D&D: SESSION 32

It’s time for session 32, my dudes. What will the party do now that the Unholy Crusade is destroying the planes?

SESSION 32

Players:

  • Ciaran (LVL20) and Basile (LVL22)
  • Kass (LVL21)
  • Rhaegar (LVL 21)
  • Alkaid (LVL 22)

With the group separated:

Basile and Ciaran, who had run off during the battle, found themselves lost in the expanse of Mechanus. Once Basile stopped Ciaran from running, Basile sits down in a state of shell shock, and Ciaran casts Leomund’s Tiny Hut around them to keep them protected. They decide to wait for the others to find them.

Rhaegar and Lorn head further into the city to try and find Law and Order, as well as any possible survivors. As they approach closer, they find a black pike in the center of town with the head of the dragon. Around it are body parts, including those of Arch Bishop Zett. Rhaegar collects claw of the dragon and Law and Order.

Alkaid and Kass remain at the scene of the battle. Alkaid lied on the ground and took in everything that happened while healing herself, and Kass just stood there in shock. They decide to look for the rest of the party. They head into the city to try and find the others. They meet up with Rhaegar and Lorn, then decide to try and find Basile and Ciaran. Alkaid uses Swift Tracker to find where Ciaran ran off. They carefully make their way to where Ciaran’s hut is constructed. It looks like a gingerbread house.

Rhaegar knocks on the door and Ciaran lets them in, saying, “yay, they found us!” Basile doesn’t reply. After ensuring everyone is relatively okay, they plane shift back to Neebsenshire to rest and prepare for their next moves.

In town, Lucy is still feeling unwell despite Mechanus being cleared of Lucifer’s army. The group realizes the plane of fire may be under attack. Everyone goes to Xi-Long to turn in one of the swords they collected – easily earning 2 million gold.

  • Rhaegar kept the other sword.
  • Alkaid enchanted her bow with Mage Bane.
  • Basile enchanted his glaive to Holy Vampiric Metalline Lawful Evil Bane Anarchic, as well as a charisma enchantment on his vest of resistance.
  • Ciaran, with Basile’s money, purchased a headband of intellect.
  • Kass purchased prismatic scimitars.

Distraught, Basile also goes to visit his dad for comfort but only finds his mom. Despite her discomfort, he tells her that he forgives her, and that she doesn’t have to feel guilty anymore for not protecting him. She breaks down and starts crying.

Later in the night, Rhaegar takes Ciaran and Basile away despite Basile’s unwillingness. Basile reads a Scroll of True Resurrection to bring back Arch Bishop Zett. As Rhaegar tells him what happened, Durendal scolds him for being too harsh. Zett tells him that the crusade was likely after the Heart of Mechanus, which controls the laws of magic in the universe. Rhaegar asks if Zett would be able to undo the spell that erased Basile’s mentor, but Zett says only with the Heart of Mechanus he may be able to do such a thing. Rhaegar returns Zett Law and Order, and he plane shifts away.

After Rhaegar shows Eyrene the claws of the dragon from Mechanus, she reveals that Basile already told her that they killed Ivuram. With that, Basile teleports Eyrene back to Modelheim so she can confirm Ivuram has been killed. They then return back to Neebsenshire for safety.

The next day, Basile asks Alkaid to come over to the temple to talk about what happened. They are both distraught at Basile’s mentor being erased from time, and try to figure out how to bring him back. Alkaid states that she remembers who she origin struck thanks to Ioun. Basile asks Alkaid to trace his origin to see if she can try to remember him. After he turns visible, Alkaid studies him and is able to remember Pythos. However, she also sees Ciaran’s attempted sacrifice, as well as the many cities Basile and Pythos burned down. Additionally, she sees Basile’s trial, as well as Basile’s birth. Horrified, she is tempted to strike Basile, but promised not to hurt him. She tells him that she saw Basile’s parents were human, and that she remembers Pythos. Basile hugs her with relief and excitement and immediately goes to Kass to meet one of his art students. Alkaid describes Pythos to the artist so a portrait can be made for Basile.

