lament they have for how bad things have been the last few years, sounds very like the kinds of things we heard in Hort Town. Something has changed, they just don't know it. The last four or five years, the famous silks of Lorbanery have yielded poorly.
"Scarcity puts up the prices," said the mayor. "For one bolt of semi-fine blue-dyed we get now what we used to get for three bolts."
"If we get it. Where's the ships? And the blue's false," said the skinny man, thus bringing on a half-hour argument concerning the quality of the dyes they used in the great worksheds.
Nearly everyone on Lorbanery, you see, is involved in the silk trade. It is the chief concern of all their lives. And the yield is bad and the trade is poor.
Sparrowhawk asks who makes the possibly-false dyes, and is told about a family of dyers that used to claim to be wizards,
but if they ever had been wizards, they had lost their art, and nobody else had found it, as the skinny man remarked sourly. For they all agreed, except the mayor, that the famous blue dyes of Lorbanery and the unmatchable crimson, the "dragon's fire" worn by queens in Havnor long ago, were not what they had been. Something had gone out of them.
They ask for Arren to play a song on the lute. "Something new," says the mayor. Arren chooses a sad song:
By the white straits of Soléaand the bowed red branchesthat bent their blossoms overher bowed head, heavywith sorrow for the lost lover,by the red branch and the white branchand the sorrow unceasingdo I swear, Serriadh,son of my mother and of Morredto remember the wrong doneforever, forever.
You know by now that Morred and Princess Elfarran were ancient rulers of Earthsea. Morred killed, and was killed by, his Enemy whose name has been lost, but it was too late to stop the Enemy's spell, which sent the sea to overwhelm the isle of Soléa, and Elfarran drowned. Serriadh was their son, and the princes of Enlad trace their lineage directly from him. If the song is new, it's still about a very old story. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Lorbanery men don't much care for it. ("Foreign music's always queer and gloomy.")
After that the party pretty much breaks up, and Sparrowhawk and Arren are left to sleep on the floor of the inn. There are bats in the rafters (natural predators of the silk worms) and Arren first has trouble getting to sleep, then has another bad dream, one which he repeatedly awakes from, then falls asleep and dreams again.
. . . he dreamt that he was chained in the hold of the slaver's ship; there were others chained with him, but they were all dead. . . . At last it seemed to him that he was all alone on the ship, but still chained so that he could not move. Then a curious, slow voice spoke in his ear. "Loose your bonds," it said. "Loose your bonds." He tried to move then, and moved: he stood up. He was on some vast, dim moor, under a heavy sky. There was horror in the earth and in the thick air, an enormity of horror. This place was fear, was fear itself; and he was in it, and there were no paths. He must find the way, but there were no paths, and he was tiny, like a child, like an ant, and the place was huge, endless. He tried to walk, stumbled, woke.
It sounds as though he's in the land of death, here. Guided there by the one whom Hare called lord, the man with the small pearl of flame? But without hazia to alter his perception, Arren experiences horror instead of the delusions of grandeur and bliss?
In the morning, Sparrowhawk goes with Arren to try to talk to the fallen family of dyers, who were said to have lost their wizardry. They come to a once fine stone house whose grounds are all in ruins, telling of past prosperity and recent decay. An old woman runs out from the front door, screaming curses at them and telling them to go, go.
Sparrowhawk stopped, looking somewhat amazed, and quickly raised his hand in a curious gesture. He said one word, "Avert!"
At that the woman stopped yelling. She stared at him.
"Why did you do that?"
"To turn your curse aside."
This is I think the first time in the series that this gesture is mentioned. (Arha-Tenar cursed Kossil, and brought the curse down with a great gesture of her arms, but Kossil did not avert it. She was struck by it.) The gesture to turn curses aside, and the word "Avert!" is something that gets used several times through the rest of the series, although I can't remember that the actual gesture is ever described. Which is too bad, because I could use a sign like that.
Like Hare had been, the woman is diverted by Sparrowhawk's display of magical knowledge and ability, which she once also possessed, but which is now lost to her. Or rather, she gave it away, for it "kept her from life."
"I lost all the things I knew, all the words and names. They came by little strings like spiderwebs out of my eyes and mouth. There is a hole in the world, and the light is running out of it. And the words go with the light. Did you know that? My son sits staring all day at the dark, looking for the hole in the world. He says he would see better if he were blind. He has lost his hand as a dyer. We were the Dyers of Lorbanery. Look!" She shook before them her muscular, thin arms, stained to the shoulder with a faint, streaky mixture of ineradicable dyes. "It never comes off the skin," she said, "but the mind washes clean. It won't hold the colors."
Shit. This is of course the same type of story that Hare had. She had it, but she gave it away. All the persons of power are trading away their art and their knowledge for something they think is life. But this is what it does to them.
Though she has lost her power, she sees his, and she thinks he is the one Hare called lord, who she calls "the Great Man, the King of Shadows, the Lord of the Dark Place." She thinks he will not die. He tells her no, that he is a mortal man and her brother. She asks what his name is; he says he cannot tell her that (of course.)
"I'll tell you a secret," she said. She stood straighter now, facing him, and there was the echo of an old dignity in her voice and bearing. "I do not want to live and live and live forever. I would rather have back the names of things. But they are all gone. Names don't matter now. There are no more secrets. Do you want to know my name?" Her eyes filled with light, her fists clenched, she leaned forward and whispered: "My name is Akaren." Then she screamed aloud, "Akaren! Akaren! My name is Akaren! Now they all know my secret name, my true name, and there are no secrets, and there is no truth, and there is no death—death—death!" She screamed the word sobbing, and spittle flew from her lips.
Just incredibly disturbing. And Le Guin trusts her reader to share in the horror, which she can do because she's so thoroughly laid the foundation of the importance of names in Earthsea.
Sparrowhawk is stunned and very pained. He sees that she had once been a woman of power and dignity, akin to himself. Now he sees nothing to do, but to take her name Akaren from her and give her a new one, whispered in her ear. Which, I didn't know one could do that, give someone a new true name when they already had one. But if anyone could, Ged could. I suppose under any other circumstance it would be a violation.
In any case, it seems to help the woman somewhat. She quiets, and has an expression like a child's, and goes back into her house. Sparrowhawk and Arren walk away, with Sparrowhawk expressing something of his pain to Arren, but also trying to hold it back so as not to burden Arren with it.
[Arren's] heart went out utterly to his companion, not now with that first romantic ardor and adoration, but painfully, as if a link were drawn forth from the very inmost of it and forged into an unbreaking bond. For in this love he now felt there was compassion: without which love is untempered, and is not whole, and does not last.
Yes, I agree. I think this is about seeing the person you love as a human being, not just an object. When your spouse is sick you don't expect them to get up and be cheery and be their best selves for you. When your hero has just suffered a deep painful shock, you don't expect them to be the shining mage of your romantic dreams. You understand that they are a person, like you; and that they suffer and hurt and don't always know what to do. I think Le Guin knows that love can be very painful. We saw that with Ged and Tenar in the last two chapters of The Tombs of Atuan, and it was very much a feature of The Left Hand of Darkness as well.
Later that day, Sparrowhawk confides to Arren that he's "sick at heart."
"I do not like waste and destruction. I do not want an enemy. If I must have an enemy, I do not want to seek him, and find him, and meet him. . . . If one must hunt, the prize should be a treasure, not a detestable thing."
For Sparrowhawk believes that Hare's lord and Akaren's King of Shadows are a man, an enemy. He believes that what they have witnessed on Hort Town and in Lorbanery is evil, "the work of an evil will."
Sometimes in stories when a hero protests that they don't want to fight or strive against an enemy, it rings a bit hollow, especially if half the book seems to be about attaining strength and power, or the depredations of the villain, or the renown and love the hero will gain for defeating the villain.
Here, though, I think both Le Guin and Sparrowhawk have earned it. The first two Earthsea books culminated with a rejoining, or a making-whole. Ged learns his shadow's name and embraces it as part of himself. Ged and Tenar reunite the two halves of the Ring of Erreth-Akbe, escape the wrath of the Nameless Ones, and Tenar gains her name and her freedom.
Although Le Guin was not a feminist at the time when she wrote this book, I think there is a feminist reading of this story we can make here. Le Guin's hero rejects Western ideas of masculine heroism where it is a triumph to defeat the enemy, to be stronger, more powerful, better than he is. I think it hurts, actually hurts, that there is an enemy at the end of the road in The Farthest Shore. The rest of the book will bear out that hurt. There is a great grief in it.
A man catches up to Sparrowhawk and Arren on the road. He turns out to be the former Dyer of Lorbanery, son of she who was Akaren. He accuses Sparrowhawk of making his mother die.
Arren's heart contracted, but he saw that Sparrowhawk merely shook his head a little. "No, no," he said, "she's not dead."
"But she will be. She'll die."
"Aye, that's a consequence of being alive," the mage said. The Dyer seemed to puzzle over this for a minute. . .
It seems the followers/victims of this King or Lord or Mage of the Dark Places see the ability to die as the same as being dead already. And they fear it. They would trade anything at all not to die, including life itself. Hare said you buy life with life.
The former Dyer says:
"I found the hole in the darkness. The King was standing there. He watches it; he rules it. He had a little flame, a little candle in his hand. He blew on it and it went out. Then he blew on it again and it burned! It burned!"
This of course sounds very much like what Arren saw in that room in Hort Town, the tall man with the pearl of flame in his hand. Arren has seen the King, the false King in darkness.
Sparrowhawk asks where the Dyer was when he saw the King, and the hole in the darkness. But the Dyer can't tell him exactly. He doesn't know. But he's sure that it's in the west somewhere, and if Sparrowhawk is sailing there, the Dyer wants to go with him.
"I saw the flame rise in the darkness at his breath, the flame that was out. I saw that." The man's face was transfigured, a wild beauty in it in the long, red-gold light. "I know that he has overcome death. I know it. I gave my wizardry to know it. I was a wizard once! And you know it, and you are going there. Take me with you."
Sparrowhawk agrees to this, if the man will be at the docks when it is time to leave. But the faithful Arren is most unhappy at this decision, since he sees the Dyer as a dangerous madman.
"You won't take him with us?" he asked.
"That's up to him."
With a flash of anger, Arren thought: It's up to me, also.
And later, after an unpleasant evening back at the village inn drives them to go seek their sleep on Lookfar, and the man (who we learn is called Sopli) is waiting for them there), Sparrowhawk and Arren have something of a confrontation. It's a bit reminiscent of Sam arguing with Frodo over Gollum. (Sparrowhawk and Arren sometimes resemble Frodo and Sam; and sometimes resemble Gandalf and Frodo; and sometimes perhaps Gandalf and Aragorn.)
[Arren] was unable to protect Sparrowhawk; he was not permitted to make any decisions; he was unable, or was not permitted, even to understand the nature of their quest. He was merely dragged along on it, useless as a child. But he was not a child.
"I would not quarrel with you, my lord," he said as coldly as he could. "But this—this is beyond reason!"
"It is beyond all reason. We go beyond where reason would take us. Will you come, or will you not?
Tears of anger sprang into Arren's eyes. "I said I would come with you and serve you. I do not break my word."
"That is well," the mage said grimly, and made as if to turn around. Then he faced Arren again. "I need you, Arren; and you need me. For I will tell you now that I believe this way we go is yours to follow, not out of obedience or loyalty to me, but because it was yours to follow before you ever saw me; before you ever set foot on Roke; before you sailed from Enlad. You cannot turn back from it."
His voice had not softened, and Arren answered him as grimly, "How should I turn back, with no boat, here on the edge of the world?"
"This the edge of the world? No, that is further on. We may yet come to it."
Sparrowhawk's got to get that last word in, huh. I suppose this is part of love, too. Being so angry with each other that you can hardly stand it, but preparing to work together anyway, because that's what needs to be done. Love can be very grim.
I think Sparrowhawk is likely right that they need to take Sopli with them, but Arren is certainly right that he is treating Arren like his thoughts don't matter. And of course he is using Arren as well, without telling him the full extent of it. Ambiguous stuff. We'll see how Sparrowhawk's decision turns out, in the next chapter.
Next: Chapter Seven, "The Madman."
Thank you for reading along with me. Please share your thoughts in the comments.
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2020.04.08 21:50 takvertheseawitch Earthsea Reread: The Farthest Shore Chapter 5, "Sea Dreams"

