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View Full Version : [wRHG Tournament]: An ill conceived notion (Round 2 Vote)



SJCRPV
03-19-2015, 06:07 PM
As was agreed upon, the deadline arrived and here is the voting thread.

As a reminder for those who didn't check the original post, there will also be on top of each submission the objectives delineated by Lobotomizer at the start of the round however:



To entertain:

The goal is no longer what it seems. It is not to reach the end. It is not to record the entirety of the journey. It is not to overcome given handicaps with trivial effort. It is to entertain. Only creativity is rewarded; following the guidelines is secondary.


Here are the participants:



Handyman

Starving: It's hunt-a-gladiator time.

Hidden in plain sight: When discovered, Handyman will be seen glowing to the discoverer, making an easy target even in the dark.

Puppeteer and the puppeted: Limbs jerk uncontrollably. Even his tongue now seems unreliable.

Mortality in Immortality: Severe injury to point of being incapable of combat results in dormancy, and subsequently defeat.


The world is different now. The ground is muddy, and the atmosphere is... off.

Air currents glide through branches, hitting the sensitive digits of the creature's grin. A few of the smile's fingers started to move, slowly priming their loose joints before breaking their limits, the sound of them snapping individually echoing loudly from the creature's facial gape.
Trees, everywhere! Finally, a place this creature can think of as home. But the feeling of reassurance is ended abruptly by a desire now festering its way through his whole essence. Hunger.

It needs to feed, he knew this much. It felt his mind slipping through the cracks of its skull where fingers knit tight and nails oozed pus. It's starting to become empty again, and it needs to refill. But the hunger is strong, the intense desire to feed causing it to slip into an inert state, the sensation of emptiness racking through its body and locking its joints up. It can't move, it feels its conscious slowly leaving, all it can really do is stay frozen until food comes along. All it can do is wait.

Then it heard them. Voices, garbled as their echoes bounced through hundreds of trees, the forest interfering with the creature's perception. Slowly, the voices became less scattered and it could close in on where they were, but the information was pointless. Only when one of them gets near it could its body jerk into its primal rage, lust for food overriding all senses. The voices became clearer.

----------

"Disagreement: I have no clue who you are! Just- just get away from me!"

The creature's back tickled with anticipation.

"Hoi, I know you, mate! You said you was gonna partner up with me but I bet you're just aimin' to get that key for yourself!"

It felt heat flood through its body, its simple mind racing, sounds of twigs snapping and syllables shouting roaring in its skull, drowning out any consciousness that was left.

"Statement: There are two keys, you idiot! Look, whoever you are, I know there are others that want to get in our way, so it's best if we work together!"

They were close now. Vibrations ran through its fingers, all the segments of his skull coming to life and slowly tensing, almost as if the head was breathing.

"Shut it, I know there are two keys! One's in that tower batfink fucked off to, and the other is-"

The two men stopped running, their feet digging hard into the mud. They happened upon a small clearing, small enough to house the black behemoth yet large enough to show its size.

"th-there."

The two, stopped in their tracks, forgot about their differences and dared look upon the demon before them, starting to glow a faint grey in the dark. Heat trickled down their spines, warm fear radiating from this terror, towering above the two. It was slouched over, two heavy fists perched into the ground, the head aimed downwards as to conceal its face.

"Observation: is- is it asleep?" the metal man asked, carefully treading around the creature, getting as many angles as it could. He tried to identify the creature, but his helmet was malfunctioning. Nothing would register the creature, as if it was just part of the Earth itself.

"Well, it's the second key. We're gonna have to, uh, behead it or something," the bandaged man suggested, his eyes drifting towards his 'partner' sidestepping around the beast, "and it seems pretty paralyzed, maybe we oughta-"

Snap.

Bust's eyes darted back to the creature, only to see its face pressed against his.

"W-What the fuck!?" Bust screamed, striding backwards, attempting to distance itself from the thing. But it moved with him, black leather-like skin pressed against his bandaged face. Bust's back hit a tree trunk, ceasing his movement, though the creature's head kept on moving. Bust whimpered and cursed as the smiling black sphere pushed him down and into the dirt. Out of the corner of his right eye, he could see the creature slowly reaching his left hand up to its jaw. Bl.An.C just watched, astounded at the speed of the thing's movement, hesistating to take action until he saw his partner was thoroughly helpless. And he needed him alive. The creature? Not so much.

