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About Quibby

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    Doing the same thing and expecting different results...
  • Birthday 11/11/1986

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  1. *Five Weeks Ago* "Very good," Mehrin said with a smile. "That shadow over there means that there's low ground in that area. A clever enemy could hide a company there to make your life interesting. The Aiel could hide a bloody army in that, but they're... unique." For a moment, a small smile crossed Eb's face, breaking through the dark granite scowl that was her usual expression. It was the smile that accompanied each success in the little game that Mehrin had been playing with her in order to ease the tedious miles that passed under their feet. He would pose tactical questions, and she would try to find the answer. It passed the time, and Mehrin hoped that she would be able to take the lessons to heart. For all of Eb's strengths, Mehrin knew that she was not a battlefield commander. She would likely never command armies. However, knowing little things that would allow her to read a battlefield could do nothing but help her... not to mention anybody with her. Since they had left Whitebridge Mehrin had posed several such questions to her, and he had come to look forward to that triumphant smile. Like every other smile, though, it quickly retreated, leaving only the ever-present scowl in its wake. Mehrin did his best to hide the irritation and disappointment that always came when that smile vanished. That smile had become one of the few things that Mehrin looked forward during their walk. Its brief appearance completely changed the woman from walking rage into... something else. He was not sure exactly what that something else was, but it made the long walk almost pleasant. Pushing back the broad brim of his hat, Mehrin took some time to survey their surroundings again. They had been walking down a road that barely deserved the title for the past couple days, and Mehrin had been watching for a specific set of features in the terrain ever since they had chosen this route. And if his eyes were reading their path correctly, they were about to appear around the next bend. Ten more minutes of walking proved Mehrin's instincts correct. The path crossed a shallow stream nearly six paces wide over a mossy bridge that was probably much more sturdy than it looked. Short brush lined both banks, but upstream in the distance was a dark line that Mehrin immediately knew was a forest. And if he remembered the map correctly, it was a large one. Perfect. "Scenario," Mehrin said, taking the tone that he used when offering Eb yet another one of his tests. "You are on the run from an enemy with unknown resources and numbers. This enemy has managed to track you down at least twice. In response, you have done your best to get away from all major population centers. You have been walking down some goat trail doing its best to pretend that it is a road for four days, encountering nobody. To the south, fields that quickly give way to rocky hills. To the north, a forest. A stream flows from one to the other. What do you do?" It was only a couple steps from the question to the bridge, and Mehrin didn't give Eb the chance to answer. "You go to ground. There may be caves in hills to the south, but you are revealed whenever you are out. The forest is the better option for hiding." Shooting a grin at his stone-faced companion, Mehrin stepped off the bridge and dropped into the stream. Mehrin knew immediately that he had made a mistake. The stream was deeper than he had thought, and the cold water had quickly soaked through his breeches. He could feel it soaking into his smallclothes and creeping up the fabric towards less pleasant locations. Forcing a less-than-convincing grin, Mehrin said, "Come on in, the water's..." The grin slipped as the creeping water reached its unfortunate destination. "... cold. The water's very cold. Shockingly cold, in fact." Doing his best to hide the wincing discomfort, Mehrin turned north and started wading towards the forest. There was a brief moment where Mehrin was not certain that Eb would choose to follow him, but a splash from behind him dispelled that concern. If there had been any doubt of the source of the splash, the sudden outburst of profanity was enough to confirm what he knew was the case. With a chipper voice that was nowhere near how he was feeling at the moment, Mehrin called back, "Be careful with those supplies, especially the flour. That forest is going to be home for the next few weeks." The cursing continued for a moment before being suddenly choked off and replaced with a surprised, "WEEKS?!" Mehrin sighed. This was going to be fun... *One Week Ago* Taking a handful of the dough that he had been working with for the past fifteen minutes, Mehrin reached into the pot hanging over the embers of their campfire and slapped the handful against the inside of the pot. He held the dough in place for a few seconds before pulling his hand out of the sweltering heat. Mehrin had learned several tricks since leaving the Band, and he had decided that cooking had been the most important of those tricks. The trick of making bread in a cook pot over a fire had been picked up during a run as a caravan guard to the Borderlands, and in the following months he had perfected the technique. Once the flat breads were cooked they would last