Hello everyone. Welcome back to the ursulakleguin Earthsea Reread. We are currently reading the third book, The Farthest Shore, and this post is for chapter five, "Sea Dreams." If you're wondering what this is all about, check out the introduction post, which also contains links to every post in the series so far.
Previously: Chapter Four, "Magelight."

Chapter Five: Sea Dreams

My process for the reread so far has been to go a chapter at a time: read a chapter, then do the write-up for that chapter, then read the next chapter; and so on. For A Wizard of Earthsea and The Tombs of Atuan I stuck to this process pretty much exactly. But for The Farthest Shore, which I haven't read so many times as the previous two books, I keep reading a few pages ahead, unable to make myself wait. The story just hooks me.
Sparrowhawk and Arren sail into the waters of the South Reach, "a strange part of the world, where fish fly and dolphins sing, they say." They are headed for Lorbanery, whence come the best silks in the Archipelago (just as the best fleece comes from Gont.)
In the hot sunny day, they both go for a rejuvenating swim; but at night, Arren has bad dreams.
. . . he dreamt that he was in a ruined house. It was dry there. Everything was dusty, and festooned with ragged, dusty webs. Arren's legs were tangled in the webs, and they drifted across his mouth and nostrils, stopping his breath. And the worst horror of it was that he knew the high, ruined room was that hall where he had breakfasted with the Masters, in the Great House on Roke.
You don't need to be a mage or a dream-teller to interpret that one. Disturbing. How do we stack Arren's dream against the certainty of the Masters Changer, Windkey, and Summoner that nothing can touch the power of Roke?
In the afternoon as they lazed under the awning rigged to give shelter from the imperious sun, Arren asked, "What do we seek in Lorbanery?"
"That which we seek," said Sparrowhawk.
"In Enlad," said Arren after a while, "we have a story about the boy whose schoolmaster was a stone."
"Aye? . . . What did he learn?"
"Not to ask questions."
Ha! Taking the point, Sparrowhawk elaborates. He says that, as they are looking for whatever is making the magic go away, they must follow the rumors, go to the places where the magic is vanishing. He explains that magic is not the same everywhere in the world:
"A true spell on Roke may be mere words on Iffish. . . . And the weaving of spells is itself interwoven with the earth and the water, the winds and the fall of light of the place where it is cast."
This is something we saw in A Wizard of Earthsea. In thinking of Iffish, Ged is of course thinking of Vetch.
And as for Lorbanery and the South Reach:
"Few wizards of the Inner Lands have come among these people. They do not welcome wizards, having—so it is believed—their own kinds of magic. But the rumors of these are vague, and it may be that the Art Magic was never well known there, not fully understood. If so, it would be easily undone by one who set himself to the undoing of it, and sooner weakened than our wizardry of the Inner Lands."
So they must go to Lorbanery, to find out the state of the Art Magic there.
Sparrowhawk tells Arren to "let the stone be still awhile!" and broods silently for a few hours. In the afternoon, Arren asks permission to sing a song, which turns out to be the Lament for the White Enchanter, "which Elfarran made when she knew of Morred's death and waited for her own." For Elfarran was on the Isle of Soléa, which sank beneath the sea by the power of the Enemy of Morred.
At night they see a star, a bright star of the southern hemisphere. It is Gobardon:
Gobardon means Crown. . . . Kurremkarmerruk taught us that, sailing still further south would bring, one by one, eight more stars clear of the horizon under Gobardon, making a great constellation, some say of a running man, others say of the Rune Agnen. The Rune of Ending."
The Crown for Arren, and the Rune of Ending for Sparrowhawk. Tehanu, the fourth Earthsea book, will also make great use of the symbolism of stars.
Sparrowhawk says that Morred was always his favorite of the great heroes ("The great courage of Morred against despair; and Serriadh [Morred's son] who was born beyond despair, the gentle king.") He alludes to the night that he summoned the shadow, and how for a moment he saw Elfarran's spirit. But Arren's favorite hero was always Erreth-Akbe, "because he might have ruled all Earthsea, but chose not to." Hmm.
Arren asks about the magical Summoning of spirits. "I doubt that it is ever wisely done," the Archmage says, flatly. Not wicked in and of itself, but a misunderstanding of life.
"Death and life are the same thing—like the two sides of my hand, the palm and the back. And still the palm and the back are not the same. . . . They can be neither separated, nor mixed."
"Then no one uses those spells now?"
"I have known only one man who used them freely, not reckoning their risk."
Arren of course asks about such a man, and Sparrowhawk tells him about a powerful sorcerer in Havnor, who used Summoning to make a living, for curiosity, and for entertainment. Like the woman in Hort Town with her flashy illusion magic shows, but much, much more dangerous. But Sparrowhawk was there when this man summoned the spirit of Archmage Nemmerle, who if you remember died saving Ged's life on the night he summoned the shadow. Safe to say that touched a nerve.
"I was angry and challenged him—I was not Archmage then—saying, 'You compel the dead to come into your house; will you come with me to theirs?' And I made him go with me int othe Dry Land, though he fought me with all his will and changed his shape and wept aloud when nothing else would do."
"So you killed him?" Arren whispered, enthralled.
"No! I made him follow me into the land of the dead, and return with me from it. He was afraid. He who summoned the dead to him so easily was more afraid of death—of his own death—than any man I ever knew. . . . By the wall of stones this man crouched down, on the side of the living, and tried to withstand my will, and could not. He clung to the stones with his hands and cursed and screamed. I have never seen a fear like that; it sickened me with its own sickness. I should have known by that that I did wrong. I was possessed by anger and by vanity. For he was very strong, and I was eager to prove that I was stronger."
And so he did. Pride and temper are, of course, Ged's original faults. By those faults he was led to summon the shadow there on Roke Knoll, out of a desire to prove his mastery over Jasper and all the other students; and so he was hurt, and so Nemmerle died, and so Ged was humbled, and learned, and became a better person. But here we see how that pride and that temper have never entirely left him. And how it led him to do wrong once again; and we shall see how this wrong act was not like a stone that one picks up, and throws, and that's the end of it; but that the consequences of what Ged did are still unfolding.
And Ged sees this also. For though he says the sorcerer vanished, and that he later heard that he died, his mind works on:
"What made me fall to talking of him? I cannot even bring to mind his name."
"His true name?"
"No! that I can remember—" Then he paused, and for the space of three heartbeats was utterly still.
"They called him Cob in Havnor," he said in a changed, careful voice. It had grown too dark for expression to be seen. Arren saw him turn and look at the yellow star, now higher above the waves and casting across them a broken trail of gold as slender as a spider's thread. After a long silence he said, "It's not only in dreams, you see, that we find ourselves facing what is yet to be in what was long forgotten, and speaking what seems nonsense because we will not see its meaning."
Yes. I think he just heard himself, and realized exactly why he "fell to talking" of the sorcerer Cob. It's often said in the Earthsea books that wizards rarely have "chance" meetings, or say chance words. Wizardly intuition is always excellent. We've already seen how Sparrowhawk will learn true names without realizing he has done so.
There is surely more than a chance connection between Cob's desperate fear of death, and Hare's confused, lost wanderings on the borders of the dry land. But all that will have to wait for another time.
Next: Chapter Six, "Lorbanery."
Thank you for reading along with me. Please share your thoughts in the comments.
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2020.04.04 07:16 takvertheseawitch Earthsea Reread: The Farthest Shore Chapter 3, "Hort Town"

