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Literature
The White Rose of Stalingrad
Ironies
Somewhere on The Eastern Front 194_
Lydia welcomed the gray darkness and musty air of the hangar. To most, it would have seemed to match the dark and grime of Ravensbrück, but to her it was a world of difference. She allowed herself to drift in the clacking of her shoes on the resin floor, swaying at the shoulder to klezmer in her mind. The quiet was total, save for occasional murmurs and shuffling feet.
Lydia snickered at the thought that the men who had brought her might be scared. She had seen and done things others couldn't conceive, and she was sure these people had done likewise. She thought a moment, they were essentially alone, the enemy didn't seem to know where they were. Really, there was just her. But they weren't scared of her, not in the sense of her posing a danger to them. They were scared of what she might do or say.
There were frantic, rustling, swishing and swooping noises. She swore she heard a rich, deep voice curse at what sounded like a smaller man,
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Literature
People of the Fjord-Bone
He tied his thoughts to the echoes of the hall, by the knocking he knew they were getting closer. THUMP. the people of the fjord-bone were notoriously dour and ill-disposed to outsiders. He knew this well, having spent considerable time with them as a boy. Even then, he had resented the ivory-tower scholars who knew nothing of the people they endeavored to advise. They boasted of how cosmopolitan they were with how many tongues they knew, but their grammars and lexicons were outdated, in dialects indecipherable to natives due to linguistic drift. High speech. He had wanted to know them as they knew themselves. It had left its mark, too. He was less prone to elaborate gesticulation than to ecstatic muttering in the bone-talk. Pitter-patter. With this in mind, he’d once again shed his skullcap for an ushanka of the bone-folk’s make. As he entered silently, he contemplated how he would attract their attention. He knew those things to which they would respond. He knew.
“B
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Literature
Portal Within Shangri-La
The jhankri stepped forward from the throng, as Rabten and Tinley watched excitedly. He swayed with intention, setting his bells, clustered on a knotted cord, a-ringing. Edmund remembered from the ethnographies that he had read that these were tied for meditative purposes. He let out a single note, one which Edmund recognized as C major, the resonant frequency of Earth, as he recalled, he saw it in some Theosophical paper or other.
The jhankri paced around the circle of his faithful, eyeing the squadron with suspicion and his elderly with purpose. Eventually, he called to them, asking if there was one among them who wished to be released from the world of mara. A man of about the jhankri’s own age, missing a few teeth and wearing a saffron robe, came forward. He was dragged away by two large, hirsute men clad in furs. The old man laughed, smiled, as much as he could, and even chatted with his bearers.
Heard from a distance, not because of volume but rather the nature of the acous
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Literature
The Promise
He waited until the office building emptied, then he strode out into the gray cubicles, part and parcel with the gray floor. He looked at the cracks in the drywall and watched as the cold fluorescent lights began to flicker, seeming to eliminate the space between his positions. He inhaled deeply. It was time.
He made his way to the elevator, haltingly pushed the button and busied himself until it came by, biting at his cuticles. He heard the machinery grind to a stop as they door opened. He entered the elevator, which had been artificially illuminated such that it seemed warm. This had no effect on him, as he knew what they behind it, and beyond it.
He descended into the parking garage, gliding across the slight ramp into the lot proper. Yet again, the lights flickered. To pass the time and to still his nerves, he tried to count the cars, categorizing them by color and memorizing their license plates. Another flicker. She was here.
Between flashes of darkness, he saw the glint of the k
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Literature
Portal Collapse
The charges had begun going off, the ground shook and resounded with their force. Dust was dislodged from the far corners of the roof and fell, unnoticed, on their shoulders. Rabten had taken them down the paths that wound across the mountain.
Edmund and Nakni could not help but slip, coming perilously close to falling over a ledge. Rabten grasped their shoulders forcefully, they whipped around to face him, seeing the smoky tendrils of his breath as he glared at them. His concern underscored, the platoon continued on.
Finally, they reached the door, carved roughly into the mountainside and surrounded by foliage that looked as though it had grown there for aeons, but in fact had been cultivated to disguise the gate from the uninitiated.
They then entered the chamber itself, essentially the same as it had been when they had first made their way to Shangri-La, save for the great cracks and fissures in the floor and ceiling.
