A Response to Bob Chipman’s “Here’s what I don’t get” blog post on the Trump Presidency

Here’s the original, if you want to read it.

This post isn’t a deep diatribe or anything – I just threw it together as I went along. I don’t consider Bob worth the time or effort. It’s not like he’ll ever read this in full anyway.

(Bob, on the off chance you got to this point and are still gonna read, here’s something that you might actually listen to. Because he’s liberal. I’m not, so… you can go now.)

(… Still here? … Huh. Okay. Let’s go then.)

___

“So Donald Trump gets to be President of the United States, which feels like something out of a bad parody but is in fact terrifyingly true. Set aside the awfulness of what he claims this week are his beliefs, and you’re still left with the fact that the man is utterly unqualified – a largely failed, multiple-times bankrupt real estate swindler whose main claim to fame is being a sort-of rich guy who played a richer guy on a reality TV game show.”

Reagan was a movie star. In addition, Donald Trump went bankrupt on a few occasions out of several hundred businesses and came back so strong that he was able to fund his own presidential race.

That is no small feat, Bob. The entire reason that our politicians listen to monied interests right now is that running for president isn’t hard or expensive, but actually WINNING it is incredibly expensive and difficult.

“For me, that’s the rubicon-crossing element right up front in this: That it’s the exact sort of story we used to tell to make fun of how venal and trashy our public discourse had gotten, that a hackneyed B-list celebrity could run for high office and win. ”

All thanks to your and the left’s refusal to engage with their ideological adversaries, Mr.We-Only-Need-One-Party (see images a bit further below)

“There’s no longer a lack of precedent for fringe celebrities, pop-demagogues, other reality TV people etc to swoop into the political scene and do well enough to muck things up even further”

Again, Reagan was a movie star. This is not unprecedented.

In fact, it’s actually kind of eerie how much this election emulates Reagan.

“and at this point they’re pretty mucked up.”

Yes. Yes they are. By the establishment. Which, if I know you at all, you’re about to argue we should have voted for for the sake of a “superior future” because you are a fascist.

“The whole spectacle has been making me physically sick since election night, but the fact is I’m more bothered by what inevitably comes next. Of all the problems with Trump, the most serious long-term is that his election-year persona is so cartoonishly awful that it has the effect of obscuring how base-level awful the “normal” state of the Republican Party is.”

Bob, in the weeks leading up to the election, it was revealed that the DNC deliberately sabotaged its own candidate, covered up Clinton’s numerous breaches of protocol for classified email documents, and was being funded by countries known for beating people to death for being gay. Clinton has been a corporatist shill for decades and her entire slogan was “be with me because I’m gonna be the first female president”.

Trump could be the most corrupt corporate bastard in history and he’d STILL be an angel compared to Clinton.

That’s leaving aside that we’re currently seeing riots across the country before Trump’s even put his hand on the Bible to swear the oath of office, let alone actually enacted his first policy.

“The most ridiculous things Trump promised his supporters (a walled-off Mexican border, a ban on Muslim immigrants, mass-deportations, etc) are going to be difficult to enact legally even with Congress nominally on his side, and that’s if you assume that he sincerely believes in such things and did not simply adopt whatever outlook tested best with his voters – the man is, after all, a charlatan.”

Clinton has 30+ years of lies under her belt, I’m not going to waste my time pointing them out to you. You know.

And frankly, tearing this a new asshole isn’t why I’m here, let’s get to the real meat of this shit show.

You ask a bunch of questions in this piece, but you also ask for some things to be explained to you. So, here we go.

“I don’t get how, when confronted with an unprecedented mass of evidence and testimony that tells you, essentially: “Hey, if you throw that brick, it’s a chain reaction that hurts good people who never did anything to you.” Explain that to me.

Middle-class America is DYING, Bob. People are either becoming uber-rich or getting uber-poor. Entire towns are being wiped off the map by shitstains like you who say that their livelihoods aren’t worth anything because “they’re part of the past”.

That brick is one you threw at me from your glass house and told me to beat myself to death with.