Bl.An.C, too distraught to summon any of his weapons, picked up a rock from the floor and threw it at the creature's back. The beast jerked in surprise, freezing on the spot. Bust used this moment to scurry out from underneath the thing, mud and leaves sticking to his back as he shuffled towards the scientist.

"Jeez-!" Bust bawled out. "The fuck is this thing!?"

Lending a metal hand, the scientist helped the shocked Bust up. Slowly, the creature turned around, its joints sounding like slabs of concrete grinding on each other. Suddenly, a giant arm darted out to the beast's side and punched through a tree, causing the upper half to descend upon the creature. The deafening snap of fist through bark causing the two others to hastily scarper away, heading to the bridge that would take them up the stone tower.

Shifting the tree off of itself with ease, the hunger-driven beast began to make chase. It was too hungry to care about pain, to care about silence, it just needed to feast, so it shot arms out of its body, grabbing trees and tearing them towards it. It smashed itself into log after log, trying to move swiftly through the dense forest yet constantly being interrupted a tree at a time. It could sense the two running meals ahead of it reaching the edge of the forest. It had to get them now.

Bust and Bl.An.C managed to reach the wooden bridge in time. A wide structure, cornering around another elevated pillar of forestry before driving into a decrepit stone tower, ascending and vanishing into mist far above. They ran, fear throbbing through their legs, fuelling their charge to safety. Bust turned around to see what happened to the creature, and he wish he hadn't.

Behind the trees, he saw the glowing outline of the creature. It was no longer some humanoid shape, it was a flying storm of fists and arms. Caring not for its own safety, the creature launched itself through trees, breaking out of the forest and landing onto the bridge behind them. Timber flew from the woods' gash where the beast lingered, crashing into the wooden bridge and causing it to waver madly.

"Shit-!" screamed Bust, loosing his footing. He grasped onto Bl.An.C's foot as he fell, hoping to be dragged to the now-close platform. "Don't fuckin' leave me here, man!"

Bl.An.C fell over Bust's weight. "Expletive: Shit! Get off me!" He started kicking Bust in the skull, metal heel clashing against metal cranium, trying to get him off. He saw the beast at the far end of the bridge, crawling across whilst arms spasmed and convulsed, punching into the bridge, out in the air and into the creature himself.

The bridge creaked and shuddered, losing its grasp against the main platform, the creature's destructive exit ravaging most of its structure. Luckily, as it lost grasp of the dirt and stone it was hinged to, Bl.An.C drove a steel fist into the platform's ridge.

"Observation: The bridge is falling! You, can you see the beast!?"

"N-no! It fell with it! We're fuckin' safe, Hallelujah!" rejoiced the bandaged man, hanging by the armoured leg of Bl.An.C. "Now, fuckin' lift me up!"

"Observation: Wait. It was a key," said the scientist. "One less key."

"What- what do you fuckin' mean?" it dawned on Bust quickly. "W-wait! Shit! I knew you were gonna do this!"

Bl.An.C swung an arm down, said "Sorry, guy. I got the upper ground here." Bright light sheened over his arm, forming into a high-energy plasma cannon.

"N-n-n-" He couldn't finish the last letter of the word 'no', for he had no head left to say it.

A limp hand fell loose of Bl.An.C's leg, falling down with the bridge. The survivor looked down, some regret in his mind, until he saw something big and glowy clutching to the bridge, clambering up.

"Expletive: Shit."

He hoisted himself up, rolled himself onto the platform and started pelting down to the other bridge. 'the other key is up there' the scientest strategised, 'I could finish off the bat and get it. Easy.'

The armoured man raced onto the bridge, eyes forwards onto the tower. He stopped for a second, feeling like something was heavily off. He looked down at the bridge, his gaze slowly reaching to the end of it, realising that the world was starting to curve upwards.

"Affirmation: shit's getting fucky."

The madness of the world started to overwhelm him, until he was shot back to reality by a giant thump behind him. He turned. He started to scream.

The beast was mere meters away from him, a lovecraftian clusterfuck of limbs and appendages, holding a headless man in a giant hand, now visible to Bl.An.C to be Bust, or what was left of him. The creature's face was open, a red tentacle of an arm gently pawing at Bust's gaping neck, trying to find something in there worth eating. Nothing. The arm holding the corpse jerked violently, throwing it far behind the creature. Then it noticed Bl.An.C, who was already running as fast as his metal legs could take him.

