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i was born in a petri dish / the product of a doctor’s wish / through hubris and arrogance / he killed god to see his son again
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ham cucumber
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Don't @ me I'm chillin
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@NuttsnBolts I understand fully well that site development takes time and effort, my (very mild) gripe is only that previously I had been told that such a feature was either outright impossible to implement, or that I was somehow encouraging antisocial behavior by requesting as much.
@LegendBegins I just want to express my appreciation for actually listening to this feedback and finding an actionable way to respond to it.

I've brought up this issue more than once before, and each time prior a mod usually responded saying how the site architecture couldn't handle block lists and that it ruined the spirit of the site. Give me a break.
Oldguild's block function essentially just collapsed posts by blocked users and allowed you to expand them at your own discretion.
@Kuro I'm sure that you can understand that this is an... inelegant solution. Especially considering there is nothing "wrong" with the status in question besides it being a dogwhistle for the person posting it being a massive shitheel. Thus why I'd much rather just block this person and move on with my life, were such a functionality in place.
Taking a quick glance at the status bar, which I normally don't mess with very much, and seeing a comment that didn't pass the sniff test, I followed along to the person's profile to see that they're essentially an ethnonationalist. My quickest reaction on a different platform would be to block this person. There's no such functionality. I cannot flag or report their status, either.

Is there any plan to at least mark people that we don't want to interact with, on a basis only visible to our accounts? I think it's perhaps unreasonable to have to maintain a mental list of who is racist on this site so I don't end up in a game with them.
The Dijat of Heka

The misty, grey-skied hours just before dawn were a solemn, almost sacred time in Photep. The chill of night hung in the air, and fog rolled off the ocean to fill the spaces around the tallest buildings like potting soil in a garden. A city of this size was never truly still, with many going about nightly business even at these small hours, but the streets were as empty as they ever were, and there were few windows still lit. The most common sights on the wide, long boulevards that fed into the Dijat at the city's heart were the red-uniformed officers of the Order Khenetai, patrolling in pairs with their bronze blades hung at their hips. Youths barely old enough to take up professions may have spurred them to stop and question where they had to be at such a time, but the sight of Sorcerer's cloaks over their shoulders prompted only short, polite greetings.

The Dijat itself was alive at this hour, although only marginally. Sorcerers milled about, talking quietly in small groups or setting out on various errands. At a distance they seemed like formless shadows in the morning fog, but up close they seemed as normal as anyone else. The majority weren't wearing their cloaks, which were primarily ceremonial in purpose, instead opting for unobtrusive sashes, lanyards, or other accessories in Acolyte yellow or Practicus green to denote their rank. Most still wore their Cult's signifying brooch at their shoulder or neck. Unlike at the reception following the commencement yesterday, these Sorcerers cavorted with their Tutelaries openly, which took on a variety of forms ranging from the mundane to the fantastic. Almost none of the Sorcerers paid any mind to the arriving Novitiates, who moved together in obvious packs of nervous, white-cloaked youths, but some offered short greetings or asked if they needed directions.

By the time most of the Novitiates had found their Cult's pyramid and milled outside of its entrance, the sun began to rise over Photep. Desert sunrises were always a glorious spectacle of amber skies and a sun that hung huge and hazy over the horizon like an overripe fruit, but in the Dijat it seemed almost surreal. The crystalline exteriors of the Cult pyramids caught the sunlight like huge prisms, refracting the light into millions of sunbeams that wove through the plaza like a tapestry of pure radiance. The pattern intertwined with that of the paving stones of the Dijat, creating an enormous mosaic of light and stone that was too intricate and precise to have possibly been accidental. The enormous glass reliefs molded on the inward faces of the pyramids, each denoting the Cult that resided within, seemed to come to life as though each one had its own sun shining directly behind it. Perhaps every Novitiate had heard Photep called "the city of light" at least once before, but after seeing this there could be none that did not understand from where that appellation came.

