Tournament of Champions 4 (The game has begun!)



  • Considering it's the summer, I vote we have an unofficial TOC beach episode. anything to keep the thread alive at this point

    Kaigan will then get to try volleyball 
  • Y'all aren't ready for metal lizard man in a swim suit.
  • sounds fun, makes me sad that I'm dead
    don't you guys hate being dead
  • Why can't the dead be there?  It could be a non-canon episode or a prequel to the actual tournament.
  • Call it parallel
  • I vote we make it a non canon episode, so everyone can be there!
  • that would be awesome
  • @WarriorCatInAhat then do it, nothing's stopping you
  • So.... do we wanna have one person try to write up everyone there?  Make a megapost?

  • I think it'd be cooler if each person wrote their own but collaboration would be cool
  • Well, Kaigan is always open for collaboration, and uh.  It'd be good if... well... someone could show him the ropes of a vacation.  And introduce him to pina coladas
  • calm beach tunes anyone
  • @theirintheattic if sturgar went in the water would he short-circuit 
  • Who won?
  • @FORFUN hahahahahahahahaha nobody. we've only gotten through the first round and Tenebris hasn't posted in like two months
  • he was active 4 days ago though
  • Uhhhh Conscience can get a bunch of servants to bring a lounge chair and sunshades and a lot of fancy food? Oh and of course silently judge everyone
  • edited July 2021
    @WarriorCatInAhat I mean Sturgar's main job is protecting valuable shipments on boats, so he is in fact waterproof. In shallow water he's so dense he sinks to the bottom and walks on the sea floor, and in deeper waters he propels himself like a submarine. So at a beach he'd just walk into the water until he vanishes. 

    He is steam/magic powered so no circuits to speak of.
  • alright, that makes sense
  • Thirteen

    Dead of Winter - Part II (Final)

    Pale sun descended behind the horizon and the wind grew more powerful, blowing the fog away from the mountainous landscape and revealing a blue moon, brightest gem in the young night sky. The grip of cold was tighter than before, yet the two travelers kept riding their horses in a steady pace further north through the soft snow.
        "I wish this night would last forever," Sienna said and took a deep breath while looking at the glimmering world around her. Tadeo sighed while shivering for a second.
        "If I were you, I'd wish for a painting. An eternity of this kind of weather would be abysmal for me. The faster we finish this mission, the sooner I can return south and resume my training." The wizard girl rode right next to her companion.
        "You really are going to become one? An actual dragon rider?" Sienna asked and shook her head in disbelief, but Tadeo just chuckled.
        "It's what my father has wanted for years. As his eldest son, I can not disappoint him. You know how the other families in the capital look up to him. There is no greater honor than keeping our kingdom safe from invaders with a fire-breathing dragon at my side."
        "And neither Arkanai nor Lisakdonian Champion can stand against you!" the wizard shouted and nudged with her elbow. "When will you get your baby dragon?"
        "On the moment of my return. That's what he promised. The dragon grows and learns with the rider, so it's essential to have one as early as possible." Tadeo suddenly looked at the map and at the cliffs in the distance right in front of him. "There they are! Hyah!" He encouraged his horse into a gallop, and Sienna did the same. Wind howled once they rode further up the steep hills and saw their destination: A large mansion with many wings and spiky ceilings built on the foot of the highest mountain. Great cliffs which resembled talons stood nearby it, just like how the map depicted. Even when bathing in blue moonlight, the walls of the abandoned building seemed golden.

