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Jun. 12th, 2019

movies

Spiderman - Far from Home Trailer

Gosh, he is just sooo adorable. I think I could watch him eat cereals and be amused...

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Jun. 11th, 2019

pen & paper

The Princess and the Bear - Session X5

Remember we were preparing to go on an expedition down into the caves of Geshi N'Pta to look for the Shadowspider temple to revive it? Yep, we did that. And it was very much not what we expected.

Yes, the caves were hazardous to traverse and there were some creepy monsters - which all turned out to be very unhappy about any sort of light so pointing a torchlight at them made them run like hell.

But the Shadowspiders themselves, which are feared by pretty much everyone - turned out to be absolutely adorable, sweet folks. Okay, they kill you just by being near you cause they suck out all warmth from your body. But they don't do that on purpose or through any malicious intent and if you explain the problem they keep a polite distance because they don't want to kill you, it's just that you are soooo nice and warm. Obviously talking to them is not an options most people have. Luckily my bear shaman Scari is able to talk to all animals so we had a lot of nice chats and they helped us locate the temple in exchange for us building a nice, big campfire for them to nom on the warmth.

The elder spiders at the temple were also very polite and told us they would help reactivate it if we completed three tasks for them.

One was to bring them sustenance. Easy, we made another big fire and then had a portable generator plus heater ported down to us, now that we knew the location it had to go to.

Two was to bring the laughter of a child. That one turned out even easier since we had the video footage from the celebration at the seahorse temple from a few days ago. There were lots of laughing children on that and the spiders were happy with listening to that over and over again.

They really do feel lonely and left out and want nothing more than to have N'Ptalini folk tending the temple again.

So the third task is to find a descendant of the original priests at the temple and bring them back. Or, if there are none, find new priests - preferably Nach'Tarr priests, as the temple is dedicated to the god of death, darkness and secrets. Who is also the god of forgiveness and kindness.

That one will require a little more work. We'll be getting on to that in our next play session.

May. 13th, 2019

Rift

Rift - European Server Merges

Last friday it was announced that the European servers would get merged on the 5th of June. Basically all the English servers will get merged into one while the German and French servers will continue to exist as is.

Obviously announcing that on a friday is a stupid thing to do when you add no additional info when you then go away for the weekend and answer none of the community questions.

Like what happens to guilds? What happens to character names? What happens to dimensions? What happens to people who already have the maximum number of characters on both servers getting merged in to one?

Nobody knows.

It's already the second time my server in Rift is getting merged into another one. I started out on Blightweald which got merged into Gelidra which will now be merged into Xaviel.

Overall the whole idea of server merges in Rift is silly to start with. You can hop from server to server to play on at any time and you automatically get logged into the server with the most players online. So the population is always massed on one server anyway which most often is Brutwacht, the German server.

Merging servers just takes away shards which means, fewers events you can hop to, fewer options for gathering resources and hunting rare monsters.

All of which has been pointed out numerous times to the people in charge but they don't seem to care.

But from what I have been seeing lately, the care for the game is at an all time low. The European servers have been more down than up with no explanation why. I'm glad I jumped ship to ESO.

I'm not overly worried. I don't expect the devs to screw up this server merge, but I won't be surprised when they do. Losing anything from guilds to dimensions to whole characters could happen.

So today I have gone on an extensive screen shoting screen to document the dimension of my main Shinon and of hubby's gorgeous dimension.

We'll see hiw things shake out.
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May. 12th, 2019

movies

Sunday TV round up

Street Food - S1 E1&2



We've started watching this on Netflix and so far is has been lovely. A great mix of getting a look at local cuisine on a street level, getting a look at the people who create it and at the places they work.

Also - the food is interesting and some of it looks very yummy.

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Code Geass

We've continued watching and are about half way through season 1. It continues to be very refreshing to have a main character who is snarky and a bit cruel instead of whiny and over dramatic.

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Seven Senses of Re-Union



Another anime about young people having an adventure in an MMO which turns more real than expected.

Like in Sword Art Online, I enjoy this one a lot. The mix of well portrayed events inside an MMO without any nasty comments about gaming is heartening.

