Intensive look after infants: How is NICU totally different from PICU? - Whereas nobody would ever need their new child baby to have the necessity for any sort of intensive care ever, issues don’t at all times go based on our needs. At instances, it turns into needed for newborns to want intensive care. The locations the place infants can get the very best care are both Neonatal
This is my first time turning to reddit to meet someone but I thought I might as well give it a try. 6'4 390lb power lifter, gamer, single dad looking for his player two. Looking for someone I can connect with. Someone I can talk to without it being a hassle. Yes I'm a single dad. No not with the drama or bs (no bm drama over here) and no I'm not asking you to be a mom. Im extremely protective of my kids so meeting them isn't a quick thing. Only a few people I trust have met them. Whether it's just talking or turns into something more either way I'm happy. My hobbies are gaming (Xbox), power lifting, movies, shooting pool, enjoying the nightlife here in Vegas and cooking. I've been cooking since I was 5 years old and I believe I'm pretty good at it lol. I currently work as a security officer and emergency response. Anything else about me you want to know just DM me. I'm an open book. I have nothing to hide. Hoping to hear from you soon!
I wrote this as something other people could relate to and hopefully not feel the need to label themselves with hurtful words because words can turn into much more…. I know it’s a lot, but it gets better as it goes along.
She'd been called vain one too many times, but deep down she knew she wasn't. She looked at herself with disgust. So much so, that she'd almost puke. But there was a feeling that overpowered the disgust and sadness. The need to fix it. She needed to fix herself. She needed to be perfect. She needed to check every single mirror she came across. She needed to fix herself every time she "went to the bathroom." Part of her dreaded mirrors, she didn't know if she'd like or absolutely hate what she saw. She'd get ready everyday, just to hate herself even more. She’d put so much product in her hair, clumps of it came out on her hairbrush. Her eyes looked sunken, her face looked cakey, her lips looked pale, her cheeks looked too red, her hair was too flat, her hair was too wavy, it stuck out too much. The thoughts flood every sense in her body. Her only function is to fix it. Fix it. Hurry. Before someone sees. They can't see you like this. You look too ugly. You can't fix it. You're too ugly. You don't look normal. Your hair isn't normal. You look weird. You're desperate. It's not until you're pulling your own hair and clawing at your face that you realize you have a problem. It's not until you're hitting yourself with a hairbrush so hard, you leave bruises on your thigh. You have a problem. It's not until it's a struggle to go out some days, to realize you have a problem. It's not until the love of your life feels terrible every time he compliments you because you always assume he's Iving. It's not until when you can't "fix" vourself you can't function normallv, you become frozen. You have a problem. It's not until you constantly compare ourself to almost every single person. It's not until you have to check the mirror right when you wake up, right before you leave for work, right as you get to work, an hour after you've been at work, another hour, right before lunch, right after lunch, another hour, and so on, then right when you get home, and right before you go to bed. It's not until you get ready two hours early, only to be ready in thirty minutes and have to "fix" vourself to be "perfect" for the next hour and a half. You have a problem. you’re not vain, you're not insecure, and you’re not ugly. You have a problem.
Obviously, the change in the Dan Rubin storyline gets talked about because it was obviously changed to fit Gabrielle's pregnancy and because the writers didn't want Andrea to get pregnant with the first guy she slept with (so they turned him into a racist jerk - maybe not the greatest send-off, but ok).
HOWEVER, the Stuart storyline is equally odd, kind of. Up until the Las Vegas non-wedding there was a hint that Dylan knew something about Stuart that would be a game-changer; they then have Dylan casually revealing that he used to be a drug dealer at his fathers club and then they don't really do anything with it. Brenda continues to date him off-screen until he reappears on Valentine's Day and then they go on a road trip where he acts like a whiny jerk and Brenda breaks it off permanently.
Am I the only one who gets the feeling that they originally planned something entirely else but because of backstage issues changed it? It's so weird and abrupt - especially with the whole big deal about Dylan knowing that he used to be a drug dealer, but then Brenda breaks it off with him because he's too whiny?
I’m currently doing a Bachelors in IT and I have always loved Tech but I have this constant fear of when I’m done I’ll be in a 9-5 office tech support job. I honestly hate office jobs with a passion and don’t like being at a desk 8 hours a day, I’ve had bad experiences in the past.
The thing is I’ve done a lot of graphic design work in the past and I loved it but the thought of being at a desk again for 8 hours a day turns me off and have also heard it’s hard to break into
I don’t know what to do and I feel completely lost in my career path.
What is everyone’s experiences with office jobs and did you like it more than you first realised?
Any career advice?
For context i used to weigh 325 lbs, but got gastric sleeve last year and I am now 205lbs.