    Art: Andreas Rocha
        They rode past the talon cliffs and towards the mansion. At the foot of the long stairs, they unmounted and tied their horses' reins around frozen pillars before climbing slippery stairs slowly and carefully. Large wooden front doors were slightly open, but icy hinges prevented them from waving with the wind. Crack! Tadeo pushed the doors wide open, and the two found themselves within an empty vestibule, where dust-like snow covered the walls and the floor. All furniture, candlesticks, paintings, and other items which one would expect to find within such grand house had long been taken elsewhere, either by previous owners or burglars. Tadeo and Sienna walked into the central hall while looking around, and noticed that the hallways and other rooms had suffered from the same fate.
        "Do you think it's still here?" the soldier asked, breaking the silence. The wizard did not answer as she was listening to an eerie howling of the wind upstairs for a moment before quickly making her way there. "Hey, slow down!" Tadeo ran up the wooden stairs as well, then through the only open door in the hallway.
        Sienna was quietly standing in the middle of the room, which was an old study, even though it was as empty as other rooms. Or so it seemed at first glance. The wizard was staring at an old open book, which was lying on a wooden pedestal at the end of the room. A darkened golden medallion with a red gemstone in the middle and a chain necklace was hanging between the pages of the book, serving as a bookmark. Even though the wind was blowing through the broken windows and waving white torn curtains, the pages of the book did not move. The room temperature was colder than outside, and Tadeo shivered even harder while hugging himself. "Is that it?" he asked with an exhale that turned into a cloud of mist.
        "Yes... That's the medallion!" Sienna didn't turn to look at Tadeo when she answered. "And it's protected by some kind of spell..." She walked closer with her right hand raised, then closed her eyes while whispering and moving her fingers in a peculiar way, few steps away from the pedestal. Tadeo walked next to the wizard as she was performing her spell, then he saw how Sienna gritted her teeth in pain before finally groaning and pulling her outstretched hand away as if it was being licked by invisible flames.
        "What happened?" the soldier asked and helped the wizard stand straight. Sienna flipped her ginger hair off her eyes and looked at her right hand which trembled a bit, then she looked at the book.
        "Dark magic," she said while breathing heavily. "Channeled from an Abyssal Rift, I think. I-I-I'm not sure, but it's violent and powerful. My spells and your sword won't be of much use. The medallion stays here unless we somehow manage to lift the curse." Wind howled again in the room, and Tadeo glanced at the book. The pages remained immobile.
        "Maybe you should inspect the writing? There has to be some sort of clue." Sienna's blue eyes met Tadeo's dark brown ones when the soldier asked the question.
        "But... it's written in the forbidden language--"
        "Can you read it?" Tadeo asked firmly while still holding Sienna gently. She nodded slowly.
        "I'll... try," she whispered, shaking a bit from fear, but Tadeo gave her a calming hug before letting her go to read the messy text on the pages.
        "Don't try too hard," the soldier said after a moment of silence. "I want to return home with you alive, even if it means aborting this mission."
        "And what would your father think of that?" Sienna asked while sharply turning to look at Tadeo, who leaned against the doorway with his hands crossed and eyes closed.
        "That I'm a dependable companion who chooses life over cursed artifacts," he answered while smiling a little, and Sienna quickly turned to look at the book while blushing a bit. Before she started reading however, she looked outside through the broken window in front of her, and saw their white horses at the foot of the long stairs. They were calmly waiting for their riders while stomping the snowy ground with their hooves. Sienna smiled and was about to focus on the book until she noticed something. She looked back outside and saw a third horse further away nearby the talon cliffs: A brown one with a white spot on its head.
        "T-Tadeo!" she said urgently while still looking outside, and the soldier raised his sleepy head quickly.
  •     "What is it?"
