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I write for the ones without a voice.

Yoshiyuki Ly
Video games.

Don't ignore the:
Social realism + romance.
LGBT, minorities, and women as fully-realized characters.
Power plays that push mental and emotional limits.
Armor over vulnerabilities. Strip that armor to get to the soft, devoted core.

Black Waltz
Contemporary fantasy romance. Self-published. It's available now. Book summary:

As a Black Waltz--a magical ballet dancer--Stella Azrith appears to all as a composed, no-nonsense sorceress of notable talent. Yet she is deeply dependent on her muse for far more than most artists, complicating her relationships. Nyte Lysander is a suave, emotional cellist who once struggled in her obsession to stay in Stella's world. She and Stella find one another again after a tumultuous breakup, needing the other for reasons warped beyond the norm. Black Waltz is a sprawling urban fantasy romance set 350 years after The Scorpion's Empress and 100 years after Venus and Lysander, concluding the trilogy. Can be read as a standalone.

Searching for acceptance, Stella and Nyte learn to understand each other anew, strained only by disagreements past and unspoken. Nyte's living situation in the crime-ridden district of Maleficus in the city of Eden pushes her and Stella to pursue better artistic opportunities elsewhere. As they toy with the idea of exploring a power play relationship, they learn about a greater evil that threatens the Azrith and Lysander family. The true enemy twists on its head through whirling rainstorms, driving Stella and Nyte to prove who and what they stand for.

There can be no waltz for three.

Black Waltz ebook

buy here on Amazon


Venus and Lysander
Historical-fantasy-romance. Solstice Publishing picked this one up. It's available now. Book summary:

Living as a nobleman and a woman, Valerie of Lysander is sick of waiting for the world to change. The discrimination she suffers as an outcast builds into resentment. Once Val takes matters into her own hands, the whole Empire of Tynan feels her brand of justice. The Emperor's adviser, Lucrezia of Azrith, wants more of Val's ruthlessness
for revenge against the unjust, and for her own desires. Venus and Lysander is an intricate romance set in the fictional Victorian city of Eden, 250 years after the events in The Scorpion's Empress.

Lucrezia is Lady Chancellor for the Emperor and a sorceress-in-hiding. She is forced to conceal her identity from the religious public for fear of death. As she learns to trust in Val's chivalry and affections for her, they both fall for the softer sides behind their similar bulletproof personas. Lucrezia receives a mysterious warning about a sadistic enemy threatening the Azrith and Lysander families. Once they discover their nemesis' true motive, Val and Lucrezia's tyrannous devotion for one another is all they can count on to survive.

buy here on Amazon

Finalist in the 30th Annual Lambda Literary Awards - Lesbian romance
2017 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention


The Scorpion's Empress
Erotic romance plus a bit of fantasy. Also under Solstice Publishing. It's available now. Book summary:

After years of serving a corrupt government, Ser Videl, an idealistic paladin, learns that her younger sister is tangled in a dark scheme against Raj Mangala, the compassionate yet troubled Empress of the city's oppressed lowtown; the two women meet and are deeply drawn to one another, finding a shared sanctuary in their violently-divided city. The Scorpion's Empress is intimately written through the eyes of both twenty-seven year old women.

Videl's loving devotion is just what Raj craves, but Raj is wary of letting her guard down while protecting her throne. Determined to prove her worth, Videl chases after Raj and works to unravel the mystery of the plots against the Empress. Raj wants Videl to serve her emotional and sexual needs, and the two explore a meaningful relationship of dominance and submission that delves fully into their deepest wants. When the conspiracy against Raj comes to a head, Videl's loyalties are tested when she is forced to choose between her past and her Empress.

The Scorpion's Empress

buy here on Amazon
Goodreads // Solstice Publishing

Winner in the 29th Annual Lambda Literary Awards - Lesbian romance
Finalist in the 2016 Independent Author Network Awards - LGBT
Winner in the 2016 New England Book Awards - LGBT
Honorable Mention in the 2016 Rainbow Awards - Lesbian erotic romance


Online Stories
Find most of my romance works here. The joy of sharing.

In-Depth Story Notes
Find my personal commentary and additional notes for certain stories here.