At home, Rhaegar is cleaning the platinum scales of the dragon. Meanwhile, Bubbles perks up and stares out the window to the north. Bubbles warns Rhaegar to hold onto something. The earth starts to quake, causing the artist at the college to mess up his drawing and drop the sketchbook. Basile immediately grabs it and pays the artist as a thank you.

Bubbles tells Rhaegar that the area around Lhansborough was the source of the earthquake. Rhaegar and Bubbles run to the college and get the others to teleport to Rhaegar’s home. Upon arriving, they see that there is considerable damage but Rhaegar’s family is safe. However, the rest of the city is in shambles. Outside of the rubble is a massive bronze city that stretches as far as they can see. Some of the buildings are so large, they dwarf the size of the mountains Lhansborough is built upon. Basile and Kass recognize it as the City of Brass from the fire plane.

The party goes to meet with Loris and eventually meet with two fire genasi who explained that the plane of fire is cooling down. The city was teleported here because it was warmer. They mean no harm and would be happy to rebuild Lhansborough – but they just start burning stuff down. Rhaegar has to tell them that’s not how to rebuild the city.

Rhaegar shops for a time elemental “slave” while the others look for Jubair, an afreeti who works for the Circle of Fire. Rhaegar finds a Salamander selling an iron flask, which holds a large time elemental inside. Rhaegar haggles the price lower to only a mere 180,000 gold.

Meanwhile, the others search the city. The roads are lined with carts where lizard folk, genasi, devils, tieflings (the first ones they had seen other than Basile and the Unholy Crusade) and a single aasimar with a flaming halo. As is grows closer to dusk, they eventually find a massive conclave in the center of the city. Ciaran and Kass run ahead in awe, as Basile follows behind quietly. Alkaid is nearby him, pulling Xylander away from all of the food vendors. They enter into the building and find Jubair – a buff woman with a tornado of fire instead of legs.

Basile introduces them and state they are here to welcome the City of Brass to the mortal plane, stating that they want to create a peaceful alliance with them. Jubair welcomes them in, and Basile shoots a message to Rhaegar to join them. After Rhaegar arrives, Jubair explains that their god – a massive phoenix – has departed. Rhaegar asks if they can speak with the Circle of Fire, and is told it will be a year before they are able to speak with them. However, if the party can find Jubair an item of cosmic power, she will help them move up the docket. Rhagear offers the great sword as a loan for Jubair to use to move up politically. Lorn draws up a legal document to ensure they will receive the sword back. Jubair leaves to have the Circle of Fire meet them in a few hours.

As they wait, Rhaegar shows the group his iron flask and asks Ciaran to case a magic circle against magic to keep the time elemental trapped until they can earn its loyalty. Ciaran casts the circle and Rhaegar uncorks the flask and tosses it in. As the smoke escapes and dissipates, the time elemental is left behind. It states its name as Xx~@!!?=+- It asks for Rhaegar’s resume, including his favorite beverage. Rhaegar states he enjoys ale, and the time elemental asks to try some. Ciaran, who is good, is able to give the cup through the magic circle. The cup disintegrates and the ale turns back into a fruit. “Delicious,” is replies. It agrees to serve Rhaegar for an “approximate amount of time” of 7 months, 3 weeks, 4 days, 12 hours, 29 minutes, 37 second, 259 milliseconds. At that point, they will need to renegotiate. They high five – or high infinity. Rhaegar calls him Chronos.

To kill the time while waiting for the Circle of Fire, Basile prays to Ioun to beg Pythos back into existence, knowing that only a god’s intervention can do so. The other plays a card game that Ciaran invents. Even still, Kass wins.

An hour later, they are lead into the hall to meet with the Circle of Fire. Lining the walls are statues of obsidian, glass, and stone. Candlighters light the candles on the statues, which calls upon the members of Circle of Fire. After discussing the security of both cities and peace, the Circle explains that their god has left but they are unsure why. Rhaegar goes a good job of keeping them focused on the tasks at hand, but after insulting one of the council members, the conversation devolves into argument.

