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  1. I'm retiring this mirror blog, after the launch of my new website. I'm pretty sure very few people actually followed this mirror. My new blog is right on my new site's front page, and it has a new RSS feed. You can also get more frequent updates from me on Twitter and Facebook.


  2. ccstat
    Latest Entry

    Welcome to my liveblog of Rhythm of War! Index post here. Beware of spoilers.

    Chapter 11 (Passion and Courage)
    Title: I’m immediately looking at this as a reference to the Passions (thus a Venli chapter or a focus on the forces of Odium), but in the last chapter Dalinar very conspicuously called Kaladin passionate as a compliment. This just after Vyre’s emotional emptiness is shown to be an exploitable weakness seems to emphasize that Odium’s forces are robbed of their passion. So this could well be a reference to something else. None of the Heralds have a particular association with courage, as far as I remember, so probably not a specific order of Knights.

    Epigraph: Iron=pulling, is anyone surprised? This is an obvious allomancy connection, but the feruchemical association with gravity/mass could also be a worthy connection to make. The fact that the Rosharan artifabrians haven’t yet discovered the complementary metal is interesting, perhaps suggesting that they don’t have the capability of creating (the appropriate alloy of) steel. 

    Speaking of which, have any of the metals mentioned so far in these epigraphs been alloys or have they been pure metals? I’ll go back and check … So far we’ve had zinc/brass, bronze, pewter/tin, and iron. It’s not surprising that iron is known while steel hasn’t been tried, but the odd one out here is definitely bronze. How do they discover the alloy before the base metal? Have they not dried regular copper, or have we just not gotten to the epigraph that talks about it yet?

    I also wonder whether the requisite alloys are as demanding/restrictive as those for the metallic arts. Do the percentages have to be exact for the fabrial to function? If so, that may be another indicator of the sort of developments that won’t occur until there is greater cross-pollination of knowledge from worldhoppers to/from Scadrial. Getting information about the exact composition needed to make fabrial cages sounds like a huge leg up on the research front. This could well be another hint of why the next Era of Mistborn needs to be written before we get the back five Stormlight books.

    ----

    Oh, look it is Venli after all. I shouldn’t have second guessed myself on the title. See, this is where those chapter header art pieces would be useful. 

    “The lady returns” is probably a reference to Leshwi, but I didn’t think Venli was working for her. It’s not like Brandon can’t introduce another singer/Fused character at this point, obviously, but of the people we know so far, Leshwi is pretty much the only choice.

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    she’d gotten very good at playing the role.

    Well, that’s certainly a loaded phrase. Let’s see just how deep the layers of deception have formed in the past year, shall we?

    Shanay-im” is that a word we knew before? I don’t think so. I presume it refers to Fused and/or regents. (Is that the word we used for higher forms that don’t overwrite a singer’s mind? I don’t recall. Pretty sure it started with an R.)....Ah, nope it was Regals. That sounds much better. Thanks for the reminder, Venli.

    Venli has a scepter. Huh. I wonder what significance has been attached to that, and whether it is a feature borrowed from a human culture or something instated by Fused with their long memories.

    Above the Fused in hierarchy are “mysterious creatures like the thunderclasts and the Unmade.” Looks like Venli isn’t going to infodump for us. Come on, Venli, why haven’t you been studying the fans’ questions this past year? 

    Venli is in Kholinar. I was sort of expecting her to be on the front, or traveling around the continent to some of the disconnected populations, taking advantage of her envoyform abilities. Still, it’s been a year. She might have already done that and been recalled, or I could have just had a mistaken idea of her intended tasks.

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    There was little use seeking logic in the ways of the fused.

    Good to know that your ruling class are all some flavor of insane. If they weren’t immortal, I expect at least one group of the singers would have cast them off by now. I’m fairly certain the process of creating an independent singer culture is going to be more difficult than that, though. (i.e. 6 books worth of difficult, including time skips).

    … and I just realized how that insanity comment is also applicable to the Heralds and humanity. Great. There are multiple methods of achieving longevity/immortality in the cosmere, but I think it’s safe to say that some of them come with significant drawbacks on the mental stability front.

    Yup, she’s serving under Leshwi. Oh, shanay-im was the word translated as “Heavenly Ones” before, rendered here as “Those Ones of the Heavens.” I’m going to have to learn a whole new set of singer and human names for the so-called “voidbinding chart” aren’t I? 

    Wait, those topple-prone towers are individual penthouse suites for the flying Fused? That’s definitely crazy. Why would you want to do that? “I know what sounds like fun: getting right up next to the lightning and flying boulders during a highstorm! Experiencing it on the ground is just too tame.”

    Leshwi is uniquely sane--and she still wants the sky room. Awesome. Interesting that the Heavenly Ones are less affected by raving madness than the other “brands” of Fused. I wonder if we’ll learn a realmatic reason for that, or if it’s just a quirk to memorize?

    I wonder how many bodies Leshwi (and the other Fused) have gone through in the past year. Venli speaks of the transitions as something of a regular occurrence. That’s really pretty horrifying in the cultural sense, where at any moment the theological leaders may ask a random singer to sacrifice themself so that a Fused can reincarnate. It evokes the Hallandren gods in Warbreaker, but without the arguments about “it’s a privilege to give up my Breath, and it’s not really my soul so donating it doesn’t harm me anyway.” In this case, sure, you may see it as a privilege but it outright kills you.

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    Venli had the advantage of her ability to look into Shadesmar—which immediately told her if someone was Fused, Regal, or ordinary singer. She tried very hard not to use that ability except in the most secret of locations. 

     

    Looking into Shadesmar, huh? And that’s being attributed to the Willshaper powers here. I would have thought she could access that particular ability through her Regal form. We saw way back in WoK interludes that the listeners could see deeper into Shadesmar than humans, to the extent that spren appeared noticeably different to them. I presumed that greater degrees of investiture, such as a Regal form, would enhance that. Maybe it does, just not to the same extent? But I guess others can’t do that trick. I’m not sure why it would be visible to others when she does it, though, unless it actively consumes stormlight. As long as she doesn’t glow, she ought to be okay, right? Maybe voidspren can sense when someone uses stormlight?

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    It would be a disaster of incredible proportions if anyone figured out that Venli—Last Listener, envoyform Regal, Voice of Lady Leshwi—was a Knight Radiant.

     

    This does make me start to wonder how far Venli has progressed in her bond with Timbre in the past year. I hadn’t really considered that she might have spoken more ideals during the time skip. I guess we’ll find out. When she does advance in her oaths, will that alter her form at all? If not, is that because Timbre is trying to be stealthy? Will it make her more or less obvious in an investiture-sense way? When Kaladin advanced he seemed to use stormlight more efficiently, leaking less, which would be a good thing for Venli. On the other hand, it was always pretty spectacular, which would be less good. That could well be a Windrunner thing, though, since Lift was a lot more understated when she progressed.

    ...and Timbre immediately answers my question. Venli’s not a KR yet, not having spoken her second ideal yet.

    Oh no, creepiness intensifies. Is this “new recruit” being brought as a potential host for Leshwi?
    Ah, thankfully not. Venli is conspiring to get her own loyal network into positions of power. Interesting. I wonder what form the subversion is taking.

    “Stormsetter” sounds like a great job. “Your job is to clean up before the super hurricane so that nothing blows away. In the open-air penthouse. Good luck.”

    Hm. This whole translation business serving as Leshwi’s voice is quite cool… but it doesn’t really help sell the image of Leshwi as “super sane Fused who can talk normal.” It also makes me wonder if other Fused have an envoyform Regal to be their voice. Venli was very much a special case when she assumed this form, so I wouldn’t think so, but why waste a super rare interpreter on one of the more sane Fused who doesn’t need one?

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    It was the great contradiction of serving the Fused. They did not want simpering children who were too quick to obey, but they also expected exactness in service. They wanted only the strongest of wills among their followers—but wished to control and dominate them.

     

    That sounds like a horrible system. This is not going to build the strongest of societies.

    The conversation about “did you kill your crush the evil Windrunner this time” is a lot of fun and does nothing to dissuade my shipping senses.

    Pursuer as a name for the teleporting Fused is fitting and ominous. 

    A Thaylen tailor. That really just rolls off the tongue. I wonder if that’s part of what made Brandon create this character, or if he really just loves elaborate eyebrows.
    Oh, she doesn’t get the job. Will we see Yokska again in the story? (Is the penalty for failing the job interview getting tossed off the tower?)

    She picked a human for the job of “He Who Quiets,” and I really don’t know what that entails. All of my ideas from that job title are creepy.

    Oh, good. Yokska survives to teach the singer who will actually be Leshwi’s tailor.

    Leshwi floating off to meditate in the clouds really drives home that they are not limited by stormlight reserves in the way that Radiants are. She can just hang out indefinitely in the sky, and that’s all kinds of cool.

    Venli “thumped her scepter against the wooden floor.” How big is this scepter? I might need a description, because I was imagining something more club-sized, either along the lines of the European royal scepters that would be ~2 feet long, or the similarly sized but differently shaped items from Asia that Brandon based the Moon Scepter on for the Emperor’s Soul.

    Dul and Mazish following human (Alethi) marriage customs is sweet but also leaves a somewhat bitter taste.

    I like the metaphor Venli uses here of  a cremling shedding its shell, but not until it outgrows it. It fits so well in meaning and also in context.

    Shumin swearing with the Alethi “Stormfather” is notable, but not surprising seeing all the other cultural absorption that has been shown. Calling Venli “Brightness” is more disconcerting to me, despite having that be the address for Abiajan back in chapter 1. That was in a town with a majority-human population, in contrast to the apparent center of singer power.

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    “Our organization is formed from those who are strong enough to resist, and eventually break free of, all chains.”

    I like that as a mission statement, Venli. It is the right flavor of empowerment to attract a wide base of support, and it lends itself well to spreading in the until-recently enslaved population of singers.

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    “I’m ready,” Shumin said. “When do we attack the Fused? Each storm I worry I’ll be next, and that one of the waiting Fused souls will boot my mind out and take over.”

    This, on the other hand, is terminally stupid overconfidence. Good luck, Venli, if this is what you have to work with. It is good to see that I’m not the only one noticing the horror of the situation.

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    Accepting the soul of a Fused into your body had an element of agency to it.

    Agency, however, was difficult to define. If you took a Regal form, Odium got inside your mind. New forms with their new rhythms altered your mannerisms, your way of seeing the world. Even common singers were carefully indoctrinated, constantly told that sacrificing themselves was a great privilege.

     

    Ayup. That’s… basically what I was thinking. Eeesh.

    Venli is generalizing to a disturbing degree. “All humans are the same. They and Fused only care about controlling others.” She’s doing such good work, though, I feel bad hoping that she’ll be more nuanced about it. Her position really demands a degree of absolutism. (Like the Assuredness movement! Callback!)

    Ooo, Venli gets to use both flavors of light. That’s almost as convenient as Lift getting to use food. More useful for the covert role Venli is taking, of course. It’s notable that voidlight can apparently fuel normal surgebinding, provided the user can invest with it. No further conversion between types appears to be required.

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    Using that Light, she peeked into Shadesmar [...] They’d tested Venli’s other power—the ability to mold stone—only once, and it had drawn secretspren

     

    I’d forgotten, or not really thought about, where Willshapers fall on the chart. The stone manipulation power was one I’d forgotten they had. It’s also fairly obvious that looking into Shadesmar isn’t the limit of her ability (at least eventually), though I imagine that more active use of that surge would draw secretspren when more passive use for just looking does not. Just like the Lashings vs. Lightweaving we observed in the last book.

    Mavset-im “Those Ones of Masks” are Fused that presumably use the illumination surge equivalent? Or do they physically take other forms through reshaping their own bodies?

    Workform comes from gravitationspren? That is not what I would have guessed. Time to make a new list, I suppose. Someone else will probably beat me to cataloging the forms and their associated spren, but I’ll note the ones we learn about to see if I can come up with anything useful.

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    “We are not a rebellion,” Venli said. “We are a group of objectors who do not like the choices we’ve been offered. Fused oppression or human tyranny? The god of hatred or the supposedly honorable god who abandoned us to slavery? We accept neither. We are the listeners. We will cast off everything—including our very forms if we must—to find freedom.

     

    Preach, sister!

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    “Once we have enough members, we will leave the city and travel someplace where no one will bother us. We will remain neutral in the conflicts between humans and Fused. Our only goal is to find a place where we can thrive on our own. Our society. Our government. Our rules.”

     

    All aboard for a road trip to Shinovar...Shadesmar...Ashyn...Braize...whole lotta nope. Scadrial maybe? Nalthis? (Silverlight?)
    ...First of the Sun? Oh, God Beyond that’s a terrible idea. Do not go there! You need a lot more chickens before anyone with the cognitive presence you have can possibly survive in that neck of the cosmere.

    Ah, here comes the nuance. Venli is recognizing the Fused are people with personalities and individuality.