'Shit shit shit shit shitshitshitshits SHIT' he screamed in his head. He ran up the bridge, trying to get to the tower, but it seemed to just drift further away from him. The wood started to shudder underfoot. Thump. Thud. Boom. The vibrations worsened, he could feel them get closer and closer and closer, he could feel the warm fear screaming through his bones, until he fell over.

Bl.An.C hastily shoved himself up, realising he was now in the base of the tower. He looked behind him to see how far away the creature was. His retina widened, and he thrust himself up the nearby staircase, barely dodging the flurry of giant fists crashing through the doorway. He felt the whole tower shudder as this force of nature slammed against it, and all he could do was run upwards.

The stairs seemed to go on forever, repeating and repeating constantly. The only thing that stood out from the grey walls and stairs were the few dots of black blood now and then. 'The bat shit could be at the top. Hope the shit hasn't got the key,' thought Bl.An.C. Shudders still rocked up the building now and then, but they got fainter and fainter, as if the beast couldn't fit into the stairwell. The idea caused him to feel a bit of relief.

When he reached the top of the tower, he encountred exactly who he thought he would. Standing there, in a stone, windowed room, trying to clutch a heavy stone key in his mouth, was Venox.

"Observation: Still alive, huh?"

The robotic voice fell on deaf ears. The creature's right wing was missing, instead showing a singed mess of skin and scar where its shoulder should have been. It squinted at the man-machine, stone key clutched between its teeth, its weight causing pain to rack up through the bat-thing's neck and spine. Its eyes darted left and right, seeing several metal-coated men standing before it,

Bl.An.C summoned his plasma cannon once again, and aimed it towards the creature, the glow of the barrel reflected in its two red eyes. It knew it planned to run past him, to take the key for himself. He knew he deserved freedom more than the little freak. Then he paused and thought, 'wait. This creature is near helpless, maybe I could use it for a better purpose, like bait. The beast seemed to want something in Bust's head,' feeling a slight pang of regret as the name entered his mind, 'maybe I could sate the beast with this one, get both keys? Bigger reward, possibly.'

He lowered his cannon, letting it flow back into his arm. 'Now,' he thought, 'how to-'

Thoughts were cut short as the tower began to sway. '-shit, this place isn't right. Warping around like it is. I'd best stand my ground, though. Don't want the bat to-' he noticed the bat was losing its footing too. 'so it's not just me, is it?'

Though, everything started to change around when he heard an explosion. Then he realised the tower isn't warping, it's tilting. Constantly. Shudders shook throughout the pillar before it fell a few meters, causing Bl.An.C and Venox to enter freefall for a few seconds, the key flung from Venox' grasp.

He tried to retrieve it for himself, but the scientist's scope widened once again when he realised what he saw out of the window, the gravity around him becoming lesser and lesser.

"Observation: shit. It broke the tower."

Stone bricks cracked and broke as the giant tower crashed down upon the world. Bl.An.C managed to grab the key in the freefall, unawares that Venox had flung himself out of a window, aiming to land in the trees as a safety net.

'Aha, got it! now to get outta here oh shit' thought the man. The tower crashed into the starting platform, a tree impaling through the room, tearing through Bl.An.C's left hand, flaying the armour from his flesh.

He woke up a few minutes after, pain pulsating through his body, starting from his left arm. It was trapped between giant stone bricks and a shattered tree stump. He cursed, blood spluttering within his helmet as his mouth moved. He tried to shift himself, shrapnel freeing itself from his body, revealing dents and gashes. All he knew was that he was trapped in a cavern, that his left hand is damaged- possibly even torn off- and that in his right hand, close to his chest, he held the key.

"Analysis: I'm going to survive this. I just gotta free myself, and I'll head over to the exit. I'll- I'll be fine. I can just build a new hand."

He tried to yank his limb out, but he couldn't. He tried constantly, disturbing the cavern around him, leaves and pebbles falling like rain with each pull. Then another sound came, a heavy thud. Another one, and then even more.

"Expletive: Ah shit."

He looked around before seeing a glowing mess through the wall, slowly approaching him. Hands flailed upwards, he guessed it was digging for him. It was moving slow and was at a distance, so he had plenty of time to escape.

Until he heard a shrill voice right above him, yelling "H-hey! Beast! I hear movement over here!"

