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

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  • I'm sorry I'm sorry I've been working on it I have stuff written up with E2W I just need to find the time to sit down and compile it and post and it's also got old stuff with Kumo and my stuff from before...
  • No prob! Take your time, I just want to make sure we keep this tournament going!
  • @shadow123 I'll start something on Saturday if I'm not able to set up a good time to interact with @feralitator and @Usaername. I think that's been our biggest hurdle.
  • I will extend the deadline a few days to April 9th so that people have a little more time, since that's the memo I'm getting from people so far.
  • I apologize I haven't been able to work on anything yet. I mayyyyyyy be able to write something by the 9th, but I have two exams this week and an essay to write, so idk how much time I'll have.
  • I can go to April 11th probably so that y'all have the weekend too but that's probably the farthest I'll go
  • Oritira slumped onto the bed.  One of the few good things about mattresses, she mused, was the fact that they never dug into you.  While it was way too soft and it felt like it was swallowing her alive, right now she felt she could do with being swallowed by something.  Her own cause could be turned against her, and it might be if the people running the tournament determined that she wasn't meant to win.  Lost in her swirling, muddied, darkening thoughts, she nearly missed the light scratching at her door.  Nearly.  Her time in the wilds had helped her come to grips with using other senses besides sight; most people were incredibly unaware of things they heard or smelled.

    "Coming Kumo!"

    She opened the door for the doggo happily.  She was sure he'd be able to brighten her day, or at least clear things up.

    Kumo made his way in with a look of worry on his face. After the druid had left during their previous conversation, he could tell his words had been troubling her. She hadn't even stuck around for the followup with Michio, and the encouragement he had offered him. He was hoping he could help ease the druid of her worries, and keep her from being consumed by her worries.

    "I haven't seen you in multiple hours?" he asked with concern. "Are you alright?"

    "I... don't know.  Audhild confirmed what I thought; she didn't know the ring was corrupted at all, and yet it still overtook her.  I managed to convince her I think to help out a little by just spreading awareness, but that's hardly a victory.  From what you said it sounded like anyone out there with a truly good agenda was susceptible to having it turned dark... cruel.  I... I threw lives away to defend myself Kumo.  I didn't think that I could, but I sacrificed countless small animals to live for seconds longer.  I felt certain I wouldn't be revivable after her attacks and I panicked.  If I can do such a thing which goes so against anything I would normally do?  What's to say that I couldn't be turned?  What's to say that the people here could turn me like they did with Audhild's ring?"

    Oritira sounds panicked.  Scared. Unlike her confidant self who would be willing to stroll into the gates because she had a cause.  She is clearly doubting herself, worried that her very reason for coming here would end up being used to drive away the goddess she sought to bring back.

    Kumo stayed quiet a moment after, thinking over his words. "You're... You're right," he eventually admitted outright. "The Abyss can claim man, beast, and even god. It offers power to people who want power, who think they need power, and it gives it to them. It gives them what they want at the cost of their sanity, their very being. There's nothing to say that couldn't happen to you..."

    He paused.

    "...if you continue to doubt yourself like this.

    "The reason people take the Abyss' power is because they believe they don't have the power themselves to accomplish their goals, achieve their desires. It is tempting, it is incredibly hard to resist, but the only way you can begin to overcome it is to believe you have all the power you'll ever need, because you do!

    "Look, I understand the turmoil within you. You were scared. When we first meet the Abyss, whether it be as a temptress or as a foe, it's scary. It's hard to think sensibly when you're scared, especially with the threat of death looming over you. When you allowed yourself to sacrifice animals to save yourself, you did it because you felt there was no guarantee you could actually be revived from what, for most, is the end. You worried that if you died your cause would die with you, and you allowed that doubt to twist your beliefs and morals."

    Kumo sighed a bit before he continued. "You were not affected by the Abyss, and yet you acted in a way that someone affected by it would. The Abyss... doesn't control people. It is dark, it is twisted, but it is not controlling, not directly. In the end, while the Abyss influences us, the Abyss does not make choices for us; we do. When someone succumbs to the Abyss, they let their fear, their doubt, their insecurities guide their actions, and it's hard to think sensibly when you're scared.
     
    "It's not easy to keep yourself level-headed in a moment of fear, or doubt, or insecurity. I've been practicing for years, and I still have moments of weakness, moments where I fear the Abyss could claw its way to me. However, the only way to truly overcome the Abyss is to believe in yourself, and in your values, and ensure you hold those values above all else. If you encounter the Abyss again, you can stand proud and know that you won't do what you did last time, that you'll find another way. That is where true power comes from: belief, not the Abyss."

    "Yeah.  But.... well.  What else am I to think?  I won that fight through luck it seems.  If the bear didn't get her, I was without a chance."

    “Better to be lucky than good,” Kumo replied jokingly, unaware the truth his words would have just mere hours in the future. 

    “It wasn’t luck that the bear showed up,” he then replied on a more serious note. “It may have been an unnerving victory against a force you had never encountered, but you used the skills you had to survive and come out victorious. Don’t discount that.”

    "I don't know I can pull off another win if whoever I fight next is abysally influenced..."

    Oritira hums a bit in consternation.

    "I haven't even checked who I'm fighting next.  Who I need to train for. Is there any way to consistently physically defeat the abyss?"

    "I'm not sure I've been keeping track of the bracket well enough to recall who you're facing next," Kumo admitted. "But whoever it is, I hope for an honorable duel. While everyone has the chance to succumb to the Abyss, I don't foresee many of our current competitors having active ties to the Abyss," he paused, "then again, I didn't expect Audhild to, but having and spreading paranoia will only lead to worse results.

    "If you want to battle the Abyss in the physical realm, you have to train yourself well. Most Abyssal monsters that actually attack don't want to tempt others; they merely want to unleash their power against the world. They are dangerous, of course, but with the skills you have, and the skills you develop, you can overcome them."

    "From what Audhild said, she didn't know she had any ties.  So... it is possible someone replaced her normal ring.  Such corruption inside though would be troubling."