Contact Me + Navigation
-Email me at yoshiyuki.ly17@gmail.com with questions, comments or book-related requests.
-Follow the tag links on the right hand side if you're looking for anything specific.
-Click the cuts below to read what's underneath.

Book publishing dates/progress

1. The Scorpion's Empress (erotic romance with some D/s) - June 1, 2016
2. Venus and Lysander (historical-fantasy-romance) - January 31, 2017

3. Black Waltz (urban fantasy romance with some BDSM) - September 25, 2018
4. Anathema (historical-fantasy-romance with some D/s) - current work-in-progress - publishing date: May 1, 2019
5. Chauvinistic Coquette (contemporary romance with some fantasy) - complete - publishing date: August 17, 2020
6. Anathema II: The Scorpion's Empress (erotic romance, dark fantasy, BDSM) - next WIP - publishing date: 2021

These are all set in different eras of my fictional Anathema universe: the world, Tellus, with Nyx Vevina as God of the Anathema religion; she is the morally ambiguous shadow to her more spirited twin sister, Venus, who is revered as the standard of beauty, femininty and acceptance. My main characters all challenge the status quo in these societies in ways that are relevant to the real world.

Call me YoshiCollapse )

Current video game(s)Collapse )

Other Lulu
I'm editing Anathema now. I'll be working on this over the next couple of months, through April.

Nothing else matters to me.

(As an aside, I can't believe I like this song. It's both relevant and prescient. The video is hilarious too.)

summoner's remembrance.
Lulu's smile
Avatars, summons, leveling for a mile -- I found in a song the shape of your smile. The measured effort from you, the cadence of it: the very end of this tune sounds as the steady curl of your lips, up and brightening with quiet strength and exclusive purpose. Your stoicism is still there, beneath the layers of mild melancholy, but you are here in joy for this ending, smiling at me.

It's no wonder everything from the past couple of weeks has felt so serendipitous. 

Anathema is finished - 163,352 words.
It's done.

The first draft, anyway.

I have scenes to add/change/remove. I can't stop thinking about them. For now, I'm trying to let it sink in that this manuscript is finished, regardless of what I have left to change. I started writing it in May of last year, and now it's done. It's done. It's done, and I feel like I just lost a part of my heart to time.

One checked off, and a few more to go.

I got to leave work early today because of the snow here, and I finished up the final scene of the last chapter as soon as I got home. Now it's all finished.

I need to take a serious look at where I can cut down on the length, but other than that, I'm ecstatic with the story.

I finished just in time to reward myself by starting a new game of Kingdom Hearts III.

I still can't believe that this game is actually out, just like I can't believe that this story is done.

Soon, I'll start the process of commissioning the cover art. For now, I'm putting the manuscript away for two weeks, to let myself "forget" it before I go back to edit -- adding/removing/changing scenes as needed. And then, I will wait until it's almost time to publish before I do a final pass. In between that time, my cover art will be done and ready.

May 1 is the publication date I'm aiming for.

I sacrificed a lot to get this done. I chose to forsake much, much more, and I'm continuing to forsake more than that.

Let's stay up here, concerned about other things, unfathomable to anyone else, as they should be. 

Anathema - closer to completion.
I'm currently on the (planned) second-to-last chapter of Anathema.

Even though I'm happy with the story, and I enjoy it more than anything else I've written, I'm still worried about the word count. I'm sitting at around 145,000 words now. That's with certain scenes that I skipped to write later that are missing from the final count. So I may have to cut things out here and there. I don't know yet. I'm trying not to think about it until I finish the final chapter, and then I'll go back and see what else I need to do.

Nothing else matters.

In this solace of solitude, I feel far-removed from everything else.

Losing track of people like losing track of time. The clock is the crowd; the hands are broken because I don't have any of their hands in mine. I only have this single, simple motivation shaped as enough through me. Once I'm done, it's on to the next project, and the next, with this unwavering focus bearing down on me, testing me, constantly, as a marathon of the mind.

Pacing myself, I feel fine. I'm in my element. I don't know how someone else would fare. I went through this in the past and it almost broke me. Now it feels as natural and automatic as blinking and breathing.