'The little shit! Well, time for drastic measures. Here goes.' Bl.An.C dropped the key onto the floor, summoned a plasma gun from his right arm and aimed at the trapped limb. He calmed himself before continuinng. 'Plasma should seal the wound shut. Should. Here goes nothing.'

A bright flash of light, and he was free. Unfortunately, the shock caused the cavern around him to finally collapse. He tried to rise up, hoping to beat the shit out of the batshit bat shit with the key, held firmly in his only hand. He broke through the surface, rubble and debris shifting off him as he arose. And arose further. The floor was moving further away from him? He saw Venox grinning below, staring at him. Bl.An.C was heavily confused, until he saw the glowing fingers around his waist, slowly squeezing his armour into his body.

The creature in his grasp shoved its tongue on to the back of his prey's neck, the small red hand meeting only metal plating. It tried to drill through, but it found nothing. The creature was almost disappointed, until the tongue jerked to the left, tearing the plating clean off, showing fleshy tones underneath.

"Expletive: F-fuck! What!? G-Get off me! GET IT OFF ME!"

Venox watched in glee as his friend finally had his feast. It was completely unaware of the inhuman torture Bl.An.C was being subjected to. Though the tongue was on his neck for mere seconds, to him it felt like centuries. Centuries of torture flooded him, his hopes were smashed and crushed and obliterated, his sanity warped and deformed and disintegrated, his mind ruined and and demolished and annihilated. As his body fell free of the creature's grasp, all that came from his mouth was a weak whisper of only one word: "Alice...

"Uh. You- you alright, whatever you are?" asked Venox, curiously. It looked up at the creature's face, seeing it smiling with big shiny teeth, a long pink tongue licking its lips, its face decorated with a pair of bulging cartoony eyes.

The creature tilted its head, body shuddering with delight, its body now filled with its regular limited consciousness. It slowly lumbered over to Venox, gently picked him up and placed the bat-like thing in his open ribcage, now hugging around his body. "Well, at least you're friendly now!" it shifted in the thing's grasp a little, getting all snug.

The map was now clear in the thing's head, like it was before its mind was clouded with starvation. It couldn't really visualise it, but its instincts fed it directions to the end goal. It lumbered over rubble, shifting giant stone slabs out of its way like they were made of foam. It travelled through the forests, slowly meandering over the final bridge, making way to its destination.

It finally made its way to the flat island. Two sticks protruded from it, some cloth between them saying "Goal" in scribbly letters. It settled down, releasing Venox from its chest before slumping down onto the floor, allowing itself some relaxation.


As soon as its head crossed between the two poles, several party poppers erupted from around the island, a the voice of a small girl saying "Hurray!" in the background. "Congratulations to Venox and Handy! Yaaaay! You didn't die!"





Venox

Those who fail to listen: Deafness. Not a single sound can be heard.

Grasping falsities: Hallucinations abound, except they affect all senses. So seemingly real, that they cannot be perceived through.

Knowledge without knowledge: Venox has lost all knowledge of each gladiator's identity, retaining only his previous feelings towards them.

Action without action: Venox's presence and location is immediately noticeable by those within meters of him. His opponents seem to know his every action that he attempts.


Wind. There was air blasting over him. Venox cringed, flattening himself against the ground. This…earth was different from the stone that he’d been on before. Where was he? What had happened? He spat echoes, but there was no response back. Darkness surrounded every inch of his environment. Venox’s blood iced. He could be anywhere right now! On top of a cliff, in midair, or even surrounded by enemies! The spy tensed for a little, but nothing happened.

“Help!” he cried, feeling his mouth form the words.

The sound was lost to him, and then the realization hit. He was deaf. Not only deaf, but blind as well. The spy’s spirit wilted, crumbling away into true fear. Venox lay there for what seemed like an eternity, his soundless sobs jolting out of him, but soon he calmed down. He had to get moving. There was a key right ahead somewhere…he knew it.

The vibrations in the ground were a very unreliable way to map his environment, but he tried hard, pressing his shivering form against the earth. There! He could feel the vibrations of something under the earth, something that seemed to be trying to pull free of it, but couldn’t. Roots? He hoped they were roots. Venox wormed his way forwards, following the strongest signal, and he felt his wings rub against a rough surface.

