Open Chronicles The Tower of Tribulations

A roleplay open for anyone to join

Medja

Vizier of Stars
The Empire
Messages
241
Character Biography
Link
...A week ago...
The number of fight pits and gladiatorial arenas within the great Imperial city of Annuakat was surprisingly many, but as Medja of Ragash had searched for an appropriate venue for her latest machinations she had found all of them to be lacking. So it was that she'd made her way to a familiar, wide open ring to pay a visit to the arena's manager.

"Whatever modifications you need made, mistress, I assure you we can make them. Given appropriate time and funding, this entire arena can be made to fit whatever you desire." Zufar, the manager had promised in his efforts to satisfy Medja's impossible expectations. Thankfully for the Vizier, she had something else in mind.

"That will hardly be necessary, Zufar. I have not the time to wait for whatever subpar stoneworkers you hire to build something on the scale I have in mind." Medja replied, visibly unimpressed by the portly man's attempts at appeasing her. "No, I will be making these changes myself. Rest assured that you will see returns in sales for the event I'll be staging here, and I'll return the arena to its prior state afterwards, should you see fit."

While Zufar stammered and sputtered on about the potential details of compensation and the Vizier's intended changes, Medja brushed past him and into the arena proper, already set upon her plans. She breathed deeply, summoning her vast wells of geomantic power from within, and went to work.



...A few days ago...
Annuakat had been a veritable swarm of talk and activity in the wake of the Vizier of Stars' announcement of a grand competitive event and her subsequent 'construction' of a massive, elaborate, solid stone tower in the center of a local arena. In truth, the thing had quite literally popped up overnight, owing to Medja's prodigious earth magic. Standing taller than the walls of the arena itself and supposedly stretching underground as well, Medja's announcement had dubbed it 'The Tower of Tribulations.' The structure was rumored to be filled with dangers and treasures alike, scattered across its many floors. Glory and riches awaited those who chose to participate in the game that would take place in the following days.

The tower itself was a conspicuous, but intricately made thing. Angular on the outside, it had many flights of stairs lining its outside that seemed to lead to other floors almost at random, most of which lacked any sort of rails to keep participants from falling off. Other sections of the exterior simply had platforms that lead neither up nor down. The interior was practically a labyrinth, an intentionally confusing mess of architecture meant to disorient those that traversed it. Some floors were comprised of tight corridors, dead ends, small rooms, and poor lighting; others were quite open, with windows that let daylight pour in from outside. Each floor was different from the last, bearing its own unique challenges. At both the zenith and nadir of the tower, particularly treacherous obstacles and valuable prizes awaited...

The arena, meanwhile, had been modified to suit this new addition in a number of ways. Aside from being restructured to properly contain the obelisk that now stood at its center, a number of large scrying crystals had been suspended in front of the stands so that activity that took place inside the structure could still be viewed by the audience. Sufficient queues had been constructed and manned in preparation for the likely thousands that would seek to attend the event, while Medja's own observation box had been revamped for both extra security and to better project her presence to the masses. No expense had been spared in assuring that the Tower of Tribulations was, to date, the most ostentatious event that the people of Annuakat had experienced.

Soon, warriors, athletes, mages, and aces from all across Liadain would gather to compete in the strange competition. For the first time in a long time, Annuakat was abuzz with excitement.



...Now...
Lines back out into the streets for blocks around the arena containing Medja's grandiose tower. The stands of the ring fill steadily, spectators from all over the Empire eager to witness the exhibition to come. Contenders wait on tenterhooks for the call to begin, numbering in the dozens. Medja herself reclined in a suitably luxurious, if gaudy chair in her observation box above the rest of the arena, feeling smug and satisfied with the turnout of her little game. Soon the mayhem and festivity would begin, and while she generally couldn't stand this sort of thing, she felt a warm glow of pride over the knowledge that she'd put it all together this time.

The rules that had been laid out for the participants were relatively simple: the goal was to score as many points as possible, and there were many ways to score points. For those that preferred to fight, incapacitating other contenders or ejecting them from the tower would earn you points; alternatively, there were autonomous defenders and beasts within the tower that could be slain for points. For those that wished to avoid fighting, there were certain floors that could only be passed by solving puzzles or circumnavigating traps; accomplishing these would also earn points. Finally, there were a number of foot tall, bronze statues hidden throughout the tower that could be acquired and held for points as well. Regardless of whether or not one wished to fight, all contenders shared the same arena and were thus fair game for both sets of rules.

No intentional killing was permitted. Being knocked unconscious or being ejected from the tower would transfer all of your points to the one who defeated you, or would simply cause their loss in the case you were knocked out or ejected by one of the tower's defenses. Staff mages were on standby to safely slow the descent of and catch anyone who was ejected from the tower, but ejection would result in disqualification. The game would last for two hours. Prizes would be divvied out based upon points held by each participant at the end.

Soon, the contenders would be guided to the various entrances to the tower at random, each entrance leading each individual contender to a spot on one of the first few floors. The games were about to begin...




OOC: I'll be running this in a similar fashion to the Loot Runners events, where I act as a sort of DM for everyone from time to time. The contents of the Tower have been left intentionally vague, so feel free to introduce and describe what you feel like as you go!
You can use PMs or the Discord to ask me questions/discuss plans of action out of character.
 

Gale

Geomancer
Member
Messages
42
Character Biography
Link
Sand sucked.

Normally when Gale went somewhere she felt things. Things other people couldn't. It was that magical gift of geomancy she had been born with yet never bothered to try perfecting. Her natural talent was good enough that she could sense the vibrations through rock, stone, and soil. But sand? Sand sucked. It muffled everything and removed any chance she ever had at knowing if some assailant wanted to sneak up on her.

Part of the reason she had avoided the fabled, "empire in the east," was cause of all the sand. But then she heard about the contest. At first, she didn't really care because some arena where people fought each other wasn't exactly her scene. Then she found out about the little trinkets they hid in the tower.

Treasure hunting was something she was good at. Something she could get paid for. She signed up lickety-split after that little epiphany.

"When does this thing fuckin' start?" Her question was more of a bark rather than an actual question as she paced back and forth in the waiting room. Even in this little underground spot this desert place was hot. It was getting harder and harder to ignore the sweat pooling on her brow.

The mantis-man, or whatever he was, flicked a tongue and piped up in a revolting voice, "patience. soon."

