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The old man's nephew looked out the giant observation window into the city. His workers and helpers spewed statistics at him every so often about the amount of steam being released and the last earthquake location. They barely even stopped talking anymore.

He sighed, which only deepened when his uncle burst in and ran to look out through the window at the city. The nephew watched him, disinterested, then said "Uncle, really, you have your own observation deck, what are you-"

"Shhhh. Hear that?" The old man waved his nephew impatiently into silence, and went back to his staring, pressing his large nose to the window to see better.

The nephew looked out at the city, then back at the old man. "Hear what?" Agitated, the old man looks at him for a moment before seeming to make up his mind and rushing over to him, dragging him to his eye level by the collar.

"Listen," he hissed. He looked back out the window, and the nephew unenthusiastically follows his gaze.

"I still don't hear anything," the man pointed out. The sound of earthquakes and releasing steam was pretty constant by now, surely his uncle can't mean that.

"No, no, no, you're not listening! That sound. It's growing."

A roll of the eyes. "The steam released? Yeah, of course it is."

The old man looked back at his nephew. "Don't you know what this means?" When no answer came, he swept a hand over the window's view of Taitle. "My city...it's alive again!"

"Really, uncle, there's been people here all this time, of course it's alive, that's what people do." The old man just gave him an annoyed look.

"Just listen. Or better yet, just look. It's alive. It's all coming back, just like I had hoped. And it's doing it on its own." He clapped his nephew on the shoulder and laughed as he steered the young man to fully face the window. "Just look, my boy. Look at how glorious this city used to be!"

Skeptically entertaining the old man, the nephew looked out the window, still with that same uninterested look. Steam hissed out of the street lines that led to nowhere. Buildings crumbled every now and then because of the earthquakes. The fighters themselves weren't close enough to hear, and the observation dome's chatter was too loud where they were to separate the two. The nephew shook his head and went to point all of this out but his uncle simply grasped his shoulder firmly and pointed out the window himself. Following his gaze, the nephew found a good reason to be interested.

There was another earthquake, louder because it was closer to them, but it wasn't the earthquake or the subsequently ruined buildings that caught his attention. It was the collection of street that had suddenly dislodged itself from the rest, curling upward and taking a fair bit of that city's neighborhood with it, as well as some of the pipes that ran underground. The pipes themselves almost looked like-

"F-fingers?" The nephew's wild eyes followed the hand that was emerging, blinking rapidly and turning back to his uncle as if praying him to deny what he was seeing. But the uncle merely beamed at the curled street and pipes as the pipes themselves began to move harshly like fingers.

"Alive, again," he repeated, turning the nephew's head North to see a small hemisphere of street and a garden, the pipes and tree roots still connected to the ground, but only barely. It had two steam vents on the same horizontal level, releasing the same amount of steam at the same time.

"Like eyes. Eyes and hands," the young man whispered. "Is this going to continue?" he asked his uncle in a hushed tone.

"One can only hope so, my boy!" the old man responded. "This...this is how Taitle should be."

Shakily, the nephew's eyes found the hand once more. Slowly and carefully, accompanied with a lot of earthquakes, the hand was raising an arm to go along with it. Even more steam was being released from that particular sector, and the accompanying earthquakes were throwing a good deal of the buildings there into rubble. After several minutes of being transfixed by this sight, he uttered, "we should reinforce the Viewer's Dome." A set of robots whirled out about their business, and the old man patted his nephew sympathetically on the shoulder before leaving the deck as well, going back to his workspace and the wishing machine, which had been whirring more and more in anticipation of its new and final master.
I had hoped to get this in a comic form before the round was out, as it fills in a bunch of missing blanks, but what I hope and what happens, obviously, aren't the same thing.

To those who asked about the earthquakes...here you are :3

Law of Talos is winding down to the final round...and the city feels it.
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Hiccup had been quietly sitting on a barrel near the dock, while Toothless was obviously by his side, like he always was, and the Viking could tell that his black, scaly friend was already getting bored, but he just couldn't leave right now, especially since he knew that Astrid would be arriving on a ship any minute now.

Astrid was away for the past week on a fishing trip with her father, and she would have brought Stormfly along to help her out, or at least, to keep her company, but her father flat out refused, saying that no dragons would be included on the trip, most likely because he wanted it to be just family.

Hiccup had managed to keep himself super busy while his girlfriend was gone, with looking after her Deadly Nadder, which Astrid thought was giving too much work for Hiccup, especially when he already has a Night Fury to take care of, but he insisted that it was no problem, and she didn't have to worry about it.

There was also his job with being the founder and head dragon trainer for Berk Dragon Academy, and it was pretty hard for Hiccup to concentrate at the arena, considering that he noticed Astrid's absence right away before the sessions had even begun.

On the night before she left, the couple spent time alone at the cove, and while they were there, Astrid told Hiccup that she had something very important to tell him, but she somehow changed her mind and decided to wait until she came back from the trip, and that's something which bothered Hiccup a lot lately.

Why couldn't Astrid have just told Hiccup instead of having him wait for an entire week to hear whatever it was, and besides, Hiccup couldn't help but think about whether it was good or bad, because Astrid didn't even mention if it was about their relationship or something else.

All of the many thought that were currently going around in Hiccup's mind suddenly got interrupted when Toothless began nudging him, as he was trying to tell him that something had caught his attention, and when Hiccup looked up from the ground to see what it was, a smile quickly grew on his face.

Not so far in the distance, both Hiccup and Toothless were clearly seeing a ship that was sailing across the sea, and the closer it came to the dock of the island, the more that Hiccup could be able to hear Astrid's voice, calling out his name, and also see her waving to him.

Once the ship had finally come into port, Astrid instantly jumped onto the dock, and ran towards Hiccup, who had just got himself off from the barrel, and started walking over to his girlfriend, when she grabbed him and pulled him in for a long embrace.

"Astrid, it's great to have you back home, so how was your fishing trip? I guess that it couldn't have been a lot of fun while not having Stormfly around with you." Hiccup assumed.

"Well, it was definately not fun for me knowing that I couldn't get to bring you and Toothless along, but my father had made it clear, and he kept saying that the trip would really give us a chance to talk, so anyway, speaking of Stormfly, where is she right now?" Astrid asked.

"There's no need to worry, Stormfly's back at your house waiting for you, and I know that it's probably not my business or anything, but what exactly did you and your father talk about, because I remember that you said back in the cove a week ago that there was something very important for you to tell me." Hiccup mentioned.

"Wait a minute, Hiccup, you still don't know about it, because I was sure that your father was going to talk to you right after we returned to the village on that same night." Astrid replied, which had gotten Hiccup thinking for a while before he gave an answer to Astrid.

"I believe that I asked my dad about it just once, and all he said was that the two should wait until you and your father got back from your fishing trip. Oh, and speaking of your father, here he comes right now, so if you don't mind, I'd like to ask him what exactly is it that's so important." Hiccup informed, while turning to approach Astrid's father, Alrick Hofferson.

"Excuse me, Mr. Hofferson, before your daughter left with you on your fishing trip a week ago, I remember she said to me that there was something very important for me to know, but she changed her mind, and never told me, so I was hoping if you could please tell me." Hiccup requested.

"I'm sorry, Hiccup, but we should probably go over to your father's house first before we talk about anything, and you shouldn't have to worry at all because it's actually a good thing that you'll be happy to hear about." Alrick responded, before giving a grin and patting Hiccup on the shoulder.

