Child of Starlight: Issue 2 – Part 4: Celestial Chief

Aliene looked up past the branches into darkness. “Yes it was.” Aliene stood pulling her sword and bow out of her pack.

As Jacobus loosed his reach and contracted it, the muscles in his arms visible grew. With a blast of wind from the brush a voice called to them, saying something just out of hearing. The pair exchanged glances until Aliene froze, visibly disturbed. “Did you hear that?”

“Just now?” Jacobus questioned, Aliene nodded. “No.”

“There it is again,” Aliene stood from her crouched position. “It’s calling me to it.”

“What is?”

“I don’t really know,” Aliene started walking sword still raised. “Come on, grab the brick from my bag.”

Jacobus didn’t answer, just obeyed and followed behind her, leaving his own pack and the rest of hers. He looked past Aliene into the inky blackness that enveloped her, then it filled his own vision. Until the faint glow of something in the distance appeared, and a voice came from all around saying, ‘Go towards it and fire an arrow.’

“Now that I—” Jacobus was cut off by Aliene shushing him.

After the sounds of a bow creaking followed by the whoosh of its release, an explosion of light rushed past them. What had been a black abyss was now filled with countless flecks of light. Swirling like firefly’s in a dome, that then became still appearing to be stars in a clear sky. Jacobus felt a hand on his shoulder force him into kneeling, he fought it in vain till he saw what it was. A man taller and broader than any Jacobus had ever seen, and as the being passed by him he saw the legs of an equian. It was in fact a full body of an equian as the beings lower half, the feet of which were large thick talons, the digits linked by webbing. His whole body had a rough skin that glistened like scales, and a pair of long folded fins sprouted from the sides of his left forearm.

“Daughter do you know me?” the voice from earlier said as the being approached Aliene.

She had fallen to her knees staring at it, “Yes,” her voice was meek.

“Say it, child of starlight.”

“Aquar Equias, Chief of hunters, Centauri,” Aliene flinched as the being flexed, extending his left arm and watched him pull his right hand along his left arm like you would a bow. She looked on in amazement as a sliver of pale blue light manifested, Centauri aimed upward and fired the sliver. It claimed into the air and burst becoming almost like a sun that began filling the area with soft blue light.

“Dear child how long I have watched you grow,” Centauri spoke with a voice that made the air shiver. “Your strength is something beyond mortal limits. You bring me honor,” the being turned to Jacobus, “So you will quiet your mind boy, I am one of the avatars for her pantheon of gods.”

Aliene coughed out a breath tearing up as she looked to the being who would be her god. “Why Me?” Aliene says finally letting tears flow down her cheeks. “Why would you do this to me,” Aliene screamed it clutching her chest.

Centauri was silent for a moment, “If I knew child I would tell you, truly. It is your mark, it was made by your magic, I have watched over my tribe for a thousand generations. I have seen heroes be foretold come to pass and be welcomed amongst the starlight households.” The being of hunters bent to place his hand under Aliene’s chin lifting her face. He looked into her hazel eyes that begged for relief, to have this burden lifted. “You are different, you have something more than what I know, how you live, how you deal with this, will be up to you. All I can do is arm you with what I do know, give me your bow.”

Aliene lifts her weapon with both hands bowing her head, as she does the weapon changes flashes of light force her eyes closed. When the light subsided, she looks at what her bow had become. Heavier than before and almost pulsing with magic. It was thinner, but as she gripped it the ends fanned out like the gods own arm. “Give it a try.”

Aliene stood her mind asking why there was no bowstring, but her body just moving. Her arm went through the motions and as she drew her magic was pulled from her hand. She aimed at a tree that appeared some ways off, half rotten and released. With a hiss and whistle her target more splattered than splintered but was missing a huge section in an instant.

“Raw power has its uses, merely think sharper to pierce a target, though try not to use this more than ten times a day child. Don’t lose it I have blessed it but Hafwen did spend weeks making it for you in the first place,” Centauri smiled at her beneath his star filled eyes and nodded at Jacobus, “He is more than he seems, don’t discard such faith.”

Jacobus had stayed a good distance form the girl and the god, kneeling and as the being of hunters nodded at him he stood only to drop the meteor stone. “What the,” Jacobus picked it up as Centauri appear beside him, no sound, no warning. The being took it, examining the stone for the moment.