Hello everyone. Welcome back to the /ursulakleguin Earthsea Reread. We are currently reading the third book, The Farthest Shore, and this post is for the third chapter, "Hort Town." If you're wondering what this is all about, check out the introduction post, which also contains links to every post in the series so far.
Previously: Chapter Two, "The Masters of Roke."

Chapter Three: Hort Town

At 31 pages, "Hort Town" is, by far, the longest chapter in the entire series so far. (The previous books' longest chapters topped out at sixteen pages.) I thought about splitting the write-up into two parts, but. . . nah. We're just going to do it. I imagine I'll eventually need to change things up (there are only five chapters in The Other Wind and they're all super long) but for now I'm going to stubbornly stick to one chapter, one post. So strap in.
On the morning of the spring equinox, Sparrowhawk and Arren set sail for Hort Town. They are aboard Ged's famous ship Lookfar, which he has had since the end of A Wizard of Earthsea. I imagine it didn't see much use in the last five years while Sparrowhawk was Archmag. Indeed he is openly enthusiastic about getting to go somewhere and do something. He tells Arren they will be going incognito as Uncle Hawk and his nephew, and practices his Enlad accent. He sails Lookfar by hand, without magic or magewind.
The second night out it rained, the rough, cold rain of March, but he said no spell to keep it off them. . . Arren thought about this, and reflected that in the short time he had known him, the Archmage had done no magic at all.
This is an echo (Earthsea is full of echoes, repeats, cycles) of Ged's first few days apprenticed under Ogion, in A Wizard of Earthsea. Ogion would not turn the rain aside either, or cast spells to satisfy young Ged's impatience. Now Ged is the master, and keeps the Balance and the Equilibrium just as Ogion taught him, though he has not Ogion's quiet heart. But Arren is a more faithful, patient student than Ged was as a boy. He doesn't seem bothered by the lack of magic. Besides, Sparrowhawk has been teaching him sailing.
He was a peerless sailor. . . Arren had learned more in three days' sailing with him than in ten years of boating and racing on Berila Bay. And mage and sailor are not so far apart; both work with the powers of sky and sea, and bend great winds to the uses of their hands, bringing near what was remote. Archmage or Hawk the sea-trader, it came to much the same thing.
On the second night, Sparrowhawk confesses to Arren that he's been pretending to be free from his responsibilities ("That I'm not Archmage, not even sorcerer") and that he doesn't want their peaceful journey to end.
"Try to choose carefully, Arren, when the great choices must be made. When I was young, I had to choose between the life of being and the life of doing. And I leapt at the latter like a trout to a fly. But each deed you do, each act, binds you to itself and its consequences, and makes you act again and yet again. Then very seldom do you come upon a space, a time like this, between act and act, when you may stop and simply be. Or wonder who, after all, you are."
How could such a man, thought Arren, be in doubt as to who and what he was? He had believed such doubts were reserved for the young, who had not done anything yet.
This distinction that he draws here between the life of doing and the life of being, and the alluded-to moment of choice between Ogion and Roke, is a key concept for me in understanding Ged's character. I've already alluded to it before in this series and I probably will again.
They discuss also what it is they are searching for. Arren asks if it might be a plague or pestilence, of a sort that can affect the spirit as well as the body. No, says Sparrowhawk:
"A pestilence is a motion of the great Balance, of the Equilibrium itself; this is different. There is the stink of evil in it. We may suffer for it when the balance of things rights itself, but we do not lose hope and forego art and forget the words of the Making. Nature is not unnatural."
And I have to say that as much as I have found Le Guin's writing to be relevant for our times (see this thread about "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas"), this passage is not relevant or useful for us, in my opinion. There is very little comfort or sense to be found in thinking of the suffering and death of our current pandemic as "natural," or as a restoration of a great Balance. A virus may be a thing of nature, but I know now that a plague is not simply natural. Partly it is biological, but at least as much it is political; it is social; it is cultural. There is the stink of evil in it. And not just our current pandemic: a hundred years ago the influenza of 1918 was just as man-made as is the coronavirus of 2020. So to me Le Guin very much misses the mark here.
Sparrowhawk says that he expects to find a man at the root of this ill. Only men can do evil, just as only men can fight evil. So a man, and a mage. Arren protests that he had been taught (as has the reader) that wizardry depended on the Balance and Equilibrium, so how can a mage do evil?
"That," said Sparrowhawk somewhat wryly, "is a debatable point. 'Infinite are the arguments of mages'. . . The Firelord, who sought to undo the darkness and stop the sun at noon, was a great mage; even Erreth-Akbe could scarcely defeat him. The Enemy of Morred was another such. Where he came, whole cities knelt to him; armies fought for him. The spell he wove against Morred was so mighty that even when he was slain it could not be halted, and the island of Soléa was overwhelmed by the sea, and all on it perished. Those were men in whom great strength and knowledge served the will to evil and fed upon it. Whether the wizardry that serves a better end may always prove the stronger, we do not know. We hope."
I could not resist quoting this in full. First, it's another instance of Infinite are the arguments of mages, which is a saying repeated throughout the six books (Vetch quoted it to Ged, when they were discussing whether or not Ged's shadow had a name.) Second, it's got that mythology. Sounds like the two greatest heroes of Earthsea each had their own fitting, mighty enemy. This was the Enemy whose name Morred saw written in the rain. I think the Firelord's plot to "undo the darkness" bears some resemblance to the short-sighted death-denial which we will begin to discover in Hort Town.
The pattern of great heroes having great enemies is also a bad sign for Ged. In the first two books, the servants of evil were not defeated but reconciled, embraced. What had been broken was made whole. Now, though...Ged is perhaps as great a wizard as were Morred and Erreth-Akbe; does he know it? Does he see the danger of at last finding his own fitting enemy; and though he may triumph, does he yet fear what he may lose as dear to him, as world-altering, as the island swallowed by the pitiless sea?
So nature is incapable of evil. It is a capability unique to men. This is a statement the reader might nod along with. But then Arren asks, "What of dragons?" And now the reader says, hang on, yeah, we're in Earthsea! What about dragons?" It's a deft shift from direct commentary on our world, back to the world of Earthsea (a type of trick that the fantasy genre is uniquely suited for; Susanna Clarke is also very good at this), and Sparrowhawk's answer is fascinating:
"The dragons! The dragons are avaricious, insatiable, treacherous; without pity, without remorse. But are they evil? Who am I, to judge the acts of dragons?. . . They are wiser than men are. It is with them as with dreams, Arren. We men dream dreams, we work magic, we do good, we do evil. The dragons do not dream. They are dreams. They do not work magic: it is their substance, their being. They do not do; they are."
This, I feel, must have some philosophical or mystical correspondence in the real world, that Le Guin is describing for us, but I'm not sure what it is. The dragons are a manifestation, a literalization of. . . something. Maybe dreams. Maybe a certain state or spiritual attainment that humans can strive for. Any Daoists in the audience with thoughts on this?
God, we're only seven pages into the chapter. That conversation was too good. Moving on: Ged and Arren reach Hort Town on the third day. Nervously eyeing a slave galley moored nearby, Arren reaches for his sword, but decides not to take it with him. ("It makes me feel a fool. It is too much older than I.") He takes his knife instead Sparrowhawk dons a magical glamor, the persona of the sea-trader Hawk, and they set off through the busy marketplace.