        "Someone's here!" Sienna yelled and turned to look at the doorway where Tadeo was standing, then she suddenly froze while her eyes widened. The soldier noticed that the wizard was looking right behind him, so he swiftly unsheathed his dagger with his left hand and turned with the blade's tip pointed towards the person behind him. But that someone grabbed his left wrist, then twisted it while throwing a powerful punch on Tadeo's stomach, knocking the wind out of him. He was unable to do anything on that moment, so the hooded person took Tadeo's dagger, pressed its blade against his throat, and grabbed him, restraining the young soldier while stepping into the room. Sienna had her arms outstretched towards the assailant, white light glowing from her fingertips. "Let him go!" she shouted angrily while the glow turned even brighter, but the hooded man pressed the dagger on Tadeo's throat even harder, causing the young soldier to grit his teeth in pain.
        "Put your hands up or I kill him!" the man yelled in the same commanding tone which Tadeo and Sienna had heard in the forest outskirts. The wizard didn't want to obey until she saw a drop of blood trickling down the dagger's blade. With a sad look, she slowly raised her trembling hands and ceased the spell. The hooded man took another step into the room while still keeping Tadeo restrained, and the moonlight revealed his appearance: dark brown jacket with grey fur lining and black crow feathers covered his dusky attire while the hood covered his head; brown stubble and old scars made his face look rougher; sheathed longsword and countless daggers hanged from his belts.
        The equipment of an Assassin, Sienna thought for herself. "What do you want?" the loud question quickly left from the wizard's mouth, even though she knew the answer already. The hooded man nodded towards the pedestal while keeping an eye out for Sienna's every move.
        "I only want the medallion," he mouthed. "Hand it over!" The wizard just glanced at the artifact.
        "It's cursed to this place," she said with a trembling voice which she tried to hide in vain. The man took yet another step, then stood in the middle of the room with restrained Tadeo. He looked at the messy book by tilting a bit to the left, since Sienna was standing right in front of it, then he furrowed his brow.
        "Interpret the spell and lift the curse," the man said, and a silent pause followed. "Now!" The wizard winced, then slowly turned to read the book. Tadeo squirmed as he tried to break free from the Assassin's hold.
        "Don't do it-- hrk!" the young soldier groaned as the hooded man strangled him and pushed the dagger's blade against his throat as a warning.
        "Shut your mouth," the man snarled at Tadeo's ear, and he was completely still once again. Sienna kept studying the book, her mouth silently moving as she whispered each word. Her hands began to shake a moment later at the same time when the text started to emit faint black smoke. Breathing heavily, Sienna wobbly walked away from the book, then leaned against the wall with her head hanging. It seemed like she was about to puke. "Is it done?" the Assassin asked impatiently. The wizard slowly raised her shaking head, revealing her pale face.
        "No... For the curse... to be lifted... someone's life... must be offered," Sienna said in a struggling tone, then all three could hear ghastly whispering of both male and female voices in the room as the thin smoke began to spread everywhere.
        Ȏ̴̼͌̚f̷̨͊̈́͗͜f̷̞̍e̴̙̺̿͜ȓ̵̩͜ ̵͕̲̐̐ͅą̸̓̾͝ ̴̰̻̺̃̕s̸̰̉͒̚o̵̠͆̂͝ͅȕ̶͉̥͂͗ļ̴̺̺͌.̶͓̌̿.̴͇̞̎̕.̶̢͈̾ ̶̪̋ͅO̷̟̙̤̒f̸̟̜͘f̵̝̪̾̇e̵̫͕̿̎́r̵̛̗͝ ̴̗̪͒̋͜a̶͙͓̍͆̕ ̴̙̘͓̎ṣ̷͊̊̑o̴̢̮̍̇ụ̸̧͘l̷͉̀̑̇.̶̢̪̥̆̍̉.̵̠͈̄̆͠.̸̳̗̈̈́ ̶͙̆O̸̞̝͐f̶̝͓͑ḟ̸͈̝̿ȅ̶͇̿͝r̶͚̈́͐ ̷͕̓a̵̬͌ ̷̠͗̃̌s̶̛͓̹̤͑͆ọ̷̭̼͛̚ü̵̲͚l̷̛̗̳̖͗̈.̶̜͆.̸̫͍̪̂̕͝.̶̟̪͛
        Suddenly, Tadeo moved his head in a blink of an eye, hitting the Assassin's face with a headbutt. Thud! At the same time, he pushed the dagger away from his throat, then broke free from the hold. The man said a few ugly sounding words in his language as he held his palm over his face and backed off, then his other hand dropped the dagger before reaching for his worn longsword's handle. Tadeo unsheathed his own gleaming sword, then the two took their fighting stances, ringing blades pointed at each other. The Assassin's devilish smirk shined under his hood, and Tadeo let out a furious war cry as he lunged towards the hooded man. Blades scraped each other as the Assassin performed a deflection parry, then proceed to hit the soldier's face with his sword's pommel. Paff! Tadeo was stunned for a second, but he returned the favor by chain-slashing the hooded man, forcing him to go defensive. The Assassin dodged and blocked the quick attacks, then hit Tadeo's sword out of position and thrust the tip of his blade into the young soldier's right shoulder, causing him to yelp in pain and step back. Dark red stain in the shirt grew larger as more blood flowed from the wound, which also hindered right arm's movements, but Tadeo kept fighting even though he hadn't landed a single cut yet.