Before surgery I was required to do a fibroscan of my liver and had. CAP score of 368 and kPa score of 3.2, which I learned now had put me at severe fatty liver stage 3 with no or minimal fibrosis. Since I was so ignorant I really didn’t realize how fatty and severe my liver was and my gastroenterologist doc just said lose weight and you’ll be fine. ) anyway, the rapid weight lost had caused me to develop gallstones. And is very common in weight loss surgery patients. I was hospitalized a few months due to a severe biliary colic attack where my liver enzymes were super high (300-400) and orange urine although I did not have a blockage.
I’ve since then had about 9 more attacks and been given a date of may 19 to take my GB out. Although I definitely want it out since attacks are becoming more frequent and longer even with non fatty meals I’m afraid what this means for my liver. I’ve been reading research on how people have developed fatty liver after gb removal.
I’m not sure the state or stage of my fatty liver now since losing 120 lbs and have been eating low carb diet but I still had been drinking alcohol on the weekends. ( I’ve stopped 40 days ago now though). My GI doc won’t get me a new fibroscan for some reason and doesn’t even seem alarmed about the fact that i had severe fatty liver, high liver enzymes when i was at the hospital and was honest about drinking alcohol on some weekends. I’ve done well diet wise but I didn’t realize how severe my fatty liver was until now looking back at my scores and now knowing what they mean. I regret not leaving drinking completely and now working on that and have had no problems with it but I’m just worried that my fatty liver would turn into fibrosis or cirrhosis if I get my gallbladder removed. I know either way it has to come out but I’m wondering if anyone here already had madly before the removal and has it gotten worse better or stayed the same?
I’m continuing to abstain from carbs sugar and alcohol and hoping that helps me reverse whatever stage fatty liver I have now at 205. And know I need to keep it that way after gb removal but I’m wondering if I’m just over thinking this and if anyone has an experience with having NAFLD prior to GBremoval and your experience thank you
Exactly what it says. I was following maps app which took me that way. By the time I realised I was already too far gone. Points? Fine? Course?
I recently bought a used kia forte and something weird happened. The parking brake light never came on when used it, but all of a sudden it’s coming on now when I use it. It seems random, could it turn into a problem later or should I just leave it alone?
Video learning has exploded since the pandemic, and YouTube has steadily grown, into the common resource for just about everything. Top influencers are excellent at engaging their audience, but sadly, gaining a massive following has is from having charisma rather than superior expertise, yet no one cares.
Anyone can call themselves a coach and not having to deal with a governing agency attracted me to coaching for many reason, but this also can cause harm when unethical people or “so-called” dating experts this their opinion should be good enough. In fact, listening to how some big-wig influencer story about how they got started is comical. A few simply dated (not sure what else?) lots of men in a short time, another one who’s not ashamed to be trashy has a YouTube channel and was trashing guys (again, a lot of dates) and some girl kept pressuring her for coaching, so she finally gave in…..
Then the guys are super bitter from what I assume involves a past with lots of rejection. She like he was training for the triathlon, but with a mentor, he was dedication to learning everything from the best (womanizer) and when talks about the night he had a threesome, he tears up. In his mind, life is not worth living if you’re not having random sex with strangers OFTEN .Basically the quality of one’s entire existence can be measured by the amount of women they sleep with. It may seem like I’m a hater, but my I used some lengthy examples to drive home the fact that who know what to believe anymore? If professionals who completed years of school are barely improving their patient’s lives, how are ordinary people who gained their “education” by having one night stands? I have seen a few coaches provide value, but how are you guys to discern between the good vs bad? Even of someone so dedicated to inner growth, they go hard with their therapist’s advice and then some. It won’t matter. They’re are not given the proper instructions. It’s no wonder society becomes more depraved each year. My strong opinion evolved from almost a lifetime of involvement in the MH industry in some way, shape or form. Starting for age 7 and never stopped. Resolving my struggles played a big role when deciding to pursue a bachelors and masters degree in psychology. I found it odd that not much empathsis was placed on actually helping those who may one day trust us with their lives, bt instead, we focused on useless , out-of -date theories, and whether Freud wanted to fu*k his mom. Grosss. Anyway, I quickly found work in the field, and met several good friends who were licensed professionals. I realized their lives were extremely dysfunctional and instead of expressing concern about their patients, they often were annoyed at them over minor things and even judgmental. Growing increasingly disgusted, I eventually decided that life coaching will be a better option, due to the goal oriented nature. I was impressed and figured clients would strive for self-sufficiency, as opposed to needing your forever therapist to help with any decision. Once again, I envisioned lifelong suffering because after completing two separate certificate programs, i realized life coaching was more superficial than therapist.