“I don’t get how the unlikely possibility that backing out of NAFTA (not actually going to happen, by the way) might eventually lead to some kind of factory job maybe popping back up in your general area is still “worth it” when a gay person tells you “Hey, the guy you’re electing President because you think he’ll make that happen is going to create a Supreme Court that takes my marriage rights away and ruins my life.” Explain that to me.

Because I can eat again and said gay person is delusional. Your right to gay marriage isn’t going to be taken away. It’s been established as a legal precedent and moreover, Trump has already said he’s not going to so quit with your fear-mongering bullshit.

“I don’t get how the momentary satisfaction of seeing Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, John Oliver or whoever your “smug liberal who told mean jokes about my precious rural working class culture” target of choice is have to swallow the idea of four years under Trump is “worth it” when a Muslim person tells you “Hey, the guy you made President for the lulz wants to prevent the rest of my family from coming to live with me here because we’re the wrong religion.” Explain that to me.

A) Trump’s proposed ban is on specific countries.

B)

 

moviebob_nazi2

Any other questions?

“I don’t get how the prospect of maybe (maybe!) seeing it become slightly easier to pick up this or that job because the migrant labor force growth has been stalled is still “worth it” when someone tells you “Hey, the policies you THINK are going to cause that are ACTUALLY going to be used as pretext to turn away war refugees fleeing a situation a thousand times worse than the suffering you think you’re enduring.” Explain that to me.

“Refugees”. Right.

That’s why the people coming are mostly young working age unmarried men.

I’ve got my own problems to deal with, Bob, and your desire for more slaves isn’t going to convince me otherwise.

Yes, SLAVES. You bring people into America and have them work for basically nothing and give them almost nothing in return. Your ‘superior’ future is built on the backs of disenfranchised workers and slave labor. Fuck you.

“I don’t get how seeing this or that company (maybe!) put out one more “now hiring” sign is “worth it” when it happens because EPA regulations have been eased back and that company can now profit from poisoning the air and water that both you AND the “coastal elites” have to drink and breathe. Explain that to me.

EPA regulations ALLOW companies to poison the water, Bob. That’s what they’re there for. Without them, we can sue. With them, they can just hold up a permit to dump their poison where they will.

“I don’t get how the prospect of your regional H.R. manager maybe (maybe!) offering a few more overtime hours because corporate is “worth it” when it comes from no longer being required to spend money offering health insurance coverage to employees suffering from chronic illness – meaning those people will get sick and possibly DIE. Explain that to me.

Explain to me how driving prices up by 25% on average is meant to make health insurance more affordable. Then explain how this is preferable to someone maybe (maybe!) having to pay for their insurance another way.

“I don’t get how showing resistance to the spread of an art/entertainment culture that isn’t precisely your “thing” is somehow “worth it” when you are told, again and again, that it means mental and physical harm coming to the people and communities behind that culture. Explain that to me.

Because that argument is full of shit.

And you knew that once. Remember when the Dark Knight led to a mass shooting? I believe your exact words were “I will be damned before I deny a film the right to simply exist because of what someone else is afraid might happen”.

“I don’t get how casting a vote on behalf of buzzwords like “manufacturing jobs” (manufacturing what? For whom? At what cost? For how long?) is “worth it” next to the undeniable fact”

Lemme stop you right there.

You do not know this shit. At all.

You are only pretending you do to try and attain a moral high ground you don’t have.

“that gay and transgender youth who – I promise you – are living lives as harsh or harsher than yours despite the impression you may have formed from only seeing such people as idealized pop-culture fixtures on daytime chat shows are going to have psychological and physical violence inflicted on them by bullies and bigots who feel emboldened by the victory of a political movement you claim to support strictly out of “economic anxiety.” Explain that to me.

Because when people are poor they don’t have the luxury of worrying about a liberal art major’s trigger warnings.

And yes, I know that’s not what you mean. But frankly, those bullies and bigots are going to exist anyway. Putting more people in poverty is not going to help them. Hell, poverty will probably create even MORE bullies.