        Sienna didn't feel too dizzy once she forced herself to focus. The book's spell filled the room with more black smoke by each passing second, obscuring the wizard's view, but the loud sounds of battle helped her recognize Tadeo's and the Assassin's silhouettes. The young soldier valiantly attacked the sly opponent once more, only to be countered by a slash to his torso's right side and a kick to his feet, causing him to trip and lay prone on the floor. As the hooded man kicked Tadeo's sword away, Sienna raised her both hands, conjured two small discs of light, and threw them at the Assassin's back. He groaned and fell onto his right knee, even though the discs didn't bite into his body. The book's dark magic weakened Sienna's light magic, only managing to tear the man's jacket apart a bit. Still, he wasn't pleased by the attack, so he turned towards Sienna and approached her with his sword ready. The desperate wizard spent all her remaining mana into casting a huge spinning disc of light above her that shined brightly in the dark room. It was large enough to carry a horse and to cut any large creature in half. The Assassin realized that, and took a defensive stance while holding his breath.
        "You should have stayed in your homeland!" Sienna shouted with her last bits of power, then threw the disc at the hooded man. His right hand gripped the sword's hilt while the other grabbed the blade before blocking the disc. Sound of scraping metal and a shower of sparks surrounded the Assassin as the huge disc kept spinning and eating away his sword. With a grunt, he raised his weapon, hitting the disc's bottom side with the blade, changing the spell's direction and breaking the blade at the same time. Metal shrapnel flew at him and Sienna, causing both to fall onto the floor while groaning in pain. Swoosh! The disc flew loudly over the Assassin, through the doorway, and the walls of the mansion, breaking every wood and window in its path until it vanished in the winter night's horizon.
  •     The room was silent. Dust, snow, and black smoke slowly flowed around the three people who had suffered from different wounds. Tadeo was the first one who began to move. He wiped snow away from his clothes, then stood up while gritting his teeth. The bleeding wounds on his right shoulder and left side felt more painful as he walked towards his sword which was lying in the room's corner. After picking it up, he heard as someone else was slowly standing up nearby the book. Even though the room was much darker than earlier, Tadeo recognized the hood and the feathers of the person's silhouette. The young soldier grabbed his sword's hilt with his both hands and charged at the Assassin. Loud steps made him turn towards Tadeo, and the next thing he knew, sword's blade penetrated the hooded man's abdomen. Blood splattered onto the floor and flowed along the blade to Tadeo's hands. Triumphantly, he pushed the blade deeper, then raised his head to look at the dying Assassin's face. The soldier's victorious smile turned into terror.
        "Tadeo," Sienna said weakly, blood flowing from her mouth. Shocked, Tadeo let go of his sword and backed off. His bloody weapon was sticking out of the wizard's body. Coughing, Sienna fell onto her knees, her hands gripping the sword's blade.
        "Sienna," Tadeo whimpered and looked at his bloody hands. "I'm so sorry-- I thought you were him!" then he looked at the unnatural smoke around him. "This Abyssal darkness deceived me!" When he said that, the black smoke gathered around Sienna in tremendous speed, trapping her into the eye of a black vortex. Without wasting a second, Tadeo tried to approach Sienna through it, but it kept pushing him away. "Take my hand!" he shouted and reached through the vortex as well as he could, even though the wind and the cold bit into his bones. Sienna didn't react. "I won't leave you here! We gotta return home together, remember? Don't let it take your soul!" The wizard slowly reached her shaking hand as if it weighted a ton.
        "Forgive me," Sienna said regretfully as she opened her dim eyes where tears glittered. A faint blue aura surrounded her hand when she grabbed Tadeo's, then it spread around the young soldier.
        "SIENNA!" Tadeo shouted before blue light swallowed him and vanished. The wizard used a blue spell to cast him somewhere where the two had been earlier that night, far away from the mansion. Soon after, the black smoke flowed into the cavities of Sienna's body, causing her to slowly float in the center of the room. The Assassin stood up and watched with wide open eyes as the wizard's soul was being taken by the book's curse, but he had to close them again as the wind grew stronger. Pages flipped, snow shifted, and after a moment, Sienna's lifeless body fell onto the floor. The smoke within her flowed into the book's empty pages, forming new text in the same Abyssal language. Howling wind blew through the broken windows and into the winter night outside, and last trails of black smoke went with it.
