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Chapter 6: The Maze Beneath the Mountain


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Hail, adventurers!


It's late on my end, but I am here once more to declare my quests for this challenge!


Firstly, to maintain the self-care habits I've been working for (can you believe it) the past 5 months!

That's right, 6 challenges, so this month is the 6th on this journey. That's just...mindboggling. Essentially, I've devised a ridiculously involved point system to track myself keeping up with the habits I've been working really hard to solidify. I'm going to keep doing the 4-6 workouts, Level 7 paleo, and sleep-ritual thing from the past half a year. The point system is just to keep me honest (because I will run off and cheat with the sugar fae if I don't keep myself accountable). I've just intertwined the success of their maintenance so that, should I have a really bad week with paleo, I can make up for it by going to bed early every night, et cetera. I'm hoping it helps me keep some balance. We'll see what it actually does. 


Secondly, to fight off the ravaging Havoc Gnomes within the Emerald Rune's labyrinth!

In other words, keep decluttering. There's still a lot to get through, and I like the habit of making sure I handle at least a little every day. Some days I get more done, some days I throw out a piece of paper and call it good. Today I took some books back to the library because I wasn't reading them, and they were taking up both physical and mental space I didn't need occupied. When I've fought off enough of them, I get to go spend money on getting my hair cut. (I need one, but I'm good enough with hair that I can still kind of make it work until I 'can afford' to get it trimmed. Once I've gotten through some of this stuff, I've decided I can afford to get it trimmed. Lol.)


Thirdly, to craft a second ritual of self-care!

The sleep-ritual thing has done me loads of good, but I'm noticing a severe need for some time devoted to reflection and gratitude and spiritual wellness. Also, when I get up in the morning and am immediately faced with several decision of "what do???", I tend to lie there and feel bad; even if it's completely unnecessary. So I'm going to see if creating a normal "this is what I do when I get up" ritual could help with that. I don't know if it will work at all, and if it does, whether it will be permanent. But right now, it's something I could use. Even if it doesn't stay a morning-ritual, I'd like some sense of order and a set time to take care of my mental and spiritual well-being. 


And lastly, to force myself to renew my spirit at least once a day!

I miss creativity. I usually shame myself for doing something just for fun's sake when there are other, productive, things I could be doing instead. I have a feeling that's not super good for me. So, I'm gonna do one thing a day that is either creative or fun. It might take 5 minutes. It might take an hour. But it's important that I create a habit of creating my own happiness. Nobody else is gonna do it, so I might as well, yeah? Today I sat and I listened to a good book and I colored. It was amazing. I felt like I was supposed to be doing something else, but I think I am better for it. I'm going to try to note what I did every day so I can remember whether I missed a day or not. 


As always, there will be more story eventually. (Seriously, I even know what happened in the maze last time now!) But it's past 11pm, and I haven't plotted my day tomorrow yet. So wish me luck, as I also wish you good fortune. :D ONNNWAAAAARD :D:D:D 

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Kharissandra wiped her eyes on a sleeve as she came out of the labyrinth, and braced her hands against her knees to keep from tipping over. Aliza handed her a flask of spring water, sweet and freezing cold from higher in the mountain. Khari guzzled it; then looked the monk in the eye. "Aliza, there aren't "SOME" havoc gnomes."

Aliza cocked her head as Khari handed her the Bag of Holding she had brought back; then she nearly tipped over with the weight being handed to her. It was nearly as heavy as the ranger returning it. Khari continued. "There are hundreds. It's like an army down there. That's only 57, and you definitely didn't tell me they bite!"


Aliza handed Khari a yam stuffed with meat. And sweet smoked peppers. And bright green steamed spinach. Khari looked a little sheepish, murmered a much gentler "Thanks," and took a tiny bite of the steaming, delicious food. Aliza took advantage of the break in the verbal barrage, "In my defense, I don't fight them much; I had forgotten they bite. Did you run into anything else this time?"

Khari picked a bit of potato skin from her chin, shaking her head. "I only made it a few miles in before they started swarming."


"Yes. SWARMING. And while I was trying to corner a few of them, one of the little devils snuck up behind me and stole my gorget. I'm not losing that down there. So I had to stand and fight. A lot of them got away. We're positive we can't just...kill a few?"

Aliza looked at her disapprovingly. "Kharissandra, these are not roaches. Look at them." She picked a gnome out of the bag by the scruff of its neck. It hissed adorably and wriggled, but it wasn't much bigger than an adolescent kitten. Giant eyes and ridiculously bright colors and a vest made of bits and bobs, probably dropped down there by other runners, that it had collected. "You really think you could kill it?"

Khari stalked past Aliza, grumbling. "I'd think about it."

Aliza, as always, followed, knowing that by now Khari could find her way through the temple. "I'm surprised you haven't found any of the spirits yet. Normally they will appear by now. And your study of the language is coming along well."

Khari looked back at her, wryly. "I might be less 'connected to my spirit' than you think. Trust me, I'm the last one who knows what's going on in there these days." 


"You've been meditating as I've taught you?"