“What about the ritual?” Edmund wondered aloud
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Literature
L'hotel Arbez
L’hôtel Arbez. Slight weathering in the white paint marred its simplistic, almost picture book and definitely picturesque aesthetic, which Edmund supposed was part of the place’s charm, along with the red-brown slate roof, as well as the charms of the places around it. The platoon had found their way there for practical purposes, a meeting with the influential Résistance member Yvette Farnoux  and her entourage.
They checked in in the lobby, communally pushing Abdi forward as he was the most competent speaker of French and the folks here didn’t have the problem with Negroes that, for instance, Americans had. Edmund was once again grateful in that moment he was not serving with a Yank.
“Avez-vous des chambres libres ?” Abdi inquired, dutifully but quietly.
“Bien sûr,” the Maîtresse d'hôtel chirped
With that, they ascended the staircase, talking excitedly amongst themselves. Suddenly, without a word, Connor moved to
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Literature
The Forge
The Forge was a paradoxical thing. It seemed almost a gaping maw that stretched onward to nowhere, and from it belched fire, the mere suggestion of which challenged earthly conceptions thereof, as Origen said it would. The fire was at once wild and carefully controlled,  though Edmund could see no mechanism by which this might be done. He remembered his studies, one of the senses of one of the Divine Names. “The Lord had said to the Seas ‘enough,’ and restrained them to their proper boundaries.
He wondered, as anyone might, whether the Forge’s roar was out of rage or pain, as the fire charred the walls of the chasm itself. It was through this that the weapons were made, constantly reforming igneous rock, barely allowing it even a moment to cool, until out of resilience conjoined with the wrath of the damned who surrounded the Forge, they did so. When they cooled, it was as gnarled and twisted shapes, with veins of molten metal running through them like spid
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Literature
Untitled
Le Jeu de Paume was emptying, and as the last clattering footsteps departed, Robert looked up into the vaulted ceilings, with their ornate detailing, and questioned what he was about to do next. He felt himself jerked back to the present moment by his mounting fear, which prickled atop his skin. He endeavored to inhale, and thereby to collect himself but his breath was shallow. He glanced at the flickering sconces and frantically adjusted his wig.
As the last torch winked out,  Robert’s twinges of dread solidified and the shadows pooled about him, seemingly coursing from the deepest corners of the hall, licking at his feet, his hose and even his britches . He expected a geyser of darkness to erupt and for its mass a coalesce into a gaunt, Mephistophelean figure. It did not.
Instead, there were yet more footsteps, echoing not merely from the floors, but from the walls, the ceilings and even the very air itself. They seemed to move in no particular direction, to stumble over o
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Literature
Two Kinds of People
The concierge looked over his desk, which he’d just swept clean in anticipation of guests. He had also ordered those who worked under him to restock the minibars.  He tried to avoid clutter, usually, and kept his personal effects in the drawers on his side of the desk. In the main, these were yellowed papers concerning private revelations to saints of the absence of God and the longing for the Beatific Vision. In addition, he had creased glossy photo depictions of the scorched footprints of ghostly sinners, souvenirs from his trip to the Vatican Museum on the subject.
That place had been the sole purpose in his taking that vacation, not to see St. Peter’s or the Sistine Chapel, with their brightness and beauty and hope. It wasn’t even that he believed in Catholic dogma, per se. He was just fascinated by the idea of a place so paradoxical, where pain could bring joy, as Dante said, not merely for its reformative end, but as an end in itself.
Then he came stumbling
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Literature
How Chosen Ones Get Chosen
The Fates hunched over their Golden Thread, gazing intently, which numbered among the only sources of light in the age-hewn rock hollow in which they worked their Art. It cast the dim ghost of warmth into the corner of a cave, where two rats, addled by the ritual, were tearing each other apart. Somewhere else in the hollow, a stew of roots and vermin who had perished similarly was intermittently bubbling on some hot stones, which hissed from time to time.
Clotho looked up from her meditations and peered over at three cots, each peopled by a squirming child in a rough blanket. She muttered something affirmative and squinted. She strode over to Baby # 3’s crib and, with a single long fingernail, carved on his heart an Old Sigil, from the days when Gods were just learning to control the Magick. It closed quickly, leaving only a faint suggestion of its presence, and only to those who knew how to look.
Then she crossed to the others, bent down, and slit their throats. One of her siste
