#portal Tumblr posts

  • kate-the-rabbit
    22.05.2022 - 50 minutes ago

    The hardest thing about writing RE8 fics these days (aside from finishing them...) is trying to get back into that headspace I was in not long after I’d begun and finished the game, when I’d stay up till 2-3 in the morning excitedly reading posts about Lady D and her daughters because I couldn’t get enough, and the excitement I had to be exploring the world they inhabit and eagerly banging out hundreds of words in one go... and it feels like that headspace has completely left me, even tho I still think of Lady D and her daughters on almost a daily basis, I think of the stories I still want to write about them and the maids... Idk. It’s frustrating that I don’t seem to feel as passionate anymore, despite the fact that I’m dying to write about them again. 

    #personal#writing woes #and i can see this fic from beginning to end; i can see the scenes and the dialogue #i can feel lady d and this maid longing for me to write their story but it feels like i can't write about them with passion #and i wanna put my head through a time portal and teleport my brain back to may 2021 #maybe i'd finish this fic if i was writing it back then
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  • gummishark
    21.05.2022 - 1 hour ago

    wheatley and glados. they will only exist as scries because i dont care

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  • ankerrigan
    21.05.2022 - 2 hours ago

    bro not me having to stand in my patio doorway using my outdoor broom to stir the fucking storm soup that my flooded patio has become to keep all the fucking plant debris away from my storm drain long enough for it to catch up so my APARTMENT doesn't flood

    #legit idk if it's just because it's storming that bad or if something is wrong with my storm drain #but this ain't the first time it's happened so I think I'm gonna bring it up to maintenance #god I hate that I have to CALL tho #I want the online portal to work gdi!!!!
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  • fr0gjuic3
    21.05.2022 - 3 hours ago

    A redraw of a piece I did a few months ago ! :0 I love drawing gman he’s got such a unique design :D

    #gordon freeman#half life #half life 2 #portal#portal 2#valve games#gman #half life but the ai is sentient #hlvrai #half life but the ai is self aware #tf2 #half life fanart #half life gman #half life alyx #hl alyx#hl2#hlvrai fanart#halflife #team fortress fanart #team fortress comics #I have such valve brain rot someone help me omg #gordon freeman fanart #portal rattmann#portal fanart
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  • boxy-moron
    21.05.2022 - 3 hours ago

    i come bearing extremely low quality orange box memes

    #valve orange box #team fortress 2 #portal#half life
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  • wheatley-imagine-scenarios
    21.05.2022 - 3 hours ago

    Consequences

    Wheatley, after making a minor mistake: I've made the decision, you know? It is what it is and I will live with the consequences.

    GLaDOS: Like murder.

    #source: unus annus #wheatley after bringing glados back to life #wheatley after he destroyed the relaxation chambers #wheatley after setting the facility on fire #wheatley after-#wheatley#glados#portal#portal 2#incorrect quotes
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  • vtforpedro
    21.05.2022 - 3 hours ago

    One thing that really pisses me the hell off about not being able to contact my neurologist and to be left here suffering (moving into the fourth week tomorrow) is that I've had to put off getting my leukemia numbers checked :)))) by probably a month :)))))))) I already rescheduled two weeks out and this week, since I still am not able to sit up without pain, is a no go so probably at least 1-2 more weeks out This is my first 6-month check-up, rather than three, since I was diagnosed. and it's going to be 7 months instead and possibly longer. It's been 22 days since the LP and I still have not even been told about the procedure by the ordering doctor nor has she responded to any of my calls. At what point do I give up lol This is heinous to me. This hospital is so prestigious people come from around the world to be taught there AND to be treated there. I don't get it OH editing to add: I've also had to put off an abdominal CT to figure out why I keep getting severe pain that lasts for hours lmao and the follow up appointment with my GI to see where to go next

    #vtforpedro personal#personal#medical #idk what to do anymore lol #i could send yet another portal message tho for some reason my dr's message didn't come thru and her nurse had to c/p it a week later #my mom mentioned maybe calling the after hours line this week since a neurologist HAS to call me back but idk if it's some poor resident #who isn't familiar at all with me??? it feels wrong to page them blegh
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  • scriib
    21.05.2022 - 4 hours ago

    found this meme I made like two years ago in a folder while moving files and I can’t stop laughing

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  • skaianetscience
    21.05.2022 - 4 hours ago

    PORTALSTUCK UPDATE

    05.21.22 | 4 pages

    Read the update: https://mspfa.com/?s=44132&p=147

    Read from the beginning: https://mspfa.com/?s=44132&p=1

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  • incomingalbatross
    21.05.2022 - 4 hours ago

    A Year and a Day Pt. 2: Fall

    Possibly to everyone’s surprise (and not least mine!), here we have Part Two of my @inklings-challenge story from last fall. My current idea is for it to have four parts; perhaps I’ll do Part Three this next fall? I cannot say.

    Word Count: 8,590 Recap of Part One: In this story, our protagonist Carina found a key, in her childhood, which gave her entry to a magical land. On her first time using it, she made several friends among the inhabitants, and met the Queen of the Lowlands, who explained the key would give her passage back and forth for one of this land’s years. It was midsummer then, and the girl had many adventures in the land’s summer before she could tell time was passing there. Among other things, she attended the Midsummer Fair, and rescued a half-grown griffon from brambles with her friend Marie’s help.

    After that day with Marie, the girl did pay closer attention to the season, and gradually began to notice changes. As she grew through her teens, the tenor of the land began to shift—days growing first hotter, then cooler than before; the light gaining a new, somehow clearer quality; and the air growing crisper and even fresher than it had been before, with a scent of change upon it. So it happened, by the time the girl had entered college, that fall had come in earnest to the land.

    “I thought I’d hate to see the seasons change, but I love the fall,” she confessed to the Queen one cool day. They were sitting in a grove near the lowland palace, on a carpet of emerald grass that stretched beneath trees now full of flame-bright leaves. “I might love it more than summer, and it always seemed as if the land was made for summer.”

