The Poisoned Therapist

Water. The sounds of dripping water reverberated often in Mercer’s head. It would drip into a puddle, sometimes pour out like a fresh pail feeding spring’s floral children. But when Mercer hears her ears fill with water, all she is able to do is to be entranced as she drowns in an endless, wondrous, cosmic ocean of oblivion.

Tonight was one of those nights for her, and Mercer remained still for hours, laying transfixed in bed. She was just about to get ready to wind down for the night, maybe check her schedule for tomorrow’s clients, and then drift off to sleep. As soon as the plinking sound of water started, she was paralyzed with a soft sensation – was it adrenaline? It rushed through her veins like channels of streaming water, and her mind washed away of all thoughts and consciousness.

It was the blaring ringing of her phone that finally snapped Mercer out of trance. She jumped, in a daze, and grabbed her phone to answer the incessant noise.

“Hello?”

A nervous voice spoke up after an uncomfortable shuffling moment. “Oh hi Mercer, I was just calling to see if we could actually talk tonight? I finished my project early so I uh, I have the time now.”

Mercer quickly sat up and reached for her compact notebook from the nightstand. “Ohh! Yes, yes of course Cordelia, this is perfect. Then I can meet with Wallace tomorrow evening. How did the paintings go?”

“Well,” Cordelia let out a soft sigh. “It was good, it was good. I’m still adjusting myself to finding that outlet for me, you know? Sometimes I’m filled with thoughts that are always racing, never ending. Like a loop. They just keep on flowing and I don’t quite know how to stop them. So I painted an infinity sign in gold and then I just repeated that pattern. It’s rather hypnotizing Mercer, but today I felt proud. I was able to channel these thoughts into my artwork and it was adorned in this beautiful golden paint I purchased from Joanne’s. It was like, I could engrave my thoughts in each infinite band. Oh and, the other bands were of course other metallic paints I picked out back home.”

Plink. Not now, Mercer thought. She took a quick breath and walked to the kitchen to make herself a small cup of coffee. “That’s wonderful Cordelia. Having that outlet to express your thoughts, it’s one of the best things humanity created as a remedy to our own struggles. Art is, that is. What were some of those thoughts you were having, Cordelia?” She opened the cupboard and started on her black coffee with almond milk.

Cordelia paused for a moment, and then quietly detailed her thoughts. That she was a failure for not graduating college, for having a broken family and a broken heart. Being 25 and unemployed because of her depressive state led her to live with her aunt Terrissa out in the countryside. Cordelia always thought things would get better over there, especially because Terrissa was kind and gentle to her as a child, and the exposure to nature could brighten her mood. Terrissa was rather toxic within the confines of her home; she was constantly pressuring and reminding Cordelia of how much her presence set back Terrissa’s lifestyle of tranquility and remarking on Cordelia’s much changed stature. One day, Cordelia had taken a stroll out back along one of the fences that gated the south pasture, where her favorite mare grazed, and Cordelia saw Terrissa disposing some strange parts. She circled back later that evening and vomited on the spot from what she had seen: Malary, the house cat, was butchered viciously with charred bits and pieces of fur.

“I was just, you know, trying to get some breakfast sorted for me this morning and Terrissa just snapped at me. And then she just started yelling at me about how ungrateful I was to not ask if she was hungry and how I had no manners. She always makes me food and I did feel remorse but I just wasn’t thinking properly when I was so hungry. And honestly I wanted to throw the knife I was using to cut the cucumber at her throat and just, I don’t know, just scar her forever, and make her mute. I wanted to hurt her, Mercer.” Cordelia’s voice quivered.

Mercer took a sip of her coffee, felt a growing sense of trepidation, and drowned it down with more coffee as she clicked her pen to jot more notes. “I know you’ve tried your best. You stay out of her way when possible, and you’ve tried talking, reasoning, heck even bargaining. I want you to consider, possibly, now to change your environment instead of your relationship. You’ve been out of work for a couple years, I want you to prepare a list of potential jobs you see and like for me next week.” Mercer paused as bubbling sounds floated past her ears. “She’s not only toxic as we’ve established – Cordelia, she’s emotionally abusive to you.” A small sniff stuttered from across the line.

“I knew it at heart but you know I can’t leave her. She’s sick, Mercer. And I’m sick.” Her voice was strained, but remarkably held its composure.

Mercer felt her eyes droop with empathy. “Every day is a fight, but you’ll be the one to win the war. Okay? You have to believe in that, that’s the only way it becomes real. You’re sick, so you’ll find that remedy, even if you carry scars as a part of you for life. Heck, maybe even you have it for life but you will manage it. You don’t just stay down, that would have happened 5 years ago and you very well know that.”