"Sure, but it's still as frustrating as it was when I started. I'm starting to wonder if you have to be sworn to the Rune before combative meditation works."

"And you've been resisting that malcontent you're carrying around?"

"Lighten up, YES, alright?"


Something was wrong. Kharissandra wasn't usually this volatile when she came out of the labyrinth. Usually she collapsed at the entrance and refused to talk or move until she was given food. Where was this energy coming from? Aliza moved on an instinct. "Kharissandra?"

As the ranger turned to face her, aggravation in her eyes, Aliza breathed an ancient word and punched her square in the nose. Kharissandra shattered into a massive pile of hissing, wriggling, adorable havoc gnomes. Very likely the 57 that were supposed to be in the bag. Aliza had an inkling what the novices would be doing for the rest of the week. But now a more somber thought occurred to her. What had the illusion hidden in the bag?




Kharissandra looked up into an ornately painted domed ceiling. Above her were three monks holding hands, intoning melodically, and a fourth holding a scroll and chanting in a low, somber tone. When she opened her eyes, the scroll-holder chanted a few more lines, rolling the scroll shut, then walked away as the other three raised her from the slab of natural red stone on which she was lying. Although she felt incredibly weak, and kind of sick, she hummed with an energy entirely alien to her. How had she gotten here exactly?


In one corner of the room, Aliza stood, arms crossed, with an unreadable expression on her face. Khari had a feeling they were going to have to talk about this later.


@Jupiter Listen I can't handle how cute that Pikachu is. Like...I'm about to fall apart in adorbable feels, plz send haaaaalp! XD 


Told you guys I felt like I died in the maze last challenge XD This is my way of celebrating a respawn. I took a little too much of a break over the break, and I'm currently paying some consequences health-wise. Hopefully getting back on track and doing some work to stop caring quite so much about what other people think of my healthy choices will help me get back to normal. (IBS symptoms suck as much as the internet said they do. Who knew you could get yourself that sick in roughly 1 weekend?)


In other news, today has been all peaceful and reflective and I'm trying to remind myself not to expect that to last and do some of the hard stuff now. Because if I wait til week 3, I'm going to get run over by the Freigh Train of Feels like I do every challenge lol. 


I'm gonna go run in place in my living room for a bit, because I don't feel like being rained on again today (and to save the commute time). I'll update as I'm able, though as always, no promises on when. <3 Thanks for the support, y'all!

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Hail good Adventurers!


Two weeks in and I'm not doing terribly (although I haven't given you any new story points. I'm going to get on that soon.)


Last week, I ended with mixed results. I am suffering in the sleep department. (I think I turned it into a continuance quest too soon; I've been in the negatives solidly both weeks. -5 for sleep last week, and looking to be at least -4 this week, IF I go to bed super early tonight.) I've been kicking workout butt (I'm 6 for 6 workouts both weeks) and I've been right in the middle for food goals. I took my mom out for ice cream on Valentine's Day. I've been drinking a hot tea with a little coconut milk and/or honey every morning, and sweetened/caloric drinks cost a point. But I keep making up for it with other positivehabits, and I have been better hydrated and more snack-resistant than I have been for a looooong time. I did have a few hard days in a row this week though. 


As for the morning ritual, it has been created! It largely involves activities to keep me outside of my bed, recentering myself spiritually, and then spending some time taking care of my body (largely through exercise and food and skincare, but it's effective :) ). My favorite part is that I have a minimum of 10 minutes of creativity built into my morning every single day. I've been absolutely loving it. It's been making my day so much more positive immediately out of the gate. I wrote a song yesterday. It was in my head when I went to bed, and I just messed with it the whole day. Now there's a song. I'm super freaking excited about it. 


Decluttering has been really slow though. I've been taking that one item a day thing very literally. And I still have to figure out what I'm going to pitch today. Oh look, it's 9 pm. I'm not sure why I'm so resistant to sitting down and just doing some of it; hopefully all the journalling I"ve been up to will help me get a handle on it soon. <3

I've been doing SO much journalling. 


Hope all y'alls' challenges are going well :D OnnnnnwAAAARRRRDDDD




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Great week 2.  It seems like some habits take longer than others, you focus on them and get it down, but then it's easy to get out of the habit.

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Wisdom- 13.5 Dexterity- 10 Charisma- 11 Strength- 12 Constitution-10 

Elastigirl Just Living Life - January 3 to February 6 New Year Challenge! - Nerd Fitness Rebellion

"The chief goal of living is not to merely stay alive" Mike Rowe

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"What do you mean, I 'died'???" Khari's abrupt stop in the middle of a kick was unfortunately timed; Aliza was expecting her follow-through, and her counter to where Khari's strike should have been landed them both in an embarrassed, tangled heap.

Aliza sighed, gathering herself together and standing. "You weren't ready. The gnomes alone might've had trouble taking you..."


Aliza heaved another weighted breath. "I have said it before, and I will say it again. That creature you're carrying around is feeding on you. The longer you let it, the stronger it grows. Do not tell me this is the first fight it's interfered with."