“I don’t get how whatever you think Trump could conceivably bring to you, personally, is still “worth it” when you know (unless you are utterly oblivious) that his court appointments could mean that women nationwide will lose reproductive freedom and possibly their lives as a result of it. Explain that to me – unless your explanation involves some asinine superstition about the “personhood” of fetuses, in which case you and I had nothing to discuss way before Trump showed up.”

There are pro-life atheists. Knock it off with this ‘lulz superstition’ nonsense.

This dismissive attitude is why your political movement is dying, Bob. You refuse to engage, and so your ideas remain unchallenged, and so do mine.

Also, fetuses are alive. That’s science.

“Good, decent, wonderful people – people who matter, people who have value, people who bring good into the world, their communities and this country, people who have things just as rough and in most cases substantially rougher than you – told you “What you are voting to happen will cause harm to come to me”… and you did it anyway. How do you live with that? How do you face yourself? Explain that to me.

Because good, decent, wonderful people who matter, have value, bring/do good in the world and in their communities, people who have things just as rough and in most cases substantially rougher than you have been begging for help for years. And you called them privileged shitlords because they were white.

This is the thing you don’t seem to grasp, Bob: those people in “flyover country” are real people with lives, hopes and dreams like any other and you shat on them because they’re not good enough for your “superior future.”

MovieBob_Nazi

“And just so we’re clear: I’m not asking for an explanation because I don’t know the answer. We all know the answer to every single item: “I am selfish and looking out for number one.” I know it. You know. I just think that all the “Not racist, just ______!” Trump supporters should have to own up to it, if nothing else.”

And I know that none of the reasons you gave are why you voted for Clinton.

You voted for her because she has a vagina. Because you are a sexist.

“So until then, yes, it’s grudgingly true that liberals in the blue city strongholds and the blue coasts will have to at least TRY to take “Flyover Country” at its word that the open racists and misogynists aren’t truly representative and, if “reached out to” in some way, some of the supposedly disenfranchised working class “economic anxiety” voters can be peeled off to support liberal candidates who offer actual solutions to their problems…”

Read. My. Lips.

GLOBALISM

IS

A

FAILURE

YOU

PRAT.

THE EU IS DYING, AND WAS DYING LONG BEFORE #BREXIT. THE UN IS USELESS. GERMANY COVERED UP MASS RAPES IN COLOGNE BECAUSE IT WAS SCARED OF OFFENDING MUSLIMS. FRANCE’S PRIME MINISTER TOLD HIS CITIZENS TO GET USED TO TERROR ATTACKS.

YOU DIDN’T HELP THESE PEOPLE IN THE LAST 8 YEARS WHEN YOU HAD A SOCIALIST (non-practicing) MUSLIM BLACK MAN IN POWER. YOU SURE AS HELL WEREN’T GOING TO WITH A CORRUPT CORPORATIST.

GET OVER YOURSELF.

Ugh. Where’s the next question… ah, here we go.

“It will be The Democrats shoving marginalized, imperiled people with actual problems in front newly-emboldened white people with largely imagined/exaggerated problems and asking the marginalized people to swallow not just their pride but their basic sense of self worth and convincingly ask: “What can I do to make my life worth protecting to you?”

Forget not knowing how anyone summons the will to do that – I don’t even know how you ASK someone to so much as TRY to do that.

Someone, please.

Explain that to me.

For starters, stop telling them that they’re worthless and that their problems aren’t real because they’re white and male. Because that is about 90% of your problem with PR right now: you completely and utterly deny that any problem other than the ones you care about can even exist.

Then, stop sending liberal arts students to tell me I’m oppressing them because of my skin color. Send people with ACTUAL PROBLEMS that need solving and I will gladly help them if I can.

Of course, you never will. You’ll never even read this. Can’t say I particularly care anymore. Trump won.

And I am going to savor your tears.

84939289

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An Open Letter to “Go Fuck Yourself” and Shortpacked.com on #GamerGate

Dear Mr. Go Fuck Yourself

I just found this online:

cla4cqmwiaeznnd

As such, I am forwarding this open letter to you detailing “actual terrorism” performed by GG’s opponents, and kindly informing you that GamerGate has done none of these things.