        Silence filled the mansion once again, and the Assassin looked around the study. Sienna was lying on the floor, on her right side, Tadeo's sword still sticking out of her abdomen. A puddle of blood had formed under her body. The hooded man walked next to her and knelt down. Her once blue eyes were slightly open, lifeless and grey. He closed them with his right hand, then stood up and examined his own wounds. Metal shrapnel had penetrated his right arm and scratched his face. After chuckling sarcastically, he approached the pedestal and looked at the book. Its pages weren't eerily immobile in the silent wind as before.
        "The curse has been lifted," he said in a smug tone, then turned to the page where the medallion was hanging. "And with the help of this, I'll postpone my own cursed fate." The Assassin grabbed the artifact with his right hand, then inspected it. Red gemstone in the middle of darkened gold was ominous enough even without the Abyssal curse. He smirked until a sudden bright red flash of the gemstone startled him. "What the--?" Black aura surrounded the medallion, and when it spread around the Assassin's hand, it began to shake from pain. He tried to drop the artifact, but he couldn't move his tense fingers. "Dammit! One setback after another!" Once the aura spread to his eyes, he saw dark visions, violent images of things in motion:
        An army of Abyssal creatures in underground caverns making their way to the surface, giant monsters with multiple limbs leading them, and a group of shadowy humanoids overlooking their arrival from the edge of a tall cliff. One of them in particular had the silhouette of a knight, and their grey eyes turned to look at the Assassin as if he was standing behind them. The sound of a thousand whispering people invaded his mind.
        Ȑ̷̹̜̱̿̕o̴̰̬͐̈́d̶̮̭̆͠ỏ̸͍̺l̵̞̋͆̂f̷̽ͅ.̶͂͌̽͜.̶̦̊.̵͚̙̔ ̴͎͕͛̃͐T̶̩͂ō̶̦ư̴̥̪̺r̸͖͇̓̀́ņ̵͙̖̿̂a̷̦̖̭͝m̶̝͓̩̓̔e̸̤͚̅n̴̨̦̿̅̿t̸͓̾̄.̶̥̿́͝.̶͇͊.̵̩͝ ̶͇̹̍͌C̸̗̠̑̄͗͜h̶̬̄a̴̲͘m̶̧͐p̸̛̪i̴̳͉̹͛̌̓o̸̮͐̇n̶̟͈̄.̶͈̺̘̉̋̕.̵̡͂͆̾.̵̧̜̓̏ ̴͔́̐͐M̵̼͠e̴͖͋̆͘r̴̛͓̞̓̕-̴̥̰̣͆̈-̶̝͈͂
    Marked by the Abyss
  •     "What happened next?" Sir Killian's stoic voice brought Rodolf's mind back from his memories. Pale crescent moon shined in the horizon and the night sky was filled with stars. Leaves of the forest rustled with the quiet wind and the sound of night animals echoed in the distance. It had been weeks since the group had left Werther Fortress. A campfire was burning nearby the contestants' tents, and Rodolf and Sir Killian were sitting on wooden logs right next to it, drinking ale while the other was sharing his story. The Assassin took a swig before answering the Hunter Knight's question.
        "Well, while I was being tormented by every Abyssal necromancer's dream, the other scouts found my unconscious body, buried the girl outside, let the two white horses loose, then began their journey home. They said I slept a whole day, and I didn't let go of the medallion until I finally woke up." Another swig, then Rodolf leaned towards Killian while the Assassin pointed at the black marks around his eyes. "These appeared when the ungodly spell took a hold of me! And my right arm hasn't been the same either. But luckily, this new stage of sickness hasn't gotten worse."
        "The Abyssal sickness," Sir Killian said gravely and took a swig from his mug. "Everyone who battles Akons will be infected by it. And for each battle won, it gets worse, slowly eating away our bodies, minds, and eyes. So," The Hunter Knight drank the rest of his ale. "No matter how hard battles we survive," he calmly put the empty mug onto a wooden log next to him. "Even harder battles await."
        "Why are you telling the obvious?" Rodolf asked with rolled eyes before finishing his own ale mug.
        "That's how my teacher used to say it," Sir Killian said with a hint of nostalgia while looking at the campfire, then he smiled a bit. "And sometimes the old man shouted how we were more stubborn than the worst bone-headed Akons he had ever slain..." He chuckled, and Rodolf cracked a smile as well as he put his mug next to Killian's. The Hunter Knight's face turned serious again when he looked at Rodolf's black marks. "Why did you search for the medallion in the first place?" The Assassin slowly stood up while stretching and yawning.
        "I might tell you later. We've been chatting for way longer than I first anticipated, and now I am too tired to think about that mission." He walked past Sir Killian and towards his tent, which was the furthest away from the campfire. After a couple of steps, he raised his left hand at the Hunter Knight even though he didn't turn to look at him. "It's Eli's turn to keep watch now. Goodnight."
        Morning arrived a couple of hours later, and the group resumed their journey through the vast wilds to the Tournament City.
  • Hey everyone! I hope you've all had a warm and sunny summer so far!