The Cult of the Crow

A loose throng of Novitiates congregated outside the entrance to their Cult's pyramid. The true entry to the monument was down a ways through the tunnel that led deeper into the pyramid's center, but none of them stepped any further than just within the shade of the tunnel's entrance. They each recognized each other at least nominally from yesterday's ceremony, but those that were appointed to the same Magus tended to stand more closely together. As dawn rose over the Dijat, some did not notice as other figures emerged from the pyramid to greet them. Some were the Magi that had accepted Novitiates, and were greeting their students personally. Others had sent their assistants to escort the Novitiates to their chambers, leading to a few awkward interactions between them and Novitiates that did not recognize fellow Sorcerers if they weren't wearing cloaks.

One such assistant greeted the Novitiates assigned to Magus Dagon. He was tall, somewhat handsome, a fair few years older than them, and his black hair was cut to hang just over his ears. He wore conservative dark-blue robes, which contrasted with the sea-green sash he wore over them, designating his rank of Practicus. His expression was serious, but not unkindly, merely businesslike and focused. His Tutelary perched on his shoulder, an iridescent hummingbird the size of a pigeon, its strange appearance making it seem almost insect-like.

"You are Esi, Thumotep, and Maryatum, yes? I am Sorcerer-Practicus Menes, retainer to Magus Dagon. If you'll follow me, I will take you to his chambers." His voice, similar to his appearance, was firm, to the point, but not unpleasant.

He led them along through the passageway to the pyramid entrance, and stopped before the door flanked by two Acolytes. They were still blinking the sleep from their eyes, and seemed annoyed by having to open and close the door so many times for the arriving Novitiates. Wordlessly, Menes selected a sequence of runes on the door's surface, each changing color as he touched them, until the final two were chosen by the Acolytes standing watch. The runes all shifted from green to black at once, and the doors slid open before them.

"This is the Hall of Prophecy," Menes explained as they stepped into the pyramid, sounding not unlike a guide in one of Photep's many historical museums or art galleries. "Its purpose is primarily ceremonial, and commemorates the prophecies and omens divined by our Cult that have contributed the most to Photep's prosperity."

The Hall was quite dark, almost foreboding, lit only by scores of candles that lined the walls, old wax cascading down their rows like frozen waterfalls. The hall was practically choking with incense smoke, which poured from hanging censers, filling the room with the cloying scents of cinquefoil and cinnamon. The majority of the room was dominated by hanging displays, mostly tapestries, ostensibly meant to signify important prophecies that the Cult of the Crow had some hand in divining. If it had not been for Menes' explanation, that fact may very well have been missed by the Novitiates, as the displays were quite esoteric. Tapestries woven to display strange runes and arcane symbols hung from thick silk ropes, lining the walls above the candles and filling the space of the high vaulted ceiling. Most were smoke-stained by the candles and incense, and many had strange fetishes accompanying them or woven into their structure. Crystal shards, stone fragments, and yellowed fortune cards hung as part of these displays, most likely the tools by which these prophecies came to be known. Some more barbaric displays featured old cracked bones, or the hides of animals. More strange than the symbolic representations themselves were those that were clearly missing; there were numerous gaps in the long rows of tapestries, the difference in the color of the stone wall revealed by these spaces clearly indicating that something had been removed relatively recently.

"There are many texts within the pyramid library explaining the significance of these effigies, if you care to inquire about them. I recommend doing so when you are not busy with your studies; the work of the old masters can be quite inspiring." Menes explained dutifully, making no mention of the removed displays.

Menes continued to usher the Novitiates through the Hall and into an adjoining passageway, which was thankfully better lit and less ominous. He didn't have as much to say about the rest of the pyramid as he led them through it, but there was frankly less to talk about. Just a few hallways and stairwells that led to other parts of the pyramid, such as Novitiates' chambers and various rooms for quiet study or meditation. He recommended finding an older Novitiate or Acolyte to give them a proper tour at some point, pointedly not offering to do so himself. After ascending some ways into the higher levels, they arrived at their destination: the personal chambers of Magus Dagon.