Should you or Shortpacked.com have equivalent evidence that GamerGate is a terrorist organization, I would ask you to provide it. I am told that there is a plethora of such evidence, but have never found any, nor has it ever been presented to me.

I hope you don’t find this letter an imposition.

Sincerely, David
(@HalfTangible on Twitter)

PS. Also, GamerGate is fond of porn and lewds. So much so that I find it queasy (though that’s my personal problem; I don’t like nudes) and originally found this post through a reply containing porn. Not entirely sure why he linked the two together.
PPS. Word of advice: Get a legal name change. Seriously, they’ll probably expedite it for you.

The Trolley Problem is laughably simple

“There is a runaway trolley barreling down the railway tracks. Ahead, on the tracks, there are five people tied up and unable to move. The trolley is headed straight for them. You are standing some distance off in the train yard, next to a lever. If you pull this lever, the trolley will switch to a different set of tracks. However, you notice that there is one person on the side track. You have two options: (1) Do nothing, and the trolley kills the five people on the main track. (2) Pull the lever, diverting the trolley onto the side track where it will kill one person. Which is the correct choice?” -Wikipedia’s description of the trolley problem. Good as any other, i guess.

Personally I’d try to derail the trolley.

*sigh* Okay okay, I’ll play along with the scenario

So. What’s the answer? Easy, flip the switch and change the track.

The premise of the ethical dilemma presented here is flawed; it supposes that you are more responsible for killing the one man than the five. However, that is not the case. If you have the power to prevent the trolley from hitting those five people, then you have the moral obligation to take it.

“But then you’d be a murderer!”

If that’s the case I’d be a murderer either way. Just because I don’t act doesn’t mean that I’m innocent. The only thing that allowing the train to hit the five could do would be to shift the blame for their deaths onto someone else. I’d feel guilty, sure, but I’d feel guilty about letting 5 people die, too.

An open letter to Zython #GamerGate

Let’s parse what YOU’RE saying, shall we Zython?

First of all, you are ignoring PS4 sales of the game and only looking at the Vita.

Second of all, Pokemon is not comparable to a Dead or Alive spin-off title. Games of differing popularity are going to have different points where they ‘succeed’. Tomb Raider sold 3.4 million copies in its first month and was considered a failure (yes, seriously) but Dishonored is considered a wild success for selling 460,000 in that same time frame. This argument is like comparing a student/indie film to the Avengers and being shocked that the former undersold the latter. Gaming has niche audiences, that doesn’t mean their money isn’t worth game company’s time. (Also, why are you talking about how poorly a game on the Wii U performed in arcades?)

Thirdly: While it’s true that PlayAsia’s “record breaking sales” means little without proper context, they have told us how much the game sold. Claiming that it’s “telling” that they don’t release their previous record is just intellectually dishonest.

Fourth, this news comes in the wake of SJWs claiming that “pandering to the misogynerd gaming crowd” would destroy them, and many “long-time customers” claimed to be leaving because PlayAsia stocked DoAX3. You people HATED this game, yelled constantly about how no one cared about it. Then PlayAsia stocked it and suddenly made a s#@$ton of money. You and yours were WRONG and your attempt to backpedal now is pathetic. You made your bed, lay in it.

And finally: you say it only sold better because it “sold on a bigger ecosystem”? So f#$@ing what? It still sold better. Games sales are not a percentage game; If I go fishing with a net I don’t care if my net is full, I care about how many fish I’ve caught. 40 fish in a 80 fish net is better than 20 fish in a 20 fish net. Beating Usain Bolt in a race would be incredible, but you don’t need to beat his best time to get 1st place. You just need to get ahead of the other runners.

So… yeah. You’re an intellectually dishonest buffon. Nice job.

“#GamerGate should abandon the tag” -@jessesingal

Just

Stop

Saying that!

Seriously. This isn’t even funny anymore.

