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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. 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.
  2. 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."
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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."
  6. 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.
  7. 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."
  8. -stabs with a boiled piece of spaghetti-
  9. 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.
  10. 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."
  11. 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.
  12. -swoops in- I want one. You know what I mean. -disappears-
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. The nausea was beginning to pass, but the disgust was still there. Perhaps it always would be. Mehrin, staring at the floor, wrapped it up and set it aside for later. He would deal with it when he had time. Now, though, was a different matter. There was something else bothering him. Fear. Fear had a smell, a taste, a look. Fear could be felt by those around the person, and in the heightened senses of the moment Mehrin felt fear, but not his own. Something had shaken Eb beyond anything he had ever seen from her before. It was shown in the closed-off way that she stood holding herself in the corner of his eye. There had to be a source for that fear, one that had nothing to do with the assassin's failed attempt. A flash of intuition, something that he had learned to trust on the battlefield, gave him a possible answer. "'A commander must never show fear,'" Mehrin said quietly. The words were not his. They belonged to an ancient commander named Alyssia Maharevenn, a woman whose very presence on the field had once caused an entire army to retreat without offering battle before the Compact of the Ten Nations had been signed. She had written several treatises on tactics, and Mehrin had laboriously read every single one of them after he had been named commander of the Band. A part of Mehrin had always wondered if she was some distant ancestor of his parents based on her name, but he had never looked into it any further. She was not the only one he had read. Reading was never a strong point for Mehrin, but he had forced his way through every book that he could get his hands on about command and tactics. He continued, "'The confidence of the entire army lies with its commanders, and fear undermines confidence. A commander who shows fear to her soldiers has lost the battle before the first arrow has flown.'" Slowly, Mehrin's eyes moved from the floor to meet Eb's eyes. "She was right, wasn't she? Never thought to see me lose control like that, I'd guess." Unfortunately, Eb had asked The Question, and if she was going to be prepared for whatever came, Mehrin had to answer. "Do you ever think," Mehrin began, his eyes once again falling to the floor, "that the Creator sometimes has all the creative ability of a drunken gleeman who is trying to make up a story? That's apparently my life." Even preparing to say it had Mehrin shaking his head at the evident stupidity of it all. "I have an evil twin brother named Ayrik Drayven. Yes, it really is that ridiculous. "My daughter, a child that I never knew existed, ran away from her mother and found me at the Citadel. I did the best that I could as a father. I gave what free time I had to being there for her. I assigned her a minder. Remember Aldar Gesparion? Used to use a rapier on the battlefield, took a bad injury at Bandar Eban that left him barely able to walk. I took him on as my assistant in the office to keep as much work away from my desk as I possibly could. When Renalie showed up at the Citadel, he immediately took her under his wing, and I made the arrangement permanent." A small, sad smile crossed Mehrin's face for a moment as memories stirred. "For a time I was actually happy. I had a daughter, a career, even somebody who I thought would want to share it all with me." The smile turned cold and dark. "Then he showed up. The bastard, apparently a channeler, stepped out of a gateway in the middle of the night and stole Renalie from me. Aldar hurt him badly- the idiot thought that he could fight him with a sword, and even a crippled man was more than a match for him. I think he was trying to hide from the Asha'man. Probably couldn't win a stand-up fight." Memories stirred, threatened to drag Mehrin down with them. Aldar, his back broken, barely able to breathe. He had known that he was dying, and he had asked Mehrin to make it a quick death for him. He had done so with only the barest twinge of guilt. An empty room, a letter. Gloating. Rage. Drea. Comfort. A decision. "I don't know if Renalie is still alive. Ayrik never told me," Mehrin growled, the darkness that he kept bottled within himself tinting his words with red rage. "For all I know, he dropped her into the blackness inside of a gateway, leaving her to spend the rest of her life screaming as she fell through eternal nothingness." The darkness clamored forward, seeing the chance to finally be free. "I don't care. If she's alive, I will find her. If not... The Shadow cannot bury him deeply enough to escape me." A sudden burst of anger forced the darkness back down. Mehrin would use it when he needed it, not before. "That is why I left. If there was a chance that I could find her, then I had to take it." Shaking his head, Mehrin continued. "She is likely long dead, but I can't stop until I'm sure. I have walked from one side of this Light-blasted continent to the other searching for her. Drea left the Band with me, and he even managed to drive her away from me. I have been alone for so long, and for the bastard to show up now and try to kill me now..." The rage was too much. Mehrin's closed fist struck the arm rest of the chair, and he felt it break underneath his hand. "Expect everything," he growled. "This is just the beginning..."
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