Tournament of Champions 5!!!!! (The Game Has Begun!)

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  • edited February 16
    Accidentally hit send, working on a story segment, I'll send it in another comment when it's done.
  • I have a small story segment in the works.

    Also if anyone wants to use Claire in their story segments, let me know!
  • (From the previous lore post.)

    Indeed, Kumo was a dog, and he sat at the registration booth expectantly, looking up at the pair behind it, a scroll nested gently in his mouth. Rather confusedly, one of the royal staff manning the booth came out from behind it and took it from the dog. Unfurling it, the man was surprised to see not only a neatly-written letter. Now, of course, Kumo could not write himself given the limitations of his canine body, but he head learned to read, and his fellow knights had been more than happy to help him with composing an explanation for his presence.

    "Hello, my name is Kumo," the servant read aloud, the letter written as if the dog was the one speaking. "I may not look like the traditional sort of contestant that would be expected for an event such as this, but my intentions are to enter are all the same. Years ago, I was saved by kindness encouraged and inspired by Friyena, and ever since I have been serving dutifully with her knights, working against the horrors of the Abyss. When word of this unprecedented revival of the famed Tournament of Champions arrived to my order, I knew I had to join in service to the goddess who has so profoundly influenced my life. I think you will find me a worthy, capable, and dedicated contender who wants to dedicate his time in the tournament to ensuring it is successful in bringing Friyena back to us."

    To add to the surprise, behind this letter was a form of registration, one of the ones that was sent forward specifically to the ranks of knights across the world, as they were inherently guaranteed consideration for selection as thanks for their serviced to the goddess. Kumo's order had similarly assisted him with filing out the form, but the signature at the bottom was an ink-dipped paw print from the dog himself. The servant brought the paper back behind the desk and showed it to his partner. They then began flipping through books and documents behind the counter. Kumo waited silently during this, having expected a reaction like this.

    "Did he come here on his own?" the first commented after a while.

    "It seems like it," she second replied, adding, "There's nothing that says entrants can't be pets or animals."

    "Well, there's also nothing saying I can't enter the sandwich I was going to have for lunch," the first rebutted with a slight chuckle before shaking his head. "Let's send this case off to the royal family for consideration. I'm not sure I want to be the one to take the brunt of the animal abuse allegations that would arise if this dog got in and was slaughtered in the first round."

    Of course, Kumo was confident he wouldn't get slaughtered. Well, mostly confident. Well, sort of... Admittedly, he didn't know the types of people that would enter this tournament and what their motivations were. However, he had fought many horrors from the Abyss. What could be much worse than that, especially in an environment of honor and showmanship such as this.

    Kumo bowed in thanks to the pair, lowering his front down before heading off to the inn that had agreed to house him until the entrants were announced. Admittedly, he wasn't confident he would be let in, but he had done everything he could for now.

    9 Days later...

    The word had quickly spread around town. The champions had been chosen. Kumo hadn't heard anything since his registration, but he still made his way to the board posted in the Grand City Plaza rapt with anticipation. There were dozens who had put their bid in for selection swarmed around the notice, most leaving disappointedly, though Kumo tried not to stay deterred. He hoped that the king and queen of all people could see that he had not only compelling personal reason to be here, but would be a credit to the tournament and its true goals.

    Kumo had to somewhat fight through the crowd consisting of mostly humanoids, most of which were larger than him. They seemed to pay him little mind despite acting (mostly) civil to one another. Kumo was unfortunately used to this. He acknowledged that not everyone saw dogs as on an equal footing, and as far as many of them were concerned, he was a stray dog. Honestly, he actually sort of was a stray dog technically. Regardless, Kumo eventually pushed is way up to the board, staring up at it and gazing it over.

    A few seconds later, a loud bark of excitement erupted from the crowd, and Kumo came practically bounding out of it toward the castle, obviously causing many people to look at the dog, most confused and some shocked. He was in! He was actually in! His tail wagged furiously and he eagerly leapt and bounded toward his destination. He was so quick to get there that he was actually the first to arrive by a small margin. When he got to the gates, he paused and tried to calm and compose himself, however his wagging tail still betrayed him. The guards out front looked him over before bowing politely and beckoning him through. Kumo returned this bow in kind briefly before heading in, delighted by the respect he had been shown. It was clear that here at least they had been expecting him. After getting in and taking a seat, Kumo watched as the other competitors followed in. He examined them silently and carefully. Given he had never been able to speak, Kumo had always had to get a read on others through observation, and over time he had gotten rather astute at getting an impression of people at a glance.

    The first to file in was a monk, carrying a gorgeous yet terrible blade at his side. Kumo had been trained by his order to recognize forces of great supernatural power by the inherent way they seemed to disturb the "energy" of reality [in a similar manner to how paladins in DnD are capable of detecting forces of good and evil], and Kumo could tell this sword was pulsing with it. At a glance it felt... dark, wanting, hungering. Though Kumo made no immediate actions, he ended up backing slightly away from the monk when the monk had selected his place to stand. Kumo tried his best not to judge the man, but he began to worry.

    Kumo's worry didn't subside when the next pair of contestants entered. He recognized these two, or their faces at least. He had never met the pair in person, but their wanted posters were plastered in towns across the continent, and traveling with Knights who would often apprehend criminals like these two, he had seen those posters quite often. While his order had never tried to apprehend them personally, he had heard the duo were particularly slippery, highly skilled in both combat and in evading capture. How could two of the most wanted criminals in the world be allowed to join? Was the royal family really so desperate to bring Friyena back that they would throw morality to the side just to allow strong fighters in? [Of course, Kumo has no clue the fully story behind their wanted status, nor any idea of their goals and personalities. He is merely going off of information he has from his time with the knights.]