#GamerGate was created in part to get away from the Quinnspiracy and 5guys BS, but you continue to insist that that’s how it got started so that you can label it a harassment campaign. #1MillionGamersStrong was mocked and belittled as an offshoot of #GamerGate. #NotYourShield was labelled as a #GamerGate sock puppet campaign. SPJAirplay, SavePoint, TFYC, Honey Badgers Brigade, the list goes on and on (and will probably continue to go on). You regularly label anything GG even LIKES as ‘harassment’ so that the legacy of a “harassment campaign” that you’ve built up over the last year and a half continues.

You don’t WANT GG to change its label and you know it. Else you wouldn’t keep trying to associate GG with the new labels.

Primal

This is a story/fluff post I wrote up for a roleplaying game I’m currently involved in (and also used for an english assignment). You don’t need to know most of the backstory, but here’s a few things that you probably do:

-This all takes place in the Primus Imperium, which is very feudal in nature: the High Queen rules over the noble houses, which rule over their own lands. They also have a habit of naming the lands they conquer with numbers, in order. Primus, Secundus, Tertius, etc.

-Primus is currently at war with the Three Crowns, a political situation far too ridiculous and unimportant to explain here. During the war, High Queen Roethye was assassinated, with the most likely suspect being the Three Crowns. Some say it was the Aeldir but that doesn’t make much sense for political reasons I won’t bother you with.

-The Kingdom of Berrium is Primus’ closest ally, owing in large part to the fact that their queen was sister to Roethye, the previous queen.

-Lady Conferrus’ latest child (and heir apparent) was born with red skin and black eyes, and was declared a demon returned from the Time Before, which in the simplest term possible is big scary bad time. The baby was taken away by the Lady’s midwife, and she fled into the wild.

-The Aeldir are basically elves. They are also exceedingly racist, haughty, arrogant and currently the strongest power in the world. They are considered hostile by pretty much everybody, but Primus in particular has been feuding with their diplomatic arm (the Autumn court) for years.

Hope you enjoy!

——

The balance of power in Primus is a constantly shifting thing. Technically the Highback mountains were the domain of House Navus, but this only became the case in the last years of Roethye the Proud’s reign. Before then, they were House Eventus lands. Primus proper is always under the eye of whichever house is next in line to receive proper lands.

Only one thing remained constant: the city of Valkyrie belonged to the Primus royal family. The Primus family held absolute power in the Imperium, and all knew that they were the reason the Time Before had ended. It was responsible for mediating any conflict between the houses, and managing the nation as a whole.

But it was not always so.

*=*=*

Royo wasn’t all that different from the other noble houses. Matriarchal, war-like and far more proud than it honestly had any right to be (not that anyone would tell them that). However, it had made many territorial gains thanks to its usage of moonsilver arms and uncanny ability to survive when massively outnumbered. Their request for peace came as a surprise to the other houses, but it was a reprieve they could not afford to ignore.

Cochradice Royo had brought several of the largest houses together at a time when her own house had more than enough strength to wipe them all out. However, she did not. She proposed the idea of an Imperium stretching across the entire mountain range and into the desert, to become the undisputed masters of this land and beyond, with Primus at its center and master of all the world (At the time, no one knew of other world powers such as Berrium, the Courts or Ambrose). After generations of ceaseless war, however, her talks of peace and unity sounded hollow. Each Lady (and the two or three Lords) was certain that this was an attempt to spread her lands by tricking the other houses back into open war for a proper Casus Belli. Perhaps she intended some gambit to insert her blood into their own lines and press a claim on their lands.

So House Conferrus came prepared with an offer House Royo couldn’t possibly accept: The Royo would be granted the power to hold this “Imperium” together if they agreed to limit their personal demense to one city: the city of Valkyrie, a true backwater. It wasn’t valuable in and of itself, it was valuable because of how close it was to OTHER sources of value, and how easy it was to defend. But if you could only hold the city, it would take but a single misstep for the other Houses to starve you out. Only a complete idiot would take one city like that on the word of dozens of Houses that they wouldn’t immediately swallow them up from a position of such strength.

And Cochradice said “Yes”.