a fair amount of time. Mehrin would not have to do this again for almost a week. The camp that he and Eb had set up was on top of a rise in the forest that provided a clear view of all available approaches. A wide canvas covered the entire top of the rise. A tent was set up beneath the canvas to offer more protection from the elements. Water was available nearby in the form of a spring-fed pond. Most importantly, they were completely alone. During their first few days he and Eb had scouted the area for a couple days in all directions, and all they had found was forest. It was almost unimaginable that anybody would stumble across them. Mehrin checked the bread once to make sure that things were baking properly, then started cutting firewood again. The same concern that had made him add the canvas over their campsite had him cutting more wood to feed their fire. There was something in the air that made him think that the weather was going to turn, and having dry wood would be crucial if his instincts were correct. A loud grunt drew Mehrin's attention away from the firewood. Eb was going through one of her exercise routines, her body a blur as she attacked and defended against an invisible enemy. Mehrin took a moment to watch her. Every motion was a study in control, every step and swing a combination of force and conserved energy. There was a grace to her motions, a sense of beauty that only a warrior could see. He found himself smiling. With a shake of his head, Mehrin turned his attention back to the firewood. Isolation had given Mehrin time to think about Eb's repeated insistence that he start living. Looking back over the past several years had forced Mehrin to confront a truth about himself: he never let go of anything. It had always taken the equivalent of a mountain of obviousness falling on his head to make him see the rut that he always seemed to find himself trapped in, and Eb's angry outburst by the river was forcing Mehrin to acknowledge that he was once again clinging to his past. Ana was gone. Anya was gone. The Band was gone. Drea... Drea was gone. Renalie... No. He was not going to add her to the list, no matter what. Everything that he had ever known and cared for may have been gone, but he would be damned if he would give up on that one spark. Mehrin's eyes once again drifted back to Eb as she continued her exercises. Slowly his attention drifted from the critical appreciation of her ability to the grace of her motions, the way her body moved and shifted from moment to moment. She had a beauty that was unique to her, Mehrin admitted to himself. Not that he was likely to say anything; Eb would probably cut his eyes out if she guessed that he even thought something like that. Still... A rumble of thunder filled the air, driving Mehrin back to his firewood. It was going to rain, and they would need dry wood tomorrow. *Now* Something had to die. Seriously. It had been raining for one solid week. The firewood was running low, the ground outside their shelter was waterlogged, and it was cold. Mehrin had not worn a shirt or breeches for the past five days, choosing instead to wrap them in canvas and tuck them into his bag in the tent. Instead, he sat in his smallclothes and held his greatcoat closed around him, his hat down across his brow. The rain pattered a steady staccato on the canvas over their camp, a pool forming in the center. Mehrin had emptied that pool several times in order to fill their canteens and water skins. More rain was spraying off the top of his hat. Mehrin could feel his muscles stiffening from the chill, so he did what he had done every time it had happened before: he started training. Shedding his coat and hat, Mehrin stepped out into the rain, his boots sinking into the mud in the cleared area where he and Eb did their exercises. Cold rain stung his skin as he hefted his sword, giving it a quick twirl in his hands. The cold was sinking into him, causing his frustration and anger to burn even hotter. A warmth that did not help to actually warm him. With a snarl, Mehrin began attacking the air around him, willing his muscles to fill him with heat while the rain tried to sap the warmth out of him.
  2. Mehrin was silent for a long moment. What was happening? A Dreadlord had decided to drop whatever he had been doing for the past several years to murder him. But in this way? A whole platoon of Children? A Darkfriend assassin? This was convoluted beyond stupidity. Why didn't Ayrik just step out of a gateway and incinerate him? He found that he didn't have a good answer to Eb's question. With all honesty, Mehrin answered, "I don't know for certain. All I know is that this will only end when either he is dead... or I am. And I certainly have no intention of dying." A small smile crossed his face briefly. "I fully intend to kick the Dark One in the stones before I die, and I can't do that if this bastard kills me." As quickly as the smile appeared, it was gone. "Expect everything, and you won't be disappointed." **** It had been four days since Deathwatch and the woman had left Whitebridge, and Gerrain, Sabeth, Roshan, and Erebit had not left the basement of the mansion since Arlynn had been killed. Only a master mason would have been able to spot the small rectangle in the wall where bricks had been removed and a hollow dug out to hide the body of the assassin, then replaced. Gerrain and Roshan had been hiding outside the inn when the big man had hurled Arlynn from