It was the bark of a tree. Venox clung to its trunk, trembling. At least he knew this was here. His claws slid out, burying themselves in the earth. For a very short distance around him, he could feel the strain of tree roots deep in the ground. They were being shifted every now and then by the wind. His senses expanded, slashing at the air, but he couldn’t detect any other life…yet.

A sudden rough vibration in the tree’s trunk caught his attention, and he scrambled away with a scream. The vibration got stronger, and Venox’s fur shot stiff and upright. He bared his fangs and hissed, inching in a circle. His senses lashed out again. Nothing. Shivering, he wormed his way back to his tree. His wings felt like lead. Something was keeping him from flying. Venox’s fangs ground together, the anger he felt towards the Host building every second. The higher his anger got, the less fear he felt.

He began slithering his way along once more, wings spread and dragging in the dirt. It was hard work. He ran into all sorts of things, some of which were smooth and hard, others prickly and painful. Some plants had a certain scent to them that he could easily detect and avoid, but others had none at all and caused him terrible suffering over the next few hours.

Venox finally halted, chest heaving, exhaustion plaguing every part of his body. He smelled nothing but dirt and pine needles. The burn of his efforts bit into his wings like fire. He whimpered a little, trying to curl them close but then realizing they were too stiff to comply. Venox released an irritated hiss. He needed to rest now for sure.

A steady series of thuds shook his body, and he froze instinctively. The thuds stopped, and he felt a few clods of dirt thrown on him from his left. There was something there! It felt like something big, judging by the way the ground trembled with each step. His wings iced. Every inch of his body told him to flee, but he forced the feelings away. He would have no idea where he was going! Venox’s fur bristled, and he felt every one of his teeth lengthen in anticipation. The spy turned to the general direction of the noise, hissing as loudly as he could. There was no escape. He would have to fight.

Sharp points cut into his back, and he felt himself being raised into the air. Venox twisted, baring his fangs and flapping his wings hard. He felt saliva coat his face, and he snapped at the air, hoping to catch something, anything, between his jaws. His teeth connected with fur, extending below the flesh.

The air trembled with a great cry of some type, and he was thrown to the ground, landing awkwardly on one knee. He felt the sickening crack within his skin, and knew at once with horror that his right leg was broken. Pain stabbed through the limb and he crumpled over it, screaming, feeling the tears stream down his face. Despite the agony, he began to feel more anger than fear towards the enemy. Venox shook his head hard, bracing himself for another attack. Time to turn up the heat.

The footfalls of the beast he’d harmed came closer, and he sucked in his breath, pressing his wings hard into the ground. When he’d calculated where the creature was standing, he slapped his wings on the earth, bouncing himself forwards a bit. He felt fur brush his face and let the flames pour from his jaws. Heat blazed against his face and he tumbled back, covering his head with his wings.

The footsteps were detected again, but this time they were getting further and further away. Soon, everything was still. The spy stayed frozen on the ground for a long time, waiting for his heart to stop racing. Venox remembered the moisture on his face and rubbed hard against his tears.

Enough! he thought forcefully to himself. Stop being a weakling! You must survive this and you will!

Venox began his slithering again, slower than before due to his injured leg.

At length, he smacked his head against what felt like a rock, and here he rested for a long time. It wasn’t the best rest he’d had in his life, especially since it was plagued vivid versions of his encounter with the beast. When he woke, he remembered immediately where he was, and continued worming around the stone. He could feel the crusted blood clinging to the fur on his back where the beast supposedly bit him. Venox hoped with all his heart that the creature hadn’t been poisonous, but the worry stuck with him for a long time.

There were times when he felt like things were watching him, and then he’d do his hissing circle again. Whenever footfalls approached, he’d freeze and wait, ready to douse the being with lasers or fire if they strayed too near. But the encounters had their cost. The more times Venox fought, the less strength he had left. It soon became clear to him that some of the creatures he encountered could predict his actions, and would do frustrating evasive maneuvers when he struck at them. Sometimes, there were no creatures at all, and his imagination would run wild with his remaining senses.

The pain of his injured limb grew worse, and he completely lost control of it. The lower leg felt more like some kind of stick tied to his knee that wouldn’t come off, and just dragged uselessly in the earth behind him. The upper leg though, was the most painful part. What if he was making it worse with his movement? What if he was crippling himself forever? Would he ever be able to land on both feet again? Venox began to get a headache. Great. It even hurt to think in this place. Maybe if he just kept moving…

Venox lost all sense of time. The ground and the obstacles he was encountering were all that existed. There was no night or day, no now or later. There was just forever. His movements became feebler, and his wings and body ached from his unnatural slithering crawl. The tips of his wings seemed to have lost all their feeling, and he had horrid nightmares of the torturous treatment he’d had in his past.