Hiccup made a long sigh, since he was obviously disappointed that he wasn't going to find out right away, but he was nonetheless glad that he would finally know very soon.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

With his best friend, girlfriend, and her father coming along with him, Hiccup reached his house and opened the door to find his father sitting still in a chair near the dinner table, and right when they entered, Stoick got himself off from the chair and walked towards them.

"Alrick, welcome back! It's great to see that you and your daughter made it back to Berk safely, so tell me, how was the fishing trip? Did you get a nice catch of fish while you were far out at sea?" Stoick asked, as he shook Alrick's hand and heavily patted him on the back.

"We weren't so lucky, because it seemed like the fish preferred to hide at the bottom of the ocean, but on the bright side, the trip did give me a chance to discuss with my daughter about a lot of things, and especially...her future." Alrick answered.

Hiccup instantly felt a shudder course throught his entire body right when he heard Astrid's father say those last three words, and he was really getting nervous now, and he could even feel his head vibrating.

"That's good to hear, Alrick, but if you don't mind, I'd like to talk with my son in private, because we didn't really sit down at any time this past week to talk about his future, so maybe you and Astrid should come back some other time. How does tonight at the Great Hall sound?" Stoick suggested.

"Sounds good, chief, and I'll just give Hiccup a kiss before me and my father go." Astrid said, as she walked over to her boyfriend, quickly kissed him hard on the lips, and put her mouth near to Hiccup's ear.

"l love you, Hiccup, and just so you know, that's what I was going to tell you at the cove on that night, but I just got a little scared, so I'm sorry for not telling you sooner, and making you wait, and I really missed you so much, and trust me, you have absolutely nothing to worry about." Astrid whispered.

She smiled at Hiccup for a few seconds before leaving through the front door, with Alrick following her, while closing the door behind him, and that just left Hiccup, Stoick, and Toothless in the house, with father and son staring at each other for a short moment until Hiccup spoke up.

"So...dad, now that Astrid and her father have left, what is it about my future that you wanted to talk to me about? I mean, did I do something wrong?" Hiccup asked, while trying to recall anything particularly bad he'd done in the past few days, but he came up short.

"No, son, you did nothing wrong at all, and I apologize for not telling you earlier, but before Alrick left on that fishing trip, we discussed your relationship with Astrid, and since the two of you seem to be very happy together, both of us felt that it was time for you to take the next step." Stoick answered.

"Dad, what do you mean by "next step"? Are you suggesting that me and Astrid sleep together, because I'm sure that we're way too young to even consider doing that." Hiccup asked, while assuming that's what his father was going to be talking about with him.

"You're absolutely right about that, son, which is why me and Alrick have worked out a contract for you and Astrid to be married by the end of summer. Congratulations, son!" Stoick proudly exclaimed.

Hiccup felt the sudden sensation that the floor had been jerked out from under him, and he half expected someone to jump out and say, "Haha! Just kidding! You totally fell for it!" But, unfortunately, that didn't get to happen for him.

"What! I'm engaged to Astrid? Dad, how can we be engaged if we didn't even talk about it, and why didn't I find out about this before? Does Astrid even know about this?" Hiccup asked, and he obviously felt like asking a lot more questions.

Stoick made a bark of laughter, as though it was a good time of watching his son freak out. "Calm down, Hiccup! Well, I'm sure that the engagement's exactly what Alrick discussed with Astrid during their fishing trip for the past week.

It's a good thing you're engaged because it's a perfect match with the Hoffersons, which are a good, strong family, just like us Haddocks, and it was actually an unplanned sort of thing, since it was Alrick who made the offer first, and as you already know, I decided to wait until they got back so that we could discuss everything together." Stoick explained.

"What is there else to discuss about? I'm barely sixteen! I've still haven't even begun to understand females! Why should me and Astrid have to get married so soon, I mean, can't we just wait for a couple of years to give us more time to commit to each other?" Hiccup requested.

"Son, once you're married, the two of you will have more than enough time to be committed, and it wouldn't be so different to make this an official union, because a lot of Vikings choose to marry at a young age, especially Viking chiefs, and it's to ensure that the tribes stay strong.

Hiccup, I really am sorry for not telling you about any of this earlier, but now that you know, it shouldn't be a problem anymore, and my decision on this is final. I just hope someday, you'll understand that while a father must do what's best for his son, a chief must do what's best for the village." Stoick explained.

Before Hiccup could even ask his father any more questions, Stoick had already walked out the door, and Hiccup wordlessly climbed up the stairs into his bedroom, with Toothless quietly following him, and he laid down with his back on the bed, staring up at the ceiling for a moment.

His mind instantly got focused on what Astrid told him before she left his house, which caused Hiccup to wonder if he loved her back, and the Viking didn't really know, but he had always liked her, and cared about her as a friend, but he wasn't if he wanted their relationship to become more serious.

He liked their relationship as it already was, a comforting and friendly love, because they were not just friends, but they were also sweethearts, so obviously, he never even had considered marriage, since it was taking a huge step in their relationship, and making an actual commitment.

"What should I do? Astrid said that she loves me, but I'm not sure if I feel the same way about her, and how am I supposed to tell her that? Surely she will get angry or sad, and I don't want that to happen, but I'm afraid that our relationship could be destroyed!" Hiccup thought to himself.

He still kept his green eyes on the ceiling, as if the answer was up there somehow. "I do like Astrid, and I have always liked her. I would never forgive myself if I let down such a strong, tough, and great girl like Astrid."

Hiccup knew that he would never do that to her, and to decide whether he loved Astrid or not, Hiccup thought of everything that they had been through, from dragon training to the battle with the only to have uncertainty written all over his face.

"No, I don't love Astrid," Hiccup concluded, and it was far too early, which is why all he needed was time, and if Astrid would give him that, he would eventually give his love in return, but he didn't want to spend all of that time planning their wedding, and it was much too soon for them to be doing that either.

It seemed impossible at this point for Hiccup to go outside, find his father, and try to convince him to have the wedding, if not the engagement, postponed because he couldn't possibly be married to somebody whom he didn't love yet, even it was Astrid, and he knew that it wouldn't really be fair to her.

Maybe if Hiccup could get away from Berk for a while, it would help him think about going through with the wedding, and come to a realization that him and Astrid were truly meant for each other, but he knew that it would be a bad message by taking off without saying anything.

He could leave a note for his father explaining that he wasn't running away, since it would only be a few days, or maybe even a week until he got back, and while Hiccup still wasn't sure of the destination, he should be able to find some kind of campsite that he could stay at.

"Alright Toothless, I think that it's time to go on a trip of our own, and it will just be the two of us, but this trip isn't going to include Astrid and Stormfly, so are you okay with that?" Hiccup asked, and he already knew what the dragon's answer was when Toothless came over to licking his face.

"I'll take that as a yes, but before we go, I just have to pack up some things I'll need and leave a note for my dad, and we'll be out of here. Could you please wait for me downstairs?" Hiccup requested, and Toothless nodded before going down the wooden stairway.

Hiccup immediately found a basket and got started on filling it with the most important things that he should bring for trip, like a few changes of clothes, fresh food, clean water, and his sketchbook, because he'd like to draw anything out there that might capture his attention.

After he was done packing the basket, Hiccup walked over to his desk, grabbed a spare piece of paper and the charcoal pen his mother had given him when he was young, and started writing.

Dear Father,

I know that since you're the chief, it's your duty to make decisions which are best for the village, and because I'm not only your son, but your only child, I'll be the next in line to take that position in the future, but I'm not exactly happy with the decision you've recently made for me.