In between writing, I have the oddest craving to play Bloodborne. I'm finding the time to do that along with getting through Hitman 2 every now and then. Hitman 2 is tons of fun with intelligent stealth and open-ended, funny strategies and situations, but I can't get used to how clunky the controls feel. I have my eye on Hitman Blood Money and Hitman Absolution coming to PS4 soon. Tomorrow, I think. Plus the remaster/remake of Onimusha, one of the classic games from my childhood during the PlayStation 2 era. Kingdom Hearts III is finally coming out at the end of the month, too, yet I'm not excited about it at all. I'm here for the soundtrack by Yoko Shimomura, my favorite and my legend in gaming music. Also looking forward to Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice in March. Nothing else is on my radar this year unless The Last of Us Part II and Ghost of Tsushima release in 2019 as well.

With Final Fantasy XI, I feel burned out, even though I should feel accomplished now that I have my relic and empyrean instruments for bard. I think what bothers me is that I feel obligated to go after the mythic dagger and aeonic instrument as well even though I don't want to. Mostly to have that title of "REMA" bard (Relic, Empyrean, Mythic, Aeonic). Being able to have four songs up to support the party isn't enough -- I feel like I have to have the 50% song duration from the mythic dagger and Honor March from the aeonic harp, too, otherwise I feel incomplete. I'm trying to pace myself and think of these things as long-term items. I need to temper my perfectionist tendencies here.

In the meantime, I have two more chapters to finish this month. I'll definitely meet my goal to have the book published on May 1.

Since I finished chapter 15 today, I'll take a bit of a break to play Bloodborne tonight as a reward. FFXI had an update today with a new monthly Ambuscade raid. I'll wait until people sort out the strategies before I bother with it. I don't have the time/patience for trial-and-error adventures this month. Maybe next time.

Anathema's chapter names so far:

1. Solaire's Nocturne
2. Stella's Rising
3. Humanity and Idealism
4. Astroan Mirages in Summer
5. A Higher Loyalty
6. Are You Afraid of the Dark?
7. The Bismarck
8. Catastrophe's End
9. Sole Survivor
10. Beloved
11. Fury
12. Wayward Daughter
13. Vengeful Despair
14. Her Honor
15. Sight Unseeing
16. Spider Lily - current work-in-progress
17. Black Sun

"In darkness blooms the spider lily."

new timeline for Anathema - plans for next month, next year
As much of a perfectionist as I am, I'm doing my best to not beat myself up about missing my deadline.

Anathema has about 3-4 more chapters to go, and that's after cutting things down and shifting ideas to the next book in the series. I'm having a hard time with this current chapter I'm working on (chapter 14) in particular, because it is the climax of the story. I'm listening to the listed, maddened song above, over and over, while writing this scene, steadily getting to this climax. I struggled to focus on this over the past month, after being so exhausted after work and writing what I can during the hours -- and then returning home and doing my best to continue, only to fall asleep. I'm annoyed that that also contributed to the delay, but it's okay. It is.

Ideally, this will only go up to chapter 17, likely titled Black Sun. It's my favorite number. Such a shallow reason, but I'm trying to make it work.

I can finish this at some point in January. It's funny, because it'll have been a year since I finished Chauvinistic Coquette, in what was a turbulent time for me, filled with so much change and shedding of too many denials I had about myself and the well that I write from.

I want to publish this first volume of Anathema on May 1, Stella's birthday.

Once that is done, I'll clean up CC to publish it in 2020. I will need the extra time to work on the second volume of Anathema for 2021, and to get a head-start on the other(s), because I know it's going to take a lot out of me.


Anathema (2019) - the general prologue set before The Scorpion's Empress, of Vespair in her youth and how she becomes a dark knight, and of the one she falls in love with who sets the course of her long, long life in service, in honor, and in vengeful despair.

Chauvinistic Coquette (2020) - an off-shoot of Black Waltz set over thirty years later, featuring one of Stella's daughters, Venus -- fashion model, singer, dancer, actress, and all-around performance artist extraordinaire -- and her dramatic, extravagant relationship with another new character, Astrid Valenzuela: a perfectionist who sets out to be number one at anything she sets her mind to. Despite knowing that she can never be number one for Venus, she tries anyway, going so far as to discover such destructive, unspoken truths about her. They both persist -- with Venus spinning a web, with Astrid agonizing, thriving in imperfection by her spinning -- finding their existence alongside each other, even in madness, as an endless chase from the coquette, and the idealistic judgment from the chauvinist who elevates the tease to levels beyond what a pedestal is capable of, beyond life and death.