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    I have been contacted by a spren who represents an entire people in Shadesmar. They realize that perhaps we deserve a second chance more than humans do.

    Does this actually mean that the Willshapers as an order will be fully or mostly composed of listeners? Is Timbre really representative of her type?

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    “Gather yourself, Last Listener,” Leshwi said to the Rhythm of Agony. “Something is happening. Something dangerous. I fear the war is about to take a distinctly different turn.”

    Dun dun dun! 
    Rhythm of Agony, huh? Good work, Leshwi. That’s how you make a properly ominous pronouncement. 

  3. Here's a fun thing! On a whim, I decided to pull up my old Alleyverse scripts. They're.... baaaaaaad.

    Well, I mean, they're not terrible. Some of them are downright better than they have any right to be. Most of them are just plain half-baked or full of exposition or slightly nonsensical. Given it was my first set of scripts that I ever attempted, though, I guess they're good?

    They tend to get better over time, too, with the first three or so being really rough. Then 6 is actually pretty decent, though 7 lapses a bit into melodrama at a point. Don't ever get too cute, kids. 

    I didn't finish the series for a few reasons. One was some real-life obligations that ended up interrupting me; other projects became relatively more important, and I really didn't just have the time or mental energy. The series was also somewhat ballooning; my original plan of 10 episodes had already been extended to 12, and I was definitely thinking about needing to split it down further into 13. Given how I write, it probably would've just gotten longer and longer as I found my voice and the complexity of the whole thing had to be covered more and more.

    The show was also coming head-on to some pretty thorny questions that were... rather beyond the scope of a sequence of 20-page scripts. (The question of theology is trivial and is therefore left as an exercise to the reader. No, probably not.) I wasn't comfortable talking about those, at least not without a lot more discussion and being a much better writer.

    Finally, I knew the whole thing would need to get rewritten from the ground-up if I wanted it to be any good. So, bleh. The adaptation also significantly altered a few characters in a way that I later was less okay with; Drako in particular was significantly changed which I'm really no longer happy about. Mace was too, but Archer gave me the okay for that. (They're the best.) And Stenson was weird but I guess technically in the scope of creative liberty?

    Still! There's some really good moments in here. I'm basically still a fan of all of Episode 6 (a slightly off-base reference notwithstanding... young me, you are an idiot). Plus some other moments... where Stenson gets taken to the center of the city... and some I never got round to writing, where Caer [spoilers]. So, not entirely unsalvageable if someone is pretty brave.

    I'm going to try, at least, to find my plans for the future episodes. Or attempt to remember them. I remember some of it actually being pretty nice in my head.


    The whole thing is, basically, a very very loose adaptation of the first era. Emphasis on very. And loose. And adaptation.

    In addition, I took out all the explicitly fanfictiony stuff that is just 'here is thing from another work!' I always felt that the cool bits of the Alleyverse weren't the stolen magic systems or whatever, but the entirely original stuff; the 'lore', if you will. Some of it translated really well (some of the magic systems, for instance), and some of it didn't. The Warhammer issue kind of plagues Drako's character in a way that I still can't quite deal with in my head.

    I'm linking the whole sequence, warts and all. I didn't do anything to correct any mistakes (of which there are several, some I'm pretty sure were added by other people). Spelling or vocab or otherwise. Plus there's an alternate version of the first episode that I think I wrote to send to someone.

    https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/142kzRuyKWMkoZuX9JEhTWMXPM3EaUiR5?usp=sharing All seven episodes.

    I had plans for a second series, too, based on the second era, with a very weird structure to accommodate the... scattered source material. But that was always more tentative.


    In the case you don't have time to read everything, here's a particularly interesting bit I found at the bottom of the very first doc. Modern comments in []. 

    This is the bit where I talk about what I did, what’s been changed, etc.

    My priorities for the adaptation go as follows (from most to least important):

    • Take out anything derivative
    • Tell a good story
    • Be faithful to the original

    Meta’s Three Laws of FFRP Adaptation.

    As a result, things have been changed.

    The most obvious: all the Sanderson stuff is taken out. Aons aren’t called aons, Elsecalling is a little different, all sorts of things. The Ghostbloods are called the Gilded Rose instead. Things like that. (Anything in bold still needs to be changed.)

    • Rashan and Caer are actually two different characters. (Hopefully that was obvious.) [This was for Plot reasons, as I recall. The original character does feel like two people shoved into one.]
    • Mace and Caer are friends. (Mace and Rashan will have a relationship closer to what happened during SDW.) [Don't quite remember why I worked it out like this but I'm pretty sure it was just so everything engineered together properly. Same as for previous.]
    • Drako and Storm are very different to their original counterparts. [You don't say.]
    • The Ghostblood split will be legitimate. [Because, uh, the plot literally makes no sense otherwise. I'm serious. What actually happened was mental.]

    Beyond that, all the major events will still take place. (Some actually happened in the pilot, or at least [sic] referred to briefly.)

    I’m thinking about moving Rhaizen’s assassination scene ahead of the meeting. It would start in media res, and all the other scenes would remain where they are. 

    Thoughts?

    Is the worldbuilding set up well? Is it accessible enough? Obviously there is still a big learning curve.

    I still don’t think the characters are distinct enough. Not a problem for Traceria, or Kalmar - with 16 (!) speaking roles it’s impossible to have everyone distinct - but it is something that needs to be tooled. [Did I really think you couldn't write 16 distinct characters? Like, at all? Hmmm.]

    The music reference is just a reference. Best-case scenario, someone would compose original music for the series. [Past me, you are an idiot.]

    Anyway. This was fun-slash-painful-slash-interesting to look at. Hopefully you enjoy reading!

    More content plausibly coming whenever, and implausibly coming soon.

  4. Social Media Total: 100% (2159/2160)
    Theoryland Review: 40% (473/1184)
    Events and Signings Review: 0% (0/397)

    I'm still here, trucking along. I spent some time away playing video games and reading Star Wars books and writing fanfiction to celebrate my 2000th post, but now I'm back with a vengeance. I'd left quite a bit of backlog on the Livestream transcriptions, but nobody else was really going for those even after 6 months, so now I'll try to stay a little more on top of them. The Theoryland review might looks like it's moving along quickly, but out of those 400-odd events I've reviewed, only three of them had anything to check in Arcanum. There are a lot of casual interviews with Brandon, and they gave each blog post its own page (and since I've reviewed all the blogs already, I'm just skipping over all of those in Theoryland).

    I am about to get dragged away for about two months; very busy times at work, but I knew they were coming. It'll be clear by September, so I'll be back in full swing on the forums by the time RoW rolls around. We'll see how far I get in Theoryland over this time; I'm not making it a priority, but I'll crank away on events in the background if I'm watching a show, or something.

  5. Here's less of a review of FMAB, but more of a character analysis on 3 of the show's most interesting protagonists. I would say, if you haven't watched this show, and want to go in entirely blind, there are some very mild general spoilers (Nothing specific). You have been forewarned.

    Spoiler

     

    Wyn Talks Anime:

    Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood and Unorthodox Character Motivations

     

     

    When we discuss our favorite franchises or well beloved stories, we often point to things like good worldbuilding, streamlined plot, or powerful themes. But one thing that we consistently point to and continue to discuss even years after a story concludes are the characters. It would come as no surprise to anyone somewhat versed in fan discourse that two of the greatest contributors to these discussions are a character’s motivations and their character arcs. Within genre fiction, we often have archetypes for these sorts of things such as the ‘chosen one’ archetype common in early and middle era fantasy fiction. Now within manga, and to an extent anime, there is a genre called the Shonen manga, (literally meaning “Boy’s comic”) which often features a young male protagonist on a journey to ‘be the best/most powerful.’ Popular examples of typical modern shonen protagonists include Naruto, from the manga/anime of the same name; Deku, from My Hero Academia; and Goku, from Dragonball Z. However, within this world of shonen protagonists, a few stand out for their unorthodox motivations, Notably Edward Elric, Ling Yao, and Roy Mustang from Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood.

    Edward Elric conforms to the Shonen Protagonist standards in many ways. He’s a young adolescent male with a unique affinity for his world’s magic system (alchemy), and a very single-minded goal. It is this goal and motivation that makes him so unique though- Edward Elric is attempting to atone. Edward Elric comes from somewhat standard anime origins, he has an absentee father (though at least, unlike some, he actually factors into the story), and has a somewhat idyllic childhood until the death of his mother. Ed, like any young child (age 11 at this point) is utterly distraught by this turn of events, and it leads him and his brother Alphonse on a dark path, where they break alchemy’s greatest rule. They attempt to resurrect their dead mother. This of course goes horribly wrong, and leads to Ed losing an arm and a leg, and his brother’s soul trapped inside an empty suit of armor. The events of this story begin several years after this point, with Ed and Al on a journey to discover the secrets of the Philosopher’s Stone, a legendary alchemic concoction that might allow them to return to their original forms. 

    Atonement is not a motivation one sees very often for a main protagonist, particularly in anime. But part of what makes Ed so fascinating, is more than just his motivation, but the arc his character undergoes. How do you balance your desire to atone, with your own moral sensibilities? Which one outweighs the other? How often do you see a protagonist, particularly in a shonen, have their goals and what they want to attain actually challenged, and for good reason? How often is a protagonist shown that they’re going about this the wrong way? Edward Elric gets his beliefs challenged at every turn, whether it be his distrust of religion, or his faith in science, even his faith in alchemy. Of course this ends up entangling the protagonists in a plot that they must fight their way through, as is standard in shonen. The growth Ed goes through both due to his own internal struggle, and his quest to unravel the mystery of the Homunculi are huge contributors to what makes his arc so excellent.

    However, Edward Elric is not the only character with complex motivations in FMAB. He stands alongside perhaps one of my favorite characters in all anime- Roy Mustang. Roy Mustang is one of Fullmetal Alchemist’s primary side characters, and functions early in the show as a mentor for the Elrics as they navigate the intricacies of the “State Alchemists.” However he fairly quickly becomes a character in his own right, with one of the coolest alchemic abilities in the whole show (The ability to change air to fire). His motivations are a unique twist upon the shonen trope of ‘rising to the top’, by portraying Mustang as a jaded idealist, who has the desire to politically advance in order to once again, atone for past actions of both himself, and the whole military of Amestris. However, while a noble goal, Mustang is regularly shown to be willing to do more questionable things to achieve his aims than Edward. A point of reference for this would be the questionable morality/legality of his actions near the show’s conclusion. And it is a powerful heart wrenching moment once the protagonists and the viewers realize what achieving this goal will cost Mustang personally. Never before have I felt such sudden shifts in emotion regarding a character in a fictional work, as the audience can go from rooting for Mustang, to simply watching in horror in the space of a single episode. (Those of you who have seen the show will have some points of reference to what I’m referring to.) Yet despite all of this, Mustang remains a likeable character, with a noble goal.

    Ling Yao, on the other hand, takes morally grey to an insane level. Ling is a foreigner, from the superpower country of Xing, which is noted to lie just east of Amestris. He is one of the Emperor’s many children, who have been dispatched with a single goal- to find a source of immortality for the Emperor- With a promise of heirship for whomever should succeed. Ling’s character is defined by this ambition, and this desire. From the start, Ling is portrayed as a character who will go to whichever side will help him achieve his goals, and he certainly does not disappoint in that regard. He fills the role of a character much like Hondo Ohnaka in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Ling Yao is never really on anyone’s side, except his own. In this way he defies many of the expectations of a ‘rival/sidekick’ character. To compare him to perhaps the most applicable modern example of this archetype, Katsuki Bakugou from My Hero Academia. Bakugou spends much of the early show as a rival/antagonist for the main protagonist, Deku, yet he never feels as morally unpredictable as Ling Yao. Ling flits between sides in a way that the viewer understands, yet is continually surprising. And yet, despite the greyness of his character, he never stops feeling like a protagonist. 

    Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood is full of characters with complex, unorthodox motivations compared to the standard for shonen manga, and for animated shows as a whole, whether they’re a 14 year old alchemist, a determined mechanic, an ambitious soldier, or two young heirs competing for the throne of a foreign land. There is a reason why Hiromu Arakawa’s manga and it’s 2nd adaptation are so well loved, and much of that can be attributed to characters who go above and beyond what the genre dictates, like Edward Elric, Ling Yao, and Roy Mustang

     

  6. Hey, so sometimes you post a theory and I comment on it, seemingly trying to dismantle it or saying I like it but then pointing out its faults.

    I understand how it might look and why you might find it annoying but please remember that just because I'm commenting on it and not simply saying that I agree with it doesn't have to mean that I'm opposing the theory. Just because I'm against it doesn't mean I'm trying to dismantle it. And absolutely none of them mean I'm trying to attack you personally.

