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Messages - OhGodHelpMe

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Welcome Center / Re: Returning and Forgetful
« on: Today at 01:04:13 AM »
I either wasn't around for all of the drama or I was just neck-deep in trying to write something worth a crap. Either way, each ending is a new beginning. Welcome home.

Trying out some new cover designs. What do you guys think?  :notunderstand:

Manga Writers wanted / Beta Readers Wanted
« on: December 10, 2018, 06:27:05 PM »
Howdy folks, I'm in need of one or maybe more beta readers for Senkumo War Stories: Book of Betrayal. It currently stands at 11 chapters, 37,116 words, so it would take some time to read through. Perfectly fine with me, as I'm in no hurry to edit or release it. I just want the fresh pair of eyes going over it as I handle other tasks. SWS is a prequel series to my story Death by Ex-Girlfriend and features a few characters from there.

It takes place during the Warring States period of Japan and chronicles Tsukiakari's experiences during the war with the Senkumo clan and their bitter struggle to create an ideal society for themselves beneath the ruins of the broken, feudal state. Tsukiakari spoke briefly of her time during the war in DbEG, but this is a more detailed telling of everything that happened. It's kind of a dark read, given the historical era.

Please let me know if you're interested! When I do eventually get it released, I'll be sure you have a chance to get the book for free.  :clapping:

Following the pyrrhic victory against Yoshihisa Ashikaga, there was the whole "A Person Undone" chapter, in which Inori, a Senkumo nurse, undergoes some severe dissociative trauma. After she regains her memories though, the clan visits the Katsura river to scatter the ashes of their fallen. This was Taeko's speech to her men at the river. I wanted this moment to be where Taeko proves herself to be both a fortifier and a consoler to her men.

The Theft of the Soldier's Humanity

Taeko and Tsukiakari surveyed their mourning troops as they walked along the Katsura River, their hands coated in the ash of their fallen comrades. Spotting Inori and her team, Taeko quietly sauntered towards them, Tsukiakari tailing her. Inori and the others perked up and straightened their backs as they prepared to salute their superior, but a quick hand gesture from Taeko stopped them from being so painfully formal. Without a word, Taeko slowly reached a hand into Ayadachi’s urn, carefully cradling her delicate, fleeting remains with both hands.

“I won’t let this river take the rest. This mortal dust is all we have left of them.” Taeko muttered under shallow breath.

Confused, Tsukiakari took a step towards her. “Taeko?”

Taeko looked to Inori and the other nurses, her single eye unblinking. “They deserve better than to be entombed in these ageless waters, forgotten by each passing year, every subsequent era. We won’t forget them like the river will. We won’t neglect them like the soil will.”

Taeko leaned her head back and smeared Ayadachi’s ashes over her face, her hand gliding from cheek to cheek, from chin to neck, from nose to forehead. Her strange action caught the attention of the surrounding troops while Inori and the other nurses stood mystified. After her initial shock, however, Inori followed Taeko’s lead, smearing more of Ayadachi’s remains across her face. The longer those pale ashes settled on her face, the more the tears began to return. It was as if the weight of Ayadachi’s ghost was pushing down upon her shoulders, summoning the sadness she thought had been run dry. One by one, her fellow nurses reluctantly joined them in this mournful ritual, the group gathering a crowd of curious troops.

Taeko stepped forth to address them. “I will no longer ask you to put a cause, an ideology, before your humanity. That is not how soldiers should be treated, as instruments of the times, paying in blood for the life of an idea. Many of you must feel it, don’t you? Your beliefs, your convictions, everything you thought you had sworn your heart’s allegiance to, slipping into the dissonant turmoil of conflict. Don’t feel discouraged. I feel it too. When the machinations of war quiet down in the night, I feel that weight bearing down on me. I feel like I’ve somehow betrayed the convictions of this clan when I mourn those we’ve lost. Has my faith in Bishamon or Tsukiakari waned? Have I forgotten the promised eternity beyond martyrdom?

Now I realize…we had already lost our way from the start. The ideals of this clan ignored the soldier’s condition, that he is, after the fighting is done, just a human. Everyday, we are all risking death in our pursuit of a new nation. The country your ancestors helped build, this beautiful corpse of a nation, was prostituted by lords and their folly. In much the same way we once urged you to suppress your doubts and sorrows for the idea of glory in martyrdom, so too did the lords convince their subjects to discard a piece of themselves for the good of the province. Humans…reduced to nothing more than loyalists without question, without skepticism. That neglect for humanity created the era we’ve inherited. Lords of a dying era fighting lawless men of a misguided cause. In the end, both sides continue to turn men into fodder without personhood. Perhaps that is unavoidable in the game of war. Perhaps, in many ways, we are no better.
But these men and these women, whose ashes we hold before us now, died believing in the nation we could build. A nation of horizontal rule rather than vertical oppression. A nation that is more than just the ruler and his subjects, the destitute and their wealthy counterparts. We risk everything so we can begin the groundwork for a nation where every man and woman has a chance to be greater than the previous era allowed them to be. 