The secrets are on the page, and the whole book is a lie: hidden, cynical, mocking, just as you can never know another, and yet you can claim to love her as much as you know what you know, as much as you feel what you feel. You know what you know, and you feel what you feel, yet the rest of the unknowns seek to invalidate your truths, as much as everybody lies, to save face, to have a happily-ever-after for your smiles and validation, for it only exists inasmuch as you believe it so, in so much as you say that it is true, so much, so much, that it is true enough for you -- it is true enough to be true.

Anathema II: The Scorpion's Empress (2021) - the events just before, during, and after The Scorpion's Empress from Vespair's point of view, painting a fuller picture of everything that happened during that time. This expands on the play from Black Waltz, helping to show you why Raj and Videl from TSE are unreliable narrators -- why that whole book is a lie. (Hint, hint: neither Raj nor Videl are on the cover of The Scorpion's Empress. Who, in the book, do I describe wearing the outfit on the cover, with her hair in that way, who appears "twice" in this book universe as a mirror of herself?)

In 2022 and beyond, there will either be one or two more Anathema books. I haven't decided if there will be one each as the negative image for both Venus and Lysander + Black Waltz, or only one as a combination of the two. There may be a little surprise somewhere throughout these years as well, unrelated to this universe of stories. We'll see what happens with it.


Outside of all of that, this is the end of yet another year, of the twenty-eighth of my life so far.

This year, I finally accepted the painful conclusion of how it is I'm able to function and thrive after everything that's happened. I used to be in denial about who I am, what I am, and how terrible it is on its face, but I did manage to turn it around into a positive. It's turned into more about writing to protect other people from the things that I know -- you can read them from the distance of the page, and know how bad it is, and learn enough, hopefully, to avoid it yourself, even if I never explicitly say what it is.

Living alone with this is the best thing for me, because it gives me focus, despite whatever else I have going on.

I won't accept anything less or any interruptions. I can be as generous and selfless as someone needs me to be, yet the moment I find that they're in the way, then it's off with their heads -- figuratively, anyway. I can be a tyrant if it means protecting the source of my well of inspiration. I can and will destroy anything that acts in bad faith, that obstructs me or decays my muse or reminds me of all that I chose to forsake. On her orders, I've done it before and laughed at the hatred, at the anathema I suddenly became to them; I will do it again whenever I need to -- by any means necessary.

It's true enough for me to be true as needed, as this singular choice I made to stay here with my decision in devotion, as much as love is a choice.

So, please, leave me alone and read from afar. That's all I'd like to have from you as these years go on. That is all.

update, progress, today.
Maybe it's the day. I had such a strange dream about someone I don't think about anymore, contacting me with an emotional, desperate message, asking for us to get back in contact with each other, and admitting that they are still madly in love with me. I woke up feeling like it was nice to have the validation, as I do tend to feel this person's vibes from time to time, but ultimately, I would never decide to speak to them again. "When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time" is the best, objective explanation I can give for this. I don't care anymore and I don't ever want to go back to caring.

An update on Anathema: word count-wise, I'm exactly where I expected I would be by now since starting the manuscript in May. HOWEVER, after letting the story grow on its own, it turns out that I'm only 65% done with this. So my original estimation of finishing the book by the end of the year won't end up coming true. Probably. Perhaps. I'll do my best and see where I end up.

Even just yesterday, listening to the soundtrack for Assassin's Creed Brotherhood gave me an idea for how to approach this last stretch. I really miss the experimental music and the intense atmosphere from the old AC games. I miss the philosophical blend of sci-fi and history and fiction. I miss when the games were their own, creative thing. It's why I can't bring myself to play the newer ones. They don't have what I'm looking for.

Beyond all of that, I understand why things are the way they are. Going at this pace, I know that I won't be done for five or six more years, publishing one book a year, with, possibly, a surprise one in between the volumes of Anathema that span across The Scorpion's Empress, Venus and Lysander, and Black Waltz, as these alternate perspectives from Vespair's point of view. I have to listen to the dictations. Because if I don't, it's like we're in an argument, and that skill of mine gets held away from me, held hostage.