Out of the argument, Kass hears that an army was seen messing with the outskirts of lava. Alkaid hears that a dissonant screech of pain was heard by the phoenix. Basile hears that other planes are growing hotter. Rhaegar hears that the phoenix was wounded.

Upon realizing that they are Neebs and Associates, the circle grows quiet and believes that they can find their god. If the associates can restore the plane of fire, the Circle of Fire will assist them. If the associates fail, they will reach out to Asmodeous. As they leave, one of the council members asks for Neebs’ autograph. Their daughter is a big fan. They’ll get them an autograph carved in stone.

Ciaran casts Contact Other Plane to speak with the upper planes to try and determine where they should go. He first tries contacting Elysium.

  • Have you been under attack by the Unholy Crusade? – No
  • Has the Phoenix God from the Plane of Fire been seen in this plane? – No
  • Which planes have been under attack? – Mt. Celestia
  • Has the Phoenix God from the Plane of Fire been seen in Mt. Celestia? – Yes
  • Is it still in Mt. Celestia? – Yes
  • Is the Unholy Crusade still in Mt. Celestia? – No
  • Where is the Unholy Crusade going next? – Unknown
  • Who can we talk to in Mt. Celestia that can help us? – Adajah
  • Who am I talking to? – Pelor

Ciaran is very excited that he got to speak with another god. Chronos says that Adajah is a dragon angel of the spring, who serves the platinum dragon. With the help of Lorn, they plane shift to Mt. Celestia. They arrive at an enormous mountain that breaks up into the clouds. Around Celstia are six more floating mountains. Where there once a massive forest is burned, the crystalline rivers are now bloody, and the metallic dragons are in battle against phoenixes. Watching, but not acting, is Bahamut – a silver dragon with dozens of legs and wings. A shadow casts over the mountain by the phoenix god of the plane of fire. Above them, a comet flies down and lands twenty feet behind them. As the smoke dissipates, they see it’s a single white feather as hot as hellfire.

Upon seeing the carnage, Ciaran – who arrived excited – immediately becomes horrified. Basile turns invisible, and Alkaid starts praying. Rhaegar grabs at Torch, and Kass just sighs tiredly.

  • The dark phoenixes swoop down on Xylander, Ciaran, and Bubbles. Their claws rake across Bubbles, Xylander, and Ciaran. As they swoop back around by their god, they see that their are strange ethereal chains connecting the dark phoenixes to the god.
  • Ciaran casts Silence on the phoenix god, but his will surpasses the spell. Basile then blasts three times at each of the dark phoenixes.
  • The Phoenix god starts wailing an awful cry, and Kass, Xylander, Rhaegar are slowed. Basile and Alkaid are unaffected.
  • Alkaid summons three copies of herself and they all fire at one of the dark phoenixes. It becomes a pincushion in seconds and dies. As it explodes in a column of fire, Xylander
  • Kass started singing to boost everyone, but he can’t seem to pick up the pace from being slowed.
  • Rhaegar uses Lion’s Roar to boost everyone’s strength.
  • The dark phoenixes fly back down and attack Bubbles, Chronos, and Xylander.
  • Basile attempts Word of Changing, but the phoenix god resists. Ciaran casts Wall of Force in front of the phoenix to try and stop it but we all know that’s useless since iT’S A GOD.
  • The phoenix casts Incendiary Cloud in the middle of the fray. Everyone is surrounded in a cloud of ash and brimstone.
  • Alkaid grabs everyone and teleports them up to the spring up at the top of the mountain. As they argue about what is happening, a dark phoenix comes after them. A dragon shoots up out of the water and grabs the phoenix. It chucks it down the side of the mountain. It introduces itself as Adajar, and asks why mortals are here. Rhaegar says they’re trying to bring the phoenix god back to the plane of fire. At that moment, the dark phoenixes start to attack.
  • Rhaegar runs up and lightning throws Torch at one of three phoenixes. It blows up and rises from the ashes.
  • The phoenixes molt feathers and fling them down at Rhaegar in a wall of fire. Basile, Ciaran, Alkaid, Kass, and Bubbles are almost slowed by the shriek of another phoenix. The last flies up close to the group and explodes, knowing that it was about to be killed. Everyone takes damage, and as it rises from its ashes, it attacks  Bubbles.
  • As the phoenixes separate, Basile shoots off three blasts in frustration at each phoenix. Ciaran casts Disintegrate but it barely does anything.
  • The phoenix god cast heal on one of his dark phoenixes.
  • Alkaid and her clones fire off several arrows at the dark phoenixes. One of them struggles to fight through the wave of arrows and dies as it crumples to the ground.
  • Kass finishes his song and starts shooting at one of the remaining phoenixes with his scream bow.
  • Rhaegar commands Chronos to attack one of the phoenixes. Rhaegar runs out of the wall of fire and refreshes his maneuvers.
  • The first phoenix fights against Chronos, and the other swoops by Kass and strikes him.
  • Ciaran uses his healing belt to heal Basile, who shoots off more blasts.
  • The phoenix god screeches and sings again, causing Ciaran, Xylander, and Kass are slowed.
  • Alkaid easily takes out the last two dark phoenixes and the ethereal ghostly chains reach back out and shatter.