    Kumo didn't have time to ponder this for long, however, as a woman came in with a number of snakes trailing her. It was clear she had some sort of druidic or shamanistic connection to them, and Kumo watched as she eyed the palace with a disdain and suspicion. He got the sense she felt out of her element here, but it would take some time before he could pinpoint why, at least beyond any vague guesses.
  • edited February 16
    Following the druid came a younger woman, one that seemed just as out of her element as the druid, but in a completely different way. Kumo couldn't pinpoint why, but he felt an almost otherworldly presence to her. She just looked slightly different from the average human of Avelaide, and her actions and mannerisms indicated a culture unlike any he had ever seen. However, Kumo shook his head, thinking his intuition must be off. There was no such thing as a world beyond Avelaide, after all.

    After the young woman came a soldier, not a knight, nor part of any kind of army Kumo had encountered, but he could tell by her attire and the way she maintained her weapon that she clearly had trained experience in combat. Kumo could tell she was carrying a supernatural object with her, but could not pinpoint what the object was, though it appeared to be something in or on her hand. While it did have the energy of something extraordinary, it didn't seem to as inherently have the darkness Kumo had sensed from the Monk's sword.

    Following the soldier came the squire, which Kumo recognized as such based on the attire she had been made to wear. Though his order had no squires themselves, it was still standard to recognize the practices and standards of other knights throughout the world. However, no knight seemed to follow, leaving Kumo a tad confused. What he did see, however, was that the squire had a bag on her, and from it was a pulsing, radiant, warm energy that Kumo often associated with forces of good or honor. It immediately made him curious about the young girl, but for now he couldn't pursue the interest any further.

    Not too far behind the squire was another man that seemed to have an otherworldly aura about him, but of a different world entirely. He looked even more foreign to Avelaide than the woman had, and he moved and acted with an energy to him that caused Kumo's ears to flatten to his head. He seemed angry, vengeful, and had visible bloodstains on him. Kumo again stepped back, now standing a good deal away from the other entrants.

    After the bloodsoaked stranger, a ninja entered, and of all the entrants so far, Kumo had the hardest time reading this man. Being masked, he couldn't see his face, and the dog had little familiarity with those working in a practice famed for its secrecy and elusiveness. The only think Kumo could gather was that there was something special about the man's mask, beyond just its somewhat strange appearance, but it was less apparent to Kumo what that could be.

    Following the ninja came someone just as enigmatic. She stayed incredibly quiet, and Kumo watched as her hand stayed over her sword. Was she expecting some sort of threat Kumo couldn't anticipate? Well, obviously there was the cast of other contestants, but beyond that she kept looking around her, constantly reading her environment. The only think Kumo could glean from her was that she looked... disfigured. Kumo did his best not to judge by appearance alone, but her face had a large scar across it, and the scar seemed to divide the face in two, as if separating two different individuals. It intimidated Kumo admittedly, but not nearly to the degree that some of the other contestants did.

    And as if the other contestants couldn't get any more odd, a woman came in dressed rather opulently for a combat event. She was one of the only ones to speak to the group, too, offering healing. Between her choice of words and her mannerisms, Kumo got the sense she was fairly confident about her chances. He also appreciated the offering of healing. However, seeing the lady accompanied by Zombies made him weary. While necromancy was not explicitly against Friyena's faith, it had often been associated with those who stood against her. That was even setting aside the fact that she seemed to have an aura about her that seemed to compel the other contestants, Kumo included, to keep a distance away from her. For the time being, he decided against the offer of healing, preferring to lick his own wounds should the need arise.

    Following the cleric was a dragonlike creature of some kind. Kumo had never seen a race quite like his, with shimmering blue scales and the features that would indicate a dragon, but the height and upright posture more similar to a human, not to mention the lack of wings. Kumo also had more difficulty getting a first impression of him. He was rather quiet, but he shifted and writhed a little in a somewhat unnatural manner. However, Kumo wasn't sure if this was just the manner in which the race behaved or an indication of some other aspect to him.

    After the dragon came another race of lizardfolk, though this time of a race Kumo was somewhat familiar with. He had only seen a few Viashino in his lifetime, as they tended to live on the outskirts of the world. This Viashino seemed to have a confidence about him, or perhaps a recklessness? Regardless, he got the energy that the lizardfolk was here to win and felt he was capable of doing so.

    After the two scaled contestants came another masked figure, which similarly to the ninja made it hard for Kumo to glean anything about them. He could tell they had some magical energy to them, so they were likely some type of spellcaster, but beyond that he was admittedly unsure. The most he could tell beyond that stemmed from the way the shaman walked and acted, which seemed to indicate a frustration, or at least a lack of excitement. However, for all Kumo knew he could have just been tired.

    After the shaman came someone who was very clearly a knight. It was no knight Kumo had ever met, but his attire and conduct indicated the study and proper training required for knighthood. He also wasn't sure if he worked for Friyena, some other deity, a royal house or family, or for some other order entirely. Regardless, he greeted the knight in the customary way, bowing respectfully. Though, he wasn't sure if the knight had noticed this being across the room from him.

    Finally, a young warrior entered, brandishing a spear in hand, one Kumo was certain was either enchanted or being enhanced with some sort of magical ability. Outside of that, however, the only thing that struck Kumo about her was her young age. He figured she had to be the youngest of the lot of contestants. To be fair, if they had let a dog enter, he wasn't especially shocked they let a child enter, especially if she really was of the skillset to be in a competition such as this.