More sniffles and a shuddering breath stifles through the feed after a long pause. “Thanks Mercer. I appreciate this tonight, I’m sorry if I took up more time this session than slated but this really helps me and I think I can sleep tonight.”

“Happy to help, darling. That’s what I’m here for. We can correspond over email on confirming the next appointment.”

“Okay, that sounds great Mercer. Thank you again for the kind words tonight, good night.”

“Good night.” Click.

Mercer felt herself slipping in the sofa chair as she clinked her coffee mug with her metal spoon. Clink, clink, plink, clink. Another long night. The therapist is not exactly religious, but Mercer believes in a soul, in spiritual energy. The souls, vessels and conduits, or reservoirs of internal energy is transferred to another soul, or a spiritual body. Perhaps a ki or a chakra of some sort. Cordelia was filled with uncertainty, and thus Mercer felt a growing sense of trepidation. Mercer “knew better” but still allowed – or perhaps, unable to stop – it to happen. These days, the sighs grow longer and wispier.

Soft ethereal sounds of falling water cascaded in her ears again. Mercer closed her eyes and felt a cold wake splash against her temples. It corrupted her, clouded her mind with billowing fog of emptiness. She felt like the hand of a clock, ticking mindlessly, inanimately, in the race of time. This watery sound knew how to render her a kind of stillness she never knew before. She listens, and understands her heart synchronized to the dripping of water. It filled her spiritual body and drowns her, and where dread once resided, there was nothing but solace. Alone in her chair, she sunk to the depths of this oceanic torrent. It was poisoning, and Mercer let it flow through her with a single breath.


Inspired by Matt Nasir – The Last Train

Build Reviews: Artificer & Monk

Somehow, I always manage to find the time and motivation for every two sets of classes that I complete to blog about. Ah well, consistency at its finest!

Well, I did complete a Bard life already, but currently on the second one. I don’t like to blog about a class set that I haven’t fully completed, so that’ll be on the list for next time! It’s been a while since I played these classes, so my memory might be a bit fuzzy. Argh, this is why I should blog about them while the memory is still fresh!

Artificer
Apparently I love Sun Elf so much that I’m willing to play it for 10+ lives. Sheesh.
First two lives as an Artificer were heavy repeating crossbow Arcane Archer specs (17/2/1 Artificer/Rogue/Cleric). The first life was really hard readjusting into the ranged playstyle because of the power difference between a Mechanic Rogue and a subpar splash Artificer build. That, and the Mech life used great crossbows, so two entirely different builds even if the same general type of playstyle (ranged). I remember Sun Elf Artificer was a lot of fun nonetheless – doubleshot capstone of the Elven AA tree really made a huge difference, and I’m regretting not taking at last 4 levels of Rogue for the Killer enhancement for another 20%. I always find these little mistakes in these builds or ideas to tweak them better after the life is over. Go figure!

All three of the Sun Elf lives had the exact same appearance as always: pale blond hair, either light grey or golden eyes, and the same slanted, feathery eyes. Later on, however, I change up things quite a bit, and was quite happy to experiment. In the next post!

Ugh, I’d much rather take screenshots instead of describing all the time but I also do like to describe things in detail. I wish I was proactive enough to take screenies, but I’m much too lazy for that. Maybe in the next post (geez, I keep talking about this next post a lot!).

For two lives, I enjoyed the pew-pew’s of an “exploit” AA crossbow character. I played in Legendary Dreadnought, and upon first impression, I was able to build up Blitz fairly quickly. I do not think it was as much DPS as the previous Mechanic life, but it was more versatile – self repairs and heals (Sera was dual-spec), Artificer buffs (discovered the utility of Lightning Sphere, went Deadly Weapons cast-happy), Blessings of Amaunator buff package (I cannot get enough of this enhancement, one of the main reasons why I go Sun Elf at all), AA stances, and abilities that shift the playstyle, etc. I regret to write that I did not get to indulge in the important role as the Deadly Weapons provider as I thought I would have to be, considering how many people would whine about those who constantly asked for it. In fact, I’d be the one always asking folks if they would like a Deadly Weapons or something. Times sure have changed.