The phoenix god lets out a mournful cry and suddenly starts to become more joyous as it regains its sentience. As it shakes off its corruption, it rips a whole open in the universe and flew back home.

 

 

 

 

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D&D Session 31

It’s the time again! Finally, some more Neebs and Associates. While we had to cancel a few weeks ago, we’re back for some more devil slaying.

SESSION 31

Players:

  • Ciaran (LVL18) and Basile (LVL20)
  • Kass (LVL20)
  • Rhaegar (LVL 20)
  • Alkaid (LVL 20)
  • Neebs (LVL 20)
  • Lorn (LVL 20)

As the associates heal and comfort the people of Modelheim, they notice that they are angry that Ivuram didn’t come and save them. They ask Kass, Alkaid, and Ciaran if they are adventurers and if they can kill the dragon. Meanwhile, Neebs, Kass and Rhaegar notice that the devils they slain haven’t returned back to Infernus. As Neebs and Kass study the devils, Rhaegar loots the bodies. He stabs one through the neck with his sword, and a puff of purple smoke in the symbol of Lucifer blasts in his face. It explodes, setting off a chain reaction that make the other devils explode. Rhaegar, Kass, and Neebs get hurt in the small explosion. Additionally, everyone’s magic is dispelled, causing Basile to become visible in the middle of the crowd.

Everyone starts panicking again and Basile tries to turn invisible again but it doesn’t work. The crowd pushes out one of the carpenters who asks why they’re working with devils. The associates try to defend Basile, who is frozen in place and can’t handle being seen. He tries to slip away but Neebs grabs him and holds him in place.

In the chaos, Eyerene steps forward and calls out Basile as being Eythan. The crowd starts whispering and Basile feels a lot of guilt wash over the crowd. However, some of the younger crowd realizes they’re the characters from Ash Crimson. People are asking Ciaran for his autograph, and Ciaran is in the lime light. He is now claiming it’s Ciaran and Associates, and Neebs and Kass make him a banner.

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WRITING: Basile’s Dream

I was inspired after last week’s D&D session and felt the urge to write again. Finally! It had been too long since I wrote something creative. Please enjoy my interpretation of the dream sequence from last session:

 

Basile laid down in his bed and closed his eyes with a sigh. All he wanted was a good night’s sleep, but the lingering thoughts of his companions filtered through the walls and into his subconscious. His telepathy only seemed to be growing stronger, and while he appreciated it in the thick of battle, he despised it when all he wanted was rest.