“Interesting, this is the star that fell to you?” Jacobus nodded to answer him. “This is from the House of Crafting.” Centauri looked up towards the sky, seemingly past the darkness. “I give you this advice young one, in the heart of a mountain north of here lives a being much like myself, should you find him give him this stone.”

Aliene opened her mouth to reply but was suddenly blinded by white hot light, when she blinked rapidly to adjust her eyes she heard the buzz of insects calling and the song of birds fill the air.

Facebook May Hide Pro-Anti Vaccination News Because of False Info

For years now, a battle has been brewing between anti-vaxxers and everyone else. Whether or not, vaccines cause mental disabilities like autism. Now, with a measles outbreak going on in the United States, Facebook has taken steps to limit the outbreak and the anti-vaxxers opinions from being released.

After a rough year of dealing with tons of fake news and being criticized for not being able to control the news, Facebook has stepped up to the plate and decided to control the spread of false news relating to anti-vexxers.

Back in September, the Pew Research Center reported that at least two thirds of Americans get their news on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Starting this year as well, the World Health Organization has declared people deciding not to vaccinate as a world crisis and the CDC has noted the increasing number of children that are not getting vaccinated.

This has resulted in a measles outbreak in Washington state where over 50 kids, mainly those who have not been vaccinated, have gotten measles. It has gotten to the point where the state may force parents to vaccinate their children.

The paper that was published by the disgraced doctor has been debunked multiple times now. Seriously, there’s no reason for anyone not to have a vaccine. We aren’t in the middle ages now, we have the power to stop diseases like polio and measles, and yet this subject remains a debate.

Castle of Crows – Part 6

After all the noise of the night before, I think it was the silence that woke me up. The rain had finally stopped, and the world had finally gone quiet after the wild panic of the night before. The candles around the room had gone out while we slept, but now that the sun was up there was dim light shining through the curtains. The door was still locked, and it seemed undamaged despite the best efforts of whatever had attacked the room earlier.

Now that there was nothing trying to force its way in, I felt safe enough to investigate the room. The wood cabinet was locked up tight, but the work table had more then enough weird things on it for me. Besides the cauldron, there was an assortment of herbs and stones, and several rows of shelves holding dozens of little bottles filled with powders, liquids, and what appeared to be bones. Each bottle was labeled in Aunt Pen’s neat script, but not in English. There was also a book filled with recipes, but none of them looked like they made food. At least, I hoped they weren’t food.

Macey yawned behind me, and I turned to see her rubbing her eyes as she woke up. Continue reading Castle of Crows – Part 6

Mint Condition of Famous Game Sells Big

Have you ever thought, “yeah, I would spend over $100,000 for a video game.” Well, one person thought the money was well spend.

An original mint condition Super Mario Bros was sold at an auction on Thursday for $100,150 to a group of people that plan on sharing the game among each other.

This is the most expensive game to have been sold since the unique Nintendo World Championships cartridge was sold for $100,088 on eBay back in 2014.

This version of Super Mario Bros, is a  version that was used during the early test launch. So most likely, any version that you and I may have of Mario is not going to sell for that much. The same goes for most of our favorites and no, Fortnite isn’t one of them.

The question is now, could a game that is graded as mint, sell for over $1 million. A lot of people in the gaming world believe that we could see that in our lifetimes.

The question is that what would be the game to reach that mark. Could it be an arcade game like PAC-Man or could it be another Mario game or could a game that we don’t expect like the failed E.T. games that were reportedly buried because of how bad they were.

We just have to wait for the moment when one of these games hits the auction block.

Sunset in Christiansburg

Sitting here with you,
I forget the day’s troubles.

The pain and anger melt away
As the sun sinks out of view.

Sitting here with you,
Just holding hands quietly.

We don’t need any words
As we watch the golden light.

Sitting here with you,
My heart has lit up with love.

The clouds colorful and bright,
Like fire burning across the sky.

Sitting here with you,
The world is at peace.

The trees are dark silhouettes,
Standing firm and tall against the sky.

Sitting here with you,
I wish this night would never end.

Let the world freeze in this moment,
Sitting here with you.

 

Photo by Carly Sumpter

One State is Trying to Tax Violent Video Games

For some, video games are the way of life while for others, gaming is just a lazy way to live your life. However, in one state, there are plans to place taxes on your favorite games like GTA, Call of Duty, and God of War.