Gale's eyes grew wide with fury. "I ain't look patient enough to you, bug?" Both arms crossed themselves, sweaty brow furrowed, and she wondered if she'd get into any sort of real trouble if she let the ceiling fall and squish the bugman before she entered the arena.

Sensing that this human couldn't be reasoned with the insectoid said nothing more. He went back to reading whatever poorly written scrawl this weird empire provided its citizens. Gale let out a bored sigh and leaned her sandy hair against the wall of the chamber.

After much too long the grate scraped against iron and opened itself up. "Finally," she said in an exasperated tone before twisting around and glaring at the thoraxed freak, "appreciate the hospitality, let's do this again sometime." With that she ascended the steps and found herself in a dimly lit chamber with four other doors on the eastern wall and the west.

There was a vastly ornate chandelier dangling from the ceiling and upon it sat jagged prongs. Four of the prongs had strings attached to 'em with a funny shape on the other end. Each of the doors had a similar funny shape adorning them and there was a big compass on the north wall which kept rotating. Curious.

Two other things stood out to Gale immediately afterwards though. Firstly, this whole place was made out of stone which meant this was going to be an absolute cake walk for her. She almost felt bad for any of the other contestants if they encountered her. The second thing she noticed well... the floor was covered in fuckin' sand.
 

Vulpesen

Ain't Dead Yet
Fae Courts
Messages
109
Character Biography
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Vulpesen could feel his body humming with excitement as the first bits of adrenaline pump blood through his ears. Finally a challenge, and one Varos had given him leave to enjoy. In truth, with all the routes open for him to make his mark on the competition, he couldn't decide which one to choose. Thankfully, there seemed to be nothing that stopped him from pursuing all of them.

As the gate to his entrance opened, Vulpesen reached out with his senses, letting his awareness extend through the shadows and earth upon which he stood. Recon was always the first step to a battle. No matter the scale, a good scouting was a must to ensure victory. He wasn't sure what this tower had in store for him, but he didn't feel like blundering face first into the most wild of dangers.

[Good luck, Torrevaso,] Varos whispered into his mind. [I shall enjoy seeing how you place what you've learned to use.] In truth, Vulpesen felt he hadn't learned all that much in the ways of magic. A little bit of lightning. Some shapeshifting, a bit of shadowmancy, and the basics of geomancy. Surely there would be mages around with far more skill than he. But as his hand traced along the hilt of his sword, he couldn't help but smile. Sure they might have the power, but his patron was not one of strength. Varos chose his champions for their guile and wit.

Medja
 
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1
Maltent was greeted to their old homeland with a disgusted bile growing in their stomach. He hated the place. Despite the beauty all othesr saw, they saw corruption. Maybe it had gotten better over time, but he knew differently. Like black mold in the walls, it may had been washed off, but deeper within the infection grew. His time in the city was not as a home visit. It was for a specific purpose, a specific goal.


In the great arena, the changes were impressive to say the least. The power needed to shape the very walls themselves. It looked amateur and unassuming, but Maltent knew that every single bit of the natural look was planned, carved specifically with the intent of giving an impression of the beautiful chaos of the world. But there was no chaos in it. It was a facsimile, fully supported and calculated to never topple over even at the use of a great earthquake or storm. It was so perfectly imperfect. Planned chaos.

Maltent struggled to not vomit at the thought.


They did not take the time waiting for granted. Maltent opened up their side pouch of holding and took stock of every single rune they had prepared:
Maltent had brought with them:
1 Legendary Rune of Return on a Stone
1 Greater Rune of Detect Lies
1 Greater Rune of Restore Vitality
1 Greater Rune of Mass Paralyze (a circle of closely grouped targets)
3 Lesser Runes of Detect Magic
3 Lesser Runes of Visual Hallucination
3 Lesser Runes of Deny Spell
5 Runes of Force
5 Runes of Repair Object
5 Runes of Haste
10 Throwing Stones with fake runes on them

Maltent was not satisfied with the low number, but such resources and time was hard to come by. If only they knew a month sooner, they wouldn't have so many gaps to their arsenal. But complaint was not going to fix it. Maltent took one last count and then checked to see if their wand was still intact. A wand that was difficult to make. 3 years of gather spider legs. Only taking the perfect chitin and melding them all together around a core made of braided snakeskin and enchanted with the bad breath of a troll sleeping. All of that to make a wand which shot out a sticky web net. It was originally charged with 10 uses, but due to recent troubles in the lodestones and a few uses in the past it was left with only three.

It would have to do.

As they waited patiently, Maltent took note of the other contestants. Most didn't immediately catch their eye but one. The Geomancer (they did not know this at the time) who complained of the long wait. Their eyes narrowed behind the mask.

When the games begun Maltent took their place. They used their eyes to survey the area, finding no tatical advantage in wasting their magic yet. They hoped their personal perceptions would be enough. The room was a simple one, not much to note from what Maltent could tell. This was terrible news to a paranoid mind, who began to obsessively search for traps or anything else of the like. Maltent used their foot tentatively in the sand. Using simple rocks on strings, they would toss them out and drag the stone back. Taking note of any deviation in the ground or even any flagstones it might hook onto.
 
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Seteta

The Dragon's Beloved
Member
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259
Character Biography
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"Sehejib," Seteta murmured with fond bemusement outside the participant's entrance. "I think this is where you have to let me and Rheinhard go on, and you have to go watch in the stands. Unless you've changed your mind and want to brave this Tower of Tribulations with us?"

Chaceledon just huffed and pouted, muttering something about breaking a nail, and Seteta smiled and pulled him down for a soft kiss, her headscarf looped around her neck for now. "We'll see you afterward, my love."

She gently tugged her hand out of his, and stepped up beside Rheinhard, and the two entered the arena. She'd been relieved to get back into the desert clothing she was more accustomed to: a knee-length abaya, loose leggings, both linen, and sandals made of soft leather. Chaceledon had helped her secure her hair in coiled braids on the back of her head, affixing them leather cords rather than metal pins. She had dressed simply, without adornment--even going so far as to remove her nose and ear piercings--because she wasn't sure what abilities the other participants would have and she didn't want to give them any way manipulate her.

As they stepped up to join the waiting group, Seteta was surprised as she felt a familiar type of magic weaving through the earth. She looked around, a soft smile teased at the corners of her mouth, then dug her toes into the earth and extended her own magic just enough to gently brush against Vulpesen's. A subtle hello, of sorts.

"I know one of the participants here," she said softly to Rheinhard. "One we might be able to team up with, if the moment calls for it."