    “Every season is like that,” the Queen said knowingly, hands busy with her sewing. “The land was made for each season, in turn. Autumn brings new beauties; but remember, little wanderer, that it brings new dangers too.”

    The girl laughed. “Not so little now,” she pointed out, slightly nettled (for she was full-grown, even if she was half a head shorter than the Queen), “and I know my way around much better than I used to, in any weather.”

    “True—you can travel the mountains much better than I ever have, and have gone higher and farther.” Indeed, the Queen rarely left her lowlands, always saying she was best fitted for her own realm. “Still though, little love, be careful.” She smiled at the girl, her eyes kind but grave. “There are many different perils here, and even I cannot warn you of all of them—especially those in the mountains, which I know you love.”

    The girl ducked her head, embarrassed by her temper. “I will be careful, Queen,” she promised.

    And she was. But it was true that the mountains called to her, and had done so ever more strongly as she began to grow in the land. And now—now, with strength in her limbs and the crisp air in her lungs and the mountain slopes covered in waves of brilliant color—she was venturing ever further and oftener into the heights. Many wonders she found there, of kinds unknown even in the lowlands or the half-tamed slopes of the West Mountain—caves and secret waterfalls, little groves and pockets of land that lay hidden to all but the stars, new vistas from every height, and other things stranger and more marvellous.

    So  she explored there more and more often—but not only because of her thirst for the heights themselves, but as refuge and refreshment from the trials of her world. Not all of adulthood’s changes had been pleasant, and (although she was suffering no extraordinary tribulations), it was being brought home to the girl as never before just how complex, how messy, and how inescapably and bewilderingly flawed her own world was. She was in college now, and after a day of dull classes and complicated obligations and the conflicting, strident demands for attention that came from every corner of the world—after, in short, a day filled with the everyday clamor and confusion of our world—it was a great relief to the girl to turn her key, open a door, and step back into the land where all was naturally clean and straightforward, and every evil could be fought.

    For that, and for the wonder that was in the heights, she began to turn more and more toward them, and seek all her refreshment there. While the vales were pleasant and the Queen always kind, the girl felt restless there; she did not desire peace, but to be filled with the keenness of new delights and marvels. Autumn was at its height now, and—even in the slow progression of the land’s time—every moment held something of autumn’s rarity. She didn’t want to waste a second.

    And so it happened that, after a particularly difficult day in the November of her world, Carina went straight to the land. She stopped at the chest within her little cave (made of sturdy carved and painted wood, a gift from her friends), pulled out the leather jacket and small knapsack she left there, took her walking-stick in hand, and began eagerly climbing the foothills from which her doorway sprang. She had come through in early afternoon, and spent several hours steadily increasing her altitude in the golden light of the day; so far, all the paths were well-known to her, and could be navigated with the ease of long practice.

    As dusk fell, however, she hesitated. There was a fine campsite, she knew, just a little way along the mountainside, and it would probably be prudent to stop for the night. However, she was not tired yet, and grudged the idea of stopping for the night in such familiar territory. The path ahead was still perfectly visible, and she could easily make it farther up the mountain before stopping. There was another trail just around the bend that she had wanted to try for a while…

    Mind made up, the girl forged ahead.

    She went quickly, and made good time; but the dusk began to gather more rapidly than she had expected, and the path she was on grew harder to pick out. The tree-dotted slope she was on was not particularly steep or treacherous, so this did not concern her too much—but it took longer to climb than she expected, and when she reached the top she realized she wasn’t where she had meant to be.

    She sighed. The gathering dusk was now so thick that it would be folly to go any farther, and the wind was picking up. She didn’t think there was a storm coming, but there was certainly a chill. “Time to find a camp, I suppose,” she said aloud, and began looking about for a sheltered spot.

    She was on an exposed face of the mountainside now, with a steep rock face stretching above; bad for finding a sheltered hollow, but she had hope for a shallow cave. And sure enough, she found an opening in the rock before long; peering in, it looked black, but no blacker than the outdoors.

    Pausing, the girl dug a flashlight out of her knapsack. She rarely needed it, but carried it to be safe, and this was definitely a time for light. (She knew very well not to sleep in an unexplored cave, in this or any other land.)

    So the girl turned on the bright white light, and went cautiously into the cave. What she found, however, held no danger; it went back several yards into the cliffside, widening and then narrowing again, but it was a bare stone chamber with no ominous cracks in the walls and a solid, even floor underfoot. She set up camp in the back corner, made a brief trip out into the night to pick up some firewood, and soon was seated on the stone floor with a dancing fire throwing light out into the dark.

    It felt…very enclosed, somehow. Safe and secure, but lonely, too… The darkness pressed in, insulating but also isolating the girl from the rest of the world. She felt uneasy memories of her day at home begin to surface, and flinched away from them—that was the last thing she wanted to deal with here, in this moment.

    You’re tired, she told herself. Things will be brighter in the morning. They always are. So she pulled out her bedroll, situated herself in it, and went to sleep by the glow of her fire.

    Her sleep was uneasy, though, troubled by the dancing of the flame on the cave’s ceiling and the whispers of the wind from outside. She had confused dreams, full of disputes and disordered wanderings; and she woke from them with a start while it was still black night outside.

    Sitting up, heart pounding for no real reason, she peered beyond her little campfire into the cave. One hand groped for her flashlight, just to reassure her imagination—

    “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to disturb you,” a soft voice said.

    She saw there was another figure in the entrance to the cave, just a pale shape against the night.

    “Who’s there?” she asked.

    The figure laughed. “Just a wanderer of the mountains,” it said—or she said, rather, for the voice was female. ”I saw your fire.”

    The girl hesitated, but the proper course of hospitality was obvious. “Would you like to share it?” she asked. “I’m a wanderer too, and it’s a cool night for being out.”