It's creepy, in Hort Town. Unsettling. Sparrowhawk seems to be searching for any sign of magic, but what they mostly find are signs of widespread drug addiction. This is a drug called hazia which seems to bear some similarities to heroin:
"It soothes and numbs, letting the body be free of the mind. And the mind roams free. But when it returns to the body it needs more hazia. . . And the craving grows and the life is short, for it is poison."
Groups of lethargic hazia addicts are laying openly in the street, ignored by everyone except the flies that congregate over their mouths. Sparrowhawk, who has been to Hort Town before, is shocked that there are so many.
Finally in one of the market squares they find a stall run by a woman who, unlike everyone else they've seen so far, still has some verve and vim in her. Yet her friendly banter turns to defensiveness when Sparrowhawk, who recognizes her, recalls that years ago she used to perform showy magical illusions for her living:
"We don't do those tricks anymore. People don't want 'em. They've seen through 'em. . . Those who want lies and visions chew hazia," she said. "Talk to them if you like!"
Sparrowhawk persists, asking if every sorcerer in Hort Town has turned to other trades. The woman loses her temper:
"There's a sorcerer if you want one, a great one, a wizard with a staff and all—see him there? He sailed with Egre himself, making winds and finding fat galleys, so he said, but it was all lies, and Captain Egre gave him his just reward at last; he cut his right hand off. And there he sits now, see him, with his mouth full of hazia and his belly full of air. Air and lies! Air and lies! That's all there is to your magic, Seacaptain Goat!"
This was incredibly disturbing to me the first time I read it. The magic just. . . doesn't work anymore? Imagine how frightening that would be if that happened and you didn't know why. But worse yet is that part of the evil seems to be that people are apathetic, they ignore it, they pretend there is no problem.
The man pointed out by the stall-keeper, the former wizard, is someone Sparrowhawk thinks he might have heard of, a man called Hare. They tail Hare down a series of streets (Arren's "senses were all alert, as they were during a stag-hunt in the forests of Enlad.")
At last Sparrowhawk catches up with the lethargic, apathetic Hare. But Hare's attention is roused when Sparrowhawk speaks some words of the Language of the Making.
"You can still speak—speak—Come with me, come—"
And he brings them to where he lives, a bare room with only a sack stuffed with straw for a mattress. (Sparrowhawk seats himself on the floor "with the simplicity of one whose childhood had been totally without furnishings." I love how Le Guin never stops pointed out that Ged came from some of the poorest folk on Earthsea.)
Hare cannot speak the Language of the Making. Literally cannot. He cannot even say the word wizard. He has to say dragon instead. He weeps when Sparrowhawk speaks the words he's lost.
Sparrowhawk asks Hare how he lost his power.
"Yes. I remember being alive," the man said in a soft, hoarse voice. "And I knew the words and the names. . ."
"Are you dead now?"
"No. Alive. Alive. Only once I was a dragon. . . I'm not dead. I sleep sometimes. Sleep comes very close to death, everyone knows that. The dead walk in dreams, everyone knows that. They come to you alive, and they say things. They walk out of death into the dreams. There's a way. And if you go on far enough there's a way back all the way. You can find it if you know where to look. And if you're willing to pay the price."
"What price is that?" Sparrowhawk's voice floated on the dim air like the shadow of a falling leaf.
"Life—what else? What can you buy life with, but life?"
It's erratic and obscure, a free-association ramble, but there is something in there. He's talking about people coming back from death, somehow. Sparrowhawk also thinks Hare is saying that he did not lose his power, but traded it away.
Hare urges Sparrowhawk to come back again that night, if he wants to see the way ("I'll take you. I'll show you.") Sparrowhawk hedges and says that he might. Later to Arren, he says Hare is likely to set an ambush for them, but they also might not find any better leads. Arren asks if the Archmage isn't defended from thieves. ("What do you mean? D'you think I go about wrapped up in spells like an old woman afraid of the rheumatism?")
They go back into town. Arren feels uneasy, on edge. There is something deeply wrong in Hort Town.
The squares and streets bustled with activity and business, but there was neither order nor prosperity. Goods were poor, prices high, and the markets were unsafe for vendors and buyers alike, being full of thieves and roaming gangs. Not many women were on the streets, and the few there were appeared mostly in groups. . .
There was no center left in the city. The people, for all their restless activity, seemed purposeless. Craftsmen seemed to lack the will to work well; even the robbers robbed because it was all they knew how to do. All the brawl and brightness of a great port-city was there, on the surface, but all about the edges of it sat the hazia-eaters, motionless. And under the surface, things did not seem entirely real, not even the faces, the sounds, the smells. They would fade from time to time during that long, warm afternoon while Sparrowhawk and Arren walked the streets and talked with this person and that. They would fade quite away. The striped awnings, the dirty cobbles, the colored walls, and all the vividness of being would be gone, leaving the city a dream city, empty and dreary in the hazy light.
Again, I had a huge anxiety spike the first time I read this. Pulls some particular knotted fear-cord inside me. That frantic activity papered over a universal hopeless dread. . . the unstoppable slide into unreality...it gets to me. You win this round, Le Guin.
It is scarcely to be wondered that Sparrowhawk and Arren have no luck finding more information. So at dusk, they return to Hare's room. (In a gesture I find rather endearing, Hare has gotten a second straw-sack for his guests to sit on—though Arren chooses to stand guard in the doorway instead.)
Hare urges Sparrowhawk to take hazia, insisting that it's the only way to follow him. ("We've got to go the same way.") Of course Sparrowhawk refuses.
Hare, who has already taken hazia, rambles worse than ever as he tries to argue the point.
". . . I'm going to be going pretty soon now; if you want to find out where, you ought to do what I say. I say as he does. You must be a lord of men to be a lord of life. You have to find the secret..."
What's this—"I say as he does"? This is the first time Hare has mentioned any he. And then he says this:
"No death. No death—no! No sweaty bed and rotting coffin, no more, never. The blood dries up like the dry river and it's gone. No fear. No death. The names are gone and the words and the fear, gone. Show me where I get lost, show me, lord..."
A lord, then. There is a he, a lord, who has shown Hare how to deny death, how to be a "lord of life."
And though the reader will not fear for Ged, who embraced his death long ago, Arren proves susceptible to Hare's erratic rapture.
Arren listened, listened, striving to understand. If only he could understand! Sparrowhawk should do as he said and take the drug, this once, so that he could find out what Hare was talking about, the mystery that he would not or could not speak. Why else were they here?
Arren has not taken hazia, nor even spoken to Hare, but something is wrong. Arren feels drowsy and like he's missing chunks of time. His thoughts suddenly seem to ramble almost as disjointedly as Hare speaks. He knows he is supposed to guard the door.
But it was hard, hard to keep watching those two faces, the little pearl of the lamp-flame between them on the floor, both silent now, both still, their eyes open but not seeing the light or the dusty room, not seeing the world, but some other world of dream and death . . . to watch them and not try to follow them . . . .
There, in the vast, dry darkness, there one stood beckoning. Come, he said, the tall lord of shadows. In his hand he held a tiny flame no larger than a pearl, held it out to Arren, offering life. Slowly Arren took one step toward him, following.
And no sooner is the lord hinted at, then he (or rather a vision of him) appears, right there in the room. And that's where the chapter (finally) ends. God, there aren't a lot of cliffhangers in Earthsea, but this one's incredibly tense. We will have to wait until next time to see how it is resolved.
Next: Chapter Four, "Magelight."
Thank you for reading along with me. Please share your thoughts in the comments.
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2020.04.01 11:06 takvertheseawitch Earthsea Reread: The Farthest Shore Chapter 2, "The Masters of Roke"