He rubbed against another stick, barely registering the pain of his left wing being torn on a rough part of it. He dragged himself over the obstacle, his flesh dulled against the barbs it contained.

Suddenly, his wings rubbed against a flat, cool surface. Venox strained closer to it, rubbing his bruised body over the stone. Not only stone…brick. He smacked the surface with his wings, straining to find out how long it was. No such luck. It couldn’t be a wall, and it definitely wasn’t a cliff. The spy took a deep breath and began to squirm along the stone.

Hours crawled by. The stone was Venox’s new forever. The spy shivered, flopping along like an aquatic creature stuck ashore. Soon he stopped, fatigue burning every limb. For a sudden moment, voices exploded through his mind, and the most horrifying thing was that he recognized every one of them. These were the voices of all who’d talked down to him or called him terrible things. They rose and fell like water, stabbing so hard into his mind that they hurt.

Venox screamed silently, beating the ground with his wings and thrashing about like a maniac. The words swirled in his head, becoming white blades that slashed deep into his flesh. Unable to dodge or hide, Venox crumpled himself into a pitiful clump of misery, his wings tight around him. He cried for what seemed like hours, his body wracked with sobs.

At length, he calmed. No more voices. He took a shaky, hesitant breath. At least he hadn’t lost all his senses. Time to continue. He could do this. Venox rolled onto his stomach, spread his wings, and began to slither again.

Suddenly, the stone beneath him began to tremble. Venox went rigid, pressing his body hard against the ground. This beast was heavy, and seemed to be charging right for him. Before the spy had any time to react, he felt himself scooped into a huge hand of some kind. Venox felt himself scream, and the hand began to close around him. The spy thrashed feebly, just managing to twist most of his body out of the appendage. His left wing didn’t make it.

The hand clenched, and he was subject to the unimaginable pain of his wing being crushed to nothingness. He then dangled in the air, feeling the blast of the beast’s breath against his body, and the tremble of its hidden strength in its flesh. Something about the texture of the being’s hand was familiar though.

Straining, Venox began to rub his head on the creature’s fingers, trying to get it to release his wing. If he remembered correctly, this was the finger-beast he’d seen on the first tournament day. It wasn’t killing him right away, so maybe he could make friends with it somehow.

The limb jerked a little, and then again, and suddenly Venox felt himself hit the stone. It had let him go. The spy pressed his uninjured wing on the ground, and realized that the finger-beast wasn’t moving around that much. There were a few vibrations, but only a short distance from him and they stayed in mostly the same place each time. Venox focused, forcing his building headache away through willpower alone.

Finger-beast? his mind asked, straining hard. Do you remember me?

There was a long silence.

Presently, the creature’s fingers eased along Venox’s injured wing again, but this time they were gentle. The spy rubbed his head against the digits again, slowly beginning to relax. Hopefully he was a friend to it now. There was no way he could get out of this place without an ally. He wasn’t even sure if it really remembered him at all, but at least it wasn’t interested in crushing any more of his body parts.

A sudden thought slammed into Venox’s mind. His Darkwing! He could summon his Darkwing! The spy focused hard, feeling sweat run down his face. He tasted blood in his mouth and spat it out, quivering. At length, he felt a gentle nudge on his cheek. A soft, serpentine body nestled on his uninjured wing.

No eyes, ears, the Darkwing’s mind said. Venox hurt.

Not badly…Venox replied, relief flooding through his body. What do you see?

Big rock, odd shape…north, was the reply.

Venox grinned. That was the tower the Host creature mentioned.

Which way?

Venox felt the Darkwing nudging his head a little, and he flopped about until the wind blew from behind him.

South wind? he asked it.

Yes, the Darkwing said. Venox okay?

No, I’m not, but you can help. Venox responded.

Yes.

Venox felt the beat of the serpent’s wings as it lifted into the air, and then it was only him and the finger-beast.

Where am I? Venox called to the Darkwing.

Path, was the serpent’s reply. Dangerous path, high in sky, no bottom below it.

Bridge? Venox asked, but the Darkwing didn’t understand the word.