Ever since I met Astrid back when we were kids, I liked her a lot, and I still do right now, but my feelings for Astrid haven't really changed over the years, and that's why I don't love her, and I'm not even in love with her, but I would like to be, if only I had more time.

It wouldn't be fair to you, Astrid, and her father for me to stay here in Berk and spend that time making plans for me and Astrid to get married, when I'm still not certain about spending the rest of my life with her, and that's why I need to get away for a while.

You don't have to worry about me, because I'll only be gone for a few days, or probably even a week, and I have a basket that's all packed with the most necessary things for the trip, and Toothless will be by my side and look after me the entire time we're away from Berk.

When you see Astrid, can you please tell her not to be upset with me, because I'm pretty sure that will be her instant reaction when she finds out about me having left the village, and also tell her father that I still do like her daughter, and I'm not scared of being with her.

While I'm gone, I'll miss spending time with not only her and Stormfly, but also with you, because ever since the battle with the Green Death, I've felt that our relationship has gotten better and stronger over the past few months, with Alvin, the portrait, and everything else.

I'll be sure to tell you about what happened during the trip when I get back, and until then, goodbye, father.

With love, from your son, Hiccup

After he was finally finished with the note, Hiccup made a quick double check in the basket to see if there was anything that he might have missed to put in, and he remembered that he wouldn't need to wear his fur vest at least until he found land, and so he put the vest in the basket.

Hiccup looked around to find his mother's breast plate, and he let out a sigh while looking at it, since the helmet was the only piece of his mother he had left of her, and he gave an adjustment by fixing one of the horns that was crooked before putting the dull metal helmet on his head.

He quickly put on his leather riding vest and tightened the straps of it before Hiccup slung the large basket over his shoulder and took the handwritten letter to his father with his other available hand, and carefully went down the wooden stairs, being cautious not to trip on any of the steps.

"Alright, Toothless, I've got the basket all packed up for our trip, and now we just have to go over to the cove, and I think that it's better to walk because I don't want anyone from the village to catch us if we're flying to get there. Besides, it's better than having my father on your back, right?" Hiccup asked.

Toothless growled, while making a nod in agreement about that question, and Hiccup laid the note down on the dinner table, being in plain sight for his father to see when the next time he comes inside, and both of them went across the room, going outside the house through the back door.

Since Hiccup was being mostly quiet during their walk to the cove, Toothless believed that Hiccup had been having second thoughts about their trip, and maybe wondering if he was making a huge mistake with leaving Berk, and so he gently nudged his friend to the side, while looking up at him.

"Don't worry, bud, I'm not sad or upset with you about anything, it's just really important for me to take this trip right now, because otherwise, I'll never know whether or not I can live with even the idea of me and Astrid becoming husband and wife at the end of the summer. Do you understand?" Hiccup asked.

He playfully rubbed the dragon's nose, while also giving him a slight grin, which soon caused Toothless' worries to go away, and as they went much deeper into the forest, Hiccup and his Night Fury could hear the sound of birds chirping, and when Hiccup turned around, he barely saw the village anymore.

"You know what, Toothless, I think that we've walked pretty far enough, and I'm sure that nobody will see us if we start flying, but there's only one more thing that I need to do, and that's for me to connect the basket to your saddle. Now you'll just have to hold still and it will be done with, okay?" Hiccup asked.

Toothless calmly purred, and he managed to keep himself in a still position long enough for Hiccup to get the basket situated on his back, and luckily for Toothless, the basket didn't feel so heavy, but he had to admit that it really felt a lot better than having a man who was four hundred pounds on him.

Hiccup jumped onto the saddle and hooked himself in, attaching the metal loops of his leather belt to the metal hooks on Toothless' saddle, and once Hiccup was done with that, the dragon thrust his wings downward and in a matter of only a few seconds, they were off from the ground and into the sky.

When they were a good distance away from the island, Hiccup turned back to the town, getting one last look at it. "Goodbye, Dad. Goodbye, Astrid. Goodbye, Berk." He whispered, and with those few messages said, the unlikely friends took off towards the coast, while facing the wide open ocean.
Hiccup's caught off guard when Astrid declares she loves him, and Stoick announces he and Astrid will be married in late summer, so he decides to take off with Toothless on a trip, determined to figure out whether he can go through with the marriage, but what he didn't expect to find is a Scottish princess, which causes him to rethink his future. cool-and-creative.deviantart.c…
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x Hiccup x

Hiccup woke to the sunlight streaming through his window. He blinked sleepily at the blurry figure above his head. It took him a second to realize it was Toothless staring down at him with curious eyes. He wondered how long the dragon had been there staring at him. He shrugged the thought aside. He sat up thinking it strange that he had woken up later than normal. It was probably because he spent most of the night in the cove with Astrid. 

He blushed thinking about how they had laid together in the grass holding hand and watching the stars. They had talked about the most random things half the night, but it had been great none the less.

It had been about 6 months since they started dating. Astrid was actually the one who had to ask Hiccup out in the end. Every time he went to ask her he had clammed up and get really nervous, so she had saved him the trouble. They both enjoyed going on little outings together. Usually it was to the cove where Hiccup had meet Toothless or long flights on their dragons.

Thinking of the dragons reminded him that he had to go out with everyone and their dragons today. His dad had asked him a few days ago if he and the others could go out and get some fish for the village. The ships had been damaged recently and since winter was so close the village needed more fish to get them though the rough winter that was coming up.

Hiccup dragged himself from his bed and his thoughts. He patted Toothless on the head. "Morning boy. Ready to get to work?" Toothless nodded his head. Hiccup laughed. "Alright then. Lets get going then." He hopped up on Toothless, secured his feet in the stirrups, and took off.

He headed straight for the dragon training arena. Astrid, Snotout, Ruffnut, Tuffnut, and Fishlegs were already there.

Hiccup landed and walked over to the others.

"What took you so long," Snotlout asked giving Hiccup a look of disgust, "We've been waiting here for ages."

"Oh please, Snotlout. You just got here two minutes before he did," Astrid exclaimed.

"Yeah, well it was a very long two minutes," he said indignantly.

"Sorry, I was late guys. I slept in later than usual," Hiccup said apologetically.

"It's okay, Hiccup we understand," Astrid said smiling at him. Then she kissed him on the cheek, "Come on, lets go."

Hiccup blushed and walked over to Toothless. Toothless gave him one of his funny little grins. Hiccup ignored him and hopped on. Everyone else was already on their their dragons.

He and Toothless left the arena and flew upwards with the others right behind him. They flew out toward the sea. It was a perfect day for fishing. The sky was mostly clear and there was only a slight breeze blowing.

They flew out for about two hours or so till they came cross a huge swarm of fish. The sky was a little darker than it had been and the wind was starting to pick up but Hiccup didn't really think any thing about it. They took turns diving toward the water and scooping up large amounts of fish with the baskets they had brought along. 

They were almost finished when the storm hit. As they had been fishing the sky had gotten even darker. It had started drizzling and Hiccup had suggested they head back home. But they hadn't gotten far when it started pouring. The wind picked up and the dragons were having a hard time flying. Hiccup could hardly see the others though the rain. He could faintly hear the others trying to say something but to no avail.

Suddenly the wind started blowing violently in different directions. He could hear the others cry out in alarm and he could just barely hear Astrid screaming his name. But there was nothing he could do. He was helpless in a storm like this.

All of a sudden Toothless spun out of control, spiraling toward the water. Hiccup was able to straighten Toothless' tail at the last moment and water sprayed and stung his face. The basket carrying all the fish he had just caught went flying thought the air. Hiccup tried to grab it, but it slipped through his fingers. 