    "The most we can do is prepare oursevles," Kumo stated determinately, "and not let the demons inside us guide us down a path from which we can't emerge."

    "That is fair.  You've faced this sort of being before.  Can you... teach me?  It'd be good to train with a friend."

    "Of course," Kumo replied with a nod, smiling kindly at her.

  • Ushri rushed down the slope of the mountain, twigs and brush shoved aside as she flew like the wind. She wasn't a hero, hell she wasn't even from this place. But people needed help and she had a sword and today, that was enough.

    "MEKA! WE GOTTA GO!" 

    Meka looked down at the limp monkey, his once wild eyes now closed. Meka reached down, taking the bottle cap from his fingers and sliding into her pocket.

    "I'll be back for you." She whispered, before rushing down after her companion.

    Oritira closed her eyes and breathe in deeply. She could smell the aberration, extension crushing the beautiful natural fragrance.

    If Kumo can fight these frequently, I  can handle this one.

    Eyes flying open, she took a stance staff aimed straight at the monster that pulled itself out in the front of her. Again, as with the last time she had fought vines whipped out to restrain the monster. However, this time there was no holding back. Violent and jagged thorns laced the edges of the natural bindings. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Ushri and Meka approaching.  Nothing really needed to be said, they could tell that this monster wasn't from her. Either they were trying to get to safety or they were going to help. The second would be far more welcome.

    A shot rings out as Meka fires on the creature.

    "What is this think Oritira?" she shouts.

    Ushri is circling it, hand on her sword, trying to find a weak point.

    "Something from the Abyss come to wreak havoc!"

    There is no true weakness to this thing, it's form shifting across its body.  The shot buries itself into the inky black and doesn't come out, and while it did appear to hurt the monster, it didn't slow or acknowledge the wound as it sealed over.  The vines Oritira used began to disintegrate, turning to dust and ash as the monster reached out to slash Ushri with wicked talons.

    "Your will is weak, elf.  Your cause is ill served facing me, and your goddess will only exacerbate the issue.  She is the godess of honor and nobility, human concepts."

    Oritira couldn't formulate words to retort with as the weight of the monster's presence numbed her reason.  She pressed on though, trying to ignore the weight in her head as she sent a ghostly swarm of vees to harass the corporeal body of it.

    Ushri's mind was electric as the beast reached for her. No weakness. Impossible. Everything had a weakness.

    She looked around, they were on the outskirts of the town. A few civilian structures surrounded them and the treeline wasn't that far away. Wait...the treeline...THAT WAS IT!

    Ushri went limp and fell to the ground, narrowly avoiding the slash from the monster's talons. Scrambling back to her feet she yelled out to her companions.

    "KEEP IT BUSY, I HAVE A PLAN!" before dashing off into the woods.

    Oritira nods, launching forms of animals, vines, and even taking swipes with her staff at the monster.  Trying to stay light on her feet, she bobbed and weaved around it as it increased it's physical and mental assault on her.

    I can do this.  Kumo can, so I should be able to too!

    "Kumo is part of a well-trained regiment of soldiers, and even then they suffer casulties when they try to take on the abyss.  They're armed with holy weapons.  You're throwing twigs and running around; what hope do you have in defeating me?  Your magics are nothing, you are nothing.  I could paralyze you and tear you in half, then move on to those two rogues."

    It laughs, an unsettling laughter.  A laughter that chills the bone and the air around it. And with that laughter comes a dark miasma.  A flow of vile black fog leaks from it's mouth, driving the brightness and the lushness away from it.  The bright green grass withers, but in it's place pops up dark, poisonous vines.

    Oritira freezes in horror and gasps as it touches her.  The mist is acidic on her skin, burning and eating away at the patch that it touches.  It's replaced by something dark, grey, and much tougher.  A corrupted scale of sorts, perhaps, or something like rhinocerous skin.  She pulls away, tripping over the evil vines that are spreading around.  That leaves a burn mark too though, a blister quickly forming.

    Oritira had only one potential thought.  An old spell... one of the first she used in the wilds.  It wouldn't work on it's own though; it was meant to make water in the wilderness pure.  Perhaps it could clear the grass if it was altered.  Perhaps.... 

    Meka dances around the creature, continuing her barrage, the shotes simply disappearing into the beast with no discernible effect. Meka, for all her prowess, wasn't like Ushri. Where Meka's strength lay in her physical attributes, Ushri was the tactician. Sure Meka could bash some heads or break some bones, but against a threat like this...all she could do was stall.

    "Ori!" She shoutes to Oritira, "If you've got any ideas, now's the time!"

    "I'm trying something!"


  • She breathed in and tried to let the fight fall away.  Focus on the spell.  Purification.  Not killing, but curing.  Each blow against this beast seemed to do nothing, so why strike? Why not try to cleanse instead?

    The pressure in her mind lifted, and the monster paused, confused.  It then shrugged and kicked Oritira hard, knocking her back.  She didn't resist the kick, falling with it but focusing on the spell.  She lay there on the grass, motionless as the monster turned to the person who had been pestering it with bolts.  It charged, but Meka could tell that it's movements were slower now.

    A battle won by a thousand blows is the same as a battle won with a single punch. Still, making sure Ori could stay alive long enough to deliver those blows was starting to seem more and more impossible.

    Shot after shot, hit after hit. Meka was doing her best...but against this?

    "HEY!" That voice, like sunbreak after a thunderstorm.

    Ushri had returned, standing atop one of the roofs in the town. In her arms was what appeared to be a bamboo tube contraption now aimed squarely at the shadow monster.  But Ushri had not come alone. On the adjacent roofs now stood a veritable army of monkeys, each with their own bamboo tube.

    "THIS IS FOR BEER MONKEY." 

    A chorus of "Ooks" rings out followed by the crack of explosions. Ushri had gathered some gunpowder from Meka's bag and a few empty cans to create an armory of makeshift cannons. Would they truly harm the beast? Not in any way that mattered. But they would buy time, and for now that was good enough.

