Open Chronicles The Tower of Tribulations

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Medja

Vizier of Stars
The Empire
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249
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Subfloor 1​


Most of Vulpesen's released victims agree to his deal upon being freed from their binds. Explorer and warrior alike cast down their weapons upon being freed, give their thanks, and peacefully resign...most. Not all are quite so honorable. One roguish woman agrees only to simply slink off to another floor instead, snagging a bronze statue from an alcove along the way.

Similarly, a wild-eyed, slender drow, mouth bound in silk, stares at Vulpesen with barely contained rage as he is cut free of his binds, but nods in agreement to the fae man's deal. The moment he falls free of the wall he is plastered to he tears the silk from his mouth, draws a wickedly hooked dagger wreathed in a sinister looking aura, and roars at Vulpesen.
"I'M NOT GOING ANYWHERE!"
It's a fight!

Meanwhile, as the silkmaw is cut down by Aratus, he may notice something wriggling about among its entrails. The creature is slain, surely, but a brooding mother's progeny has come to life within her remains. Hundreds, perhaps even thousands of tiny replicas of the slavering beast begin to pour out from a sac that had been contained within the silkmaw's body, swarming over the tunnel...



Subfloor 3​


"Foolish." The hulking armored figure mutters before assuming a more offensive stance. A few moments are passed in still silence as it appears to measure Diedrick up. Then, decidedly, it seems not to care about any changes Diedrick's body undergoes, opting to raise its shield and charge headlong at him. Thunderous clanging denote its charge, its heavy footfalls echoing about the room. It throws its shield arm into a tackle as it reaches Diedrick's position, then swings the shield aside and attempts to deliver a brutal punch to the man's gut.

All the while the crystals that line the room exude their sickly glow...



Floor 3​


Len gets what he's looking for. The swordsman attempts to leap over his attack, only to be countered by Len's preemptive blow. The gentleman duelist doesn't have quite enough time to react properly, only barely deflecting the heavy fall of the specter's blade and instead taking a powerful slap from the flat of the sword. The swordsman is sent tumbling, his slide across the floor greatly exaggerated by the low-friction floor.

Setete, meanwhile, manages to gently scoot one of the stone pillars aside from its current position. She'll catch a brief glimpse of shining bronze behind it before a trap is triggered: a pair of thinner, horizontal pillars shoot from the wall and smash into the pillar she's just moved, sending it careening across the floor and into another pillar, which in turn is sent sliding...a flurry of moving pillars have been set into motion!



Floor 1​


The long, scaly snout of Rhix snuffs at the air. Those two are gaining ground on him...not good. Having to wait for these damned doors to open and close is costing him too much time. He'll lose them both if he keeps having to deal with this crap. So he doesn't. The runes that keep the tower from failing or being altered might be quite powerful, but the ones that protect things like the moving structures within the maze? Less so, especially to brute, inhuman strength over magical ability.

Rhix slid his hands into a set of heavy-duty cesti and padded the wall in front of him as it slid closed with his knuckles. Then, with a bellow, he smashed it with both fists. The stone was thick and sent a bit of a shock down even the sturdy arms of Rhix, but burst apart nonetheless. He stepped through and inhaled deeply again. Those two wouldn't slip away so easily...
 

Diedrick

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The room was beginning to glow eerily as the crystals pretty much drowned out any natural lighting previously present. An atmosphere of adrenaline and violence settled around Diedrick. The adversary was huge, hulking and charging straight at him. A creature that big shouldn't be involved in a non-lethal tournament, or at least Diedrick thought so. One swing of that big-ass motherfucking gauntlet would turn an unaugmented joe into a bloody pancake. Diedrick didn't want to know what the results of a well-placed shield bash would be, but he couldn't shake off the association with the words "gory" and "gruesome".