The story is sweet and the characters adorable.
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May. 11th, 2019

Elder Scrolls

ESO - Not all orcs...

I have taken my orc girl Temari around the block some more.

She has now finished with Vvardenfell and saved Vivec. Yay for that.

Since I have promised my friend to play the Daggerfall story line together with her, I have decided to do the Ebonheart storyline solo. Which is turning out to be a bit weird.

It's all about the Daggerfall Covenant attacking the Ebonheart territories so basically I am fighting my own folks all the time.

It started out on a beautiful snowy island:



I felt really sorry for all the poor helpless villagers being attacked by my orc brethren and helping them evacuate didn't make me feel much better.

Then I continued my adventures in Stonefall where the dark elves once more proved that they are all insane with their ancestor summoning in monster form to help them out...

The zone itself is okay, but by far not as pretty as the starter zone of the Aldmeri Dominion and it's a bitch to navigate too with all the canyons and roads not being where they are drawn on the map...

But there are some very cool visuals:



I really love how my bear is photobombing in this one :D

I am now mostly done with the zone, just a few more locations to visit. Temari is level 34 already so she is well on her way to start earning Chmapion Points for my little elfling when she reaches level 50.

May. 8th, 2019

movies

Godzilla: King of Monsters Trailer

This looks amazing. I love monster movies but I hate when they keep the monster hidden for half the movie. This looks like we will get plenty of monsters.

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May. 7th, 2019

pen & paper

The Princess and the Bear - Session X4

Our session started wíth the relevation that there is a thrid aminal totem temple on the planet we are visiting. A seahorse temple, which are the creatures which in the religious belief of the N'Ptalini accompany their mother sea goddess in her leviathan form. The reason it did not show up before is that it is actually active, has priests and is well cared for.

We visited it and it was absolutely beautiful. The temple is a giant bubble of air trapped inside a coral reef. Very magic with fish and seahorses swimming through through the bubble and lovely N'Ptalini priests welcoming us.

We spent a wonderful day frolicking in the sea while they prepared a surprise celebration for us. Then the high priestess conveyed praise to Scari from the totems she has visited so far and a gift of blessing. Which in game terms means that she can activate buffs for the whole team, themed after the animal totems we have helped already. That is going to prove useful, I bet.

After that we got home to find a message from the N'Ptalini Chancellor, to get in contact with a local hero who might help us with reaching the Shadow Spider temple. When we got to his home town, we were greeted by a bunch of mourners, letting us know that he had just passed away. So we turned around again, only to get a phone call from his assistant K'sar, who offered to help us instead.

Talking to her it turned out that the hero had never actually been the hero, but K'sar had done all the heroing while the 'hero' just did the press. So we have enlisted her help now and next time we will start on our expedition. Which still looks like it will be incredibly dangerous. The things we do for bear...

May. 6th, 2019

Elder Scrolls

Eso - Base Game Tutorials

Hubby and I have now moved over to the continent and the old base game. It took me some digging on the internet to find out where exactly we had to go, which shouldn't have been necessary. Such things should be explained in  game with a breadcrumb quest to send you off to the next starter zone. That was a bit of a dropped ball. The friend who is playing with us had no idea where to go or what to do next until I took her by the hand and showed her.

Both mine and hubby's character are Aldmeri Dominion so we moved to Aurion where we met the Hooded Figure which started the actual main quest for us. So far the story and scriping is as good as it was in Morrowind. Not as dramatic of course, since we are just at the start. But good enough.

It is very nice to get out of the eternal gloom of Vvardenfell and get some proper sunshine:



I really love the starter island for the Aldmeri Dominion and the story is nice too. The contact character cat is utterly adorable. I hope we get to meet him again.

I've also moved to the Daggerfall Covenant starter zone with our friend. With some cursing on her part when she got whisked to Coldharbour because of course I didn't warn her...

The Daggerfall starter islands are not as pretty, but at least we got to meet some orcs. Though their behaviour is very orcish and a little embarrassing to poor Temari.