    "Ori! We got you covered! KEEP CASTING" Meka rushed in, filled with renewed energy as the assault continued.

    They've got me covered...

    The spell starts to grow with power, and the tubes full of debris start to shower their contents over the abyssal creature.  The monster finally begins to sense the effect, the dreaded warmth, the glow of purification.  The spell isn't divine which makes it less effective, but it's still the greatest threat so far.  The patch of grass it had turned to poison now was a blooming mess of flowers.  The miasma?  Dispersed into harmless minor rain.  It's feet start to crack, turning from black void to something solid and grey.  It turns again to stomp out Oritira's spell, slamming it's mental might against her, stopping toying around.  Black versions of the vines whip out at the simian soldiers and their conniving commander, attempting to either kill them or drive them off, the monster didn't care.  It had a weakness now, something that could be physically attacked with meaning.

    For her part, Oritira lay on her back, ignoring the world around her.  The grass around her started to cocoon and protect, a meaningless shield to a blade or a bolt, but impenetrable to corruption.  Grass heals and grows fast, and it's not just one plant.  It's a string.  It's 


    "USHRI! IT'S REAL NOW!" Meka shouts, loading up another set of rounds into her lance.

    Ushri smiles "Wicked." with a clean and comfortable flick, she unsheathes her sword and leaps from the roof, stabbing her sword into a blackened vine and cutting it as she slides down.

    Dashing forward Ushri meets with Meka and the two share a glance, before high fiving and raising their weapons.

    "Slice and shoot?" Ushri says

    "Slice and shoot!" Meka nods

    The two dip off to either side, moving in sync as they, well, slice and shoot the now vulnerable spots on the creature. Surrounded by cannoneer monkeys, a powerful druid still casting midspell, fighting a monster from a world beyond. She felt a little weird about it, but Ushri was loving her life more and more by the second.

    The magic was quite strenuous, but with the monster's form being destroyed, Oritira pushed on.  If this alone was enough to get rid of it-

    "This is merely a nuisance....."
    The abomination grunts as more items hit it, and more of it crumbles.
    "You've rejected me once, but know I'll be back again.  Whenever you feel yourself doubting yourself, my offer will be there."

    And with that it crumbled, drifting back to whence it came.
  • THANK YOU @East2West and @Arceus8523 for working with me on these interactions.  @shadow123 I hope this is a viable way to take care of the issue; I was struggling to think of an effective way to deal with the threat and so decided to try and use positive energy on the thing.  Italics are telepathic bits or glances into Oritira's mind.
  • @DrakeGladis Thank you! This is amazing
  • An attempt was made at an interaction, but it doesn't seem like we can quite get our schedules to line up. I'm working on something for Mia and Michio now,
  • (Shortly after Kumo's Round 1 Victory.)

    It had all been such a rush. At the brink of defeat, when he was doubting his own abilities, he felt it. Felt herFriyena. She may still be missing, but she was far from gone. She, or at least some power associated with her, had helped him. It gave him faith, gave him strength. It was power, a power all his own, and one he hoped he could carry with him, in the metaphorical sense at least. With the Abyss getting stronger by the day, he could only hope he could keep strong and resist anything it could tempt him with.

    Regardless of what exactly had happened during the match, Kumo knew that he had become wrapped up in something far greater than the tournament now. Of course, he had mentioned to Michio previously that this was not just a tournament, but a greater war, but he had rather suddenly become central to it. He got a sense that there was now some kind of divine plan for him, and honestly, that scared him as much as it could comfort him.

    By now, people were already starting to give him glances and stares, moreso than just him being a dog in such a grand tournament. He got the sense people were looking to him now, like he was some kind of leader for them, or at least someone who knew what to do. And sure, Kumo had given advice and words of encouragement to his fellow competitors before, but what he knew was common knowledge to any Knight of Friyena. If he was suddenly brought forth before the king and asked how they could lead an attack against the Abyss or, heck, defend against Septhis' (now seemingly) inevitable uprising, he wouldn't have any clue. He had been taught to protect, not to lead!

    Kumo took a minute to compose himself. As his mind grasped for a source of comfort, the first thing he thought of was all the people he had met during the competition: Ushri, Oritira, Claire, Syr Cedric's Squire, Michio, even Ozge. They had given him support and comfort he had felt sorely lacking since he left his order of knights. Heck, to some degree, it went even deeper than that. He felt like they would be there for him, and like he could trust them. He might be walking a path unknown, but he would be walking it with friends alongside him each step of the way.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    Kumo will not be getting an upgraded card this round. I'm pretty happy with his mechanics and he fits the general mechanical theme I've been doing for my entry cards well. Thus, in leu of that, my official card entry for this round will be another companion card.


  • Well written! Thank you @Arceus8523 !
  • (During the Abyssal Attack. Special thanks to @Lujikul and @Aggroman15 for lending me their characters and working with me me to create the plot for the scene.)

    Kumo had been making his way from the juice bar to the notice board the attack had begun. He had been heading there to check the match pairings for the next round, but it swiftly became questionable whether the next round would be happening at all. As soon as the rift had appeared, he had jumped back from it, not from direct fear, but from caution. People yelled to save him, but he didn't need saving, not any more.

    Kumo watched in shock as the massive creature climbed its way up from the crevasse. It was a towering monster, easily two stories tall and probably larger. Kumo's ears flattened to his head on instinct. He had fought Abyssal horrors before, but they had been small, never bigger than a human, and seemed quite meager compared to this beast. Regardless, after that moment of doubt a swell of courage filled him and he got himself ready to fight.

    Luckily, though, Kumo swiftly found out he was far from alone in this fight. "Kumoooooooo!" the voice cried out, and the dog saw a young man running toward him, one he recognized as a tournament-runner: Aki. "I... I..." he panted a moment, catching his breath. "I though I saw you out here. I... The Abyss, it's here. I-I want to help you!"

    Kumo gave the prince a look of surprise. From what he had seen of Aki thus far, he had taken the young man to be unprepared, and a bit too reckless for his own good.