Every square centimeter of land other than Valkyrie was returned to the House that the Royo had taken them from.

It was a complete shock to the entire realm. A House as ancient and implacable as the Royo, so sick of war that they were willing to take the risk of utter annihilation when they had been poised to take all the world (again, no knowledge of foreign powers). What was more, she’d agreed to this deal on the condition that the other Houses’ squabbles be hers to manage. And while the Primal people were many terrible things, they kept their promises.

And so House Royo became the Primal royal family, with Valkyrie as the nation’s capital.

The Imperium had spread, swallowing many new lands and granting them to the other houses. Roethye the Proud had actually started the process of conquering that territory, but Cochradice was the true reason that such gains were possible in the first place. It was her that created the Imperium, and ended the Time Before.

And the royal bloodline – the Primus – would ensure it never came back.

*=*=*

Breydice’s eyes narrowed when Lady Conferrus entered the arena. The woman’s skin was dark from so much time in Secundus, and her moonsilver axe was the yellow of the rising sun. Her coal-black hair had been tied back, but was long enough to reach her tailbone. Around them both, cheers and cries for blood and glory rang in the stands. While they would not be participating personally, the Queen and one of her nobles doing battle was a rare sight indeed.

“I see you decided to show up.” Breydice growled. “At least you have enough moral fiber for that.”

“Do not lecture me on morality, Royo.”

Primus. You would do well to remember that title, milady. We are to stay as far away from the Time Before as possible, and every horror it spawned.”

“‘Every horror’ as if you know even one. You were not around for the Time Before.” Conferrus growled.

“Nor were you. But the difference is that I do not pretend that I was. Once I would’ve been Royo – one squabbling noble among many. Now, I am Primus.”

“I see the infamous Royo arrogance continues, regardless of the name.” She sneered. “And what charge have you brought before me for this ‘honor’ duel, little girl? I am in no mood to cater to your whims. I tried to kill a demon, what’s so wrong with that?”

“You are charged with treason.”

That actually caught the Lady off-guard. “Treason? Are you out of your mind? My House brought the greatest land gain to the Imperium in years. I have always served faithfully and with due dili-”

“The Aeldir are looking for the child.” Breydice interrupted.

A hush fell over the arena. Murmurs circulated in the crowd.

Conferrus’ smile faltered, but she still pointed her axe at the High Queen. “What of it?! Are you telling me you’re too incompetent to find her first? Or perhaps that the Aeldir are a threat to us? Everyone knows that your capital city is abuzz with hatred for the Autumn Court, but this is just absurd. I doubt the knife-ears even care about Primus!”

“First of all, I’ll thank you not to insult an entire race, especially when there is an Aeldir in this city that happens to be a friend. Secondly, Mother’s spy and information network was never the most robust even before it was upended by her death, and I have little experience of my own to work with.” Breydice growled. “This would be completely irrelevant had you not tried to cut your heir’s throat. And in doing so, you have handed the Aeldir a perfect reason to declare war on us at any point they choose. Do you not realize the strongest claim to House Conferrus’ titles and lands current belongs to your daughter?”

“That THING is no daughter of mine.”

“She was born from your loins. As such, she is your heir, with the strongest claim on your title when it becomes available. If your midwife doesn’t come forward to us of her own volition, the Spring Court will find and spirit her away long before I can. She will be raised under Aeldir ideals and laws, and as such will worship the ground the Court Lords and Ladies walk on.

“And with the heir to a noble house loyal and in debt to them, they will have a Casus Belli to declare war on us and ‘return her rightful lands’.

“Whether or not they care enough to use that excuse is irrelevant. They are not on trial here – you are.” Breydice’s face grew livid. “You gave them the opportunity to put a puppet in our lands ON A SILVER PLATTER!!!!”

Sound in the arena faded to a hush. Breydice was well known for being stoic and stone-faced. This was an uncharacteristic display of emotion for her.