    After looking over all the competitors in a group like this, Kumo couldn't help but cower a little. He had been trained to fight a wide range of foes, sure, but there were contestants here with skills and abilities he could only begin to imagine, from magical weapons to powerful spellcasting. His tail wag at this point had slowed and ceased, and his eager excitement had been replaced with a bit of worry. When Kumo had entered this competition, he had come in with the expectation opponents would honorably best one another; he had no intent of killing any of his foes, and he had expected they would extend to him the same courtesy. Now, however, he wasn't confident of that fact, and was even less confident he would even make it through the first round.
  • edited February 16
    Despite this, though, Kumo ended up standing taller and a bit prouder. He was in too deep now. There was no backing out. The king and queen had obviously seen something in his bid for entry, just as they had to have seen potential in each and every one of the other contestants here to bring Friyena home. This was only reinforced when the prince and advisor arrived to greet them, Kumo also greeting them with a respectful bow, as was customary in the presence of royalty. Not long after, he was given a map of the grounds and a room key, and once dismissed set off to the housing to get himself situated.

    Kumo got himself excited again on the way to the housing. He was here, and he was recognized as one of the sixteen best fighters in the world. That in of itself was a huge honor and accomplishment. With the hurdle of making it in behind him, what could possibly stop him now? He couldn't let himself be brought down just by mere first impressions of the other contestants. He was couldn't give up now! He couldn't be sto—He couldn't reach the handle and lock for his room.

    This was going to be a long tournament...

  • Story Segment 1: Uncertainty


    In the 5 years after that first wisp, Navor had spent countless hours getting in touch with his soul. Often times, he would spend the whole day meditating, trying to discover the intricacies of the soul, and learning how to better pull it out into the world. His training was slow going, and yet his teachers claimed he was making progress much quicker than almost any other knight in the order. 

    “Navor? I have something I wish to speak with you about.”

    Opening his eyes, a 15-year-old Navor looked out upon the clearing where he had been meditating. In front of him, he saw a shadowy figure, vaguely humanoid, but not quite fully formed. Behind this figure, Navor could see the face of his teacher. 

    “Yes, Master Kosi?” Navor said, dismissing the shadow.

    Kosi sat down in front of Navor. “Before I ask you anything else, how has your training been going? I haven’t gotten a chance to speak with you for a few weeks.”

    “It’s been going just fine, Master. I can feel myself getting more in-touch with my soul with every passing day.”

    “And yet, I still sense some anger, some frustration within you. You aren’t entirely certain of your own abilities.”

    Navor’s calm, collected guise slipped for a moment into an expression of surprise, before he quickly regained his composure. "I don't know what you mean."

    Kosi laughed. “Understanding the soul has more benefits than conjuring a spectral assistant. In time, I will teach you some of these other uses, such as reading the emotions of others.” She looked Navor in the eyes, and said, “In addition, you must have noticed by now that your manifestation is far worse at hiding emotions than you are. The soul is the truest representation of oneself, and I could tell when I came up here that while you looked peaceful in meditation, your soul was shaking with rage. So, tell me. What’s wrong?”

    Navor sighed. “Fine! I’ll tell you what’s wrong. My progress is unbearably slow. I meditate for hours a day, every day for five years, and all I have to show for it is a person-shaped blob that doesn’t resemble me in the slightest. I’ve seen the knights sparring. Their manifestations spring from them fully formed at a moment’s notice. I want to do that. I want to be that. But it’s not coming fast enough.”

    “What reason do you have for such haste? You have the perfect place to perfect your craft, no matter how long it takes. You are safe here. Take your time, you’ll get it right eventually.”

    “It’s just so frustrating! I know I can get it, I know how to do it, but it’s not happening! I want to get out there and go on heroic missions with the rest of the knights!”

    Kosi smiled, and put her hand on Navor’s shoulder. “I know you want to be a hero, Navor. But you must be patient. I assure you, one day, you will get your wish. But for now, give your enthusiasm a rest, and focus on honing your skills. Mastery will come to you soon, young one. I just know it.”

    ------------

    Navor took a deep breath, and left his meditative state. The memory already fading, he looked around the room. One benefit of participating in this insanity was that the lodgings were infinitely better than any he had known since he left the castle. After years of sleeping in tents and cheap inns, the beds given to the contestants felt like heaven.

    Sitting in front of Navor was his double. It always came out while he was meditating, and while Navor himself had an expression of indifference on his face, his soul wore a massive grin. Overall, it seemed extatic. 

    Oh, shut it. Navor thought, dismissing the apparition. Navor had gone straight to the contestant housing after he found out he had been accepted. Needing to be alone with his thoughts, he had begun meditating. However, even after returning to consciousness, Navor still wasn't sure how he felt about the whole thing. He had come here on a whim, barely expecting to get into the competition. But now, here he was, one of the sixteen competitors in the Eighteenth Tournament of Champions. Given the importance of the contest, he couldn't exactly back out now. And in some ways, he was excited for the competition. At the very least, if he had some success in the tournament he’d become more well-known, and he might be able to pick up some higher-profile mercenary work.

    Stretching, Navor stood up from his meditative position. As he moved to grab his armor and sword, planning to head to the training grounds, his stomach growled in protest. I suppose I haven’t had a proper meal since that last city a few days ago. Navor thought. Store-bought rations are all well and good, but I’m certain the restaurants around here are far better. Remembering his last experience in a city’s commercial district, he grabbed his sword, just in case.

