Friday, August 5, 2016

UK - Commuters on worst rail line face a week of strike misery

Black holes are ‘doors’ to another world?

Give Your Neighbors a Goody Bag

Hacked Bitcoin Exchange Says Users May Share $68 Million Loss

Panama Papers: Joseph Stiglitz quits as government adviser

Trump and Clinton swap voters as they vie for a key state

Thai military prepares to tighten its grip with new constitution

Protect the West From a Black-Gold Rush - Mark Udall

Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad

The Particle That Wasn’t

A.N.C. Suffers Major Election Setback in South Africa

A.N.C. Suffers Major Election Setback in South Africa - The New York Times
This is good news... a real 2 party system may be at hand.

The Imperial Capitals of China ... Arthur Cotterell

Paris Review:Laughing Gas

The Civil War without slavery

Had enough?

McClatchy-Marist Poll_National Nature of the Sample and Tables_August 2016
Trump Craters.

The "Real" 'phants are small in number.

National Memory in Ukraine

Life after death


Iraq: it’s ‘amateurism’



Ordinary people can't afford a home in San Francisco.

A Tale of two indexes

The Solitaire Crow - Ivinia - 7

7 The Legion

Comrades, listen to my voice and my lyre,
If any contain be made, I pray forgiveness.
And if you could compound, joy, jolly, and love.
Consider him with no speed of transgression,
Its meaning, consideration, or folly, or givenus,
Because what the voice takes less – the wire takes more!
Traditional Ivinian Ode ca. 650 TR

The roar came out of the hole, and instead of just a shimmer of lava, there was a gush. And with in a short time, Gulmorvrin flowed out in batches of four – as if to take on the universe. But there was one undead whose movements were different then the rest. It was the Dragon Rider, with his dull black armor – and white sword – marked him as the one who was in charge. Now everyone, not just the watchmen, knew that he was the only thing which had life. The rest of them moved in unison, as if they were marionettes. Looking back from the mountain, with another high mountain, which was the pinnacle of the island, everything looked as if it were ants coming down a hill – instead of men, and undead – going in some sort of haphazard way. It was clear that the Gulmorvrin were too many for the master to truly work – and instead he would keep some in-line, and then move his focus to someplace else. But when moving his focus, it was clear to all involved, that the undead became ragged where he moved his attention from.

This had not been the case when he had only a few groups under his control, but gradually his will was being overwhelmed. But that might not be sufficient for the defenders. There were different styles of fighting, Green would reach out and fire two arrows, and then disappeared – again and again. The rest of the crew was under the orders of the Commander, who had a very specific idea of what he wanted. They would form a living wall – and fire overhead and straight on, so that the undead could not both keep their shields high, and low – because he had first noticed that there was only one with life which directed them. With each volley, several of the undead simply vanished, without a trace. But still they kept coming, and eventually reached the grass from the bare black rock of the precipice.

But no one saw Loria, not the Watcher, or the Commander, or Gwynwyffer firing her sling, or the priest – who was healing the injured, or anyone else. Nor was her movement detected by the undead, until just to late, when she appeared out of the ticket of high grass – and stirred a hit which wrenched away the gleaming sword of the undead leader. This meant that the leader had to retrieve the sword of Bukrai. It was clear the the arm was severed – though the will still commanded it. But at this time, he lost control of all of the Gulmorvrin, in his haste to pick up the blade. That meant through three volleys, it was easy to strike down the undead, until the leader had directed his attention back to hurting his flock of desiccated sheep. At which point, the leader charged everyone forward, as if to overwhelm the ragged bunch of elves and humans.

Thus, even though the people thought valiantly, they were being pushed back until there was only the ship cresting the water. But again, Loria reached out from behind another set of high grass, and directed her shot through the neck of the leader. Green and the Skald had killed many more, and the archers quitted themselves brilliantly – but it was Loria's two shots which made all of the difference.
It was not quite enough. Though the archers cleaned up the remaining undead, what surprised them next was that the leader was still able to write himself, though he went up the escarpment. Then he vanished over the horizon. It was at this point that the dragon hole stopped putting out the magma, and became dormant. No blaze shown forth. Then the Commander stopped, and uttered an order - “ get back to the ship!”

Everyone but the Watcher looked at him. The Watcher scurried on to the vessel, though it should be mentioned that Loria understood the meaning just a bit after the Watcher did – and she followed him on to the craft. At which point, all of the others understood that there was still the black oak Dak – and the leader was headed for it. He had left on a dragon, but had hidden his vessel somewhere on the island.