    I will likely be putting your theory through the ringer but that doesn't mean I'm opposing it, otherwise I wouldn't also be providing corroborating evidences & support or put in my own observations to try to fill in the gaps, which you'll notice I often do. Most often, I'm just musing on the theories posted, commenting both on its strengths & weaknesses. If I'm commenting that's most likely because I'm enjoying thinking on your theory!

    We're all just trying to have some fun talking about the things we like here. Don't take it so seriously!

    I also often point out typos, which I understand can be annoying but they just kinda bug me! But okay, okay I'll stop. But I would prefer it if you spell things correctly in the Title Posts. I'm not talking about normal English words, we're not all native English speakers, mistakes happen, it's fine. I'm talking about the fantasy terms, I know this seems really weird, but the thing is that if you use a misspelling in the title, that just makes it harder to find your topic in the future unless I remember exactly how you spelled it. That being said, I won't bug you about it.

  7. I just want you all to know, before I begin, that I’ve been hyped about writing this literally since I posted the last one. I’ve mulled over what to say, tried to remember parts...yeah. So that’s fun. :P (Despite this, I’m still managing to write most of this way too late at night.) 

    I’m posting it both in a status update and in my blog as a way of transitioning this tradition to my blog in the future. I’ve only done it once before, so does it need a transition and can I call it a tradition yet? Who knows. 

    With that out of the way...another year happened. Which is a decently big deal on the Shard, for those of us who haven’t been around for ages, at least. It’s now been two years since I read the Sanderson Memes and Sanderfan threads during school, then decided this place was pretty cool. 

    In the last year I’ve gone from thirty-one followers to fifty-four, thirteen days won to fifty-seven, and 1,038 reputation points to 3,904 of them. I made a blog and submitted my crappy art to the gallery. (Be glad I never submitted my Inquisitor sculpture...) I started some more forum games and some more roleplays too - who’s surprised - and the old ones have been just as fun. I even participated in a few discussions about the actual books. ;) 

    (I also joined Discord, which in my case is essentially an extension of the Shard, and that let me meet and talk to even more wonderful people. I don’t regret that choice.) 

    This means it’s also been two years since I started gradually meeting some of the best people in the world. Because really, you are. Again, I can’t list all of you because I will literally run out of original compliments, and it’ll end up as something like “you’re cool! And you can write! I like what you write and how you talk!” for everyone and that’s not very nice of me, so to everyone I didn’t mention - that does not mean I don’t enjoy talking with you, laugh when I read your RP, and overanalyze your member titles. It just means I’m running out of ways to say those things without saying the same thing to all of you and feeling guilty about it. 

    I’m going to begin by saying that it wouldn’t be fair to mention the people I focused on last time again, but also I can’t not because they are amazing too, so consider yourselves mentioned! Archer continued to help me through some emotional death sessions and Mist saved my butt recently. Also Po is Po and I really don’t have words for her. (@Archer@Mistspren@Blessing of Potency

    Sorana is another storming awesome human being who must be talked about. If someone had told me a couple years ago that I would eventually be friends with a literal angel who also is an adult in Europe, I would have been very confused. But I am! And you are! You’re one of the nicest people I’ve ever met in my entire life, and everything you spend your time on, from sewing/quilting/doing magic with cloth to all types of roleplay, is just so grand. Your writing style is so beautiful and also you’re one of those cool smart people who’s bilingual. I know there are a lot of them, especially in countries that don’t speak English, but that doesn’t make them any less smart. So yeah, you’re awesome. (@Sorana, @bilingual people) 

    Guess who else rocks? Meta. Meta does. You’re so witty that you should be Ene! Also, you write well. No arguments - you do. In addition, I have come and died in your inbox and you just causally revive me and send me off again to keep living in the world. How do you do this? No idea, but I’m convinced you’re a Feelings Sorcerer. Thanks for the Rioting and recommendations; you’re hilarious and way smarter than anyone has a right to be. Please do not stop being these things. If you do I will make sad puppy eyes at you. (@MetaTerminal

    Next up on our list of Extremely Fantastic Human Beings is Stick! DoomStick, I will clarify, because this site has a trillion of them! Stick, we’ve been talking for ages and I would like to not stop, because you’re always super fun and clever and interesting. Like seriously, always. You can cook and bake and play an instrument and speak Latin and make epic rainbow loom things...the world is running out of things you haven’t conquered, dude. :P Every time we chat, whether on the Longest Status Update or in the plethora of other updates or TLPW or our AMAs or anywhere else, you’re a delight to talk to, and RPing with Tourmaline and Olivia is no different. Thank you. (@DoomStick

    WYN. YOU’RE A PERSON. A great person who has heartwarming RP, sweet things to say to everyone, and palpable love just...emanating from you. You and your stories are fantastic. James is fantastic - thank you so much for being in TKND. I hope that girl at your school learns how awesome the “janitor man” is. Your faith and humor deserve accolades. (@Wyndlerunner

    Silva, for all y’all’s information, is also incredible. I mean, how many named NPCs do you have? And you keep them all organized and write awesomely with them! At this point you can’t convince me your brain could make words go together badly. Maybe if you had a concussion. No matter what we’re talking about, religion or magic dreams or cute deer, you are consistently amazing. (@Silva

    Getting on Discord introduced me to Storm, and I am eternally grateful. I already knew you were fairly cool from our small Shard interactions and the fact that you founded TUBA, but now I know your coolness in detail! You’re funny and an epic storyteller, and I really like our conversations. I look forward to RPing with you. (@Stormblessed Dolphin

    Lunaaaaaaaaa!!! I’m not sure why I typed your name like that, but! Whatever! You’re exciting! Having adventures with you is a highlight of my Sharding experience, and you seem to be able to just make fun nonsense happen through sheer force of being you. Also you can write! “Well I’ve never RPed before” *proceeds to make characters who I fall in love with instantly* (@Lunamor

    (You can probably tell I’m tired by now, and this is getting long, but spike it I’m gonna rapid-fire verbally hug you all in no particular order fight me) 

    Invo, you are obviously The Cool Kid but also you’re really thoughtful and you give smart advice. I’m glad I know you. (@Invocation

    Salad, you are literally the best in every way! I love talking with you, and also we are the same in like fifteen different ways. Everything you say, I can relate to or agree with, with the sole exception of your British spelling. You’re a writing ace. hahahahaha worst pun ever we’re gonna pretend that didn’t happen okayyyyy I am so sorry but also I’m leaving it in so how sorry am I really (but seriously you are a good writer) (@The Awakened Salad

    Ele, you were the first person to welcome me to the Shard, but I only really got to know you on Discord. You’re friendly and funny and I’m sorry I haven’t watched that one general man’s video you gave me yet, but I’m happy to know it’s there if I need encouraging. (@ElephantEarwax

    Per, you’re supportive and cool and I am so sorry I haven’t been around to watching RWBY with you, it was fun! Jay, it’s great talking to you and I’m going to buy your books someday! (@Emperor Stick@Jaywalk

    Lith, you break my brain with your creativity! Zinc, your art and writing are frighteningly good! Star, your enthusiasm for your art is inspiring! Xino, you know how great you are at worldbuilding! (@ShadowLord_Lith@ZincAboutIt@Shard of Thought@xinoehp512

    Venture, you are steadfastly amazing and brave! Jac, you have really great ideas and chatting with you is a pleasure! Rebecca, I love talking with you in TUBA PMs and thank you for being a great Maid of Honor, even though it went nowhere! Same goes to Ash, who also killed me with her ships! (Condor will never be resolved...nooooooo...) (@Butt Ad Venture@bees?@Rebecca@Ashspren

    Mac, I marvel at your advice and wisdom! Truthless, I’m sorry I left HAHAR (hold up, that was its acronym? Ha har, a laugh? That’s gold lol) but RPing with you was fun! Honorless, your discussions are always great! (@MacThorstenson@Truthless of Shinovar@Dreamer

    To everyone I have ever roleplayed with, I sincerely thank you. 

    Let me get really serious for a sec. A common phrase when people are expressing love is “I love you to death.” Which makes some sense: “I’ll love you even past death.” “I’d kill for you.” It could also be interpreted as “I love you so much I want to kill you.” (Let’s hope not.) And...”I would die for you.” 

    The thing is, I do love all of you, as friends, sometimes as much as family. Honestly, more than my own family in some cases. And I will continue loving you in the afterlife that I believe in. I would not, however, kill for you in most cases, nor would I kill you. Or die for you. 

    But the last year or so has just hit me so hard that I don’t even want to think of a good enough metaphor. Sometimes the Shard was the problem, or made the problem worse. But most of the time, you guys have saved me. I’m not suicidal, that’s not part of my depression portfolio. But I’m living emotionally and mentally as well as I am because of some of you people. 

    So I don’t love you to death. I love you to life, because that’s what your love did for me. 

    *hopes that wasn’t as stupid as it sounds in her head as she pulls out a root beer and proposes a toast to another year* 

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    Ok so, this is being written as I'm listening to Revolver, which I must say is somewhat of a shift from their earlier work. Everything before it was somewhat similar, but not in a bad way. For some reason, certain songs reminded me of surf guitar instrumentals which I will occasionally listen to when I'm not in the mood for my usual playlist or my soundtrack music playlist. But I digress. Now, I've not listened to the Beatles much before this point (I know, I'm a heretic) but I definitely prefer Revolver over Rubber Soul. Both are good, but I like most songs on Revolver more so than on Rubber soul. 

    More to come (maybe)

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    Zelly
    Latest Entry

    Update #1: 

    What's good! Well, I'm good at getting enough sleep and drinking water.   My lunches and dinners were prepped, calorie counted, filling, and delicious, so yay. :D

    What's...so-so! So some exercise has been accomplished.  One strength workout and one yoga workout (yoga is crazy ya'll, I had sore muscles I didn't know existed). And went running!

    What's not so good! There is junk food everywhere. :o  Helped out at church Sunday night, they provided pizza for dinner. Only had one slice and no dessert, so I was okay with it.  Went to work on Monday, they had a potluck lunch.  I shouldn't have even gone to the room where it was, I had no reason to go there.  I told myself I was only going to look (my own lies are so ridiculous, why do I believe them???).   Didn't do too bad, had a few cheese cubes and veggies.  Then today.  Today there were boxes of free donuts at work. :(  I broke bad, ate not one, but two.  *mad at self :angry:*

  8. u/Aradanftw on Reddit put together a post converting Roshar's spheres to US Dollars. So this is 99% their work and not my own! But I thought it was interesting and something that I might want to reference more often down the road. Perhaps I'll remember to add more things to it.

    My main "contribution" was a push to reduce the values by an order of magnitude. The diamond chip was originally set at $2, based on the price of a loaf of bread. I'm not sure Aradanftw was entirely on board with this opinion, but the prices I've posted below are 1/10th of that. I'll admit that I'm not great with economics and inflation values, so I'm happy to be corrected on this. But it seems to me like we should compare the prices to Earth prices at a similar level of technological development? So I'm thinking we should look more at 19th century (-ish) US dollars rather than 21st century US dollars? The price of bread in early/pre-industrial society is different than modern society. Even now you can go to non-Western developing countries where a bit of bread is going to be a lot less than $2. And, admittedly, part of the drive for this is that $2 as you SMALLEST denomination of currency seems off to me.

    Aside from that price shift, I've also reorganized everything from lowest value to highest, and reworked some of the details. So assuming 1 diamond chip = a loaf of bread = $0.20, we've got the following prices:


    Rosharan spheres to US Dollars:

    • 1 diamond chip (smallest denomination) - $0.20
    • Apothecary bandages, per armlength (1 diamond chip) - $0.20
    • Candied fruit (1 diamond chip) - $0.20
    • Shallan's trip to the Palanaeum (2 diamond chips) - $0.40
       
    • Bridgeman slave daily wages (1 diamond mark) - $1
    • Bridgeman daily wages (2 diamond marks) - $2
    • Tozbek's sailors' daily wages (1 ruby chip) - $2
    • Shallan's slaves' daily wages (1 ruby chip + 5 ruby chips toward slave debt) - $2 + $10 toward slave debt
    • Apothecary needle and thread (2 diamond marks) - $2
    • Soldier's daily wages (5 diamond marks) - $5
    • Bowl of firemoss, each (1 garnet broam for three bowls)- $6.60 per bowl
       
    • Adolin's tip to Kaladin (1 emerald chip) - $10
    • Apothecary larmic mucus (2 ruby marks) - $20
    • Mraize tips Mem for getting the aether from his suit (3 ruby marks) - $30
    • Apothecary lister's oil (2 sapphire marks) - $50
    • Shallan's mistaken offer for candied fruit (1 emerald mark) - $50
    • Apothecary knobweed sap, per bottle (2 sapphire marks) $50
       
    • Copy of Words of Radiance, found by Gaz (2 sapphire broams) - $200
    • 1 emerald broam (largest denomination) - $200
    • Palanaeum alcove rental (2 sapphire marks) - $500
    • Shallan's weekly stipend (3 emerald broams) - $600
    • Renegotiated price for Shallan's books (2 emerald broams and 3 sapphire broams) - $700
       
    • Tvlakv's trade wagon and 5 slaves (5 emerald broams) - $1,000
    • Artmyrn's initial offer for Shallan's books (10 emerald broams) - $2,000
    • Shallan's aluminum necklass (10 emerald broams) - $2,000
    • Gaz's debt (80 ruby broams) - $3,200
    • Wikim and Balat's knives, each (20 emerald broams) - $4,000
       
    • Dalanar's offered price to purchase Sadaes's bridgemen, each (60 emerald broams) - $12,000
       
    • Palanaeum chit of admittance (1,000 sapphire broams) - $100,000
    • Sadaes would reject even if Dalinar this much for bridgemen, each (1,000 emerald broams) - $200,000
       

    Again, I'm not ecoomist or historian, but I think these sound somewhat reasonable? Could be shifted around a little one way or the other, but I think the order of magnitude feels right.