    Once in the city, Navor looked around for a place to eat. The first restaurant he spotted seemed to be a noodle place. Walking towards the building, he saw that it was almost deserted. Soon, he saw why. Two women sat at a table in the middle of the place, chatting loudly. Upon closer inspection, Navor found that he recognized them. Firstly, he knew that they were a team of two also participating in the tournament. However, he had also seen their faces on wanted posters next to the advertisement that led him to the competition in the first place. Ushri and Meka, he recalled. But their generally boisterous nature didn't seem to be the cause of the restaurant's desertion. The more likely culprit was Meka's appetite, as no less than a dozen empty bowls were strewn about the table, and she was in the process of voraciously consuming another two in-between sentences. Navor could see the shop's owner frantically trying to appease her enormous appetite, rushing to the kitchen and then back to the table, where Meka inevitably ordered another dish. A small line had formed outside of the shop, but the terrified chef paid them no mind.

    I'd rather not get involved with this right now. I'm here for food, not a fight. Navor thought. Moving on from the growing crowd waiting to be served, Navor soon found a quaint little shop called the Cliffside Cafe that claimed to serve authentic Zendikari cuisine from the continent of Ondu. He sat down at one of the outdoor tables, and a Kor woman quickly came to take his order.

    Soon, Navor had finished his food, and leaned back in his chair. Despite his apprehensions, one thought came to the forefront of his mind. Perhaps staying here for a while won't be so bad. 

    ------------

    (Not every one of Navor's story segments will have a flashback at the beginning, just the ones where I think it's important for the segment eg. introducing something new about how manifestations work)

    (Also, if anyone wants to interact with Navor or use him in your segments, let me know!)
  • edited February 16

                                                          CHAPTER 1
                                                          The Bounty
                       

    HAREEL LANDED ON HIS KNEES in a strange world. Dust flew into his eyes and his rags were covered in mud. He jumped to his feet and felt his temples. They were throbbing. He desperately looked for water until he realised the situation he was in.
           
              Hareel wondered where he was. A forest, with a city on the edge. The thought of food, rest and water strongly desired to him. So he ran. And ran and ran. When his legs were burning he stopped. Behind him, breathing slowly, was a person with a veil. "Greetings, Hareel." he said.

             "Why aren't you in Kaladesh, Hareel?" They asked. 
    Kaladesh? He had no idea what they were talking about. He couldn't remember anything about Kaladesh. Then again, he couldn't really remember anything.

    "Who are you?!" Hareel shouted. "Don't you recognise me," asked the person "Come on Hareel, let's go. Your home is with me. I have a fair price. Anyways, if you don't, I'll be back. "

               Terror went through Hareel's veins. Purely through instinct, he went to punch the figure. And then, like nothing happened, they, or it, were gone. 
               
              Like it was... Like it wasn't real.
  •                                                                    CHAPTER 2
                                                                       The Tournament of Champions


    HE COULDN'T THINK. 
    Nothing made sense any more. The trees were in weird shapes, the ground was rippling, his hands looked red, until......

    Hareel found himself leaning on a tree, panting. Desperately, he looked around. Everything was normal. All that was strange was his head was still throbbing.

              But, when he thought about it, he didn't know where he was, where he came from, why he was here and who that person was. Hareel hadn't really thought about it until now, with all the excitement.

                He jogged his memory until his head couldn't take it. But just as he was ready to give up, images flashed through Hareel's head.

                         Fire. Pain. A portal.
    And then, three words:  Tournament. Of. Champions.

                                                                               *************

    As he arrived at the city, he was greeted by huge crowds of people.

           That's strange, Hareel thought, This tournament must be popular.
    He was greeted by the king and queen and led into the champion's room. As he looked around, he felt.... small. All these people (and monsters) were so big or powerful or clever. Hareel, well all he was was a lost person in a strange world.

                    But, he was ready. He needed to be.
  • @TheDukeOfPork Thanks for the story! I love it!

    For everyone, here is the ToC discussion thread which @Arceus8523 so kindly made!
    https://forums.mtgcardsmith.com/discussion/5914/tournament-of-champions-5-out-of-character-and-event-coordination

  • @shadow123 are there any hunting grounds near the tournament grounds that contestants can spend time in?
  • @theirintheattic The map is only a more central area of the city! North of the training grounds, you go into a thick forest where part of it is allowed for hunting!
  • edited February 17

    Chapter Three - The Tournament Begins

    The second night of the contestant’s stay, they were all called to a royal feast to mark the start of the glorious tournament.

    The prince ran down to the castle’s kitchen in a hurry while cursing and yelling. “You guys better have all the-”

    As he threw open the door, a mixture of pleasant aromas overwhelmed his senses. “Oh. Wow.”

    Byrre entered calmly behind him. “You ought to be more calm next time. Your parents always are.”

    Aki glared at Byrre and looked away. “I don’t care what they are. I’m in charge here!”

    “If you say so…” Byrre rolled his eyes.

    After a moment of silence, Byrre and Aki entered the noisy kitchen. There were cooks shouting from one stovetop to the other and people chattering as they washed the fancy dishes. In the center of the kitchen, on an array of silver carts, laid luxurious foods from every part of Avelaide.

    “Wow…” Aki mumbled, “This looks delicious.” He started to reach for some of the freshly made bread, but Byrre slapped his hand away.

    “You can’t do that! This food is for the guests.”

    “Ugh…being a king is stupid…”

    “Let’s go check on the servants setting up the dining hall…before you try to eat anything else.” Byrre gestured towards the door. Aki reluctantly followed Byrre up to the dining hall.

    There was a long table with antique wooden chairs lined up perfectly symmetrical on each side. At the head of the table, was a silver chair meant for Aki.

    “Wowwww, that’s for me?? That’s where Dad usually sits.”

    Byrre rolled his eyes as he started walking out of the dining room.

    “Come on. Keep it moving. It’s getting late and we have to finish finalizing the tournament bracket.”

    “Oh right. That…” Aki muttered, “I hate responsibility.”

