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 PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2005 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Thanos stepped into the ring. The Dual Knights studied him. There was not much to see. Red Robes, deep red hood which hid his face, and a long staff crafted from the bones of ancient monsters clutched in a withered hand.
"I must congratulate you on the defeat of my associates," he whispered. "You have done well, and now you will have something to boast of when i send you to the afterlife."
"If you send us to the afterlife," returned Elgos.
"All right," said Zither, "challenges issued! Round three! Fight!"
"Direct assaults do not seem to faze you," murmured the necromancer as the twins began circling towards him. "I shall have to employ a different manner of spell. However, I will need time."
"And time is what you don't have!" Elgos lunged. The warrior's blade shocked against the bone staff, but the fragile-seeming object was apparently stronger than it appeared. Thanos shoved him back.
"I cannot play with you," whispered Thanos. "Here! This will keep you occupied." He waved his staff. Red flames appeared in the ring like sinister flowers. Within seconds they died away, giving rise to a score of skeletal warriors.
"Ha!" Gilra lifted her sword. The flames burst around the skeletons, but they suffered little real damage. She shrugged and began hacking them apart, easily countering heir clumsy blows. Still, there were a great many, and Elgos abandoned his attack on Thanos to help her.
"Excellent. Now ... " As bone shattered and steel clanged on rusty iron, Thanos began chanting. His voice never rising above a whisper, the necromancer began tracing arcane symbols in the air with his empty left hand. The air around him wavered and began to darken, stained crimson by the Wizard's evil magic.
Elgos and Gilra finished off the last skeleton. They turned to see Thanos surrounded by a bloody haze. A stench of decay wafted from him. Beneath his feet, the marble weathered and crumbled, as through centuries were passing over it.
"You delayed too long," said Thanos from within his vile mist. "Now the first step of my plan is complete. Within this aura, I am safe from all your attacks. Magic is dampened within its sphere, and any physical object will quickly corrode and disentegrate."
The Dual Knights glanced at each other, but this time they did not laugh or smile. "You mean," asked Gilra, "that you're invincible?"
"Exactly. You are helpless, and can only watch as I cast the spell that will destroy you."
The entire Arena fell silent as Thanos resumed chanting. The Dual Knights tensed. Minutes passed, however, and nothing seemed to happen. The Dual Knights remained on their guard. They, at least, could sense the concentration of dark power around the necromancer.
Above them, the sky was darkening once again. Imperceptibly the shadow grew heavier over the Arena, until suddenly the crowd was shocked to discover that the only light emanated from a circle of small red flames that had sprung up around the ring.
Thanos finished chanting. With a gesture, he dispelled the mist around him. He stepped forward, and took his staff in both hands. Red light flickered and wavered around him, like a candle about to go out.
"It is finished," he said. "You are trapped within a ring of death."
"Those little fires?" said Elgos, bemused. "This is supposed to hurt us?"
'What a waste of time." Gilra pointed her sword at Thanos. "And you've dropped your defenses. A costly mistake, Wizard!"
Both Knights charged him. Thanos made no move. The Warriors swung their swords up, but to the crowd they seemed painfully slow. The necromancer easily countered the attacks, knocking Gilra to the ground and spinning Elgos' sword beyond the bounds of the ring.
"What in Helia's name," panted Elgos, stumbling back, "have you done to us?"
"Our armour should have protected us against Wither!" Gilra laboriously pushed herself to her knees, staring in frustration at Thanos.
The necromancer laughed, a sound recalling a death rattle. "This is not Wither, child. You and your brother are wound in a web of life-draining magic. Since my spell was completed, energy has been flowing from you to me. Soon, you will shriel and fall to dust, and I will have all your strength and vitality."
"You ... " Elgos tried to tackle him, but tripped and fall beside his sister. Thanos shook his head.
"Give up, boy. Let death claim you. It is easier if you don't resist."
"Shut it, you walking corpse." Gilra rose unsteadily to her feet. Although her arm trembled, she reached out and aided Elgos to his feet. "I told you it was a mistake lowering your shield. It might have been able to save you."
"Save me?" repeated Thanos. "Child, you are too weak to fight or cast spells. Your link to the sun has been broken off. It is hopeless."
"Let's see about that. Okay, brother?"
"We've got nothing to lose." He grasped Gilra's left wrist with his right hand. Together they lifted her sword towards the sky, where the sun rode above Thanos' shadow. "Double Solar Flare!"
The sword glowed searing white. Thanos lifted one arm to cover his eyes against the light. The crowd inhaled. Fire flickered in the air around Thanos, then suddenly ignited into a roaring column of flame. The Wizard dropped his staff and cried out words of protection. He was black in the heart of the pillar, but sharp silhouette began to blur as magical defenses once more shimmered around him. But before the spell was complete, the darkness above was rent asunder. A beam of fiery energy, blue-white, hotter and brighter than lightning, struck the column of flame. Thanos' ward was burned away. His scream mingled with a thunderous explosion as his silhouette dissolved.
The pillar burst into sparks and rags of flame, scattering and setting various unfortunate spectators alight. Not so unfortunate, however, as those caught in the super-heated shockwave that radiated out from the focal point of the beam. almost all seated in the front row were vaporized; many of those above them blackened and fell to ash. Even those who did not die instantly were burned. The arena was filled with screams as a singed Zither poked her head out from behind one of the spoorting columns of the Arena.
"An amazing conclusion!" she yelled, barely audible above the panicking audience. "Even more amazing is that I can still talk after inhaling all that hot air! There is no doubt that the Dual Knights of the Sun are the victors!"
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 PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2005 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