So he was stuck on a bridge with nothing below him. Wonderful. Being blind, deaf, and high in the air without flying was terrifying. But at least he had the finger-beast again. That was something.

Venox come, the Darkwing said, Venox want key, key inside odd rock.

Venox began the painful slither once more, squirming like a snake along the ground. Beside him, he felt the familiar thump of the finger-beast’s gait…yet…something was off. Every step it took caused a mini-series of other steps to come to his senses, almost as if the creature was trembling as it walked. He hoped it was okay. He needed all the help he could get.

Monster friendly, the Darkwing commented, and Venox sensed its presence nearby. I like monster.

Me too, Venox admitted.

The trio progressed for a while in silence, and soon Venox became aware that the vibrations of the finger-beast seemed to change a tiny bit.

We’re inside odd rock, the Darkwing said. Nothing here but more rock.

For a fleeting moment, Venox wished he could see. Sure, the structure might not look that amazing, but it hurt not being able to commit its appearance to memory. He kept flopping along behind the finger-creature, focused on its vibrations. Venox began to notice it was colder inside the rock than outside. He shivered, hoping that he hadn’t missed the presence of snow out there. The quest’s adventurous feel was dwindling further and further down to him.

At least the finger creature seemed to be following his serpent. His thoughts drifted back to his harrowing encounter with it, easing a frown into existence. These handicaps generated infinite misery for him, and he could only hope that they were part of the tournament and not actually real.

Soon, the Darkwing landed on Venox’s unhurt wing. Venox stopped and allowed it to rub its head on his.

Blocky path ahead, the serpent reported. Path goes up and away.

Was it a staircase? Venox wondered. The spy looked over the mental map again. The map was blank where he’d found the finger-beast, or “Handyman” as the Host called him. Oh well. The Host couldn’t give away all the details of its precious game. Where was the fun in that?

The Darkwing lifted off into the air again, and Handyman’s erratic vibrations continued. Venox shuffled along in pursuit of them, smacking his face into solid rock. He hissed angrily, spitting blood and a few loose teeth behind him. Anger blazed within him. That was the last straw! No more! He was going to finish this stage, whether his body liked it or not.

He swept his bruised right wing up, feeling around the first step of the staircase. Kind of high. If he would stand, going would probably be easier. With his broken leg however, this was out of the question.

The stairs became another forever. Every now and then though, they would plummet from beneath him, or rise in attempts to crush him against the ceiling. He hated the way they shifted about continuously, and threw up multiple times because of this. Dizziness grasped his mind like a trap, refusing to dissipate. Every move he made was slow, and every breath was slower. If he died here…what would that mean?

All that kept him going was the seething rage he had against the Host. It was the Host’s fault for bringing him into this. A small part of Venox’s spirit was coming back…the part that he’d forgotten decades ago. Somehow, some way, he could feel control spreading through him.

His memories rewound through all the torture and sufferings he’d endured, up to the point of birth. He saw his siblings. He saw him being just like them. He saw that as he grew, he was better than them. Most of all…he saw how much better he could fight than them. A warrior? The thought gave him new strength.

Venox’s motions sped up, becoming robotized, strong. He was getting to the top! He was getting the key. Nothing could stand in his way. He remembered how his parents loved him, and how they taught him to defend himself. He had impressed them then, he couldn’t let them down now.

Every step caused a buildup of hope and determination in Venox’s exhausted spirit. He could make it, but now he knew he could. His breath was ragged, and he could feel another headache building in the depths of his mind, but the feelings were dull now…like they were a dream. His thoughts began to wander, and then they focused on his injured leg. It had gotten completely numb. He gently rubbed at the area with his wing, feeling some crusted clotting, but somehow it was still bleeding a tiny bit.

Venox began to hope that no forest creature was probably following the blood trail he was leaving behind. That must have been the reason that so many other creatures attacked him out there. It was because of his injury.

Suddenly, Venox felt like he was falling. His head spun, reigniting a terrible headache. He flailed his good wing, plummeting faster, all while screaming soundlessly to the air.

As he continued to descend, he realized that his sight seemed to be coming back. All he could distinguish around him were blurs though…but at least he could see. Wind lashed at his eyes, forcing tears from them. Venox bent his right wing, trying to keep himself steady in the air, but it was useless. He was still doing millions of somersaults.

It’s not real, Venox’s mind hissed, it’s all a trick! You couldn’t see before…it makes no sense that you can see now!