I got tired of the ranged Artificer, so I decided to change things up in the final life as an Artificer. I ITR’ed into a 16/3/1 Artificer/Fighter/Cleric SWF Bastard-Sword melee. I have to admit, it wasn’t the best DPS I’ve ever seen, but it had its fun perks. As I approach closer to my final life, I am beginning to experiment more and more with many different things. Many might not even consider something as small as a minor detail change to be “experimental,” but every detail means a lot for a micromanaging OCD like me. In this life, I could have chosen to wield a variety of types of weapons rather than strictly focusing on one. But, flavor won out, and I was determined to be solely wielding B-swords. It was interesting and tough to level with at the same time; B-swords aren’t the best of weapons in regards to their weapon variety, and even with the B-sword enhancements (which, this is where I thought they would be fun to have as a bonus rather than relying on them for the bulk of the DPS), its often not really worth investing into. I was tempted to just use Celestia until 30 (almost persuaded by the “B-sword” flavor text), but I ended up using a variety of subpar B-swords. I totally regret not taking Nightmare instead of Mornh because that would have probably made the difference in the enjoyment of this life.

Monk
OK, so Monk only covers two lives, since I +20 LR’ed my (technically) 4th Favored Soul life to rid of one of the Monk lives. I don’t exactly regret this, despite the class tweak pass recently, although I wish I could have played some kind of Shuriken or Ninja Thrower build. The first Monk life was purely an attempt to explore the Monk class in its traditional form: a TWF fist fighter Shintao Monk in the Grandmaster of Flowers ED. Specializing in tactical DCs, I was surprised at the success of the build towards the higher end levels (this is almost always how it goes anyways throughout these lives if you haven’t noticed). With some gear that was clearly suitable for this type of build (Visions of Precision), I generally did not have gear specially catered towards a tactician build. However, I still maintained a sustainable stunning DC of 80, something I was pleasantly surprised by! I had a very effective Tomb of Jade, Jade Strike, Smite Creature, and Stunning Fist – it was a whole new green and starry world. The beginning epic levels of this life was excruciating – I actually felt some dread playing this character around level 24. But as I learned and developed my own way in playing this class, especially towards the higher end of epics which I would say is more of my domain in playstyle and gear, I was able to get it together and finish the life proudly. Yay!!

Now, the second Monk life was a complete cheese life compared to the first, and it did not feel as satisfactory. In the first life, I specifically was learning a whole new class (finally understood how those finishing moves worked), and despite it being a tougher life than the average, it was highly rewarding at the end and in hindsight. The second life as a Monkcher felt like… a complete cheese tactic to fulfill the need to feel powerful. I was humiliated quite a bit as a Monk the first life, often because I would enter raids that were clearly out of my league due to level range. Maybe that is why I was quick to take the cheese route – I know I keep calling it cheese but that’s what it kind of just felt like to me! That is kind of how a lot of these exploit builds work. Come to think of it, I’ve been playing quite a bit of exploit builds when I look back… oops. Desperation at its finest.

Anyways, the Monkcher life wasn’t bad. I wasn’t always clear in how the Manyshot and Ten Thousand Stars overlap worked, but once I read the descriptions and thought about it logically, it made sense why they were so powerful back in the day, and how their influence still lasts today (even if its not the top flavor of the month build). I was more interested in that than anything else, so I decided to give it a shot: 12/6/2 Monk/Ranger/Cleric variant. To be honest, the Cleric variant wasn’t really all that I was expecting – the Divine Might was a nice bonus, but it did not feel like it was contributing significantly to DPS. My Strength score was mediocre than what I was expecting with the DM enhancement, which was around 60 or so at cap. The synergy between investing into CHA for STR was highly lacking. Again, being Sun Elf, I took full advantage of the usual racial enhancements, but that was about it. If I were to retry this build, I’d probably splash something else more beneficial in the long run, perhaps swap out the AP and pick up Harper tree, and exchange the two Cleric levels with Artificer (like my friend Aronika) for Enchant Weapon, traps, and INT stat synergy. Plus, free dog for utility!

These two monk lives were also the same in appearance as the previous three lives. Gee, I sure am creative!! That will change in the next life though, heh.

Monk was probably the class that I had the most screwups and freak outs over, behind Druid and Warlock I guess. The Monkcher life, I totally screwed up and dumped Wisdom, completely forgetting about 10K stars and Zen Archery. That was extremely painful as I had to rearrange the entire feat list once I realized it around level 6, and while I was still able to salvage it, it was not at its maximum (or at least close to maximum) potential. While bonus feats are, well, a bonus, they also threw me off several times. That was annoying. Since I was never familiar with the Monk class to begin with, I struggled to remember when certain bonus feats would kick in at certain levels. Man, that was a pain!

All in all, I had a lot of fun. These lives were the lives I was slowly starting to make my creative, experimental side take over! I look forward to writing the next review of Sera’s builds/lives in the upcoming two sets – Bard and Fighter!!

Also, it is like 6AM as I wrap up this post. I am going to make no sense tomorrow morning when I reread this. But whatever! Long posts are boring and rambly anyway and I do enough of that!!

>.<