Pushing open a heavy but well-maintained wooden door, Menes invited the Novitiates through, stepping in behind them once the last of them had entered, and shut the door behind them. The space was clean, well-organized, and smelled pleasant, though the lanterns in the room were somewhat scarce, leaving some of it still cloaked in darkness. Many shelves lined the walls, stacked neatly with books and scrolls, and magical apparatuses of brass and crystal and other, less recognizable materials were distributed throughout the room. Dagon himself sat on the floor at a low table, scratching some notes into a book set before him with a tawny quill. He looked markedly different than he had the day prior, his skin seemed less sickly pale, and some of the lines on his face had vanished, making him seem younger and more approachable. He still wore thick, sand-colored robes, but his cloak was elsewhere and his hands were uncovered this time, although there was nothing unusual about them. He glanced up at the arriving Novitiates, and it was clear that the bright blue fire in his eyes had not changed, and was just as unsettling as it had been yesterday.

"Ah, welcome." He said, not rising from his seat. Like his complexion, his voice sounded more hale today, without the overtone of suffering he carried during the commencement. He looked to the Practicus and said simply, "Thank you Menes, I won't have any further need of you today." Menes nodded courteously and left as Dagon returned his attention to his Novitiates. "Come, sit, make yourselves comfortable. You may leave your sandals at the door, and hang your cloaks just beside them if you like. We have much to talk about. Would any of you like tea, or water?"

The Cult of the Phoenix

A similar scene unfolded at the entrance to the pyramid of the Cult of the Phoenix, as Novitiates awaited their first full day as Sorcerers with a mix of eagerness and nervous anticipation. The throng of white cloaks looked about as similar in diversity as that in front of any other pyramid; no more among them looked like pyromancers than those belonging to any other cult, though it was difficult to say what precisely a pyromancer looked like. The small crowd gradually thinned, and as Khotanabre wondered whether he would be greeted by his Magus or if Xavier would delegate the task, a heavy hand landing on his shoulder broke him from his thoughts.

"You're on time, Khotanabre." Said Xavier, his deep voice rumbling like a rockslide. "As good a start as any. Come, let's have a walk. The day is young and I have not yet eaten breakfast." He punctuated his statement by patting his prominent belly. He smiled at Kho, but the affection of the gesture was still undone by his unearthly gaze.

Xavier was not dressed as flamboyantly as he had the day prior, merely covering himself with an undyed pullover robe that hung from his generous middle, and he walked on modest sandals. If it had not been for the black cloak over his shoulder and his burning eyes, he might have looked like anyone's grandfather out for a morning stroll. He set off at a gentle pace, hands clasped behind his back, and set out eastward, down an avenue aimed almost directly toward the rising sun. Shopkeepers lining the sides of the street were just preparing for their day, setting out produce and erecting temporary stalls and banners.

"What is your pleasure, son? Fruit? Bread? A bit of fish? I think today I'll just have flatbread. Maybe with some bean paste." He chuckled to himself, before saying, "I made something of a fool of myself overeating yesterday. I can't digest spices like I did when I was a young man. My wife would give me quite the earful if I didn't eat more modestly today."

The Cult of the Serpent

An unfamiliar ceiling greeted the bleary eyes of the Novitiates of the Cult of the Serpent as they awoke. It was unpainted stone, but well-maintained and seemed to be lit by daylight. They quickly found that the three of them were all laying close enough to reach one another, and had been deposited onto an old woven rug that seemed to have been originally dyed green and blue. A scratchy woolen blanket had been thrown over the three of them, their heads felt dull and stuffy, and their stomachs churned uneasily, but beside all of that they were alive and healthy. They were still in the clothes they had been wearing when they entered the chamber with the mushroom, and some of the sandy clay from the room's floor still clung to their skin and hair.