He heard Rhaegar’s mind drift toward battle and could imagine the clanging of swords in his mind. Down the hall, he felt a lingering sensation of anxiety that he attributed to Alkaid. As for the others, they all seemed to merge together into white noise. Basile groaned and rolled onto his side, covering his head with a pillow and willing the voices to leave.

Just let me sleep…

Ciaran’s sudden scream jolted him out of bed, only to realize that he was in a dimly lit room made of stone. Confused, he turned around to find Ciaran and instead came face to face with a reptilian monster. With a started gasp, he backed up and bumped into Ciaran, who grabbed his arm in response. They were surrounded by five strange creatures they had never seen before, and all of them were slowly drawing closer.

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D&D SESSION 30

Wow, it’s been a long time since we’ve played some Neebs and Associates. While not everyone could attend, we jumped right back in and started the next arc of our story.

SESSION 30

Players:

  • Ciaran (LVL18) and Basile (LVL20)
  • Marven (LVL20)
  • Rhaegar (LVL 20)
  • Alkaid (LVL 20)
  • Neebs (LVL 20)

After enough time, Marven and Rocky come back from their banishment and Marven states how great it was. Lorn and Dwayne teleport away to get back to Neebsenshire to check on the old man farm and Dwayne’s shop. The rest of the group teleports there and see that the stables run by Stormmageddon. The stables are broken as the dinosaurs take up too much space.

Marven visits the Lair and he sees Neebs inside, stroking his beard and playing chess by himself as he’s tries to figure out how to beat the chess in Marven’s lair. There is a gelatinous cube chained up to the wall being chopped up for jello shots. He goes into his lair, and Neebs frantically follows him to the teleporter and asks how he gets past the chess board. He simply has to be better at Marven in chess. They then go to Castle Ebonfire to check on how everything is going. Marven then suggests expanding Neebs and Associates to more members, then Pendralar reminds him that he needs to fulfill the end of their bargain. Marven denies it. Number One punches the ground and grabs a gopher for Marven to eat. Marven tries to roast it but nothing happens. Pendralar tells him to fetch the egg, or else he’ll take more things away. Neebs get Jennifer to work on expanding the guild and they go to handle the egg problem. They go back to Neebsenshire and Neebs tells Jennifer to recruit more members to do survival tests.

Meanwhile, Rhaegar visits Loris and brings back the documents showing that Dwayne’s kingdom would pull their troops back in a truce. Loris takes this back to the Commonwealth to give the party their pardons and treasure.

Alkaid checks on her nest. As she approaches, she hears small cheeps as her baby Roc has been born. She runs into the Lair and yells “IT HATCHED!” before running out. She then sends a copy of herself to Modelheim to check on how everything is going as Ivuram.

Basile and Ciaran go to visit Mary Fogg, who had been completely forgotten about this whole time. Mary has been staying at the Phoenix. He reads her mind and can tell that she’s not corrupted by Lucifer. At first she doesn’t recognize him, but then puts on her glasses and immediately knows its Eythan. She tells him how much his family misses him and that he needs to visit them more, and gives Ciaran cookies like a grandma would. They then went to visit their family and share stories. Dahliah is avoiding Basile and feels guilty, so he lets her be.

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D&D SESSION 29

We’re back from our honeymoon and the first thing we wanted to do was jump back into D&D. It’s been a long time, and it’s going to be a crazy time. Without further delay, here’s what happened this session:

SESSION 29

Players:

  • Ciaran (LVL18) and Basile (LVL20)
  • Lorn (LVL20)
  • Marven (LVL20)
  • Rhaegar (LVL 20)
  • Alkaid (LVL 20)
  • Dwayne (LVL 20)

Dwayne saunters up to the group and asks how everything is going, while Marven goes to The Lair to meet with Regis. Dwayne casts Major Illusion on Regis to make him look like a halfling again, but since he’s still a half orc he just looks down and sees the top of his head. Marven asks Regis to take a group of talented individuals to raid dungeons and find a gelatinous cube to chop into tiny bits to sell as jello shots.

Lorn gets Ciaran to help him with a task, and when they shake hands, neither of them remember what they were doing. What they don’t recall is having Ciaran hide Lorn’s phylactery somewhere in the world.