Knowing that core beliefs deep inside our subconscious, are so powerful that any process made without addressing REAL issues humans revert to what they know and feel comfortable with. I felt overwhelmingly hopeless, lost the will to fight and began to accept that I’ll always feel comfortable in my skin, my social interactions, which are dictated by my unstable mood, will remain unpredictable, so I’ll still be flaky and the worst was not having a clue how to stop habitually self-sabotaging. Well that spiral didn’t last long. Soon after, learning facts about the brain genuinely blew my mind, turning into an obsession and passion.
So I've known this girl for years. She was friends with my younger brother when I first met her. We have always gotten along well.
Recently though things have changed between us. The first time this happened we were away for work and having a few drinks and we ended up in bed together. It boggled my mind. She's this amazing, beautiful, smart, funny and fun woman and I'm just, well me. I'm not trying to put myself down or anything but she's WAYYY out of my league.
But then it happened again and somehow I managed to grow enough balls to ask her on a date to a concert. And now it's somehow turned into a 3 day long trip and I'm freaking out that I'm gonna fuck it up somehow.
I've never really even been on a date before, I have no idea what to do, or say, or wear, or anything...
Please, any advice would be much appreciated. I'm loosing my mind.
Edit: I'm aware the age gap might be a problem, but at the moment it doesn't seem like one...
Hi everyone, this is the first chapter of my debut novel. For information and links to other chapters click the link down below : Reddit - Dive into anything The Great One sat on his throne, gazing longingly into the hearts of man. Something was coming and he could feel it. Destiny riding on a white steed, like the tales of man long ago, coming to uncover his secrets. He could see it all, the wall, the castle, and the so-called gods that built it all. The ego of these creatures was laughable, if only the Great One could still laugh. He could still speak sure, but only through means not of man’s common means. Vocal cords were a commodity long since lost in this place. As the Great One observed the coming destiny he could feel the approaching storm, in a hail of flesh and blood, the only things that the Great One lacked. He would never give up, never retreat to these things as they approached, for this was the Great One. He looked back to the castle, viewing the scene in its entirety, and he felt something like happiness enter him.
Divinity. That is what connected the walls surrounding Dundis castle, not stone or metal, this was not a mere wall but a divine gift from ones above. Divinity sealed the wall, made it whole, the walls sealed together without mark or blemish, something no man could ever replicate. The wall had stood for a century, and would likely last ten more, there was no weakness, no flaw in design. 50 metres tall the wall was unscalable, unbreakable. No man could break the wall, it was the Vaunghe empire’s crowning gift, their wonder of the world. Those that were hired to clean the wall’s dirt and grime were heralded as the truly faithful, and all longed to help the gift of the gods. And yet despite this the Alizian’s watched, standing with armies around the great wall, waiting to breach its crust and destroy the core.
The Vaunghe had watched their foes throw everything they had, hundreds of men attacking the steel doors of the wall to no avail, an attempted archer attack quickly squashed by the wall's height. The Alizian military was strong, a blend of the Alizian warriors and Strolim blacksmiths made for a truly terrifying army. The army was so terrifying that the Vaunghe inside the castle doubted there were any more Vaunghe troops left, this was the end to a long battle between man and man. Even the soldiers left weren’t particularly important, just those lucky enough to guard the king and a few trainees. But the Vaunghe felt their luck running out.
The food supplies had run low, even if the nobles weren’t in the castle there was no chance of resupply. The few men who had eaten in the past few days stood alert, gazing down from the ramparts at the enemy. The soldiers knew they had to either surrender or fight, but the Vaunghe were passionate people, they could never leave behind their identity in favour of life. So the men waited, bows and arrows at the ready, for the next attack. Heavy items such as ingots and chairs lined the rampart, ready to be thrown off at a moments notice.
They had waited in this position for many cycles, and as day turned to night, and night turned to day the Vaunghe were exhausted, finished with whatever feeble attacks these barbarians had planned. They could throw whatever armies and arrows they wanted at the wall but it would remain unphased, forevermore. When the Alizian’s next attacked they would be met with the last strength of the Vaunghe, and it would be a story remembered for milenia by man and the gods.
As the morning sun rose over the wall, the enemy was revealed in all their glory. Even from so high above the Vaunghe could see the glint of silver from the Alizian military. The bright greens of the Alizian armour created a dazzling sensation that they were one with the grass, which blended in so perfectly with their clothes. They stood in their thousands, armed with whatever they could find, and even on the wall the men could see him.
The slaughterer, the murderer, the man, the myth and the legend Osmund stood alone on an overlooking hill. The fiend was well known by the Vaunghe, he was likely the greatest foe that had come from the opposing sides. Vaunghe generals often fled at his coming, or surrendered first, but rumour had it that Osmund gave no mercy. Overseeing his army to destroy everything that was left, the Vaunghe soldiers knew today really was the end. The figure on the hill moved closer to his army and screamed. The battle-cry of the Alizian’s shook fear into each of the Vaunghe atop the rampart, being so loud that it even reached so high.