Even when that can't happen anymore, there's going to be something else at the end of the road of these publications. In due time, I'll be ready to face that new challenge, whatever it may be. I enjoy holding on to that unknown as an ideal to strive toward. It's not supposed to make any sense. It doesn't. I know it doesn't. That's the whole point.

on this day.
No alarms and no surprises today, please.
Tags: ,

Black Waltz is out now + thoughts on what's going on lately.
Lulu's smile
You can find the buy link to Black Waltz up above in my top post. Just the ebook for now. The paperback will be along within the next week or so. I'm still waiting for my copy to arrive so I can preview it.

This delayed release date ended up working in my favor a bit, since this falls within the timeframe of a certain character's birthday. I released The Scorpion's Empress on June 1, which is Videl's birthday, though I don't believe I've mentioned this in-canon directly (yet). Venus and Lysander came out on January 31, Lucrezia's birthday. You will know whose birthday is at the beginning of autumn if you read Venus and Lysander and/or Black Waltz.

This third book took a lot out of me. The Scorpion's Empress didn't challenge me; I only wrote what I felt would work, while laying the groundwork for this possible trilogy in the future. Venus and Lysander was only more difficult in that I had a lot going on while I wrote it.

Black Waltz is the culmination of too many things for me. I have no idea how everyone will interpret what's on the page or which conclusions they'll draw about me as a person. I used to try to control that in the past, with everything else I wrote.

The most notable thing about Black Waltz, for me, is that I didn't try controlling any of that.

There is a reason why I let go of that control, but it's too much for me to talk about here.

I do think that it's a controversial book that will rub some people the wrong way. The main points of contention -- and, once you read it, you will know what I'm talking about -- I initially tried to hide. I went through four or so completed drafts of this manuscript over the course of a few years, scrapping each one and eventually getting closer to this final product that doesn't try to hide or mask anything.

Reading the blurb on my top post gives you enough of an idea of what the story is about. It says very little about what I mean here in this post. Please read for yourself if you'd like to find out more.

In the meantime, I will continue working on Anathema while playing Final Fantasy XI. I'm tired of Final Fantasy XIV and unsubscribed yet again after realizing how much I miss Yotsuyu from patch 4.3's story. Nothing else in XIV will ever top her arc or even come close. Patch 4.4's story and the same old, same old gear treadmill left me feeling drained and empty because it's about what I expected. So back to Final Fantasy XI I went, back on bard, my favorite support role job ever.

Returning to this world of Vana'diel feels like I came back home after being away for so long.


One last thing.

I'm American. I closely follow what's going on in the news, with politics, every single day. I voted in 2016, both in the primaries and in the general, but I didn't vote for the people in the current majority party of our government. I'm doing my best to take away as many positives as I can from everything going on.

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford is a hero and a patriot for telling her story this week to the Senate Judiciary Committee. She did her civic duty even under enormous, mounting pressure against her. I respect her and I believe her.

Just today, I received my sample ballot in the mail for voting in the midterms on November 6.

I will be there.

publishing process slowed for Black Waltz.
Other Lulu

I know I said September for Black Waltz. Had some setbacks to deal with. More than likely, the ebook will be out before the paperback. I will post a link as soon as it's available. I'm currently waiting on the review process for Amazon's self-publishing program.

The jist of the setbacks has to do with a big reveal partway through the story. I wrote a certain play as an entire chapter, knowing that the events of this play were only half-true. I've had the exact lore in mind for a long time now. I figured I would reveal the truth in Anathema and let it stand that way. But, as I read over Black Waltz for a final edit, I realized that presenting this play as fact in this book, when I knew it wasn't completely true, would have been disingenuous and misleading to all of you. It would also have made Anathema look like a retcon, instead of the full truth as I'd intended. I absolutely didn't want that.

So, this meant that I had to take the extra time to write most of Anathema's first volume, making sure that I had these key details set in stone, and then going back in to Black Waltz with appropriate edits. I didn't realize what the problem was until I was about to publish the misleading version of the manuscript a few weeks ago. It was stressful as hell and incredibly time-consuming doing all of this in between working my day job, but I managed to give all of you enough information throughout the story to make it clear that this play is not the full truth.

