ENTER THE GAUNTLET (IC)

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Re: ENTER THE GAUNTLET (IC)

Post by Valnarian on Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:18 pm

Asimov looked around at the others assembled in the arena area, and made a throat clearing sound. "Err, nice to meet you," he said. "You may call me Asimov. May the best one win, I suppose."

Meanwhile, back in the stands...

“Speak in rhyme? What’s meant by that?
What sort of threat comes from this cat?"


Nodd clapped a hand to his mouth, his eyes wide with astonishment. Erukai looked at him incredulously for a moment, and then burst out laughing as he turned to address Zooz again.

“Oh, my dear deluded CENSORED,
Is that the best that you can do?
My training put me through worse things than that!
More painful things have I been through.
My resolve remains now just the same.
I will not play your sickly game.”


He promptly took seat, and made no more speech. Nodd, meanwhile, sat in silence. What was the point in speaking? Apparently, whatever he said came out as some stupid verse. What was there to say? Then it came to him.

Silently, he began to sing. It was song he had learned on Valnar, and it was a rhyming one, so it came out without distortion. He sang it mainly to give himself some comfort, for it was a song meant to inspire hope; still, perhaps others would take some hope from it too. He sang of is home, Valnar, and of the Tree of Life, and the Vara, his teachers, and many things besides.

Asimov's sensitive hearing picked up the singing, and he couldn't help but pause to listen. Erukai shifted himself in his seat, listening, his face distant and pained, and then for a while, shut his eyes. Then, suddenly, he stood and spoke.

“Alright, Kitty-cat, I’ll play your game,
Though I still don’t fear your power.
If it helps someone else get through, then fine.
For them, I’ll face this hour.
Send Asimov back! I'll take his place.
I'll be the first. This challenge I'll face."


You're a weakling, Erukai, he thought to himself. A creature sings, and you cave. Now you've lost face, and no one will take you seriously. Why am I like this?
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Re: ENTER THE GAUNTLET (IC)

Post by Sairei on Mon Mar 12, 2018 8:06 pm

Zooz reappeared above the stage, her violet eyes looking over at Nodd and Erukai. She giggled, delighted by their rhymes. “I do like a man with spunk,” she teased, “but I’m afraid the decision’s final. Don’t worry—you’ll be able to watch the carnage from here!” She made a dismissive gesture at the stage, and everyone standing upon it disappeared. In the center of the stage, a holographic projector burst into color, projecting the live-feed image of some wooded, green area…



The various contestants appeared on what looked to be a forest path in the middle of dense woodland. It appeared to be midday, though the sun wasn’t visible due to the thick canopy of leaves overhead. Some fifty feet down the trail, for it was a straight stretch of road, there was a large oaken door fit for a giant. Above it, floating in mid-air with no visible attachments, was a bright red EXIT sign. It blinked slowly with red light. At the immediate left of the EXIT door there stood a wooden signpost. On it, etched in magical script that changed according to the viewer’s native language, was the following text:

“OFFEND ME TO GAIN ENTRY.”

Gathered around the EXIT door were a variety of woodland creatures. There were deer grazing on the grass at the edge of the path. Rabbits were busy at work digging holes. Chipmunks and squirrels flicked across the path and ran from tree to tree, gathering what nuts and berries they could find. Birds of all types sang in the trees overhead. There were even two bears sitting at a picnic table off to the left. Upon closer inspection, one might’ve noticed that all the animals, regardless of what they happened to be doing, wore adorable miniaturized clothes. Some even carried tiny swords or bows.

“Have at it!” came Zooz’s voice, echoing as if from a loudspeaker. She herself did not appear to be physically present, but rest assured, she was watching.
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Re: ENTER THE GAUNTLET (IC)

Post by Prussian on Mon Mar 12, 2018 11:02 pm

“I work best alone,” she had once told Recet.
“If you say so,” he had bemused. “Just remember that in a team setting, the team itself comes first.”

What a self-righteous prick. Survival of self trumps all else.

* * *

Touo hadn't been expecting this.

But then again, what had she been expecting?

“Offend me to gain entry,” Touo read aloud, apparently having been the first to gather her bearings after the… tough transition.