"Whoa." Zilmarrial wiped the sweat off his face. "That was pretty impressive."
"Indeed. Both Thanos and the young Warriors performed better than i anticipated." Alexon smiled oddly as he watched the unconscious Knights being borne back to their quarters. "What a shame that they will not survive their encounter with Vorna. Or you, or Logan. I could have made use of them."
"Hm?" Zilmarrial glanced at him. "How's that?"
"You mean, how could I make use of them? Well, Legendary Swordsman, it has to do with my wish. As you requested, I will tell you what I meant to ask Jinex for -- much good it will do you." Alexon fell silent for a while before continuing. "It is my purpose to establish a kingdom in the Central Plains. An empire of order, beauty and peace, where the people of Ardania may live without fear of monstrous incursions or the petty schemes of the Great Houses."
"Really?" Zilmarrial studied him anew. "You don't seem to be the virtuous type."
"Who said that I am? I am not doing this for the benefit of the people, but because I abhor chaos and bloodshed. This world has been torn by strife for too long. I will put an end to it, at least within my domain."
"I think you may be deceiving yourself," said Zilmarrial. "If all you wanted was peace and quiet, you could just go into seclusion somewhere. You could build your own little world without creating an empire."
"I tried that already," replied Alexon. His smile became decidedly bitter. "It didn't work out. My 'little world', as you call it, was shattered by the local overlord. No, I must become an overlord in my own right if I am to create the order I desire."
"So what were you going to wish for? An army?"
"I can recruit my own army. No, what I need only Jinex can provide. I do not desire immortality, as do you. Thus, in order for my kingdom to continue after my death, I need an heir. And, for an heir ... "
"You need a wife," finished Zilmarrial. "So what? There are plenty of women. You don't Jinex to conjure a wife for you."
"I do if she is dead. I have love for one woman only, Legendary Swordsman. The most beautiful woman I have ever seen; beautiful in her mind and heart as well as her body. Alas, she was not entirely human and possssed of preternatural abilities. Count Tressen, when he learned of our presence in his domain, became jealous and fearful. He stirred the peasantry into a mob, and they assaulted us in our home. We both fought well, but sheer numbers can be telling. I lost my eye. She lost her life."
"I see. So you want Jinex to resurrect her. Why not go to a Temple?"
"Because I have little use for the gods. They are as much responsible for the chaos in the land as mortals, and I don't see them making much in the way of amends. Nor, even if I humbled myself to their hypocritical representatives, do I have the money to pay them. Jinex is the only one who could fulfull my desire."
"And could he?"
"Perhaps, perhaps not. I won't find out this year, will I?"