He had completely lost the others now. He looked all around but couldn't see much past Toothless. The wind began to take him where ever it pleased. He tried going the direction he assumed home was, but it just tired Toothless out more, trying to fight the wind.

Hiccup started flying upwards to get out of the storm. Lightning flashed across the sky. He was almost there when it started hailing. He tried to continue upward, but the hail was hitting both Toothless and him extremely hard. He changed his course and began zig-zaging everywhere to avoid the hail. It didn't help much. They were pelted endlessly by the hail.

Hours went by. The hail had ended but the storm continued. There seemed to be no end to it. It was pitch black and still pouring. Hiccup finally passed out from exhaustion.

When he finally woke he and Toothless was falling.
This is my first fanfic ever. I got really bored with no tablet so I decided to start writing a little. I also really like the thought of Mericcup. XD

Description:
Hiccup goes on an expedition with the other dragon riders, but when a storm hits they are separated. Hiccup lands in Scotland where he soon meets Merida.

One: You're here!
Two: [link]
Three: [link]
Four: [link]
Five: [link]
Six: Coming soon
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The wind rushed in through the open windows, whistling a sharp note that fell to a soft melody. The white flowered curtains stopped its waltz, but its hem still moved like billowing waves. My eyes caught the bushes where flashed the ruby-colored raspberries. For a moment, I thought they were roses, the comforting sight of them making me smile. The flicker of hope vanished.

The birds' joyous chirping brought back my smile, and I quickly crossed the bedroom to stand in front of the windows. Closing my eyes, I let the warm wind gently stroke my cheeks and play with my hair. My mind flew back to our farm, beyond the forests and rivers, away from the noise and the people of the city: three days of hard travelling from where I stood. Again, like ever so often back home, I was standing on my balcony where the stems of the roses clung, spiralling upward. When I reopened my eyes, I expected to see the familiar land that would stretch like an emerald carpet in front of me and the pale, yet purest blue sky meeting it at the horizon, but I all saw was the garden of our new house. There was a fountain at its center, a small waterfall on the right side, and along the paths made of grey stones were all kinds of vivid colored flowers. The garden was circled by small bushes of raspberries, and the eccentricity of it made me laugh.

If Mother knew the thought that crossed my mind, she would certainly say that it wasn't ladylike. And if she could ever read my mind, she would be horrified, for my thoughts largely surpassed the limits of those of a well-educated demoiselle. Mother has always taken great care in teaching her three daughters—Grace, Claire and me, Amabelle—the manners of a lady. From our early age, we had to learn how to behave properly, which demeanor to adopt in which circumstances, and the etiquette rules, all lessons we had to abide by. My sisters and I would try in numerous ways to seek escape, but Mother was tireless in accomplishing this task. We were daughters of a farmer, and really, what would this knowledge serve to us?

When we were young, Mother would tell us about her meeting with Father as our bedtime story; it was Grace and Claire's favorite. Her eyes would brighten up, and a faraway smile would cross her lips.

Mother came from a wealthy family, and has always known that she was to marry a man who shall have the qualities highly regarded by her dear parents. That is, this man had to be a gentleman, and who shall, when they will be married, give her happiness, and her, in return, shall give him children and accomplish the duties of a wife. And Happiness comes with a wealthy husband of a good family background, lavish gifts to give and to receive, a high social status and a luxurious house with a well-trained household of domestics. This was the happiness that Mother longed for, and the only one she knew of, that is until the day her path crossed that of Father's, and were to be bound forever.

Father was working as a bookkeeper for Grandfather. They met on the night Grandfather, who was impressed by Father's merchant skills, decided to invite him for dinner. At first glance, Father has fallen under Mother's spell, though she had done nothing but look at him in a most certainly shy and ladylike way.

Mother told us that he later said he was stricken by her beauty, mesmerized by the joy of life in Mother's eyes, taken aback by the radiance emanating from her. During every course of dinner, Father stammered stupidities, though he wanted to impress Mother, which only made her laugh. She said that it was the first time she ever met a man of so kind a heart, with yet, so much intelligence. He was spirited and humorous, though headstrong and modest. But Mother loved Father just as he was: she loved how he would try to get her attention in the silliest ways, make her laugh, and her most cherished feeling of all, make her happy.

They would often meet under the pretext that Mother needed Father's help to judge the poems she wrote—they were both great lovers of literature. Soon, Mother discovered that it was only with him that she could find happiness. Unfortunately, her parents weren't of the same opinion.

And here comes the dramatic yet happy ending: they ran away together, and found refuge in the country land. Mother would always end the story with the same sentence: "We lived happily ever after and had many children." At this point, Grace would add: "Beautiful children." And in her usual habit, Claire would follow with her own comment: "Sweet-looking children."

I would stay awake long after Mother has kissed us on the forehead and graciously walked out of our bedroom, quietly closing the door. Without doubt, Grace and Claire would be lost in their mushy rêverie, but already, questions popped out in every corner of my head. Although Mother's story revealed the reason why she accorded such a grand importance to the education of her three daughters as ladies—because of her own background—there was this part of the story that I never quite understood, a part that seemed too much unrealistic for me.

Father fell in love with Mother at a single glance, because of her beauty. This thought infuriated me and was the reason why I didn't like the story. After all, only a person's interior beauty counted. Wasn't that what my parents have always told me? In my child's mind, I would then question myself: "Could our interior beauty be reflected upon our looks?" Then, if this was the case, that would make Grace and Claire interiorly beautiful, but not me.

Grace was born on a morning of winter, cradled in its arms while the winter wind was chanting a lullaby, and the world was covered by a white and shining cape. Branches were frozen by glass-looking ice, and delicate snowflakes were dancing a ballet. When Mother finally took her firstborn into her arms, she was startled by my sister's white skin, like the pure yet cold snow outside, her pale blue eyes like the winter sky, and her faintly pink colored lips. It was then that Mother decided to name her Grâce, for already, she seemed to possess the grace and enchantment of winter.

Unsurprisingly, my sister grew into an elegant and refined young lady. Her hair fell like a magical drapery that was as dark as the night itself, but that had yet the brightness of the stars. She had eyes of the color of an icy blue sky, where you could read no torment or fear, but only the cold tranquillity of the winter sky. On her nearly snow-white skin, her lips of a pale pink shade and her healthy cheeks were the unique signs that denied her from being a creature of the tales.

As for Claire, she came to the world on a spring afternoon, while the sun was setting down and painted the puffy clouds in shades of red and yellow. She was welcomed by the chorus of the birds, the flowers bowing in reverence to a warm wind and the luster of new life in the green midst outside. She had eyes as clear and bright as a square of blue sky, a peach colored skin and cheeks of a warm and lively shade of red. Plunged in the rays of the sun, she radiated life and color. She was given the name Claire—the French word for "clear"—for she was as luminous and pure as spring.

And unsurprisingly, her laughter has the sound of a rivulet of bells. In her eyes sparkled the rays of the sun, and she carried with her the energy and light of life. She had fair and glossy hair, and on her face showed the blend of her two different personalities: a headstrong and willful girl and also a lively and kind-hearted young lady.

However, I was an exception to all this beauty, and there was nothing in particular that rang for my arrival. I wouldn't be surprised if Mother added to my birth a bit of glitter to make it less dull. I was born neither in the morning nor in the afternoon, but right at noon, when, supposedly, the sun was to be high in the sky to spread its warm rays. Nevertheless, it was a cold day of autumn, and a blinding fog still hung outside, trace left by the rain that had lasted the whole night.