Diedrick observed as his opponent moved closer. Mimicking the action, Diedrick moved forward, running in a zig-zag pattern which made him harder to hit. Constantly shifting his weight from one foot or another, if the creature swung at him, he'd have an easier time dodging to do an everchanging point of balance. His plan wasn't to clash head-on, but to bypass the guardian and then arm himself properly before resuming the fight. Diedrick was the one holding the advantage in that scenario, being significantly smaller and more nimble than his attacker. He'd increase his speed when just about 3 meters away from the guardian, knowing that this was a comfortable distance at which he couldn't be caught at. Then Diedrick translated from a running sprint into a leap, using all the force of his legs to leap into the air and in an arching trajectory. It was unlikely that the opponent could catch him since he was in mid-swing and no as agile as Diedrick.

If Diedrick managed to jump over and not get caught, he'd snatch a comically large war hammer hanging off the wall just ahead. The thing was freakishly huge, made entirely out of solid steel and brass decorations. Its head aloe had to weigh at least 20 kilos, with another 5-6 kilos being stored in the handle. A normal man would find it impossible to carry such an unsightly weapon, much less swing it around, but Diedrick was no normal human.
Medja
 
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Seteta

The Dragon's Beloved
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"Yes!" Seteta hissed quietly, triumphantly, as the pillar shifted beneath her coaxing. She braced her feet and continued to pull on it, while craning to hear any sound of what was happening between Rheinhard and the other swordsmen. It was oddly quiet, though, so she assumed that they were either at an impasse or Rheinhard had silently... incapacitated both of them.

As a crevice became visible behind it, and a gleam of bronze within, Seteta grinned widely. And then she heard a quiet scraping sound, like stone against stone, and leapt back out of the way as two horizontal pillars shot out and knocked the pillar across the room.

In her attempt to leap out of the way, though, Seteta had momentarily forgotten about the slickness of the floor, and she suddenly found herself landing on her ass with a startled screech, then watching in horror as the pillar she'd moved slammed into another pillar... and the motion continued on.

"Rheinhard!" she hollered loudly over the crash of marble against marble. "I found a trap! Watch out for pillars!"

She scrambled to her feet, though they slid out from under her a few more times before she was able to make her way to standing again, and traced the path the now moving pillars were taking. The slick on the floor prevented her easily manipulating it with magic, and she doubted she would able to do much with it, anyway. The floor itself was likely one of the things warded in the tower to keep geomancers from messing with it.

Seteta warily eyed the pillars and the large stone balls on their slides, and on a hunch--and because she really did not want to become flattened--she cautiously made her way to the nearest ball that did not seem at threat of becoming imminently dislodged, and placed her hand against it.

"Please work," she whispered, "don't be warded."

Reaching within it with her magic, she willed the ball to crumble into dust.

Volker
Len Dy't B-taa
Medja
 

Rania

The Empire
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Floor 1

Rania’s breath was shallow and her bright eyes darted back and forth between the walls and Kade, tirelessly searching for that spark of bronze. From what she could tell, Rhix wasn’t making any more progress than they were – the changing system of the maze kept a safe distance between them and she hoped that the crocodilian beastfolk would soon run into the other contestants and find himself distracted.

The other two people that Rania was loosely keeping tabs on weren’t anywhere near, but as her gaze scanned the surrounding area, she had another idea. “We could try and lure him towards the other people in here,” she suggested with a wave of her hand, gesturing towards the western parts of the labyrinth, where she knew they were. Rania and Kade were headed towards the center along the eastern edge, but the thief changed directions upon his request.

Rhix was lurking somewhere in the south eastern parts.

“Why? Do you want to jump or something?”

It never occurred to her that they could try and push Rhix out of one of those windows. As they spoke, Rania finally caught the glimpse of bronze she’d been hoping for and as the next wall opened up in front of them, a statue was waiting behind it. “Ah!” She exclaimed as softly as possible, visibly relieved at what they’d found. “See, this is going grea–,” and before she could finish, a deep rumble followed by what sounded like a small explosion shook the ground beneath their feet and Rania knew for a fact that Kade didn’t need no seismic sense to know what was going on.