Meanwhile, the ring had been restored. Another match was soon in progress. Three Warriors were fighting against a pair of Cultists accompanied by fully eight Vargs. The Warriors were eventually torn to shreds, though not before dispatching four of the Vargs.
After announcing Team Lunacia victorious, Zither prepared herself for her next declaration. Never before had any team escaped the Arena, and she had no idea how the crowd would take the information that the centuries-old rule had been broken.
"All right," she said, trying not to let her cheerful attitude slip, "the next match was to have been Team Insane against Team Flamethrower, but due to the disappearance of the former, Team Flamethrower will automatically advance to the next round!"
The audience, keyed up by the bloodshed just witnessed, was a moment in absorbing this information. Then they burst out in jeers and assorted yells. Zither sighed in resignation, and looked up to where Jinex sat under his canopy.

Jinex clicked his tongue and rose to his feet. He glanced around at what was quickly becoming a riot. A great people were simply laughing at his expense, but some were demanding to know how it had happened. Others were worried that if someone could get out, enemies of the Games could get in. Fist-fights were beginning to break out when Jinex called forth a lightning storm. The dancing bolts, striking the ring and the packed earth outside it, were quite sufficient to catch the crowd's attention.
"Devotees of the games," said Jinex smoothly after the thunder had died away, "I assure you there is no cause for alarm. Or," he added, smiling, "laughter. The disappearance of Team Insane is my business, and not yours. Pray, do not concern yourselves with it further. Apart from the loss of a match, the event will no impact on the Games, now or in the future."
All the fun immediately went out of rioting. They understood that the disappearance, if not Jinex's doing, was well under his control. The fighters of Team Insane were not the first ons to disappear, although the vanishing act was usually performed later in the Games, when defeated fighters or over-zealous do-gooders attempted to penetrate the mysteries of the tower. They quickly settled back into their seats, resolved to pretend that Team Insane had never existed.
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 PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2005 11:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

We're already closer to winning, without a fight, thought Lordon. Of course, that will only mean we'll have a tougher enemy for our first fight.

"We already ahead, and we done nothing!" said Lurk, echoing Lordon's thoughts.

"That may or may not be a good thing, Lurk," said Lordon sadly, stroking his beard.


"Because, besides other circumstances, any piece of luck must always be followed by misfortune."
"It simply doesn't happen. Period.
Why is that? Question mark."
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Will the Spellcaster

Joined: 29 Apr 2002
Posts: 499
Location: Somewhere that I teleported too...

 PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2005 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

"The next match will be Team elvenstar against Team Stellar! Now, let the heads of each team come forward to discuss the match terms."

Will the Spellcaster, the head of Team Stellar, and Roladon, head of Team Elvenstar, slowly walked up to Zither's podium. The elven team leader was dressed in the robes of an Eastern sorcerer, and carried no weapons. His hair was jet-black, and combed straight down, coming to his wrists. Will was in an Adept outfit, with the staff of a Wizard carried in his right hand. Once there, they shook hands with eachother, and began to discuss.

"I woould prefer even terms. Myself and my teammates against 7 of your team; with every 2 folowers counting as 1 team member," stated the elven Sorcerer.

"No." said Will flatly. "Either it's a all my team against all your team, or it's a one-on-one match or series of matches. All or nothing."

Roladon thought for a moment. "Perhaps.... No, too preposterous."

"What?" asked Will. "I'm up for any ideas you have." When Roladon seemed about to refuse, Will insisted. "Try me."

"Very well." Roladon sighed. "It seems childish, but... I was thinking, maybe we could do a 'capture the flag' sort of thing. Only, instead of capturing the other team's flag, kill the other team's person of choice."