Volker
 

Aratus Seldomus

Professional Cynic
Member
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23
Character Biography
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Aratus was a man of action, of principle, of discipline and most importantly- honor.

And honor was to be claimed, glory to be seized. It was in the interest of his nation that he was here, participating. Winning may have been the goal- but the optics of simply participating was enough. He wore his traditional garb, light armor and distinct circular shield- with the short sword of his people that was tailored to their aggressive, brutal style of fighting.

He hadn't spoken a word since he came, his stoic nature providing an air of mystery to the observers. He marched forward, enclosing himself in the arena's entrance. He rotated the sword in his hand, digging his sandals into the sand, preparing himself for a challenge.

And then, and only then, did he smile in the dim light.
 

Medja

Vizier of Stars
The Empire
Messages
241
Character Biography
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From on high in her observation box Medja observed the participants descend upon the arena. So many had come, warriors and glory seekers and treasure hunters...but what intrigued her the most was how many of her own magical ilk had come to face her challenge: geomancers. Perhaps they thought a stone tower would be easy pickings for them; how mistaken they would soon find themselves. As the contenders congregated around the tower the Empress-to-be knew that the time had come, the time to do what she did best, the time to put on a show.

Medja stood from her chair and alit, bandage wrapped feet refusing to touch the unworthy ground beneath her. The sorceress raised her arms and with the slightest bit of magical exertion the walls and ceiling of the stone box around her began to unfold, twisting themselves into a wide, circular platform. Medja floated her way to the edge of it and stood with confidence and authority before the cheering masses below her. A Hand arrived at her side and offered her a magical device, a strange shell that fit in the palm of her hand that could project sound in a booming fashion. It was a fun trinket that had sat in her collection for years, but here it served a practical purpose.

With a smug grin, Medja inhaled and spoke into the shell of projection, and delivered her message above the din of the crowd below.
"People of Annuakat! Of Amol-Kalit, of Liadain! Welcome one and all to the greatest show our Empire will ever witness!" The Vizier called out, and the audience erupted at her call. There was always so much to be reveled in, being at the pinnacle of attention. Medja adored it. "The best and boldest of adventurers have gathered before you to compete for honor, glory, wealth, and my favor! They will face challenges beyond the scope of mortality within my tower, the Tower of Tribulations!"

With a flick of her wrist, Medja began to gather and levitate a number of scintillating crystal shards from a nearby vessel, rapidly rotating them above her free hand while she shouted into the shell in the other. She couldn't help but feel her smile increase as the audience began to hit a fever pitch.
"To you who are about to ascend...give us all a good show, will you?! Let the games...BEGIN!"
With that, Medja lobbed the crystals high into the air where they shattered, their detonation unleashing a brilliant array of lights down onto the arena below and signaling the contenders to start.



Just to get you all started--

Constants: Sand covers most floors of the tower. Small, beetle like creatures crafted from crystal flit about walls and through the air, transmitting what they see to the massive scrying crystals located around the stands. Odd, glowing, green runes are present on many walls, floors, and ceilings within the tower that prevent the tower's modification by magical (namely geomantic) means.

Starting floors:
  • Floor 1: A complex, maze like chamber. Some of the walls regularly slide horizontally or shift vertically, sealing passages that were otherwise open moments before. A great number of spiral staircases are located at certain ends of the paths, some which lead up, some which lead down.
  • Floor 2: A dimly lit chamber with four other doors on the eastern and western walls. An ornate chandelier with jagged prongs hangs from the ceiling. Four of the prongs have strings attached to them with an odd shape on the other end. Each of the doors have a similar shape adorning them. A large, constantly rotating compass adorns the northern wall.
  • Floor 3: The floor has an oily sheen to it and seems to have magically reduced friction. Stone cylinders that span the height of the room sit on tracks in the floor can be slid about with sufficient force to reveal paths or block others. Large stone spheres run along what appear to be half-cylindrical slides for an unknown purpose.
  • Subfloor 1: Harmless smoke rolls through the air, obscuring vision. The halls of this floor are tight and difficult to maneuver through, like that of a crypt. Cubbyholes mar the rough, uneven walls. Low growling can be heard from deeper within the chamber...
 

Volker

The Man of a Thousand Souls
Member
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257
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Volker was quite possibly one of the few participants experienced in this sort of thing. He watched Seteta bid goodbye to Chaceledon quietly, and the dragon gave him a respectful nod as he headed toward the stands. Volker was dressed simply; a salwar kameez and well-fitting trousers, leather vambraces to protect his arms, and good soft boots. He was an older man, in the autumn of life with heavy scarring around his wrinkled features. He didn’t have the stoop of a creature descending into old age; muscle still wrapped his frame. His blue eyes raked over the competition, and he only inclined his head slightly to Seteta as she spoke.

“No allegiances. We need this money. We do not want to be splitting it.” He told her in no uncertain terms. “If you point him out, I will disable him instead of crippling him.”

Volker didn’t care for honor or glory. Both were concepts lost to him. Honor didn’t do much but get a man killed, and glory was something bards who’d never seen a battlefield hammered on about. No. This was about cash for him. He eyed the contestants. No purposeful murder. But the backs of the knees, the soft tendons in the arms, a blade rammed into the lower spine with just the right twist, would give them months or years of recovery.

There was always...accidental murder as well.

There was a female, a male with a mask, and another male who had the look of a warrior about him. He and Seteta were a team. What made the most sense was incapacitating their opponents, then comparing points at the end. If need be, Volker would either launch Seteta out of the tower or himself, to give the other the needed points to win.

“Nestor is gifted in puzzles, he will be with us.” He told Seteta in a low voice. “Yarel will stand by to speak to the tower itself, if it consents to speak with him.”

Seteta
 

Diedrick

Member
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3
Character Biography
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A tall, muscular, fair looking human male made his way to the rest of the group. He was brown haired, with a shade of skin that was just slightly tanned from the exposure to the desert's scorching sun. The male stopped once he was close enough to having everyone in sight.

Diedrick was hopping on the balls of his feet the entire time, clearly excited at the prospect of a competition. His muscular body wasn't clad in a suit of armor, as a matter of fact, the clothes he wore were pretty minimalistic. A tank top, a pair of sporty pants and some comfortable leather shoes. Looking around the room he could notice the various folk present here, none of them looked even slightly familiar to him. A few were clearly older than Diedrick, he was probably the youngest competitor at the age of twenty-four. Not that it really mattered, he was here to have a good time and get himself some money in the process.