    There are people (in extreme poverty) in our world who live on $2 per day. The wages for the sailors does seem a bit low, but both they and the bridgemen also essentially have free housing and (presumably) meals. So that's more of a stipend than a wage. Seems like a very reasonable wage for what is essentially a pre-industrial indentured servant?

    The minimum pricepoint of $0.20 STILL seems weirdly high, but I don't think we can go much lower. The bread doesn't seem bad, though it's odd to me candied fruit costs the same. What do you charge for a non-candied piece of fruit? Do people just not do that? They'd buy more than one piece? Perhaps the people at the bottom of society tend to just barter goods directly instead of using spheres.

    Books costing a few hundred dollars apiece seems somewhat reasonable? I expect books cost even more, prior to the printing press. But then Roshar is a bit more culturally developed despite that technology, so demand is probably bringing that price down.

    Dalinar's offer to buy the bridgemen is crazy. There were about 1,000 bridgemen I believe, which puts the total cost (if Sadeas had agreed) at $12 million. Apparently Dalinar could afford that (if only barely) while Sadeas's counter-offer of $200 million was going too far. So that's interesting.

  9. The Aquaman trailer that dropped a couple of days ago was great. I really, really, really look forward to this movie. The casting looks great, and I like a lot of the visuals (some of them feels unpolished though, so I hope James Wan uses the time he has got left before release to its fullest). 

    I wish we could see more of the villains though. I think both Orm and Black Manta has got potential and would love to see a bit more of them. I like what we have gotten on both Arthur and Mera though, so I have faith in that the movie will deliver on the other characters as well. 

    So, I think DC might have another good movie here, which hopefully makes them happy. Their universe won’t be in less of a mess though: what they need is good structure, and Aquaman, no matter how good, or how many sharks he throws, can help them there. 

    Linn to the trailer, if anyone missed it, or just wants to see it again:

     

  10. LUNA
    Latest Entry

    Prompt: A Genie offers you one wish, and you modestly wish to have a very productive 2017. The genie misunderstands, and for the rest of your life, every 20:17 you become impossibly productive for just 60 seconds.

     

     

    “Well, it was a nice day.” You kiss your sweetheart gently on the forehead and sigh as the last remaining seconds of 20:16 tick away. “See you at 8:18,” you say. 

    Then it happens. Every ounce of fatigue or hunger leaves your body. The face of your beloved is perfectly still, their expression exactly the same. The ticking of the clock on the wall has stopped. Once again, it’s 20:17. 

    You stretch your arms and walk to the table with the homework for the three doctorates you’re working on. The work is mentally stimulating and enjoyable, but it’s finished far too quickly. You check your pocket watch and see that not even one hundredth of a second has passed. 

    You knew it was too soon to be able to see any movement on the watch, but you can never quite help yourself from looking early on every 20:17. Time to move on. 

    You clean your home, do your budget, then go outside and fix a noise that your car was making earlier that afternoon. (Oh how you already miss afternoons.) Then you go back inside, boot up your computer (which magically speeds up to keep pace with you as long as you’re in contact with it) and check for any new orders. 

    You’ve set up a website for the small business you started called “Magic Elf Services.” People in your area can pay a modest fee on your site to have different tasks and odd jobs done by “The Magic Elf” at 8:17pm every day. It was a little slow to get started, but word has spread and these days you have a steady stream of clients. 

    The money that comes in from the business is nice, but you’re mostly grateful that it gives you a clear list of things to do. You print off your updated list of clients, step outside, and start making your way through the neighborhood with your to-do list. 

    There’s the apartments down your street where several neighbors have hired you to tidy up, do the dishes, and mop the floors. You do the windows too, just to see if they notice. There’s the large house across town that paid the “Magic Elf” to clean out the gutters. After the first dozen jobs are done, you manage to stop looking at your pocket watch. 

    As near as you’ve been able to determine in the past, 20:17 seems to last for approximately one normal year. But it’s not exact. For one thing, it’s hard to keep track of “time” when everything but you has crawled to an almost total standstill. For another thing, time seems to move differently depending on how “productive” your behavior is. One time you tried to spend all of 20:17 sitting at home in your pajamas, but that was getting you nowhere, so you eventually gave up and got busy. (Though you defiantly stayed in your pajamas the whole time.) 

    During 20:17 your body doesn’t get tired, hungry, sick, or injured. You’re essentially tireless and immortal for the duration of the “minute.” So sleeping or eating away your boredom has never really worked for you. 

    One of the houses on your list forgot to follow the instructions and leave a key for you to get in. At first you figure you’ll just send them an email telling them to pay more attention and that you’ll do the job tomorrow. Then you decide to go home, get your locksmith tools, and come back. 

    After finishing up all the jobs on your list, you go into several other homes and small businesses in the area, performing tasks you hope they’ll find helpful, and leaving a hand-painted business card at each one. (The business cards don’t contain your real name just in case somebody thinks “The Magic Elf” should be subject to breaking and entering laws.) 

    Speaking of laws, you head down to the local police station to pick up your case file. You’ve been in contact with a detective who’s been investigating corruption within their department, and your ability to investigate unseen and get in almost anywhere between the ticks of the clock has proven invaluable. You see that they’ve also added five missing person cases to your file this evening, which certainly raises your interest in the job. 

    You make your way through town gathering evidence, and start making your way to the outskirts of town. Since you happen to be out that way (and you’ve already solved three of the five missing person cases) you decide to swing by the stone castle you’re building and do some more work there. 

    The castle walls stand about 20 feet right now, but you know they’ll be much higher when you’re done. You’re far from any roads and pretty safely tucked away, so for now it’s your little secret. You’ve been excavating and moving all the rock yourself, which has been much easier than you first expected since your body doesn’t get tired or sore. You’ve also got a nice system of tunnels going underneath the castle, and you dig and build more of that network for a while. 

    All that time spent underground has left you feeling rather lonely, so you walk back home to see the face of your sweetheart. Their facial expression has moved ever so slightly since you last saw them, which is a comfort to you. Looking at them gets your imagination going and makes you dream up a story you’d like to tell, so you sit on your couch, plug in your laptop, and write a book. 

    After you finish editing the last chapter for the third time, you finally allow yourself to look at your pocket watch again. Three seconds have officially passed so far. 

    It’s gonna be a long 20:17. 

  11. LUNA
    Latest Entry

    I can really appreciate rainy days.
    Sometimes the sun is too harsh
    Or the snow too bitter.
    Give me days where the clouds,
              like my eyes,
    Are overcast and the fog,
              like my shoulders,
    Hang low.
    Something about bleak colors
    Cold earth, speckled windshields,
    That I embody.
    Melancholy
    Sympathizing with 
    Worms drowning in puddles
    Lacking the energy to save them.
    Empty bottles kicked beneath feet
    Only to be forgotten and left
    Sinking in the mud
    Indifferent to life and death.
    On days like these
    I imagine Mother Nature as
    A girl in a hoodie
    Walking through puddles
    Headphones in
    Music too loud
    And probably a coffee in hand
    Not to warm or wake her
    But because caffeine is a drug
    Required to keep herself moving.
    On days like these
    Stillness is equal to death
    Physical or mental
    the lines blurred
    Not unlike the horizon in the fog.
    On days like these
    I can’t tell Mother Nature and myself
    Apart.

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    Something for me to throw stuff in I guess. Eep. I didn't know I could do this. This might be a bad idea.

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    yurisses
    Latest Entry

    This blog will have things that have already been explored by others but which I need to lay out for myself. Or potentially new ideas which I need to refine (and check if others have not yet theorised on) before posting on the forums.

    TLR uses Lerasium for Feruchemy:

    1. No answer to whether TLR and Hoid use Lerasium for Feruchemy

    2. TLR did not eat a Lerasium bead

    3. However, he did take a Lerasium bead for himself

    Conclusion: The Lord Ruler either uses Lerasium for Feruchemy or some other unclear purpose.

    ...what happened to that Lerasium bead?! Was it lost forever in the corpse of The Lord Ruler?

    Hoid's use of Lerasium:

    1. Hoid’s bead was—He originally got it because he wanted to be an Allomancer.

    2. BS suggests Lerasium can grant the power of many shards (though he could also simply say that Hoid has the power of Preservation)

    3. It rewrites your spiritual DNA, and there are ways to do really cool things with lerasium that I don't see how anyone would know. Were most Mistborn to just burn it, it would rewrite their genetic code to increase their power as an Allomancer.

    4. Lerasium has Feruchemical and Hemalurgical powers.

    5. "Let me first assure you that the element is quite safe. I have found a good home for it. I protect its safety like I protect my own skin, you might say." This suggests that Hoid keeps the Lerasium inside his body, either for Feruchemical purposes or as a spike. However, Hoid is very bad at hurting people, suggesting Feruchemy. Furthermore, this WoB says outright that Hoid does not have Hemalurgy.

    Conclusion: Hoid seems to use the Lerasium for Feruchemy, but it's likely something more complicated is going on.

    Important WoB explaining Compounding and the role of metals in Allomancy (And another one) (Another)

    1. Allomancy is drawing Investiture into your (damaged) soul.

    2. The metals are a filter. For example, burning Tin means drawing Investiture from Preservation or Ruin (in the case of Atium), and Tin turns the Investiture into sensory enhancement.

    3. Compounding is drawing Investiture into your soul and turning it into a nonstandard (non-Allomantic) type of power, by changing a metal's "signature" via feruchemically charging it.

    4. Feruchemy is a zero-sum internal magic, Allomancy is a net-gain external magic. Compounding is using the net-gain Allomancy, but turning Investiture into Feruchemical powers rather than standard Allomantic powers.

    5. The final step of Compounding is (usually) storing the net-gain, superboosted attribute into another metalmind.

    6. Standard Feruchemy stores an attribute given by the user into a metalmind. With this final step, Compounding stores an attribute provided by Preservation/Ruin into a metalmind.

    7. The Lord Ruler turned Atium into an Atiummind, storing a small amount of youth in it, then used the Atiummind, drawing Investiture from Ruin's body and turning it into youth rather than foresight. A small bead used right can return someone to childhood. He stored the youth that he didn't have to provide into Atiumminds and then had to constantly draw from them in order not to die. When Vin deprived him of his atiumminds, he aged dramatically (1000 years old) and died.

    Burning atium

    When Allomancers burn Atium, they are not drawing power from Preservation (or are they...?) but from Ruin's body, i.e. the Atium itself. Does it suggest that Allomantic strength with regard to Atium is independent from how much Preservation is in your sDNA / how strong your connection to Preservation is / how much Lerasium you ate in your life? Does it have more to do with the volume of Atium you're burning? Does a stronger connection to Ruin increase how much power you can get from an Atium bead?

    In other words: if you Hemalurgically steal someone's ability to burn Atium, is the ability really weakened? This has to do with whether Atium Allomancy is really end-positive and of Preservation in some way (in which case the ability would be weakened), or whether it's strictly of Ruin (and end-negative somehow), and more power is considered a "loss" (in which case the ability would be... strengthened?).

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    blog-0329341001406819586.png*I don't mean this post to be a request, just an expression of my thoughts as a fan who's fired up about any Brandon Sanderson material.*

    Maybe 3 times a week I go to BrandonSanderson.com with nothing else in mind but checking on the progress bars in his site header. I think it's one of the coolest things an author can do (especially considering the genre's writing habits) to post on the progress of each book. Recognizing that their existence is a gift in itself - I think those progress bars should be updated more frequently and emphasized for the sake of marketing Brandon's talents.

    For many authors, progress bars would be.... minimally helpful. Not many authors have as much in the works as Mr. Sanderson, and on top of the workload, Brandon has been writing series after series that just sink their hooks into my mind in a way that not many others accomplish. At the end of each book, I am left with a raw hunger for the next, and those progress bars are like the scent of a juicy steak grilling just for me.