Will pondered it for a little while. Finally, he spoke up. "But what would happen if a ring out occured? We couldn't have someone being a coward to save his own life."

"Hmmm. Perhaps, a second? To take the place of the first person should he be taken from the ring?" Roladon suggested.

Will agreed, and so they moved on to the task of picking the targets and seconds for each team.

"I shall be the main person, and Lessa, the Paladin, shall be my second," stataed Will.

"Very well. I, also, shall be the main person, and Shionte, the elf in green with the crystal bow, shall be my second."

They told Zither, who had been listening on the converstion, that they were ready, and she announced the match terms to the crowd. The audiance murmered amoungst themselves, not sure what to make of this new style of combat.

Once they were settled, Zither asked if the teams were ready. Stellar asked for a 5-minute break, to plan, and Elvenstar agreed.

"Fine," snarled Zither, unhappy at the delay," but I will start the moment the time is up; whether you're through or not."
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Will the Spellcaster

Joined: 29 Apr 2002
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Location: Somewhere that I teleported too...

 PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2005 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

"Now," whispered Will as the team leaned in closely," we need to take out most of the other elves before we can deal with the Sorcerer. Robinton, do you have their things?" The monk nodded solomly. "Good. Show me what they had."

The monk spread out a number of rings, braclets, and necklaces. Without looking uncofortable about speaking to those not of his own faith, he started to explain about each object. "This one," he said, holding up a large gold ring with a saphire embedded in the middle of it," will reflect about 10 percent of the damage done to the wearer back to the cause of the damage. It will only last for so much damage before it crumbles, though." Next, he selected a silver amulet with a blue-whitish stone at the end. "This is an interesting peice of equipment; it makes the user immune to freezing spells. There was one for each team member that I saw, but this was the only one I could get my hands on. I suppose thiese both should go to Will." He handed them to Will, who put them on. The next thing the monk selected was a polished chunk of pink quartz. "This heavy thing will provide light in any darkness, even magical darkness, which will be useful if anyone we face uses darkness spells. I'll keep this where we can get it if we need to." He put it away, then swept the other small jewlry into a sack he had. "The rest of this stuff are all insteresting tidbits; but have next to no magical value. I'll keep them for my own reasons."

"Very well," said Will. "Now, as to the planning. I think you, K`vin," nodding to the Priest," can take the crystal bowman. The bow is obviously magical; I think it makes it's own arrows. The skeletons will be very useful for their dodging. Ediola," he said, looking at the Solarus," you're with me. We can take care of the twin elves with the yew short and long-bows, and try to stop any spells the Sorcerer might start to cast." As Ediola moved to stand beside him, he indicated Robinton and Lessa. "You two will be handiling the blade dancers. Watch out for their speed, they can seem topop in and out of places from nowhere. The only real way they can seriously wound you is if they strike a vital place, since they're not that strong." Lessa nodded, while Will continued, now speaking to the Ranger. "Briar, you and your vargs can take the oak longbowman. Be sure to get in as fast as you can, once you're close, she can't hurt you. Alright, that should do it. Here we go."

"OK, the 5 minutes is up," announced Zither. "Let the duel begin!"
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Will the Spellcaster

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Location: Somewhere that I teleported too...

 PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2005 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