Yes, the home of most Amish people, Pennsylvania, is trying to add a tax for games that are violent or mature, in efforts to make more money for state-run programs. The plan calls for a 10 percent tax, which would be at a cost of $6 for games that usually cost $60 when the game is initially released. This tax would only happen at retail stores as Pennsylvania would be unable to control the digital sales of the games.

This is the second time that the bill has been presented to the legislative body as the first bill failed to make it out of the committee. Now, the bill, which is called House Bill 109, is picking up steam with two Democrats and a Republican currently sponsoring it.

The tax money made from the games would be used to enhance school safety measures in the state.

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) is currently challenging the law. The ESA says that the law would violate the U.S. Constitution, citing a previous case that stated video games were protected by the Constitution.

ESA also cited research that says there’s no evidence attributing mass shootings to violent games.

It will be interesting to see what the outcome of the case will be, and we will be sure to keep up with any updates as the bill progresses.

 

Photo from Gamezine

At the Alter

After months of planning, of fittings and tastings and color coordinating, the day was finally here. Everything was beautiful, the flowers and the bridesmaids and the forest surrounding the field where the wedding would happen. The ceremony was set to begin at sunset, and they’d light the candles the lined the aisle. It was going to be beautiful, maybe even perfect, or it would have been, if it had been anyone’s wedding but my own.

I watched my reflection with a detached indifference as the hair stylist wove flowers into my hair. I could hardly recognize the woman in the mirror before me; she looked too beautiful to be real, like she’d been pulled from the pages of a magazine, inhumanly flawless. She lacked the scar on my chin that I’d gotten while playing field hockey. I’d hated that scar when I’d gotten it, but I’d had it so long that my face looked wrong without it. I couldn’t see my freckles either, or the birthmark that was supposed to be on my collarbone.

My reflection looked beautiful, but she didn’t look like me. This whole day was like that though, beautiful, picturesque, practically perfect in every way, but it wasn’t me.

“Oh, Claire, you look so beautiful!” My mother looked like she was on the verge of tears, her eyes big and watery and filled with pride. “Everything’s just so perfect. I’m so happy to see it all come together.” Continue reading At the Alter

Link Between Breast Implants and Cancer According to FDA

For some people in the United States, plastic surgery is a way to make yourself feel “better” or more “perfect” in some ways. However, the risks always come ahead of the rewards. In this case, the risk is not worth it.

At least 457 women have been diagnosed with anaplastic large cell lymphoma, which is a rare type of cancer. The Food and Drug Administration has stated that nine people have died since being diagnosed with this type of cancer that affects the cells of the immune system. They can be found around the breast implant area.

The FDA has issued multiple warnings in letters to those in the medical field explaining the link between the cancer and one of the most popular forms of plastic surgery. The letters state the warning signs of the cancer, which could be new lumps, pain and swelling around the breast area.

FDA has also asked for medical providers to report all cases to them in order to gather numbers, which could result in a halt on certain types of breast implants.

However, most of the cases that have occurred have to do with textured implants rather than smooth implants. The good news is that the cancer is slow growing and easily treatable if caught early.

There’s only a small number of women who have cancer out of the estimated 10 to 11 million women who have breast implants in the world, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the Plastic Surgery Foundation.

This isn’t the first time that the FDA has brought this to our attention as in 2011, they presented the possibility of cancer but mentioned that it was a small chance that it could happen.

Now, new information has arisen. While 457 may seem to be a small amount, it’s a big enough number to where patients should be getting themselves checked for cancer, so if it is found, then it can be treated as soon as possible.

 

Photo from NPR

Hand in the Fog

To run with you
The day away
I feel your hand in mine
It pulls me on
Through foggy stretch
A road without a sign

From tightened grip
The guiding hand
I feel it slipping through
And when the fog
Comes crashing down
My thoughts are only you

A light that shines
When I see none
My warmth is in the palm
That feels you there
Till your return
The inner storm becalmed

Through distance gripped
Through absence held
Through hardship to the last
I feel your hand
Held tight in mine
No matter distance past

Apple Has Officially Released the Fix for FaceTime Group Bug

A few weeks ago, a 14-year-old kid was able to find a bug that sent Apple into a panic and led to them shutting down an important function for any Apple product.