    “Thank you, I will,” the other said, moving gracefully into the cave. She dropped down by the fire, and the girl saw a lovely form—eyes that glittered like gems in the light, hair that tumbled down her shoulders like the mountain slopes, and clothing made of furs and leather and adorned with autumn leaves along its hems. The other's face was strange; at first glance it reminded the girl of the Queen, and in the next moment of her sister Melissa, but it really wasn’t quite like either. And there was something too pointed, too keen, about the features.

    Is she a nature spirit? the girl wondered, but held her tongue. It was rude to ask a stranger’s identity twice, especially when she had given so little information herself.

    “So, fellow wanderer,” the other woman said, cross-legged with her hands on her ankles, “what brings you out here on an autumn night?”

    She shrugged. “Just exploring,” she said. “I love the mountains.” She hesitated, and then asked, “What were you doing out here tonight?”

    The woman smiled, with a flash of teeth. “I was out hunting,” she said. “These mountains are my home, although I usually stay higher up.”

    “Really?” The girl leaned forward in eager interest. “I didn’t know of anyone living up here. How did you come here—if I can ask that?”

    “I made myself a home here,” the woman said, a distant gleam in her eyes. “I came here and found beauty, so I found a place for myself in it, and made it mine and kept it.” Then her eyes refocused on the girl, with a smaller smile than her last one. “But you love the mountains too. You know how it feels, I’m sure.”

    “I do,” the girl confessed, her eyes on the fire. “But I don’t live here. I can’t. I’m just a visitor.”

    The other made a noise of surprise. “Can’t? Why not?”

    Her fingers went to where her key was hidden, on its chain beneath her shirt. “I can only come here from my own land for a year,” she said. “Then the door will close—or I’ll have to give it up. I can’t stay here.”

    “The door closing isn’t a reason to leave in itself,” the woman said reasonably. “Do you have chains tying you to this other land?”

    Thoughts came to the girl’s mind—her sister with her brother-in-law, walking hand-in-hand on a visit last summer; her childhood bedroom; her mother and father’s patient voices as they tried to talk to her about school; her dorm room at college, waiting for her return to the endless round of class and work.

    “…I suppose I do,” she answered.

    But what she felt, inside, was a sudden numbness and disconnect weighing heavily upon her. It all seemed very dull, at the moment, and colorless, and unreal.

    “But,” she added quickly, “the Queen said I can only visit here for a year and a day, anyway. She didn’t mean I could stay at the end of the year.”

    The other made an incredulous noise. “The Queen? The Queen of the Lowlands? She does not rule in the mountains,” she said, looking amused. “The laws here are different—they are what you make them. What does a queen down below know of life on the heights?”

    The girl hesitated. She had never questioned the Queen’s authority; but it was true that she ruled the valleys, and had said herself that she knew little of the mountains. the West-Mountain folk respected her greatly, though, and deferred to her at need, even while managing their own affairs.

    “I don’t know,”she said slowly.

    “The mountains are not as strictly ordered as the lands below, believe me,” the woman said. “There is room for true freedom here—more room for those of us who are made in a wilder form, who are called to wander at will.”

    A strange, unexpected hope began to stir in the girl’s heart as she listened to these words. Part of her, it was true, held back, murmuring that this could not be as simple as it seemed—but the hope was strong and kindled quickly, opening prospects to view which she had never before allowed herself to entertain.

    Beside these prospects, the images of her birthworld seemed more pale and dreary than they ever had before.

    “I don’t know,” she repeated, more softly.

    “I do. Some of us were not made for confines or restraints—even such gentle confines as the Queen’s. She may know nothing else, but do you think the fetters of the world are made to fit everyone? Some may thrive in them, I am sure, but I could never live my life in such a narrow maze.”

    The girl closed her eyes.

    “Leaving here is very hard, sometimes,” she confessed in a murmur.

    “Then why do it?” The woman stood, suddenly, graceful as a bird springing into flight. She held out her hand. “Come see my home, wanderer, and see if you would ever want to leave it.”

    The girl hung back, eyes wide and heart uneasy. “I…not in the middle of the night,” she said. The voice of caution in her was shouting, now—but what if that voice was wrong? What if she needed to follow where this person would lead her, through this door so suddenly opened? What if this chance never came again?

    “Well, I am going now,” the woman said firmly. “I have the freedom of the night as well as the day, and need rest here no longer. If you wish to follow, welcome; if you do not, I thank you for the fire, and will be gone. But I cannot linger further here—I have business of my own that calls.”

    She turned away. “Perhaps we shall meet again, wanderer,” she called over her shoulder, with something that sounded like sorrow in her voice. “It is unlikely; but I hope so, whatever else may happen between now and your year’s end.”

    The girl looked after her anxiously, irresolute. It was now or never, it seemed; and after all, what harm would it do to follow this woman for a little way? Certainly that was not seeking to go against the Queen at all, just trying to keep the dorway open a crack that she might look through it. And if the woman left now, that door might swing shut forever.

    “Wait!” she called, scrambling to her feet. “Give me time to pack, and I will walk with you.”

    The woman turned back with a gleaming smile. “Good, good!” she cried. “I knew you were not one to shrink back.”

    The girl grinned back, ignoring the crawling uncertainty in her stomach. This was Adventure, and Adventure had never gone too badly for her yet.

    So they left the cave together, in the dim light of the stars, and the woman led them uphill by a path that the wanderer from the valleys had never seen before. It climbed up steeply, twisting and turning among the outcroppings of the cliffs, but was less difficult than the girl would have expected at first glance. Much of its course lay between the rocks and folds of earth that made up the mountain’s body, rather than on its exposed face, and so there was little fear of a long drop anywhere; it wove steadily upward and inward, toward the core of the heights.

    Before long they were in a winding gorge; still steadily ascending, but with walls and turns enough to block out any wider view of the landscape. Overhead, though, the wind was rising—though its force was also blocked by the narrowness of the ascent, the girl could hear the rise of its wailing voice, and see the clouds it propelled beginning to veil the moon and stars.