The male rolled his shoulders, rotating his elbows and stretching his back to get himself all worked up and ready. Diedrick's muscles screamed to be released and the Tyrant parasite in the back of his head was just minutes away from forcing Diedrick's body to produce large quantities of adrenaline. Nonetheless, he kept calm for now, observing as the surrounding room twisted and turned. It was sandy, and he sure as hell didn't like sand. A coarse, unnecessary substance that loved to get into the most uncomfortable places. In the end it didn't matter, Diedrick was already in the process of pumping himself up, there wasn't going to be any backing down now. The male was determined to get through this, one way or another.

Looking back at his fellow participants, he noticed that one of them was throwing a rock....attached to a string? It made Diedrick raise an eyebrow from curiosity. He observed patiently before getting a bit closer to the masked person. “I take it that you have some experience with these, uh, maze runs?” He just leaned over to look at Maltent, the masked person who clearly itched his interest. Diedrick meant no harm in this, a part of him even wondered if this whole task could be done as a team. After all, he had little skill when it came to navigating maze like structures. But he did excel in all things related to combat, Diedrick could certainly offer his skills if a team was formed.

Maltent The Morbid
 

Vulpesen

Ain't Dead Yet
Fae Courts
Messages
109
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Vulpesen smiled brightly at the familiar and friendly presence that touched against his and behind him, his coat flapped as if by an invisible breeze. "Wonderful," he murmured. An ally was always lovely to see in such a place as this. With dangers around every corner, it may do to have someone to take down a couple of tougher foes with.

Less wonderful however, was the sense he was getting from the labyrinth ahead of them. Shifting walls and paths both above and below. Still, a maze wasn't anything he and his master had to fear. Closing his eyes in whispered concentration, he took in the power of the local ley lines and and began to weave them to his will. 'Lord Varos," he whispered, "give me your guile and see me through this trick. Keep my path true to my goal and adapt me for what is to come." It was a sort of prayer, a plea for a mind of the maze, but as a warlock, such prayers could hold weight.

Even as he opened his eyes once more, he could feel the surge that momentarily ran through him as Varos' influence took hold. He could feel the tug in his gut and in his mind, the same pull that had driven him everywhere from Nordengaard to Annuakat. Drawing his sword in preparation, he set forth, weaving through the paths towards one of the stair wells downward.
 

Aratus Seldomus

Professional Cynic
Member
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23
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The smoke obscured his vision, but not his resolve. He had operating in the fog many times- Thelios, after all was built on the coast. Many times there were mornings that dense fog rolled in and did not dissipate until well into the mid-afternoon. So he wasn't too terribly bothered by the smoke in the subfloor he was currently on.

Unlike the other participants, he paid no mind to them. If they came for him, they'd have to contend with a brutal, drag-out fight. Well, that and Aratus had a big shield and they didn't.

He stepped into the floor, and was suddenly bothered by a thing.

Growling in the distance.

Cubbyholes were cut into the wall, similar to those on a defensive posture for the thrusting of spears or for the shooting of arrows. Neither were ideal, so Aratus was keen to avoid them. As far as the growling was concerned...

He began to slam his shield on the walls, challenging whatever lay within.

Aratus rarely felt fear, and when he did he felt compelled to confront it to conquer it. Such was a time. He pressed on, periodically tapping his sword against his shield, or against the wall.
 

Seteta

The Dragon's Beloved
Member
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259
Character Biography
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Seteta smiled as she saw Vulpesen's cloak flap, since she knew what he hid beneath it, and her eyes twinkled at the sight of his smile. She didn't give any other visual cues that she knew him, though. A game like this could be made or broken by the appearance of alliances, especially early on.

She just knew that there was no way she'd be able to hide her affiliation with Rheinhard.

“No allegiances. We need this money. We do not want to be splitting it.” He told her in no uncertain terms. “If you point him out, I will disable him instead of crippling him.”

Seteta twisted her head back to Rheinhard, gaze askance. "How about we don't cripple anyone," she suggested, but kept her voice quite in at least an attempt to keep other participants from eavesdropping. "There' s no benefit to making outright enemies here. But the one I know is the one with glowing golden eyes. He's a warlock, and he owes me a favor."

“Nestor is gifted in puzzles, he will be with us.” He told Seteta in a low voice. “Yarel will stand by to speak to the tower itself, if it consents to speak with him.”

She nodded. "I don't know that we'll need a speaker with my own abilities, but it's good to have him ready., especially if you and I get separated."

Then the excited murmuring of the crowd fell silent, and Seteta looked up to see Medja, the Vizier of Stars, coming forth to introduce the game. Seteta's Abtati tribe had long remained outside of the politics that tried to govern Amol-Kalit, but even Gerra's conquering and his instatement of political leaders had been well known to them. This was, however, the first time that Seteta had laid on eyes on Medja, and when she saw the human woman's geomancy at play, she couldn't deny that there was significant skill behind it.

But Seteta huffed quietly when she saw the woman's bound feet. It was one thing to protect your feet in the desert. Another thing entirely demean the very earth that gave a geomancer their power. She listened to the woman's speech, a skeptical brow raising at the claim this would be "the greatest show our empire will ever witness!"

While the speech finished, Seteta looked over the crowd, trying to spot Chaceledon. A soft smile graced her lips for just a moment as she caught sight of his uniquely flamboyent outfit in the throng, and then glittering light was emanating from above them, and the challenge began.

"Let's head up," Seteta said to Rheinhard, noticing another participant (Gale) making her way to the second level. "I've had enough of dank underground tunnels for the time being."

She silently wished Vulpesen luck as she saw him descend to the sub-level, but even if there was someone she could ally with, she had no desire to relive any shred of memory of her time in Oor's domain during this competition.


Volker
 
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Kade Anvar

Ragashan
The Empire
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13
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Armor.

Or a weapon.

Kade didn't have the coin for both, and so he had to choose.

Cheap, battered shortsword in hand, empty satchel on his shoulder, Kade was standing at the arena entrance meant for the contenders. And there were some serious looking ones that he caught fleeting glimpses of: a creepy man in a white mask with red slits, an older man with dead eyes, and a tall muscular man who looked like he could swing a tree like a club. He would say that they were people to avoid, but honestly, everybody ought to be considered people to avoid. Kade had heard and understood the rules of the Tower of Tribulation. And even though he was anxious, he knew he had to be here. This was his chance.