Alkaid and Dwayne visit Xi-Long to purchase Deathward armor and a True Resurrection Scroll so Dwayne can become the true Rock Gnome he once was. Dwayne then asks Basile if he can read the scroll to bring him back to life since he plans on dying that day. Once Basile checks to make sure Dwayne isn’t suicidal (unlike how he’s feeling) he agrees to ensure he comes back to life. Dwayne then goes to the Temple of Ioun to donate baklava. Judah eats a bite of baklava.

While in town, Can Tankerous shouts out ‘contingent” as a small army approaches. They are carrying flags picturing a golden field with a rose. Rhaegar recognizes it’s House Tyrell, and they come requesting for audience with Neebs and Associates ft. Dwayne the Rock Gnome Johnson. Loris are invited to Rhaegar’s, and Dwayne starts cooking for the guests. Marven eats most of the food. Loris explains that the High King is looking for assistance. The Commonwealth is being invaded by Dwayne’s homeland.

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LIFE: Honeymoon

We just flew back into Detroit from our honeymoon in LA and San Diego, and I am (thankfully) so tired that I think I’ll be able to get to sleep at a reasonable hour. However, I wanted to take a moment to share some details from the honeymoon – lots of photos can be found on my instagram. However, I’ll be sure to share photos of the honeymoon here once I get the chance to go through the 3,000+ pictures I took.

Tuesday: We flew in from Detroit to Los Angeles around 4:30PM, and after a very anxious day of traveling I was feeling very sick. Our plans to walk the Walk of Fame and see the Hollywood sign was thrown out the window so we could find our motel, get dinner, and rest. I was unable to eat any food and couldn’t sleep thanks to my anxiety, but eventually was able to rest after Eddie walked to the nearby Walgreens to buy saltine crackers.

Wednesday: Woke up still sick and unable to eat, but I drank a lot of water and Powerade to avoid dehydration. We went to The Melt for some mac and cheese, but I wasn’t able to eat much. I didn’t want my not feeling well ruin our trip, so we adjusted our schedule to visit La Brea Tar Pits instead of going to Universal Studios like we originally planned. Everyone was confused why we’d want to go there, but we had a good time checking out the fossils and exploring the excavation sites. It was cool how they were still actively working to dig up bones. The best part of the day was when I was craving watermelon and happened to see a man selling fresh fruit on the corner of the street. It was just what I needed to get some food in me and some much needed water. I still felt sick to my stomach but it was manageable with my anxiety.

Thursday: Although I was still feeling under the weather thanks to jet lag, we headed off to Universal Studios! Of course, we were most excited for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, but was it awesome to see some of the other themed parks like Jurassic Park and Simpsons. Eddie rode some of the rides, while I sat in the shade and tried to stay cool. I almost passed out while walking due to the heat, but I was able to sit and drink some water. Some highlights of our visit: buying our wands (Eddie has Sirius Black’s and I have Remus Lupin’s – he has the same length, wood, and core as my wand from Pottermore), meeting with Blue (velociraptors have always been my favorite), and the different shows that they put on. Our favorite was Waterworld, and I would highly recommend seeing it if you’re ever in the park. What an amazing half hour of stuns, explosions, and water sports. Late that night, we met up with two of my oldest internet friends: Heather and Juliet. We met up at Denny’s, where I was able to eat some buttered noodles and feel much better. It was great to finally meet them and catch up after so many years. Thankfully, they approved of Eddie and were okay with my vanishing from the internet after meeting him.