    What I really mean to be saying (instead of just making myself physically hungry) is that I think those progress bars have huge potential. How many times have I read someone online say, for example "A new Dresden Files book is out?! How did I not know that?!" By going to that site, I know exactly what's coming down the pipe and have a good idea of when to expect it. That keeps me excited throughout the dry period when I stop following other series until I see the cover in a B&N storefront window. Progress bars keep fans hyped! Knowledgeable fans have got to be good for book sales, right?

    Brandon deserves that hype. He writes like a ravenous animal, or some kind of machine that just churns out fantasy brilliance. Whether he is a fearsome force of nature or a fantasy Awesome-o, his writing speed is well recognized at every update of those progress bars. He's got a good reputation because of that speed (which is really time spent) and could probably benefit from making that better known.

    It might also help this fansite to post a reflection of those progress bars in a similar fashion. Members who frequent 17thShard can tell you that one of the most recurring topics/posts is along the lines of "when is the next ____ coming out?" or "Is Brandon writing ____ or ____ next?" I imagine some Google searches lead new fans here before they ever get to Brandonsanderson.com, so it could actually be doing Brandon a favor to have them represented here as well.

    I recognize potential consequences though. The quality of writing should be considered first and foremost, and having to hit an unofficial "progress bar deadline" to meet fan expectations could cause some stress. Speaking from experience though, I know fans on this site at least are very patient and understanding (though hungry, as I noted).

    TL;DR - The progress bars on Brandon's site, if updated more frequently and presented in the right places, could be an excellent marketing tool to keep fans excited and up to date while showcasing his particular, genre-defying talents.

  12. Critiquing Submissions

    Please don't send your critiques by email--replying to all means that everybody gets a ton of email each week, while replying individually makes it impossible to have a group discussion about the submitter's work. Instead, come to the Reading Excuses forums here and post your critiques in the appropriate threads.

    How Often Do I Need to Critique?

    We don't ask that you read every submission every week, or even that you read one submission every week. As a minimum, we request that you do one critique of another's work for every chapter you submit. Of course, the more critiques you can provide the better--but we realize that everyone is busy and that a good critique takes time.

    If you want to critique a current submission but haven't read that person's previous submissions on the same project--for example, if you want to critique Chapter 3 of a novel and you haven't read Chapters 1 and 2--we don't require you to read those first two chapters first. That's why we ask people to provide the brief summary mentioned in the submission guidelines. A summary is no replacement for reading the actual chapters, though, so do keep that in mind when critiquing later chapters in a work.

    If you want to read Chapters 1 and 2 but didn't join the group until the author submitted Chapter 3, just email that author and ask for the earlier chapters. Usually, people are pretty good about providing that (though of course no one should feel obligated to do so!), especially if it means they're getting a critique out of it. wink.gif

    Critiquing Guidelines
    :

    At some point in the future, I would like to get a more thorough guide to critiquing on here, one that will offer some tips both on critiquing others' work and dealing with critiques in your own work. I'm not sure when I'll be able to make that happen, though, so in the meantime I'll quote from the more general guidelines on the TWG archives:

    Be fair (not nice). Don't be nasty, but do say what you think. And don't apologize every time you offer a criticism. Say what's working exceptionally well as well as what isn't working at all. If something isn't working, tell us why. Sometimes it's best to let the author figure out what to do. Sometimes specific suggestions help, but don't try to write someone's story for them. Don't spend too much time critiquing grammar, punctuation, etcetera (unless the author asks for it). Focus on the big things.

    You get what you give. If you skimp on critiquing our stuff, we'll skimp on yours. We realize that not everyone will be able to critique everybody's submission every time. That's fine. We do think it's reasonable for everyone to critique at least one manuscript for every one they submit. Beyond that, do your level best to give as many critiques as you can without killing yourself over it.

    Also, there's a great podcast you could listen to on the subject of writing groups. We heartily recommend it.

    Sharing Work From RE
    :

    Don't.

    All work submitted to RE, of course, remains the property of the original author and is protected by copyright law. You may not, under any circumstances excepting the explicit permission of the authors, re-post or otherwise share material that is submitted to this group. Anyone who shares another author's work without that author's explicit permission will be removed from the group's mailing list.

    Source: Welcome to Reading Excuses

  13. <p><em>This post is one of a series in the ongoing <a href="http://icadventure.wordpress.com/category/world-of-darkness/hunter-the-vigil/the-juniper-campaign/" target="_blank">Juniper Campaign</a> posts. If you’re new to the blog, you may want to consider <a title="Smile, You're on Camera" href="http://icadventure.wordpress.com/2014/01/13/disco-nuit-smile-youre-on-camera/" target="_blank">starting from the beginning</a>, or reading the <a title="The Juniper Campaign Summary" href="http://icadventure.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/campaign-summary-the-juniper-campaign/" target="_blank">summary</a> to get caught up on events up to this point. </em></p>

    <p>After stalling the police outside his house long enough for Shannon and Felix to slip safely out the back door, John heads back to Shady Acres, where his grandmother has been successfully transferred to the centre’s coma ward during all the other excitement. As expected, she seems to be sleeping peacefully when he arrives. John talks to her as he sets up her personal effects, telling her about the incident of astral projection and other associated weirdness at Shady Acres. He adds that he’s got a friend in trouble when his grandmother suddenly sits up in bed.</p>

    <p><span id="more-860"></span></p>

    <p>“Oh, a friend in trouble, yes, yes. I think there’s going to be more people in trouble. There was that man,” she continues, before John can react. “He ate that other man. Yes, yes.” She keeps going in this vein, ominous if nonsensical rambling about people in trouble, until John collects himself enough to interrupt.</p>

    <p>“Uhh. Is this one of the episodes I missed? You know I don’t keep up with all your shows.”</p>

    <p>She retorts promptly. “What are you talking about, you daft bastard? Who are you? What am I wearing?”</p>

    <p>“I’m… John…” he says slowly, more confused than ever. He doesn’t get the chance for further conversation, though, because his grandmother slumps back into unconsciousness as abruptly as she awoke.</p>

    <p>Not long after that, Dr. Johnson announces himself with a light tap at the door. “Good to see you again,” John says.</p>

    <p>“Good to see you as well,” Johnson says. “Sorry to interrupt, but we need to have a serious talk.”</p>

    <p>“Has something changed?” John asks.</p>

    <p>“I’m afraid so, yes. She’s not in any immediate danger, but if you see here,” Johnson proffers a medical chart, “her white blood cell count is dropping. This happens sometimes with comatose patients–it doesn’t mean they’re not going to wake up, but unfortunately it makes them more prone to sickness, which could be very dangerous in her current state.”</p>

    <p>John tiredly points up, towards the clean ward on the fourth floor. “I’m afraid so,” Johnson says.</p>

    <p>“How does that affect visiting and quality of life?”</p>

    <p>Johnson assures him that the transfer shouldn’t affect her quality of life. “In regards to visitation, you would need a scrub first. This would take two, two and a half hours, and you’d have to be wearing an environmental suit. Instead of just popping by whenever you like, you need to give us a bit of warning. But as long as you give us some notice, we’ll make sure she’s available to visit.”</p>

    <p>“I see. This is worrying.”</p>

    <p>“I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news,” Johnson says, “but this is a significant change.”</p>

    <p>“Have there been any signs of brain activity?” John asks.</p>

    <p>“Actually, it does look like she’s improving.” Johnson shuffles around in the folder he’s carrying and produces another chart. “As you can see here, her prefrontal lobe is experiencing sporadic activity. It looks like she’s dreaming.” He slides the paper back into the folder. “I do want to caution you not to get your hopes up, but any activity is better than no activity.”</p>

    <p>“That’s good to hear. When is she going to be transferred?”</p>

    <p>“We need you to sign some forms first.” Johnson hands John the paperwork that will authorize his grandmother’s transfer to the clean ward.</p>

    <p>While he’s scanning the forms, John says conversationally, “you know, I’ve heard some wild stories about this place.”</p>

    <p>“Oh?”</p>

    <p>“All sorts of stuff. That it was some sort of mobster hideout, or…?” He trails off.</p>

    <p>“Not a hideout. I’m surprised you heard about that, actually,” Johnson says. “Originally, it was a retirement home set up by one of the major mob families, so their family members would have a place to go if they lived long enough for retirement. Apparently there was a killing back in the ’50s or something.” He shrugs, adding that the centre is pretty ordinary now; even the clean ward upstairs, he says, is bright and cheery.</p>

    <p>“The top floor must be pretty nice, then,” John remarks.</p>

    <p>“I actually wouldn’t know,” Johnson says. “They value their privacy up there.”</p>

    <p>“Yeah, I heard some wild story about how it was a cannibal den or something.”</p>

    <p>“Wow,” Johnson says, after a pause. “I’m not gonna lie, that’s a new one on me.”</p>

    <p>“Mind if I hold onto these until the end of the day?” John asks, gesturing to the forms.</p>

    <p>“You have about 72 hours before the need to move her becomes urgent,” Johnson answers. “Sooner is better. But take the time you need.” He and John say their goodbyes and Johnson makes his way out, leaving John alone with his grandmother.</p><br /> <a rel="nofollow" href="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/gocomments/icadventure.wordpress.com/860/"><img alt="" border="0" src="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/comments/icadventure.wordpress.com/860/" /></a> <img alt="" border="0" src="http://stats.wordpress.com/b.gif?host=icadventure.wordpress.com&blog=34007243&post=860&subd=icadventure&ref=&feed=1" width="1" height="1" />

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    Recent Entries

    Last night I finally finished the book and I was blown away. That was an excellent read and I am left extremely satisfied. I'm going to stop the review right there because I have lots of comments and questions that will sum up my thoughts, so I don't want to repeat myself. This blog is going to be where I keep track of my WoR questions as well as just general comments on the book, the series, and the 17th Shard website itself.

    SPOILERS! Yes, they will be in this blog. Don't read past here if you haven't finished the book entirely.

    17th Shard Stuff

    As long as we are on the topic, I feel like throwing out a reminder to members of the 17th Shard that including that huge spoiler tag on all of your posts is not necessary. In the Stormlight Archive board you are supposed to put spoilers under a spoiler tag. In the Words of Radiance board, you never have to type the word "Spoilers!" Ever. That subforum even includes a description that if you are reading the content you are expected to have read or there is no pity for you. Every other topic in there right now has a big spoiler tag for no reason and I find it supremely frustrating, hahaha. But I recognize it is with good intentions, attempting to help out your peers. Just wanted to clarify.

    Anyway, Words of Radiance. It was incredible. I am increasingly impressed with Brandon Sanderson's writing ability. I've always been a big fan of planning and interweaving all plot points - a characteristic that is fundamental to his writing style - but in this book I was most impressed with the pacing of the story than anything else. It reminded me a lot of the ending of Memory of Light, but I think this one turned out better. It was a lot more synchronized.

    I have another suggestion for members of the site, and mostly the site admins. I think we need to reevaluate and put into words what is "appropriate" for members to say on this site. I am mostly talking about swear words. I have seen members chastised for using swear words in their topics and posts, and I think it is a little bit overzealous. Obviously the site admins make the rules and there is no arguing with them, but if you consider that this site is based on the writings of an author who uses some of those words in his books... The people reading these posts have seen the words before. I think that the site should use those writings as precedent. For example, many of the stronger words are substituted for local cuss words in a clear attempt to keep things decent. However "damnation" is used plainly in the book a few times, so I don't think it should be looked down upon if members on the site use the word. This isn't an urgent problem with the site at all, but I do think it should be considered.

    Remaining Conflicts

    The ending of the book was great, but it did leave me feeling like we had solved nearly every single problem.

    -The Parshendii seem to be pretty dead.

    -Sadeas is dead.

    -Our main characters have gotten over their fears and outted themselves as KR and the organization has been refounded.

    -We have someone in a stable relationship (haha kinda) with the Ghostbloods.

    -The Assassin in White is no more. He has been reborn and we are not yet sure what will come of it. He'll not have his Surgebinding abilities anymore, but he is running around with a Herald and Nightblood, so who knows.

    -Urithiru has been found.

    So like... all of those were really 2 book problems. Still on the docket:

    -The Everstorm is going to be transforming the parshmen into Voidbringers. That is a biggie, obviously, but it is a fresh problem. I big one intended to occur after we had some KR, and it wasn't really around before the very end of the book.

    -Nalan and new Szeth. We have seen Nalan killing Surgebinders, but Szeth seems to be under the impression that the only way he is not going to kill himself is to right his wrongs or at least be a better man. Let's hope that doesn't involve him picking up Nalan's whacked out sense of justice (yeah... it will).

    -The Diagram and that whole plot.

    The Diagram

    OK, I'm going to get into quick notes on the Diagram.

    -Mr. T makes it when he is brilliant and it seems to be working fairly well but we already know it isn't near perfect because of the 7 factions comment he makes and because he couldn't have really known about Kaladin being there for Dalinar and he really wanted Dalinar dead. Unless he suspected that somehow, but that could be an excuse for literally any event that occurs, so I'm not going to use it.