The hundreds of troops began to move in sync, forming three individual groups of soldiers, with 10 metre spaces between each. Each contingent comprised six hundred men, easily dwarfing the 82 Vaunghe soldiers that were left. But the Vaunghe were not afraid, at least not afraid of a breach anytime soon. These walls were built to withstand any damage, no man could breakthrough one.
Between the troops was movement, indeed there seemed to be movement down all three rows of men in blue. The Strolime empire had finally revealed themselves, with their short stature and mental prowess the Strolime were gifted inventors not expected to appear on the battlefield. And yet here they were, almost one hundred of them hauling forth three large metallic objects. The sun bounced off of these objects into the Vaunghe’s eyes.
None of the men had ever seen objects like these, seemingly composed of pure metals and on wheels. Some thought they were a testament to the gods, some holy objects, others believed it to be some new invention from the Strolime, however none of them could say anything for certain as they were pushed closer and closer to the wall. The Strolomites stopped in their advance, approximately 20 metres away from the wall. The purpose of these objects had yet to dawn on the men, although one of the younger men on the rampart claimed he could see small objects poking through the metal, which was now aimed at a forty-five degree angle towards the wall.
As the Strolimites halted their advance many began to move away into the safety of the Alizian wall, likely afraid of any precautionary Vaunghe archers. One of them, a rather short and plump soldier, stayed with the object, placing a hand on it and turning to the wall. It was a fleeting moment, but for a second it seemed the man was gazing at the Vaunghe soldiers in shame. One last condemnation to the ones that began this war, before it would all come crashing down. But then the moment passed, and the short man moved as the rest did, doing a slight zig zag to avoid arrows.
And now, just as quickly they had come, the Strolomite’s were gone in the ranks of the Alizians, still waiting in their groups for something, and then they came. Three figures, two women and a man, moved between the lines just as the Strolimites before them. These three wore no armour, only the greens of Alizia upon their tunics. They stood beside the objects and began to reach their arms into the underside of it. Before the Vaunghe’s eyes the objects began to turn slightly, aiming even more directly at the wall.
One of the Vaunghe had enough of this display, and raised his bow. There were low winds on this day, and he was a good enough shot to reach at least one of the Alizian soldiers. He aimed his bow, finger on the drawstring, and released. It is likely that this arrow would’ve drawn first blood in this battle, however the arrow never reached its target.
In the split second before the release of the bow, the Vaunghe noticed the smoke billowing out of the bottom of the devices, the flames that shot out, and finally they noticed for not even a fraction of a second the object that shot out of the metallic thing, something white and red that hit the wall in an instant.
The wall shook, and the following barrage of these objects shattered any notion of divinity. Crashing and crumbling the rampart was launched, sending soldiers flying everywhere. The Vaunghe beside the wall were subject to the falling rubble, both the crumbling stone of the walls and the miscellaneous objects they had left upon the wall. All of the objects crushed the few Vaunghe left, save for the few sickly starving soldiers left inside the castle’s inner walls.
Down went the walls, such a harsh strike against the wall that nothing stood in the path of this monster. The roaring splattered through the castle, the screams of the falling wall waking the King himself from his slumber. Such a vast creation had fallen in seconds before the might of the Alizian’s, and now there was nothing left but to watch the battle unfold.
Smoke flooded the inner walls of the castle, casting the few remaining into fits of coughing and blindness. The walls finished their crumbling, and yet the roars didn’t stop. These were not the roars of the wall but the war cries of the soldiers outside, and they began to get louder, echoing through the walls of Dundis and into the ears of the weak nobles and soldiers.
Through the smoke they came, weapons raised and charging the weak. The few that tried to fight were slaughtered, cut down by a sea of green soldiers. Those that were choking, sputtering or raising their hands in defeat were spared, hauled through the hordes and into one of the stables facing the inner wall. They were to be tried and jailed, for no human regardless of their crime should be killed. It is simply not the Alizian way.
Out of the one hundred and fifty two people who were in Dundis, forty two had died in the wall’s destruction, and a further eleven were detained by the Alizian military. There was nothing that the Vaunghe could do, save for locking their doors, shield themselves and hold out for as long as possible. The Vaunghe forces built barricades in their castle, locking away the Alizian combatants for as long as possible. And during all of this Osmund waited. Waiting for his time to end this war, this travesty of battle that had gone on for too long, and that time finally came.