    "I'm well versed in sword fighting," the prince insisted, being able to glean Kumo's doubt from his facial expression, "and I know about the Abyss, more than most people."

    This garnered some interest from Kumo, and the prince spoke up once more before Kumo could have a chance to respond to those first comments. "I..." the prince glanced to the side, "I might not be the man my father is, not yet at least, but I know he would fight this thing if it meant giving his people a chance to flee to safety. It's his duty as king; it's my duty as prince."

    To this, Kumo gave a firm nod, and readied himself while the prince drew his blade. The beast by now was starting to approach, though rather slowly due to its titanic size and need to build up momentum to move properly. "I'll help too," a voice said from behind, and Kumo saw his juice-drinking companion had joined them, "as a knight, it is my duty to protect the people, regardless of how far I am from my homeland."

    Admittedly, beyond just the duty to protect the people, Navor's mind wandered to Jacks, both in the need to protect the people as a means of honoring his memory and in what that voice had told him. Was Jacks really still alive? Could he actually be out there...? Down there...? 

    A yip from Kumo caused Navor to snap out of his thoughts, and he shook his head. "U-Uh right!" Figuring out what happened to Jacks was for later. Dealing with this immediate threat was for now.

    "I'm going to charge it head-on," Aki stated. "That should distract it and buy you two enough time to flank it from behind."

    With that, the three got to work, Aki charging forward while Kumo and Navor ran off to the side as if they were fleeing.

    Across the plaza, as the three had been discussing their plan, Syr Cedric's squire had been making their way back to the contestants' quarters when the attack had broken out. The second it did, the helmet of their mentor rattled and the spirit-knight swiftly popped out in radiant golden glow. "Go!" he commanded his protégé. "My oath is to protect you. I'll stay so you have time to get to safety!"

    To this, the squire turned to the spirit. "'A knight ought to strive to protect those in need before they protect themselves,'" they quoted, jokingly mimicking Syr Cedric's haughty tone as they did. "I'm not going anywhere."

    Syr Cedric raised a finger to interject with concerns of his quire's safety, but paused, and couldn't help but swell in radiance from pride. "Then you fight to protect those in need, and I'll fight to protect you."

    With that, the squire turned to the beast, taking a breath in as they steadied themselves. Syr Cedric took a position at the back, and the two made their way toward the monster, who appeared to be distracted with something.

    That something, of course, was Aki.

    The prince cried out as he raised a glimmering blade. "Hey, meatface! Over here!" he cried, the shadowy horror lowing its head to gaze upon the prince. It then roared, creating a wind that threatened to blow the young man back, though he held his ground. It then began to charge, taking large steps that quaked the earth with loud thuds. However, he was luring it right in position for Navor and Kumo.

    Navor had climbed a taller tree, just out of the way of the rampaging beast's path. Kumo remained on the ground, accompanied by Navor's double. Once the beast got close, Navor leapt from his tree and sailed toward it with sword in hand, he stepped it into the side of the beast's neck, though it only seemed to scratch the titanic creature's hide. Regardless, he sailed down the creature's neck, with the sword piercing the creature's skin, albeit only shallowly. The beast for its part slowed its advance on Aki as it was distracted by Navor. It began to shake and twist its neck, trying to throw Navor off. who was slowly using his sword to scale down the beast and reach the ground.

    On the ground, in the meantime, Kumo and Navor's double used this moment of distraction and relative stillness from the beast to launch an assault on its legs, hoping to make it lose its balance and topple over. Similarly to Navor, the double seemed to be having difficulty doing sufficient damage to the massive creature, the shadowy blade hardly making a scratch on the beast's outer hide. Kumo's blade, however, cut clear through one of the beast's toes—each of which was larger than he was—with minimal effort, causing the creature to howl in pain and lift its foot.

    Aki looked to Navor up on the beast, then down to the foot, and noticed that he and his double seemed to be having trouble. However, he didn't have much time to comment, as in its pained flailing, Navor lost grip of his sword and began to fall to the ground. He cried out in panic. However, much to his surprise, he was caught by the golden glow of Syr Cedric, while his squire was frivolously hacking at the beast's leg, not drawing much attention from the beast, who was still recoiling from losing a toe.

    "Thanks," Navor panted, staggering to his feet and taking a second to regain his composure.
  • "Do none of you have silver blades?" Aki cried out to the lot of them, everyone turning their attention to him, even as they dodged out of the way of the beast nearly stomping Kumo as it got back to its feet.

    "Of course not! Silver is too soft to use in jewelry, let alone a sword!" Syr Cedric replied, his tone indicating he felt the fact was obvious.

    Kumo, however, barked in approval, proudly displaying his weapon. Silver blades were standard equipment for Friyena's knights, forged by blacksmiths with special techniques and some subtle magic to allow the metal to hold. 

    "It's the only thing that will be effective against Abyssal monsters like this," Aki replied, reaching to a pack on his back and suddenly pulling out another four blades similar to his own. "It's a good thing I carry extras."

    "You were just carrying multiple silver swords around?" Navor asked, raising an eyebrow, though this was obscured by the mask. However, a roar from the beast got the group's attention. "Oh, neverminded," he swiftly grabbed one of these blades. He had lost his when he fell from the monster anyhow. Syr Cedric, the squire, and Navor's double soon followed suit.

    The lot of them now stood huddled in a group, each of them with a sword in hand—or maw in Kumo's case. "You know, I probably should've ran when I had the chance," the squire remarked as they stared down the beast, who was beginning to charge them, the tone attempting to be lighthearted despite the audible panic in it.

    "But you chose to stick around," Navor replied in turn. "We all did."

    "Then let's make sure we can keep doing that," Aki replied in turn. "With this many of us we can surround it. Try to cut off its hands and feet."

    The group nodded, and quickly scattered just before the Abyssal monster could crush any of them. After that, each began making their way around the Abyssal horror. Navor was the first to take a swipe at the creature, going for the end of its tail, and compared to his usual sword, Aki's silver blade seemed to cut through the creature like butter. Well, perhaps not that easily, but much more easily than the other blade. This cut the end of the tail off, and caused another howl of pain from the beast, who swiftly turned to the one responsible.