the window, and Roshan was still occasionally sick whenever he remembered the popping sound that her head had made when it struck the cobbles. Arlynn's features had only grown worse in the brief time that it had taken to remove her from the street and into the basement. Before they had begun to pack in the clay around her corpse, her head had turned purple and her eyes were bulging grotesquely. Roshan was happy to set the final bricks between the assassin and himself. "So," Gerrain started before falling silent. He seemed to be trying to find words. But what was there to be said? They had failed, and one of the best assassins that the Shadow had ever known was rotting behind a wall of bricks. Roshan was wondering what he would add, hoped that it would be something that they could draw some inspiration from. They were behind, true, but there were other assassins that they could recruit. They could come back from- "You failed." The cold pronouncement drew angry glares from everyone present to the figure that had just stepped from a hole in the air. "You had your orders," the Dreadlord Ayrik Drayven hissed. "You let Mehrin and that new wench of his escape. I understood that you were the best that the Shadow had to offer." The Shadow-blasted raven that seemed to follow the man around croaked harshly at the assembled Friends of the Dark. "It seems that I was mistaken." The slim features narrowed in contempt as Ayrik's gaze fell on Gerrain. "You are the leader here. You will explain yourself to me, worm." Roshan's guts twisted in fear. A Dreadlord was an enemy that no mere Darkfriend wanted. However, Gerrain's gaze never wavered. "No, Dreadlord. You will explain to your superiors." Drayven's features twisted in rage, but Gerrain continued without concern. "Our circle was one of the strange ones. We are five- I mean, four. And we are experts in our area. Assassination, discord, chaos. These are our areas." An expression that Roshan had never seen on Gerrain's face appeared: rage. Rage and despise. "We were contracted by you, and we all contacted our circles. Every single ally that we have knows of the contract you gave us. And we know that you have driven us to assassinate a man who you wanted dead." Gerrain's face grew hard. "We pursued your personal grudge, and as a result one of the Shadow's greatest asset is now dead behind that wall. You can threaten us all you want. You can even destroy us right here. We know that." Roshan was not fond of Gerrain's seeming disinterest in their fates. He fully intended to live until the Great Lord was free. "What you don't know," Gerrain continued, "is that our message has spread through the Friends, and we have had replies." He leveled his gaze on the upstart Dreadlord. "What do you think your master M'bela would think of this? I can assure you that any retribution you drop on us will be revisited to you tenfold by the one who holds your leash. As far as we are concerned, we are through. Find some other circle, if one will have you. As far as we are concerned, you can cast yourself into the Pit of Doom and leave us be." Roshan expected the Dreadlord to react beyond the growing redness in his face. The rage was there; he could almost feel it like an oppressing heat in the room. But there was no retaliation. There was no physical reaction at all. The Dreadlord merely opened a gateway behind him, and as quickly as he had appeared, Drayven was gone. Gerrain nearly collapsed as the facade that he had shown fell apart. Sabeth was there almost as soon as he hit the floor, her arms wrapping around his shoulders as if she could protect him from whatever might come. Roshan could see him trembling, see the tension of what he had just done twitching out of him. However, with a single nod, Gerrain told them all that they were done in Whitebridge. Their chapter in this... this idiocy... was over. The Dreadlord was on his own.
  3. Mehrin's morning exercises were an hour behind him, and the two boys were still asleep. Patience was never his strongest point. There was no fresh water nearby, so Mehrin couldn't simply douse Rovan with a water skin and start the day. Instead, he pushed the sole of his boot against the boy and gave him a shove. "Wake up. We have a long way to go today." Out of the corner of his eye, Mehrin saw the other boy stir and rolled his eyes. If he woke up and chose to follow, Mehrin wouldn't stop him. There were enough dead fools in the forests without him making it easier to add to the number. However, he was not concerned with the boy as much as he was with this... this foundling. He waited for the boy to eat the meager meal that he had provided- it was more than he had eaten, but the supplies were beginning to run low- then dropped his pack at the boy's feet. Between clothes, the remaining food and water, and the small fortune in coin that he carried in the sack, it weighed nearly forty pounds. "You'll be carrying this today. As you saw yesterday, I don't take the easy road. You will be miserable by lunch. Enjoy." Mehrin spared a look at the other boy. "I won't say to not follow us. I will say that you might regret it if you choose to follow. Your choice." He waited until the boy had lifted the pack. "As for us," he finished as he nodded towards the path forward, "we're going that way. Try to keep up."
  4. I haven't forgotten this. Been jet-lagging after a transatlantic flight and setting up a new PC. The post is in my head, just need to get it out.