    “I heard that!” Byrre shouted from the hallway.

    “Whatever!”

    Aki jogged out of the room to catch up with Byrre.

    “Why are we hosting this tournament anyways? Where did my parents go anyways?”

    Byrre sighed. “I can’t tell you much. Your parents don’t want you to know everything right now. Think of this tournament as something bringing glory to our kingdom for now. When the time comes, we’ll tell you everything.”

    “So I’m just acting as a pawn in my parents’ game?” Aki’s voice started to raise a little bit, “Where are my parents, Byrre?”

    “Fine, fine,” the advisor held his hands up in resignation, “I’ll tell you. But after dinner.”

    Aki seemed satisfied. “Let’s go welcome everyone in, shall we?”

    Byrre nodded and accompanied Aki, along with seven guards to the castle’s front doors. Aki pushed open the tall front doors to his castle dramatically. Outside all sixteen champions were standing, watched over by two more castle guards.

    “My lord.” One of the guards said before walking inside.

    “I love it when they do that,” Aki laughed to himself.

    “Not the time,” Byrre whispered.

    “Right.”

    Aki cleared his throat. “Welcome to the Rosakel Castle! Follow me please!”

    The contestants all entered the stone building and followed the prince through the winding staircases and hallways. As they walked, Aki continued to blabber about the rich history of the Rosakel empire, pausing to gesture at ancient relics and paintings displayed across the hall.

    “...and this is the silver blade. It is made of pure silver, and is fabled to hold magical properties to not only cut through any abyssal substance but also heal its wielder from any abyssal injuries. We found the blade only one hundred and fifty years ago, but it has a rich history before that. Some even say that this blade was in the abyss itself at some point.”

    They finally stopped at a large oak door. Two servants opened them to reveal the dining hall. A few more servants went around, handing out seating charts. After a few minutes, everyone had found their spots and started to eat. For Kumo, with his special dietary restrictions, the servants offered him a special platter of apples, meats, and cheeses.

    The dinner was off to a great start. All the contestants seemed to be enjoying themselves, or so it appeared to Aki. Most of them were talking amongst themselves amicably. The dinner was a success. Meka was particularly fond of the food, as she had polished off every morsel of food around her.


    Finally after an hour of talking and eating (and barking from a certain champion), Byrre entered the room with a long scroll. He rang a loud silver bell from where he was standing and waited as the chattering faded away until the only sound left in the air was the echoing ring of the bell. It was a mysterious sound.

    “Champions! I am sorry to have interrupted your meal. We do however have an important announcement. Us hosts of the tournament thought it would be a good idea to introduce you to the other contestants.”

    Kumo barked with approval. Some of the contestants started to resume talking.

    “AND…reveal your matches to you a little earlier than posted on the notice board.”

    The noise immediately disappeared once more. Byrre ominously unraveled the parchment and began to read:

  • edited February 17

    Match number one: Miyan versus Roshk

    @Usaername ;                           VS  @WarriorCatInAhat

     VS 


    Match number two: Raeza versus Ushri and Meka

    @cadstar369 ;                              VS @East2West

    Raeza Photocryst VS 


    Match number three: Oritira versus Audhild

    @DrakeGladis ;                            VS @SpellPiper2213

    Oritira Somber Acolyte VS Audhild Wandering Duelist

    Match number four: Nimbu vs Michio

    @Tonysparks ;                             VS @Tommia

     VS 

    Match number five: Ergun versus Syr Cedric

    @theirintheattic ;                       VS @Lujikul

     VS 


    Match number six: Navor versus Ozge

    @Aggroman15 ;                         VS @DomriKade

     VS 


    Match number seven: Kumo versus Spear-Bearer

    @Arceus8523 ;                          VS @AboveAndAbout

     VS 


    Match number eight: Claire versus Hareel

    @feralitator ;                               VS @TheDukeofPork

     VS Hareel Bloodburdened

    Byrre finished and rolled up the scroll again. Everyone still remained silent, well, except for Meka, since she had resumed eating. Ushri snatched Meka’s plate away. “This is serious!”

    Then, everyone realized something else. The hosts had placed each champion right across from their opponent.

    “Do enjoy yourselves, won’t you? Dessert will be out soon.”

    With that Byrre left the room and Aki followed right after, leaving the contestants to discuss amongst themselves.

  • For everyone to look at, here is the Tournament Bracket! I will be updating this as we move forward:
    https://challonge.com/j4n1qbhp

    Before the first match, which will take place on Tuesday, February 22nd, anyone may put predictions into the tournament bracket- the person who is the most accurate will also get a special prize at the end, so be sure to title your prediction with your cardsmith name!
  • edited February 17

    Chapter One: Miyan

    (this comes directly after the announcement of tournament acceptance, not the matches)

    Miyan was the first to leave the hall after the announcement, satisfied he had been chosen but with no particular desire to meet his fellow competitors. The butcher does not introduce himself to the lamb. To an outsider, it might seem like a lonely philosophy, but it contented Miyan, drawing curtains over the lingering doubts that still plagued him.

    The warm evening air greeted him as he stepped outside, and a sweet smell accompanied it. Across the main castle grounds, he could see the lights of lanterns strung up in the main square's night market. Shifting Naku Tsuki to his back, he set off toward the market, turning his eyes toward the sky above, if only for a moment, to contemplate the stars.

    The market was a welcome change from the oppressive silence of the castle, and as Miyan waded through the crowd, sensations bombarded him from all sides. The heat of fires, bodies, lanterns, the smell of meat, garlic, sweets and fruit. A chatter of voices, brought together in every language you could imagine.