K`vin, Lessa, and Briar charged their chosen targets. The Blade Dancers immediately ran for Briar, realizing he would be a long-range threat. Lessa moved to intercept them as Robinton pulled a crossbow from his robes. He started to rain bolts onto one of the Dancers; and the Dancer had to stop and deflect the deadly hail using his rapier. Meanwhile, Briar had reached the needed range to fire upon the oak bowman, who was about to set her sites on Will. The Sorcerer, Roladon, started singing, dancing, and making strange movements towards Will. Will saw this, and cast an Energy Blast at the elf. It hit him, but the elf continued his dance. Will prepared for another blast, but the sorcerer had finished; and a mass of ice flew at Will. It was about to hit, when it was absorbed into Will’s amulet. Will cast a meteor storm at Roladon and the twin elves, but Roladon cast a quick spell and reappeared next to the crystal bowman. The twins, however, were unable to get out of the way, and were hammered mercilessly. While this was going on, Briar and his elf target were trading shots. The elf seemed to have the advantage, but was hit by something she hadn’t counted on: Flash and Fang, Briar’s half-varg, half-shadowbeast pets. She fell to the pair of animals almost immediately. Since his target seemed to be disposed of, Briar turned his attention to the rest of the battle. Lessa was trading blows with one of the Dancers, while Robinton was locked in battle with the other Dancer. His crossbow was lying nearby, and he had drawn a curved dagger whose blade was a sickly green color. As Briar was watching, Robinton scored what seemed a slight scratch on his opponent, but the elf dropped his blade and clasped his hand over the chest wound. The elf sank to his knees before keeling forward and disintegrating before Briar’s very eyes. Robinton immediately headed for the Sorcerer, who had made a wall of ice surrounding his physical person. Briar heard someone cry out, and look around for the source. Lessa was holding one arm against her chest and battling fiercely with her opponent. Briar sent his vargs out to help her, and started firing on the wall of ice the sorcerer had erected. Sadly the arrows merely bounced off to hit in the dust of the arena. Will started throwing spells at it, only to have them bounce back as well. His ring glowed for a second as he gasped in pain, and a bolt of dark blue light lanced out of it to hit the wall. Spiderweb cracks ran through the ice, and, just at that moment, Ediola and Robinton reached the wall. Robinton had recovered his crossbow, and had interesting looking red bolts in his quiver. He stopped, put a bolt in the crossbow, flipped the latch, aimed, and fired at the wall. The bolt hit right on a crack, and stuck there. Ediola had also stopped, and muttered a word. Her mace glowed, then burst into flames as she threw it at the wall. The sorcerer cackled, and started a spell. As Briar resumed his fire upon the wall, horrified when his arrows continued to be reflected, the sorcerer finished his spell. Ice came down from the sky and surrounded Ediola and Robinton, rendering them immobile. Will looked up, and trying a last ditch effort, cast another Energy Blast at the wall. Before the blast reached the wall, he cast shields of fire, flame, and anti-magic around himself. K`vin added a Krypton shield of sorts, and Lessa put a shield of light around the mage. The blast bounced off the wall, as expected, and headed back toward the mage. It managed to pass through the walls of flame, fire, and light, but fizzled at the shield that K`vin had put up. That wasn’t the result Will had expected, so he tried another idea. He took his ring off and tossed it to K`vin. Understanding the idea, K`vin caught it, put it on, and cast a ball of red energy at the wall of ice. It was bounced, as all the spells before it, and hit K`vin. The ring glowed, and as before, a bolt of blue light came out of it and hit the ice wall. This time, however, the wall was shattered, and Briar sent his vargs in. They were on the sorcerer in seconds, and, with the backup arrows from Briar, bolts from Robinton, and spells from Will, the sorcerer was finished in no time.

“Team Stellar wins the match by automatic forfeiture due to match terms and by the fact that there’s no elves left for the other team!” Zither announced. "Everyone, please, go to your rooms and rest, for tommorrow will be a long day!"
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Raistlin Archmagus

Joined: 22 Jun 2004
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Location: Tower of High Sorcery in Palanthas, Krynn

 PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2005 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Thank the Gods, it was finally over. No more sitting and watching. She probably didn't have to remain - the rest of her team had already disapeared to their rooms, cleaning armor, themselves, and resting. Arydia envied them.
She couldn't leave, though. She'd know nothing about any of these contestants, then. Then if she ever faced them, there would be no strategy to work off of. Then, this competition would be pointless. She wouldn't be risking lives if she weren't sure they at least stood a chance.
Ary couldn't ask them to do anyhting she wouldn't be willing to do herself. Otherwise, she'd be worthless as a leader, and Argoth would take over.
Sighing to herself, the dark young woman stood and stretched, litening to her joints pop. Tucking a stray piece of hair back into the pony tail at the top of her head, Arydia looked around.
Helia, his tower was so...intruiging.
Finding herself staring at Jinex's tower, Arydia reached down to finger the mace at her hip, walking forward slowly, thoughtfully examining the walls of Jinex's home. What was in there? What did Jinex do? And, most importantly...where did his power come from?
Sighing to herself, the Solari turned and skanned the grounds, eyes moving over each competetor. Everyone of them seemed to be involved in their own world, their own problem. She couldn't blame them: half of these people would be dead before the competition was over.
Maybe even she'd be dead...
The depressing thoughts left her head, though, as she spotted the one competetor that still confused and intruiged her. Striding forward, the young woman came up even with Zilmarrial as he headed for the rooms set aside for the fighters. "Evening," she said, glancing up at him. He was...interesting. And Arydia was determined to fight him, at some point. He was an amazing swordsman - aptly named Legendary. "So," she said, glancing over at him. "What do you make of day one?"
Raistlin Majere, Archmagus of the Hourglass Eyes

I will do this. Nothing in my life matters except this. No moment in my life exists except this moment. I am born in this moment, and if I fail, I will die in this moment. - Raistlin Majere
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 PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2005 12:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

"Interesting mix of opponents," he answered, echoing her thoughts. "Some pretty good teams out there. Let me see ... you're from Tigereye, aren't you? We talked earlier. So, then, what did you think? Looking forward to your next match?"
"That would be easier to answer," she replied, trying to keep her tone light to match his, "if I knew who we are going to face."
"Can't argue with that," laughed the Warrior. "Well, I'm looking forward to it, whoever I'm put up against. Like I said, I enjoy a good fight. The Dual Knights of the Sun would be something of a challenge. Or maybe your own team, Solarus." He grinned at her. "How'd you like to fight me?"

"Quite the spectacular show," remarked Zither. She and Jinex were alone in the stands, their patrons all having left for their luxurious accomodations.
"Quite," said Jinex drily. "Zither, I am going Below. Do you have any particular plans?"
"One," she answered, wrinkling her nose. "I am not going Below."
"Indeed." Jinex smiled. "Offends your feline sensibilities, does it? I can hardly blame you. Instead, why don't you go check on our guests? I'm sure the champions could use some of your sparkling wit and mesmerizing beauty."
Zither rolled her eyes. "Fine. Maybe I'll find out how that Monk learned to handle a crossbow."
"It would be worth the effort."
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 PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2005 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Logan grinned to himself as the day's fights finished. Although he had seen some spectacular fights, he still felt confident his ability would carry him through to victory. He eyed the only two contestants he thought would give him a hard time, the swordsman and the minotaur.

Can't afford anymore careless mistakes Logan thought to himself and looked down at his currently healing wound. He had made an amateur's error and it had cost him. One slip like that against the remaining teams would certainly spell disaster.

Logan's gaze carried from the contestants to the tower in which Jinex had retired. A smug smirk passed over his lips as Logan thought of his wish.

"Soon, Lord Jinex. Soon." Logan spoke to himself, then made for the contestant's quarters. He would need rest for the battles tomorrow and his leg needed to finish healing.
Knowledge is Power
Power Corrupts
Go to School, be Evil
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Raistlin Archmagus

Joined: 22 Jun 2004
Posts: 93
Location: Tower of High Sorcery in Palanthas, Krynn

 PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2005 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Smiling wryly, the Solarii leaned away from him, eyes flicking up and down the old soldirer's form. Arching one eyebrow, shr shrugged, facing forward again. "It should be...interesting," she said. "Maybe even enjoyable." She returned his smile easily - though it didn't quite reach her eyes.
How would it be to fight him? Ha! Terryfiying, in a word. Horribly, incredibly terrifying. But that was a weakness, and that wasn't allowed. She had seen his battle with the goblin hordes. She had seen the green blood on his armor and swords. And if, oh, a hundred and seventy or so goblins could fall so easily to him...How would she fare?
Well. To be completely fair, goblins were not the strongest creatures in Ardania. They actually tended to be pretty weak. And when there were so many of them, it was easy to gut several in one strike. But Arydia didn't like risking her team against people like him. Well...okay, she wouldn't mind if Argoth or Trelan recieved a fatal wound or two. But Alleran and Hyjara were the sweetest people she had ever met, and if the Healer came to harm because of her...
Ary had always had a problem with guilt.
"Too bad you're not the type to go quietly," she said, smiling crookedly. It surprised her, how much Argoth's cockiness had rubbed off on her. "You're actually going to make us work if we end up in the ring together, aren't you?"
It was a good thing she could act.
Raistlin Majere, Archmagus of the Hourglass Eyes

I will do this. Nothing in my life matters except this. No moment in my life exists except this moment. I am born in this moment, and if I fail, I will die in this moment. - Raistlin Majere
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 PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2005 11:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Zilmarrial chuckled. "You could put it that way. Well, here's the main hall of the barracks. Hungry, Solarus? I haven't had anything to eat since this morning."
The main hall resembled a combination of an Inn's common room and a Palace's great hall. Most of the hall was taken up with trestle tables and long benches, but finer settings were ensconced in recesses along the walls. At one end great double doors led to the recreation hall (mainly a sparring centre for those not sated by the day's matches) and the sleeping quarters. At the other was a kitchen, seperated from the rest of the hall by a long buffet around which hovered the hungrier survivors of the first round.
"Great Helia!" muttered Ary. "What's with all this space? Jinex has enough laid out to feed an army, but there can't be more than a hundred or so fighters."
"That may be true for this year," said a cheerful voice, "but that's not always the case. I can remember times when there were thousands of participants, all eager for blood. There was no living in the barracks, then."
Zilmarrial and Arydia turned to meet a bizarre creature. He wore nothing except a kilt and a long cloak carefully arranged so that it covered his left side. He limped on his right leg, which was supported by a steel brace. His face was a complicated weave of scars and stitches, one of which ran through his right eye, which was bright yellow in contrast to the blue of the other. His hair was long and black, as were the two feline ears that poked through it. He was smiling, and chuckled as he continued in his light tone.
"What, don't remember me? We fought a duel once, Zil."
"A duel?" Zilmarrial frowned a moment before raising an eyebrow in surprise. "Ah yes, I remember! Zamar the Mercenary! You had less scars then, and less exotic ears."
"I also had one less eye when you were finished," laughed Zamar. "It was worth the price for being able to meet the Legendary Swordsman. After that duel, I trained twice as hard in order to surpass you. Finally decided to try my luck here. Nine years ago I made it to the finals. Vorna stopped me from getting further. He wasn't as tricked out back then, but still he was one mean fighter. He fractured my right leg, nearly cut me in two with his axe, and finally cut off my ears for a trophy. I believe he stills wears them occasionally."
"That explains a lot," said Arydia. She shuddered inside at the thought of that battle, but managed to maintain her facade. "How'd you survive -- and end up like this?"
"Jinex." Zamar shrugged. "I was a bloody heap in the ring, about to expire, when His Lordship came to me. He looked me over, then side, 'Zither! I hear this man is a good cook. Heal him and set him to work in the kitchens.'"
"A cook?" exclaimed Zilmarrial and Ary together. Zamar laughed and nodded.
"It seems that, divine powers or not, neither Jinex nor his ethereal staff can whip up a true top-quality meal. And, yes, I am a master chef. So Zither called up when of her brothers to return me to working condition. His methods weren't exactly pleasant, and this is the result. I may look a bit strange, but I can still cook."
"It must be pretty boring," observed Zilmarrial, "sitting around for three years. Where do you live? Does Jinex let you leave between Games?"
"I don't think so. Actually, I must admit I don't know what I do for the three-year stretches. Jinex casts some kind of memory-loss spell on me. All I know is that when the Games are over, I go to someplace called simply 'Below'. All I can remember are dreams and darkness, then it's time for the Games again and I move to the barracks."
"Sounds like an odd life," said Zilmarrial, grimacing. "I hope Jinex doesn't do that to me if I lose."
Zamar laughed. "It's not so bad, actually. Anyway, you have nothing to fear. Jinex is fully staffed. Just don't go prying into his tower, or you'll think yourself lucky to end up like this."
"No fear! Jinex can keep his secrets. I'm just interested in lunch. So then, let's see if you're as good a cook as you boast." Zilmarrial turned to Ary. "Want to join us? If you'd rather not eat now, I see a newer acquaintance of mine over at that table. His name is Alexon. I'll be joining him, once I've collected my feed."
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 PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2005 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Zither slipped into the main hall shortly after Zilmarrial and Arydia. She glanced around, but could not see Team Stellar immediately. Possibly they had gone to their rooms, but she thought that unlikely. Shrugging, she moved off to mingle with the other contestants, who greeted her with with such various feelings as affection, disgust and indifference. Most of the last came from those who were new to the Games; veterans on both sides of the ring (that is, the barracks and the spectators' lodgings) had long since developed their attitudes towards the perennial announcer.
After chatting with a wizened Cultist who had been involved in some ten Games and was currently part of Team Lunacia, Zither's eye caught sight of black feathers brushing against a purple-clad shoulder.
"Excuse me," she said sweetly to the Cultist, who had babbling on about the niceties of camouflage spells, "but think i saw another old friend. Remember my offer, will you?"
"Thinking about it."
She nodded and wound her way through the crowd after the Monk. Finally she faced an open area of the hall, empty save for the occupants of a table in the corner. Team Stellar apparently did not care much for socializng with the other fighters. Zither licked her lips and moved towards the table.
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Will the Spellcaster