A place where a soldier is more than the disposable instrument of the ideology of the state. A place where the people aren’t suppressed by the military, or censored by the government. What we’re doing is dark work. Our circumstances require that we commit actions that are antithetical to the convictions of our ideal nation. They require us to deal in dark deeds and poisonous words, to engage in brutality never seen before in this country’s long history. A long history that will, inevitably, distort the humanity of our clan and the truth of our cause. A long history that will erode the tombs of our heroes and violate the resting places of our honest humans, whom the world will judge as monsters because they dared to carry our name.

But no one can take from us the communion we shared with our comrades, the love we had for our dearest friends. No one can take that burning emotion you all feel in your hearts in this very moment, nor the fire screaming out from the pit of your stomach. Accept the pain of losing what you loved. Embrace it. And if you, like me, feel the hatred festering within you, if you feel the deepest malice of your humanity seeping out and crying for revenge, do not let this river be their tomb. Unleash hell upon the deaf ears of history. Give no futile mirage to the eyes of this era. Accept your humanity as soldiers, and all of the imperfections therein. Don’t go floating away down the river of time.”

Not a single word was spoken after Taeko’s speech. She only noticed it after she was done speaking, but nearly every soldier there had huddled around her and Tsukiakari, who stood just as awestruck as the rest of them. Taeko’s words that day had instantly transformed her into both a fortifier and a consoler, someone akin to that of a strict mother figure. Tsukiakari, unable to find the words to express what Taeko’s speech meant to her, approached the nurses holding Ayadachi’s urn and coated her face in her ashes. The other troops soon followed suit, with everyone taking handfuls of their loved one’s ashes and smearing their faces with them. In silence, their coated their faces in the pale dust, bearing the visage of an army of ghosts beneath the dual, orange-purple veil of the twilight sky.

Taeko's words had freed them of the clan’s ideological burden. It allowed them to let their human emotions, their sorrow, their fury, come to the surface without a hint of shame. It ignited that spark of humanity that Tsukiakari had failed to inspire, through no fault of her own. Taeko was the human touch, while Tsukiakari was the godly conviction. Though, that did little to suppress the guilt the war goddess felt, that she had robbed them of what truly separates gods from humans; that sacred communion of camaraderie.

Bearing the ashes of countless dead on her face, Taeko cast her eyes towards the falling sun, the rest of the troops joining her in viewing its fading light.
“It is the times that will pay its blood debt to us soldiers. Not the other way around. Mark my words. Our comrades will be avenged. Our legacy, our truth…will carry on unmolested through time.”

Music / Re: OGHM's Wacky Slappy Guitar Riffs
« on: December 02, 2018, 07:37:02 PM »
I'm hardly that into music theory myself. I know my scales, chords, and intervals well enough though. It all depends on what you want your sound to be though. There are a lot of blues guitarists in the world because blues is such an accessible sound. The same can't be said for folk guitarists like Kotaro Oshio. That style of playing does require theory knowledge and actual skill as a composer.  :ninja: Skill that took me years to get down.

Bass translates pretty well from guitar. The first four strings work the same way. But I think some good scales, arpeggios, and grooves independent from the guitar part are what makes a good bassist.

Thanks Walter! The work never ends, given how big this series ended up being. It’ll take me years to publish all of this. Which is a good thing! But oh so tiring too

Music / Re: OGHM's Wacky Slappy Guitar Riffs
« on: December 02, 2018, 05:54:37 PM »
Glad you’re liking it! That kind of jazzy rock sound that Japan has is one of my big influences. That and City Pop. Now that’s a genre that taught me the importance of bass. It’s why songs like Plastic Love have such a killer groove. If it makes you feel any better, saving up for my guitar was hell. Costed $3,000 plus tax. Totally worth it, it’s a great guitar.