    -Current Members of that entire unit, the Sons of Honor: Gavilar, Restares, Amaram, Taravangian, Graves and his team including Moash. I might be leaving some out, but dang that is a lot of big hitters so far. Some of them may not even know they are working with the others, but I believe at least the big names do based off of all of Graves comments.

    - I am crazy intrigued by the idea of the Diagram and Taravangian's abilities. It is a such a fun plot device.

    Individual Characters

    Brandon fixed something in this book that pleases me greatly: I like many of the characters much more. Some of the more irritating traits have been honed, bringing authenticity and originality to characters where I viewed it previously as an obnoxious character flaw.

    Shallan - I liked much more in this book. She had several of those elements in the Way of Kings that came across as obnoxious. Her attempts at humor and wit were more frequent in this book, but didn't feel nearly as forced. Massive credit went her way (and Brandon's way) in this book when she was able to gain some backbone and embrace her strength as a woman/adult/human being/whatever but not become bull-headed and arrogant. I went through most of the Wheel of Time books really disliking the female characters because once they all embrace the same strength, they immediately become overly stubborn and unhelpful in nearly every situation. Something that should be a triumph for the characters ends up setting them back an aggravating amount of the time. The scene when Shallan works through Kaladin's problems in the chasm - agreeing not to get upset and to maintain a level of understanding - that was a big moment for her in my eyes. She is also able to admit that she can be wrong - proven while looking for the Oathgate and having parts of her map wrong - which is another trait I am grateful for. It is refreshing. Of course it helps that she is a little more active in this book, what with all the sneaking and disguising, but that really didn't play as much of a role as her drastic improvement in attitude.

    Adolin- I also had no interest in Adolin as a character before this book. The snotty/spoiled trait was far too accentuated in the first book in my opinion (though I guess seeing him grow does feel good). Surprisingly, he kept his head and made good decisions through most of this book. Another example of a character being proven wrong, accepting their faults and actually changing for the better. As much as I am happy for his changes and general increase in likeability as the book progresses, the Sadeas murder has me a little confused. I cheered a little bit, but it was really distracting that he could do that and still be up for a position as a KR. I only know this because Brandon said some Orders would be cool with it and applaud the move (he mentioned Dustbringers I know). Meanwhile Kaladin's spren literally dies just considering letting a murder happen. I understand I guess that it directly goes against protecting for Kaladin, but how does any KR get away with actual murder after saying the first Ideal? Journey before destination would kind of screw with that move, wouldn't it? Maybe different interpretations, I suppose, but that kind of makes the first Ideal seem weak to me.

    Kaladin - Still my favorite. Love that he got out of his moody phase. The entire plot felt a lot like Rand's ordeal in WoT, and while it came sooner, I felt very similar when Kaladin got over it and got happy again. Syl is still the best, too. I was walking around my house and felt really anxious and worried for some reason, and after thinking on it for a while, I realized it was because the night before I had stopped reading during Part 4 where Syl is still missing and considered dead. It gave me stress throughout the next day and I didn't even know it, hahaha. They are a good team and I'm glad to see that Brandon is going to make them work for it, because Kaladin is very clearly his favorite, and I don't want him to be too overpowered. The scene where he gets Syl back and says the next Ideal might be the most memorable in the entire book for me. It was great. Also the Shardspear/changing Shardblade form had me fist pump in the air like a madman. What a great way to give the fans what they want (because he made us want it so bad, I understand) and do it quickly. It feels like all of the KR just gained some Green Lantern abilities in my mind, and I'm all for it. Can't wait to see what his return to Hearthstone is like.

    Dalinar - He was in the running for my favorite character but he fell just barely behind Kaladin, though he did a great job in this book too. I like that he keeps his cool and is always fair. I know some people wouldn't agree there, but he makes all the decisions I would and doesn't bully people when they make a stand for what they believe in. Kaladin and Shallan stand up to him multiple times - hell, even standard bridgemen do - and he respects their needs without bulldozing them using his station as an excuse to have things go his way. Makes him very likeable. Bonus that he is given credit for being very clever a couple of times - a feat I don't think he accomplished in the first book. Love the scene where he is just like "Hey guys, what do I have to do if I want to go bond God as my spren?" and then just goes up and says 2 Ideals like he's reading cheat codes from a magazine."Cool, yeah, it went well, I'm a KR now. *Stormlight sucking*"

    Renarin - Still could not care less about this kid. I saw a thread arguing why his decisions make sense and why this and that. "Oh he is secretive by nature! Oh if you look at it in this frame of mind..!" I'm aware that he has a mental problem somewhere, but it doesn't change the fact that he has been overall unhelpful and generally annoying in every scene yet, except for when he was helpful with proving Dalinar's sanity (one idea voiced) and when he pep talks Adolin (twice). Every other time I have found him distracting at best. If we don't see a lot deeper into his mind soon, I hope we see a lot less of him.

    Jasnah - She's great. My hope is that the whole "she's always right" deal doesn't get out of hand. I like a character who can keep things moving, and she seems to be a few steps ahead of the game, but I don't want everyone to rely on her too much. I would like to call that at some point she is going to figure out pieces of the Diagram before they happen and totally blindside Mr.T at some point, who is going to have a new respect for her when she works around the god he thinks he was on that day.

    Theories

    I was right on a few, I think. I called that the Shin had the Honorblades hidden away, I called (though I found many did) that Szeth had an Honorblade, and I don't have 100% proof, but I'm almost certain now that the other chart is a Voidbinding chart and the symbols are the spren that activate specific forms. Pretty happy with those. Haven't looked back yet at what else, but those I can recall.

    - I'll lay one down, as written above, that Jasnah will out-maneuver the Diagram at some point.

    Random

    Here is something I noticed and wasn't particularly happy with: multiple characters gain abilities in this book and then just completely stop utilizing them. Kaladin learns how to stick people to walls and then he doesn't use it once in combat or anything like that. Shallan learns how to Soulcast, acknowledges that Jasnah is gone and she is going to try to learn herself, and then never tries. What is with that? I was really hoping that those would come into play somewhere. Shallan Soulcasts the boat, but that is like chapter 7. Then never again. I would have appreciated some use (even over-use) of the ability before another takes over entirely.

    I would like to give a shout-out to the members of 17th Shard that really see through the smaller details in these stories. I've read Warbreaker and I would never have guessed that Vasher is Zahel. I noted that he was probably a worldhopper (ever since Wheel of Time I have looked for characters that speak in unusual ways), but I would never have put all of it together on my own. I am a little dense in those ways. Maybe it also has something to do with my hunger for the main points of the story, but still. That is only one example of the great catches I see on here every day, and you are doing the rest of us a favor by sharing.

    I'm going to keep writing as I reread and stuff, but I figured I'd give it a good start at least. Feel free to comment if you bother reading this. It is meant for my organization mostly, but if anybody feels like my opinion is worth their time, lemme know!

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    Claincy
    Latest Entry

    Preamble

    Firstly, I was somewhat surprised, but very happy, to know that some people read the last entry I posted :) Thankyou.

    So, for anyone who isn't aware, Shelldry is a game in the world of the mistborn series. It is mentioned a couple of times at most, but from when it is mentioned we can gather that it is some form of gambling card game. Partly to play with my MAG groups and partly just for the fun of it I decided to create a version of shelldry. It isn't complete yet so everything here is subject to change. The rules have gone through several iterations and the card backs have been designed so some significant progress has been made on it. I currently hope to complete it within the next fortnight.

    I wanted the game to be heavily set in the mistborn world, as a result it is based around the 10 allomantic metals that were known in the time of the final empire and their relative value and connections to eachother.

    I know that both skaa and nobles play Shelldry and many skaa wouldn't know about allomancy. However I decided for this that it was perfectly possible that the nobility created the game and that the skaa adopted it even though most don't understand the significance of the metals and sets. :)

    How to Play

    The game is played with a set of 34 cards, 4 copies of each of the physical and mental metals, 1 gold and 1 atium. The game is, in basics, vaguely similar to Texas Hold'em poker. As such the best sets are of 4 and the different values of hands are based on metal pairs.

    The hands, in increasing value:

    -no set

    -2 of a kind (eg, 2 iron)

    -metal/alloy pair (eg. iron and steel)

    -2 * 2 of a kind. (eg 2 iron and 2 brass)

    -metal/alloy pair and a 2 of a kind (eg. iron, steel, and 2 brass)

    -3 of a kind

    -2 of the same metal/alloy pair (eg, 2 iron, 2 steel)

    -4 of a kind

    -2 pairs, one from mental, one from physical (eg, iron, steel, zinc, brass)

    -full set, physical or mental (aka, iron, steel, tin, pewter OR zinc, brass, copper, bronze)

    -gold and atium pair. (Special case)

    Atium and gold act differently to the others. A gold/atium pair wins the pot (explained later) and ends the game, but neither gold nor atium is involved in any other set. Instead, atium and gold act as tiebreakers. If you and another opponent both have the same value set, for example if you both have a metal/alloy pair, and you have atium, you win the tie. On the flipside if you have gold, you lose the tie. This reflects atium and gold's allomantic values ;) (Or at least how valuable they are considered by most mistborn, to all you gold lovers out there.)

    In Shelldry there are two distinct pools of clips/boxings. There is the current betting pool which contains all the bets from the current round and there is the pot. The pot gradually increases in size throughout the game and nothing is taken out of it till the end.

    How each round works:

    -Each player is dealt 2 cards, then, starting with the player to the left of the dealer, each player has to choose to stick with their cards, or to pay the minimum bet (lets say 1 clip for now) into the pot to discard them face-down and draw 2 replacement cards.

    -Each player is dealt a third card.

    -Each player (in turn) chooses an amount to bet of at least the minimum bet, they do not have to match previous bets. These bets stay in front of the player and are collectively called the "betting pool".

    -A final card is flipped face up in the centre of the table. Each player can make sets from the cards in their hand and this card.

    -Each player (in turn) chooses one of 3 options:

    1. Fold, and take back half their bet rounded down. The remainder stays in the betting pool.

    2. Stand. (No changes to their bet.)

    3. Double Down. Provided the player has enough clips/boxings remaining they can double their bet, increasing the betting pool.

    -All players who didn't fold reveal their hands and the player with the best set wins the round. They take back their bet and an equal amount from the betting pool. If there is not enough in the betting pool to match their bet they take however much there is. They do not take from the pot to make the difference.

    -Any remaining clips/boxings in the betting pool are added to the pot.

    -The cards are shuffled, the player to the left of the dealer becomes the new dealer and a new round begins.

    In the case of a tie, if one of the players has atium, they win the tie. If one has gold, they lose it. If that doesn't resolve a tie a player who formed their set completely from their hand wins the tie.

    If that still doesn't determine a victor the round is a tie and the players who are tied take back their bets and then split the remainder of the betting pool evenly between them, with the caveat that each player, like normal, cannot receive more than they bet. Any clips/boxings that they would otherwise receive from the split are added to the pot as is any extra that cannot be evenly split between the tied players.

    -The game ends when a player reveals a gold/atium pair during scoring (including the case where they have one of them in hand and the other is the centre card), that player wins the round and takes the pot.

    Rounds in Shelldry should go a little faster than normal poker rounds while still allowing for some bluffing and psychological play.

    Gold and atium make for an interesting risk-taking dynamic. If you get gold on the initial draw do you hold on to it in the hopes that atium will come up, sacrificing your chance to get a set of 4, reducing your chance of a decent set AND causing you to lose ties? Very risky. Atium is a safer, though still risky, choice as while it makes you win ties, it still prevents you from getting a set of 4 and reduces your chance of gaining a good set. A player who starts with one in their hand has to decide if the potential reward is worth the risk ;)

    An option for resolving things if the game has to end before an atium/gold pair surfaces is to deal a final round with no betting. The winner of that round takes the pot, split the pot if there is a tie.

    The most recent modifications to these rules are yet to be tested so changes may well still occur.

    The Cards

    The easiest way to play is simply to take a standard deck of cards, take out all of the cards for the numbers 1 through 8, 1 jack card and 1 king card. Then:

    1/ace = iron

    2 = steel

    3 = tin

    4 = pewter

    5 = zinc

    6 = brass

    7 = copper

    8 = bronze

    Jack = gold

    King = atium

    This is what I have been using during testing, however while this is functional it would be much nicer to have proper cards, so I have been working on designing them.

    I figured it would be cool to have a table of the 10 then known allomantic metals on the back of the cards, both for visual use and as an easy reference chart. Partly due to this the cards I have designed thus far will be round, however as I know that round cards are much harder to print properly and cut out I also plan to put the table on to the back of more regular sized cards for those who prefer them. Circular cards are cooler for this, but normal cards are far more practical ;)

    I then ran into a problem in that there isn't any table for just the 10 metals known during the final empire. This is where a friend of mine, nard, (he has an account on steel ministry but not here) helped me out. He took the table from "The Hero of ages"

    blogentry-0-0-78011100-1392639852_thumb.