“I have sent letters to the courts to try and negotiate for her return to Valkyrie the moment she is found. She will either be my adopted daughter or be betrothed to Aurus, and in either case become a princess. Perhaps she will be wed as my aunt has, and become a queen. Killing her will be an even greater betrayal than you have done. But if they decide to ignore my request and press that claim at a later date, there is little I can do about it.” She paused. “Unless House Conferrus does not exist when she comes to claim it. No noble house to claim means no chance for her to be a puppet in these lands. And if by sheer luck I find her first, I can always create a new one for her.” She smirked. “Your house was the one that granted mine that power, after all. I hope the cocoa was worth it.”

Lady Conferrus snarled. Her region’s main export was a touchy subject for her. “You dare! You cannot destroy my House, Royo!”

“I am High Queen Breydice PRIMUS!!” Breydice roared. “I have every right to make your name dust on the wind, and you know it! You gave me that right as well! You wanted me to get rid of House Materius, if you’ll recall when they took their time securing Tertius.”

Conferrus raised her weapon. “Only if you win here does Conferrus die. And you cannot win here.”

Breydice drew both of her short swords, moonsilver as black as midnight oil and embroided with gold. “We shall see.”

The arena was as silent as the grave. The Princess and the Noble circled each other like tigers, each looking for the right moment to pounce.

A twitch.

Blade met blade, and the contest began.

*=*=*

Phelnia watched in silence, hood drawn over her eyes. No one had seen her come in, she knew. No one kept quiet when they saw a Princess, especially not the next in line. If anyone knew she was here, she’d be swarmed with offer of “charming” men to take as her husband, no doubt from idiots who thought they’d be able to influence the royal family if only their son made it in. No one likes to look long at scars as extensive as hers anyway.

Besides, there was no way in any hell of any gods old or new that she was going to sit in the palace and watch Varadia play with her child.

“Blood?”

She glanced to her side. The creature next to her looked human, but had a white cloth wrapped around its ‘eyes’. His skin was flushed, and his teeth were mostly canines. He was also breathing heavily in the heat of Primus’ day.

“Soon.” Phelnia promised. “Breydice just needs an opening.”

“Not her. For you.” The Aima rasped. “Blood slow, heart fast. Bad for heart.”

Phelnia smiled. Galorius technically was her guard, there to help her watch for foes, but he did far more than his calling dictated. He really was a hard worker. “No, Galorius, I’m just nervous for my sister. She’s very proud.”

He tilted his head. “Heart, steady beat. Not wild.”

It took a while to get used to the Aima’s manner of speech. It was difficult for them (something about redundant blood vessels? Phelnia didn’t know much about biology), so they tended to cut out as many words as possible. On top of that, they had an almost unnatural obsession with blood (since that was all they were physically capable of seeing). Even having him as a guard for months, Phelnia took a moment to figure out what he was saying.

“She doesn’t seem emotional to you because you haven’t known her long.” Phelnia looked down as moonsilver weapons clashed in the arena. “She’s furious at Conferrus.”

Galorius’ face turned towards Phelnia. The princess knew he couldn’t see her scars – only the blood in her body. Maybe he could see where her wounds had healed, but mostly he just seemed to care if she was hydrated. “You not?”

“… It’s difficult to be mad at someone who acts in ignorance, Galor. And we’re not in as bad a position as Breydice claims.” She gestured. “House Conferrus’ lands are going to be transferred to the ownership of the Kingdom of Berrium when this war with the Three Crowns is over. If they gained any new lands, they’d be to our west, and far out of the Aeldir’s way. We could easily just allow her in as a long-lost sister, and they’d have a puppet for a generation at most. And the Lady was right – the chance of the Aeldir caring enough to try and take us over is extremely small. Even if they wanted us like a man wants a woman, they’d take Berrium and the League of Allied Provinces first. It would get them more, be closer to their island home and put more pressure on us.”

“Then why… kill?”

“Because Breydice is right, too. The fact that the Aeldir don’t care enough to take the opportunity doesn’t mean the chance wasn’t opened, nor does the fact that this is an easily fixed problem mean that one wasn’t created-” Her eyes narrowed. “Oh, there’s blood for you now.”

“Can see.” Galorius grinned. “Queen blood pretty. Good health f-” He suddenly started, mouth agape with shock.