Just last Thursday, Apple released an update for their iOS software, which patched the FaceTime Group function after a bug was found that allowed people to eavesdrop on any conversation even if the call wasn’t answered.

This came after a 14-year-old, of all people, discovered the bug. Apple did acknowledge the finding and apologized about the issue, which resulted in a temporary shutdown of the function until the release of a patch.

Of course, this isn’t the first or last issue that Apple has dealt with over the years. Remember when all Apple users got a new U2 album for free on their products? Yeah, the backlash was so bad that it lead to Apple releasing a patch that allowed users to delete the unwanted music from their playlists.

How about the worst of the worst when Apple admitted to slowing down older phones so people would have to eventually buy another phone? Apple would have been better off if they just declared it an urban legend. This problem has led to many lawsuits that are still being fought in federal courts to this day.

The good news for Apple here is that no one (well, at least not yet) is planning on launching any lawsuits against the multi-billion dollar company for this bug and hopefully for them, the bug has been squished.

 

 

Marching On

We stood on the bridge
In the wake of a new dawn.
The musical sunrise reflected in your eyes;
The water below dappled gold and pink;
And I couldn’t help but say,
“Hello, I love you.”

The birds wheeled overhead.
Traffic rushed past.
No house, no money,
But nothing else mattered.

The moment I saw you,
I knew we could make it,
For better for worse,
To have and to hold.
Til death do us part,
I swear we were reborn.
My hand in yours,
Let’s march on.

The Fairy Tale of Mr. Right

Mr. Right is a fairy tale told to little girls, so they know princes are real.

Mr. Right is kind, chivalrous, loyal, truly loves you, and not just for the sex.

Mr. Right won’t pressure you, never asking you to do anything that’ll hurt you.

Mr. Right won’t lay a hand on you without permission

He’ll even ask to kiss you and never hit you out of anger.

Mr. Right will be loved by your family and friends.

He’ll never make you jealous because you’re his woman, but he’s not a misogynist.

 

When a little girl meets a boy

She thinks he’s good because all boys are good to girls they’re interested in.

He’s nothing like the stories or romantic comedies.

He doesn’t say and do everything right, but she’ll let it go because she can save him,

Make a man out of a bad boy and he’ll be her trophy.

No one warns the little girls not to trust them.

He’ll screw her over, shred her flower petal heart and move on.

Not all boys are princes.

Continue reading The Fairy Tale of Mr. Right

Systems Outage with Wells Fargo Services

Our money is very important to us in today’s society.  Of course without it, you won’t be able to buy your needs and any wants that you can afford for the week.  However, some people got worried when their hard earned money wasn’t showing up on their accounts.

Customers with Wells Fargo were unable to access their money on their accounts just this past Thursday and even as recent as Friday it was reported that customers were still having troubles and they were unable to access their accounts and direct deposits.

Wells Fargo released a statement that said that the issue was contained by their data center that the ATMs were working and most online and mobile services were back up and operating.

Because of the issue, Wells Fargo extend their hours for most of their branches by one hour for Friday and Saturday.

However, the issues that are still going on are serious ones like mortgage issues which are affecting closing on houses which could affect the futures of many.

Another issue which is the most common one is customers not being able to access their money which worried business owners and others as people’s paychecks could had been delayed due to the issue.

As of press time, some of the issues are lingering as some customers are planning on switching bank providers as soon as they are able to access their accounts, they will be switching to another bank. This won’t affect the fourth largest bank in the world right now but it could affect their future if they are not careful.

It is going to be an interesting few days to see how many customers leave Wells Fargo due to this debacle.

Robocalls At An All Time High In U.S.

Has there ever been a time where you were in class or at work when your phone went off and it was a call from a number that you did not recognize? That may have been a robocall, and you ain’t the only one getting them.

A whopping 26.3 billion robocalls were made just last year, according to a report from Hiya. This number has increased by 47 percent since 2017, when there were 18 billion robocalls. That means that the average person would have gotten at least 10 robocalls.

Hiya also released their first annual State of the Call report. Their mission is to give insight “into how Americans use their phones on a monthly basis given the rise of robocalls.”