Music / Re: OGHM's Wacky Slappy Guitar Riffs
« on: December 02, 2018, 03:59:58 PM »

Music / Re: OGHM's Wacky Slappy Guitar Riffs
« on: November 29, 2018, 06:29:29 AM »
Here's To You, My Dearest Laila

Meanwhile on the SWS side of things:

Taeko's descent into madness is being greatly revised. Firstly, as the Senkumo clan grows, it becomes clear that Taeko is the brains behind the clan's rise to power and legitimacy as a fledgling nation. She handles training, oversees recruitment, instructs the medical teams on surgical procedures, heads the Senkumo's shinobi units, and starts getting more involved in the business/money-making side of things (including but not limited to suggesting to Bishamon that the clan should start up a few opium plantations, given all of its uses.) Tsukiakari goes on to establish a proper court martial on base, but its soon undermined by the clan's increasingly baleful thirst for revenge. Taeko is on their side most of the time.

So, when things start really going down on base (Plague outbreak, appearance of phantoms, conspiracy of mutiny among the troops etc), Taeko has no issue persecuting her own. She also ends up developing torture techniques for the clan's shinobi unit, but this soon goes from physical torture for the sake of getting information, to trying her damned hardest to mentally/emotionally break the target, no matter how insanely cruel the methods are.

Book of Betrayal Part 1 is about half done.

On the DbEG side of things:

Aika Crisis is coming along slowly. I'm firmly settled on making the heart of Aika's...crisis...based on her mother's death due to faith-healing, and the resulting conflict between her faith and her emotions. I think I want this first arc to also just slightly touch on what each of the other girl's lost when Osamu abandoned them. Aika lost her faith and her mother, Yoko lost her father, Isabella's brother was shipped off to war, and Izanami lost the first man she has loved in thousands of years (though she was the most understanding of Osamu's plight during the time).

Can't wait to feel the pain of Dawn and Dusk again.

Anyway, have a SWS excerpt.

The next day was a hell of searing sunlight and blinding glare. It was such a bright day that the troops saw afterimages of their sunlit surroundings every time they blinked. That day, under Tsukiakari’s order, the entire base prepared to fight with the Ashikaga. Weapons were checked, rations were packed, armor was fixed, and the horses were given their battle dresses. While the Otonougi twins oversaw the base’s operations, Tsukiakari gathered Mayumi and Taeko into the war room. It pained them every day that Ebina was no longer there to sit on that empty, fourth cushion.

   It was business as usual in the war room. The three drew up their plans for reconnaissance, their marching routes, and the most beneficial areas to stage their attacks. It all had to be done as efficiently as possible, and as quietly as possible. If the fighting was inevitable, Tsukiakari was determined to get the drop on the Ashikaga before they could launch attacks on the Senkumo.

   “A pre-emptive attack? Gekko, please reconsider this!” Mayumi urged. “The Ashikaga are our strongest allies and our closest business partners! Eliminating them will make it harder to run the clan!”
   “I will not reconsider. The Ashikaga will discover what happened to those villagers, and the Senkumo will be the primary suspects. They know that we operate in this region, practically right next to them.” Tsukiakari surmised. “Once they find out, war will be an unquestionable certainty.”
“We’re going to kill them before they kill us. We can’t afford to fight a defensive battle, Mayumi.” Taeko stated. “Our troops are trained in field combat and siege warfare, not for defense. As long as we’re on the offensive, we have the advantage over them. Besides, the Ashikaga’s influence has only waned since the Onin War. The Shogunate no longer means a damned thing to anyone. It’s every lord for himself now.”
Mayumi recoiled with widened eyes, as if she was disgusted with them both. “You’ve got to be kidding me! Your strategy is a joke! We should open a dialogue with the Ashikaga rather than immediately rushing to the battlefield!”
“And what good will that do for us when they find out we massacred villagers living in their territory?” Taeko retaliated.
“I just thought that, after Ebina, you two wouldn’t be so eager to throw any more people into harm’s way!”
“Shut up!” Taeko screamed, standing up. “I did everything I could for her! Everything!”
Tsukiakari stood as well, seeing their fighting had gotten out of hand. “That’s enough! Both of you! Ebina wasn’t anyone’s fault, and I’m sure that wasn’t what Mayumi was insinuating. Regardless, my orders are absolute. We are going to fight the Ashikaga. If you don’t want to help, then just sit back at base.”

The room went quiet for a few seconds. Mayumi spoke, her voice broken and thin, as if she were about to cry. “Fine…”
Mayumi slowly floated out of the room like a lifeless specter. Tsukiakari’s heart shook and rattled inside of her chest as she watched her leave.