She frowned at this as she considered the words. “This is only the first puzzle,” she mused, brewing a plan of her own. “It can't be too hard.” Not that she’d trust Zooz to play fair.

“Maybe we slaughter the creatures… and the sight would… offend the nature of the scene,” Touo offered, though to no one in particular.

“I am a little hungry,” she continued, much more quietly, as she subtly licked her lips at the mere thought of a meal. It was suddenly very clear that her species’ biology was that of a predator’s. “Maybe they have a prize inside one of their bodies.”

She now glanced at her fellow teammates—they wouldn't approve at all, wouldn't they? The two pink, short-faced things looked softer than many of these woodland creatures, and would likely object. The two large furry creatures—one seeming to hold an annoying sense of honor similar to Recet’s—didn't quite look like the type to take any pleasure in the sport. The robot, Asimov, Touo wrote off as a solid ‘maybe.’

Touo rolled her shoulders in a careless shrug and grinned almost tauntingly. “I wouldn't put it past Zooz to do such a thing, is all I'm saying here.”


Last edited by Prussian on Tue Mar 13, 2018 9:06 pm; edited 3 times in total

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Re: ENTER THE GAUNTLET (IC)

Post by Volt on Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:38 am

Orwin was amused by the rhyme scheme, but his mind practically flipped a switch as they sat among the dense forest that was the first challenge.

The sign that sat next to the door told him to offend it, seemed silly. How could one offend a door? He shook his head, glancing at some creature licking its lips at the sight of some of the smaller woodland animals. Orwin didn't just eat needlessly, but if it was some sort of challenge, he may as well try to get the nasty taste of Grakk out of his mouth.

He took a swift swipe at a passing squirrel, and nonchalantly chewed its head clean off. Bits of sinew hung from his maw, but he looked to the door for a response.
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Re: ENTER THE GAUNTLET (IC)

Post by Sairei on Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:31 pm

The death of one of their kin at the hands of Orwin upset the other squirrels. All at once they froze in place, tails twitching. A few reached for their tiny swords and miniaturized bows. The women and children among them started running for the trees, shrieking. All at once, about twenty armed squirrels charged at Orwin with their weapons drawn. In the back, four or five archers started shooting tiny arrows at him.

The two bears looked up from their picnic table. “So uncivilized,” one said to the other. The other nodded in solemn agreement. Then they went back to sipping their tea, their cups held daintily between their claws.

The rest of the woodland creatures seemed started and backed away from the door, obvious not wanting to tangle with the big creature to have just eaten one of the squirrels.

The door itself remained silent and closed, unaffected.
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Re: ENTER THE GAUNTLET (IC)

Post by Prussian on Tue Mar 13, 2018 4:02 pm

Touo turned in surprise as the bearlike alien simply captured one of the small creatures and bit its head off. The ensuing panic of every woodland creature was spectacular in its own right.

"I misjudged you," Touo complimented. "A shame nothing came of it." She decided not to ask if he would finish eating his catch.

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Re: ENTER THE GAUNTLET (IC)

Post by Canis_Dirus on Tue Mar 13, 2018 5:09 pm

Tank looked around at his new surroundings, immediatally liking them better than the lobby. He was definitely a bit of an outdoorsman, and he found the woods to be much better than being inside usually, unless of course one was inside a garage with a project to do.
The small woodland creatures, foreign to him, as he had never seen a squirrel or bear before, having never been to Earth, let alone being there at the time that such creatures would've existed, were all the more curious in their tiny primitive clothing, reminding him of some of the very old fairy tales one might've heard in the Ecumene.

He read the door's inscription, and pondered on what it meant 'Offend me to gain entry', what in space is that supposed to mean? he thought with a frown.

That was about when the large furred alien decided to make a snack of one of the small woodland creatures, drawing their ire towards them, while apparently failing to work on the door. "Well apparently that isn't it" he remarked with a short laugh, that almost sounded more like a 'hmph'. "Perhaps we have to be a bit more direct" and he advanced forward down the path away from the others towards the door, reaching it within a few seconds. After arriving, he aimed a well executing kick from his waist level at the door, aiming to kick it open with more than enough force to move it, at least if it wasn't magically sealed.