They found that there are over 11 billion calls that are made monthly, but only 52 percent of them get answered. The unanswered calls are mainly robocalls, telemarketers, and fraudsters, which Hiya calls “general spam.”

Just remember that when you get a call saying you have won a world-wide trip or a call telling you that you have won a million dollars from a contest that you never entered, it’s a scam and you probably shouldn’t answer calls like that in the future.

 

Photo from KimKommando

On This Canvas

I wrote our names with rocks
And placed them perfectly
On top of the red clay.

I can’t write our names in sand.
The waves destroy my creations:
Castles, moats, and especially names.

I can’t write our name in the sky.
That lasts less time than the sand.
A mere wind will destroy my creation.

But here, we may be safe.
On this vast canvas that I have claimed
Our names scar the earth.

Each stone was perfectly selected,
Spelling out our promise to each other
For the world to not destroy… just yet.

Want To Get Rid Of Bugs? Well, Bug Bombs Aren’t The Way To Go

Some of us, as college students, have dealt with bugs occasionally, especially living in Muse Hall, which may have more rodents and bugs than students at any given time. However, a new study suggests that some ways of killing bugs don’t work.

In a study that occurred in Raleigh, North Carolina and will appear in BMC Public Health, researchers found that bug bombs do not help kill off bugs; even when the residue is left behind for months, it will not kill the bugs.

In the study, when researchers set off bombs in 30 infested houses, the cockroach population did not increase but did not decrease either.

However, research did find that with certain types of bait, the population of roaches dropped in these houses, with one bait decreasing the population by over 75 percent over a month period.

While this may not mean a lot to you as of right now, it may mean a lot to your parents who may have dealt with a roach issue or fruit flies.

Also, another thing to consider is the chemicals in the bug bombs don’t disappear for a while, so the chemicals that aren’t killing the bugs are actually killing you. By that time, the chemicals would had spread to where you prepare your dinner for the night and what not.

It would do you better if you created your own bug bomb that’s natural for your household rather than kill yourself and others for bugs that won’t just die.

 

 

The Light

Before, it was dark.
Now there is light,
Bright and dancing across my eyes.

It glows and shifts, gold and bright,
And behind it is the dark from before,
And maybe it shifts too.

I see figures, silhouetted by the light.
They glow too and wear bright halos.

I can’t see their faces.

There’s a voice, soft and sure.

“Just stay calm.”

Aren’t I though?
I watch the lights above me,
They’re so very pretty.
Shiny and gold and so, so pretty.

I don’t know where I am, and everything seems far away.
I feel floaty and fuzzy;
The world is a blur of light and dark.

The figures are people, I think.
And I can still hear the voice.

“Calm down, just breathe.”

She has a very nice voice.
Such a nice thing to wake up to.
Is this waking up?

I can’t tell.

“Breathe, just breathe. Calm down.”

It hits me now, how rapid my breaths are.
How they could be interpreted as panic,
Though I feel so at ease here.

InOutInOutInOutInOut

I don’t want to leave, but I try to slow my breathing.
She’s asking so nicely, after all,
And she seems worried about me.

In, Out. In, Out. In, Out.

Why would anyone be worried here though?
Can’t she see the lights?

I try to watch them again, but they’re fading now.
Or the dark is receding, and they’re merging into one.

Now the light is much too bright,
And the shadows from before are entirely gone.

The figures resolve fully into people, into nurses.

I am awake.

Castle of Crows – Part 5

The moment the sky went dark, Aunt Pen was grabbing us both and pulling us out of the room. I could hear howling from outside, followed by the familiar cawing of crows, and while the noises scared me, the panicked look on Aunt Pen’s face was what kept me from asking questions. Her face had lost all color, and as she pulled us through the halls and up the stairs she kept looking around like she expected something to jump out of the shadows at us.

When we got to the third floor, Aunt Pen started leading us down a very familiar hallway. It was where we’d first started looking for the passage to the tower, and when Aunt Pen stopped in front of that blank wall it occurred to me that she might not have been completely honest when she said she’d never found the passageways.

There was a crash behind us, and Macey and I turned to see a crow had crashed through a window down the hall. Before I could even try to identify him though, there was a scraping sound, and we turned again to see the stone wall opening up to reveal a staircase. Aunt Pen grabbed us and pushed us through the opening. Continue reading Castle of Crows – Part 5