    The horror was about to pounce Navor. However, it stopped short as it yelped in pain again, this time thanks to a blow to its back left heel by Syr Cedric. It stumbled some, but then tried to swipe at Kumo. Aki quickly came to the dog's aid, and stopped the beast short by cutting a finger clean off, accompanied by Kumo dodging just shy of being hit by the swing.

    The beast roared again, and got more frantic and erratic with its motions, clearly both pained and enraged. On the other side of the beast, Syr Cedric readied a slash against the remaining tail tail, covering for his squire who was alongside him and about to get hit by the partially-hacked-off appendage. As he sliced off more of the beast's tail, the squire got a decent gash into one of the horror's heels.

    The beast then swiftly turned its attention to the pair. It swiftly raised a hand to try to crush Syr Cedric, whose stance faltered as he lost his balance attempting to pivot to meet this attack. The spririt-knight braced for the blow, but his squire swiftly leapt in front of him, and raised their sword, cutting the hand clean off in one swift, well-formed motion, causing the beast to howl out and shake the now-handless arm furiously. Syr Cedric for his part was quite speechless, merely looking at the squire impressed. This was swiftly followed by Kumo managing to hack one of the monster's feet off, making it stumble back and over, streams of dark, shadowy wisps now oozing out of it like gaseous blood in multiple places.

    It swiftly lost its balance and collapsed over, flailing around on the ground violently, the group all around it needing to dodge various appendages that came flying at them. Navor took this chance to have his double leap in and attempt to get as much damage against the beast as possible. The double was able to swiftly blind the beast with a well-placed slash, and cut off the monster's other hand as it bit the ghostly figure clean, through, which evaporated and absorbed back in to Navor.

    Now, with the beast severely crippled, Kumo saw an opening and jumped in. He rolled to the side of one of the beast's legs as it blindly swatted and flailed around in an attempt to shoo the dog away. However, being smaller than a human, it was much easier for Kumo to dive and weave his way around the writhing monstrosity. Soon, he made it up to the monster's head and ran his prized blade into it with a steady, prolonged motion, slicing the skull in half.

    Immediately after, the beast crumbled and shriveled, losing its form and turning into a black, ashen dust. It flew and swirled around as if caught up in a breeze before flying back down into the rift from whence it came. The group panted a moment as they settled down from the battle, then Kumo howled victoriously, the rest of the gang to the echo. They had done it!

    However, not long after, the sounds of screaming in the distance snapped them back to the current moment. "We must help people evacuate," Aki said sternly, "and help fight any of the other Abyssal horrors out attacking."

    The group nodded and swiftly headed off to continue their mission.
  • Yay thank you!! This is great
  • ㄥ~ Ẁ̷̦̰͐ͅh̶̯̩̍̀̓ő̸̯̗͑ ̶̻̊́̿Ç̷̼̫͝a̷̡̾̂͒ͅḻ̵̈́̑l̷̤̮̈́̑͝s̵̯̣̺̆ ̵̫͛F̷̬͍͈̈́̍r̴̺͛̌ŏ̸͍͎m̶͇̒ ̴̤̀͘͘ͅT̷̠͎̘͂͛̏ḧ̸̳͍̬́e̷̪̰͌͆͋ ̶̯̮̌ͅD̴̨̰̄̓ã̸͝ͅr̶̫̅͘k̷͓̞̙͑n̴̢͈̬̈́e̷̻͆͑ś̵͓̗͝͝s̸̞̎̈́̃?̴̢̓̒̍ — Part 1


    The cool weather was perfectly pleasant for training. Mia had had some time to practice with her staff in the dream world, but today she would practice for real. It held a heavy weight in her hands as she swung at the dummy, a simple weapon, but deceptively powerful in her grasp. 'Father was right giving me this weapon,' she thought to herself. 'It's perfect.'



    She struck with blow after blow on the target as she waited for her father, her practice in the dream made real. She tried a series of strikes, then single, powerful blows. Then, with all of her momentum-

    "Ack!"
    "Dad?"

    The staff flexed, refusing to break, as it missed its target wildly and struck something else. Mia had channeled her momentum into a fancy attack, only to go the completely wrong way and strike Michio in the gut. He flew back a fair bit onto his back, coughing from the force and a bit winded... if it weren't for his armor he'd probably have a broken rib!

    "Save... the acrobatics... for when you have more experience," Michio protested weakly. "That was a good strike... but in a real battle, that lapse in your awareness and accuracy... could have cost us the match."
    "Oh, dad I'm so sorry!" Mia apologized profusely, coming over to check on him. "Please tell me we don't need to take you to the tent!"
    "I'll be fine. Just need to catch my breath."

    Mia gave her father a hand and helped him up, and he got into position to do some proper practice. Mia definitely had an advantage now that she could use the flock, but Michio was fairly experienced. He also now had the power to partially control the flock himself, so it was going to be an interesting sparring match between the two.

    "Ready for me to show you what I can do with a sword, dear?" Michio suggested, chuckling.
    "I know what you can do, dad," Mia retorted. "But you don't know what I can do!"
    "I know some things that it's taken others decades to learn. I'm not holding anything back."
    "Don't push yourself too hard."
    "What's the worst that could happen?"

    The two readied their weapons, standing about fifty feet apart from one another. Michio is in an offensive position, while Mia stood in a defensive one. They paced, looking to see who was going to make the first move. Mia feinted a charge using part of the flock, only to use the charging form as cover for her actual form. Michio was smart enough to not fall for the ruse, seemingly disappearing for a moment as an empty can rolled across the field. Mia instinctively kicked it, only for a hand to reach out and yank her off her feet. Michio swung his blade down, and it clashed with a steel staff head. Michio pushed, and Mia twisted the staff before kicking him off... only it wasn't him, and suddenly, a sword whistled through the air. The form of Michio that Mia kicked away faded into the form of an empty mask, and she was barely able to deflect a sword plunge from his real form as she retreated into the flock and reformed a distance away.