Hello everyone. Welcome back to the /ursulakleguin Earthsea Reread. We are currently reading the third book, The Farthest Shore, and this post is for chapter two, "The Masters of Roke." If you're wondering what this is all about, check out the introduction post, which also contains links to every post in the series so far.
Previously: Chapter One, "The Rowan Tree."

Chapter Two: The Masters of Roke

Gonna start things off with a bit of lore! There's a piece of exposition to open this chapter that contradicts what is written in the later book Tales From Earthsea (specifically the stories "The Finder" and "Dragonfly"):
The nine mages who are the Masters of the School are considered the equals of the great princes of the Archipelago. Their master, the warden of Roke, the Archmage, is held to be accountable to no man at all, except the King of All the Isles; and that only by an act of fealty, by heart's gift, for not even a king could constrain so great a mage to serve the common law, if his will were otherwise. Yet even in the kingless centuries, the Archmages of Roke kept fealty and served that common law.
The implication here is that, in the past when there were kings, the Archmage swore fealty to the king. But in "The Finder," we're told that not only were there not Archmages before "the kingless centuries" began, but the School of Roke itself was founded during the kingless centuries, and is only a scant few hundred years old. Roke, and eventually the Archmage, were a sort of response to the lawlessness and petty tyrants that plagued the land after the kings had gone. And in "Dragonfly," someone tries to claim that a king is not legitimate if he hasn't been crowned by the Archmage, to which one of the Masters of Roke retorts "Nonsense! Not history!" According the the later books, Kings and Archmages have no overlap in the history of Earthsea, up until the events of The Farthest Shore.
Moving on, let's rejoin the lovestruck Arren, who is being shown around the School by a sorcerer student called Gamble. At first Gamble has no luck getting his dreamy visitor to pay any attention to him; but then he hits upon the topic of the Archmage. Noble-born Arren expresses shocked disapproval at the (very famous) fact that Sparrowhawk was born a goatherd, on Gont. (Actually, wasn't he a smith's boy?) Still, the two have found their common ground, and they discuss the Archmage, then go on to speak of kings:
"Do you think we'll see a king in Havnor again in our lifetime?" [said Gamble.]
"I never thought about it much."
"In Ark, where I come from, people think about it...It's time there was a king again on the throne of Earthsea, to wield the Sign of Peace. People are tired of wars and raids and merchants who overprice and princes who overtax and all the confusion of unruly powers. Roke guides, but it can't rule. The Balance lies here, but the Power should be in the king's hands."
Arren wonders if the lands would really accept a king. Gamble thinks they would, and mentions an old prophecy (spoken by Maharion, the last king of Earthsea): "He shall inherit my throne who has crossed the dark land living and come to the far shores of the day." Arren and Gamble both agree this must mean the king will be a mage, since no one else can walk the dry land at will, and return.
"And Roke will recognize him, and the fleets and armies and nations will come together to him. Then there will be majesty again in the center of the world, in the Tower of the Kings in Havnor. I would come to such a one; I would serve a true king with all my heart and all my art," said Gamble, and then laughed and shrugged, lest Arren think he spoke with over-much emotion. But Arren looked at him with friendliness, thinking, "He would feel toward the king as I do toward the Archmage." Aloud he said, "A king would need such men as you about him."
Such nice boys, aren't they? Arren knows how to give a compliment just as adroitly as Jasper knew how to form an insult. Good courtly training.
In the morning, Arren is summoned to meet with the Archmage and seven of the Nine Masters of Roke (the Master Namer, who was only there in spirit, has returned in spirit to his Isolate Tower, and the Master Patterner has returned to his grove.) Sparrowhawk introduces Arren as the "son of Morred," which makes Arren feel uncomfortable ("It was as if the Archmage had named him son of myth, inheritor of dreams.")
It soon transpires that, though the Masters met and argued all last night in the Grove, they resolved nothing. The Master Herbal says their lack of resolution "is itself a judgment." The Master Changer says they don't have enough information and shouldn't panic ("to raise a great fear on so little a foundation is unneedful.") The Master Windkey says there can be no reason to worry ("Have we not all our powers?") The Master Summoner says no man can possibly unmake the powers of wizardry in the world ("For they are the very words of the Making.") (Notice this matches up pretty well with the offices that I said in the last write-up were prone to error. I wrote that bit before reading this chapter.) The Master Chanter, though, insists that there is something wrong:
"Where is the king that should be in Havnor?. . . Eight hundred years has the heart of the world been empty! We have the crown, but no king to wear it. We have the Lost Rune, the King's Rune, the Rune of Peace, restored to us, but have we peace? Let there be a king upon the throne, and we will have peace, and even in the farthest Reaches the sorcerers will practice their arts with untroubled mind, and there will be order and a due season to all things."
The Master Hand seconds this judgment ("What wonder that wizardry goes astray, when all else goes astray?") The Doorkeeper laughs, but says nothing.
Sparrowhawk summarizes their arguments as 1) there's nothing wrong, but 2) if there is, it's that Earthsea has no king, and "all arts and high skills of men suffer from neglect." He agrees about the neglect, and laments that if the lands were well-knit together, they would have more, better information, and he thinks that if they had that information they would act decisively. He takes very seriously the word of Arren's father, the Prince of Enlad; and what the Master Patterner said about being afraid. This whole next bit of conversation is key:
[The Archmage said,] "There is a weakening of power. There is a want of resolution. There is a dimming of the sun. I feel, my lords—I feel as if we who sit here talking, were all wounded mortally, and while we talk and talk our blood runs softly from our veins..."
"And you would be up and doing."
"I would," said the Archmage.
"Well," said the Doorkeeper, "can the owls keep the hawk from flying?"
"But where would you go?" the Changer asked, and the Chanter answered him: "To seek our king and bring him to his throne!"
The Archmage looked keenly at the Chanter, but answered only, "I would go where the trouble is."
I was trying to think of what the Doorkeeper's line can the owls keep the hawk from flying, reminded me of, and I realized it's Game of Thrones. Those characters were always taking advantage of their sigils and epithets to create striking imagery and metaphor, as the Doorkeeper does here to great effect.
Ged's motives are more ambiguous than I had remembered from a previous read. The Doorkeeper's remark that he would rather be up and doing is especially perceptive. Yes, he genuinely believes that it is a mistake to sit at Roke and do nothing, but it's made clear that he is also personally restless, and sick of being stuck at Roke, when all his life he's voyaged around the world. He chose the active life long, long ago, when he left Ogion in favor of the School. He misses it. You get the feeling that when the previous Archmage died, Sparrowhawk was the obvious and only choice of successor, as the single greatest living wizard in all Earthsea ("The only living Dragonlord," Arren named him); but he didn't get to be the greatest living wizard by staying in one place for five years.
There's also a lot in this conversation that Sparrowhawk does not say, and which might become apparent only upon a reread. I think he knows that the Chanter's guess, To seek our king, is not all that far off the mark, after all. And if you're paying attention to how he talks about Arren, well, maybe you will already have figured why.
And Sparrowhawk takes the opportunity to ask Arren to go with him, to give him his service. The Changer objects that the Prince of Enlad would not like his only son taking such a risk ("The lad is young, and not trained in wizardry.") But Arren thinks his father would consent:
Arren did not know where he was being required to go, nor when, nor why. He was bewildered and abashed by these grave, honest, terrible men. If he had had time to think he could not have said anything at all. But he had no time to think; and the Archmage had asked him, "Will you come with me?"
"When my father sent me here he said to me, 'I fear a dark time is coming on the world, a time of danger. So I send you rather than any other messenger, for you can judge whether we should ask the help of the Isle of the Wise in this matter, or offer the help of Enlad to them.' So if I am needed, so I am here."
At that he saw the Archmage smile. There was great sweetness in the smile, though it was brief. "Do you see?" he said to the seven mages. "Could age or wizardry add anything to this?"
I'd like to read a story about the Prince of Enlad. He sounds like a very wise ruler, and a good teacher for Arren.
Arren is, very clearly, a volunteer; in much the same way that Harry Potter was a volunteer in Dumbledore's fight against Voldemort. (A comparison that feels more apt the more I think about it.) And I even think he is right that his father would consent to let him go. But I still get the feeling that Ged is taking advantage of Arren; and he is certainly not telling him the whole truth:
The Summoner spoke, his arched brows straightened to a frown: "I do not understand it, my lord. That you are bent on going, yes. You have been caged here five years. But always before you were alone; you have always gone alone. Why, now, companioned?"
"I never needed help before," said Sparrowhawk, with an edge of threat or irony in his voice. "And I have found a fit companion." There was a dangerousness about him, and the tall Summoner asked him no more questions, though he still frowned.
Yeah. Ged is not sharing the tenth part of his reasoning with Arren or with the Council of the Wise. What help does he need from Arren? What makes Arren more fit than the Master Summoner? Ged's not telling; and when we discover his reasoning, it really does turn out to be a bit of a nasty trick (like Dumbledore played on Harry.) I don't know, do we forgive Ged for this? Does he need our forgiveness?
The Summoner, whose name is Thorion, makes one more bid for Ged to take him, rather than Arren, on his quest; but Ged refuses, not without affection:
"Stay here. Stay here, and watch the sunrise to see if it be bright, and watch at the wall of stones to see who crosses it and where their faces are turned. There is a breach, Thorion, there is a break, a wound, and it is this I go to seek. If I am lost, then maybe you will find it. But wait. I bid you wait for me."
The course of action is decided. The Wise Masters depart, leaving Arren alone with the Archmage. Arren takes the opportunity to protest that he does not understand where they are going or why, that he has no special skills, and that he is afraid Sparrowhawk has mistaken him for the inheritor of Morred's powers, or some such thing that he is not. Sparrowhawk reassures him, "I did not mistake you for a wizard or a warrior or any finished thing." But he asks if Arren isn't proud of his lineage.
"Yes, I take pride in it—because it makes me a prince; it is a responsibility, a thing that must be lived up to—"
The Archmage nodded once, sharply. "That is what I meant. To deny the past is to deny the future. A man does not make his destiny: he accepts it or denies it. If the rowan's roots are shallow, it bears no crown." At this Arren looked up startled, for his true name, Lebannen, meant the rowan tree. But the Archmage had not said his name.
This is the same way that Ged "knew" Yarrow's true name in A Wizard of Earthsea. The image of the minnow simply occurred to him. He knows even without trying. This also gives double meaning to the title of the first chapter, "The Rowan Tree," which meant the tree by the fountain and also meant the boy.
Arren once again consents to follow the Archmage, wherever he may lead. As they leave for Hort Town in the morning, he goes off to inform the master of the ship that carried him to Enlad, so as to send word of his quest on to his father. The ship's master very justly insists that Arren write a letter for him to bear to the Prince. (Imagine the royal displeasure the ship's master might otherwise incur, should he return to Enlad without Enlad's heir.) Arren has to purchase the paper, pen, and ink with which to do so, and he also purchases a silver brooch in the shape of a rose to send to his poor mother ("Arren knew that he was the foundation of her contentment, that she longed for his quick return.")
As the final thing to note, we get a digression about the sword which Arren bears as the heir to Enlad. It is an extremely ancient blade, originally the sword of Serriadh, who was the son of Morred and Elfarran. I'd say that makes it well over a thousand years old, maybe two thousand. (Morred seems to have been the "original" or "codifying" king of Earthsea, through which any kingly lineage must trace its descent, living long before Erreth-Akbe, who lost the Ring of Peace more than eight hundred years ago. Confusingly, the narration says the sword of Serriadh is "older than any sword except the sword of Erreth-Akbe," which would seem to imply that Erreth-Akbe lived before Morred—but I know I have my order right because Elfarran once wore the Ring that Erreth-Akbe lost. Maybe the sword is "the sword of Erreth-Akbe" the same way the ring was "the Ring of Erreth-Akbe." Not the original owner but the most famous.)
In any case, Arren's sword has supposedly never been drawn except "in the service of life," and never for greed or vengeance or blood-lust. Arren has never used the sword. ("There had been peace in Enlad for a long time.") Now he feels awkward, strange, confused.
"What am I doing?" he said to himself..."How is it that I'm not going home? Why am I seeking something I don't understand, with a man I don't know?"
And he had no answer to his questions.
Because Sparrowhawk is withholding the answers from him.
Next time: Chapter Three, "Hort Town."
Thank you for reading along with me. Please share your thoughts in the comments.
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2020.03.30 10:43 takvertheseawitch Earthsea Reread: The Farthest Shore Chapter 1, "The Rowan Tree"

Hello everyone. Welcome once again to the /ursulakleguin Earthsea Reread. I'm glad to be back. We are now beginning the third book, The Farthest Shore, and this post will cover chapter one, "The Rowan Tree." If you're wondering what this is all about, check out the introduction post, which also contains links to every post in the series so far.
Previously: The Tombs of Atuan Chapter 12, "Voyage."