I've also spent my allowance of crowns on a riding bear for her:



Temari hasn't quite finished the main quest on Vvardenfell yet, so I will have to go back and do that, still. Luckily this game gives a lot of freedom in moving around.

May. 5th, 2019

movies

Sunday TV round up

Violet Evergarden Special



Would you like to cry? I suggest watching Violet Evergarden. Doesn't even matter which episode, almost all of them are guaranteed to make you cry at  some point. Most of them even in a good way because even though things are dark and terrible, there is such a strong sense of hope and getting to a better place in this series.

It also has gorgeous animation so I can't recommend it enough.

The new special is no different. It also has a gorgeous new song.

Did I mention the music is wonderful in this series?

Anyway, go watch it.

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Tokyo Ghoul

Watched the first episode of this. Didn't click with me at all. Another whining school boy, lamenting verything.

Seen that too often. No thanks.

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Code Geass S1 E1-3



Hubby and I have started watching this. It is amusing even though the animation is a bit simple and the character style is... well... those are very long legs and arms...

I like that the main character is not nice. In fact he is a ruthless asshole. Nice change of pace.

Not sure yet whether I like the mix of hardcore combat and school comedy.

Verdiuct pending.
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May. 4th, 2019

Elder Scrolls

ESO - Fire! Fire everywhere!

Today hubby and I finished the Morrowind main story quest and I have to say I am impressed with how dramatic things got by the end. That was some damn fine scripting for an MMO.

And the visuals:



There was a real sense of urgency, something that is missing in most computer RPGs. For once, putting the main quest aside to do various other errants didn't feel appropriate and we finished the whole thing in one go.

The Clockwork City location was amazing, both in the idea of what it is and how it looked:



I'm very happy to know that we will be visiting again as there is a DLC and zone that comes with it called Clockwork City. Which is included in our ESO plus membership.

The rewards for the main quest were a bit lackluster. I would have liked a choice of rewards fitting my characters healer spec instead of a heavy armour as the only pick, but the extra skill point is nice.

 Our character are both level 24 now, so we got a good chunk of leveling out of Morrowind.

Now we just have to tie up a few loose ends and we'll be done with Morrowind and ready to head into the base game. I'm very curious to see whether the quality will hold up, compared to Morrowind, which was the first expansion.

May. 2nd, 2019

Rift

Rift - Soft Goodbye

Since I have basically moved to Elder Scrolls Online, I have cancelled my sub to Rift.

I wasn't really doing much in the game anymore anyway (apart from playing with hubby's character). My main did his two dailies, I kept my minions busy, but that was about it.

I'll still be picking up my daily patron gifts until my sub runs out, but I doubt I'll keep logging in after that.

Servers have been up and down like jojos lately and sevreal times they have been down for more than half a day. That's just not the kind of service I am going to pay for. Especially since there is no new content in sight for probably more than a year, maybe ever.

It was fun while it lasted, though. I have no regrets and should they get their act together and put out another expansion it's likely I'll look in on it again.
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May. 1st, 2019

Elder Scrolls

ESO - More people, more fun

My adventures in Tamriel continue.

Remember that friend who visited us a little while ago? The one who briefly played Rift with me? Well, ESO happens to have a Mac client so this is a game we can and now do play together.

Her is my orc girl Temari and her character:



And Temari's bear. Yep, she has a bear now which is very helpful.

I've also played a lot more together with hubby, exploring lost of ancient tombs.

Here I am ready to face a monster:



Only to find out that it's just an adorable little spider, eating a corpse:



It's details like these that more exploring so enjoyable. It#s not story revelant, it doesn't drop awesome loot, but it makes the world feel alive and it shows that the person who created this cares.

Here is another one of a tree house hubby and I came across:



We've even had a chance to play in a team of three and of course went to explore one of the public dungeons. I read up on those a bit beforehand and it said they are meant to be run with four people. We had some tight spots, but overall we went through everything easily and even beat all the bosses.



Well... everything but the last boss which was designated a group event. He wiped the floor with us. Mostly because I ran out of mana and couldn't heal anymore. But it was fun and the design of the dungeon was very cool. Classical dwemer city with lots of lava.