The woman paled. “He can do that?!” A look of panic on her face. She grabbed the statue and pushed forward, behind the next set of walls. “That's not fair–,” she muttered a few curses under her breath and slid along the wall towards the quieter outside parts of the labyrinth, now so focused on Rhix that she didn’t notice a second statue popping up on the ground and stumbled over it.

The usually graceful thief gasped as she fell flat on her face, but quickly rose from her position, wiping the sand off her clothes. “I’m fine,” she said. “You can have that.” She arched her chin at the second statue and then turned her back on Kade.

Maybe she should consider jumping too.

Kade Anvar
 

Kade Anvar

Ragashan
The Empire
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FLOOR 1


"Jump? What? No," Kade replied, a touch flabbergasted. That wouldn't be good, right? The rules said something about being ejected from the tower, yeah, but did that count if you went out yourself? Even if it was within the bounds, Kade--who had a fair bit of expertise in this field--knew that the smooth outer walls of the Tower wouldn't be scalable for someone like him without special tools.

Still, Rania changed direction. As much as she could with the labyrinth occasionally sliding closed certain passages and new ones opening from unexpected angles, anyway. Now that he was thinking about it though, Rania's idea was a pretty good one. With the windows, they'd have to rely heavily on the beastman--first of all--being a little too thick to figure out what they were trying to do and--second of all--for him to come charging at them with enough momentum to not be able to stop himself in time...which also meant that either Kade or Rania or both would have to jump out of the way in time too. Leading the big lizard to some of the other contenders? Sure, there'd be a hairy moment when everybody was eyeing each other down, but maybe the beastman would be happy to eliminate whoever he could catch and the other contenders would--like Rania--figure him to be worth a whole camel-load of points.

Sounded good to Kade.

And what else sounded good? Not that teeth-rattling rumble from somewhere vaguely behind them, that was for damn sure. For Gerra's sake, did the beastman just crash through one of the walls? Uh, yeah, if so, knocking him out was out of the question.

"Making him someone else's problem is sounding a lot better now," Kade said as he was glancing back in the general direction of the sound. No sight of him yet, but that could change with just a few shifts of the walls.

When he looked back--hot sands! Rania found a statue.

"Hey, you found one!"

Then a tile swiveled about on the ground and statue was on it and Rania went sprawling over the metal and planted her face in the sand of the floor.

"Hey, you found another!"

Kade would've offered help, but she was back on her feet in no time. And wouldn't you know it, she beat him to building that bridge of trust. But they at least had a statue each now, Kade's now safely in his satchel, so all was going great. They just needed to get the lizard off their trail.

Kade went up to Rania, dropped a hand on her shoulder, and leaned down a bit toward her. Like they were plotting some kind of mischievous revenge on someone, might've looked like to a bystander. "So I had some second thoughts. Let's ditch the window idea--I think it'd be brilliant to lure the lizard to our competition. How's that saying go? Two birds..." He squinted one eye for a moment, "...one stone. That sounds right. Outta give it a try."

Rania
 
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Len Dy't B-taa

Ghost of The Savannah
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Len's blade found its mark as it hits the nimble target, every nerve in the ancient being's body lighting up in a symphonious victory cry of satisfaction. His teeth clench, an armored hand lowering to the ground to steady himself as he turns to look at the results of his strike.

A silent swear passes his porcelain white lips. He'd struck, but with the flat of his blade. His opponent was sent to the slick floor with a deafening thud, his body sliding in a heap towards the opposite wall, far from Len's reach now.

He could only hope he'd incapacitated the man indefinitely; the condition of the floor was taking a toll on him, and his muscles began to ache with the effort it took to maintain his balance.

He'd no idea where the old man or the mysterious woman had gone, and he honestly didn't care. So long as they stayed out of his way, he had no reason to bring them any form of harm. Instead, he pushed himself over carefully to where his foe had collided with the wall, to ensure he wasn't rising to his feet.

Halfway there, a pillar seemed to shoot from nowhere, colliding with his armor-clad form.