Mother said that on the day of my birth, time itself slowed down its course: the nearly translucent droplets outside seemed like crystals hanging in the cold air. Golden and ruby-colored leaves covered the grass and paths in different patterns. Although the clouds hovering in the sky were grey and dark, they slowly made way for the sun, as if a mighty being was welcoming my birth.

Whether time slowed down or not—though I've always thought that Mother must have suffered greatly if it had—or if the clouds really made way for the sun or if there were beautiful leaves rather than leaves soiled by the water turned to brown because of the earth, I certainly wasn't representative of that day according to the description of Mother.

My first hair was of a fair color—one could have made a link with the golden leaves—but with years, they quickly changed to brown of their own will—which I think, it's certainly due to the fact that the leaves were brown indeed. However, Mother would say that although my hair is brown, they are a warm color and even have a tint of auburn. At this comment, Grace would always say that it was certainly due to the mixing of the golden and red leaves with the brown dirt. Even so, my eyes seemed to have been cursed by the same fate: they were a dull brown to which Mother has given the name caramel.

Fortunately, though my features weren't as beautiful as Grace's and Claire's were, they were what Mother would call "charming", Father, "lovely", and my sisters, "pretty". That is, I have never been able to judge when comparing myself with my sisters. And I rather not, preferring to be charming, lovely and pretty than anything else.

I was named Amabelle after my aunt. She was the only member from Mother's family who kept in contact with her and Mother carried her dearly in her heart. The name—of Latin roots—meant amiable and loving, and I molded myself to suit it as best as I could, just like how my sisters' name suited them. In other words, I grew up into a caring young lady, kind-hearted and sweet, mostly thinking of others and rarely for myself, or so it seemed to my entourage. As soon as I left childhood, I dutifully applied myself to be a model daughter, never questioning the words of Mother, and always following her instructions.  If I was not a beauty, then I shall be the loveliest lady.

Although my sisters and I were taught all there was to be taught about ladies, we were still daughters of a farmer, a reality that was, as unfortunate as it may be, inescapable. We did our daily chores such as cooking, cleaning, scrubbing, washing. We helped our father, took care of the geese, pigs and hens, and we milked the cows. As hard as those tasks seemed to be, they were part of our life and built our small world.

During all those years, though we lived happily, my parents cherished a common dream that they've kept for themselves: to return living in the city. They both loved the crowd, the noises and light, and the glamor that the city brought.

I believe that Mother must sometimes miss her life as a lady. Back then, she had nothing to worry about but what clothes to wear, how to fill her days and which rumor to believe. I believe that Father also look back at his youthful days, when there wasn't so much hard work awaiting him daily.

For all these long years, they've put aside a part of the money they've earned. It was a letter from Aunt Amabelle writing to us to come back that changed everything. Acutally, it wasn't the letter or even Aunt Amabelle that suddenly changed the course of our life; along with it was a letter from Mother's family's lawyer. Grandmother left the world not very long ago and was now followed by Grandfather. Their deaths greatly struck Mother, and for days, I saw her weeping quietly.

Mother left the city as a young lady, and now twenty years later, she was to come back with her initial statue restored; as the only child of her family, she inherited everything. The following weeks were spent packing. Although Mother was still mourning for her parents, there was a new liveliness in her; her smile wouldn't leave her face, and a sparkle was always in her eyes.

"You won't have learned all the lessons I've taught you for nothing!" she said cheerfully. Later on, while we sat in the kitchen, drinking our tea, she looked quietly at us and murmured: "Living in the city has its own rules. You will have to follow them closely. You might find it hard at the beginning, but with some time, you'll get used to it. Moreover, you're all coming of age."

On the last sentence, Mother looked at Grace, and she smiled back at her. I threw an inquisitive glance at Claire, but she only laughed. "We'll certainly find a winter prince on a black stallion for you, Grace," she said, giggling, at which, I nearly choked on my mouthful of tea, and burst out laughing. When we were little, we all dreamt about our prince charming, and Grace would never fail to look outside the window, far away, her eyes dreaming and a smile hanging on her lips.

Mother gave Claire and me a reprimanding look. "Hush, go back to your packing, girls!" Claire and I laughed and ran upstairs, while Grace yelled at our backs, forgetting all her manners. "Wait 'till I get you, bitches!"

"Hush! Go back to your packing!" yelled back Claire while stifling her laughter.
The Beauty and the Beast is my favorite tale :)

And, after rewatching the movie again with my little sister a few weeks ago, i felt itchy about writing my own version of the story...

Hope you will all enjoy it! :D
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Chapter 1: A whole lot of Firsts!

"To live in this world, you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go" -Mary Oliver

It was a red, cloudy day at the Sierra Madre.  The sky was, as usual, a thick red. The Villa looked dead, like a old knotted tree. But within its walls, buildings, life . . . or maybe not life, but something, moved through it like blood in the veins. Ghost People shuffled through the streets, out of sight, silent, and for the most part, single minded.  They didn't think, didn't feel, didn't have individual ideas.  Just hunt, capture, turn. Hunt, capture, turn. Hunt, capture, turn. Hunt, capture, turn.

  Seeker was no different.  Seeker hunted, captured, and brought the captured into the depths of the Villa. Seeker had never known another life, no Ghost had. Seeker was just another Ghost in the crowd, another mindless thing, wandering the streets.
Another Wastelander was scrounging through the Villa, trying to figure out how to get into the Sierra Madre. Seeker watched, from behind a pillar, through Seeker's glowing green goggles.  The Wastelander was gripping one of those strange metal things, that shot metal. It was small, black, and dangerous.  Seeker had seen other of Seeker's kind die from that thing, their arms and legs blown off.  Seeker tried to move closer, a knife spear in Seeker's hand, ready to strike. Hunt, capture, turn, hunt, capture, turn. Seeker accidently hit a rock with Seeker's foot, causing it to hit the boot of the Wastelander.  He spun around and shot Seeker in the shoulder. Seeker's head hit a rock, and everything went black, then back to green, like all Ghost's sight. Seeker wheezed in pain, falling to the ground.  Seeker's spear dropped to the ground, and rolled away.
"Y-you freak! Y-you want my treasure! Y-you can't st-stop me!" He cried out, taking out a cosmic knife, edging closer and closer to Seeker.  Seeker felt something, a . . . Seeker couldn't describe it. The feeling like . . . Seeker was facing imminent danger, and didn't want to.  Seeker was feeling . . . feeling . . . F-f-f-f-f-f-f-f-fear. Seeker was very much scared. Seeker had never felt fear . . . Seeker had never felt! Seeker was feeling so many things, Seeker felt Seeker's chest make a strange thumping motion, Seeker felt afraid of the Wastelander, Seeker felt the pain from Seeker's wound, Seeker felt! But Seeker didn't have time to take in these new feelings. Seeker crawled back against the wall, trying to get away from the Wastelander.  The Wastelander made a swipe with his blade, nearly hitting Seeker.  Seeker, reacting, kicked the Wastelander in the shin. The Wastelander dropped the black thing, grabbing his shin in pain. Seeker gazed at the thing,the device that hurt so many Ghosts, and then  . . . grabbed it.  Seeker stood up and pointed it at the man, like Seeker had seen other people do so many times. Seeker pulled back the hammer, the Wastelander looked down the barrel of the police pistol, his eyes widening, Seeker pulled the trigger. . . .