They were just barely on the ship, when around from the left bank came the merchant crew and ship. On the front end was the leader, while on the backend one of the undead operated the wheel. There were undead along the sides and the sail – it had only one, unlike the vessels from inside the Azeriani Sea, which had a lateen rig. Everything was smooth, and the Watcher understood that the leader was in complete control. The Dak spun around gracefully – and was set to ram the longship. The Commander was trying to get his craft going - but it was difficult with the wind against him, and setting off from the shoreline.

But he did get the vessel going, and just avoided the Dak's graze. The leader, for his part, changed direction very smoothly, and was in pursuit. It was that when they exited the mouth, that the Dak was swifter and more able – and a fear rose up inside almost everyone.

Everyone except the Commander, whom clearly had a plan. He went back on his wheel, shifting almost 180°, and took it to ram the Dak, which was going very slowly. The leader had no fear, and set his course into the long ship, confident that either he would emerge victorious, or he would die for only a little while.

It was at this point that the shield maiden walked up to the foremast, and once she cleared her throat began to utter and unalterable melody. It was heartbreaking, though it had no words. One by one the Gulmorvrin dropped into the water, as if they were supposed to. Gradually the Dak was totally becalmed, because even the wind had stopped moving. She sang for more time – and from out of the clouds, a ray of sunlight streamed down. It was gentle and warm, with a filling of the air with a bewitching sense of day that shined. At once, all of the terrible sense of the crypt was buried – and the Dak was only half there, and half in a dream.

The leader saw what was happening, and took his blade, and with his left arm, half through and half cast it to hit the Skald in the arm. At this point she stopped singing, though she was not hurt. But the Dak was cast a midriff, and was listing to one side. At that point the Commander got underway, but to the southwest, towards another island. They did not know where they were going, but obviously there was something there, and they could feel it. There was something foul about the air, something which made a sense of trepidation – and rather than go away from it, it was that the Commander was going to head straight for it.

“So the cloud was, in part, magical.” Though it was not clear who the Watcher was addressing, this was the second time he had done this.

Meanwhile, The priest moved over to the Skald. “Let me heal you.” his voice trying to find the right words even at this point. Willingly she offered up her arm, and he looked for whether the arm was broken, or if it just needed some healing. He decided that it was the latter, and brought his right hand up to his four head, and proceeded to do is miraculous atonement. Immediately her arm felt better, and it coursed with a preternatural light from his hand.

“Pray thee, many fine words.” She thanked him and then looked away – not wanting to give favor to his expectations. Not that he had any, because he wanted to get home to his woman as quickly as possible. So he left without thinking about the matter any further. Then the captain arrived, with a concerned look on his face.

“You did not tell me that you had magic song, it could have been useful earlier.” Remarked the Commander, with a low tone of voice that only she was supposed to hear.

“I did not know if that was something that I should. And if it had been a lesser foe, I probably would not have done so.”

“Everyone keeps expecting this voyage to be smooth, and the Commander to have all of the answers. But no one tells me what they really can do. Is a quandary.” He started to move away, but was stopped by her arm.

“I will remember that in the future, I promise.”

“Morrow the the day you decide you will.” And he set off for other things.

The this point the Skald shook her head, this was not a clan or household, where things were organized from the top – and has the child of a temple household, run by her father, she knew how this operated quite well. This was, at best, a loose collection of people set out on an ill-defined mission. Mission which was kept secret, at least in part. Of course such a mission would be not the way a military arm would run itself. But then there would be many obstacles in the way of a military mission, which would stand in the way of it. She would think on this later, and design a better way of organizing thing. Because there would be other times when this would occur, and it should be better done - that this was her first foray meant that knew things would hit her at every single moment.
There was something happening already, and it was to Gwynwyffer quick eyes that it came to first: the clouds were collapsing. Instead of being her normal garrulous self, she was exacting and precise. “The clouds have closed over.” Pointing at she did so. Almost everyone above deck followed her finger, and it was exactly as she described it.

“This means that fell a occultation is afoot.” Understated the Watcher.

“Do you have anything to do about it?” Replied the Commander, expecting that he did not have anything to offer.

But the Watcher actually did have something. “Since this is the leader reforming himself, I would say that you should attack the Dak, because that is now the last source of his power – unless Klyss himself comes to his aid. Which would not surprise me, given where we are, and given we our well outside of his power.”