It had hit him at an angle, not straight enough to carry Len with the pillar, instead sending him flying off in a random direction, the sounds of his plates against the floor filling the room as he slid across the chamber. The blow whipped his head to the side and his ears were sent ringing. All Len could see in the moment were white spackles and flashes like snow in her vision. See white, taste red.

His vision cleared slowly, his orientation spinning as he looked at someone's feet before him.

Seteta
Volker
Medja
 

Volker

The Man of a Thousand Souls
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Rheinhard carefully watched the two fight, but a loud grinding noise immediately yanked his attention to Seteta. She was moving one of the pillars, sliding it...then it all went wrong so very quickly. Two horizontal pillars slammed into the first, sending it careening across the floor. He carefully moved out of the path, his eyes watching the columns as they tumbled against one another. It was like one of Aron’s dominoes games, the stone pillars crashing into one another from a single movement. Unfortunately, one of the swordsmen was smacked aside by the flying pillar. The other was temporarily incapacitated, but Volker wanted to make sure he was out entirely. He couldn’t run, or he’d slip and fall. Deliberate steps with his weight balanced and not panicking was the key.

A trap! They should have been more careful. Why hadn’t she waited? He bared his teeth in frustration, and slowly made his way to the crumpled man. The armored ones opponent had been hit, but by the flat of a blade. Volker watched the tumbling pillars, grabbed the mustached man, and hauled him up. Volker, despite his aging body, was strong as an ox. He flung the thinner man toward the collapsing pillars. The way he awkwardly slid across the floor, and tumbled against the far wall, a pillar would likely lay across his legs and crush both of them.

Volker planted himself against the wall, and pushed off toward Len. He had been struck a glancing blow by the column, and Volker carefully knelt in front of him. “If you help us complete the puzzle, I will leave you intact. Betray us, and I will ensure you meet an accident.” He held out a hand toward him, offering to help him up.

Seteta

Len Dy't B-taa
 
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Seteta

The Dragon's Beloved
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FLOOR 3
Just as Seteta felt her magic start to resonate within the stone once more, a thought occurred to her, and she yanked her hand away, cutting the magic off. The stone ball might remained unchanged, and she stopped to look around the room again. While she wanted to eliminate the potential of being turned into a pancake for any of them, she realized that if she took out part of the pieces, it might make the puzzle in the room completely unsolveable.

So with a scowl, Seteta stepped away and slid around on the floor--thankfully without too much flailing--to seek out Rheinhard.

She found him around the other side of the tumbling pillars just as he tossed the moustache man aside, and she flinched as Rheinhard approached the other contender--they wore a mask, and by their build she assumed it was a man, but you could never really be fully sure, honestly--fully expecting that her companion would attempt to bash their head in or something.

She stayed quiet where she watched, arching a brow when Rheinhard extended a hand, and an offer.

Volker
Len Dy't B-taa
 

Rania

The Empire
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FLOOR 1

With the stupid statue finally in her possession, the thief suddenly realized that just one statue wouldn’t do. She had seen some of the other contestants and if Rania were to take a guess, she’d say that most of them were currently fighting through the lower levels, collecting points by knocking others out and sweeping the tower with whatever magical prowess they had. Rania barely had anything, be it physical or magical. Her abilities were barely a whisper compared to what any geomancer could do and when it came to actual conflict, the meager girl only had her wits to rely on.

Kade was similar, or so she thought, but perhaps that’s why they made a good match. The young boy leaned in and Rania mimicked his motion – apparently now was a good time for a scheme. She fiddled around with her statue a bit before putting it into her pouch.

“Okay,” she nodded. “If he’s not too focused on us, he should lose track and give us some time to find more of these, because in all honesty,” she halted for a moment and nervously scanned her surroundings. “I’m not sure this is gonna be worth much.” Even though Rania had joined the games without any particular goal in mind other than to succeed, she still strived for more.

“I’m afraid the best way to lure him straight to them is to allow him to catch up to us and then dodge into the labyrinth shortly before contact.” Rania grimaced at the mere thought of slowing down her pace, especially since Rhix was now disregarding all wall movement and simply smashing through them as if they were made out of crackers. “No clue how he’s keeping track of us, but here's hoping he can’t hear us.” She doubted it – the constant shifting of the massive stone walls caused a lot of noise after all.