Seeker ran through the lone Villa library, grabbing books, any books, that were readable. There were few, but the ones Seeker did find had so much to tell. Seeker found a nice patch of light, under a lap, sat down, and began mentally
reading the book.  Seeker had been in the library for quiet a few days, gorging through every book Seeker could. Seeker started out learning to read with a simple book called "Go Dogs Go".  Seeker didn't know what a dog was, but from the pictures, they were fluffy, drove weird machines called cars, and were . .  . were . . . Seeker opened another book, a book with lots of words and their meanings. Seeker stopped on the word Seeker was looking for. "Cute", thats it, dogs are cute.  After that book, Seeker grabbed and read every book Seeker could find. Seeker very much wanted to learn . . . about everything. And Seeker learned so many things from reading. Seeker knew math (Two+Two=Four), Seeker knew science (Seeker tried to potato clock, but couldn't find a potato), Seeker knew how to spell (Seeker wrote on the walls of the Villa for practice), Seeker even learned how to draw (Seeker drew funny cartoons under the desks). Seeker liked to learn, and Seeker learned more, the more Seeker read.

Seeker also took another thing from the Wastelander, a weird device called a Pip-Boy 3000.  Seeker could do so many things with it, after Seeker read the manual.  Seeker learned, that there were other places than the Villa, than the Sierra Madre. A place called the Mojave, a bigger place, with no red cloud, no crazy Wastelanders, and no "treasure". Seeker liked that. Seeker knew Seeker was different, the other Ghost's didn't have thoughts, or dreams . . . or even slept. Seeker liked sleeping! Seeker liked it a lot! Seeker could dream while Seeker was asleep! Seeker liked dreaming even more than sleeping! Seeker's dream were about big skies, nice people, and big cities.  Cities full of lights. Seeker knew Seeker couldn't stay in the Sierra Madre, not anymore. Things were different now, Seeker . . . Seeker had . . . had . . . Seeker was Seeker! Seeker wasn't Ghost People, Seeker was Seeker! Seeker made up Seeker's mind, Seeker was going to run away! Far away, to the Mojave! Seeker opened and read a book about outdoor survival, and another book about how to survive in a post-apocalyptic world (Seeker thought it was funny).  Seeker even played a ComPuter game called "Wasteland", so Seeker knew what to expect (Seeker found by accident, and had to time Seeker's self, so Seeker wouldn't rot Seeker's new found brain!). Seeker grabbed a duffle bag, filled it with bullets, repair parts, trade items, random things, and books.  Seeker couldn't speak but . . . Seeker knew Seeker couldn't speak, so Seeker would have a hard time communicating with normal people, but  . . . Seeker had to get out, Seeker had to know more. Seeker wanted to see the blue skies, and the nice people, and even the big cities!

 Seeker grabbed Seeker's knife spear and headed to the pavilion.  A man with a white beard and odd robes ran through the pavilion, a big blue . . . or maybe purple creature followed behind. Seeker hid behind a pillar, watching silently. The man had a gleam in his eyes, the kind of gleam that those Wastelanders had when they wanted something so bad . . . they were willing to kill freinds, partners, . . . family.  Seeker didn't have a family, Seeker never had a family. But Seeker read about families, in books. Seeker would very much like to be apart of a family. Seeker suddenly remembered something important! Seeker waited for the man and his big friend to leave, then, Seeker ducked into a manhole, giving the thousands of Ghost People one finally glowing gaze. Seeker often was disheartened (a word Seeker just learned) that Seeker's kin couldn't share in Seeker's new found individualism, in Seeker's new found need to know, in Seeker's new found emotions. They trudged through the streets like zombies, never doing anything else. Just hunt, capture, turn, hunt, capture, turn, hunt, capture, turn.  Seeker shook those thoughts away. Seeker didn't like that Seeker did bad things to people, Seeker didn't know better. But Seeker was determined (Another new word!) to make up for it. Seeker looked at they all, the thousands of blank, empty, mindless Ghosts that filled the sewers of the Villa. Seeker would find a way . . . a way for them all to be free, like Seeker. And Seeker would find it . . . in the Mojave.

Seeker looked back, at the Villa, at the Madre, one last time. Seeker was leaving the only home Seeker knew. Seeker felt, oh what was the word! Seeker took out a pocket version of the book with lots of words.  "Sad", Seeker felt sad. But Happy too! Seeker liked that word, happy. Seeker felt that a lot over the past few weeks.  Lots of happy . . . Seeker felt joyous. Seeker looked at the name tag Seeker made, which had "Seeker" scribbled on it. Seeker felt proud, happy, . . . Seeker felt grand.  Seeker opened the gates . . . and made the first step of Seeker's new life.
So this is my fer sure Fallout New Vegas/ Fallout 3 story! With my fave creature eva, the Ghost Seeker!
What will Seeker do next?
Where will Seeker go?
Who will Seeker meet?
. . . Is Seeker a girl? Or a guy? All this and more in the new GP Super Original (YES IT IS! I checked, no one has done this! Go me and vanity) Series, Ghosts in the Wind.

Yes Seeker will go to DC.
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Here's part 2
#5: Shan-Yu

The villan: Shan-Yu is that guy who seems very close to the Mongolian relative of Darth Maul. In Mulan, he tries to take over China & have the emperor bow to him, also threatening & killing soldiers & people of his land.

How he died: Mulan, who the movie repeatedly demonstrates is the single competent human being in China, fights it out with him until she eventually climbs up onto the roof to set up an elaborate trap. Shan-Yu uses his Mongolian ninja powers to jump through the roof right next to her.Using her fan, Mulan manages to pull the sword out of his hand in a move that makes Bruce Lee look like a white belt. Just as Mulan is about to kill Shan-Yu, the assistant producer reminds her that this movie needs a G rating. So, she stabs her sword into the ground and kicks him instead. Our bloodlust looks like it's going to go woefully unfulfilled. But wait! It's Deus Ex Machina (Mushu), the friendly dragon, come to help her! He fires a rocket the size of Texas, strong enough to lift the 600-lb man off his feet and torpedo him into a building crammed full of miscellaneous fireworks. Kapoosh. So basically, it's the ludicrously violent death from Naked Gun, only instead of being played for laughs, it's the climax of a kids movie. Burning chunks of Mongolian fall from the sky, always kept barely off-camera or behind an explosion, as everyone below celebrates. Happy days, indeed.

Watch it happen: [link]

#4: Syndrome

The villan: In the early moments of The Incredibles, when Mr. Incredible fought crime daily on the streets, he met a little inventor kid who wanted to be his sidekick. Mr. Incredible turns him down, and the boy gets pissed. After years and years of angsty plotting, he finally lures Mr. Incredible to his island to kill him and launch his master plan to... become a superhero. Okay, then!

How he died: After The Parr family defeats his invention & takes his glory, Syndrome kidnapes Jack-Jack & flies towards his ship. The baby, Jack-Jack, then changes into some sort of demon and starts beating the crap out of Syndrome. Syndrome drops the baby, and Helen catches him, leaving Syndrome without hostage. Threatened by Syndrome's vow to someday recapture his baby son, Bob throws a car at Syndrome, and it hits his escape plane, knocking Syndrome into the engine of the jet. The jet turbines suck him up, the razor-sharp blades dicing him into dozens of tiny pieces, turning his body into salsa from the feet up. Mercifully, the plane explodes, ending his agony with a quick fiery death. Who's the superhero now, kid? Not you! Because you're a charred and mutilated corpse!

Watch it happen: Sorry, no jap. audio again.