Sitting up and taking in the rest of the room, they seemed to be in some kind of peculiar study. The sun shone in from a generously proportioned window on the room's east-facing wall, and much of that side of the room was arrayed with potted plants and glass cases that seemed to hold more plants. A heavy curtain divided the room in half, drowning everything behind it in darkness that the Novitiates were too foggy-headed to quite see through. That aside, this seemed to be someone's living quarters. A table and some cooking implements took up the middle of the room, where they saw a pot of water boiling over a small brazier. The wall closest to them was taken up by a bookshelf crammed with reading materials, as well some latched wooden cases, their contents unknown. A few decorative pieces hung on the walls, mostly animal skins and other tribal fetishes.

Their observations of the room were broken by the emergence of Nevrakis from behind the shadow of the curtain. She was holding what looked like an embalmer's tool, which she set down atop a nearby terrarium when the noticed the Novitates awake and looking at her. Her hair was tied up in yet another messy bun, and she wore only a very simple woolen robe, looking much like she had just woken up, herself. Her gem-adorned bangles still hung from her wrists and ankles; the only thing marking her out as something other than a normal woman that had just rolled out of bed.

"Oh good, you're still alive." She said, not completely sounding like she was joking. "I imagine you've got quite a lot you need to unpack from that experience. Have some coffee, it helps."

She knelt down at the table in the room's center and set out three ugly ceramic cups in front of her Novitiates. She then took the water she had boiling and strained it through a sieve full of coffee grounds into an equally-ugly clay hes. The rich aroma of hot, fresh coffee filled the small chamber, and she poured out three cups for the Novitiates and one for herself, paying no mind to any objections. She set her implements down and seated herself at the table properly, took a long, luxurious sip of her coffee with her eyes closed, and opened them again to look at the Novitiates.

"Go on, drink. Then we'll talk." Seeing their hesitation, she rolled her eyes and added, "It's only coffee, I promise you."
@Theyra Do you want us to wait for you to get a post up before changing the scene?
Magus Xavier looked up a Kho with an expression that might have been bemusement. Given the otherworldly quality his burning eyes possessed, it was difficult to tell much of anything from his expression at all. He was seated relatively near the dais, in the company of a few other Sorcerers from their Cult, and had was clearly in the midst of enjoying the spread. A few empty plates were stacked in front of him, and he seemed to currently be working on the drumstick of some sort of roasted fowl. A large, brass goblet of water was positioned in front of him, with the hes he was filling it from positioned within arm's reach.

"It's no trouble. Come, have a seat." Xavier's voice rumbled deep in his chest, but did not seem as unearthly as his gaze. He pulled out the chair next to him and set another goblet in front of it, which he then filled with water from the hes without Kho's asking. "I noticed you were making new acquaintances, and felt no need to interrupt. I'm surprised you've set your sights so high so early, though, my young Novitiate." Xavier teased, grinning at Kho. Though the expression was probably meant to put him at ease, Xavier's eyes made it seem as sinister as any other expression he wore.

Kho took the seat he was offered with a thankful bow of his head. This guy seemed less intimidating than he should up close, at least. Though that could've just been because he was less imposing when seated. He took a sip from his goblet before responding, grateful for the drink in the midday heat, not to mention the stress-inducing conversation he'd just been through.

"Ah, I can't take much credit for that. I was sort of dragged into that discussion by one of the novitiates' curious younger sister. Who also garnered the attention of Magister Khalophis, apparently," Kho confessed, shrinking in his chair as he spoke.

Xavier laughed as he sipped from his cup, setting it down and wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. "It may behoove you to try and relax. This will certainly not be the last absurdity you encounter as a Sorcerer, and it will do you no good to twist yourself into knots over every peculiar situation you find yourself in. I know it sounds easier said than done, especially given the house you were raised in, but given enough time I hope you will find life as a Sorcerer liberating. It's impossible to completely escape the political machine," He added, shrugging, "But as long as you are diligent and professional, it will never seriously hinder you."