    She shivered. Her determination still propelled her onward, once begun, but the night seemed colder than it had been before, and the darkness drearier and more alarming. Maybe she needed her flashlight…

    “Is the course too difficult?” the woman asked, suddenly close beside her in the dark. “I fear I was leaving you behind without noticing.”

    She started, then pulled herself together in embarrassment. “I…no, I’m fine. I’d just slowed down a little in the dark.”

    The woman grinned, a pale and indistinct arc across her face. “I apologize, for the way can be unnerving when you are unfamiliar with it. I will go more slowly and keep you better company, though I am an impatient traveler.”

    And so she stayed by the girl’s side, occasionally pointing the way or giving her a hand forward. Her hands were oddly warm in the chill night, but also very dry and rough; somehow, though, the girl found their grasp unpleasant. She found herself trying harder to make her own way, well enough to avoid needing assistance.

    After a time (it was hard to say, in the now-moonless night, whether it had been long or short), the woman held out a hand and paused. “We are almost at my home now,” she said, “and will be leaving this particular gorge. There is a steep fall on one side here, so don’t let yourself slip in the wind.”

    They exited, and sure enough the wind rushed at them, strong enough to make the girl stumble for a moment. She caught herself, gratefully for the warning; even without being able to make out the landscape below, she could see a fall away into darkness on one hand, and clung to the firm rock on the other.

    “Just a little way now!” the woman said. “Come!”

    She stood against the sky, more visible than she had been for that entire sheltered climb. Her cloak was billowing around her in the whipping wind, her head thrust forward sharply.

    The girl hung back a moment, irresolute. The darkness and chill still weighed upon her, together with a fear she could not put a name to; but she did no think she could tell, now, whether they pushed her away from these strange heights, or towards the promised shelter of her new friend’s home. The wind felt as though it was whipping her very thoughts into confusion, caution and haste mingling together wildly.

    But perhaps there was no way out but forward… Perhaps the fear in her mind was false, an illusion that would pass and return her excitement to her once she was out of the wind and dark.

    I can’t turn back now, she thought, not knowing if the thought was excited or desperate. And she followed.

    The wind shrieked. The clouds gathered. The scent of rain began to grow strong in the air. This would be a true autumn storm; something the girl had never seen yet, in all the land’s turning from summer through to autumn. And, through these harbingers of storm, she and the woman finally reached the end of their journey: the mouth of a cave.

    “Come!” the woman said, halting in the entrance and turning to the girl. It loomed behind her like a solid backdrop of blackness, twice her height and wider than it was tall, but with no light inside.

    The girl stopped and stared. “This is your home?”

    The woman grinned again, a flash of pale teeth. “It is more beautiful inside, believe me,” she said. “I wander often, but I never stray far; for here is my home, and my heart, and my treasure. Here I have made my roots in the mountains.”

    The girl stood stockstill, just a few feet from the black entrance. It was…not forbidding, not in the way of a gate or a wall, but in the way of deep, dark water, or a starless sky. There was an unguessable depth within, she felt, that she might not find her way out of if she once entered.

    “Come, come,” the woman repeated now, stretching out her hand. “I have invited you to visit; will you not see my treasures?”

    But the weight on the girl’s heart had increased with every step along the path, and now, torn in two by the warring voices in her heart, she felt she could neither move nor stay. Dread filled her, and yet it could not command her will, which was still swayed by that long-held desire for the mountains; full of turmoil, she could not think clearly enough to tell what she ought to do, or which part of her was being sensible and which absurd.

    She trembled, standing on the path, one hand on her staff and the other once more clutching at the key beneath her coat.

    Just show me, she thought blindly, a half-articulate and undirected thought. Give me a second’s light to know what I’m doing. Just a second’s light.

    And the, in the sky full of massed and threatening clouds, the storm broke with a sudden torrential sheet of rain and a many-armed flash of lightning.

    The lightning only lasted for an instant, but in that instant it stretched across the sky and illuminated the landscape in every direction. And by its light, before her, the girl saw…

    She was not sure exactly what she saw then, and still less afterward when she tried to settle the moment in her mind. In that instant of bright glare, it seemed to her that she saw the woman before her both sharper and less distinct, almost like her own reflection stretched and misshapen by the light—but behind her, dimly, in the cave-mouth, was something that seemed at once a figure in the darkness and an image in an obsidian mirror. And that was a figure looming, clawed and coiled, with gleaming teeth and copped scales and focused, malevolent eyes.

    Although the sight was confused, there was no doubt or confusion in the girl’s mind in that instant of clarity. She stared in mesmerized horror at the place she had so nearly entered; and in the instant that darkness fell again, she turned and fled from the mouth of the dragon’s lair.

    She ran along the path blindly, eyes dazzled from the lightning and lost now in the dark. Behind her she heard a snarl, more terrible than any sound she had ever heard in this land, and a clattering behind her—were those feet, or claws? She could not turn to look, but only ran more desperately.

    It was growing closer, though, and closer still, as she skidded along the rain-slick and unfamiliar path. She turned a corner in the darkness—

    —and fell.

    Skidding, [plinkoing] down in a horrible painful confusion, she bit her tongue and barely refrained from crying out. The fall seemed to last an instant and ten minutes all at once, before she found herself deposited in something unexpectedly deep and yielding.

    Putting out a fumbling hand, she felt the texture of dead leaves. She must be in a pile of them that had amassed from the autumn trees, in one of the crevasses of the mountain; following their path downward, they had broken her fall. She was still bruised and battered, though, and for a few moments could only lie there and focus on her own pain.

    Then there was a cry from above that froze her heart with fear, and she remembered again what she had been fleeing from.

    The cry repeated—horrible, menacing, hunting; a sound that was a nightmare in itself, resonating with all the lure of the mountains but interwoven plainly, now, with a promise of terror and destruction in the heart of that lure. Something in the girl shattered at the sound, and if it had not been for the shock and breathlessness of her fall she might have cried out herself.

    She only lay there, though, still and silent and frozen, as the thing crouched above her. In the dark and the rain, she could not tell exactly where it was, but it had sounded far too near. And then there was a clatter of rocks, audible even through the downpour, and something that sounded horribly like a flap of featherless wings; above her, a darker shape showed for an instant against the dark clouds, soaring overhead.