The journey from Ragash to Annuakat had been a long one. A lucky one too, as Master Jalil happened to know of the departure of a caravan heading to the Empire's capital in an agreeable timeframe, and he had as a favor gotten Kade onto that caravan. Kade asked his father and his mother before he departed if he could go and participate in the tournament. Not that he needed to. He was a man now, a young man, but a man. Maybe he asked out of force of habit and maybe he asked out of respect and love for his parents and maybe he asked because he was damn well nervous about what could happen and had secretly hoped that they would say no and he could use that as an excuse to back out. Maybe it was all three. Whatever the answer, he's asked anyway, and they had each said yes. On the day of the caravan's departure, he gave them hugs and kisses and the same with his little sister Aisha and youngest brother Tahir, promising his two siblings that he would bring something back from Annuakat for them. And Master Jalil, though he did not offer Kade any coin with which to purchase any equipment, did recommend that he take a potion, one of three he presented. Surprising. Kade would have thought that if Master Jalil was interested in helping him in a small way (aside from setting him up with the caravan itself, of course) that he would be more willing to part with coin than with one of his crafted potions. Grateful for the offer, Kade had chosen the Potion of Speed, figuring he might as well lean on the talent he did have.

And that was probably a good idea. After hearing the rules of the Tower and the contest to be held within, and even after purchasing a meager weapon for himself, he knew what he needed to do to approach this smartly.

The line at the contenders' arena entrance began to move. Beyond, inside the arena itself, he could hear the low murmur of the massive crowd, of hundreds and thousands of people all conversing at the same time. And it sent a chill up his spine to be at the center of all this in some capacity.

Someone behind Kade tapped him on the shoulder. Mildly bemused, Kade glanced back.

"What the hell do you think you're doing here, street wretch?" said Nuatt, a man with a thick black beard who looked as Ragashan as Kade himself. He had a formidable battleaxe, an impressive set of armor, and looked both amused and disdainful Kade's presence.

"You ought to save yourself the trouble and just leave here with nothing now," said Jallock, a frankly androgynous man with fair skin hinting that he was from cooler climes. Like Nuatt beside him, he looked all the part of a well-to-do adventurer or warrior of some description.

"Nah," Kade said, grinning faintly. "I'd rather see the looks on your faces when I come out of there with more points than both of you."

The light at the head of the tunnel-like entrance was approaching, and the attendant there was directing the contenders and bellowing, "POSITIONS! CONTENDERS, TO YOUR POSITIONS!"

Nuatt smirked in response to Kade. Jallock just wrinkled his nose.

And they all entered, and awaited the commencement of the tournament outside of their particular entrances into the Tower.

* * * * *

FLOOR 1


The booming voice announced: Let the games...BEGIN!

Kade didn't recognize it, the voice, and from his vantage around the Tower he could not see who it was, but he figured it to be Medja, the Vizier of Stars herself. It was definitely no secret that she had organized this tournament. The people in Annuakat marveled constantly about how she alone had constructed this massive Tower with her magic. Kade heard from a few of them that she had done it in a single day. That couldn't be right. Nobody was that powerful, right? You know, there were powerful wizards, Kade knew that, but not that powerful...right? Still, it boggled the mind and baffled his conception of what he thought possible.

The sounds of a bursting something came from the air high about the Tower and the arena. A deluge of colorful lights dazzled the crowd and made Kade squint his eyes.

And then the door in front of him slammed down.

Kade ran inside, and from behind him the stone door rocketed back up and sealed him in. Only two ways out now, if he thought about it: victory or defeat. Coming out of this with enough points to bring both Aisha and Tahir gifts from Annuakat, or--like those two assholes were implying--being knocked out and tossed from the Tower with nothing. Well, Kade couldn't let that happen. Sandstorm or clear skies, he was coming home with something. He made a promise and he wasn't going to let his sister and his brother down.

All he had to do was stick to his plan: keep on the move, avoid fighting, and grab every single bronze statue he could find. Wasn't that his certain specialty on the streets of Ragash? Taking valuable things and running away with them? Lean into that. And, heh, who else was going to bother with some dumb statues, right? Those warrior types were going to fight whatever they could, the scholarly types were going to solve those puzzles and disarm those traps, so really, who was going to bother with the abject pain in the ass of finding a bunch of hidden statues?

Kade. That was who. If all went well, he'd be a ghost with a satchel full of statues by the end.

He stopped and turned in a circle and took in a quick survey of his immediate surroundings: gray stones of perfectly cut proportions (Dad would shed a tear), some glowing green runes plastered on some of them, familiar sand beneath his sandals, hey was that a flying beetle?

Then, with a loud series of BANGS, the very walls themselves moved, and the sudden sound made Kade jump. Oh. Oh...hell. There were five different corridors available to him at the start, and now there were only three, two of which were entirely new corridors that had just opened up. The environment itself had shifted, and it was like if some familiar street of Ragash had twisted and turned into one of the foreign streets of Annuakat.

"Okay," Kade said to himself, trying to recalculate his strategy. "Okay, okay, okay. Phew. Alright. No problem. No problem at all. Just don't get a foot or a hand caught in one of those closing walls."
 

Gale

Geomancer
Member
Messages
42
Character Biography
Link
Second Floor



Gale stared up at the chandelier and no sooner had the booming voice announced a start to the games did she decide to attempt the climb up it. The object stretched downwards to where a small leap and outstretched arms could hoist herself up it simply enough. Were she alone she was certain she could use her magic to lower the stone stem that the multitude of prongs blossomed out of.

Sadly, she was no longer alone.

”Don’t come near me.” was the only thing she said to the duo who joined her in the room. She could tell through the ripples in the sand that it was two of them. She didn’t bother to turn her head and look but the very fact that it was sand they stood on made it so she couldn’t tell much more about them than that.

Still, she didn’t consider them a threat. The entire chamber was made up of the very element she dominated. Even if her senses were dulled from the light colored substance underfoot she could bend a part of the ceiling or floor and crush the two of them if they came at her.

A bit of effort and she was tugging on the lowest jutting object from the centerpiece of the room, rising herself up it in a slow climb. What the other two did was of little concern to her, she had been here first and she would grab hold of one of the keys and make her way through its corresponding door. They would not stop her, nothing would.

When she grabbed at the rope that held the odd object facing southward she tugged on it but the item she believed to be a key didn’t just release, it pulled something down. A mechanism clicked and a harsh grinding sound was heard behind the guts and innards of the chamber. In a sudden motion the rapidly spinning compass came to a stop pointing towards the large, beautifully drawn, “S” shape at its bottom.