    He indulged slightly, buying a sack of fruits, a small bone trinket in the shape of a rabbit, and several sachets of spices. As he held the spices up to his nose, a host of memories flooded his mind. They reminded him of his home, leagues away, of meals he'd shared and the people he shared them with. 

    Miyan frowned slightly, but then smiled. Maybe memories are a good thing. The flowers of a dead branch remain in bloom, if only so quickly.

    Putting the spices away, he left the market, heading towards the building that would be his home for the coming weeks, and letting himself in with the key that had been provided to him. He found his room and went inside, unpacking his meager belongings and opening the window.

    A perfect crescent moon hung in the sky, and Miyan felt his hand clench slightly as it alighted on Naku Tsuki's hilt. Gently, he unsheathed the blade, wincing slightly as chills crept up his arm, coiling around his spine and numbing his fingers.

    He held it up against the moon, and there they were, two moons. One a perfect white and the other a scratched metal, one a goddess and the other a demon. A beautiful, perfect asynchrony.

    Miyan closed his eyes, drawing the malice from of the blade, feeling it move throughout him like an eel under the cover of murky water, an eldritch force contradictory to his own form. Ebb and flow. Darkness and Light. Grey...

    And then he felt it. A second presence. His arm tensed, and he had to clench his hand to avoid dropping the blade as the malice seethed within, churning and writhing like iron filings tempted by a magnet. Somewhere in this city, this affliction had whispered its way into another.

    Miyan opened his eyes, and in the reflection of the blade was able to make out the form of a woman standing behind him, eyes a deep red. She lunged for him, hand outstretched, and he wheeled, blade at the ready, only to find the room empty, save for himself and whatever abhorrent curse he bore.

    Unable to stop himself, he let Naku Tsuki slip from his hand, and it hit the ground with a dull thud, and now in its reflection, Miyan could look at naught but himself.
  • edited February 17

                        A pleasant Suprise

    Nimbu was the least bit unfazed by the rude gesture of the hosts, infact she was quite pleasantly surprised. She pulled her plate a bit closer, staring at it and stirring it before eating some of it,  then letting out a friendly smile. She looked up at her opponent sizing Michio up for a while before coming to the conclusion that there was something residing within the mask from her experience dealing with exorcisims. Noticing her rudeness but gratefull for the new info she gathered, she extended her hand before saying "Nimbu," after sensing some hesitation she remarked, "I figured if I'm gonna break your bones and piece them back together after I win, I might as well know about you. Why did you join the tournament?" 

    @Tommia
  • edited February 17

    Claire: Chapter 1 - Part 1


    (This takes place after the welcoming ceremony, not after the feast)

    Claire didn’t quite enjoy the welcoming ceremony compared to the other contestants. 

    Walking into the throne room, Claire immediately made sure she was at the outside of the group. She then looked at the rest of the crowd, and was shocked with how everyone was so comfortable standing right next to each other. “Never let a stranger get too close to you,” Samuel’s words echoed in her head, “You’ll never know who will take something without you noticing.”

    The only competitor that she didn’t have any suspicion about was Kumo. She hadn’t ever seen a dog before, but from what she had heard about them, she assumed that they are kind of like parrots in a way. They will act kind if they are taught to act kind, and will act maliciously if taught to act maliciously. 

    After receiving her room key and map, she left immediately to find somewhere where she could be alone.


    End of Chapter 1 - Part 1
  • Claire: Chapter 1 - Part 2


    Upon approaching the housing, her attention was brought to the gleaming blue lake right next to it.

    “A training spot right next to housing?” she thought to herself, “How convenient”.

    Getting closer to the water, she raised her hand by her head, and a stream shot out of the lake and formed an orb in front of her. She waved her hand again, and the orb circled around her, stopping next to her head and changed from a sphere into a spear-like shape. Focusing on a tree across the lake, she pointed out in front of her, and the floating spear of water rushed in the direction she pointed. Once the spear hit its target, it lost its shape, leaving a hole in the tree.

    “I’ll start training after I put my stuff in my room… But first-”

    She grabbed some empty bottles out of her satchel, filling them up one by one with the water from the lake. If she were to fight somewhere without much water, it would be necessary to bring as much as she could. Stuffing the bottles back in her satchel, she turned and headed off to check out her room.


    End of Chapter 1 - Part 2
  • edited February 19

    1~ A Dizzying Welcome

    When Michio received the mysterious invitation to join the Tournament, he was skeptical. Being brought in to see his fellow contestants, however, his suspicions were both alleviated and confirmed. For a couple of years he'd never actually had the chance to properly interact with people. And here he was, surrounded by all sorts of foreign people from foreign cultures. He was so busy looking around that he nearly forgot to take his mask off, showing his face out of respect. His pale face was smooth and seemingly poreless, bearing the clear complexion one might expect from a young elf. And yet, he was certainly human. The irises of his red eyes shimmered like rubies, his long, black hair flowing down just past his should-

    "AAACH!" Before Michio could set foot into the door, he was caught off guard by that... dog(?) nearly clipping him with a sword as it dashed into the chamber. "Is that a yokai? Guards! What are you doing letting a yokai into a Tournament of Champions?!"

    The guards just laughed off the clear concern of the ninja. He legitimately thought that the innocent pup was legitimately some kind of horror, possessed by a demon and running around recklessly with a sword. Perhaps a reincarnated warrior with a soul for battle? Perhaps a family pet possessed by a vengeful demon? "Or maybe just a really well trained dog," Mia's voice echoed in his mind. "We literally plan on winning this tournament with a sword and paper. He doesn't surprise me that much."

    "You make it sound like we're the weakest contestant here when you put it like that," he retorted.
    "That's why we have our tactics, right?"
    "You're lucky I can't pinch you right now."