“Come, that way.”

With a grim expression, the woman then moved back towards the inner parts of the maze. The other two contenders – perhaps they’d formed an alliance too at this point – were more or less closely together. Rania pulled out two small throwing knives, just in case, and made sure not to lose track of either of the two moving parties. Behind them, Rhix was still doing his ungodly thing and even though he terrified her, the thought of tricking him was exciting.

“Do you think he’ll destroy the entire maze by the time the two hours are over? I’d rather not explore any of the other floors, but depending on how fruitful our search here will be, we might have to.”


Kade Anvar
 
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Kade Anvar

Ragashan
The Empire
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FLOOR 1


I'm not sure this is gonna be worth much.

Worth a little. Worth a lot. Whatever these statues came out to, it would be something. And that was basically how Kade made a living. Just getting something, anything, by whatever means he had available to him and with whatever expenditures of luck necessary to make it back home in one piece. The streets of Ragash, this Tower in the grand arena of Annuakat, all the same to him. Danger was danger, but it was worth it, always worth it, whenever he could bring a smile to his little sister's and little brother's faces.

...allow him to catch up...and then dodge into the labyrinth shortly before contact.

"Huh. That's a lot like my plan." Kade grinned. "I like where your head's at."

Yeah. It was going to be a really hairy moment when they had some opposing contenders on one side of them and a charging crocodilian beastman on the other and they'd both have jump well and clear from that mess. Kade always admired the reflexes of those crazy snake-tamers he'd sometimes see around Ragash. Well. Time to see if he had a little bit of a snake-tamer's particular charmed life in him too.

Kade followed after Rania, his sandals kicking up little plumes of sand in their brisk walk. She had that seismic sense after all. Hey. Wouldn't it be bad if those other contenders had something like that too? Actually, no, stop, don't think about that. Stick to the plan and just make it out of here with a few points to your name, that's what mattered, thaaaaat's what mattered, think about that instead.

"Destroy the entire maze? Heh. I don't know, maybe. It's anybody's guess if that'd make this whole thing easier or harder." And Kade thought for a moment. "Yeah. I'm not keen on hopping up or down different floors either. Take the genie you know over the genie you don't, so on and so on."

Ahead, after they had been going for a while, a glimpse. Far down a straight corridor, where the walls had momentarily opened up to a considerable length. A glimpse of the two other contenders, both made small and obscure by distance but likely both men. They had been going one way. Stopped. Turned and looked down the long, straight corridor back at Kade and Rania.

And then the maze shifted again, two stone walls coming out from the sides to bisect the corridor, and the sight of the other contenders was cut off.

Rania Medja
 
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Vulpesen

Ain't Dead Yet
Fae Courts
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Collecting the points from those who surrendered was easy enough. And those who attempted to run would find themselves tripped by a shadow pulling at their feet and a sword pressed lightly against their back. It never did well to try and trick a warlock of a trickster. He was a compassionate man, but treachery did not sit well with him, and even those who got away would no doubt find in the long run, that breaking a deal with the fae had its consequences, even when done through one of their agents.

As the drow wrenched free however, Vulpesen prepared to send his shadows after him, only to find a dagger pointed in his direction, and a challenge leaving the elf's lips. A part of Vulpesen raged at his insolent betrayal, and another was at least pleased that he had the honor to face him head on with it. "I hope you have more tricks than that butter knife," he growled as his left hand briefly dropped to unsheathe one of his dueling daggers. A rapier and dagger against a single short blade. As Vulpesen settled into a simple stance, his sword pointed at the drow's chest by extended arm, and his dagger kept close to his body, he wondered just how this poor misguided drow intended to grasp at victory,

Medja
 

Len Dy't B-taa

Ghost of The Savannah
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His senses didn't return all at once, definitely not as quickly as he would have preferred them to. He couldn't see clearly; the material of his mask had broken on impact with the floor, and as he shifted shaky arms underneath his body to lift himself up the pieces of it would fall to the ground to reveal his face to the old man offering a five-fingered olive branch. He didn't hear what he'd said, but he knew the gesture.