The charging owlbear immediately came to Khari's mind, and she scowled. "Listen, it's not like I invited it in, strayed into the fae realm, offered my true name in exchange for a wish--"

"Kharissandra," Aliza's quiet tone cut through Khari's rising voice. "It could not stay if you did not allow it. As long as you cast yourself as a victim, that is the part you will play. And it will continue to ravage your soul, your strength, your essence. If you started nourishing yourself instead of nourishing it, you might have a fighting chance of helping us. But so long as you feed the beast, it will stay to be fed." 

As Aliza turned back toward the temple, Khari felt her outrage melting away; she did not like the shake in her voice as she called after the monk, "So what, then? Do I just," she spread her hands helplessly, "cut it off?"

"Yes." Aliza left Khari there in the sparring chamber.

"Well....we....well...FINE THEN." If Aliza was so sure the stupid thing would go away if she starved it, then she would. And when she proved Aliza wrong, Khari would wipe that self-righteous indignation she always carried around off her monastic face. "Tell me I'm casting myself as a victim..."


Hey there friends!

I did it. I went to work; I ate the stuff at the potluck on a whim; I didn't stop myself and ate everything there; and then I got the worst cold I've had in a very long time. So, since my body has officially submitted a complaint, I've decided to cut myself off from sugar for another 30 days. Something about the "2x/2 weeks is okay" thing just didn't work for me, and I found myself being more and more lenient. I have major FOMO issues at potlucks and on days when I've opted to deviate. When I deviate, I can't just have one and be good. I have to try EVERYTHING because it's my ONE DAY to DEVIATE and if I don't I'll NEVER BE HAPPY AND EAT THE UNHEALTHY THING IN FRONT OF ME AGAINNNN!!!


This is an issue. Like, an addict issue. So I'm taking charge and cutting myself off from processed food, sugar, grains (rice and faux-grains allowed) and most dairy for 30 days. Sort of messed it up (on day 2) so I'm starting again (I had craisins. They had sugar on them. I'm trying to keep myself accountable.)


I'm also taking this opportunity to make sure I actually get enough sleep and using healthy foods to heal myself. Yayyyyy. 

Speaking of which, good night, good questing, and ONNNWAAARRRDDD (I don't know what it is about that, but it makes me very happy to type it)

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On 2/28/2019 at 3:34 AM, Kharissandra said:

Something about the "2x/2 weeks is okay" thing just didn't work for me,


You are quite like me in that department. "Nothing" is much easier than "a little".


Hope you had good sleep!

... a little odd in the head ...


Assgined to the following Adventuring-Parties:



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And so, Kharissandra gave herself no permission to foods of the Fair Realm. It was excrutiating at some points, but at a temple where everyone ate vegetables for breakfast and enlightenment for dinner, she had a much harder time throwing herself a pity party.


Thankfullly, she had other forms of self-destructive acts to derail her efforts. As she focused more  on resisting the weakening fae's pleas, the ritual she and Elra had concocted began to sit idly in her memory. 



Khari glared up at Aliza from the ground, favoring her stinging torso and a bruised ego to match; Aliza stared calmly back, the sparring staff she had just rapped Khari's ribs resting between her hands. "And that is what happens when you fall asleep while meditating. Focus."




That's all I have for the evening, but hello friends!


So far, the cut-off from sugar and grains is going pretty well. I'm compensating a bit with on-plan sweeteners, but I don't binge them nearly as easily as I do sugars + grains. Also, I made fish taco bowls tonight, and they were really good! Woot!

I've been loving the creativity challenge, especially because I added it to my morning routine. It's so freaking refreshing to just sit down and give myself permission to do something fun and creative. I feel like I'm re-discovering a part of my soul. It's pretty amazing.


There is a draw-back though. I've been all kinds of off-balance this week (over an interview. I have some really deep-seated issues with job stuff, you guys; I hope I figure it out soon). And so far I haven't been in bed before 10:30 all week! 


Oh. And the one night that I'm in pjs by 9:30? Still almost completely on-time?


It's daylight savings time tomorrow. So I lose an hour. So it's effectively 10:30. Sigh.


I'm giving myself permission to sleep in tomorrow. And I've been journaling like mad and trying to get my head back on straight. It's just been...it's been a week you guys. I'm really excited for tomorrow, just because I'm taking some time for reading and going on a run and I'm hoping to do this decluttering action plan thing to get a better idea of my process for moving some clutter along. (I'm pretty sure the nebulous-ness of the task is what has me a little more stuck right now. :P)


Thanks for all the support, you guys! @Elastigirl, I definitely feel that! I'm trying to learn to slow down and enjoy the pace of the changes; it's so against my nature but watching you and some of the others who have been here longer, I can tell I'm just gonna have to get used to it, lol. And @Mr_Willes, oh good! Not just me then :D I might have to just set a once or twice a month 'pass' or a rule where I have to specify how much I'm going to do before deviating, just so I don't let my FOMO emotions get in the way! 


I can't believe this is the end of the challenge already. I might post again once more on this thread, just to wrap up and plan for next challenge. This month went so fast. 

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