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Re: ENTER THE GAUNTLET (IC)

Post by Sairei on Tue Mar 13, 2018 5:33 pm

The door flew open as Tank kicked it, its hinges buckling aside to reveal—nothing. On the other side was more forest and road. Then it promptly fell over, the exit sign disappeared, and the signpost sank into the ground.

Several feet further down the path an identical door sprouted from the earth. This time however, its frame was reinforced with a metal that glimmered violet in the sunlight, likely with some form of protective magic. The exit sign reappeared overhead, and the signpost similarly sprouted up from the ground. This time however, the signpost read,

“THAT WASN’T VERY NICE, MORON.”

That’s your solution?” called one of the bears at the picnic table. “What a joke!”

“Shh,” said his companion hurriedly. “Dude, that’s one big beaver.”
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Re: ENTER THE GAUNTLET (IC)

Post by Valarina Tesla on Tue Mar 13, 2018 6:18 pm

Camryn watched as one of the volunteers who very much resembled a bear grabbed and ate part of a passing squirrel. No change happened to the door or the sign, although the other squirrels did seem to be offended. Not too long after, the large (apparently beaver) tried kicking down the door. Both the sign and door disappeared only to reappear somewhat stronger and a bit farther away. The sign did seem to be offended but the door was still closed. It seemed that either the door or the sign had sentience and wanted to be offended in a certain way. Camryn calmly walked up to the new door and wrote on it, in frost, the most vulgar joke she could think of, it was at least worth a try.
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Re: ENTER THE GAUNTLET (IC)

Post by Valnarian on Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:49 pm

Asimov watched all this with some bit of disturbance, especially at the one creature eating the squirrel. Still, he kept careful note of all the that took place, the squirrels, the bears at the picnic table, and the reaction of the door and the sign. Deciding to take his own route, he made his way over to the two tea-sipping bears while Camryn was engaged in her own stratagem.

"Pardon me, Sirs," he said in his polite tone, "but has anyone informed either of you how profoundly hideous you both are?" He kept his body tense and ready, prepared in a second to spring away should the bears' reaction be violent.

Meanwhile...

Nodd watched with horror at the sight of the squirrel creature dying, and not just that it was dying but apparently getting eaten. Were these not sapient beings they saw.

"What has he done?" cried Nodd, meaning Orwin.
"Killing as if it's fun?"

Erukai gave no answer, but watched with detached expression on his face. Nodd looked at him.

"Something just died, but you sit there
Like someone who doesn't care?"


Erukai sighed.

"You're very young, I do discern.
I fear you have a lot to learn."
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Re: ENTER THE GAUNTLET (IC)

Post by Volt on Wed Mar 14, 2018 1:08 am

Orwin chewed and decided to inhale the rest of the woodland pet. It tasted a bit flat, but he had worse meals. He noticed the camouflaged pants rat make a joke at Orwin's expense, but that thing's own methods didn't seem to be working either. "Was worth a shot. Had a bad lunch." Orwin said simply. He appreciated the more reptilian creature's reaction to his midday snack. 

He noticed the small furry horde making it's siege upon his left leg. Orwin was happily surprised at the military tactic they showed, adding a few roars to make it seem more genuine. He swatted at a few to hopefully scare them off, but his attention was shifted away from the toothpick arrows and more towards the spectators of the party's efforts. Particularly the species that seemed similar to his own. 

The other...weaklings similar to his kind were annoying him. He had about enough of the snooty creatures and their nigh elitist attitude. Orwin began a fast paced stride towards the bears' table, leaping over the android and crashing the table. He set his eyes on the one taunting the party, opening his mechanical jaw and letting it fasten on the bear's neck.
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Re: ENTER THE GAUNTLET (IC)

Post by Canis_Dirus on Wed Mar 14, 2018 1:58 am

Tank watched the door fall over and be absorbed into the ground, before a new one popped up further down the path. The large creature's comments didn't amuse him, but he ignored it for now, as he tried to figure out what might work.

Hearing a commotion behind him, he turned to look at the large creature, similar apparently to the ones at the picnic table, now apparently trying to chew one of the other's heads off. Well that's one way to deal with annoying comments he thought, preferring to punch or kick things rather than bite them. However he couldn't disagree too hard with the creature's methods.