Yeah, relaxing would definitely do Kho some good. At this rate he'd have gray hairs by the end of the year. At the risk of appearing impolite, the boy kept his gaze on the water in his cup - easier to imagine Xavier as a pudgy uncle giving life advice when one couldn't see his face. "That's probably wise, yes. I'm not really versed on the proper decorum here and I didn't want to step on anyone's toes," he explained, rubbing the back of his neck awkwardly, "but everyone else seems content enough with informality, so I think I might be worrying over nothing." At the very least, he had the 'diligent and professional' part down. Mostly.

"Set your expectations, test your approach, review your results, determine what you must change, and then start over again." Xavier prattled on between bites of his meal. "That's standard practice among Sorcerers, as you'll come to learn." He washed down his food with more water, and refilled his cup. "But we can speak more on that tomorrow. Discussing work while eating gives you indigestion." He looked back at Kho, appraising him seriously with his burning gaze. "Expectations and decorum aside, how are you feeling, Khotanabre? Is this what you want?"

How was Kho feeling? Nervous. Like he'd made an ass of himself all day. Way out of his league. But that was all over expectations and decorum. It sounded pointless when the Magus spelled it out like that.

"I'm feeling... good. Excited, I guess. Definitely eager. I aim to please, in any case," he mused, fussing with a stray lock of hair that had gotten tangled in his circlet. The redhead thought on the question for a moment more before letting out a soft chuckle, "I guess that still sounds like I'm not relaxed. I'll settle in, I'm sure of it." Familarity was all he needed to get over his nerves, but his primary concern needed to be magic now. The fact that he managed to forget that was probably the only social blunder he'd made today that he actually felt bad about in retrospect.

"It'll come with time," Xavier assured him, "Fretting over it won't do you any good." He reiterated, before setting the defleshed drumstick down on his now-empty plate. "In any case, you've done your due dilligence with me. Go join your family, let them fawn over you for a while yet. I'll meet you tomorrow in front of our Cult's pyramid at dawn." He poked Kho in the chest with a thick finger. "Be ready, boy."

That was it? Kho was getting dismissed that easily? That was much less stressful than he thought it would be. The boy flinched a bit at the prodding, but quickly composed himself to nod in understanding. He forced himself to meet Xavier's burning gaze as he replied, "Of course, Magus."

Standing from his seat, he adjusted his cloak and gave a quick bow to the other sorcerers nearby on the off-chance he'd interrupted anything. "Pardon me," He muttered quickly before departing, ignoring the muffled snickering coming from the avian voice ringing through his mind like a creeping headache. That bird was enjoying this more than he was, at this rate.

@Hero Either or both, basically just your character's reaction to this experience. If you don't want to make a post until they "wake up" after, that's fine too.
@Vec@Theyra@Hero@Obscene Symphony@Scribe of Thoth@Crusader Lord@Achronum

I have a prompt I'd like you all to complete, and incorporate into your CS when you find the time. Genuinely something that slipped my mind, but will be fairly necessary going forward.

In essence I want you to produce the feeling of your character's aura. Every living person has a unique aetheric presence or signature, like fingerprints, that resonates with their subtle body. This is dealing with the realm of pure thought and consciousness, and so while an aura can possess a distinctive visual element, it need not be only that, or even present at all.

I'll offer some examples.

Ashur Kai: white light without warmth, like the memory of sunlight.

Sekhandur Khain: the feeling of a knife pressing against silk, a hair's breadth from cutting through.

Sargon Eregesh: smoke, unsubstantial and impossible to grasp, like a voice too low to understand, or colors too muted to tell apart.

I realize these are all quite disparate but I wanted to illustrate how esoteric these can be. As I said, these would be the "signature" of your character's aura, likely to take on other forms and permutations as they develop and grow and encounter new situations. You can post them here or just @ me when they're in your CS.
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