    Then it had passed. She heard the cry again—a reverberating sound of desolation—but it was further and fainter this time, as the monster flew through the mountains. It had not found her little crevasse, and was venturing further afield.

    A great relief passed over the girl. And yet, even when the danger seemed to have passed, she seemed unable to move. The rain poured down, and the darkness pressed around her; was she safe, she wondered with a shaking terror, or was she on yet another precipice, invisible to her? She stirred only to pull her jacket more tightly around herself, and lay still amid the leaves through all the cold, dark night.

    A few more times she heard the call of the dragon—never near to her, thankfully—and each time it seemed a fresh stab of horror, stripping the night of safety or promise and filling it with unseen nightmares. In all the girl’s wanderings, she had never encountered a dragon in the land, or even heard of the presence of one outside of old stories. She wished fervently that her ignorance had continued.

    Why had it come to her? she wondered, tears pricking at her eyes. For now she knew that, in some way, the woman she met had been the dragon, or an appearance of it; that it had found her and lured her onward by design, bringing her even to the mouth of its lair. And somewhere deep within her was a cold, hard certainty that if she had entered that lair, it would have been too late to come out again without great cost.

    At first she could not think beyond these certainties. She was only bewildered, clinging to the rock like a traveler delivered from a great fall, and her thoughts ran in circles. As they steadied, though, she remembered the night with fresh eyes; and new conclusions began to present themselves. Not agreeable conclusions, but ones she found herself unable to avoid.

    She had wondered why the dragon should come to her, but wasn’t the answer clear in their own conversation? The dragon had come to her and promised possession of the mountains she loved, freedom from obedience to rules or duties to others; and in doing so had answered the dragonish murmurs of her own heart, the whispers of pride and greed and selfishness that had already been luring her away from her own home and from the lowlands until she thought only of her hunger for the heights. The dragon had recognized her spirit and her indulged desires, and brought her to follow it through that likeness.

    Now the girl wept, bitterly ashamed—to have befriended a dragon? To find kinship with the creature of evil that had cried from the rocks above? It was a blow to everything she had ever thought of herself, all she had prided herself in. Stripped of vanity and self-pity in the shock, she could not see now if she had ever truly loved the mountains, or if she had only desired to possess them, to wrap them around herself and make them please her.

    Compounding her disillusionment, the desires that had brought her here seemed at the same time to have lost all their power and appeal. Her dreams seemed thin and faint, now; her desire to delve ever higher, ever deeper, into the wonders of the mountains was no longer a desire she could touch, present and vivid, but something far-off and vague. The night which had seemed enticing during her earlier climb was now, in its depths, wholly bewildering, and full of threats.

    She could not even muster a desire for home, for warmth or safety or comfort. She knew only that she was very miserable, and that she could see nothing beyond her misery except for worse evils that she rejected with a shudder. So she lay amid the leaves while the rain poured down, and shivered among them still when it had stopped; in the dark, for even after the storm had ceased the moon and stars did not return from behind the clouds.

    It was a long, dark night.

    But at last, without quite knowing when it had begun, she became suddenly sensible of a gray light strengthening around her. By it she saw the pile of brown leaves into which she had fallen, and the dark rock face rising next to her. Slowly, she felt the urge of movement returning to her, and stirred and turned to take in her situation. In the dim light, she saw cliff walls rising on both sides of her, close at hand, and her little pocket in the cliffs continuing as a narrow, winding crevasse toward and away from her. It sloped downward on one end, she could tell, for although it looked too narrow for a person to pass through,  the rainwater had clearly run down it and away in the night.

    She took a breath and sat up, scrubbing her face with her hands. In the pale light of a clouded dawn, the rocky gully looked dismal and washed-out in more ways than one—but she could see, now, that it had sheltered her. Even if she had not seen it in the darkness, she had been safe from falling and from the beasts of the mountain, enclosed by these walls; enclosed in a barren place, perhaps, but safe and sheltered. Her fall had itself enabled her to escape the dragon, and the blanketing leaves and high walls had kept her fall from being a catastrophe. It felt a different place than it had been in the blackness of the night.

    The girl closed her eyes for a moment, remembering again that sudden flash at the cave-mouth. Now, though, the terror had receded enough to make room for thankfulness. For all that had befallen her that night, she had also been preserved from far worse danger. Would she have entered the cave, if not for that flare of lightning-white? She did not know; but she knew she was profoundly grateful that the chance had been removed.

    But now…

    Now what?

    Still seated on the ground, she looked around in renewed dismay. The walls, though sheltering, were also steep, and the rain-gully that ran from this crevasse was too narrow for her to get through. She had lost her stick, she realized, sometime in her flight, and her pack (which she had forgotten in the dark) was battered from her fall; on taking inventory, she found half her belongings broken or damaged somehow.

    Perhaps, on a good day when she was fresh, she could have attempted the climb out. It might even have seemed a challenge rather than an obstacle. But now, weary, cold, wet, and heartsore, she looked at it and knew it was beyond her. She could not even bring herself to attempt it, only placing her hand against the rock face and then slumping to the ground again.

    She closed her eyes in utter weariness. Even her own thoughts seemed flat, and gray, and lifeless, and refused to move outside of these cliff walls. So she let them be.

    Time passed. It seemed very fast and very slow at once; featureless in its lack of change, except that it wore upon her more and more with each accumulated hour. She was sore from her fall, exhausted from the night, and ever-colder from the weather. She pushed herself to eat the food she had, but could not start a fire with the wet leaves and her own damaged supplies, and could not warm or even dry herself in the faint daylight. She could only endure, and the demands of endurance seemed gradually to increase as the day crept onward. Every moment was a trial, but the hours blurred together as soon as they had passed.

    It was the longest day of the girl’s life, and yet it was the night that she truly dreaded.