Friday: After checking out of our motel, we headed downtown to check out the Walk of Fame. While walking, we stumbled upon Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, and I convinced Eddie to see it. I had been to one of the museums years ago in Niagara Falls, but he had never experienced it. We treated ourselves and headed inside, finding some of our favorite celebrities. Once we were done, we shared a strawberry gelato and headed to Warner Bros. Studios for the tour. The tour itself was great, but we were unfortunately unable to sit next to each other because the other groups took up the other spots. Honestly, it kind of dampened the mood a bit, but learning that LUCIFER IS BEING PICKED UP MY NETFLIX made our day much better – especially since we learned right as we were passing the studio where it was filmed. While on the tour, we saw some of the props and costumes for Harry Potter and the DC universe, the set for the Big Bang Theory, and were able to sit on the couch at Central Perk from Friends. When we were done, we drove the three our trip in LA traffic down to Escondido to check into out condo for the next week. What we didn’t realize was that our condo was at a high-class resort that we would never be able to afford on our own. Thank you, Colleen, for the generous wedding gift! It was a huge step up from our little motel in LA, and we celebrated with some delicious food at the fine dining restaurant at the resort at 9PM. It was the best baked potato and clam chowder I had ever eaten.

Saturday: After three days, my body’s clock was finally caught up and I was feeling much better. We met with Eddie’s grandparents, who were unable to come to travel for the wedding, and had breakfast with them at the resort. It was nice to meet the other side of Eddie’s family, and I felt like they approved of me. We wish we could have spent more time with them, but we had a very busy schedule. After breakfast, we headed to the San Diego Safari Park. Unfortunately, by the time we got there we didn’t have the whole day to explore, so we didn’t get a chance to visit every exhibit. However, we were there for one reason: the cheetah run. As a kid, I have had the chance to hold and feed baby tigers and lions, and it has been my dream to do the same for a cheetah. In fact, it’s higher on my bucket list than getting married. I knew going in that I wouldn’t be able to pet a cheetah – my favorite animal of all time. But having the opportunity to be up close and personal, just a few feet away, made me cry with joy. Eddie found it funny that I already knew everything that the zookeepers were explaining about the cheetah. It was definitely one of the best moments of our honeymoon. We ended the night with an easy dinner – a carry out pizza from Pizza Hut. We sat on the balcony and watched the sunset over the mountains, and enjoyed the perfect weather.

Sunday: Of course, we couldn’t forget about the San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park. After a late start for the day, we drove to Balboa Park and walked over to the zoo. This time, we had plenty of time to roam the entire park and see every animal they had to offer. We saw many of the standard creatures such as lion, tigers, and bears. However, we saw a special bear that we had never seen in person before. Pandas! Apparently, they are only in four zoos within the United States and we were lucky enough to see one. Thankfully, I was able to charge my camera battery while we ate lunch, which allowed me to continue taking pictures until we made it back to the resort. For dinner that night, we decided to hit up In-n-Out. We don’t have this in Michigan, so we felt that we had to give it a shot. The wait was long, but the food was worth it! The fries were pretty good, and the burger tasted like a restaurant burger and not fast food. It wasn’t the best food I’ve ever had; I think I still prefer Burger King, but my loyalty runs deep.

Monday: Today was a terrifying and special day for me. First, Eddie and I went snorkeling – something I was low-key afraid of doing. I had no desire to swim in the ocean, let alone try to snorkel or scuba. There could be sharks, jellyfish, or stingrays and I wasn’t in the mood to die. However, Eddie assured me I would be okay as we crammed into our wetsuits and tried to find a place to park at La Jola Cove. That didn’t end up working out, as everyone and their mother were at the beach at 2PM on a Monday. Instead, we parked down the road by the beach and just went up to about our waist in the water. I can now say I’ve been in the ocean, and now I never have to do it again. After “snorkeling,” we headed into downtown San Diego to eat at Kansas City Barbeque – the very same diner where the sleazy scene in Top Gun was filmed. I only knew that because they had signs all over the place. While there, we met with my long-time friend who I’ve never had the chance to meet in person since she lives in Tijuana. After nearly eight years of friendship, we finally met! It was so nice to see her and to catch up. As we ate our pulled pork sandwiches and fried pickles, we planned for her trip to Michigan.