Now we just need to get our fourth friend up to a level where she will be able to tank dungeons and we can do that as well. And we'll all need to be on at the same time. But it's not like we are in any kind of hurry.

Hubby and I have now explored about half of Vvardenfell and are close to level 20. Looking at the gigantic world map I can see we'll have fun with this for a long time to come.

Apr. 30th, 2019

pen & paper

The Three Agents - Session 1

Last night we had our first real gaming session with out newbie, now that he has decided he does want to play regularly. I was initially a bit worried what kind of setting we might have to pick to make sure he feels comfortable, since he isn't into scifi or fantasy at all, but he was game for whatever, so we went to our favourite setting -  the Virasana Empire, which is scfif with everything.

Over dinner we discussed what kind of stories and characters we want to play and ended up with agents/superspies working for the Noble House Almaviva.

My character is a noble woman of that House named Tiziana, who is on an epic quest to become her generations best weaponsmaster which means she uses every opportunity to train with exotic teachers so travelling around suits her well. She is also on an epic quest to find the legendary 'Thousand-in-One', a weapon which can morph into any blade you desire. Giving the GM lots of ammo to hit me with. I really felt like rolling a combat character again for a change.

Our newbie has chosen to play a character inspired by James Bond, so he can shoot, drive all sorts of vehicles and is basically indestructible. Obviously the personality will have to grow with time.

And then we have Neil, who is a conman, thief and charmer from planet halfway across the Empire, where he had to flee due to... misunderstandings. He comes with his own Nemsis, the law enforcer who tries to bring him to justice. Lots of story hooks there, too.

After character creation we only had time left for a very brief bit of actual playing, in which we still managed to track down a thief who had stolen an important necklace from tzhe Duchess of Nabucco, the planet where we are stationed currently. I failed at intimidating him, but our newbie did a great job and we have secured the necklace. Now we just have to get it and the thief safely back to the palace.

Apr. 29th, 2019

movies

Review - Avengers: Endgame

There WILL BE SPOILERS!

Read at your own risk!

With that out of the way, let's get started.

I didn't like Infinity War much (too many plotholes, too badly written characters acting like idiots or out of character) so I didn't have high hopes going into Endgame. But after 10 years and 22 movies which I have all watched, it was kind of mandatory I go see it.

It was better than I expected. I was expecting a 3/10 and I'd now rate it a 6/10. Not stellar or amazing but a solid, enjoyable movie.

Would I want to watch it again? Maybe. If faced with the choice, I'd rather watch watch Captain Marvel several more times and seeing Endgame again.

I liked that the plot was mostly coherent and the characters got to be themselves. The action scenes were good, the CGI wasn't too obvious, everyone got their hero moment.

What I didn't like was the re-use of all the old settings in the time travel sequences, though I didn't mind the usual paradox problems with the time travel. As long as they go with the splitting time line version, I couldn't care less.

I didn't like the overuse of humour. Every single scene (apart from the funeral at the end) was 'build up dark emotions - break with a funny comment'.

I was a bit diappointed there wasn't more Captain Marvel in it but the scenes she did get were great.

Overall I am happy with the sent off for the old guard. Everybody got enough screen time and character moments and I'm fine with where they went.

I really, really loved how Wanda got to beat up Thanos. That rocked. And Captain Marvel blasting through the ship.

Overall, it was a fitting wrap up for this epic story line.

Now I am looking forward to seeing the new characters like Black Panther, Spiderman and Captain Marvel take centre stage.
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Apr. 28th, 2019

movies

Sunday TV round up

Into the Badlands S3 E14

Blech. After last week's stellar episode, this was a major let down. Very, very badly written.

A whole heap of deux ex machina powers for the evil witch, characters acting like idiots left and right, character being killed of for no other reason than badly written script, character written out of plot which was just introduced two episodes ago. No overall progress.

If the last two episodes are as bad as this maybe I won't be sad to this this end.

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Food Wars - Rest of season 1 and all of season 2

Still utterly adorable. I hope they do more seasons and we get to see the Erina und Soma finally really face off.