    Mia giggled to him through the mask, and he just shook his head... before suddenly feeling a bit of a cold chill behind him. As he looked, he saw a rather solemn looking monk. Both the ninja and the monk seem to stop for a moment to look at each other. Michio could tell there was a lot more to him than meets the eye, and vice versa. They were dressed in somewhat similar, simple garments, and brought in nothing but their swords, yet they both seemed to be hiding something from the other and neither could figure out what. Michio looked at the monk's sword, and the monk looked at the paper fox mask. They couldn't understand the extent of it, but both of those seemingly normal items didn't seem right. Of course, once they both realized they were staring at each other's possessions they quickly broke off, distancing themselves from each other as to not make a scene.

    Michio slowed down for a bit to take a better look at the other contestants as they entered. Mia expressed interest in the druid, and Michio nodded in honor at the battle gear of a passing soldier, though they were too fixated on their ring to notice. The squire, however, seemed to make the ninja twitch. Such an inexperienced looking combatant, yet he could tell something was off about them.

    "Father... that squire. They have a helmet much like-"
    "The mask... there's a spirit bound to the helmet, yes?
    "Yes... perhaps some sort of Goryo?"
    "Let us hope not... the child could likely use support though."

    The ninja kept his distance from the rogue in front of him, giving a clear look of mistrust before stepping in himself. Sure, being a ninja didn't score Michio points for his reputation, but this person was clearly quite violent, not good company. The assassin also seemed to be bad company as well, not because they were an assassin, but because they were clearly quite paranoid. An air of caution was wise here, but she looked ready to use her blade at any time. And then there was that cleric... a cleric that smelled of death. He was quite uneased by this figure in particular; a normal person wouldn't think of them was the worst company here to keep, but to Michio? To pervert the powers of the gods as this person had clearly had was intensely dishonorable in his culture. How coincidental that, in just two days, the one combatant he felt actual disgust towards would be announced as his first opponent...

    "Father... I know she seems like a bad person, but please don't kill anyone."
    "Mia... she's done something terrible. I will do as we agreed, and make no effort to actually kill anyone, but for her? I cannot promise she will leave this tournament alive if we were to face each other."
    "Just don't start any drama."
    "I won't."

    Michio and Mia actually have probably the calmest reactions to the next two contestants. The dragon was much stockier than they were used to, and lizard men were uncommon on their plane, but it was two people that weren't too alien to them. However, what they do find alien is the bickering coming from the doorway. These people seemed to be of a similar calling, a calling Michio once had as a bushi, but of higher rank. And yet, they were faffing about like common criminals. It disgusted him by a considerable amount; he may have been an exile, but these two were clearly dishonorable.

    As the remaining contestants piled in, Michio would settle. He seemed somewhat on edge. But his hairs seemed to stand on end once he found out he would be sharing living quarters with these people... with bedfellows like these he felt he'd be liable to get killed in the middle of the night. It was a good thing Mia could stand guard from the mask while he slept, else he wasn't going to be sleeping that night. He was impressed by many of the contestants, but he didn't expect so many scoundrels to be allowed into such a seemingly noble affair...
  • The Feast - Part 1


    While the contestants were brought through the winding halls of Rosakel Castle, Claire once again kept a little distance from everyone else. She was too preoccupied with keeping an eye on everyone else to pay attention to Aki ranting on about the history of everything they walked by. It was only when the group stopped at the large oak doors that Claire started paying attention to her surroundings.

    The oak doors opened up, and the sweet aroma of food filled the air. Noticing the large table in the middle, Claire stood in awe. She never saw so much food in one place before. Even stories of feasts for crews back home didn’t compare to this. Sitting down, she did feel like she didn’t deserve all this luxury, but the food in front of her was too much to resist.

    An hour went by, and Claire didn’t say too much to the other contestants as she was too busy trying everything on the table. It was all new to her. Food back home was fish, and nothing else, so every bite was its own adventure to her. The only one who seemed to eat more than her was Meka, who was shoveling down plates of food faster than anyone she had ever seen.

    Just as Claire was reaching to fill her plate up for the tenth time, the ring of a silver bell made the whole room silent.

    End of The Feast - Part 1
  • edited February 18

    The Feast - Part 2


    After the matches were revealed, the wine started to kick in. Taking a bite of cake, Claire spoke out loud, “Mmmmmm… Thiiis iiiis deliiicious…”


    Her opponent for the first round, Hareel, was the first one to notice that something was off with her. “Are you ok?” he asked.


    “I’mmmm fiiiiine… Howwww about youuuu?” she responded with a big smile. After taking another bite, she grabbed her glass. Turning to a servant standing nearby with a wine bottle, she asked “Caaan I gettt anoooother glass? Itttttt's reeeeeallly goooooood...”


    As the servant walked over, he noticed Hareel giving him a stare, slowly shaking his head. Getting the message, the servant nodded his head in response and turned to Claire. “I am afraid I can’t give you any more. It seems like you have had enough wine already.”


    “Ehhhhh… I’lllll be fiiiiiine…” responded Claire. As she said this, the wine shot out of the bottle, flying around in the air for a few seconds before flowing back down into her glass. Stunned, the servant turned around and walked away, trying to process what just happened.


    End of The Feast - Part 2
  • edited February 18

    The Feast - Part 3


    Claire sat with her head and arms on the table, as if she was trying to sleep. All of the other contestants had already left, and a group of servants ordered to clean the table. Surprised that one of the contestants was still sitting at the table, they shook her awake.


    “Hey… Wake up. The feast is over. You should go back to your housing.”