    I'm deeply sorry for keeping you all waiting for two long months without any status updates or tournament progress. The tired old reason for my absence is "life happened," but that's pretty much the case with every cardsmith here who comes and goes. But the players of this tournament deserve to have some explanation on why I haven't continued this competition even though I really, REALLY have wanted to (and still want to!)

    Long story short, I had a small writer's block, which only got worse as I had to face other growing problems. Bills kept piling up, money was running out, and we had some confusions with income support. Almost had to move away from the apartment, but thankfully it didn't have to come to that. Right now the situation is a bit better: We've managed to pay the bills, but the support hasn't come through yet, so we have very little money at the moment. But we'll still manage for a while at least!

    I very much would like to resume this competition from where we left off, if enough players still want this to go on. I realize that not everyone might be prepared to get back into this immediately, but I will still continue the main story and the matches until Round 2 is finished at least.

    Since so much time has passed, would you guys like to get onto Round 2's matches right away, or do you still want to see the side event which I mentioned at the end of First Checkpoint post? I had already planned some semi-important story elements and cards for the event, but I don't think skipping it would cause too much trouble. (Please read the whole checkpoint post again, then post any feedback you might have in mind! I'm still planning to include Random Encounters for the remaining players during Round 2.)

    If you guys don't want to jump back into the game immediately, we can do the unofficial TOC Beach episode which was mentioned earlier. I think it would also be a good event for warming up writing skills after a long break. If we're doing this one, then I think we won't be doing the other event which I had planned before Round 2. Doing both events would probably take too long, but I'll leave the decision up to you, the players.

    While I wait for your answers, I'll prepare us for Round 2 by writing your arrival to the city and by making cards for new important characters you'll meet and new places you'll see!
  • I would like to do things as they were planned please!  And of course random encounters, side events, and the beach episode.  Time for Kaigan to get a wee bit drunk!

  • As planned, definitely. Gotta start looking for Tina art after all.
  • You underestimate Sturgar's beach volleyball skills.
  • I think the beach episode would be fun! as for the random/side encounters, I'm indifferent
  • a beach episode would be hilarious.
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