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Literature
Untitled
“Let’s discuss your OCD, hmmm?”
I convulsed. My mind courses through images, recreations of the highest conceivable fidelity, known nowhere else in the cosmos, of my piles of riches. In the expanses of my mind, I stride through my hall, which was in reality more of a cavern system, and peer around columns, searching out greedy interlopers. I had not seen it in the corporeal realm for what felt like aeons, it was probably covered over by layers of sediment, waiting for some scholar or other to marvel at the anachronistic craftsmanship. How little they knew of the world before the Cataclysm. Now, I have an apartment.
Internally, I rotate each and every bejeweled, gold cup, coin, and filligreed plate. Hoarding was not an aberrant compulsion for me, it was part of my nature, the metaphysical role I play in the great drama of the worlds, one of them, anyway. At the thought, I reach back into the mists of time, finding once again seductively fertile mountains (an attribute
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Literature
Untitled
Choje gingerly withdrew something wrapped in cloth from a recess in the wall.  His hands quivered as he gently offered to Edmund, who unwrapped it hesitantly. The first thing Edmund caught a glimpse of was rounded ivory cheek, which the weathering caused to seem streaked with tears.
He unfolded the parcel further and was almost startled by what he saw. It was the Madonna and Child, plain as anything (though her hair was done in a topknot, as was the fashion among royals in the Orient), placed on an exceedingly small pedestal. He marvelled at the pleats and folds of the Blessed Mother’s robe, which made it feel lived-in and gave the representation a weight he had until then only seen in Byzantine art. The Babe was innocent as expected, but His mother’s eyes were piercing. He made as if to speak, but found himself almost at a loss for words.
“Thank you,” he said, “It’s wonderful”
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Literature
Yasha
She trudged along the packed earth, feeling the chill in the air. This was different, though, more than material. The typical idioms occurred to her, but they were inadequate, she felt it deeper than flesh, deeper than bone. She was caught up, not into Paradise, but into an indescribable darkness. She heard voices, speaking the Holy Speech. A dry voice, like wind through leaves. Mot. Rather, Malakh al Mot, but, in practice, the difference was minuscule. Angel, god, the former was a diminutization of the latter, a way to ensure it remained lesser, but both were Elohim. All that mattered was that there was death here, at the place the called Knochenmule
The Rabbis taught that G-d has no mortal attributes, no physical presence seen with earthly eyes and felt by earthly hands. “No eye has seen” and all that. Of late, they said that he had withdrawn himself further still. Their means of justifying His absence, she reasoned. He was absent, he hadn't been there for them as he had
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Literature
Gilded Leaves
I am an old faun, I have been known by many names, Pan, Faunus, Cernunnos. I have been seen through the eyes of many addled minds, my face swirls with other faces and is given other names. Now, there is gray in my fur, streaking down my legs. Legs that were once brown and proud and strong. That was then. Now, I grunt with exertion as I cross my legs and, with arthritic fingers, begin to play.  As though it wants to join me, the fog rolls in, and I lose myself in it.
As the fog and the darkening sky cause the green to gray, I see shapes and hear voices in the music and the mist.  Screaming. The dark reaches and the mist is smoke, from a fire pit, it smells of particularly beautiful trees from a distant region. I am in a camp. Men in bronze and leather speak indistinguishably in a language at once familiar and not.  The smoke dissipates and I am left with the smells of sweat and urine. On the fringes of my vision, I see people huddled together, wearing furs. They are filth
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Literature
Poet in the Sinking City
Formless and void, Dante thought, regretting he hadn’t written anything about Creation. He watched the canals overflow, obscuring and possibly defacing the stonework. Cracks spiderwebbed around the mouths of the gorgon-head grotesques, the mosaic nuances covered in blue. Well, green, blue-green, wait, black, or was that at the edges of his eyes? Reviewing his life, he smiled at the thought of the welcoming fires.
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Literature
Simple
Simple. They said it would be simple, it wasn’t. It certainly looked it though, just hewn into the red brick wall, still, waiting. I slowly approached it, and gingerly stepped onto the ledge, though I almost wanted throw my legs over the side, one at a time. They told me I just had to think just had to make myself and my will known and felt in reality. In that instant, I understood the test. They were weeding out the weak wills, if I couldn’t do this, well. The wind whipped, I felt it ruffling my hair, spread my arms, closed my eyes, hoped, and fell.
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Ironies