Then, Gale’s stomach lurched.

She was thrown from the chandelier in a violent motion as the room itself began to spin, tossing her towards what was formerly the ceiling in a loud crash only to be buried under the sand that once resided under her feet. Now instead of hanging the pronged object sat in the middle of the room, covered partially in sand, with ropes buried under the coarse particulates. Beetles crawled across the woman’s skin until eventually her toast-colored hair ruptured out of the desert soil.

The entire room had moved, the four doors now covered by solid walls, the compass no longer spinning, and her sitting in the pile of sand like a fool. ”Damn,” was all she muttered under her breath, unaware if anyone else had entered the physical chamber before the world rotated in a full circle.

It dawned on her that a key wasn’t all that useful without a door.
 

Diedrick

Member
Messages
3
Character Biography
Link
Noticing that he didn't have any time for pleasantries, Diedrick shrugged half-heartedly. Looking forward he could see that the other participants have already started their runs. Diedrick surveyed the area a bit better, just to make sure. The veins around his forehead and sphenoid area rippled to life, bulging out as the Tyrant parasite forced Diedrick's eyesight to amplify. With his pupils significantly expanded and eyesight sharpened, Diedrick noticed minor details around the room. Hidden traps, possible corner ways, secret rooms. He'd have to look out for any of those of he wanted to win this. For a moment Diedrick wondered who he'd be fighting. Did the event organizer place monsters inside the tower? If so, he could farm them pretty easily. The other possibility was fighting other contenders, he wasn't against it, but he'd have to pick his targets more wisely. After all, they were running on a limited time window.


Diedrick was all the more amused by the fact that pretty much everyone present here looked like they were going to work as a team or were already a part of one. And he just stood there on his own. Not like it mattered, the numerical obstacle would be nothing more than an exciting challenge to overcome at best. At worst, it'd be a nuisance. Diedrick started sprinting towards the other participants. A long stride carried him far and wide, powered by the strength of his augmented leg muscles. He'd reach the strangers in a matter of seconds despite the fact that they had a good 15-20 meters head start on him. As Diedrick ran, he took notice of the compound's interior. Stone and sand, they were both yellow ish, probably from the years of sitting in this place. Yet he could find himself liking neither, the coarse grain irritated him whenever he as much as brushed up against one of the walls; and the sandy yellow palette unnerved him to no end. He wasn't a claustrophobic person, this place just didn't fit his liking, not at all.

He saw a woman trying to.... grab something? And that something looked suspiciously close to a key. Yeah, a key attached to a set of ropes, the oldest trick in the book. Diedrick wasn't the brightest person in the room, nor was he a master of critical thinking, but this one was such an obvious trap that even he could see it coming from a mile away. Seriously, an unguarded key, just left like that? Shaking his head, Diedrick observed as the woman got tossed and turned by the chamber's mechanism, then covered in more of that nasty, coarse sand. He raised an eyebrow and lunged after her, barely managing to squeeze his way through one of the four openings before it was closed by a rather large and conveniently placed slab of stone. Clearly someone made this with the intent of trapping people.

Diedrick landed on his feet, thankfully, tho he almost fell over due to leaning forward. The male started flailing his arms around until he was back to being stable. He looked around to notice that the lady was inside....and still covered by a hefty layer of sand despite unburying herself mere seconds ago. Diedrick's following exhale was sharp and forced through the nasal cavity, it was the only thing he could do to prevent himself from laughing in the poor woman's face. Thought a little grin dancing in the corners of his lips already betrayed the sense of amusement.

Gale
 

Volker

The Man of a Thousand Souls
Member
Messages
257
Character Biography
Link
Volker watched Seteta look at Vulpesen, and how her eyes sparkled. He eyed her for a moment. “More than just an old companion? Do not let Chaceledon see.” He told her. “I will cripple but not kill. Six month rehabilitations. It is the best I can do. Any other move would be deleterious to us at the benefit of others.” He drew his longest blade, a nasty concoction the size of a shortsword with a human femur for the hilt. The ball on the end was stained, as Volker had cracked quite a few skulls with it.

He heard the burst of crystals, and ignored Media’s speech. The speech of rich nobles who cultivated blood sport weren’t interesting to him. These fools wanted a show, so they would get one. He eyed Seteta looking at Gale. “Hold her down with the sand. I will eliminate her knees, elbows and shoulders. Not lethal but a few years of recovery. Takes her out of the game.” He whispered softly in her ear.

The girl they were eyeing was conveniently headed up to their level, and Seteta’s ally downward. Good. Volker wasn’t looking forward to any emotional attachment nonsense. Anyone who stepped in the ring with him was an enemy. He followed Seteta and Gale toward the pit of sand on the second floor, and noticed her climbing the Chandelier. Good. She was still. He drew a smaller knife for throwing.

However, the idiot plunged the chandelier earthward with herself mounted on it. She had been going for the key. Thankfully Rheinhard wasn’t giving her a chance to recover.

He lunged at her like a tiger, focusing on that bloom of sand colored hair. The long blade plunged down toward her shoulders or neck. Hopefully, if her head moved to avoid the long shaft of steel coming for her, his teeth could find her throat. He wouldn’t kill her, as requested, but he was an expert in choking people out. He would just hold her like a big cat with prey until she stopped struggling. Seteta needed to cover him.

A blade flung toward Dietrich’s stomach. If he wanted to giggle, now was a poor time to do it. Rheinhard was hunting them now, and they needed to move. If he caught Gale’s throat, he’d strangle her until she was knocked out. If his blade hit her shoulder, her right arm was useless. Needless to say if Dietrich took the blade to the stomach, he would be nursing a sizable gut wound...particularly as he hadn’t been paying attention to Rheinhard or Seteta. It wouldn’t be lethal, but it would affect his ability to walk, stand upright, or lift.

Seteta
Gale
Diedrick
 

Seteta

The Dragon's Beloved
Member
Messages
259
Character Biography
Link
Second Floor

Seteta turned a scowl toward Rheinhard. "I can be happy to see a friend," she retorted. "Besides, Chaceledon's one to get upset. I know about the orgies."

Once inside the second floor, Seteta almost laughed with glee at the sight of the sand floor. Clearly, Medja would have warded the tower itself to prevent any geomancers like herself from changing too much. But sand on the floor? Seteta could easily use that to her advantage.