Looking over the bow, they saw the merchant ship – and it was indeed reforming as they spoke. Quickly, the Commander ordered his ship forward – and to board her. The two had turn over and over, but the Dak had been losing undead continuously, and was unable to gain traction. The rigging was also slashed and prayed. It was as if everything was falling apart, by hermeneutic means. As they closed in on the cargo ship, a series of arms lifted up from deep within the water – stretching and bending, trying to grip the oars, and succeeding in some cases. They even managed to pull out two people who were standing rather than sitting.

This time, the Skald was ready, and she sang a different tune. It did not work at first, but gradually the arms slowly slid beneath the waves. And all that was left was the black oak ship, and the shadow of a man. Who had two slashes of white – the sword, and the eyes. The eyes that beat down on you, and almost seemed like they were trying to grind you into submission – and become undead. Almost all the humans felt some longing to be with the Gulmorvrin – to give in. Even Gwynwyffer felt it, which was utterly opposed to her nature. But the Watcher and the Commander knew quite well the pull of attraction – and in their different way, struggled against this. The elves on the other hand, felt noxious – as if this were something foreign to their nature. It made them both dizzy and light headed – indeed, Loria reached her head down in to her right hand, as if to close her eyes and balance herself.

And still the eyes glared at the crew, as if it were trying to reach and convert at least some of them to give in. Some of the rowers seem to swoon, and were almost ready to leap into the water, so much was the attraction to this formless sphere of death that surrounded it. Because, it was clear that there was death about it that was larger than its form - though no one would actually see it - it was there.

The two ships touched - though going in different directions – and their sails on the edges tangled with each other. This was the moment where the crew was supposed to board, with the grappling looks loosed into the other ships. They were supposed to charge with cutlasses and axes raised. They were supposed to, but did not. Instead the two ships were separating, the humans feeling ever so much lighter with each passing instant – though the shadow seemed to look at them face forward with every single instant. There was an eerie sense that made it clear it was not just an accident – there was something occult going on. The shrouds of missed grew stronger, and the Dak slipped in to the darkness.

Some of the crew heard voices, from the lowest to the highest pitch. They were not words, per se, but they made a happenstance of the sound of a room filled with people talking. But they to disappeared, but not by hearing, but by some other means that was foreign to natural language. And then the black ship was gone.

No one spoke for a long time, but the Commander was first to get busy – it was clear from his face that the Dak was going to return. And it might be quickly. Than the Commander raised his voice, and began to issue instructions in two languages. Was clear he wanted to be out of the island, so as to not get caught again. He took the wheel directly, and sharply steered the ship out of the harbor, and towards the next island – but whether it was for safety, or to discover the reason for this glamour, who is to say.

Gwynwyffer moved to the Commander, and then opened her book which was a side her left arm – with a tattered brown cover with brass fasten hook. “ This may not be the best time for this, but we should examine every one of the crew for signs that they have been infected – the eyes drilled down in to of us, and we do not know who has really been infected.” She then opened the book, and through lines to make a table, which was to be used for every member. “And if I may, we should start with the top tier – because those will be the greatest prize for the master of the undead.”
With a difference to her face – she was the only one who could be said to be truly feminine – the Commander only nodded.

But then she plowed forwards and said: “And I think that we should have Green hold The person we are examining – the elves are far less likely to have been caught.” The Commander nodded, but it was a curt nod this time.

So it began with the Commander, and then with the Watcher – and soon through the other people. The examination took only a few minutes, with Gwynwyffer taking out a small eyeglass, which made things about twice the size, and looking through one eye and then the other. Green was delicate in his touch, and got no complaints. When all of the crew was examined, only one had had a little speck of black in the left eye – which she removed with a speculum which she held on a green belt, And touched it on a white kerchief. She then through it overboard, which would seem to be the end of it – but out over the water – it grew until it reached the size of a large bat, carrying itself away. It whisked its way, a wave from the long ship, and towards the first island. The crew was surprised, but not the Watcher – who had been looking for something attached to a member of the assembled company.

The long ship picked up a great deal of movement – and the island shrank. It began as it ended, with the black mountain with a bit of snow upon dwindling in two the distance. In about an hour the sky had cleared out gracefully – and the wind had picked up, so that the bracing sail would move them along. The water was blue again, and the breeze gathered behind them putting distance between where they landed, and where they were going.

The Watcher surveyed the deck, and once again noticed that the Skald was down beneath – though he would rather she wait for a more appropriate time. Perhaps he would talk to the Commander, and suggest that she do her business on her own time.

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This is beginning to look like the election of '64.

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How Do You Handle Dining With Big-Spender Pals? - The New York Times
Pick friend with less  inordinately expensive tastes?

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Goldman Warns ‘Supply Storm’ to Engulf Global Copper Market

One Crazy Nation