Somewhere on The Eastern Front 194_

Lydia welcomed the gray darkness and musty air of the hangar. To most, it would have seemed to match the dark and grime of Ravensbrück, but to her it was a world of difference. She allowed herself to drift in the clacking of her shoes on the resin floor, swaying at the shoulder to klezmer in her mind. The quiet was total, save for occasional murmurs and shuffling feet.

Lydia snickered at the thought that the men who had brought her might be scared. She had seen and done things others couldn't conceive, and she was sure these people had done likewise. She thought a moment, they were essentially alone, the enemy didn't seem to know where they were. Really, there was just her. But they weren't scared of her, not in the sense of her posing a danger to them. They were scared of what she might do or say.

There were frantic, rustling, swishing and swooping noises. She swore she heard a rich, deep voice curse at what sounded like a smaller man, who was grunting with exertion. Another man called for the lights to be brought up. Everything stopped for a moment then young men ran to turn on the lights.

They hissed and buzzed, slowly, haltingly. Eventually, however, the cold, white light spread over the entire space. It began to grow diffuse at the edges, fading to almost pink and creating dancing shadows of indefinite shape, which Lydia watched with interest.

Suddenly, a man strode into the center of the room. He was evidently of high rank and quite decorated, given the flourishes and filigrees of his uniform, as well as how his men reflexively cleared a path for him. He spoke, “By order of Lord Dowding, you are sworn to secrecy concerning what you are about to see. It comes courtesy of Gideon Powers.”

After this brief statement, Lydia glanced in the direction of the speaker and saw that he was standing in front of (what was evidently, to her at least,) some sort of plane partly covered by a tarp.

The ranking officer continued to speak, “This beautiful beast is called the Shesh Knafayim,” he hesitated a bit in pronouncing the Hebrew but confidently carried on. “Apparently, that means ‘Six Wings,’ which, as you can see, it doesn't have.” There were general mutterings of agreement here. “Not exactly, Sallow here tells me that the others are, what was it you said?”

A pale young man, clearly the one he had called “Sallow,” stepped forward, with the unwelcome assistance of some laughing compatriots, “Permission to speak somewhat candidly, sir?”

“Granted.”

“Well, sir, as I said earlier, the other wings exist on another plane of existence. In remotely current terms, they move not through air, but through Aether. The Shesh Knafayim is able to move not only through space, as we understand it, but also through another space. It may be worthwhile to note that the Hun have devices very much like this one.”

“Brilliant. Now, what else did you tell me it could do?”

“Due to the Names of God inscribed between the panels, it is both faster than other military craft and more resistant.”

“What about weather?”

“Well, it is not so much weather resistant as weather negating, the miraculous power of the Names allows the pilot to command, to an extent, wind and clouds.”