“Listen, Gekko…” Taeko began. “Mayumi is our friend, I get that. But she can’t be allowed to disrupt the chain of command here. Mayumi is in charge of our resource allocation and supplies, and that’s as far as her authority goes. I make a lot of important decisions around this base, but your word on any given issue is the final word. Mayumi has no place in that.”
Tsukiakari shook her head. “We’ll deploy within the week. Mayumi is coming with us.”
“I’ll make sure everyone is ready on your signal, Gekko.”

Music / Re: OGHM's Wacky Slappy Guitar Riffs
« on: November 24, 2018, 06:37:09 PM »
Jamming on some Led Zeppelin (who were jamming on Willie Dixon but whatever)


Alright, that's it! Aika's name is no longer written as Love Song! It's now written as Lament/Book of Lamentation (But still read as Aika.) There's actually a reason for this though. So, Aika Crisis tried and mostly failed at conveying the...well...crisis that Aika was going through, internally. I believe the original draft focused too much on her relationship with Osamu and not well enough on her mother's untimely death.

Aika's mother was gravely ill, but any chance she could've had at getting better were dashed from jump street because she refused medical treatment for a long while. Aika's mother was one of those folks who believed very strongly in faith healing, which kept her out of the hospital for most of the duration of her illness. At first, this was all fine with Aika. She firmly believed, along with her mother, that God would take her illness and save her life as a reward for her unbreakable faith. That obviously didn't happen. A big part of what Aika was going through was the conflict of her faith with her grief of losing her god-devoted mother. She just can't reconcile the two. She can't mend her broken faith in God, and she also can't quite accept the loss of her mother. Osamu leaving Kyoto was just the final nail in Aika's coffin. Her mother was dead, she felt god abandoned her, and Osamu quite literally abandoned her and everyone else.

That should've been conveyed better, but I made it look like Aika attempted suicide because she had boyfriend issues. I think this is a better character arc to go through. it should make Aika's fresh start towards the end that much more fulfilling.

Sort of. My primary goal as a writer is to make readers feel as if they've lost something that they can't get back. Usually, this is balanced by the feeling that they've also gained something in return. Dawn and Dusk for example. We lost Isabella, but we gained the rest of the girls as wives. Inari Standoff, Osamu loses his dear Inari, but literally gains her heart and is given a fresh, emotional start. He no longer has to lament about past failures.

This doesn't really apply to Letting Go, though. That one is just loss. Just crushing, bitter loss.

Anyway, Aika's name means Book of Lamentation and I think it encapsulates her conflict with her emotions and her faith. Also, highly debating making Rei a trap? I...that would be awkward. That's kind of why I want to do it. I don't know.

As you know, Death by Ex-Girlfriend is next, starting with Aika Crisis. It might take some time getting this exactly how I want it.  :ninja:

Have a portion of the intro scene so you can see how much I'm reworking this.

Day 1: My Ex-Girlfriend Called an Airstrike On My House
Osamu’s eyes shot open, bringing him back from his bout of unconsciousness and delivering him to the world of the living. The pale blue light of the electric lantern sitting on the rotten, wooden floor of the bowling alley pierced his hazel eyes like photon daggers stabbing through his retinas. A glossy sheen of cold sweat dampened his peachy skin and head of shoulder-length, raven hair. His dirty, black thermal was messily unbuttoned, exposing the golden peace sign necklace dangling against his chest as he tried to free his rope-bound wrists. His squirming and struggling made the wooden chair he was bound to creak and shudder, alerting his captor to his awakening.

The echo of high-heel shoes thumping against the ground reverberated through the abandoned bowling alley, serving as a heart-stopping reminder to Osamu that he wasn’t alone.
“I was beginning to worry you died, Osa.”

His wicked, devilish ex-girlfriend, Yoko Akiyama, emerged from the darkness with the scent of strawberry perfume, vexation, and vengeance around her. Her elongated shadow grew smaller as she passed by the electric lantern, then stretched back out as she stepped towards Osamu. She pressed the heel of her stiletto against Osamu's chest and pointed her glimmering katana at his frightened face. Yoko had a demonic fire in her sapphire eyes, which clashed with her firebrick-colored hair. The lantern’s light illuminated the outer strands of her hair, enwreathing them in a cyan veil. Her raised leg meant that Osamu caught a glimpse of her panties beneath her flowing, pink skirt. She wore a denim vest and a white shirt with the kanji for "Love" printed on it, because certainly, someone who would kidnap another person knew what love was.? ?    

(There we go...those eyes again...)?   

"Now then, are you ready to talk?", Yoko inquired, her smile thinly veiling her murderous intent.?    