    "I'm impressed," Michio complimented, chuckling. "You managed to escape my ruse."
    "Those masks are tricky work," Mia returned. "We definitely made a good choice on those. But I've got tricks of my own!"
    "Don't go easy on me."

    Mia threw a series of daggers at Michio, pulling bits of the swarm loose from her body to do so. He dodged them quite easily, only for the parts of the swarm she threw to form into a canine form and lunge at Michio's leg. He was tripped, and the dog managed to get into a decent position to bite him. He was able to kick it away, however, just before Mia's staff was able to strike him, and roll away from the site of impact. Clouds began to form overhead as Michio realized the two weren't getting anywhere here. So he went for something more vertical, running up a nearby tree and obscuring himself.

    "Well," Mia sighed, scratching her head. "This is something."

    She'd lost her target, but she had an idea on a way to find him. She dispersed herself into the swarm, her mask carried along by a small crane as the birds of the flock scattered through the leaves and trees around the training area. Without warning, Michio dove from the top of one of the them, heading straight for the bird holding Mia's mask, but as he struck the bird, it and the mask dispersed as well, and he was rapidly bound by thick razor wire, formed from the flock gathering around him.

    "Dammit!" Michio yelled out.
    "Caught you!" Mia called back from her proper form, hidden behind a tree.
    "Oh really?" Her father teased, a large smirk on his face. "You haven't gotten anything!"

    Mia was suddenly pinned against the tree as the form of Michio disappeared and his true form pressed against Mia. He was out of ruses, however, which gave Mia the perfect opportunity for one last gambit. As she twisted the swarm towards her father in the form of spikes, he swatted them away, only for them to suddenly take a more twisted form... an inky, sinister spike lashing wildly in no given direction...
  • I’m pretty busy right now, so I’ll get around to writing the special event this weekend. Feel free to continue posting lore though, it’ll only help your chances!
  • How is it going with this contest? 
    It has been silent for quite some time now. 

    @shadow123, are you doing alright?
  • @Jonteman93 Doing fine haha, I was actually just writing the special event finisher. I’m probably just going to keep the momentum going from now on rather than trying the special event because if seems I lost a lot of the momentum I had in the 1st round matches instead!
  • Using the paper cranes, Michio and Claire protected themselves from the flurry of shadows and claws that chased them as they ran. The beast's fierce roars shook what was left of the greenery around it.

    "We're almost there!" Claire shouted over the beast.

    Michio nodded. He gestured to Mia, who waved her hand. The flock's path quickly changed, further restricting the abyssal monster. They glowed a furious pink, circling the beast and blocking its movements, slowing the beast down as they distanced themselves. The three ran into a clearing where a library stood on the other end.

    "There it is!" Claire shouted, "The well!"

    She willed herself to run faster. She got to the well as the Dread Akarnai freed itself from its paper "chains". It rose into the air, finally able to stretch its wings towering over Michio and Mia.

    "No...no!" The well was almost dry. Claire would have to be resourceful.

    Mia drifted back to Claire's spot and closed her eyes. The world started to twist around them both, forming intricate spirals of grass in the air which levitated Michio above the dark monster.

    He lashed out with his sword, cutting one of its abyssal talons, but it quickly responded with its own jab. A fist of shadows pummeled Michio in the chest, causing his ribs to crack as he collapsed. The beast quickly turned its attention to Claire and Mia. Mia flickered out and faded back to Michio and the world returned to normal.

    The Dread Akarnai drifted down to Claire like a dragon descending upon its doomed prey. She dug her heels into the ground, summoning all the water she could from the well. The shadowy fist lashed out again but Claire blocked it with a large bubble of water. The beast roared again, causing Claire to lose her concentration. It attacked again with Claire frozen in place. However, dark claws missed. The beast cried out in pain. Its leg had been cleanly sliced off by Miyan's glistening blade.

    Silently, Miyan slashed again, nicking the beast another time. It turned to focus on Miyan and dove down from its low position in the air. Miyan rolled away and attacked again. The monster stopped the blade with ease this time, and yanked it from Miyan's hand. It started to bend the once shattered blade when a stream of water pummeled it in the face, causing the blade to fall from its hands.

    Miyan jumped up and caught it before a shadowy tail slammed him in the face midair. Miyan somehow landed on his feet, though with a bloody nose. Miyan readied himself again, in an uncertain stance. Claire was shaking beside him. Shadows from around the beast leapt out of its body towards the duo when suddenly they were halted in the air.

    A golden chain knocked all the shadows away and dragged the beast down to the ground. Two more chains closed around its jaws.

    "Get you sword, boy!" a commanding voice shouted. Rehela's left hand was extended, holding three chains of golden light.

    Miyan gathered himself together. He jumped up high above the beast with his sword in his hand again. The golden chains Rehela conjured suddenly snapped. It rose up and overpowered Miyan's forceful strike. The monk was thrown into a wall of the library. Melodie, who was watching in the distance rushed over to Miyan.

    Rehela unsheathed her own sword. She took a nervous step forward- it had been a long time since she had been in the heat of battle. Maybe over a hundred years. The Dread Akarnai drifted over to her slowly.

    Rehela jumped high and twirled in the air, dodging repeated attacks from the abyssal monster. She blocked attack after attack with her lightshields, but the monster kept pushing her back with its relentless attacks. There was no openings for her.

    "Over here!" Claire yelled. She blasted the monster with a weak jet of water, who responded by smashing the hydromancer backwards into a tree. That, however, gave Rehela all the time she needed. She disappeared under the beast, then sliced in a wide golden arc. Instead of blood, inky shadows poured out of the wound and retreated into the cracks in the ground. Rehela cut again, this time higher up. The monster roared one last time before melting back into the cracks in the ground.