    At some point, she realized she was clutching her key again, twisting it in absent occupation on its chain. If I could find the lock…

    But she knew, sadly, that that was no escape either. It was only on the other side that the key would make its own door; here, it worked only in the one lock, in her friendly little cave between the lowlands and the heights. It had been given to her as an entry-pass, not as freedom from peril.

    The heights are perilous, she remembered the Queen saying, amid the flame-bright trees; and then suddenly she longed for the lowlands and the Queen’s shelter, as she had not for a long time.

    If I could go back, she thought. If I could go back, and rest, in safety and warmth and peace…

    There was only the bare rock around her, and wet leaves under her, and a gray sky above. But she fixed her eyes on the sky and dreamed, once more, her thoughts now lingering on the world below the mountains.

    In the grayness, after a time, a black speck crossed the window of her vision. Her eyes followed it absently, once and then again, as it returned in swooping lines. It grew larger with each return…

    She sat up, abruptly aware again. There was a flying shape in the sky above her, and it was growing not larger but closer. Was it the dragon? Had she any hope of hiding in the clear day?

    Breath stopped and heart pounding, she watched and listened. And then there was a cry from above, a cry that brought her again to full and aching awareness—but even in the instant of hearing it, she knew it was not the dragon’s cry.

    This was a call of the high and wild spaces, but with all of their mystery and none of the dragon’s horror; a cry valiant as a hawk, melodic as a dove, remote as the calls of the wild geese. It brought back to the girl memories from the edge of autumn, fearless and doubtless in the bright sun of the West-Mountain, climbing the heights with Marie and tending a wounded creature with the Mountain Lord…

    “Griffin!” she cried back, finding her voice in an instant. “Griffon!”

    The shape in the sky suddenly checked in its flight; and then, seemingly without a pause, was diving in a slanted plunge toward her, straight as an arrow and fast as a stone. She could see it clearly, in a few instants more, no longer a black speck but a tawny creature of gold and brown, its fur and feathers gleaming even in this day’s faint gray light.

    Its folded-back wings extended at what seemed the last moment, slowing it again to land smoothly at the edge of her crevasse. The griffon she had nursed at the end of summer—full-grown now, or nearly so—looked down at her with bright honey-gold eyes, a low croon rising in its throat.

    She smiled at it with a rush of thankfulness. “Griffon,” she called more softly, raising her hand to it. (It had no other name that she knew, for the Mountain Lord had said that was not a thing for them to give.) “I am trapped here, and I don’t think I can get myself out. Would you help me, please?”

    It bowed its head and then, spreading its wings once more, leapt—she fell back for a moment, but its aim was true, and it landed easily in the gully beside her.

    Presenting its head to her, it crooned again, and she laughed through her sudden tears and scratched its head as she had before. “Thank you, thank you,” she crooned back. “You are beautiful, you know that? Thank you for coming to me.” The griffon was soft and warm and alive under her hands, marvelous, but not alien as the dragon had been alien; it felt like home and looked like sunlight in her inadvertent prison.

    After a few moments it moved, turning to present its flank to her, and looking back over its shoulder with those liquid, intelligent eyes. She understood at once, and pulled herself onto it back—her legs would not go around its sides easily with the wings, but it was large enough that she could lie down and grip its neck in her arms. She buried her face in its fur and her hands in the feathers at its throat, holding on tightly—and felt it leap. Its mighty claws and talons dug into the rock, and as she clung to it the griffon climbed smoothly out of the crevasse.

    In just a few minutes they were out of the place that had all day sheltered and imprisoned her. She looked back, and looking down from the griffon’s back it seemed but a narrow and insignificant crack in the mountain’s face.

    She took a deep breath, collecting herself for a moment. Suddenly she was shivering, more acutely aware of her cold, sore, exhausted state than she had been for her entire time in there;  the griffon’s back was warm under her, but that merely seemed to highlight the chill in the air. She was once more in the wind; not a wild wind as it had been the night before, but a steady, piercing thing she had not felt in her crevasse.

    But she had still, she thought to herself, miles to go before she slept.

    “Thank you,” she murmured to the griffon, trying to summon her courage back. “Should I get off?”

    But instead of crouching or turning to let her off, the griffon shook its wings out and leapt, once more, into the air.

    The girl held fast, watching the ground drop away from her—wherever they were going, she was grateful for the ride, even in the cold raw air. Under the heavy gray skies the griffon winged its way upward and out, sailing away from the mountain slopes until there were only the green slopes of the lowlands below.

    But wait…were they green? There was a grayness in the air around them now, obscuring the girl’s vision, but as she looked down it seemed to her that the ground was changing in appearance as well. What had always before been vibrant green was now growing pale and colorless in the strange light…and then, as the girl looked around her, she saw the tiny frozen stars that dotted herself and the griffon, and realized it was not a grayness but a whiteness that filled the air.

    Winter was coming to the land, and the first snowfall with it.

    She closed her eyes, feeling a pang of loss for the vanished autumn, and shivering as she clutched the griffon’s thick-feathered neck. But they flew onward through the snow-filled air, and by and by she opened her eyes again.

    When the griffon began to circle downward, she looked away from the endless sky to see where it was going. The ground below was already white with the heavy, steady-dropping flakes, and that and the angle disoriented her—but there, amid the snow, in a hollow between the slopes, shone warm yellow light.

    Cheerful and homely, it beckoned to her from the windows of a long, low building, shining out from cracks in curtains, and pouring from the unshrouded windows of the front facade. She stared at it first with longing, and then with sudden recognition; for underneath the snow was the familiar home of the Queen.

    As she realized this, the griffon landed gently in the once-familiar courtyard, and bowed to its knees to let her dismount. She slid off, barely keeping her feet as she put a hand to its side, and hesitated.

    The door opened, lamplight spilling out in a long The door opened, lamplight pouring out on the ground like a path. The Queen was silhouetted there for an instant, then hurried out, shawl wrapped around her and a bundle of cloth in her arms. “Little wanderer!” she cried, voice concerned and warm as always, and rushed to her. “You must be cold, and tired—it is not good to be caught outside at winter’s start.”