Favourite characters: Megumi and the naked dude. And the meat specialist chick. Her outfits are amazing.

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Protector - S2 E1

Oh look, our favourite bad turkish fantasy drama is back for another round.



This one is a bit of a guilty pleasure.

The only good actor in the whole ensemble is the female warrior lady. Everyone else (including the male lead) is mediocre at best and kindergarden level acting at worst. Especially the love interest of the hero is not able to carry that role at all. Then again, she spends most the the time crying or screaming...

I am a bit disppointed that they are not giving the main villain more depth this season. He was nicely nuanced last season but now that he has his evil wife back he his just flat out boringly villainous. Meh.

The hero's speech to his 'followers' on what they will do now was hilarious though. He spent all of last season fucking up everything for everyone and now he thinks he can lead them? Oh lord... ya'all are heading straight for your doom.
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Apr. 27th, 2019

Elder Scrolls

ESO - Kitty and his tiny healer

Hubby and I have spent most of last night and most of today playing so obviously we are enjoying ourselves a lot.

This is us:



Hubby is the big kitty and a mage and I am his trusty healer companion wood elf.

Just like me, hubby has been very happy with visiting Vvardenfell again and with seeing all those familiar sights. I mean look, it's a stiltstrider. I LOVE them:



We are taking it slow and exploring a lot, taking in the sights, killing the monsters. I'mn very happy with the difficulty so far. I clearly remember getting slaughtered the first time I set food out of the starter village in Morrowind. No such problems here. Having a healer is a big help, though. As soon as things get a little tight, I can switch to full out just healing and we are fine again. Damage output is pretty decent and my little woodelf as well, so we are doing great.

We've made our way to Vivec city and learned some crafting - hubby is doing tailoring since we both wear light armour and I am doing woodworking since we both using staffs.

I'm still great at getting lost in that place, just like I was in Morrowind. We have found our way to Vivec's temple:



And started the main quest. Which is finding out what is siphoning Vivec's divine power away. In true Elder Scrolls fashion, we haven't done much about it as of yet, instead travelling all over the east coast of the island, doing a few quest but mostly just exploring. It's nice to not feel rushed from quest hub to quest hub with a whole bunch of quests for a change, but concentrate on just a few stories and finding interesting places.

Apr. 26th, 2019

Elder Scrolls

Elder Scrolls Online - First Impressions

I had played this once before, when it was in closed beta, because Chris had gotten a key for me so we could try it together. I vividly remember that I didn't like it at all and he didn't like it much either. So for a long time I never even looked at it again. But recently reviwes for it have been getting better and better with most people saying that yes, it sucked in beta, but that they had improved it so much it was pretty great now.

So when it was on sale on steam the last time I bought it to check out.

Since Rift has been very bad with servers being down for more than half a day for whatever it is they are doing for that long, I thought it might be time to jump ship, so last night I started up ESO. Which, luckily, I had downloaded a while ago already because, damn... that thing is huge and takes forever.

While the patcher was running, I went to the ESO website to see if maybe my beta account still existed. After some fumbling - I remembered neither my password nor my user name - I managed to unlock it again and - lo and behold - I even had a little gift from taking part in the beta. A cute monkey pet.

Starting up the game was rather touching because that music gets me every time. I have played all Elder Scrolls games (with Arena being my very first RPG ever) so I am kind of conditioned from earliest gamerhood in that regard. The vistas on the loading screen look beautiful, but I wasn't sure what the game itself would look like.

But first, character creation. In Elder Scrolls games I have a weakness for orcs because so few people play them, so I made an Orc Warden girl called Temari:



I have the standad edition which includes Morrowind (which was another nudge for me to buy ESO, Morrowind is still my all time favourite RPG) and just waking up in that hut felt so familiar already. I looked at the door and thought 'Yep, Morrowind.'

Once I step out of the hut I was very happy with how pretty everything looked in game as well. The landscape feel alive and vibrant in a way I haven't seen in MMOs.