    Rehela took a breath and surveyed the surroundings. She rushed over to Claire first, the closest to her. She quickly healed Claire before moving to Miyan who was fifty feet away propped against the wall by Melodie. Finally, Rehela circled back to Michio. She whispered a few words until she heard a crack where his bones were lodged back in place.

    "Come on," Rehela said, "We must all go straight back to the housing. The hosts will talk to us more about what we must do next."
  • The story shall continue as shadow123 has returned from the abyss of the end of the school year
  • edited June 18

    Chapter Sixteen - The Reawakening (Quarterfinals Match 1 - Intro)

    The remaining contestants were gathered in the dining hall they were welcomed by the king in, only the room was much gloomier. Instead of the radiant torches that lit up the hall, ominous lanterns hung around the room like spiders hanging down from their webs spreading its silky light throughout the dim room. Empty dishes lined the dirty table– it was clear that the palace was less attended to all of a sudden. However, the biggest difference was the empty throne that sat at the end of the table.

    Rehela cleared her throat and the little chatter that filled the room died out.

    “So…as you all know,” Aki muttered, “Some things have changed in the city recently. The abyss-”

    As Aki said the words everyone seemed to flinch a little.

    “-is back and has entered the fortress of our cities. However, this tournament, we hope, has many people fit to help stop her. We commend you for your bravery and willingness to protect the town. However, this bravery has led…um…led to…”

    Aki trailed off, so the Queen sitting with Nyrea at the edge of the room stepped in. “Some acts of bravery have been rash and we care for your safety. And this bravery has led to the death of one of our proud hosts. Our king was captured by the abyss, but Aki still remains as our host. So, we will have some new restrictions upon the tournament. Contestants will now be moving into the walls of the castle. Here, we have much more protection from enchantments set by many of this castle’s protectors. Contestants will also be escorted to and from matches. Any contestants wishing to enter training grounds must check in with guards and have another contestant accompany them, if possible. We will try to keep everyone safe as much as possible. Now, Nyrine and I have some work to do.”

    The queen left with Nyrine.

    “Before you leave to pack, let’s overview the matches that will unfold tomorrow.”

    There was a weak cheer from Meka.

    Our first match, held in the city stadium will be:

    MIYAN @Usaername versus USHRI AND MEKA @East2West . Please get ready before your match and move all your things to the castle before then!

    ------

    (stay tuned for the next match, which will be posted on Sunday night!)

  • Chapter Seven: Clouds

    Miyan was dreaming again. He was back home, in the stone walls of Daonan Keep, where he knew every floorboard by its grains and every stone by their chips, but something was wrong. He knew this place, he was sure, but something about it... so unfamiliar. He placed it almost as soon as he had wondered, it was the whispers. Daonan Keep was supposed to be quiet, but a deafening chorus of incomprehensible whispers filled the empty halls.

    "Maybe you were right, to wait, brother. I can feel it stronger here. I'm drawn to it, as gravity draws water over rocks to the earth."

    Miyan turned to run, only to realize he already had been, but the whispers pursued him, seemingly just on his heels. Reaching the end of the corridor, he slipped trying to round the corner, falling hard onto his side and slamming into the stone wall. The whispers seemed to catch up, howling and rasping in his ears like the hiss of some great viper. They grew in volume, seeming to pierce directly through Miyan's hands as he used them to cover his ears, boring directly into his skull. He squeezed his eyes shut and hoped for it to end.

    "It's a dangerous draw, Idu, remember that. The closer you get, the stronger it will feel and the more you'll want to approach."

    And then it did end, and Miyan's eyes snapped open, and he was met with gloom, and the smell of dust, and quiet. That's right, of course. He was in the library, and as he shifted to stand up, his notebook fell from his knee and landed on the ground with a dull thud. As his eyes adjusted to the darkness, he looked around, taking note of the piles of books and spent candles, as well as Melodie's sleeping form somewhere next to him. Miyan picked up his notebook and flipped it open. Though the notes he had were still sparse, one name stuck out to him. Akuma... what, no, who was it? What significance did they hold? Miyan decided to dig further, but that would have to be later. He had a match to prepare for. Draping his cloak over Melodie, Miyan organized the books into neat piles before gathering his calligraphy supplies and collecting Naku Tsuki as he headed for the exit.

    "I take you for a fool then, for where are we looking if not closer? Surely you wouldn't send us on a suicide mission."

    The day that Miyan stepped into was grey and overcast. Clouds filled the sky, dark and angry, swirling and writhing, waiting to lash out with sheets of rain when the time came. Miyan's thoughts swirled in much the same way, roiling like a river through the channels of his mind, ebbing and flowing as questions formed and were dismissed, as theories were conceptualized and shelved for another time. Miyan tried his best to put the thoughts aside, and focus on the match ahead. He was nervous to face off against two opponents, but confident he was a more adept combatant than each of them individually. No one dies this time, he remembered Ushri saying, and as he set off into the city, he frowned, wishing that somehow it could be true.

    "Temperance, my brother. You mustn't cleave through the rocks, for the earth will not welcome you. Pool and eddy, let your surface be clear and unbroken, and you can resist. Now, tell me, trust in that force of water. Tell me which building we search."

    "I can feel the pull, Shozu my brother. We search the library."
  • Story cards:


  • @Usaername Thank you so much for your cards and story!

    The match will be dealyed until 9pm today night PST so that East has time to write. If possibl, but I won't delay past then.
  • edited June 21

    Chapter Seventeen - Match Nine (Intro, pt 2)

    “You need to tell me more. What exactly happened?” the queen asked Nyrine, “Who was this monster? Where was this grave?”

    “I don’t know.” Nyrine responded, “I have no idea what I saw. All I felt was cold. Darkness.”

    “There’s no connection you could’ve made? Nothing?”

    “Nope.” the seer paused, “I’m scared. What if-”

    “Stop. There are no what if’s. What will happen will happen. We just need to prepare ourselves to face the future. Maybe Friyena will show herself again.”

    “You think?”

    “I know.”

    “I wish I was as confident as you. I just don’t want these contestants to die.”