  5. Mehrin was beginning to believe that there was a higher power that somehow managed to lead young people with shiny swords and years of inexperience to him, and he was creating a new collection of blasphemies to hurl at said power if he should ever encounter it. He wasn't sure if it was the laughter, the loudness that Mehrin was hoping wouldn't bring a stray pack of bandits down on their camp, or the fact that the boy had actually named his bloody sword, but the boy was starting to grate across his nerves. The boy Rovan's pants were mostly dry by the time Mehrin had finished his stitching, so he simply tossed them across to him. As Rovan dressed, Mehrin looked at the boy who had seated himself next to the fire. He was still laughing, though Mehrin could not see any reason for him to be doing so. "Keep the noise down," he growled as he slid his knife back into its sheath. "That one's running from somebody," he added with a nod towards Rovan, "and I would rather not bring more attention to ourselves than necessary." Dinner was hard bread, hard cheese, and a piece of hard sausage. Mehrin handed Rovan's share to him when he had finished dressing, then sat back with his own share. The new face would have to fend for himself; Mehrin hardly had enough for one, and he was stretching it for two. He ate in silence, drank some of the water, then tossed the skin to Rovan. He quickly swapped his shirt for a loose vest from his bag, then picked up the oversized claymore that had been laying in some taller grass. Giving the heavy sword an easy twirl in his left hand, Mehrin stepped away from the fire and into a small clear space and began moving through the complex motions of his evening exercises. He began slowly, his feet and legs moving slowly and precisely. As he shifted his balance from foot to foot and from step to step, his arms moved the sword in a slow and steady choreography, the blade moving in straight lines with no wavering or pauses in each motion. Faster. Mehrin could feel the blood moving through him, feel his muscles warming to the exercise. His breathing was calm and steady. The sword was beginning to sing in his hand, a slight hum that was more felt in the hand than heard in the ear. There was an occasional rustle from under his feet as he disturbed a dead leaf or dried grass. Faster. His skin prickled as a sheen of sweat began to form. Sometimes a bead of sweat would trace the line of one of his scars, a tickling sensation that he ignored. His heart thundered in his chest, his breathing deep and heavy. There was a constant humming swish of sound as the claymore sang its way through the air. Faster. His muscles burned, and sweat was stinging his eyes. He felt hot as a forge fire. Faster. After an hour, Mehrin's dance slowed back to the stately pace where had first started, the motions still crisp and smooth, then finally stopped. Mehrin stood in his final stance for a handful of seconds before kneeling, his breathing heavy and ragged, goosebumps raising on his body as a cool breeze swept across his sweat-drenched skin. He stood again as his breathing slowed, then went and pulled a towel from his pack and wiped away the sweat. Another shirt from out of the pack, and Mehrin was back to the fire. Settling his pack behind his head, he laid back and lifted his broad- brimmed hat from the grass beside him. He spared the new boy another look as he laid back against the pack and said, "You have first watch. Wake me in six hours." Without waiting for a reply, Mehrin dropped his hat down over his eyes. He was asleep within minutes.
  6. At the sound of birds taking flight out in the forest, Mehrin shifted a little bit around the fire so that he was more squarely facing in the direction of the disturbance, then drew the heavy knife that he kept in a sheath on his leg and set it on the ground next to him. He then began stitching again as if nothing had happened. When the cause of the startled birds stepped out of the forest, his eyes flicked up for a brief moment to categorize the boy who had stepped out of the forest. Inwardly, Mehrin groaned. Not another one... The boy was tall and lithe and had the cocky swagger of someone whose inflated opinion of himself had yet to encounter the real world. This snap judgment was further supported when he shoved his way past the boy Rovan and stood in front of Mehrin, waving and fiddling with his sword. "Mind if I camp here?" he asked with a laugh. Mehrin didn't make any effort to hide his sigh of irritation. He spared the boy another glance and said, "I'll consider it as soon as you apologize to the boy over there for being rude." Nodding at the sword on the boy's belt, he added, "Walking around with a pointy piece of metal doesn't excuse bad manners."
  7. focus The pain was only excruciating. And it was everywhere. The whole world seemed to consist of red tendrils of agony crawling across his brain. focus Something was calling him from the red, the dark. FOCUS There was something holding his hand. He seized onto the feeling, used it to crawl from the depths. There was ringing in his ears, but there was more than that. There were things that almost sounded like it might be talking. open The light was blinding, and his eyes burned as blood that had pooled around them oozed in. There were people, a girl and a man. The man was trying to say something. Eyes burning, he focused his eyes on the man's lips and muttered, "Slower." At least he hoped that he had. It was hard to tell. There was still somebody holding his hand, but he couldn't see it. blood in eyes. fix it His free hand slowly crept its way up his chest and across his face until he felt metal. He pushed. There was pain as something pulled free from his face. He felt liquid running down his cheeks. crying. Blood? Thoughts floated quicker. He was hurt. He had been exploded into a wall. He had a name. But maybe not a job anymore. A single cough of laughter made Pahl- I knew I had one- grimace. "Anyone hurt?" he asked slowly. At least he hoped that he had. It was still hard to tell.