* * * *
Osmund stood alone atop the hill, and watched the madness unfold. The walls crumbled at the face of these weapons with no more effort than a straw house, and the plumes of smoke assaulted his men, although not to the extent of the inner wall. After a few moments of sputtering and choking the men cheered, for this was the moment that they had been waiting for, the end of such a long war now in the Alizian’s favour.
The Vaunghe capital was in shambles, their military long crushed underneath Osmund’s almighty power, and all that was left was the King. Hiding behind his walls as if he didn’t deserve this loss, this final failure in his life. Osmund was willing to spare as many people as he could, it was the Alizian code, but there would be no mercy for the King. This wasn’t one final battle between two great armies, that conflict happened weeks ago, this was the last breaths of a psychotic monarch being silenced amongst the last of his troops.
Osmund gazed longingly at Dundis, the ruined walls and advancing soldiers and doubted. He felt something was off, something was very wrong with all of this. His heart began to thump, as Osmund’s eyes turned every way to understand what was wrong, what abnormality was here. It grew and grew, Osmund began to shake at what was about to happen, nothing was right here Osmund should be somewhere else helping someone, there’s something wrong here something very-
Peace. Osmund’s heart stopped thumping, body stopping its perpetual shaking. He looked again to the marching troops, now almost entirely inside the walls, and looked back to his back, and the reserve Strolomites that now stood. They were cheering, marvelling at the success of the assault, and how the god’s gift had saved so much effort on their part.
Such strange creations composed of metal and flame, Osmund marvelled at the power the gods possessed. These devices were so unique in design Osmund doubted if any army could defeat them. The large red tubes they released could easily destroy an entire village by itself, but with one hundred of them an entire valley could be bathed in flames. Something truly abnormal in this world, something so parallel to the code of battle that no army would ever think of it.
The Vaunghe were once considered to be the greatest fighters, with the tournaments they created bringing forth the greatest warriors from throughout the land. Their dedication and power were unmatched in ferocity and violence, some called the Vaunghe the standing due to their unmatched will to always get back up. Osmund recalled his days in the tournaments, those peaceful days when he was not yet a hero to people, but a simple military man. He was still only Osmu back then, and yet even those of the time knew he would be something special. As Christoff used to say, ‘Ozzie you’re going places, big ones’. Osmund missed Christoff, It had been so long since their last meeting, and all Osmund wanted was to meet again one last time.
Osmund’s assistant came to him, a younger Strolomite by the name of Gizmu. Gizmu was rather muscular for a Strolomite, a strong figure contrasting his associates' plumper bodies, and stature was fairly tall for one of his people at 6’5 ft tall. Hazel hair protruded through a blue helmet, and for the first time Osmund considered what his assistant could look like. Gizmu was one of the many Strolomite’s who refused to show their face until military success, a tradition that Osmund respected. He had no doubt that Gizmu's true face would one day be revealed to him, as the man possessed genuine prowess in the fields of agriculture, something sorely missed in the modern military.
“Osmund, your team is preparing now, they’ll come soon. I advise you to prepare your armour sir, as it won’t be long before you’re sent in.” Osmund sensed mild concern in Gizmu’s voice, but didn’t pursue it.
“Thank you Gizmu, my friend. I’ll begin my preparations, tell the guests to meet me here when they are fully prepared. And do ensure they understand that there is still risk of injury on this mission, ensure each of them wears their armour.” Osmund’s voice was deep and echoed his long life, commanding a sense of authority amongst all Alizian forces.
Osmund left the hill, passing the cheering Strolomite’s and the peasant farmers who supported the army, and entered the rows of tents. They stretched out on either side, one for every four soldiers, until he reached his own tent. Entering Osmund was surprised to discover a fellow commander still asleep in his bed, snoring away peacefully.
Osmund removes his upper clothing, the clean tunic falling to the ground. While removing these clothes Osmund kicks the sleeping man in the leg, which doesn’t actually amount to anything rather than halting his snoring. Osmund kicks the sleeping soldier again, this time in the buttocks, which does a far better job of riling him. The man looks around wide-eyed, before settling onto the sight of the giant Osmund.
“Hey, why'd you kick me? I almost had a bleedin’ heart attack don’t you know not to meddle with a sleepin man?”
“Don’t you know that you were meant to be on the battlefield at the crack of dawn? I don’t know what kind of promotion you’re expecting when you aren’t even going on the battlefield. Do you really want to be Balmun forever?” Osmund spoke coldly, now reaching for his chestplate.
“Well no sir. But the thing is I actually have a very cunning plan, I thought of it all myself.” A smile falls upon the man’s face, whose head bears an uncanny resemblance to a potato.
“And what is that?” Osmund halted his preparations briefly.
“Well if I say I was there but didn't actually go, who’d think I wasn’t? I can just sleep through it all until the battle is won and no one would be the wiser.” Osmund puts a hand onto Balmun’s fleshy shoulder.