“Now that that's over with, we come to our real question, Miss Litvyak, can you fly it?
He tied his thoughts to the echoes of the hall, by the knocking he knew they were getting closer. THUMP. the people of the fjord-bone were notoriously dour and ill-disposed to outsiders. He knew this well, having spent considerable time with them as a boy. Even then, he had resented the ivory-tower scholars who knew nothing of the people they endeavored to advise. They boasted of how cosmopolitan they were with how many tongues they knew, but their grammars and lexicons were outdated, in dialects indecipherable to natives due to linguistic drift. High speech. He had wanted to know them as they knew themselves. It had left its mark, too. He was less prone to elaborate gesticulation than to ecstatic muttering in the bone-talk. Pitter-patter. With this in mind, he’d once again shed his skullcap for an ushanka of the bone-folk’s make. As he entered silently, he contemplated how he would attract their attention. He knew those things to which they would respond. He knew.

“Beadolēoma,” it was war-work, his fellows would disdain it. Nevertheless, it worked, the fissures flared with white-hot magma, emblematic of the alloys with which the bone-folk worked. He always took care to be mindful of symbolism, for that, by its consonances and dissonances, was why their art worked. It was basic respect for their materials.

There was a great rustling in the nooks and crannies in the cavern walls. This was followed by chittering and hissing, their sulphur-yellow, carapace clad heads began to pop out. That was why they were called bone-folk, really, They were, once, the maggots who lived among the bones and viscera of this dead world. He had tried to stop it dying, damnable conservatism. The bone-folk had been titans, then.

“I need you to forge me a soul.”
People of the Fjord-Bone
This came from a prompt in the workshop to nuance a cliché, I chose the Mentor-Student relationship.
Loading...
The jhankri stepped forward from the throng, as Rabten and Tinley watched excitedly. He swayed with intention, setting his bells, clustered on a knotted cord, a-ringing. Edmund remembered from the ethnographies that he had read that these were tied for meditative purposes. He let out a single note, one which Edmund recognized as C major, the resonant frequency of Earth, as he recalled, he saw it in some Theosophical paper or other.

The jhankri paced around the circle of his faithful, eyeing the squadron with suspicion and his elderly with purpose. Eventually, he called to them, asking if there was one among them who wished to be released from the world of mara. A man of about the jhankri’s own age, missing a few teeth and wearing a saffron robe, came forward. He was dragged away by two large, hirsute men clad in furs. The old man laughed, smiled, as much as he could, and even chatted with his bearers.

Heard from a distance, not because of volume but rather the nature of the acoustics in the sacred space, (shaped by the peaks and valleys about them) was a deep sigh, not just from oxygen escaping the old man's lungs, but of the kind usually associated with relief.

Hours passed in a blur of intuitive seeming tones and incense. Finally, the air took on a heretofore unknown stillness and the jhankri intoned, “he is ready.” Then the burly men returned,each with several birds resembling something between an eagle and a vulture on their arms. In their beaks the birds still clutched scraps of what seemed to be leather.

Choje whispered pointedly to Abdi that, “Those birds represent samsara, the cycle of birth and death, an integral part of the prison of illusion that is Mara.” Turning momentarily from his work with preternatural reflexes, the jhankri responded,

“Indeed, that is why we slay them to denote your friends’ passage out of it and into our sanctuary.” Edmund wondered secretly if it were some sort of dramatized lamentation about “this, their exile,” as his Brethren would call it. He then whirled around again and returned to his rite. At this, the jhankri took a farming implement of some kind, its blade dulled from years of use, and with it, swiftly hacked off the head of the bird, and then the next, and then the next, and so on until seven of them had been killed. Even though most of the blood had dripped into grooves on the floor that seemed to be patterned into concentric circles, some of it still spurted onto his robes, marring the saffron.

Recollecting again the ethnographies, Edmund was struck by the similarities between the jhankri’s calling and his own with the Fellowship. They were both called to render themselves unclean, from the perspectives of their broader communities, to facilitate acts of great positive cosmic import. He felt compelled to marvel at the Deity who was so Benevolent as to allow this sacrifice to manifest across cultures,
He waited until the office building emptied, then he strode out into the gray cubicles, part and parcel with the gray floor. He looked at the cracks in the drywall and watched as the cold fluorescent lights began to flicker, seeming to eliminate the space between his positions. He inhaled deeply. It was time.