Joined: 29 Apr 2002
Posts: 499
Location: Somewhere that I teleported too...

 PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2005 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Will looked up to see Zither walking swiftly towards their table. There was no mistake about where she was headed; theirs was the only table with people in this part of the room.
“Looks like trouble,” whispered Robinton. “Should I go get Briar?” The ranger of the team was outside, feeding his companion Vargs.
“Yes, and tell him we may need his animal friends,” replied Will. He agreed with Robinton at the time. As the monk slipped away, Zither managed to get through the crowd to the table. She looked around and noticed the monk wasn’t present.
“Where did your monk friend get off to?” she loudly asked Will.
“He went to feed his pet. The sight of the roc eating disturbs many people, even battle-hardened warriors. He thought it best to go outside,” replied K`vin as he stepped forward to stand behind his leader. “Why? Do you require his presence?” K`vin had heard the conversation and quickly and quietly told the rest of the team.
“Yes, I do,” said Zither. “I’ll go get him.”
“I don’t reccomend it,” said Lessa as she stood beside K`vin. “The roc is very.... territorial whilst it’s eating. That was another reason for his decision.”
Zither’s eyes flared while she spoke. “Then I’ll just have to be careful, then, won’t I?”
“Yes, you will. And if you’re as smart as you seem, you’ll leave right now and ask no more regarding our monk,” steadily said Will as he drew himself to his feet. “People have found it inconveniencing to pry into his matters.”
Zither’s eyes widened as she realized all the present members of the team were now standing behind their leader, with weapons drawn. “Is this a threat?” she demanded.
“You can decide that for yourself. It’s a truth, in any case. Now go, before something happens that’s out of your control,” said Will.
“I will. But you haven’t seen the end of this!” said Zither as she walked away.
The hall had grown silent as this had been happening, and now all the occupants were staring at the team that had so rudely treated Jinex’s right-hand-associate. Then the door slammed as Zither went rushing out, and Robinton and Briar came in.
“Well, you seem to have made an enemy while I was gone,” said Robinton as he and Briar came to the table. “I hope this doesn’t give us a disadvantage. We’ll have enough problems with some of the teams as it is.”
“Perhaps it will. But even then, we shall fight hard, and fight well,” said Will. “Now, who wants second helpings?”
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