“A fine plan, if I wasn’t your commanding officer you buffoon. By the gods I believe some divine creator mistakenly put a turnip in your head instead of a brain because no noble’s son has ever been as frankly idiotic as you have. You’re coming with me to the battlefield, and I suggest you get dressed or you’ll be facing the last of the Vaunghe army with your flopping cock dancing for all to see.” Balmun stood and began to slip some clothes on, as Osmund completed his own set of armour.
Osmund’s armour bore the mark of a noble family, some rich fools who wanted their family crest to be associated with a bloody conflict and a dangerous murderer. Osmund wore it because of the armour’s quality, customfit to encompass Osmund’s 9’5 ft tall body, something no other armour was able to achieve. Osmund’s height was always an oddity, reaching far above the average 8ft heights of most Alizian’s, and making him one of the tallest figures in the lands. It was this height and his skin’s colour that earned him the name of the black death, which he wasn’t particularly fond of due to the mention of his skin. And even then Osmund certainly didn’t feel like a black death, whatever that was meant to be, rather he felt like death itself. Osmund was to be fifty years old by the end of the week, and it showed on his body. The hair that was left on his head was grey, and while still possessing an impressive form Osmund’s body was not in its prime, he was old.
Osmund looked at himself in the full body mirror, grabbing his longsword and leaving the tent, dragging a half dressed Balmun with him. Back through the tents they travelled, back past the now eager Strolomite’s and atop the hill where Osmund’s infiltration team stood. In any other battle Osmund would’ve despised the one that left this group with him, a collection of subpar and mediocre soldiers with all the military future of an Otter in a stew. But then again Osmund’s battle history did feature a lot of important people dying under his watch, so perhaps this was for the better.
The force began with Edmun, a cross between a prostitute and a noble who unfortunately takes more from the noble. An egotistical brat, as well as a greedy goblin of anything that isn’t bolted down, Osmund had borne the unfortunate duty of his company for months, since the initial assault on the capitol. The man could barely hold a weapon, save for slight skill with a flail of all things which he wore by his side. It was a gold plated flail as well, specifically made for beating in the heads of the poor Vaunghe soldiers stupid enough to get close. Blonde hair obscured blue eyes that spoke to his red-light mother, in fact for a noble’s son Edmun had all the appearance of an incestuous dullard. The man had survived by pure luck, and was the only casualty that Osmund wanted his side to suffer.
The Enick twins Humun and Eumun were up next, named after their family crest of the god of alcohol Enick. In contrast to Edmun these were a pair of real soldiers, Osmund had seen the fruits of their labour many times. They were great at the art of flanking, Humon’s greataxe paired alongside Eumun’s spears proved to be an unbeatable combination. The only issue that Osmund had with the pair was their… peculiar relationship. While the two were great fighters, whenever they were together anything else became impossible to comprehend. Osmund had once caught the pair attempting to seduce a goat wearing a knight’s helm, and while they were drunk there is still clear evidence of idiocy amongst them. The pair were identical in appearance, burly figures of 8’5ft, short cut black hair and overgrown beards stretching down their faces, however the distinguishing feature between the two was Eumon’s cleft lip, which gave his speech a lisp.
Josmu was far more a scholar than a soldier, although Osmund enjoyed his presence greatly. Since they first met the pair had hit it off, often discussing each other’s lives in Alizian taverns across the kingdom. A gifted archer, Josmu was the son of two aspiring poets and enlisted into the military voluntarily to assist in the war efforts. Osmund had a great deal of respect for the man, and hoped that the two would one day have a drink together, and ruminate on the past once more.
And then there was Jumun, a gifted soldier and one of the few Osmund thought could take him in his prime. Long strands of red hair ran down her rough face, a pointed nose and peculiar eyebrow shape giving her a perpetual look of disappointment. At a height of 9’2 ft she stood almost toe to toe with Osmund, in fact there were many aspects about her that reminded Osmund of himself. The first was her attitude, she treated every war as a tragedy of its own, and yet she would never fail to perform against her enemies. Skilled in most weapons Jumun’s life had been long and arduous, her worn out armour covered in patches and dents. Osmund had offered her a new set of armour once, to which she vehemently refused, telling Osmund that she wished to end the war in the armour she started it in. Currently she held a single large sword nearly identical to his own, and Osmund predicted that she couldn’t wait for the battle to be over.
The group stood facing the smoking walls, watching the now descending Strolomite’s retrieve the three gifts from the gods. Pushing them back up the hill would take tremendous strength and a long time, which is why nearly double the number of Strolomite’s assisted in the endeavour. Osmund cleared his throat, prompting the looks of the team. All of their eyes were of Balmun, who was somehow already panting after a 2 minute drag through the ground. Osmund released the man and pushed him towards his new comrades, to which he sulked.