#3: Gaston

The villan: Gaston is the last thing you would expect to come out of France. He's a big, strong hunter that get's all the babes in Belle's town. He brags a lot and shows off his ultra-manly chest hair almost as often. He's like the leader of the whole town just because he's such a stud. He ignores the gorgeous blondes that come after him all the time, instead going after a brunette that has no interest in him whatsoever. This causes him to become desperate. He has some guy throw Mourise into the asylum, only helping Belle if she marries him. Of course, who would want to marry a guy as selfish as that?

How he died: Gaston, pissed that Belle cares for an ugly beast more than mr. brawn & mustly, leads an angry mob (torches and pitchforks included) to storm the castle where he lives. Because the castle is full of moving, talking furniture, hilarity ensues. After an epic confrontation with Beast, Gaston is left dangling over a precipice. Beast pulls a Simba and spares his life, leading to an understanding and peaceful reconciliation between the two...Heh, no, I'm just kidding. Beast is promptly stabed in the back (literaly) by a coward, proving that once you have your enemy at your mercy, FOR GOD'S SAKE FINISH HIM OFF!!! Gaston is then knocked off the tower, and is impaled on a cluster of spikes (not shown easily) that seem to exist for no reason other than for plummeting villains to land on. Given the baffling number of enchanted objects that exist in the castle, these spikes were probably anthropomorphic balladeers, singing a cheery tune as Gaston was (ironically, mind you) shanked in the back by them & as Belle breaks the spell, making everyone human again. As cheerful as the ending to this clasic disney movie was, we can't help but wonder if a sunny day's walk in the garden after Belle's and the Prince's (formerly Beast) honeymoon wasn't suddenly interrupted by the sight of Gaston's mangled corpse, left there as a warning to all who would cross them.

Watch it happen: SHIT! No jap. audio AGAIN!

#2: Hopper

The villan: Who say's insects aren't capable of anything evil? Well that is proven wrong in A Bug's Life. Hopper is the leader of a group of grasshoppers who think ants serve grasshoppers. When the ants can't get enough food for them, he takes over, forces everyone to work for him, & plans to kill the elder queen when their done. Once again, an elder we're talking about here.

How he died: Flick, the outcast of his hole colony, comes up with a plan to rid of Hopper. The plan works...sort of...While all his minions cowar in fear, he grabs Flick & takes him hostage. He prepares to kill him when a bird is upon them. Hopper, from a previous experience, thinks it's a trick. But it ain't a trick. IT AIN'T A TRICK HOPPER! GET OUTTA- oh wait. He's a villan. Yeah, yeah, let him die. The bird grabss Hopper, & for whatever reason despite it's another insect, let's Flick go. The bird then eats Hopper. Oh wait a minute...IT WAS HER BABY CHICKS! Yes, any villan could have fallen from a daring hight without a parachute or crashed into some sort of explosive for whatever reason. But Hopper was EATTEN! GOT THAT!? EATTEN! BY BABIES!

Watch it happen: SON OF A FREAKIN' BITCH! Still, no jap. audio

#1: Frollo

The villan: Frollo is the main asshole from The Hunchback Of Notre Dame, who believes he's a holy man, but we know. YEAH THAT'S RIGHT, WE ALL KNOW! He hates the guts of gypsys but has a thing for one of them named Esmeralda, as evidenced in, THE MOST MELODRAMATIC SONG IN ANY DISNEY MOVIE EVER.

[link]

How he died: Frollo finally just gets sick of Esmeralda & tries to burn her to death. Quasimodo, with the strength that would put even Superman to shame, grabs a rope & swings down & rescues her. Frollo follows them onto the cathedral roof, conveniently setting the scene for a dramatic final battle. Everyone somehow ends up hanging over a ledge, with Esmeralda holding Quasi and Frollo and flames raging below. Quasimodo fails to let go of Frollo and kill him, so once more the hero is punished for that decision. And I shit you not, he had the chance in that earlier scene when he thought Esmeralda was dead. Frollo swings over to another ledge and draws his sword again. As he prepares to decapitate Esmeralda, he quotes:

"...And he shall smite the wicked and plunge them into the fiery pit!"

...after which the gargoyle he is standing on (it's implied that the gargoyle is sentient, or an angel or something) breaks and sends Frollo plunging down into the lava (which somehow doesn't send the rest of the town on fire) melting him to death.

PLEASE DON'T MAKE ME SAY IT!!!!!!

Not just any death. Frollo plunges into a lake of fire clearly meant to symbolize Hell, where his flesh will be burned continually for eternity. Proving once again there is no god more cruel and vengeful than Disney.

Thank you for watching. Resume work on Rise Of The Shadow, coming soon.
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"Believe it or not, there was an age where Michael Jackson was a god."
~Douglas "The Nostalgia Critic" Walker, Moonwalker Movie Review

"I think Dave Chappelle said it best: he made...Thriller."
~James "The Angry Video Game Nerd" Rolfe, Moonwalker Game Review

"Michael Jackson buries them all!"
~George Carlin

The music world lost a legend today...
At one point, he was considered a god among men.
He serenaded the world with his smooth voice...
Dazzled the world with amazing dancing skills...
And won over the hearts of millions.

Now...all of that is but a fond memory.
As the King of Pop...has died.

Though he may be gone in flesh and blood,
His soulful spirit will continue to live on.
Aspiring musicians and music artists will carry the torch,
And older music vets will, somehow, pay homage to him.

RIP Michael Jackson - August 28th, 1958 to June 25th, 2009
It seems like this year is the year that superstars are fading from existance. First Dom DeLuise, then Wayne Allwine, and now...Michael Jackson has left us.

Alright, so he's not in the same line of work as DeLuise and Allwine, but he's still a huge name worth mentioning. I won't deny it, as a music lover and an aspiring musician, I think Michael Jackson's one of the most influential musicians out there. Even through the jokes and public flac he's received over the past few years, many people still think of him as an iconic person. And when I heard that he died at age 50, I was just...astounded. I thought he still had more in him; a LOT more. But fate can be a cruel thing sometimes, and...it was today.

So this is my little homage to the King of Pop. I may make a music video using one of his songs as further dedication, but for now, this'll do.

Rest in Peace, Mr. Jackson...your spirit shall live on forever.

(NOTE: Any Michael Jackson jokes will be marked as spam; choose your words carefully.)
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"Tell me what you think."

"Of the poem?"

"No, of my face. Yes, the poem."

"I was going to say, because your face is just stupid."

"Very funny. Read."

"..."

"What did you think?"

"Why did you write this?"

"I wrote it for you."

"For me?"

"Yes."

"You make me self conscious when you say things like that."

"I know."

"I'm not worth this you know."

"What does that mean?"

"I am half a girl, and I deserve half a poem."

"That is not true, and you still haven't told me what you really thought about it."

"It's as broken and complex and half hearted as a sad song about the way you feel ink trail between your fingers like it's blood. There is no reason for it, it's the kind of beautiful that is there just for being there. It happened, it's a moment in time forever frozen and to be remembered in a way that candles that burn in holy places should be. It's a forever, all by itself- Why are you looking at me like that?"

"Because you believe you deserve half a poem."

"I do. I am too damaged and broken and unhinged to deserve a full one."

"You are damaged and broken and unhinged. But so are shooting stars and comets."
I am so fortunate to find a boy who loves poetry as much as I do. And I am even more fortunate that he and I can actually find inspiration in each other.

My K. You are the Knight I was looking for all this time. I wrote about you long before you came into my life. Thank you for being my poetry writing, soul baring, four spined boy. I mean everything I said. I would never ever change a hair on your head.



[link] - Facebook Page
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If I knew then what I knew now, maybe I might have appreciated my work a little more.