    —-

    “Miyan” a voice called out to Miyan from his spacious room in the castle, “It’s time for your match.”

    Miyan took a deep breath and stared at his once broken blade. He traced his finger along the faded silver, feeling Naku Tsuki’s ache for fresh blood.

    “Miyan.”

    “Yes, sorry. I’m coming.”

    —----------------------------

    Miyan stood atop the same building he had killed the viashino before. He knelt down tracing his fingers on the bloodstains across the concrete roof.

    What a bittersweet thing…rememberance.

    Miyan looked across to Ushri and Meka. They were young like him but none of them had suffered nearly as much as he had. He watched Ushri whisper a plan in Meka's ear.

    No one has to die tonight.

    Aki stood up and yelled: “Let the first quarterfinal match of this tournament begin!”

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

    @Usaername and @East2West Reminder that I won't make the final decision till 9pm PST today so you have time to add any other parts you feel like! This means that the match will be posted around 11pm PST


  • edited June 21

    Quarter Finals - Match 1, Part 1:

      @Usaername  VS  @East2West    

                             


    A fight is like a story. Every stroke a paragraph. Let your sword paint pictures with every move.

    “Stay here,” Ushri commanded Meka, “I can’t have you get hurt. Attack from long range since Miyan can’t. I will get in close to distract him.”

    Meka nodded, though evidently concerned. The concern, however, disappeared as she found a muffin in her pocket. Ushri sighed and dashed off towards the imminent danger ahead of her. Miyan closed his eyes, allowing the gentle wind to brush his hair. He felt an odd power throughout him as he unsheathed Naku Tsuki.

    Miyan considered his options carefully before running headstrong into Ushri’s attack. Their blades met in the middle of the stadium. The resounding sound of metal called a gasp from the audiences.

    Ushri pushed harder on the attack than Miyan. With a golden blade whirling in front of her, she seemed to attack Miyan from all angles. However, Miyan’s defense was almost impenetrable. Every attack was paired with an even better parry.

    “He’s better than I thought…” Ushri muttered.

    She tried to slash again at Miyan, but her blade met Naku Tsuki again close to the hilt. He twisted the sword causing Ushri to yelp and drop her blade in the awkward angle. Miyan kicked it off the edge of the tower.

    “Now!” Ushri commanded.

    Obediently, Meka fired a large projectile from her gunlance. It made a perfect arc in the air before crashing down in front of Miyan.

    Thinking quickly, Miyan sprung forward, tackling Ushri as Meka’s missile exploded. Throwing both Miyan and Ushri off the roof.

    “Argh!” Ushri shouted as she kicked the boy off her in midair.

    She grabbed a rotting windowsill as her opponent fell to the ground. Miyan landed softly below her and disappeared into the maze of buildings below. Ushri scaled the building slowly before reaching the rooftop again. However, Miyan was nowhere to be found.

    She looked over at Meka. “Ushri?” She shouted, “I’m scared. Where is he?”

    “I don’t know…”

    Ushri looked around carefully for a sign of anything. Nothing. The crowd was quiet, as though trying to aid the duo to find Miyan. A frigid wind swept across the buildings, sending shivers down Ushri’s spine. She scanned the buildings again. Still no sign of Miyan. Was he behind her?

    Just as Ushri turned her back from Mesa’s direction, Meka screamed.

    “Ushri!!!”

    She spun around again, but Meka had disappeared too from the rooftops.

    “Meka! Meka? Where are you?”

    Ushri jumped down into the streets in a panic. Explosions echoed through the winding alleyways as she ran to track the source.

    “Meka!”

    No no no….please don't let anything happen to her. Please.

  • Quarter Finals - Match 1, Part 2:

    Every story comes to an end. Some just come earlier than others, so we must fight to keep our stories alive.

    Right as Ushri turned around, Miyan seized his moment. He jumped up on the building behind Meka and leapt across the gap, landing right behind her. Miyan grabbed Meka and jumped backwards, dragging her down with him like Ushri had been taken moments ago.

    “Ushri!!!!” she yelled.

    They crashed down on  the filthy ground below. There was a jarring crack followed by a yelp from Meka. She had likely broken a bone or two. She scrambled towards her gunlance for protection, but Miyan threw one of his throwing stars at Meka and it embedded itself into her leg. The girl collapsed over her gunlance.

    Weakly, she held it up and fired at Miyan. He artfully dodged the attack allowing an explosion to reduce a building in the distance to rubble. Meka fired again and again to no avail. Miyan was just too fast.

    The monk closed in. Meka was now just slightly out of Naku Tsuki’s reach. Panicked, she fired again, but this time Miyan deflected it into the air, allowing a flare to reveal their position to the tense audience. The monk brought his blade down on Meka’s special weapon and another explosion caused Meka to soar back into the wall.

    “Meka!” A voice cried. It was Ushri. Miyan lowered his blade for a moment as Ushri checked the half-conscious Meka’s pulse. “She’s alive…”

    Why did I falter like that..? I must do what I was trained to do.

    Miyan continued forward. This time he fought more aggressively. He could feel the heaviness in Ushri’s arms yet still her desperateness with every block. She was doing this for Meka. Yet even her best wouldn’t be enough. It would take more than that to beat him.

    The monk stomped to draw attention away from his blade, then struck again, this time nicking the samurai’s shoulder. Ushri winced, but counterattacked quickly, leveling the damage with a slash that grazed Miyan’s face. Both of them moved with such finesse and precision, it would seem too perfect for anyone who could see into the shadowy alleys of the abandoned city.

    Ushri swept downwards, but Miyan jumped and quickly kicked his opponent in the face. Ushri stumbled backwards and Miyan raised his sword. However, he faltered for a moment.

    No death. No. No death.

    Despite Miyan’s efforts, Naku Tsuki started to feel heavy in his hands. The blade glowed a dangerous purple as it guided Miyan’s arms downwards to strike Ushri.

    “No!” There was a thud, then a splatter of blood. And then a scream. Miyan stumbled backwards, then there was another thud.

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