The Farthest Shore

The Farthest Shore was originally published in 1972, pretty quickly after Tombs was published in '71, and it stood as the conclusion to the Earthsea series for almost twenty years, until the publication of Tehanu in 1990. It introduces us to Arren, the last of the three original Earthsea heroes. Like Ged and Tenar did in their respective books, Arren stands as the presumed-necessary teenage protagonist for what was marketed as fantasy for older children; however, time continues to pass, and Ged is at least middle-aged here (I would peg him as in his fifties.) Unfortunately for Tenar fans, she does not appear in this book.
The original cover art was done by Gail Garraty, who also illustrated Tombs. I think that cover is fairly arresting with the color block background, but Arren should have been colored something other than white. My own copy is the 2001 Aladdin edition with cover art by Rebecca Guay, which I quite like. My copy, and as far as I can tell all the "standard" editions (excluding deluxe/special/omnibus versions) have neither maps nor chapter illustrations, which I think is a shame. Ged and Arren travel far in this book and it would be very nice to have map details as we had for A Wizard of Earthsea. And I miss the chapter illustrations.
Of all the books in the Earthsea series, this is the one I've read the fewest times, except probably The Other Wind. The whole plotline with the magic going away struck such fear and dread into my heart the first time I read it, that I avoided picking it up again for a long time. What can I say, I'm a sensitive person. This will be only my third or fourth read-through, so I may misremember some events as I move forward chapter by chapter. But I am excited to return to The Farthest Shore in your company.

Chapter One: The Rowan Tree

The book begins at the School of Roke, in the courtyard with the fountain and rowan tree. This is where, in A Wizard of Earthsea, a young Ged first saw the Archmage Nemmerle, and thought that "he himself was a word spoken by the sunlight." Here the tableau is an echo of the one in the previous book. There is the courtyard, the tree, the fountain, the boy and the Archmage. But this time, Ged is the Archmage; and he watches the boy.
The boy is called Arren, which means "sword." He is "nearly a man, but still a boy; slender, dressed richly" with a face "so finely molded" it "might have been cast in golden bronze." Arren is from a very different background than the peasant-born Ged and Tenar were. He was raised at court, with fine things, courtly manners and courtly speech. He is more than nobility; he is royalty: His lineage is noted by Ged several times in their first conversation:
"You are the son of the Prince of Enlad and the Enlades, heir of the Principality of Morred. There is no older heritage in all Earthsea, and none fairer."
"That [your father] sent you proves that his desire is urgent. You are his only son..."
"Before your ancestors were mages, they were kings."
"Nor is the sword of the son of Morred to be lightly turned aside!"
As you may remember from the first book, Morred is an ancient mage-king hero of Earthsea, whose marriage with Elfarran is still the archetypal love story to the Hardic people. And Princess Elfarran once wore the Ring with the sign of peace upon it, but she was killed when the Isle of Soléa sank beneath the sea...but I am getting ahead of myself. Or behind.
Arren has come to Roke bearing troublesome news, as a messenger from his father, who seeks the counsel of the Wise. (This is sounding a bit LOTR, isn't it? Yeah, there are echoes.) Something is wrong in the world. In Enlad they heard it first as trader's tales: people who came back from Narveduen, in the Reach, reported that magic had gone away from that land, and the harvest had been poor, and yet the people did not seem to care. ("'They go about,' he said, 'without looking at the world.'")
But these were, after all, just far-off tales. As Arren says, "only my father gave it much thought." Until the trouble came to Enlad itself:
"Then in the New Year, in the Festival of the Lambs...my father named the wizard Root to say the spells of increase over the lambs. But Root came back to our hall distressed and laid his staff down and said, 'My lord, I cannot say the spells.' My father questioned him, but he could say only, 'I have forgotten the words and the patterning.' So my father went to the marketplace and said the spells himself, and the festival was completed. But I saw him come home to the palace that evening, and he looked grim and weary, and he said to me, 'I said the words, but I do not know if they had meaning.' And indeed there's trouble among the flocks this spring..."
To Arren's dismay, Ged promptly informs him that he is not the first to come to Roke bearing similar news. They have heard it from Wathort and from the South Reach.
"...the story is always the same. The springs of wizardry have run dry."
"But here on Roke—"
"Here on Roke we have felt nothing of this. We are defended here from storm and change and all ill chance. Too well defended, perhaps."
Even in this conversation, Ged has already made a remarkable impression on Arren. There is just something about Ged that people find compelling. Tenar threw away everything she had ever known after spending only a few hours with him (spread out over a week or two, I suppose.) Arren has been captivated in an even shorter span of time:
...now he saw the Archmage: the greatest wizard of all Earthsea, the man who had capped the Black Well of Fundaur and won the Ring of Erreth-Akbe from the Tombs of Atuan and built the deep-founded sea wall of Nepp; the sailor who knew the seas from Astowell to Selidor; the only living Dragonlord. There he knelt beside the fountain, a short man and not young, a quiet-voiced man, with eyes as deep as evening.
Arren scrambled up from sitting and knelt down formally on both knees, all in haste. "My lord," he said stammering, "let me serve you!"
Man, what was the Black Well of Fundaur, that it bumps finding the Ring of Erreth-Akbe to second place on that list? We never learn what happened with that, or with the sea wall of Nepp; and we don't learn how Ged was chosen Archmage. We don't need to know. Le Guin just drops us right in.
Ged thanks him, and refuses his service for now, though he says he may accept it later on. He sends the boy away with a push on his shoulder that Arren experiences as a "thrill of glory."
For Arren had fallen in love...he had never given himself entirely to anything. All had come easily to him, and he had done all easily; it had all been a game, and he had played at loving. But now the depths of him were wakened, not by a game or dream, but by honor, danger, wisdom, by a scarred face and a dark hand holding, careless of its power, the staff of yew that bore near the grip, in silver set in the black wood, the Lost Rune of the Kings.
So the first step out of childhood is made all at once, without looking before or behind, without caution, and nothing held in reserve.
Note that Ged as Archmage still possesses the Ring. The Ring belongs to the King, but there is still no king in Earthsea.
After Arren leaves (to be shown around the School by one of the prentices), we're handed off smoothly to Ged's point of view. He starts rounding up the Nine Masters, for they are to take counsel in the Grove. (For a review of all the Masters on Roke, refer to the write-up for 1.3, "The School for Wizards.") He starts with the Master Doorkeeper, who it is mentioned is "one of the seven persons in the world who knew the Archmage's name":
The others were the Master Namer of Roke; and Ogion the Silent, the wizard of Re Albi, who long ago on the mountain of Gont had given Ged that name; and the White Lady of Gont, Tenar of the Ring; and a village wizard in Iffish called Vetch; and in Iffish again, a house-carpenter's wife, mother of three girls, ignorant of all sorcery but wise in other things, who was called Yarrow; and finally, on the other side of Earthsea, in the farthest west, two dragons: Orm Embar and Kalessin.
Great! I love an update like this. Ogion is still alive, Tenar has stayed in Gont, and Ged is still friends with Vetch and with Yarrow. It also mollifies me a little after the first book (when Vetch told Ged Yarrow's true name), that Yarrow knows Ged's name too. And of course, we mustn't overlook the dragons, which are going to come into their own in this book in a big way.
Next Ged goes into the Immanent Grove, to speak with the Master Patterner. The Grove, which, like the dragons, suffered some Early Installment Weirdness in A Wizard of Earthsea, and did not appear at all in The Tombs of Atuan, gets some development here that is more consistent with its role in the rest of the series:
...they consider—the novices, the townsfolk, the farmers—that the Grove moves about in a mystifying manner. But in this they are mistaken, for the Grove does not move. Its roots are the roots of being. It is all the rest that moves.
The current Master Patterner is in fact a Karg by birth, a countryman of Tenar. It seems that since the Ring was restored, the raids and forays from Kargish lands have stopped, and although they are still "not friendly folk," every now and again one of them will come to the Archipelago, as the Master Patterner did ten years ago. Ten years! That seems a short time to go from barbarian pupil to one of the Nine Masters.
Ged and the Patterner admire a spider sitting in its web ("She too is a patterner"), but when Ged shares his news, the Patterner admits that he is frightened.
Last, Ged sends his spirit to speak to the Master Namer interrupting him as he lectures the prentices in his Isolate Tower. As in the first book, he is Kurremkarmerruk, which I am getting better at pronouncing. This cannot possibly be the same man who was the Master Namer when Ged was a prentice. Kurremkarmerruk is a title, or a use-name, or a true-name (can't tell which) that belongs to the mage that holds the office of Master Namer.
Side note: As Ged's earlier remark about Roke being "too well-defended" indicates, Roke is going to get more and more problematized as the series goes on. Well, perhaps it always has been problematized in a sense: even in the first book, Ged ultimately swore that Ogion, and not any mage on Roke, was his true Master. But as we go on, you may notice (especially because I intend to keep pointing it out) that some of the Nine Offices seem to be "better" than others, or more likely to be occupied by good, wise people. And interestingly, the Offices that we see Ged contact here are generally on the good side: you will never see a Master Patterner or a Master Doorkeeper taking the wrong side or performing an ill deed. The Master Namer is almost as trustworthy, and so is the Master Herbal. By contrast, Summoners are vulnerable to evil, and Chanters and Windkeys tend to be stuck in tradition.
Well, so Ged tells the Master Namer to come in spirit to the meeting-place in the Grove that evening.
"I will come," Kurremkarmerruk said, and bent his head to his book again, saying, "Now the petal of the flower of moly hath a name, which is iebera, and so also the sepal, which is partonath; and stem and leaf and root hath each his name..."
But under his tree the Archmage Ged, who knew all the names of moly, withdrew his sending and, stretching out his legs more comfortably and keeping his eyes shut, presently fell asleep in the leaf-spotted sunlight.
That man does not let anything get in the way of a good nap.
We'll take counsel with the Wise in the next chapter.
Next time: Chapter Two, "The Masters of Roke."
Thank you for reading along with me. Please share your thoughts in the comments.
submitted by takvertheseawitch to UrsulaKLeGuin [link] [comments]