Tuesday: We still had another big amusement park to attend: Sea World. The last time I had been to Sea World, it was still in Ohio and I was just a kid. Eddie had never been able to attend, and while there is a lot of controversy around the park, we wanted to take a moment to experience it. We had a great time watching all of the live shows, and I cried during the dolphin show because they were having so much fun. The orca performance was also amazing, and while we didn’t sit in the splash zone (I had to worry about my camera) we still felt a bit of the spray coming at us. However, our favorite show was probably the sea lion performances where they spoofed various TV shows like Survivor and Dancing with the Stars. At night, they also put on an “adult” show where they made fun of the other attractions at the park. They particularly enjoyed roasting the dolphin performers for their over-the-top positivity. We had the option to stay until sunset to watch the glow in the dark performances, which were only going to be performed through August. However, after spending an entire day at the park, sitting around and killing two hours wasn’t exactly a part of our plans. So, we decided to head back to the resort to relax. For dinner, we just ate whatever leftovers we had and went to bed.

Wednesday: With only a few days left in our honeymoon, we knew that we had to visit Balboa Park again after visiting briefly during our trip to the zoo. After having a lazy morning at the resort, we visited the Museum of Man and the exclusive Cannibals exhibit. We both love museums, and seeing one on anthropology was a nice change of pace from typical art and science museums. We were going to visit the Natural History Museum as well, but ran out of time. Instead, we decided to look up a good place to get burgers and ended up at Hodad’s. OH MY GOD, one of the BEST burgers and onion rings I’ve ever had! This small restaurant was featured on Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives, and certainly was worth the trip. I had the mini burger and it ended up being the size of a normal hamburger. Eddie’s small had two patties, and we could only imagine what the larger sizes would be like. It was definitely our favorite place that we had eaten at during our entire trip, and it’s all thanks to the recommendation from one of Eddie’s coworkers!

Thursday: Our last day in San Diego was spent heading back to Balboa Park and hitting up the Natural History Museum, which we weren’t able to do the day before. We’re glad that we went back, as there were some amazing pieces inside. I particularly enjoyed the prehistoric exhibit on the first floor and the skulls on the third. Once we were done there, we went downtown to check out the USS Museum. My dad was in the army, and my grandpa and now father-in-law were in the navy for different wars. It was awesome to be on the retired naval ship and learn more about our history and about our family. I even bought a Vietnam Veteran hat for dad, which he really appreciated for father’s day. With that, we headed back to the resort and dressed up for a romantic dinner at Macaroni Grill. We had initially tried a local restaurant chain, but the wait was over an hour, and Macaroni Grill was a five minute wait. Obviously, our hunger overweighed the desire to eat California faves. At the end of the night, we packed all of our clothes and souvenirs and crashed.

Friday: While we were sad to be leaving California, both of us were were ready to get back home and rest. That morning we got up bright and early and headed to the San Diego airport to fly home. Thankfully, my anxiety wasn’t nearly as bad on the trip back, and I spent most of the flight reading or watching Law and Order SVU on my phone. Our layover in Chicago was also very easy, and our luggage didn’t get lost despite not having the appropriate ticket. The easiest part of the trip home was running into my father-in-law in the airport. He had also just gotten back from a trip and happened to walk right past our gate as we were getting off. We quickly followed him back to luggage claims and he drove us home.

REVIEW: Thirteen Rising

romina

While on the plane to our honeymoon, I took the time to do something that I haven’t done in a long time: read a book. Between work, wedding planning, D&D, and binge watching White Collar and Criminal Minds, there was simply no free time to get lost in some well written fiction.

So, I picked up Thirteen Rising off my bookshelf and let myself finish a saga I had started many years ago.

Thirteen Rising by Romina Russell is the last book in the Zodiac series, which follows Rho Grace – a Cancrian living in the Zodiac star system, after she sees a prophecy of destruction from Ophiuchus. Suddenly, her planet is attacked, and she is thrust into a position of power and expected to lead an army – all while dealing with her teenage romance. Without spoiling too much of the plot, I’d like to write up a brief review of what I thought as I concluded this epic interstellar dystopian novel.

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