He made his way to the elevator, haltingly pushed the button and busied himself until it came by, biting at his cuticles. He heard the machinery grind to a stop as they door opened. He entered the elevator, which had been artificially illuminated such that it seemed warm. This had no effect on him, as he knew what they behind it, and beyond it.

He descended into the parking garage, gliding across the slight ramp into the lot proper. Yet again, the lights flickered. To pass the time and to still his nerves, he tried to count the cars, categorizing them by color and memorizing their license plates. Another flicker. She was here.

Between flashes of darkness, he saw the glint of the knife. He recalled that night when he had been young and foolish, promising, “If you kill anyone, kill me.” She had just seemed quirky then, the only person (or at least the only girl), who could, who would bother to understand him. He still felt that way. He had lived a good life.
The charges had begun going off, the ground shook and resounded with their force. Dust was dislodged from the far corners of the roof and fell, unnoticed, on their shoulders. Rabten had taken them down the paths that wound across the mountain.

Edmund and Nakni could not help but slip, coming perilously close to falling over a ledge. Rabten grasped their shoulders forcefully, they whipped around to face him, seeing the smoky tendrils of his breath as he glared at them. His concern underscored, the platoon continued on.

Finally, they reached the door, carved roughly into the mountainside and surrounded by foliage that looked as though it had grown there for aeons, but in fact had been cultivated to disguise the gate from the uninitiated.

They then entered the chamber itself, essentially the same as it had been when they had first made their way to Shangri-La, save for the great cracks and fissures in the floor and ceiling.

“What about the ritual?” Edmund wondered aloud

“We don’t have time,” Rabten said curtly as he cut himself with a blade Edmund recognized as that of the jhankri’s farming implement and the scarlet ran down his palm. If he favored palmistry, Edmund would have mused on the symbolic implications of the liquid coursing over the lines in Rabten’s flesh. It wouldn’t kill him but the spellwork would be less sure than with a sacrifice, only lasting a few minutes.

It was this realization that spurred Edmund’s thoughts toward the question, Where is Connor? Blessedly, the answer came quickly, he was struggling through the outer gate. He looked as though he could barely stand, though this was no surprise considering it was likely that most of the bones in his legs had shattered and what little he was doing came down to force of will.

He was forcing his broken body in so that Nyima could get through. They whispered sharply for a few moments before Edmund heard Connor say, “No, you go.” Connor’s beloved looked back briefly before diving through the failing portal. The last thing Connor saw was a mound of dust break the circles.

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ErasedMe Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hello,
I hope I'm not bothering you, but I wish you a happy day.
-Stay awesome.
♥J. L.
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Clockstrikestwelve Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2017
Thank you!
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ErasedMe Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
♡(∩o∩)♡ no problem.
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MarianneEie Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you so much for the watch <3 I really appreciate it :D

Have a wonderful day!
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Clockstrikestwelve Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2016
No problem.

You, too!
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Km92 Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much for the watch Twilight Princess Heart Container  Avatar Icon by Shattered-Earth  

* by Kittyrocker  Consider checking out my:
My Facebook 
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My Patreon/</a
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Clockstrikestwelve Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2016
It was nothing.

Please check out my Tumblr as well (tendingthegardenthatihavemade.…)
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Km92 Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
i've gave you a follow on tumblr. It is beautiful *3*
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Clockstrikestwelve Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2016
Thank you, what in particular did you think was beautiful? I ask because I can't take credit for the things I reblog. Was it just my aesthetic itself, in putting those things together, because *that* I can take credit for?
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sambeawesome Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2016
Thank you so much for the watch! I Love You Emote I really appreciate it and I'm glad you like my artwork Huggle! 
If you'd like, feel free to check out my YouTubeTumblrTwitter, or Facebook.pink heart 
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