I always used to compare myself to the other artists that I would see, artists much older than me, with the training and the experience I didn't have. It didn't seem to matter to me where they came from, just that they where good and I was not. If I had understood at the time that someday, with perseverance, study and practice that I too might be ask good as them, maybe I might have worked a little harder, studied a little more and not been so down on myself.

Now I look back on a lot of the artists who were my idols, megabytes worth of their art saved to my ancient drive in the basement for reference and inspiration. I realize, they really weren't that good. Some of them were actually quite bad. At any given time, if your art sucks to you or even thousands of other people, it is amazing to someone and you are inspiring someone else by sharing it with them.

If it seems like you are not improving at all, it is probably because you have stopped learning. When people draw the same mistakes over and over, they are practicing doing it wrong and practicing making those mistakes. Simply "Practicing" is not enough. Take a moment to study, learn to do it right, even if it is hard and messes you up now, it won't forever. This was a really hard bridge to cross when I was young and stubborn and lazy and just wanted to do what I felt like at the time. Now I can't wait to learn and study something new. This attitude and willingness to follow through has let me improve very quickly in a relatively short period of time for doing so. Just remember, nothing happens overnight. It will always seem a bit slow but keep going and don't be afraid to look at your older works when you're having lows. You don't notice your hair grow but you can sure see the difference if you look at pictures of yourself months or years after your last cut. No one stops improving for no reason, do not accept "just because" as an answer. As soon as you accept a perceived limitation as a fact of your artistic life, it will become so.

People often tell me they can't get better, that their art isn't changing and when I look at their stuff, I again see, not only that they might be practicing the same mistakes but that they are simply practicing different variations of the same thing. This may seem a bit strange from someone who has made part of their living doing portraits, but what a lot of people don't know is that this is a very small part of who I am and what I do as an artist. I am actually an animator, which is a side of myself that I don't often show to DA, but comes through in other areas of my art. Do something new. Try a different style. Try a subject you would have never drawn before and learn to appreciate something you might not have. Do you rely on your CG to make your art look nice? Just sketch. Sketch until your sketches please you just as much and don't have to rely on shiny rendering to hide your mistakes. Just draw heads? Draw a full body. Just draw people standing there? Draw an action sequence. Swear to yourself that your next 10 drawings will not be what your previous 50 were. Finish something you might not finish because it's just too hard, or learn to let go of something you spent a lot of time on that isn't going to work. Nothing is a waste of time, even if it ends up in your trash bin, where 9 out of 10 of my pictures go.

Something people who are not artists and even many starting artists don't understand is that art is not a "gift". People are no more born artists as they are born Olympic gymnasts. It takes years of time, dedication, study and hard work. It takes mental focus, toning, endurance, physical and mental co-ordination, aim and understanding. I practice drawing a minimum of 5 hours a day, every day, not including time to study, wherever I am. Immediate gratification is not a reasonable expectation of a dedicated artist. Art is not a competition. If all you do is work to please everyone else, you will never achieve the gratification and inspiration it gives to those who do art because they love to do it and have something to show or prove to themselves.

I know all of this may sound incredibly obvious and should just be a given but I am constantly surprised by how many people need to be reminded of this now and then, including myself. My very long point here is that every artist thinks they suck. During this time of thought, always remember:

You don't suck. You just suck right now.
Someone wanted me to upload a very old journal entry pep-talk for them. This is a pep-talk for all those new and starting artists, or for those who have been around the block and just need to get back to the basics. This is something I went through and am still going through. I think every artist at one point must go through. I hope that it helps give context and perspective to all the starting artists out there who think that they will never be good or achieve their artistic goals.

Art is not a gift. No one started where they ended up. And remember, whenever you feel like you suck, you don't :) You will be better later, use it as inspiration to get there.
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Russia x Child!Reader
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Crackling.

That was the first sound to reach your ears. Off in the distance you could see a small fire. The shadows seemed to be dancing around the fire, tip-toeing just out of the fires orange/yellow glow, but still close enough to be seen by the human eye. The shadows continued to dance, one stopping to stare at you.

Sending you a toothy grin, the shadow extended its clawed hand. Its claws dripping with some foreign liquid, turning on your heel you screamed, your cloak billowing out around you. Another fire appeared in the distance, you could see no dancing shadows around this one. You could only see the form of another small body that was staring into the fire. The shadow stopped following you once you were in the safety of the boy's fire.

Looking at you, the boys cold, and seemingly lifeless purple eyes stared back at you causing you to feel uncomfortable; you decided that you would take a seat next to the boy. His purple eyes following your ever move, taking a seat down next to him the boy sent you a small if not teasing smirk, moving his lips as he said.

"Оставайтесь в свет." *1 tilting your head to the side you said. "I'm sorry…but I don't understand what you're saying…do you know English…or can you write it out?" the boy moved, now standing up you could see that there was bright red streak flowing down from the right side of his face that was hidden from the dim light created by the fire.

Smiling down at you the boy said. "Ваша умру здесь, как и я!" *2 with that the boy pushed you away, running off into the woods, you could hear gunfire and the sound of people screaming, unable to stop yourself you chased after the little boy, only for something to hit you in the head. Sending you face down into the snow, your shaky vision focusing on one thing.

The image of the boy from earlier holding an AK-47 in his hand, his eyes full of sadness as he slowly faded away from your vision, but not before you saw a stray tear run down his face.

.
.
.

Your eyes snapped open; you could hear the sounds of pages being turned, and then the typing of keys. Slowly, you raised yourself up out of bed, your eyes landing on the same man from before, staring at him you could see that he and the boy looked alike; well…it was only the eyes really. You couldn't say much of anything else was the same.

The man had taken notice of you, walking towards you he leaned down on one knee, looking you over once he said. "Are you okay?" ah, so he's speaking English now. Shaking your head you mumbled. "N-no…I…I had a nightmare." The Russian man looked down at you, glancing back to where he was before he said. "Ah, sorry that I did not notice." Shaking your head you smiled saying, "No, that's okay, you looked busy."

The Russian smiled (or at least it looked like a smile) ruffling your hair he stood up saying. "Well, since you're a new country in the great mother you will be staying under my roof until you've become strong enough to fiend for yourself."

The Russian man started to walk away, grabbing his wrist this caused him to turn around as you said. "Thank you."

"For what?" he asked, looking down at your tiny form, a smile forming on your face you stood up and hugged him saying. "Thank you for helping me, you didn't have to but I'm happy that you did." Staring at you, the Russian man detached you from himself walking back to his computer, still seeing your tiny form standing on the bed, the Russian glared at you.

"Иди спать." *3 the commanding sound of his voice caused you to jump a little bit, throwing the covers you returned back to sleep. This time, it was a peaceful dream, one with no sadness or shadows .Just a peacefully ignorant of a child.

While you were off dreaming, Russia was watching over you a little bit more closely this time. A bit of life in his cold purple eyes, while a warm feeling spread through his chest as he watched the rise and fall of your tiny body.

Letting him know that you were finally asleep.
Welp~ here's chapter two. X) And...OMFGWD! Thank you for all for so many favs, and all of the views on chapter one! ;~; You made my heart go all a pitter-patter when I returned home from school to see everything that's been going on while I was away.

I think I might have made Russia a bit OOC.... .w. if I did please tell me~

Translations:

1: Stay in the light
2: Your going to die here, just like me
3: Go back to sleep

[link] < Chapter One

Chapter Three > [link]

Hetalia/ Russia (c) Hidekaz Himaruya
You (c) Yourself
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