2020.03.21 06:11 BigLundi IPplayed with a Cult Leader

Reposted from rpghorrorstories
Alternative title: Alpha Male Gamer Emotionally Abuses Group
Names are fuzzy at this point, but I'll do my best to keep everyone seperate.
So I was in Roll20 buzzing around looking for a game about 3 years ago now. The LFG tool is a coin toss as to whether you'll find a great group, or a nightmare group, and sometimes you can't tell a nightmare group just from initial impressions.
Well I applied to join a game that was in progress because it sounded like something I could get into. They were playing a module, recently finished it, and deceded to homebrew a campaign around its conclusion. After applying I was DM'd by one of the players, we'll call him, Alpha. He sent me skype information and we had a call, where he interviewed me. It was less an interview than it was setting down some ground rules.
Several red flags came up from there. He spent a bit of time explaining that his brother had left the group because 'he's a little pussy bitch', and they needed a replacement. He explained that he, the PLAYER was doing the interview instead of the DM because "I'm the only one who does anything anyway." And then explained that one of the conditions for joining the game was that I'd need to be available throughout the week to do other non campaign related hanging out/gaming with people in the group, because, as he put it: "A group that hangs out outside of just for games are better friends, and better friends make for better campaigns."
Whatever. At the time I didn't have a job and I was bored shitless, none of this bothered me at the time.
I decided to build an old standby of mine that works for almost any situation, my barbarian goliath V. He's a jovial sort and tends to get along well with basically everyone, and makes for a good intro to ingratiate myself with new players.
Within two sessions, we had picked up yet another player, and the both of us had become INCREDIBLY bored. The main reason for this is because the DM's game was almost entirely centred around Alpha. For the 2 sessions I had been in, and the one that the other new guy had been in, we were pursuing a story entirely centred around tracking down Alpha's character's lost father who was some super uber mega mage trapped in the feywild for some reason.
We weren't allowed to explore, we weren't allowed to investigate anything, we were to avoid any and all encounters, we had to Just. Follow. Alpha. Most of the RP was Alpha barking orders at us and telling us to follow him, and warning any of us that if we strayed from where he was going he'd leave us lost in the Feywild forever and never glance back. Buddy, we're here to find YOUR dad, you could at least give us some opoortunities at fun beyond waiting for you to ask your magic sticks if we're going in the right direction and ignoring any and all semi interesting plot hooks.
We avoided a clan of trolls, we avoided interacting with a hag, we avoided talking to some fairies, we avoided any and all deviation, and iwe avoided any and all fun roleplay and engagement or worldbuilding. Yay.
I messaged the DM after the second session explaining my concerns and he agreed that Alpha's character was getting a bit to omuch spotlight, but promised me that after this whole thing is delt with, it won't be like that anymore. I asked how long that would take and he said he had no idea. Great. Very reassuring.
Well, DM went to Alpha and expressed the concerns that I had told him, and Alpha grabbed me on call to bnasically tell me the same thing DM did. I expressed that I was dubious that this trend would endany time soon and I was getting bored. So Alpha came up wit hthe idea of having another person in the group GM instead on Fridays. Oh. So we'll have 2 games a week now? Ok...
DM 2 was a timid guy, but seemed more or less alright. He had problems dealing with confrontation but had some ideas of what he wanted to do. He wanted everyone to feel like they were important in his world, give everyone plenty of spotlight, but also didn't have much of an idea of scope. Within the first session, Alpha's character directly spoke with his goddess, who then held an elongated conversation with him.
...Uh...ok. Why this goddess would talk to a level 3 paladin I don't-
Alpha:"Anyway, I'm a higher up in the army and we're here to route out some Drow that are trying to escape the underdark to attack us. I have three hundred men under me to order."
...I'm sorry, what?
Another session passed, I tell DM 2 that things are getting a little out of hand and it just feels like YET ANOTHER session where Alpha is the main character. He agrees and pormises to tone things back, and asks for my forgiveness because he's new at this. I let him know it's alright, just try and chill with direct god conversations about meta game knowledge and maybe make the 'army' Alpha supposedly commands merely a part of a unit that he's a part of and they just, kinda, respect him.
DM 2 does this, and Alpha becomes annoyed that he's only getting Yes and No answers from his Goddess when he tries to commune with her again. He's also annoyed to find out that his army of men have been relegated to being under someone ELSE'S command.(btw we still haven't found his dad in the other game).
We tried doing a quest in the second game, and it went relatively well. Some possessed orcs were terrorizing some townsfolk and we took care of them, only to find out they were being mind controlled by an old dead orc god of war that's influencing orcs all over the world to be rage machines. Nice. Plot.
Alpha immediately gets an oversized +1 magic greatsword from the encounter. My rogue has a +1 arrow and a quiver that can hold more arrows than average. Most of the rest didn't get much. Eh, alright, sometimes loot is in favor of one person mor ethan others. Luck of the treasure.
However...Alpha is still mad. Not at the loot he has, but at my character. See, I made a rogue, and the backstory of said rogue was that he had joined an assassin's guild at a young age that delt primarily in assassinations that targetted evil people. Still though, my rogue was an assassin, and Alpha argued his paladin(who had a special super saiyan transformation, I think it was playrest material? I don't know). Would be able to tell that I'm suspicious and probbaly a killer and wouldn't like me.
I don't know why. I was wearing regular scout armor. I was being helpful. I wasn't hurting anyone. I was helping the group. But whatever.
Second DM's session keeps going and he decides to make me feel special by having me meet my assassin contact in the town we're staying in late at night. Alpha says he never went to bed and demands to be able to roll perception to see me meeting with my contact. He rolls. Rolls high. He wakes up the others and comes out to confront me and my contact and demands to know what's going on. We're both dressed normal. There's nothing weird about what's going on, outside of my contact having stood next to a tree waiting for me for a while. The contact starts to flee in panic, the group captures him, and forces him to out me and himself as members of an assassin's guild. Awesome. Cool. Sweet. Amazin'. Alpha and DM 1, who is a player in DM 2's campaign, decided that I was suspicious and demanded I not leave their sight from then on.
The others ask me to explain myself, and I say it would be unprofessional to explain, they only need to know I'm no threat to them.
So. Throughout these sessions, here's some other things that have been going on.
  1. Alpha has been conscripting me every few days to play random games on skype with him and at least 2 other players.
  2. I do not know any of these games, he barely explains the rules, and then proceeds to win all of the games as everyone kind of just teams up with him to let him win.
  3. Alpha has argued with me that all of the things I like to play are stupid actually. Assassin rogues are bad for party dynamics, monks are overpowered, and barbarians are bad for RP. He has also argued with me that my method of play is stupid when I AM playing my rogue. For example: While we're travelling by carriage in dangerous lands I insist that we travel slower so I can flank the carriage and keep scouting ahead for trouble. Alpha has informed me that this is stupid and makes the travel take too long and he doesn't want to wait and I should just deal with not being able to 'do rogue things all the time'.
  4. DM 1 has sided with Alpha in every argument we've had. And in a seperate call I pointed out it seemed like all DM 1 ever did was just repeat whatever Alpha said without thinking for himself, and Alpha laughed and said 'Yeah, I don't even tell him to do that, he just does that. It's great'.
  5. Outside of Alpha and DM 1 being against me in every argument, whether I start it or not, everyone else is quiet and passive and don't want to be involved.
  6. Alpha is getting the best loot still, DM 1's sessions are STILL abnout him and his overpowered DMPC father 5 sessions in, and I am BORED TO HELL AND BACK.
  7. Alpha has decided to start his OWN game(so that's three a week we're playing now) so he can say 'See I'm not the main character of THIS one, now you can't complain'. And then proceeded to get mad at me for optimizing my fighter and one shotting his encounters, now arguing that Fighters are overpowered.
  8. Alpha and DM 1 had caused DM 2 to cry from how much they criticized his campaign and his lack of skill. DM 2 also has fairly severe autism so it was pretty hard for him to deal with these sorts of confrontations effectively.
  9. Alpha and DM 1 had made our other player cry because they would spend a decent amount of time every day making crude comments towards her about how she should suck their dicks and that she was a whore and a bitch and a cunt. And when she did cry, Alpha would yell at her for 'taking things too seriously'. And then she'd apologize for being oversensitive to their um...jokes.