Phelnia turned to him, alarmed. “What?”

“Bad axe!” He shouted, looking directly at the two fighters. “Is legal?!”

“Uh, well, yes.” Phelnia was confused now. “You can bring any weapon to an honor duel, so long as it’s a weapon.”

The Aima scowled. “Not weapon. It drinks.”

*=*=*

Both combatants jumped back, taking a moment to catch their breath.

Breydice smirked as she looked her opponent over. Her short swords lacked range, but once she got under the other woman’s guard, she could get a lot of damage done quickly. Conferrus’ belly was bleeding. While she had managed to do some damage, it wasn’t enough to keep her from fighting. Breydice’s armor had been split at the shoulder, but moonsilver had a way of knitting itself back together. She took a step forward

and stumbled.

She blinked as black spots crossed her vision. As the scene swirled before her eyes, Breydice noticed something.

She was bleeding from her wounds, but the axe that inflicted them was bone dry.

Something was very wrong.

The axe had bitten into her armor and she was bleeding, yes, but Breydice felt light-headed already. She’d lost blood before, but this was way too much too quickly. She coughed as her limbs trembled, and she looked up to the woman.

Conferrus grinned. “Things have survived the Time Before. This axe, for example – quite the marvel of moonsilver. It doesn’t just bite through metal.” Her grin grew sadistic. “It drinks blood. Draws it out of your body, and drinks it. Even if it only scratches you, it packs quite a wallop.”

Breydice fell to one knee as the world fell out of focus.

“It’s been fun, brat.” Conferrus said coldly, gripping her axe and advancing on the half-crouched Queen. “And to be honest, I don’t want that time back any more than you do. But my House has stood for centuries, even from the time before the Time Before. It won’t end because of you.” She drew her axe up and brought it down.

Breydice grinned.

She charged, stabbing forward with her blades just as the axe came down. It bit into her shoulder, and this time she could swear she felt it suck up her blood. But Conferrus had made an error. She’d gotten close with her great axe. Breydice only had one strike left in her, and she made good use of it.

Her blades dug straight into Conferrus’ breast, and plunged deep into her heart. Blood vomited from the woman’s mouth, and Breydice’s momentum carried her to the ground.

Neither combatant moved.

*=*=*

Galorius had been told to destroy the axe, a task he took on with gusto. Phelnia dragged Breydice back to the palace just as Varadia came running out. Breydice was struggling to stand. Phelnia scowled when she saw her twin.

“Sis! Sis! We just got a message from-” She glanced at Phelnia, stopped short. “Geez, what jumped in your womanhood and died?”

“You met him.”

“Look, if you try again, I’m sure-”

Breydice held up a hand. “Varadia. Message from whom?”

“… well, uh… earlier a letter arrived, and uh…” Varadia turned back to Breydice. “Geez, looks like it was a rough fight… From the Kingdom of Berrium. Auntie ‘Meia and Uncle Alistair are sending some knights to look for the red-skinned child. We also don’t need to give them Secundus until the investigation’s done.”

“Oh.” Breydice’s expression and tone remained unchanged. “That’s nice.”

“It gets better. They’re joining up with the Jade Coalition to look into mother’s death! We’ll get actual evidence now!” A wicked grin split Varadia’s face. “Oh, those elfs are in trouble now!!”

Phelnia covered her face with her palm. “… Elfs?”

“‘Evil little fuckers’. I’m talking about the Aeldir.”

“…Are comments like that why Aeluta’s been avoiding you?”

“No, she said she thought my baby was super cute, but wanted to avoid ‘icky barf’. I think she’s playing war chess with someone?”

“The Aeldir… aren’t a threat yet… they don’t care… about Primus…” Breydice was heaving in huge gulps of air. “And they’re on… good terms… with the League… The crowns… More likely…”

Varadia shrugged as she moved to help up the queen. “We’ll see, I suppose. Here, let’s get you inside.”

“Get Lady Navus, would you?” Breydice wheezed. “She needs to… go to… oh geez…”