Osmund could see through the smoke of the ruins now, noting the strangely high number of bodies present from Osmund’s view. It appeared that there were more forces than originally estimated, as it was initially guessed there were around one hundred and fifty soldiers inside. Judging by the number of corpses inside those numbers clearly forgot to account for the possibility of trainees inside of the castle. This may be a slightly larger fight than initially predicted, although even supposing there were another hundred or so trainees locked inside rooms there were things Osmund could do against that.
“Alright then, good to see that some of you actually bothered to wake up today, Balmun, and I think we all know that this mission is going to end the war.” Balmun raised his hand.
“Sir I have a very cunning pl-”
“Shove your plans up your slacker buttocks, you idiot. Now then, I’m gonna say this once, because quite frankly the more chances I give Balmun to interrupt the more likely I’ll butcher myself with this sword. Now then we are the backbone to the forces, our mission is to help take individual points of conflict from alternative points. We will accomplish this with the leaked maps of the castle gained from Vaunghe intelligence. Now then, originally it was believed that we were dealing with only around one hundred and fifty troops, but it looks like someone didn’t remember the number of rookie troops that are trained here, so we could be looking at a few more troops than expected.” Osmund saw the hand raised but tried to ignore it. The man with the potato for a head seemed adamant however, and raised his hand higher. When that didn’t work he raised both arms.
“By the gods what is it?”
“Well sir, what kind of weapons do you think they have?” Osmund stopped in his tracks, not expecting anything even related to an actual important question. A smile formed on his face, it seems that even fools can think every now and again.
“Decent question my friend, we can probably expect the basic mix of swords and axes, likely shields also, but we may have one or two archers running around however it’s unlikely any survived the wall’s collapse.”
“That is good Osmund, once we take a few down I need a weapon, I like the swords myself.”
“What’s wrong with your sword?”
“I left it in the tent sir.” Osmund cupped his hands into his face, cringing against the stupidity of this man.
“Listen…. just everyone follow me please, I mean by the gods man. Come on. Listen I don’t think we will need any armour with us today, we have the single thickest piece of meat just over there as we speak.” Osmund points towards Balmun, who turns to see what everyone is looking at. Without another word Osmund begins to walk down the hill towards the castle, muttering things that even the gods consider a little racy.
* * * *
The ruins of Dundis stood firm in their strength, with the ruined walls blemishing what was once a grand fortress that none had penetrated. Tall spires protrude from the shapeless stone complex. Along the gateway was a path leading directly into the Dundis entrance, which stood slightly ajar. Fragments of the wall had crushed many parts of the outside, with simple wooden stables and trees crushed by the weight of the plummet of the debris. The architecture that remained spoke to the complexities of the Vaunghe, as spiralling patterns adorned the walls of the castle, interlaced with rare jewels that coated the walls. The Vaunghe were so fortunate with minerals that one could find them coating their walls, despite the fact that no one other than a fellow Vaunghe was ever meant to see such a thing.
A veil of embarrassment and determination clashed as the group descended the hill, weapons at the ready. The group had reached the ruins of the wall now, debris coating the grass and the bodies that were surely there. Even destroyed Osmund still felt some of that divine power the Vaunghe always babbled about, he felt the strength in the walls and not for the first time wondered why the gods would bestow such a gift upon such a vile group.
The group began clambering through the ruins, over the cracked pieces of stone and through the divine walls final remains. There was a smell here, the remnants of smoke colliding with the smell of blood, but there was a third smell, one that Osmund knew well. It was the smell of inevitability, heavy in the hair. That which is unlikely to happen always will happen, and when it does the smell adds to it all, the smell of fate and destiny runs through this place.
Inevitability hides everywhere, in the trees and the skies, carried by the wind through it all. From nature it was born, but in man it thrives, the building’s will one day fall, the kingdoms will fade away, and everything will one day lead to something else. From every beginning comes an end, and each end becomes a beginning, this is how it has always been. This place thought itself against such things, and inevitability infected its walls, creeping along slowly rotting the once great walls into a hellish nightmare. Now the bubble has burst, and the smell of inevitability crowds the world, taking over everything.
Moaning. A low whimper. A cry for something. Calls for assistance. A terrified yell. Osmund approaches the source of these noises, his team close behind. At the source of these screams is a Vaunghe soldier, somehow alive after the rampart’s collapse, covered in piles of stone and smoke. His outstretched hand reaches towards Osmund, who in turn takes it.