The woman was climbing the chandelier for some reason, but Seteta's gaze was drawn away by the boy coming in behind them. It was that moment, though, when the room tilted and shifted, and when the first grain of sand landed on Seteta's skin, she unleashed her magic. Rheinhard was already nimbly launching himself at the woman, so Seteta just focused on bringing every bit of sand in the room under her control and holding Gale and Diedrick in place where they had landed.

Gale was already buried in sand, so she was easy to restrain. Diedrick, though, somehow stood on top of the sand, and Seteta began crawling ropes of the sand up his body, attempting to restrain his arms as well as his ankles.

Seteta glanced over where Rheinhard was making his strike towards the woman, simultaneously flinging a knife toward Diedrick's gut. Seteta turned her attention back to the boy, keeping an eye on him in case he tried to attack her if he somehow broke free of her magic.

"I sense the same power in you that I possess, over the earth," Seteta spoke to Gale, eyes still on Diedrick. "And yet you do not control the sand?" The Abtati woman smiled fierce and viciously then, and Gale still would have been able to see it though Seteta's gaze was on the second male. "Your loss."

Volker
 
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Vulpesen

Ain't Dead Yet
Fae Courts
Messages
109
Character Biography
Link
Subfloor 1
Vulpesen weaved through the maze, flowing easily like water from path to path. With the dark of the stone walls and his geomantic senses being active, it was hard to tell if it was Varos' blessing or years of pathfinding that got him through to the stairwell. In any case, it wasn't long before Vulpesen stood at the precipice, staring down with his grip tightening around his hilt. "Fortune favors the bold..."

Striding down, he kept his blade pointed before himself, his ears open to the growling that had attracted him to this path in the first place. Now as he travelled, Vulpesen occasionally lifted a hand to press against the walls, feeling their consistency while his shadow sense alerted him to any irregularities around him. Freeing slaves was a dangerous business and one best done in the darkest of nights which thankfully meant that he had plenty of practice relying on more than his eyes to see past smoke and shadow.

Somewhere in the darkness, he could hear steel slamming into stone. He was not alone here with whatever evil crept and grumbled. Whether that was a comfort or not was yet to be seen. For now, he simply stayed quiet and observant. If they met he would introduce himself, but for now there was little reason to give away his position.
Aratus Seldomus
Medja
 
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Len Dy't B-taa

Ghost of The Savannah
Member
Messages
22
Character Biography
Link
Cold, metal feet against a sand blasted floor that still shone as though polished by an army of slaves despite the grains of desert that coated it... It was nostalgic to the creature in the plate and sash. How often had he felt this trepidation, this calm before an inevitable storm? In his youth, Len Dy't B-taa had lived for it. The thrill of displaying his prowess for an audience, usually a crowd of royals, stuffing their faces and having him dance through hoops of flame with his sword on his neck. It was demeaning, belittling... But it was all Len had. When he was not in the throes of battle and bathed in war, he was never greeted home by reward, but with expectation to entertain.

He would have looked like any other wanderer, dressed in rags and armor tinged with age and blade-marks. He only wished his emotions would constrain themselves to a similar blandness. It wasn't to be so, however. Ever since his body had risen from the sand to dance once more, he yearned to serve, to be wanted and needed. His world was long dead though; There was nobody to greet him with open arms upon his return.

Whispers though, a competition in front of thousands. Everybody could bear witness to his gift, his dance... Perhaps it was there, amidst the cheers of a crowd, that he would find the answer to why he'd been brought back, to who it was that truly needed him.

He had made himself quite scarce after signing up for this competition. The other participants had seen fit to split into groups, in large part. It had brought him little sorrow to set foot in Floor 3 alone, knowing that he would be unable to adequately mesh with another being from this modern world. His legs immediately threatened to slide to spite Len's wishes, the odd friction-sapping magic of this floor catching him off guard. Stumbling forward, he sweeps his off leg forward to slide his heavily armored form forward.

To any other being, the slippery nature of this floor was a detriment. To one whom had once been hailed for the dances he'd performed in any and all conditions, from great hall to battlefield, this was nothing but a call to action. Shifting his weight as the floor carried him along, he steered himself forward, eyes taking what time they had to scan the room. He couldn't see an exit, only the tall pillars of stone that adorned the room liberally, with spheres of the same material running along half-tubes in a rhythmically pleasing motion. The pillars at least, could be useful; he could make use of them as places to anchor himself from the sliding floor, or so he thought. Gripping one that he slid past proved to move the pillar with only slightly more resistance than his own body moved. He swore underneath his breath, dropping to one knee as he slid with the stone pillar.
 
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Diedrick

Member
Messages
3
Character Biography
Link
Diedrick didn't react to the dagger as he clearly wasn't paying all that much attention to his surroundings, but the Tyrant did. Diedrick and his parasitic roommate shared the same sensory info, and while Diedrick didn't pay attention to any outside treats, Tyrant made sure to do just that. The symbiotic parasite was highly methodical and in no small amount robotic in its behavior. It assessed the danger that the attacked posed and quickly came up with a plan how to counter it. The first thing it did was change the constitution of Diedrick's abdominal muscles by increasing their hardness and density, this would make them more resilient against piercing attack. The second thing it did was making Diedrick involuntarily exhale just inches before impact, tucking his stomach in to further reduce the incoming blow.

Only when the dagger was about 4 cm into his abs did Diedrick notice that something was wrong. Looking down, he noticed the violent implement just barely clinging to his torso. At that moment he was slightly bent, abdomen pulled inside, the parasite didn't think of this, but the position was fairly convenient for both of them. Diedrick looked hurt, no, he could feign being hurt for just a split second in order to fool the opponent. Finally, a fight, something he actually knew how to do. Diedrick was already getting tired of having to navigate this musty, crusty looking labyrinth. A grin spread across his face, a wicked slasher smile that threatened to split his head in two. The Tyrant was already in the process of pumping his blood full of some exotic juices, one's that would lower his inhibitors and make him more dangerous to fight.

In one fell swoop, he grasped the dagger sticking from his abdomen, lightly grasping its hilt. It was as he did this that his body unfolded from its bent position, dagger in hand. Diedrick's arm swing lightly, seemingly growing in size and bulk in some areas. He was already muscular, but the parasite was adding muscles to his right shoulder, trapezius muscle and pectoralis. Said muscles grew larger and bulkier, with sinews like metal strings popping all over. A set of pulsating veins reared its ugly head as it descended from Diedrick's shoulder to his wrist and eventually reaching his hand. This was all done in an effort to enhance Diedrick's throwing abilities while requiring minimal movement. The male swung his head to look at Seteta, a nasty grin still plastered all over, showing each of its owners pearly teeth. It was a face of unusual amusement for such an unsightly situation. Didn't matter though, he came here to fight and fight he well, under non-lethal rules of course.