I'm starting to get real tired of this. Alpha spends most of every game, whether he's running or playing, yelling at anyone for doing something he doesn't think they should be doing. And whenever someone else grabs the spotlight for a moment, he insists on jumping in and stealing it back by doing something random and weird. For instance, the party killed off my rogue. Oh, yeah, they killed off my rogue. Because we got to a town, and the mayor was being targetted for assassination, they assumed I would be one of them, and arrested me. I was sentenced to death because Alpha's paladin demanded it be so, EVEN THOUGH I WAS NOT GUILTY, because 'Well he's an assassin regardless and assassins should be killed'. Should have uh...probably mentioned that bit.
But anyway after I was forced to kill off my rogue for literally no good goddamned reason I rerolled a monk, because it was DM 2's game and I asked him privately if I could do it. Alpha, who had been arguing with me that monks are overpowered and he hated them and didn't think anyone should play them, was very upset when I showed up with my new monk. Anyway, my monk was an acrobat with a background in being an entertainer, so, of course, the party found me at a local inn entertaining a crowd with my acrobaitc skils and dancing. I went into great detail as to the flourishes I would use as I'd balance myself on my quarterstaff, hope from table to table, have a villager stand and hop on his shoulders, hold one leg up and backflip off of them onto the floor into a splt, all sorts of fun things. Alpha, decidedly upset that I was having a moment of spotlight with one of his most hated classes, gets his lawful stupid 'the evil must be purged' 7 foot tall angry all the time no nonsense human paladin that's been acting like an edgelord for 5 sessions to join in the dancing and 'help' me perform. And then afterwards said 'See? I can have fun just like anyone else. I helped you out. I'm a nice guy.'
I didn't ask.
I'm starting to get tired of the three games a week, and spending each game being yelled at by Alpha either in character or out of character over nothing, and being forced to play other games with the group. We invited yet another new player into the group, and New Player offered to DM for us since DM 2 was getting burnt out with all the fighting. New DM was actually pretty cool. He was a chill dude who had some great campaign ideas. He'd let us play whatever we wanted and had some interesting one shots we could do to ease the grueling campaigns we already had going.
Alpha bragged about how all of his characters are roleplayed extremely well and that he was going to play a kenku that did nothing but "Caw" for one of the one shots. Why? Well, to hear him tell it, "I have been complimented on the fact that I can put all sorts of emotion, and convey whole sentences, thoughts, communicate effectively, without ever having to say a word, other than the way I say 'Caw'."
...That's nice but-
"I have been informed by players with over twenty years of experience that they have never seen someone with the talent I do for conveying complex emotions through nothing more than a simple gutteral noise."
...Yeah ok well-
"One man told me: "I have been playing for multiple decades, and have been in all sorts of campaigns, and never have I seen soemone be able to make me cry with their roleplay. And the sheer raw emotion you put in your 'caw' is enough to write several aparagraphs explaining the sheer depth of. It's beautiful."
...Holy shit.
The one shot came and went, he played his kenku, he said "Caw" a lot. Like, every RP'd conversation we had, he'd chime in with a "caw". Whilst also explaining a load of mannerisms that his kenku would be doing and then elaborating on what the "caw" would mean by explaining: "Looking into his eyes and the way he Caws you're able to tell he means This". I'm all for unconventional roleplay, but a masterful emoter he was not, he just compensated by just out of character explaining what he was going for.
I finally decide to give the group one more chance to be fun. DM 1 and DM 2 were still making their games more or less about Alpha's character. Alpha had relegated DM 1 to a Co-DM in his own game and prevented him from being a player so that he could spend more time roleplaying his various NPC's and less time worrying about encounters and quests and story.
So, fuck it. I'm a veteran of DMing myself. I'll make my own game. And I did. I invited everyone to be a part of it, plus a friend of mine who was interested in playing a game if I ran it.
I'm a very lenient DM. I let people play what they want, from whatever material they want, with my only ask being that if you're gonna play something that's still being playtested, send me the document so I can give it a glance over first. More than likely I'll allow it, I just want to know what I'm getting into.
Explaining that my game would be set in the Underdark, where the group will have been accidently teleported after a magical accident in a tavern they had all been frequenting at the time, everyone began making their characters.
Well, except Alpha. He had voiced his dissent about me running a game since I proposed that I could. His reasons?
"I don't know if you can be fair running a game."
"I'll only play if there are no limitations whatsoever and you sound like you're still iffy about untested stuff."
"I don't want to play with your other friend I haven't vetted, I know nothing about him."
"This whole premise sounds dumb, I don't think we should even give this a try."
In spite of all his protestations, everyone else was enthusiastically on board, and so he decieded to attend the Session Zero with everyone.
He spent most of it being quiet and reserved and just sort of sitting and observing as I helped everyone pick out whatever they wanted to do. DM 1 asked if he could run a Revised Ranger(Which was still somewhat new at the time). I told him sure, just send me the PDF on them. He did, and I approved it. DM 2 asked if he could use a starting Feat from expansion material and after looking over it, I agreed and said it sounded like fun. My other friend who had not been in the group up until this point was going to make an Artificer which was still new at the time. I told him it was no problem. I had already looked over Artificer and(at least in my opinion) It wasn't a particularly overpowered class, though it was incredibly useful in a lot of ways.
Alpha didn't ask me anything. He heard me approve Artificer for my friend, and then said "Ok I see. So we have to send you material so you can approve it but he just gets to be what he wants huh? Ok. Yeah. I see where this is going. Not gonna play a game where favorites are picked." and he left the call.
I was annoyed, but honestly, a part of me was glad he wouldn't be a part of it.
Then tragedy struck. My friend has a rare condition which, once in a very long while, causes him to randomly have seizures.(the last time he had a seizure was probably 2 years prior). And wouldn't you know it? Character creation, he asks a question, and then while I'm answering,he has a seizure, live on call. I freak out! I didn't know what to do! He lived a whole country away from me and I didn't know his address. I couldn't call the ambulance, I couldn't make sure he was alright, I was just deathly silent as I listened and kept hoping that he'd be ok. As did everyone else.
Thankfully my friend ended up being ok. He had fell out of his chair and recovered, but had lost memory of everything we had been doing and thought he may have hit his head. We let him know what happened and he was incredibly embarassed, leaving the call so he could go to the doctor and make sure he was alright. I was pretty distraught at this time and didn't want to continue doing the Session Zero at that time. The others told me it was fine and we could try for another day.
When Alpha was told about this, he said 'Well this is probably a sign or something that you just shouldn't run your game'.
At this point, I'm done. I'm done with everyone kowtowing to him, I'm done with listening to him be salty about every little thing that doesn't go his way, I'm done arguing with him on a daily basis about his asinine opinions about my playstyle and preferred classes, I'm done with him insisting on making every game about him. I'm done with listening to him emotionally abuse the other players. I'm just done. I'm done with being forced to play other games with them for the sake of 'maintaining a closer friendship for better campaigns'. I'm just done. Entirely. I write a strongly worded message in the group chat we all use, I apologize to everyone else, and I tell Alpha he's a piece of shit. I wish everyone else well, and dearly hope they find someone to play with who doesn't emotionalyl abuse them and force them to interact with him on a semidaily basis. Alpha, however, was a manipulative and emotionally draining piece of shit, that I wanted nothing more to do with.
After leaving I was messaged by New DM who said he had been observing a lot of the same problems, and he'd like to invite me to his group of friends instead, since he liked playing with me. I agreed and for the next couple of years, I had a lot of fun playing with the new group, who had much better senses of humor, and all in all were not dominated by any one egomanaical player. I'm not playing wit hthat group anymore, since we've all grown distant for one reason or another, but there's no hard feelings in the latter instance.
TL:DR, Emotionally abusive player bitches to the DM's of two different games to let him do whatever he wants, give him good loot, make the stories majoritively or soley about his particular characters' stories, forces everyone to hang out outside of games together by threatening to kick people who 'don't make time', brags about being an amazing roleplayer while making edgelord characters and a kenku who just says "Caw" all the time, argues game mechanics and classes and playstyles that he doesn't personally like on the daily, FORCED ME TO KILL OFF A CHARACTER BECAUSE HE DIDN'T LIKE THEM, and dismisses one of my friends having a seizure as a sign that I shouldn't be DMing a game he wasn't even going to play in the first place.
submitted by BigLundi to CritCrab [link] [comments]