    He then used photoshop to cut off the bottom part, then took the top part and copied it down to make a full circle. He then covered over all the unwanted symbols and most of the inner lines to create something looking like this:

    blogentry-0-0-89765700-1392640046_thumb.

    At the time he then just roughly sketched in the remaining symbols. Coming back to working on the card-back now I decided that the sketched in symbols really wouldn't do the trick. Instead I traced out the gold and atium symbols from the full allomantic chart, shrunk them to the size I wanted and used them. Atium initially gave me a bit of trouble as it was too dark a grey and kept blending in with the background. I ended up adjusting the contrast and brightness to make it a much whiter colour that stands out better on the card (and is actually closer to how I always imagined atium anyway ;) ).

    That left the internal metal symbols. I could take them from the initial chart but they would be white and would look strange and asymmetrical on this new chart. I considered doing as I had with gold and atium and taking them from the full allomantic chart. However, I rather liked how the existing symbols fit with the background and how they contrasted with the new atium and gold symbols. In the end I took the symbols from the Hero of ages chart and simply inverted the colours on them then adjusted the brightness/contrast as necessary and stuck them in. I am quite pleased with the final result.

    blogentry-0-0-14740900-1392640594_thumb.

    Closing Thoughts

    Creating shelldry has been a lot of fun. I will hopefully finalize the rules and create the cards in the next two weeks before I go back to Uni. When I do I'll share it in the Creator's corner and upload the files for the cards so anyone who wishes to can print them off. I worry that the gameplay may be slightly suboptimal due to my desire to base it so much on the allomantic metals but I think I managed a decent balance in the end. I don't actually gamble real money with this and I wouldn't recommend anyone doing so , it is just for fun :) The most I do is sometimes I play it with my MAG players where they are using their ingame (regenerating) resources to try to temporarily get more or to gain secrets from the "informant" they are gambling with :)

    As an aside.

    I will be starting another campaign of the MAG over on steelministry.com hopefully in the next 2 weeks. It will be a multiple crew "cops and robbers" type campaign where there is a skaa crew (or perhaps 2 separate crews depending on the number of players I get) who are trying to pull a certain job, and a ministry crew trying to hunt them down. I have enough players to run it already, but I am looking for a couple more, so if you are interested just toss me a pm or create an account on steelministry and chime in to say you are interested.

    Thankyou for reading, and if you have any thoughts, comments, criticisms or ideas please feel free to comment and let me know :)

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    https://soundcloud.com/chris-king-128/brandon-sanderson-interview

    https://soundcloud.com/chris-king-128/brandon-sanderson-interview-2

    This is an interview I did with Brandon on the 24th of September. Thank you to Weiry for transcribing the audio into a text format.

    So the first one we have here is: We’ve seen some hints of the over-arching cosmere story arc, what was the inspiration behind that originally?

    I had an idea for a book when I was fifteen, just getting into fantasy novels--just getting into meaning, reading everything I could get my hands on and diving in face first--and I developed that idea over the next few years. I started writing and realized I was just no good as a writer yet. Which was okay, it wasn’t a big deal to me. I realized it was beyond my ability to approach, it was a vast, enormous story. Years later when I was writing Elantris I thought “Well let’s just pretend I wrote that book and it was awesome and it’s the prelude to what’s going on here.” That expanded into something much larger and much greater. I’ve mentioned before, part of my inspiration for this was the fact that one of my favorite writers, Asimov, later decided to connect two of his main story universes, the Robot books and the Foundation books. It was really cool when he did it and I felt what would happen if I started doing something like this from the get go. I’ve known several authors who do it at the end of their careers--well I guess Stephen King’s not even at the end of his career, in the middle of his career--saying let me tie a bunch of these things together. What if I seeded all of this from the get go and use this story, this awesome story, that I wasn’t able to write when I was younger as a foundation for it

    Next one we have is on a similar note: When you reach the end of the cosmere will there be something else? Or do you feel this will take most of your writing career to achieve?

    Yah, I think this kind of the Story of my writing career. Now, who knows. As I plotted it--right around mid-mistborn series time--I came out with thirty-six books, of which I’ve done what five or six? more than that...

    Three, four, five, six, seven...

    Seven. I think there is plenty of time so ask me in thirty years.

    This one’s kind of similar: When or if you reach the end of that, were you planning on expanding more or were you going to get done with what you had planned and be done with it.

    That’s really a ask me in thirty years sort of thing. I want to see if I can’t get this whole thing done. I want to do it in-- There’s this sort of tension to it, in that I view this as-- the arc is my life’s work. But at the same time I don’t want to be belaboring it. There are cool things going on that I want to get to and I want to tell people about. And so there’s this push and pull inside of me, wanting to do this. We will see.

    Are there any eventual plans for release of things like Way of Kings Prime or the old version of Dragonsteel after the new version is released?

    Once there are no more spoilers in those books I’ll do what I have done with things like White Sand and whatnot, that if people write me-- Mistborn Prime is a good example. There’s no real spoilers in Mistborn Prime if you’ve read the trilogy. It’s not a very good book but you can read it and kind of understand the history of where the story came from. So I’ll do the same thing with those books.

    How and when are you planning on releasing Sixth of the Dusk, the cosmere short story you wrote for Writing Excuses?

    Once the entire Writing Excuses team have finished their stories-- If you’re not familiar we did this thing were each brainstormed a story on air and then we went and wrote them and now we are doing revisions on them. Well, Mary went and I wrote ours, Dan and Howard didn’t write theirs, but they’re catching up. Once they are all done, we will release them together in an anthology. We will do, the workshopping episodes that we did, we workshopped each others stories, and you’ll be able to on Writing Excuses read the rough draft, because that will be included in the anthology, listen to the episode where we workshop it and then read the final draft, which will be in the anthology and get the whole-- see what we changed and things like that.

    Here we move to more clarification type questions or different questions along those lines. Rather than more over-arching questions. We’ve got here: When are we going to see a mechanical way to use the Metallic Arts?

    Once the technology is appropriately caught up and once I feel like it’s right. It’s going to be a little while.

    We’ve actually had a conversation on the forums about using lurchers and coinshots in a way to power a train of sorts. (Brandon starts making interested? sounds) It has inspired some interesting conversations.

    Will ‘Southern Scadrians have their own series? Or will they just be something mentioned in the next mistborn trilogies? Does anything major take place…

    We will have to see. Originally they did not have a series but it will depend on how much time I spend deviating with interesting side-stories before I jump up into the second trilogy. Because by the second trilogy, this has all been discovered and its a different world. I have loosely plotted a smaller series visiting the southern continent.

    This, I’m unsure of what exactly is being talked about because I have not been reading the forum: What happens when a Pulser is burning Cadmium and in a speed bubble? She'd be burning her Cadmium 20x faster than usual--so far as her bubble and those in it were concerned--and her slow bubble would extend far outside the area made "normal" by the effects of the speed bubble, so where does all that extra energy go?

    Um… Send me that one in writing and let me run it through Peter who is my physicist.

    We’ll do that.

    And maybe run the math through Eric. He’s probably asking that one.

    [[Official answer is that they would cancel each other out. The fact that one bubble is larger than the other may cause a ring around them which would be affected by the larger of the two.]]

    That was actually-- I think it was Windrunner on the forum. I might be wrong [Transcriber note: Yes, you are. How could you forget Kurkistan?] I think that’s who it was though.

    He’s supposed to ask me the hard Way of Kings questions, not the hard Mistborn questions.

    Yah, we’ve got a couple of those a little farther down here but most of these are mostly clarification.

    Does mechanical Feruchemy draw from the user or the machine?

    Let’s see if I can phrase this correctly. Feruchemy-- I don’t want you to guess everything I’m going to do, then the books won’t be interesting for you in the future-- When I’m approaching using them mechanically I’m trying to keep to the core principles of the magic as much as possible.

    Is burning atium related to Scadrian worldhopping?

    (laughter) That’s a good question, the answer is no.

    A lot of people wanted clarification on weight in regards to Pushing and Pulling, whether it has a direct correlation to the power or if its just something people say because generally someone heavier is going to push--

    Right, right. It’s more-- the whole-- If you really dig down into it, and I’ve talked about this before, the whole mass, weight, push, and pull thing gets a little tricky when-- particularly when you through Feruchemy into the mix-- Are we changing mass? Or are we changing what the earth pulling upon you is… Generally understand that most people who are talking about this are not talking in scientific terms, they are speaking in colloquialisms.

    This is the last one here we have from Mistborn: Did the Lord Ruler use lerasium to gain his super allomantic abilities or did he grant that to himself with the Well’s power? If he used the bead, does he count as one of the nine original allomancers that Sazed mentions?

    Excellent question. He did not use the bead… In all of this he granted himself basically, he rebuilt himself to be extremely powerful and he did not use one of the beads.

    Now we are going to move more to some questions on Sel: Would it be easy for a Forger who'd once almost lost her arm (freak guillotine accident) to make a stamp to lose it temporarily, or would it require some more involved Forging than "my arm actually got cut off that one time"?

    No, and-- The more plausible something is the easier the Forging is definitely.

    Is there a way to reverse the Shaod?

    Um... (long silence) There is a way to do basically anything.

    So it’s kind of a RAFO? Will we ever find--

    No that’s not what they asked, they asked if there is a way. Yes there is but how reasonable a way that is is very--

    Especially with the Lake where they can release themselves in.

    Is Resealing a subset of Forging, or a separate system like Bloodsealing is?

    Um… (another long silence) I’m trying to remember what I decided-- I was building all of this on a fourteen hour plane flight keep in mind-- I believe it is… Let’s go ahead and PAFO that one. I need to go to my notes. I can give you a tentative “I believe it is the same system and not a cousin system” but at the end of the day I kind of had to go to my notes and work things out. There was lots of wiggle room built into the Elantris magic system but I have to know what I decided.

    There are only a few more: Did seons exist when the Aonic peoples discovered Elantris?

    When the Aonic peoples discovered Elantris… did seons exist… Okay let me go back to my timeline (long silence) It kind of means you have to define what you mean by Aonic. The problem is if you dig back too far in history its kind of like asking “what’s a german?” You know what I mean? [Transcriber’s note: Curses! I should have clarified that…]

    Because the Aons are based upon Elantris itself and so they don’t become Aonic until they are writing the Aons.

    And Aonic is also-- you are talking about the people and so its like are the Normans Brits? Or are they Vikings? Or are they Frenchman?

    Why don’t we phrase it as the people of Sel when they discovered Elantris.

    No, no, that’s getting, okay-- (long silence) Let’s go ahead and RAFO that one, just because the history of Elantris is very interesting to the cosmere. When people are starting to get an inkling of that.

    Odium was there once upon a time.

    Yah… And the question of who built Elantris and how they built Elantris. What’s going on with the Elantrians back then and things like this. So let’s just RAFO that.

    What year did the Reod occur in the Elantrian calender?

    Let’s go ahead and-- oh boy, Elantrian calendar… Is this Windy? [Transcriber’s note: Nope, Mwahaha]

    I don’t remember who asked this one, I don’t have their names written down here.

    I don’t have my wiki on me, I’m not going--[[He was RAFO'ing this so we moved on]]

    Okay, and is the word Hoed based off an Aon and if so which one?

    Yes, it is. It would be Hoe… no Oed, O-E-D

    And here is the last one for Sel: Does Shu-Keseg predate the splintering of Devotion and Dominion?

    No, I don’t believe it does.

    We only have one here from Nalthis, this one’s a little bit tricky. Can you store Breath in metal without the Eighth Heightening? Just put it there without awakening, just to hide the Breath.

    Can you hide Breath… Yes you can hide Breath in things.

    Metal in particular, without the Eighth Heightening. (talking over each other to explain question)

    I would say yes you could.

    What are some characteristics of and how many other wordhoppers are there that we have seen excluding Hoid, Demoux, and Galladon.

    You gave me really good wiggle room on that one. Obviously the other person with Galladon and Demoux.

    Right, the one from a future book.

    His characteristics are… What is he like? Some people have read his book so they know what he’s like…

    Which book is he from?

    He’s from White Sand.

    Okay, that’s one I have but have not gotten to.

    It’s only mediocre so don’t worry about it. Let’s see what other worldhoppers I want to give you clues about… (long silence) There’s a Terriswoman running around, if you keep your eyes open.

    I have to reread it, everything.

    Who else do I want to talk about… Words of Radiance has a couple good ones, that will be pretty obvious.

    When do you plan on releasing the Way of Kings annotations?

    I’ve only written about a quarter of them. I have a sneaking suspicion that it will take me a few years just because its taken me three and a half years to get the second book out. So I feel a burden to get the books going before I do side things like this. My life got a whole lot more busy with the Wheel of Time than it used to be. Which has cut out some of my side-projects like this but I would like to do them eventually.