  8. If he was to be honest with himself, Mehrin was impressed with how long the boy had held out against him. However, it didn't take long after the first blow passed his defense for him to come crashing down, and his attempt to stand again resulted in yet another tumble. Mehrin left the boy where he was for a moment, then offered him a hand and pulled him easily back to his feet. "Well done," he said simply. A soldier would have gotten a rougher response, but the boy was no soldier. Still... A small smirk crawled onto Mehrin's face. "However, the pain that you're currently feeling? That means that you didn't do well enough." Mehrin waved the boy towards the fire, then turned to his pack and found a water skin and a blanket. He dropped the water skin on the ground by the fire, then threw the blanket at the boy. "Get rid of the wet clothes and get covered up with this. We'll dry the clothes so you don't have to sleep in soggy breeches." As the boy dealt with the clothing, Mehrin began pulling a meal out of his pack. He also found a needle and thread that he used for stitching injuries. He didn't notice any cuts on the boy, but he had definitely noticed the tear in his breeches. The boy's shirt went onto sticks in front of the fire to dry. His breeches ended up in Mehrin's lap for stitching. His eyes focused on the tear in front of him, Mehrin said, "You seem to have some sort of training, though I can't say I know what kind. What are you comfortable handling? I can try to change the training to help you with what you know."
  9. -stabs with a boiled piece of spaghetti-
  10. I never asked him. I just felt a certain amount of amazement and impression at the efficacy of the tactic that he used. Literally cutting off half of the map to everybody else? That's both awesome and an incredibly d*** move.
  11. Handel's "The Messiah". I performed this piece every year for seven years, and it was a pile of fun every single time. Oddly enough, I don't listen to it very often, but I will find any excuse to perform it. I listen to every Mannheim Steamroller album every year as well as every Christmas-related Trans-Siberian Orchestra album (i.e. all of them except 'Beethoven's Last Night' and 'Night Castle'). After that... I'm done. Except... 'O Holy Night'. I studied voice, and this is easily the single most requested song that I have in my repertoire, and it is so satisfying to perform because you know in an instant that you have the audience. I did this one for an informal event once with around 2500 non-attentive attendees, and four syllables in, I looked at the whole crowd and went, "Yup, you're mine. Enjoy the ride."
  12. I use Ticket to Ride as a gateway drug (see 'Tabletop' on the Geek and Sundry YouTube channel for why). My family enjoys playing this one, and I used it to inject some Catan into the mix. I'm currently working on Tokaido, which will be easier when I have a better grasp of the rules and roles. I have yet to lose TtR in our games here, but that's mostly because I know my entire route before the first person draws a card. EDIT: This is a picture from a game of Catan played by one of my friends. He played blue. I told him that, while brilliant, this was a d*** move.
  13. -swoops in- I want one. You know what I mean. -disappears-
  14. Having a new victi- new character might make it easier, actually. I just realized that my reply was eaten by Trollocs, so I get to start over again on that.
  15. Had a while now to really get into the game. Holy crap, story. Recent Star Wars games are all multiplayer with a campaign thrown in as almost an afterthought. Fallen Order is a single-player game through and through, and it's glorious. Gameplay is what would happen if you threw Dark Souls-style difficulty into an exploration game like the recent Tomb Raider games. I unfortunately went into the game playing it as if I was playing a Dark Souls game: dodging all of the attacks and hitting when the enemy was recovering from their attack. That doesn't work. At all. In the least. Fallen Order is all about blocking and parrying, with extra emphasis on the parrying. If you keep dodging all the time, you'll take a long time to get anywhere in the best of circumstances. Worst-case scenario? You will be squished. Constantly. A lot. Painfully. I'm playing on the second-lowest difficulty setting, and I occasionally find myself struggling, mostly because I'm occasionally still trying to instinctively play it like a Dark Souls game with dodging instead of parrying. For a clearer picture of how much of a difference that makes, I made six runs at a boss battle using the dodging method and got squished every time without doing any real damage. I started trying to 'git gud' at parrying, and it took me two runs with the first run still doing about 75% damage. If you want a challenge similar to a Dark Souls game, but with emphasis on a different mechanic and with laser swords, I strongly recommend this one. I especially like the exploration aspect of this game. All that being said, I hate how all games seem to include spider enemies. Fallen Order is no different, and you'll get sick of seeing 'em eventually.
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