    “Buuut I donnn’t wannnnnt tooooooo…”

    “You don’t need to go back to your housing if you don’t want to, but I’m afraid you can’t stay here.”

    “Buuut I donnn’t wannnnnt TOOOOOOOOoooo…”


    As Claire continued her whining, a giant tentacle of water formed from the glasses left out, and then slammed down on the table, breaking it in half and startling both the servants and Claire herself. Looking at the mess she just made, she turned to the servants with a guilty expression on her face.


    “Mmmmmaybe I shoullllld gooooooo…”


    Before the servants could yell anything at her, Claire dashed out of the castle oddly quickly for someone so drunk. On her walk back to her room, nearby rivers and lakes acted unusually, streams of water shooting up into the air, making circles, and then shooting back down. Arriving back at her room, Claire collapsed on the floor with a loud thud right after closing her door.

    End of The Feast - Part 3
  • Wow these are some amazing stories, nice work!!
  • @shadow123 ;
    First of all, sorry for missing out. Of course I would love for Nyrine to continue in the story even if she doesn't participate in the tournament. The prophecy is at your disposal. I had thought that what he saw is something she should prevent the Goddess from doing. Something that seems obviously good (like taking out an enemy), but has much worse consequences. I'll put something short to stay active without interfering with the main story.
  • @SMPrague Awesome! Thank you so much! I'll keep in touch with you over PMs through the forums. I have a story idea with Nyrine that might make her one of the main characters in the lore!
  • edited February 18
    “Ma’am, I’m sorry, but only sixteen champions are allowed in the tournament. You, unfortunately, are the seventeenth on our long list.”
    The gatekeeper's words fell like a bucket of cold water on Nyrine's enthusiasm, to the point that she ignored the "Ma'am" qualifier. 
    “What?” she said trying to get into the room anyway “I was destined to be involved in this! I saw it myself!”
    “I’m sorry, madam, but you are mistaken. You are not going to be one of our champions in the tournament.”
    A man jumped off the tall roof and landed silently next to the fortune teller.
    “Come on, Nyrine, we should go.”
    She nodded grimly before turning away from the locked throne room doors and walked back down the gravel path.
    "This can't be like this... What will happen if Friyena do..."
    "Nyrine," Jesper interrupted, "what you're saying is that you have to give the message to the Goddess, not that you have to win the tournament, right? What if there was another way to get to the end of the tournament without participating?"
    Nyrine pondered the situation for a moment as she wiped away the tears of frustration that had risen.
    "Yes... That could work"
    Pain shot through his head like a burning spear. She would have fallen to her knees if Jesper hadn't caught her. The vision repeated itself a little clearer than before and Nyrine knew what it meant: Destiny was taking shape, if everything continued like this, the vision would cease to be a possibility and would be inevitable.

    (Since my cards don't participate in the tournament, and if it doesn't bother anyone, I'll take the liberty of illustrating my turns)
  •                                       Chapter 3
                                     Burden's Warning

    AFTER THE FEAST, HAREEL WAS LED TO HIS quaters. The guard asked him, "Why are you here?".
           Hareel looked at her. "What do you mean? Glory and honour, obviously." he said, half-heartedly. 

               "Sure thing. Everyone has a reason. Some come to prove their worth to their parents, some come for fame, some come because their destinies say so.

    "Why would I confide this to a lowly guard?"
          The guard spat on the floor and continued to look dignified.

    His room looked dazzling. Huge bed, a sink and even a small space to train. But, something felt...... wrong in there. The floorboards shook slightly and the whole air was full with dread. 
           "You may leave." he said to his escort. They bowed and followed orders. As soon as Hareel  down on his bed, a slight echo went round the room. The echo turned into a quiet voice, and that voice suddenly turned into that person with a veil.

                "Hareel......" they taunted, "Hareel.......
    "Are you ready? I am the burden that you carry with you! The very essence of your fear, pain, guilt! Can you feel it? Can you? BRACE YOURSELF!!!!" 
              They took off their veil and the sight he saw made him pass out.
                                           
                                                          *********************

    When he woke up, the pounding rain and wind lashed on his window. He took out his sword and starting banging it against the lamp. 

            The floorboards creaked slightly and Hareel's heart pounded. That horrible feeling was swirling in the air again. He realised it was coming from the desk. It was shaking. Hareel peered underneath it.

                    There it was. A creature. Shivering.



  •                                            Chapter 4

                                          Duel Preparations

                                                
    HAREEL HEARD THE ANNOUNCEMENT for the duels earlier that day. He had tried to train, but he got disracted, and anyways, his head was still hurting bad.

              The gremlin came out from under his pillow and growled. 
    "No, girl, I don't have food." Hareel had found her underneath her desk. She was hungry and tired, so Hareel took care of her. Hard work, and slightly against the rules, but he was used to both of those things.

          He needed to focus on the duel, though, so he went down to the market to get supplies. What he needed was: a sword, a horse and some clothes. All he had was rags.

             The blacksmiths was near the edge of the market, but the swords were low quality. 
    "Hey!" Hareel shouted, "I'm a champion! Surely I should have access to high-quality swords!".
            The blacksmith shrugged. "We're all out of money. Only these ones, I'm afraid."

    Hareel sighed and moved on. Several stores interested him:

    Best Quality Frogs Eyes

    Bread! Bread! Purple slug bread!

    But most of all:

    The Arrows of Avelaide

    He took a bow and arrow and practiced. All day, all night. Hit trees, parked carts, whatever he could find. 

             Hareel had a crowd of people watching him at one point when he was using the bow as a weight.

               He trained as much as he could, until he realised. There was eight hours until the duel.

    That meant fighting with rags on.
  • Hareel's a literal murderhobo
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