Aside from that, I've also shelved plans to publish Chauvinistic Coquette any time soon. I had wanted to get it out there next year. I'm happy with the story itself and how it turned out, but writing and finishing Anathema is more important. I admit I have some lingering issues with CC's structure and its format as a book. It's not in chronological order, for one, and I purposely left some key plot details up to the reader's imagination. I'm thinking it's just not very effective as a traditional book, even though this may only be me being too hard on myself.  I'm going to sit on it for a while as I consider a few options.

The first volume of Anathema will be done by the end of this year at the latest. I will do my best to publish it next year instead of CC. I'll talk about it more later.

some updates, and then silence once more.
Playing through the Shin Megami Tensei games on my PlayStation 2 makes me wonder how much differently my life would have turned out if I'd focused more on these games instead of Final Fantasy when I was a teenager. Final Fantasy X was important in shaping me in the long-run, however. I can never overstate this. If not for that game, I wouldn't be here doing what I do. If not for Shin Megami Tensei, though, I wouldn't have been able to hone and sharpen my style and vision to the point where it is now. So I love them equally, but differently.

I'll publish Black Waltz next month, in September, even though I finished the book almost a year ago now. Why? It's complicated and it isn't at the same time.

Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc's soundtrack is oddly relevant for Anathema. Listening to some songs on repeat as I write has helped in unexpected ways.

I thought I wouldn't go back, but Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood's patch 4.3, Under the Moonlight, with Yotsuyu, is the highest point in the whole franchise for me--except FFX. Except FFX, like with her smile on the Highbridge.

Watching Orange is the New Black is like looking into the past with Piper and Alex together as something I used to romanticize as a parallel and justify:

For as long as I can remember, I kept wondering why I would feel so invested in people, and feel the world for them, whether they were friends or more or less than that. Writing Anathema has given me time to think on this. It's not just about time. It's not just about disillusionment or not caring anymore.

I finally have my answer. I don't like it -- at all. I don't like the implications of what it means for me, of what my purpose is as a writer.

I accept it, though. It's okay.

To the ends of the world and back, I know.

What everyone and everything represents. - 1. The Scorpion's Empress
Absolute spoilers for my books here. Proceed with caution.

Below is a list of all the major characters, settings/locations, and ideas and their "theme songs" that represent them, or at least what I listened to a lot while I conceived the ideas for who/what they are.

Some of these songs (Mistress Fury, I'm looking at you) won't make sense unless you take them in the context of all of the books as a whole, once you read them.

Characters who appear across multiple books may have different songs as they grow and change over the course of the series.

Click each character/pairing/etc. to expand the embedded song.

In chronological order of release/anticipated release:

1. The Scorpion's Empress
This book's major inspirationCollapse )

Raj/VidelCollapse )

Raj MangalaCollapse )

Ser VidelCollapse )

Mistress FuryCollapse )

NyteCollapse )

Archangel VespairCollapse )

EdenCollapse )

The Grand CathedralCollapse )

ElysiumCollapse )

Eden vs. ElysiumCollapse )

LimmerickCollapse )

What everyone and everything represents. - 2. Venus and Lysander
Absolute spoilers for my books here. Proceed with caution.

Below is a list of all the major characters, settings/locations, and ideas and their "theme songs" that represent them, or at least what I listened to a lot while I conceived the ideas for who/what they are.

Some of these songs (Raine, I'm looking at you) won't make sense unless you take them in the context of all of the books as a whole, once you read them.

Characters who appear across multiple books may have different songs as they grow and change over the course of the series.

Click each character/pairing/etc. to expand the embedded song.

In chronological order of release/anticipated release:

2. Venus and Lysander
This book's major inspirationCollapse )

Val/LucreziaCollapse )

Lord Commander Valerie of LysanderCollapse )

Lady Chancellor Lucrezia of AzrithCollapse )

Emperor Xavier of Tenrose + The Empire of TynanCollapse )

Queen Beatrys of Tenrose + The Kingdom of TiborCollapse )

RajCollapse )

VidelCollapse )

Vespair (?)Collapse )

RaineCollapse )

EdenCollapse )

ElysiumCollapse )

NirvanaCollapse )

The Port City of IndraCollapse )

Elysia's show of absolute power in IndraCollapse )

The Edge of ReasonCollapse )

Elysium the UnderworldCollapse )

Hatred of sorceressesCollapse )

Enabling Val's tyrannyCollapse )