He looked up to meet the man's eyes with the milky white color of his own. He wasn't human; not entirely. No human had skin so porcelain white as Len did, appearing as though his head were carved out of marble. He looked young, and long braids of equally silver hair hung down one side of his face, the rest of his head as bald as Volker's.

The sheer paleness of the man was a bit alarming when contrasted with the thin stream of blood running from between his lips and down his chin. He moved his lips, trying to feel his tongue as he spoke the only words he could think to speak; "Len Dy't B-taa, Vanguard of the Aberrant, Servant of the Seven Trees." The default response in his own mind.

He reached out, grasping the hand in his metal-clad one and rising unsteadily to his feet. His hearing was returning, as was his feeling. He spat a bit of the blood from his mouth onto the floor and resumed his stance from before the blow he'd taken. "Lead me as you will. Let us escape this wretched floor."

Seteta
Volker
 
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Volker

The Man of a Thousand Souls
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Rheinhard studied the man for a moment. He had struck his head rather hard, enough to split his lip and cause blood to flow. He was pale, with silver hair against the side of his face. A rarity in one who looked so young. He was beautiful. Rheinhard pushed away any thoughts entertaining that sort of nonsense. He’d tried reaching out already, in his awkward and lonely way, and it had ended badly. He met the stranger’s eyes and nodded curtly to him. “Rheinhard Volker.” He said, simply enough. He had been given nicknames, but he’d liked none of them. Ochresand Horror? Pit dog? Nothing he wanted to volunteer to a stranger.

He hauled Len to his feet easily, bracing his own against the wall so neither of them slid around on the floor. He eyed the bleeding mess that Seteta had made; all the columns had shifted over. They needed to move carefully from here on in. He looked at Len, frowning. “You took a hard blow. Breathe. Look at your surroundings and see what you notice. Weight over your feet.” Rheinhard told him. “Seteta. What happened?”

Seteta
Len Dy't B-taa
 

Seteta

The Dragon's Beloved
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Seteta watched quietly--snorting quietly at the mouthful of a name and title that was offered--ready to spring to Rheinhard's defense if he indicated the need, while the third one found his way to his feet again. She began to carefully step over toward them, her side twinging a little as she worked to keep her balance.

When Rheinhard asked her what happened, the Abtati wrinkled her nose.

"I tried to slide a pillar over," she said. "There's one of those bronze statues behind it, apparently. But there was a tripwire or something somewhere, and when I moved it, it triggered all of this." She waved vaguely around the room.

"I'm not sure how all the giant marble balls play into this, either," she scowled. "I thought about trying to disintegrate them so they couldn't smash us, but then realized that maybe there's something connected to their weight that might be triggered if they move."

She turned then, and nodded to the stranger--this Len Dy't B-taa--before casting a short, curious glance at Rheinhard. She hadn't missed the very brief widening of Rheinhard's eyes when he laid eyes on this Len Dy't B-taa's face.

"I'm Seteta," she introduced herself. "I'm courting Rheinhard's mother."

Volker
Len Dy't B-taa
 

Rania

The Empire
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First Floor

The statue disappeared into Rania’s pouch. The thief recounted the weapons she was carrying – two long daggers at her side and four smaller ones hidden inside the cloth covering her arms and legs. The latter were meant to be thrown at the enemy and as she maneuvered through the labyrinth with the little one in tow, Rania decided that she might as well use up some of her repertoire during this event.

The woman reached into her bag and pulled out a small bottle of suspicious looking, blue liquid. In between her trail of thoughts, Rania noticed that they were both talkers and that Kade was taking an almost casual approach to the situation. Surely his life didn’t depend on it, neither did hers after all, but he was clearly lacking some sort of ambition.

Perhaps a positive outcome to all of this would change his position a bit.