The man mutters something, sputters blood, and begins to fade. As he does, Osmund moves towards the rocks, feeling against it. Somehow the rocks aren’t as heavy as they should be, and Osmund slowly moves the rocks. The first and second rocks move, and after some struggling Osmund moves the third rock, revealing a bloody leg, spurting forward. Osmund realises how the man survived, the remains of a metal box squashed around him. As the rampart fell the man landed inside, narrowly missing an immediate demise. Now he sat, bleeding in and out of consciousness, and moaning for help. Osmund put his hands around the man, slowly lifting him, and moving forwards into the inner walls.
There are running medics here, and as they see Osmund’s approach they run to him, taking the injured man and placing him onto a table. The man may survive, they told Osmund, however his bleeding may take too much from him. As Osmund turns to leave he hears the voice, the message of the man.
“T-t-th-than-” It was shaky, interrupted by coughs and convulsions, but bore strength, and Osmund felt the ghost of a smile play upon him.
“It wasn’t an issue.” And with that Osmund left the tent, admiring the surroundings in focus for the first time. Eyes bore into him from his party, and yet no one said anything, they couldn’t. Many had called Osmund a monster in his time, they had seen him do bad things to bad people, and yet none would call him a monster, for there is no such thing. Osmund is not some black death, he’s another beast entirely.
For the first time Osmund admired his surroundings, the inner walls were now filled with wreckage, and looked back to the tent. It was amazing how quickly the medics could establish tents, the battle had occurred for less than an hour and already there were three tents established side by side. Besides the wounded Vaunghe soldier were three other injured soldiers, each seeming to be hit by a minor injury likely from the smoke inhalation.
The captured and surrendered were lined up against the castle's wall, being carefully monitored by over sixty members of the contingent. There were only around twelve or thirteen of the captured, smoke-covered and sputtering. On the ground were bodies, those rookies that tried so valiantly to protect what they cared for. They now lay, looking up to the sky blindly.
Osmund saw the bodies and felt his stomach turn. The desire came back. The shaking returned, alongside it the painful sharp stabbing thoughts. Everything changed, he forgot who he was. What kind of person would approve of this, what even was Osmund was he real or fake, how is he even conceiving things like this. What is reality and why is it real, why can’t he understand-
Silence. Peace. Osmund returned to himself, the shaking never happening at all. He looked down at the bodies and continued to walk. There was nothing he could do for them, not anymore. The eyes of his group bore into him, shattering something that had broken a long time ago. He raised his hand and motioned for his team to follow, leaving this travesty of death and life behind.
Footsteps. Osmund turned to their echoing sound, the way they bounced through the place was unbelievable, the way it echoed between the walls and the castle structure itself. Through open castle gates he ran, a messenger in green, sword in its scabbard and now approaching Osmund. The man tripped on something, a large rock of some sort, before standing, dusting himself off and reaching the group.
“Osmund, we have hit the enemy’s points of defence.” The man was young, maybe twenty, and no more than twenty five.
“And? Where are they?”
“There are three fronts, the first is in the scout’s tower where a group of Vaunghe are amassing weapons and barricades fast. We can no longer enter the tower, as the amount thrown down makes common entrance impossible. The second location is the garden, where we believe the last of the nobles and the King himself are. We’ve faced harsh opposition from the enemies, who have formed a wall of shields to protect the door. Finally we have the guard’s quarters, where a few amount of Vaunghe are in active combat as we speak, although that will likely be taken without need for intervention.”
“Good job soldier.”
“Thank you sir.”
Osmund removes a slip of paper from his garb, and admires it in the sunlight. It was a complex map of Dundis, including the secret passages and escape routes of the entire place. It cost the annulment of many Vaunghe men and women, but was worth all the effort. Consulting the map Osmund noted the existence of an escape passageway inside of the tower. It was obscured behind a wall, thus explaining the lack of windows on that side.
“Report back to your commander that we’ll begin with the tower, there are several clear passages into an alternative staircase. Launching a pincer attack we’ll defeat the enemy and allow for the redistribution of forces. By that time I expect the guard’s quarters to be taken, allowing us to completely overflow any opposition protecting the garden.”
“Yes Osmund, I will inform her now.” And with that the young warrior ran back through the castle’s long iron gates.
And thus, the final battle was upon them. Osmund looked upon Dundis, the last symbol of the people who had taken everything from him, the ones who had slaughtered so many innocents, so many that Osmund cared for, and now the end was finally in sight. But it didn’t feel like the end, Osmund could feel no conclusion approaching, it felt like something else, as if this was all leading into something more, some grand massacre the likes of which Osmund had never seen. There’s a darkness ahead, something far worse to come than the echoes of a fallen monarchy, and as Osmund stands he can feel it inside of him, gesturing sensually, awaiting his return to the beginning. In a mental prison of nonexistent existence lies the mother, a slight smile on her lips. She awaits the grasp of Osmund forevermore.