    The girl bowed her head, unable to speak. She could only submit as the Queen wrapped her in the blanket, put an arm around her, and half-led, half-carried her toward the open door. Only on the threshold did she halt—though the warm light pulled her like a magnet—and look back.

    “Griffon!” she said, seeing him a few steps behind her. “Can the griffon come in, Queen?”

    “If he pleases,” the Queen said at once. “He has done good work today, and is always a welcome guest in my court—but I do not know if it is to his liking.”

    And sure enough, the beast bowed at her words, and backed a step away into the night.

    The girl laughed. “I know,” she said to it, “you belong to the heights and the wilds.” Tears pricked her eyes suddenly, as she remembered the dragon’s lures—what she had arrogantly thought of herself was true of the griffon, plain in every line of its untamed majesty.

    Shaking her head, she reached out a hand to it. “Thank you,” she said softly. “Thank you for rescuing me.”

    The griffon dipped its beak into her hand, for a moment, and then backed away again and let its wings unfurl.

    The girl turned away from the cold, dark night, and let herself be led into the Queen’s home.

    Still worn to the point of bewilderment, she only vaguely registered that the household furnishings had changed; she had an impression of bright, warm-colored cloth hangings on the walls, of fire and lamplight dancing over thick curtains, and fresh, thick rushes underfoot. More than that she did not see before the Queen brought her to a familiar door—her door, the chamber in which she had always stayed when visiting.

    “Do you have the strength to change?” the Queen asked gently. “You need dry clothes.”

    The girl looked through the doorway; on her bed, she saw a fresh white nightgown laid out and waiting for her. Suddenly aware again of her own soaked clothing, she shivered under the Queen’s blanket.

    “I can change,” she said, eager to escape from that waterlogged weight.

    The Queen smiled down at her. “Then do—and don’t worry about what you’re wearing, we’ll deal with that later. Come to my sitting-room after. There is a fire ready there.”

    She nodded and slipped into her room, finding—once she had discarded her layers—that there were towels waiting on the washstand as well. The girl used these to rub herself dry and warm, then slipped into the soft woolen nightgown, sighing in relief as its warmth draped around her and down to her ankles. Picking up the blanket the Queen had given her, she found her way to the sitting-room at the back of the palace.

    Sure enough, it had changed with the seasons. The doorway that had opened onto the interior courtyard was not only closed but thickly curtained over, and the hearth that had sat clean and empty through the summer months was now the focal point of the room, filled with a merry blaze that lit the newly-enclosed space. The Queen sat on a low seat before it, hands busy with what looked like a top and a long string.

    “What are you doing?” the girl asked, stopping in the arch way.

    The Queen looked up and smiled. “Spinning, little one,” she said, and the girl realized what she had taken for a top was a spindle being filled with new-spun yarn. “Winter is the season for it.”

    The girl watched with a faint wonder, feeling as if she had seen another fairy-tale, or even a piece of history, come to life in the Queen’s nimble, practiced fingers. Then, recollecting herself, she crossed the room to the hearth, and sat down on the floor before it.

    The Queen, now seated behind her, spun in silence for a few moments. The girl situated herself more comfortably and felt the heat begin to sink in, driving out the chill of autumn’s death.

    “Soup is being brought for you,” the Queen said into the peaceful silence. “And then, little wanderer…will you tell me how you came to be lost?”

    Her voice was gentle, still, and kind. But the Queen’s words reminded the girl sharply of her shame, and when she opened her mouth to answer her breath hitched.

    “Oh, little love.” The Queen stroked her hair, voice distressed. “Whatever happened, it is all right now. All can be mended.” With a smile in her tone, she added, “Food will help with that.”

    The girl bowed her head, but she could only partly believe the words. The desolation of the crevasse had partly passed, it was true, but the comfort of this little firelit room only emphasized the depths of her guilt, and the thought of the mountains still brought weariness and grief to her mind. It was hard to imagine these things passing, engulfing her as they did.

    Of course, she soon discovered, being faint with hunger had not helped. And the rich aroma of the soup she was brought—bright with squash and full of flavor—did not diminish her grief or guilt, of course, but somehow it did manage to considerably decrease their spheres of influence in her awareness. Her body seemed to suddenly remember that it was not ruled solely by her heart or mind, but had its own priorities and its own influence on her state.

    So, by the time she had emptied her bowl, and the fire had had a chance to work on her, she found that some of the holes in her did seem to have been mended. She was…not healed, perhaps, but steadied.

    And so it was a little easier, leaning back against the Queen’s knees and looking into the fire, to confess her whole story; starting from the height-longings she had first indulged too deeply, and carrying the tale all the way through to the dragon’s temptation and her fall into the crevasse.

    The Queen stroked her hair all the way through, not stopping, except to rest her hand on the girl’s head once or twice. As the girl’s voice fell into silence, they both stilled for a moment; then the Queen took a breath.

    “A dragon,” she said softly. “You have been sorely tried, little one…I had heard rumors of such a creature above, but no one has ventured far enough to see it in many, many years.”

    “I shouldn’t have,” the girl said. “If I hadn’t tried to press so far, the dragon wouldn’t have found me, would it? And I…” Her throat closed up for a moment. “I couldn’t face it. I shouldn’t have gone that high.”

    “You’re right,” the Queen said, still stroking her hair. “You went beyond your strength, little one, and paid the price…but let us be grateful it was no higher.” She tapped the girl in the head, and the girl looked up to see her smiling down. “By your caution and the lightning’s gift you were delivered from great harm, little one. That is nothing to dismiss.”

    The girl smiled, hesitantly. “And I am grateful,” she said. “But…” she looked down again to her hands in her lap. “I fell,” she said slowly. “And that was my fault. And I…I don’t want to seek the heights again, but I don’t know what I should do next. I don’t know how to find my footing, or how to avoid falling again…”

    “May I advise you, then?”

    She turned to face the Queen’s grave, intent face. “Yes, please.”