“This is a paralyzing tincture,” she explained and halted for a moment to dip all four daggers into the gooey sauce. “Works wonders, but not for long. We have to be quick.” If the potion made contact with blood, it could stun a grown man for a short amount of time – five minutes perhaps. She didn’t think they needed any more than that as Rhix was already on his merry way.

She could hear the rumble of his footsteps, eagerly approaching from behind them.

Then, a corridor opened up ahead of them. Rania’s eyes widened in anticipation, her green glare narrowing down on the two men ahead of them. Target set, she thought to herself and gave Kade a quick glance. If they were in luck, those guys would have found a few statues by now as well and Kade and Rania would get a chance to snatch those before Rhix happened upon them all.

And then she started running. Like, actually running. The corridor had already closed, but her attention had shifted from the crocodile to their contenders and she was keen on obtaining control over the situation. She knew where they stood and, much to her delight, their sparse movement revealed that neither was a geomancer – they couldn’t do what she could.

Rania’s road through the maze was a little bit awkward, with her being forced to stop here and there, but the girl was on a mission and once she saw a flicker of a chance to attack, she did. She had approached them in silence, hoping that the noise of the ever shifting walls numbed her own movements, until there was nothing but a single layer of bricks between them.

And once that path opened up, she threw her first dagger and then the second one.

Kade Anvar | Medja
 
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Len Dy't B-taa

Ghost of The Savannah
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If Len noticed anything out of the ordinary in the old man's gaze as this 'Rheinhard Volker' as he helped him to his feet, he didn't show it. No, he was too focused on what had just happened, on the blood dripping from his mouth slowly. He'd been injured. Both the efforts of the one with the rapier as well as the triggering of a trap had left him wounded and sore. His tongue darts out, slowly licking at the metallic-smelling liquid building on his lips.

He hadn't felt so alive in ages, the adrenaline flowing through him replaced the pain.

His eyes barely flicked to Volker, as white as the rest of his skin with small black rings. They flick over him for a moment, seeming to decide he was trustworthy for now. "My injuries are minor. Worry not about my condition." This small failure meant he would be performing triple the amount of exercise for the next week. Such poor reflexes were unforgivable.

Then the woman came to their side, she was wrapped in garb that was quite nostalgic to Len, and his intense gaze noticeably softens as she begins to explain herself. The entire room was a puzzle, but he'd been far too distracted to pay that any mind. Listening to her appraisal of the situation, he hums, closing his eyes for a moment.

"I see. I find it likely the marble spheres are meant to be pushed to a certain place. Look for pressure switches on the floors. The bronze statues may also be involved, if lengths were taken to hide them."

He seems to ignore Seteta's introduction save for a nod, his attention pulled elsewhere as he looks over to where the man he'd been dueling lay in a heap. Without a word, Len separates from the two of them, sliding his way over to the man. He was alive but quite unconscious. Hoisting him up, he lifts him carefully over his shoulder before sliding back and placing him in a spot the pillars and spheres weren't likely to hurt him.

"You fought well." He murmured as he laid him down. "Today is not your day to die."

Turning back, he dusts the palms of his hands off, or the material that covered them. "We should split up. One of us checks the statues, one the spheres, and one the pillars."

Volker
Seteta
 

Kade Anvar

Ragashan
The Empire
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21
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FIRST FLOOR


Oh that was good. Paralyzing tincture, huh? Give those other contenders a sharp little present laced with some of that and leave 'em on the crocodile's doorstep. No doubt that if the sandal was on the other foot, those two guys would do the same to them. You look at it another way, it's basically like those two were standing between Kade and the keeping of his promise. So best give the crowd outside a show, and make sure that he and Rania were the ones being cheered on.

Kade took out the potion of speed from his satchel. Popped off the cork and raised the bottle. "Speaking of being quick, can't imagine a better time for a boost." Then, more in general than to Rania specifically, "Thanks, Master Jalil."