He turned his attention back to the door down the path, which seemed to move on past it and continue into the woods. Sitting on this information for a moment, he decided to walk down the path, not up to the door, but rather around it, and down the path, deciding to ignore it and see what happened, and perhaps see what was further ahead.

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Re: ENTER THE GAUNTLET (IC)

Post by Sairei on Wed Mar 14, 2018 11:34 am

At Camryn’s writing, the door seemed to shiver somewhat, as if it were laughing. It recovered quickly and became still again, however, the text on the signpost changed once more and now read, “Ohoho, that’s a good one.” But the door did not open.


The two bears at the picnic table frowned at Asimov’s comments. “Alright, metal-man,” said one. “Speak for yourself.” He reached out to offer the robot a calming teacup, but instead the robot went flying and the big creature sank its teeth into the bear’s neck. At once, the bear was screaming.

“Hey!” screamed the other bear. “What are you doing!” As his companion’s screams grew more desperate and agonized, he swung at Orwin’s head with his bear claws. “Dude! Stop hurting Winston!” His hysterics soon joined his companion’s as he went about trying to pry Orwin’s jaw open.

As a result, the remaining woodland creatures, including the squirrels who’d avoided injury on Orwin’s warpath, started fleeing into the surrounding wood. It wasn’t long before the only two left were the bears at the table.


As Tank walked down the path, the trees on either side seemed to grow closer to the edge. It got darker. An oppressive, haunting feeling permeated the air. There was a distinct sense of intrusion, as if no one should be there. Ever. And yet, the path came to an end just around a slight bend. Then there were only thick trees, grown too close together to walk between. Thorns and brambles blocked any remaining space between them. Here, it was absolutely silent.

A raven flitted down from the trees and sat on a low-hanging branch near Tank. It eyed him with beady, black eyes, and rustled its feathers. “You shouldn’t be here,” it croaked. “There’s nothing here. Nothing at all.” If birds could smirk, this one certainly would have.
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Re: ENTER THE GAUNTLET (IC)

Post by Prussian on Wed Mar 14, 2018 4:39 pm

Touo couldn’t lie: she was very much enjoying the surrounding carnage. As the furry thing gnawed at the neck of the other furry thing, much to the third furry thing’s panic - she should really learn these things’ names - she snatched one of the tiny archers in her jaws and, after ensuring that it was properly dead, swallowed it whole. She winced as its tiny arrows scratched her throat somewhat.

As she recovered from her meal and once again surveyed the area, an… offness seemed to beset the scene. None of these people were working together. Not that she could blame them; teamwork was horribly boring. And yet, if Recet were in her shoes, he may just suffer a stroke.

“This is about par for the course for this television program,” Touo muttered to herself, aware that Recet was likely watching. “You probably shouldn’t let it get to you. I thought you Xikarian policemen were all about independence.”

A beat of pause, as she turned away from where the trail leaded and began to stroll in the opposite direction, towards the thick, dark woods where many of the creatures had fled.

“That said, I think I’ll find a suitable place to start a forest fire.” If there were no more trees, any material solution to the puzzle would then be in plain sight. Or burnt to cinders, whereupon Zooz would hopefully do something else interesting.

The tree cover was thick, and there was no movement in the shadows to be seen. Touo had to snake her way between trees and crevices in order to find a suitable location, both dry enough to support a large fire and far enough away from the clearing as to not immediately kill everyone. Upon discovering the first dry, dead tree, she took quick aim with her plasmatic pistol and fired at its base. The scalding plasma had no issue catching fire to the deadwood.

Touo hummed and nodded to herself before turning and taking care to return the way she came, as the fire would surely grow behind her. How long could it take to burn down a forest, anyways? And surely, no one else had dwelled into the forest while she was gone.

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Re: ENTER THE GAUNTLET (IC)

Post by Canis_Dirus on Wed Mar 14, 2018 7:03 pm

Tank surveyed the end of the path in front of him, feeling the sense unease that seemed to permeate the area. If this wasn't some sort of puzzle challenge, I'd go ahead and blaze a new path he thought. With this in mind, he decided to turn around and go back down the path the way he had come.