Diedrick worked in tandem with the Tyrant, for maximum efficiency. Before she could properly immobilize him, Diedrick flung the dagger at the woman, aiming for her center of mass as it was the largest target. Normally one couldn't impart much energy into such a small movement, but Diedrick's sudden increase in muscular output provided all the necessary power. If she didn't block his thrown projectile, well, the outcome would be far from pretty.

Seteta
Volker
Gale
 
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Rania

The Nightstalker
The Empire
Messages
96
Character Biography
Link
“That Tower, it’s not a place for someone like you.” The elderly woman warned and slid a small, wooden cup across the counter. “It’s dangerous, especially for a young woman such as yourself,” she continued, but the cloaked figure on the other side of her stand merely shook her head and reached for the drink. “Everywhere is dangerous for a woman,” the rogue gave back dryly and gulped down the clear liquid. Her throat burned and she wiped her mouth once before pulling her scarf back up.

Rania Dazeir was clad in black leathers; high quality wares that firmly shaped her pleasant figure–although she kept most of it hidden underneath a long cloak. A pair of long daggers sat idly at her hips. A green sheen on each of their blades revealed that both had been poisoned, as it was her standard. The antidote was inside the small pouch she carried on her back and in spite of what the bar lady had said, Rania did feel ready to join the games.

Nervous, yes, but willing to attempt at a better life.

Rania did not care about the riches and the glory, what she wanted was a chance at something bigger, something greater – something she’d been denied due to her low birth. A shiver ran down her spine at the sound of the Vizier’s voice echoing around the makeshift arena and hesitating no longer, the raven-haired woman took long strides towards the tower.

Floor 1

Her heart halted for a moment, skipping a beat at the sight of exploding diamonds and bright lights raining from the skies. Focus, she reminded herself and although her body nearly swayed at the sudden rush of adrenaline, the woman immediately headed for the tower. Up the stairs, through the large door and into the creation. The gates slammed shut a moment later and she found herself trapped inside a labyrinth.

A tingle went through her leg, climbing up her spine until it reached her neck. Before she could settle in the walls had begun moving already and Rania’s special ability – her seismic sense – told her precisely where the other person on this floor stood. Slowly, her head turned to the left, emerald eyes focusing on Kade, who had emerged from behind one of the moving walls.

Rania almost breathed a sigh of relief.

He was meager looking, almost tender. A child still, or so she thought. The colour of his eyes matched her own and in a way, so did the look they carried. By pure instinct, Rania had unsheathed one of her daggers the moment she’d felt the presence of another person in the room, but now she made no attempts to attack. Instead, her posture relaxed, she straightened herself up and tilted her head at the little one.

“You lost?”

Kade Anvar
 

Kade Anvar

Ragashan
The Empire
Messages
13
Character Biography
Link
FLOOR 1


Kade, just like when the walls slammed shut (walls slammed open? doors? doors slammed open and shut? maybe all of those ways to phrase it were correct?), jumped. Jumped because much like the slamming he hadn't expected to encounter another person so soon. With teeth exposed in a peeled grimace of alarm, Kade whirled about and pointed his battered shortsword toward the owner of the voice.

Cloaked woman. She was shorter than him but that didn't count for much, not in a world like Arethil.

She had a dagger. He had a sword. Oh no, this was exactly how he didn't want to start this off.

She was standing her ground. He was standing his. Okay, so this wasn't as bad as he was expecting.

Her posture relaxed. His posture relaxed. Alright, this, uh...could have been worse.

You lost?

A flick of his eyes with a stiff tension toward one of the passageways that had sealed shut when the walls (no seriously, walls or doors? interchangeable terms?) had shifted. The passageway he had been thinking of going in the immediate moment of entering the Tower--say goodbye to that. Then he looked back to the cloaked woman.

"I guess everybody's gonna be lost on this level."

The walls shifted again--not as dramatically as the first time, with fewer passages being altered.

"Yeah. Like that. Case in point."

He was still a bit on the cautious side, his sword lowered but not held leisurely. Then again, wasn't like she had anything to gain from attacking him, right? Not much anyway, even if she'd get a few points for defeating him. Wasn't like his satchel was clinking and clattering with any bronze statues yet. The cold logic of eliminating the competition whether or not they had any extra points to take, to simply thin out the total number of contenders, never occurred to Kade.

Still. He'd said it now, hadn't he? Case in point. Point. Points. Brought it up by accident, the proximate cause of the frigid awkwardness between two contenders in a contest where everyone was on their own and out for their own good.

"You, uh, heh..." His shoulders rose up slightly, as did his brows, as if bracing for an answer that might not come in the form of words, "...know that I'm worth hardly anything right now..." His tongue wet the corner of his mouth in an anxious gesture, "...yeah?"

* * * * *​

Rania's seismic sense might, or might not, let her know that they were not the only two on the first floor. At least two others were present. Elsewhere in the shifting maze.

Rania
 
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Rania

The Nightstalker
The Empire
Messages
96
Character Biography
Link
The thief sucked in a sharp breath. Her heels dug into the sand, feet searching for steady footing. A deep rumble shook the ground and when the walls moved one more time, Rania watched the ever changing passageways with growing concern. “Not everyone,” she responded. She could find her way through this maze, but perhaps that wasn’t the challenge. The contestants had two hours, only two hours, to score as many points as possible and while they were given plenty of options, Rania knew that there was always a particular bunch that preferred violence over a calculated mission.

That boy looked nothing like said bunch. Her eyes darted across the room and Rania took a step towards the nearest wall, pressing the palm of her hand against the cold stone. “I know that.” She’d taken note of his body language, his posture revealing that he was unwell and most likely nervous. Rania was nervous too, but the thief hid it well. She hid everything well, even her growing anxiety as she realized that the kid and her weren’t the only ones on this level after all.

“Listen,” she spoke quietly and nodded towards the labyrinth. “There’s enough for everyone, if you’re not greedy, but I don’t think we should stay here any longer–,” and just as she’d spoken, the walls were moving again. “Besides, four eyes see more than two.” It was a peace offering of some sorts, for the time being at least. And only because Rania didn’t want to face whatever was lurking inside those dark corridors all alone.

Without waiting for his answer, the cloaked woman headed into the maze.

Kade Anvar