Kade tipped the potion back and drank it, and like pretty much all potions, it didn't taste all that great. Bitter. A tinge of something that made his nostrils flare and his lip curl. But it wasn't about the taste, it was about the effect, and the effect he could feel in the small matter of a moment. His muscles felt invigorated, like he could just go off and run a marathon and it wouldn't be any worse than a lap around his house in Ragash.

Which was good, because Rania gave him a glance and took off. They had seen the other two contenders, those men in the distance before the maze had shifted, and she was using her sense to weave through the labyrinth and get after them. Kade was at her heels, not yet leveraging the added speed imbued to him by the potion--just enough to keep pace. Heh, his normal run felt like a walk with Master Jalil's brew in his stomach.

They ran. Ran. Then waited.

Until a timely opening of the wall before them revealed the two other contenders, their backs wide open, some few paces down the corridor ahead. Those men. Oh...hey. Even from behind, Kade recognized their armor. Well if it wasn't Nuatt and Jallock.

Rania threw her knives. The first nicked Nuatt right across the back and side of his neck, and he snapped a hand up to there as if he'd been stung by a bee. "What--...??"

Nuatt toppled forward like a statue, a small ploof in the sand as he hit the ground. Jallock whipped his gaze down to his paralyzed friend, then turned back to look behind himself, toward Rania and Kade.

CLANG. The second knife hit Jallock's pauldron and went twirling around and around, nearly straight up into the air. Kade rushed forward, moving with an augmented quickness. He jumped and ran along the wall--one, two, three, four steps, nice, normally he could only manage two--and he reached and grabbed the knife from the air and landed on Jallock's opposite side. Jallock whirled around again, no small amount of shock in his expression.

"Remember me?"

Kade swiped the dagger at Jallock's cheek, almost like a particularly aggressive painter with a brush to a canvas. A thin line of blood was drawn, the tincture had settled in, and Jallock likewise toppled like a statue with a frozen face that suggested a number of disparaging thoughts. Muted by the walls of the Tower, there was nevertheless a low and distant cheer from the watching crowd outside.

Kade flashed a grin to Rania. "Now where's that beastman when you need him?"

Nuatt and Jallock's own satchels lay on the ground with them.

Rania Medja
 

Volker

The Man of a Thousand Souls
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Rheinhard had to admit he agreed with Len’s assessment. The balls were clearly meant to move somewhere. The statues…perhaps, but the cascading pillars had been a warning. He flared his nostrils and followed Len with his head as he passed, trying to catch a better idea of the man’s scent. He didn’t allow himself to get caught up in it; he just nodded and slowly began pacing the room.

They hadn’t been too careful, sliding about the way they had. He pawed a bit at the floor with his feet, carefully moving and testing the floor with the ball of a foot. “Seteta, do you see anything unusual about the spheres? Are they easily rolled?” He asked her, though his eyes were on Len. Whether it was because he hadn’t yet decided if the man was going to be worth the trouble or he didn’t trust him…or something else…wasn’t entirely obvious.

Volker found a spot on the floor. It was small, and easily dismissed as poor masonry or a trick of the slick covering. He knelt carefully, and clawed away some of the muck. Did the curve in the floor match a sphere? Which sphere? “Found something.” He called. “Rounded area in the floor. It may fit a sphere but there is no way to know which one.”

Medja
Len Dy't B-taa
Seteta
 

Seteta

The Dragon's Beloved
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Seteta listened to this Len speak, and admitted to herself that she hadn't even considered the idea of pressure triggers on the floor. She hid a smile as Len walked past Rheinhard.

"Collecting the bronze statues is one of the ways to earn points towards winning this game," Seteta said in reply to Len's comment about them. "That seems reason enough to me for them to be hidden."

As Rheinhard examined the floor, she turned her attention back to the spheres.

"They seem identical to each other to me, just by sight," she answered, "and carefully balanced to stay where they are at the moment, so I'm sure they'll be easily moved. I only touched the one with my magic, but I can go around and compare the others to be certain."

Easily moved, certainly, she thought. But whether they would be easily stopped once put into motion was another matter entirely.

Volker
Len Dy't B-taa
Medja