    “I cannot command you,” the Queen reminded her. “You are not my subject in that way. But…if you do not long for the heights now, that may also be a gift. For it seems to me that you fell by a neglect of humbler things; a lack of attention to the goods of home and hearth and duty, which form foundations for all of us. And so…I think, for now, you ought to rest. But primarily, you must go home.”

    The girl sighed. “I know you’re right,” she admitted. “But…it feels hard. Everything feels hard, now.”

    “Rest first,” the Queen said, smiling at her. “You are welcome here for the night, to gather strength—and you still have the freedom of this land, and may come here to rest or learn at any time. I only suggest that you live more in your world, until you have learned to love the humbler parts of it more easily.”

    The girl tipped her head against the Queen’s knee, and felt as if she was once more a child leaning on her mother. “I will,” she promised, eyes sliding closed.

    So she slept that night in the Queen’s house, and found healing from her aches and pains. In the morning, her clothes were once more clean and fire-dried for her, and she dressed for departure.

    “One other thing,” the Queen said, approaching as the girl left her room. “I have a gift in mind, to ease your journey. May I see your key for a moment?”

    A few days ago, the girl might have balked at this request, jealous of her access to the land. Now, though, she placed it in the Queen’s hand without a second thought.

    The Queen cupped her other hand over it, eyes shut, and murmured something the girl did not hear. Then she opened her eyes, smiled, and handed it back.

    “I have asked it,” she said, “to change its entry point. As long as winter lasts, little one, it will open to your chamber door here instead of the hill-door.”

    The girl stared, a swell of gratitude rising in her heart as she took this in. To be given a door in the Queen’s household—this was safe-haven indeed, offered without reserve. And it meant she could visit this refuge at will, without struggling through the winter storms she found she had been dreading.

    “Thank you, Your Majesty,” she said quietly. “I—I will make good use of it.”

    The Queen smiled at her, full of warmth. “I know,” she said. “The key would not be yours otherwise.”

    The girl’s head dropped. She did not, at the moment, feel like a worthy holder of this gift.

    But the Queen put a hand on her shoulder. “Do not fear,” she said, when the girl looked up, as if she had guessed her feelings. “The winter will not last forever, either.”

    The girl nodded. Then she turned back to the door she had just come through. Deliberately, she turned the key in the lock, grasped the handle, and opened it.

    And then, Carina went home.

    #my writing#inklings challenge#team lewis #genre: portal fantasy #theme: stewardship#story: unfinished #concrit appreciated although not in anyway way obligatory btw! #i'm gonna try submitting this to something so if you see anything you think pulls it down i'd be glad to hear about it
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  • acorri
    21.05.2022 - 5 hours ago

    Cavern of Anti-Matter is scratching several little brain itches

    #it's like the minecraft soundtrack but More #also Portal #it doesn't sound like a video game soundtrack it just has a lot of musical elements in common with those two
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  • fanonical
    21.05.2022 - 9 hours ago

    portal 1 is a game about figuring where to put your portals to solve the puzzle

    portal 2 is a game about finding the two tiny patches of white portal surface on a map so you can solve the puzzle

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  • equilateralromance
    21.05.2022 - 10 hours ago

    eeeee so if anybody's interested i have a scrapbook blog for portal trio ciphord @rslocciiq

    #ciphord#portal trio #they would be happie if u followed c:
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  • gnewsportal
    21.05.2022 - 10 hours ago
    #G News Portal #Video News#Breaking News#Hindi News #Gangapur City News
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  • random-bookquotes
    21.05.2022 - 11 hours ago

    Otto sometimes wondered if the many archangels and demon lords ever grew bored with the self-serving prayers of men. Most people he knew only cared about them when they needed something. For Otto, the wisest path seemed to be to ignore them all and hope they returned the favor.

    James E. Wisher, The Hidden Tower (The Portal Wars Saga Book 1)

    #James E. Wisher #The Hidden Tower #The Portal Wars Saga #prayers#archangels#demon lords
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  • sliding-into-space
    21.05.2022 - 11 hours ago

    Closed opener for @modestmuses

    Slider felt like garbage at the moment . As he pushed himself off the road, ignoring some glares and stares, he couldn't help but grimace. He'd been helping his friends try and defeat his now evil father, Hacker, when the man had caught him by the hoodie and dropped him into the wormhole after threatening his friends with his safety, the jerk.

    Looking around, he brushed the dirt off his scraped up arms and knees, before catching his reflection in a puddle on the ground. His hair was pushed up at odd angles, his sweatshirt was ripped, and he had oil and dirt smeared across his face from when he'd been working on dismantling Hacker's machine. Great. He looked crazy. Rubbing at his face with his sleeve, Slider tried to clean himself up unsuccessfully before shaking his head. He could look presentable later. Right now, he should focus on figuring out where the hell he was.

    Looking around he realized exactly how many people who looked... A lot stronger and bigger than him were looking at him and he decided he should probably first get off the street he randomly got thrown into. Throwing on his hood, Slider ducked into a nearby ally and made his way into the next street over where he paused, crouching again a building to catch his breath. Wrapping his arms around his knees as he brought them to his chest, Slider let out a frustrated sigh. He was lost, stuck in some random place with a lot of people who didn't look the friendliest, this was just great.

    Taking another breath, Slider shook his head. Freaking out would get him nowhere. Standing up and trying to force as much confidence into himself as he could, Slider marched up to the first person who didn't look like they wanted to kill him and stopped abruptly in front of them. "Excuse me, sorry to interrupt but where the heck am I?" He asked with a serious frown.

    #you can choose the muse >:3 #modestmuses#slider rp#rp #portal jumper dimensional traveling #cyberchase rp #i know nothing of this world so i hope this starter works!!! if not i can change stuff >:D
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  • nicoless-arts
    21.05.2022 - 12 hours ago

    aggie.io doodle

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  • zedwards
    21.05.2022 - 12 hours ago

    clearing out my camera roll and i found this gem

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