As he was walking, he got an idea, which seemed rather stupid to him, but then again it was worth a shot. Reaching the door, he took hold of the handle and tried to simply open it normally.

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Re: ENTER THE GAUNTLET (IC)

Post by Volt on Wed Mar 14, 2018 10:48 pm

Orwin contemplated his choices as his jaw lay clamped upon this "Winston's" neck. Clearly this door wasn't one to be offended by violence, so it seemed to not be the solution to this gauntlet challenge. He let his jaw unclasp and he let the bear fall to the floor, "Looks like I've scared you enough" he said quietly. Orwin refocused on the door ahead, the sense of unknown sinking in as the animals fled and the forest seemed to zero in on the door itself. 

He watched the rat choose to attempt to open the door, deciding to add on, "If you fail to allow us exit out of here, you've failed your purpose. A failed door. It'd be sang throughout the ages as a song to humiliate furniture." Orwin barked.
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Re: ENTER THE GAUNTLET (IC)

Post by Sylvanria on Wed Mar 14, 2018 11:13 pm

Serin watched the ensuing chaos with some amusement. She had almost expected them to be swarmed by small woodland creatures the moment the fighting started, but it seemed they knew when they had met their match. Still, the violence didn't seem to be doing anything other than frightening the animals, which she didn't think was their goal.

She joined the part of the group gathering around the door and inspected the sign, which seemed to be... teasing them? She raised an eyebrow at it, and said, "so, is your job to give us hints, or just to be annoying?"
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Re: ENTER THE GAUNTLET (IC)

Post by Valnarian on Thu Mar 15, 2018 10:43 am

Asimov joined the others at the door. Everyone seemed to be asking it questions, questions which seemed to be meant to provoke it. The beaver creature, in contrast, was simply trying to open it. The dinosaur creature seemed to have wandered off. Asimov frowned. Was that the sound of a gun going off in the direction she had gone?

Asimov racked his brain for something, anything that could help. All efforts so far had failed. Then a memory popped into his head. Hadn't the one bear made some comment when the giant beaver had kicked the door the first time?

"That's your solution? What a joke!"

Asimov went over this thoughtfully; it seemed to him to suggest that the bear knew something. Detaching himself from the group, Asimov made his way back to two bears.

"Er, pardon me," he said cautiously; they might very well be violently angry, considering recent actions of both himself and especially that beaver thing. "It seems to me that you might be able to help us. Do you happen to know anything about this door, or how we might offend it as it demands? All our efforts so far have been unsuccessful."
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Re: ENTER THE GAUNTLET (IC)

Post by Sairei on Thu Mar 15, 2018 10:05 pm

Touo’s fire spread rapidly. More rapidly than any natural fire should have, anyway. However, it was quickly becoming anything but a natural fire. As the flames burned away trees and licked at the sky, something unusual happened. It seemed to burn away not just wood and grass, but the dirt itself. And the image of the sky was charred away. In fact, in the fire’s wake, the only thing it left behind was… emptiness. A starless, dark void. And the void was spreading at the coattails of the flames. It crept closer to the path, the smell of smoke and the image of gradually dissipating sky being the first warning signs to the unsuspecting contestants still unaware of Touo’s actions.


The door did not budge at Tank’s touch. It was firmly locked, and showed no weaknesses. The handle didn’t jiggle. There wasn’t even a keyhole—it was simply locked tight, probably by magical means.

At Serin’s question, the text on the signpost changed yet again. “Both, really,” it read. “Here, I’ll give you the prompt again: 'Offend me to gain entry.' It’s really quite simple.”