    Why can Rock see Syl?

    Ooh, good question, why do you think Rock can see Syl?

    My personal theory here is because his people have such a strong belief and reverence in them it allows him to see them for that reason because his belief creates some sort of cognitive or spiritual pressure which allows them--

    He would agree with that philosophy. I would say, usually when something like that happens there is also something physiological going on.

    And this is one of my side theories that I espouse here. Is that kind of similar to the reason why there are no spren in Shinovar is because the people there so disbelieve them that it creates a negative pressure that keeps them from physical manifestation?

    Good question.

    Would Rock be able to see the Cryptics?

    Would Rock be able to see a Cryptic? That is a good question, you will have to see.

    Is Shallash the daughter of Jezrien?

    Umm… Oh, yes, she is his daughter.

    Two more questions here: Do bigger gems store more stormlight for longer than smaller gems? So a broam would hold it for twenty hours where a chip might hold it for six hours or something.

    The cut of the gem and how flawless the gem is has more to do with how long the stormlight stays than size.

    And the last one we have here is: Is it possible to use a soulstamp to give shardplate life or at least achieve a robotic status?

    Wow, it is really, really hard to invest things that have already been invested. Let’s just say that, it is really hard to do that. Part of the reason why it is difficult for instance to push or pull on something that is inside of somebody because the investiture is interfering and you would have that similar problem doing anything to shardplate with any of the magics.

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    About once a week I think of an idea for a story. Here's a list of some of my favorites that I'd love to develop

    1. Billions of years in the future humans have conquered death. In fact, they have done everything that they could ever think of. The biggest problem is boredom. Every idea has been fleshed out. Every invention has been invented. How does a race of people exist if there is nothing left to do?

    2. A sect of magical beings have dedicated their lives to pouring energy into a globe of heat and power. No one outside of the sect knows of the globe. The sect has been dedicated to this effort for so long all but the highest priest remembers its original purpose. But the high priest knows he cannot do what his predecessors have left him.

    3. Children are born with a power to alter the molecular structure of objects around them. They are dangerous if not kept calm and happy. The more cognitive and aware they become, the more the power diminishes. Newborns can make objects explode their molecules, breaking covelant bonds in their toys or in their mother's hand, making the birthing process extremely dangerous and most mothers opt for dosing their infants during birth. Toddlers "play" with their ability. Pre-teens can pretty much only agitate air molecules to push or pull on objects, making them fly across a room. Adults can hardly make a cup budge sitting on a table.

    Let me know if you'd like to do a writing exercise using one of these ideas. I'll join in.

  14. firstRainbowRose
    Latest Entry

    Fblthp is a creature featured on a couple of the "Magic: The Gathering" cards. (Totally Lost and Doorkeeper). He's very cute, and I fell in love with him pretty much from the first time I saw a picture. So, I decided to crochet one!

    fblthp.jpg

    Do instructions in [brackets] in one stitch

    FINGERS (make 4)

    1: Magic ring 3

    2: sc around

    3: sc, in, sc

    4: inc, sc, inc, sc

    5-6: sc around

    THUMBS (make 2)

    1: magic ring 3

    2: sc around

    3: inc, sc, inc

    4: sc around

    5: sc, inc, sc, inc, sc

    6: sc around

    Sew fingers and thumbs together on inside.

    ARMS

    1: (start in finger loops) sc around (I got 15 scs)

    2-4: sc around

    5: sc, dec around

    6-13: sc around

    14: sc, inc around

    15-22: sc around

    TOES (make 4)

    1: magic ring 3

    2: sc around

    3: inc around

    4-5: sc around

    FEET

    1: Magic Ring 6

    2: increase

    3: sc, inc, sc, [sc, hdc], hdc, [sc, sl], [sl, sc], hdc, [hdc,sc], sc, inc, sc

    4: sc, sc, inc, sc, sc, [hdc inc], [hdc inc], sc, sl, sl, sc, [hdc inc], sc, inc, sc, sc, sc

    5: (backloops only) sc around

    6: 6 sc, 4 hdc, 1 sc, 2 sl, 1 sc, 4 hdc, 6 sc

    7: repeat row 6

    8: 6 sc, 2 dec, 4 sc, 2 dc, 6 sc

    9: 4 sc, 2 dec, 4 sc, 2 dc, 4 sc

    10-25: sc around

    BODY

    1: magic ring 6

    2-9: increase

    10-16: sc around

    17: increase (8 sc, inc)

    18-20: sc around

    21: increase (9 sc, inc)

    22-28: sc around

    29-30: decrease around (9 sc, dec)

    31: 7 sc, dec, 10 sc, dec, 12 sc, dec, 10 sc, dec, 7 sc

    32: 7 sc, dec, 8 sc, dec, 12 sc, dec, 8 sc, dec, 7 sc

    33: 7 sc, dec, 6 sc, dec, 12 sc, dec, 6 sc, dec, 7 sc

    34: 7 sc, dec, 4 sc, dec, 12 sc, dec, 4 sc, dec, 7 sc

    35: 7 sc, dec, 2 sc, dec, 12 sc, dec, 2 sc, dec, 7 sc

    36: 7 sc, 2 dec, 12 sc, 2 dec, 7 sc

    37-40: sc around

    41: 3 sc, dec

    42: 2 sc, dec

    43: 1 sc, dec

    44: dec around

    EYE

    1: (with black) Magic ring 6

    2: (with green) increase around

    3: sl, [2 sc], hdc, [2 dc], hdc, [2 sc], sl, [2 sc], hdc, [2 dc], hdc, [2 sc]

    EARS (make 2)

    Note: this is worked back and forth

    1: chain 6

    2: sc across

    3: 4 sc, dec

    4: dec, 3 sc

    5: 2 sc, dec

    6: dec, sc

    7: dec

    8: sc

    TAIL

    1: magic ring 3

    2: sc around

    3: inc, sc, inc

    4: sc around

    5: inc, sc, inc, sc, inc

    6: sc around

    7: inc, 6 sc, inc

    8: sc around

    SPIKES (make 3)

    1: magic ring 3

    2: inc, sc, inc

    3: sc, inc, sc, inc, sc

    MOUTH

    *note: I hooked into the body to create the first row of the mouth*

    1: 3 sc, drop row, 7 sc, go up row, 3 sc

    2-5: sc across

    Sew everything together.

    fblthp_close.jpg

    As before, I suck at making patterns, so if you have any questions feel free to ask!

  15. blog-0918826001368007347.jpgHey all, long time no blog!

    So, I guess I'll get everyone caught up with everything that has happened since my last update. There's a lot, so sit tight, and I'll try not to go on about any one thing.

    Jezreel told me that, when people from Taiwan return home from traveling, people here ask about what they ate, rather than what they saw and did. I'm quickly finding this part of Taiwanese culture slipping into how I view my trip, as so much of what we do centers around eating, eating, and more eating!!

    For clarity's sake, I'll divide the post up into days again, just to keep everything straight.

    Saturday Cont'd

    From Zony's house, Jezreel and I went back to Tainan, and met up with his uncle and cousin, Vivi, for supper. We went to this really well established restaurant (apparently it's been around for more than forty years), and had some delicious traditional Taiwanese food, including some dumplings, these beef and leek cake things, and some good old wonton soup. I did all right eating the whole meal with chop sticks, but I did make quite the mess. After dinner, we hung out a bit, and Jezreel's uncle bought me some plum spice and dried cherries from this dried goods store (he was a very nice man). After that we took a train and a cab back to Zony's house. Jezreel and Zony decided to head out to Kaohsiung for another night out at the club, but I decided to stay in and get some rest.

    While I was resting, Zony's sister came home, and startled me awake, thinking I was Zony. She goes to university in Kaohsiung, and didn't know Zony had friends over. Luckily, she spoke pretty good English, so I was able to explain the situation and go back to sleep.

    Sunday

    On Sunday, Jezreel and I packed our bags and caught a cab to the train station, and our back packs on we headed out to Kaohsiung.

    At Kaohsiung, we started out exploring the cool train station there, including the "Dome of Light," which is a really cool stained glass dome. Then, we headed out to the Kaohsiung night market, which is right by the train station, and got something to eat (pig kidney soup, if I remember correctly, and fresh dragon fruit for dessert). Then, we took a train to the coastal area of the city, and went exploring. Kaohsiung is the second largest city in Taiwan, and is the largest city in the southern half of the island, and is known for it's art scene. We spent a lot of time walking around the ocean and the river, and checked out a photography gallery, and listened to some live music that people were playing.

    On our walk, we circled back to another train station, and after catching a metro to the main station, we caught another High Speed Train to Taichung, where Jezreel grew up and his grandparents live. We were both pretty tired at this point from all of that walking (and my back-pack was pretty heavy at this point, haha), so by the time we got to Jezreel's grandparents house, we went to bed pretty quickly.

    Monday

    We both slept in a bit, and woke up for lunch that Jezreel's grandmother had prepared. Just in case there is any doubt (I didn't have any) a grandma's home cooked meal in Taiwan is every bit as satisfying (and filling!) as one in Canada. Monday, we mostly just hung out at the house, until we took the family scooter to the Taichung night market after supper (both lunch and supper consisted of rice, a green vegetable dish, a stir fry with chicken, salmon, a soup, a meat dish (duck and beef, respectively, if my memory serves me), and fresh fruit (watermelon!) for dessert.

    The night market in Taichung was really cool. Jezreel took me to a really well known shaved ice place for some delicious shaved ice with beans and ice cream (delicious!) and then we arrived home for bed.

    Tuesday

    Tuesday, I woke up for breakfast, and was treated by Jezreel's grandmother to a salty fried cake thing, two sweet cakes, one with honey and one with chocolate in the middle, and an apple (which I ate the core of). For lunch, it was another set of delicious dishes to be eaten with rice, including some delicious beef, and more amazing salmon. For dessert after lunch, Jezreel and I got fresh watermelon and pineapple.

    After lunch, Jezreel took me out on the scooter, and went across the city to show me where he used to live as a child, after his grandparents moved in to his family's old house. Then we met up with one of Jezreel's elementary school friends who now owns a Taiwanese burger (consisting of fried meat, peanut sauce, veggies, and a little bit of sugar: totally delicious) booth, and tried some of his wares (despite being still full from a day and a half of grandma meals). Then, we quickly checked out an art museum before it closed (only the first floor), and then walked around in the park outside the science museum, and checked out Jezreel's old elementary school.

    We also checked out a mall, where I found Chinese copies of a bunch of Brandon Sanderson books (Mistborn 1-3, Elantris, Way of Kings), and got Jezreel to take pictures of them (he convinced me not to buy them, since I already have English copies that I have read, I cannot read Chinese, and I didn't have much room in my already heavy back pack). They were soo pretty though (pictures will be coming, haha)! I did buy two English books there, since I'm running out of reading material, and the train ride home from Vancouver is going to be long!

    Finally, it was time to head back, just in time for another home cooked meal. This time the meat dish was Taiwanese sausage (best eaten with onion).

    After supper, we packed our bags, caught a city bus to the bus depot, and bussed all the way back to Taipei, where we promptly fell asleep.

    Wednesday

    And that brings us up to today. Today was Jezreel's first day back at work since I arrived here, so I found myself on my own for the first time since my arrival. After Jezreel left, I went for a run around Da'an park. Then, after showering and dressing (and chatting on Facebook a bit, since morning here is evening at home, and thus optimum time for chats), I changed more money to Taiwanese dollars (by myself), ordered some Subway to go, and caught the metro rail to the Taipei Zoo.

    It was a gorgeous day outside when I left, so of course I wore my new shorts (purchased at the Tainan night market), and a sleeveless shirt, meaning I was totally unprepared when, just as I had reached the far end of the zoo, it started raining! At first it was just a light drizzle, but then I heard thunder in the distance, and decided that I had better start heading back to the entrance (it was about time to head home anyways). After toting an umbrella along through all the rainless days Jezreel and I were travelling, the first day I didn't have it with me was, of course, the day it rained.

    I managed to get back to metro safely, where I (all by myself) refilled my Easy Card with dollars, and took the train back to the Da'an area, where Jezreel lives, and was happy to find it was not raining there.

    Oh yeah, animals. The Zoo had a lot of really cool exhibits. I saw some pandas, a tiger, a lion, some hippos, some elephants (Asian and African), some camels (one humped and two), a crocodile, an ant eater, some penguins, some zebras, some gazelle, a bunch of reptiles, flamingos, and many others. They pretty much had everything you could expect (it's a pretty big, and might I say gorgeous, Zoo), even a Beaver. Unfortunately, it started raining right when I was nearing the beaver exhibit, so, since we have those at home, I decided I'd rather get back to the entrance before the rain got worse.

    So anyways, that's my trip since my last update. I should be in Taipei, with regular internet access for the next while, which means I'll probably be updating a little more regularly. I hope you all liked the update :)