At first I was nervous about the action combat, but it appears to be pretty forgiving. So far I have managed to block and dodge pretty well and I'm even figuring out the strong attacks. I think. At least I never really got hurt on the starter island and I have done a lot worth than that in non-tab-targetting games.

I'm planning to get Temari the bear pet as quickly as possible for extra protection.

The scripting of the story was nice and fluid as well. So far I have no complaints and am looking forward to exploring Morrowind proper. Hopefully with hubby. He loves Morrowind as much as I do. His download of the game took all of yesterday and the night, but now it looks like we can play together tonight.

And here is another screen of Temari, because I really loved the lighting in this one:

Apr. 25th, 2019

Ashu

City of Heroes

It's time I talked about City of Heroes.

When the game went down seven years ago I was heartbroken. I spent those last seven years mourning it and wishing I could go back and play again, run through the familiar streets, beat up the familiar suspects, hang out with all the friends I made in the game. But it was gone and all I could do was wait for one of the spiritual successor games to be finished so I could play those instead.

A few days ago it came out that some of the tech savy folks who also played, had hosted a private server for the last seven years and were playing all along in secret with just a few select friends.

The public outcry in the CoH community tops any drama you see on tv or in the news. It was a dumpsterfire so high it could be seen from a few star systems away.

I won't get into that. Suffice to say that the code was released and a day later the first public private server was up. And down because it was swamped with players. At it's peek there were several thousand players on at the same time.

And then some chucklefuck send a faked Cease and Desist order from NCSoft to the guys running that server, they panicked and wiped everything.

Cue outrage number two.

The source code was shared some more and now there are two teams working on solutions in public with god knows how many more brewing their own stuff and a public server is back up.

And some other folks are in talks with NCSoft to maybe get the permission to run the game legally.

And the community is basically walking on clouds, everyone gushing about how the game is just as perfect as they remembered and how they can't stop playing.

Today I finally managed to get an account for the server which is up at the moment and log in.

It was...
The character creation is still absolutely top notch. So many options. Also, damn it looks old.
Zoning into the game had my heart fluttering. And then nothing. I stood these, at the bottom of the steps leading up to Atlas Plaza and felt nothing. Ran around a bit, arrested a few hellions.

And logged out again, feeling deeply unsettled.

I should be happy! I should be playing non stop.
I feel ungrateful for not being happy after complaining about missing this game for so long. What an I doing wrong? Everyone else is having so much fun. I really have no idea.

Apr. 24th, 2019

Ashu

My Time at Portia - First Upgrades

I've done some more exploration of Portia, gathered a metric ton of wood and stone and killed a lot of Lamas. Which I feel very bed about because they are super cute, make adorable sounds and I have figured out theyx are easiest to kill when they are going to the river to drink... But I need the leather...

Currently I am working on completing the items for the first main quest. However I have no intention of turning them in. I remember from playing last time that you get a ton of money for the cars(called Dee Dees) you built for the second quest. However, there are only 4 of them that need to be delivered and your competitor will snatch them away after a while. So my goal is to build all of them first, then finish the quest before that. So when the quest comes up I can hand in all four Dee Dees and grab all that sweet cash.

I have already upgraded my workbench:



That was a big step as it is fairly expensive both in mats and money. Now I can make all the Dee Dees. Though first I need to take another trip to the mines and get more powerstones and ore.

I have also gotten some better clothes:



The colour scheme is a bit questionable... But they have good stats.

Apr. 23rd, 2019

Dragon Mania

Dragon Mania Legends - Too many dragon eggs

I really, really need to upgrade my nest. At the moment I can hatch three eggs at the same time and I have eggs piling up in my inventory. Luckily I only need a few more gems for an upgrade to four eggs.

Right now the Easter event I was expecting is up and running. As usual, it has a new twist. You need to earn one dragon in one part of the event to then use it in the other part of the event. I only need a few more hours for that dragon to hatch and it is quite cute on top:

Pitaya Dragon:



I've also earned this cutie in the last event, which was a CARE charity event:

Murano Dragon:



This one I got for logging in for 120 days:

Pharao Dragon:



Last but not least there are these two sweethearts:

Vivid Dragon:



Fireball Dragon:

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