Winston the bear fell to the ground, bleeding and crying in agony. His companion was immediately at his side, worrying and fretting like no tomorrow. “I told you not to anger the contestants,” he whined. “You… big dumb dummy.” He wrapped his bear arms around his friend and tried to comfort him. “It’s okay, Winston,” he said. “It’ll be over soon.” It wasn’t until Asimov approached that the uninjured bear let go of his friend. He eyed the robot skeptically, clearly remembering how this was the same being that had insulted them just a few minutes ago. “Well… uh,” the bear said. He took a moment to pick words carefully, as if he were afraid of saying the wrong thing. “The door isn’t… picky about its insults,” he said. “It also has a limited vocabulary.  Oh, and it can’t read.”
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Re: ENTER THE GAUNTLET (IC)

Post by Valarina Tesla on Thu Mar 15, 2018 10:30 pm

Camryn looked up as she smelled the smoke and cursed under her breath in her native tongue. She turned back to the door and then to the sign, trying to think of another way to offend it.
“Stupid useless magic, if it cannot stop itself from burning down then it will be all the better”
She walked over to the sign and hissed at it
“You are a stupid, idiotic sign”
This was followed by another string of curses, and she ended up attempting to freeze the sign.
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Re: ENTER THE GAUNTLET (IC)

Post by Volt on Thu Mar 15, 2018 10:32 pm

Orwin was...perplexed by the sudden influx of flames, and the general degradation of the forest around them. Part of the challenge perhaps? Orwin overheard the weaklings muse about the door a bit, making it seem like the answer was far more obvious than the party was considering.

He took another look at the door, "You're" he paused, "ugly" Orwin said with a plain tone.
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Re: ENTER THE GAUNTLET (IC)

Post by Prussian on Thu Mar 15, 2018 10:56 pm

Shortly after the smoke of her fire began to billow into the sky, Touo emerged from the undergrowth. Though the Nohkkra seemed to regard the malfunctioning sky with some degree of worry, she didn’t respond to its activity at all, and in fact gave no indication that she even knew about the fire.

She hadn’t before accounted for the idea that she may be among the fire’s casualties. But given her track record, she shouldn’t be surprised. Nothing to do now but solve the puzzle. Preferably quickly.

“Are you two sure that’ll work?” Touo asked the winged pink thing and the furry thing. The latter of the two clearly had no experience in smack talk. “It’s a stupid, useless teleporting door that leads to nowhere.” Her eyes narrowed at nothing, though she imagined Zooz to be standing at the particular spot she stared at.

She grumbled and turned towards the ominously growing tower of smoke, “This is only funny when it happens to other people.”

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Re: ENTER THE GAUNTLET (IC)

Post by Sairei on Thu Mar 15, 2018 11:52 pm

The door vibrated subtly in response to everyone’s words. The sign’s words changed again. “Oh no. Now you’ve done it!” Quite suddenly the door flew open, sending out gust of wind strong enough to knock all those standing close to it to their feet. Two enormous clawed hands emerged from within the door’s inky depths. One hand grabbed Camryn. The other snatched Touo. The hands jerked both of them forcibly through the opening and then slammed shut, leaving everyone else behind.


Touo and Camryn were suddenly back on the stage in the lobby, standing below the holographic projection of the current puzzle. There was a bird’s-eye view of the door and the surrounding path, but everything around it was rapidly burning away into a black void. The remaining contestants had precious little time to figure out what exactly made the door open.

Zooz descended from the ceiling on a silver wire. She tapped Camryn’s nose. “You,” she said happily, “have been awarded with a POWER UP!” She handed Camryn a glowing orb of yellow light, known to all who read the OOC as the TAG-TEAM ability.
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Re: ENTER THE GAUNTLET (IC)

Post by Volt on Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:07 am

Orwin considered the words of the others carefully, before it hit him.

stupid?

The void was probably going to collapse upon itself, leaving the rest of them to "die" before being shot off back into that ampitheater. Wasting no time, he scrambled over his words, "stupidstupidstupid, you're stupid, very stupid."
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Re: ENTER THE GAUNTLET (IC)

Post by Canis_Dirus on Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:09 am

Tank was taken aback by the wind, but didn't fall to the ground, stumbling back instead. He quickly regained his footing, and looked at the flames advancing on them, thinking back on what the beings had said which had made them get pulled through.

The being with the wings insulted the sign and the magic, and the other insulted the door... he considered his options, getting somewhat annoyed in the process at the situation, disliking this Guantlet.

"This bueraa door and tiilalley sign" he said, cursing in Nuclean, along with a string of other beautiful and obscene remarks, which if translated to others weren't sexually themed like more familiar swearing, but definitely offensive.

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Re: ENTER THE GAUNTLET (IC)

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