"T-talk? Talk about what?!" Osamu asked, his teeth clattering.?    

"Oh, I don't know, maybe why the hell you decided to come back to town after what you did!” Yoko lashed out. “Do you have a deathwish?! You do, don't you!"?   

"Yoko, darling, please listen to me-"?   

 "Shut up." Yoko interjected, slowly gliding her sword down from Osamu's lips and to his chest and stopping at his groin.?    

"You're still as handsome as ever. It's too bad you're nothing but a filthy insect. Where would you like me to cut first? Your face? Your biceps? How about your-"?   

 “Don't cut me anywhere! This is far too aggressive of a homecoming bash,  Yoko! Even for you!” Osamu cried, forlornly trying to free his bonded hands.

Yoko sauntered over to the bleachers and plopped down in her seat with her arms crossed. “My my, and here I thought you loved me for who I was on the inside. Well, since I know the truth, I suppose I won’t be giving you the antidote anytime soon.”She finished her sentence with a teasing wink. Osamu swallowed the burning lump in his throat, imagining some noxious brew of poison flowing through his bloodstream.

“Yoko…you poisoned me?!”

The redheaded ex snickered with amusement. “Nope! I just wanted to see the face you’d make if you thought you were going to die!”

“Please don’t play around with my mortality!” Osamu shouted with his head leaned back in both relief and vexation.
Yoko stifled a chuckle to speak. “However, you’ll never get me to tell you the code to deactivate the bombs I planted in the nearby kindergarten! Not until you formally apologize!”
“You rigged a school?!” Osamu gasped.
“Just kidding! I don’t know how to make bombs!” Yoko tittered.
“Why are you saying that as if that’s the only thing stopping you from committing a brazen act of terror?”

Music / Re: What are you listening to
« on: November 06, 2018, 06:11:10 PM »
My first exposure to City Pop was actually 4 A.M. by Taeko Ohnuki, but I do like to jam on Plastic Love from time to time

Video / PC Games / Re: What video games are you playing at the moment?
« on: November 04, 2018, 10:23:20 PM »
I jumped into Love Ribbon for that sweet yuri wincest, not expecting for the characters to be hit with real-world consequences once everyone found out that they were more than just sisters. I quite enjoy VN's like that.

I played Wolf Tails after that. I was promised wolf girl action. I got wolf girl action. No complaints there.

fault: milestones 1 & 2 were some great feels-trips. Kinda slow-paced but the payoff was always worth it. The main heroine underwent some sort of dynastic ritual where the knowledge of all of the previous lords of her kingdom is zapped into her brain (for lack of a better way to put it). One of those lords was a particularly infamous queen in her kingdom's history, known for being both ruthless and heartless, but ultimately empowering her nation because of it. The consciousness of that particular queen takes over the main heroine for a while and the result is entertaining as hell.

Red Dead Redemption 2. It's pretty fun. Not a fan of some of the design choices. Having to wait for your horse in real-time is a bore. I appreciate the detail of the skinning animations, but when the animation glitched out once, Arthur just went ahead and yanked the skin right off a deer. It just kinda made me wish the animations were actually like that, quick and easy. Watching him skin a bear realistically is cool, but I don't appreciate having to wait for a lengthy animation to wrap up what the game can clearly do in two seconds. Kinda wish Arthur didn't just automatically put his guns away during long trips too. Re-arming every time is kinda tedious. It does give you a wonderful sense of panic when you're ambushed by a few thugs and realize you don't have your repeater because your horse darted off at the first sound of gunfire though.

It's hard to wear whatever you want when you want because there's apparently a "too hot/too cold" mechanic. Again, great attention to detail. Just tedious and annoying when you want to play Red Dead Fashion 2. Overall, fantastic game. Graphics are insanely good too. The lighting, weather effects, and texture work in particular are gorgeous. Bethesda usually advertises the hell out of their super special GOD RAYS (IT JUST WORKS!), but the volumetric lighting in RDR2 is some of the best I've seen in an open world game. Sunshafts piercing through trees will have this thick, flowy veil of fog sometimes. During the night, it looks especially spooky when you're walking through a forest.

Playing Red Wars in Mount and Blade Warband. I initially ended up joining the Swazi Reich to fight against the filthy communist menace, but my commander got all of us either killed or imprisoned. So I said balls to him and went full Big Boss, taking over a fortress on the island to the northeast of the Not-United-States faction. We've only got a few hundred men right now, but we're starting to take the fight to the socialist/communist factions. Then I'll get revenge on the Swazi Reich.

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