The spy had to agree with himself. There was no way that this was real. You don’t just fall out into open space. And why hadn’t his Darkwing warned him? It would have.

Venox shut his eyes, expanding his senses. Stairs…somewhere. He strained to capture the energy signature of his Darkwing. It had to be close. There! The sickening plunge suddenly stopped, and he felt the cold stone of the stairs once more. He curled weakly against them, trembling with relief. He felt his Darkwing companion land on his good wing again, rubbing its head on his.

Venox scare me, it said.

I’m alright now, Venox replied, and felt the Darkwing reluctantly take off.

Stairs stop, the serpent said. Big space up here, two windows. Big rock in center with smaller, funny-looking rock on top.

That had to be the key. Venox continued to drag himself along until he felt the edge of the platform. Balancing, he slowly eased his way up its side, curling his wings over the rock, and then he felt it. The funny rock had the strangest shape. Without a doubt, it was the key, but when he tried to pull it from its place, it budged only a little. It was really heavy.

Venox curled his right wing around the key’s ring, and then yanked it with all his strength. A wave of dizziness slammed into him, and the spy lost his balance and landed back-first on the stone floor. He felt the vibrations of the key as it scraped along the edge of its platform, and rolled, with difficulty, out of its way. The key crashed to the floor, sending shockingly powerful vibrations along its surface. Venox then knew that this item must be made out of solid stone. Great. How was he going to transport that?

Venox pressed his wing into the stone. He smacked it a couple times, miraculously managing to attract the finger-beast to him. It took him quite some time, but he managed to coax it into carrying the key. Now that they had it, all that was left was a…what? He wasn’t sure what the strike markings on the map meant. However, they looked similar to the path that led to the tower…the stone one that the Darkwing said was high in the sky.

Another bridge?

Path up ahead, the serpent reported. High in the sky, like last one.

Venox smiled. He was almost there! Oddly enough though, he didn’t feel that thrilled about it. The test must have been designed similarly for the other gladiators too. What if only one of them survived? What if they both died and only he and Handyman would be left? Venox forced the thought away. That wasn’t going to happen. The spy frowned, contemplating on what he’d do if that actually was the case.

Black water!

The Darkwing’s voice burst into his mind, staggering him with its force. Venox’s fear returned, but so did something else. Defiance.

Where? he asked the Darkwing.

Flowing up from below! was the frantic response. I see large space ahead! We need to get there!

Venox flopped along as fast as he could, monitoring Handyman’s vibrations as closely as he could. The monster wouldn’t be so stupid as to walk right out into open air. If he followed it, he would be relatively safe from falling off the edge…hopefully. His heart was beating wildly, and past memories began to blaze forth with new strength. Memories of him seeing water, memories of him fearing water, memories…of swimming?

The thought stream made him stop cold. Well, the other reason for him stopping was because of the raging water that was “coming up from below” as the Darkwing put it. It was flowing and crashing roughly along the bridge behind them, making it impossible to discern Handyman’s direction of travel.

Venox was trapped. He froze, and every inch of his body went tight, bracing for impact. This wasn’t going to end well…

The shock of the water hitting him was astounding, almost as if it was trying to crush him against the bridge. His heartbeat thundered in his ears as the frigid liquid poured down his throat, and he flailed wildly, helpless in the flood. His chest was tight and felt like a rock more than anything else. He had no air. The chance of him drowning began to appear very high. Fear enveloped him, and his wings went rigid like they were made of ice.

No, a part of his mind said. You have mastered the waves before. You can do so again.

A familiar weightlessness seized his body. He was falling. Water sprayed around him, lashing against his body, punctuated every now and then by the feeling of untamed air. The water had swept him off the bridge. He was going to die.

Venox suddenly felt that odd calmness he’d experienced before on the tower’s stairway. This water wasn’t going to get the best of him. He would never let it scare him again! His parents appeared in his mind’s eye, spreading their wings to soar. Venox smiled, forcing his wings to spread. The current suddenly swirled beneath them, as tame as a light morning breeze. For a brief moment, he almost felt a connection with the water, almost as if it was a part of him. A tingling feeling snapped through his limbs, stunning him for a bit with the sensory overcharge.

He burst free of the waves, landing flat on his face on a stone surface. Was he back on the bridge? Had the water taken him somewhere else? Venox tried to call his Darkwing, all he got was silence. Shaking the water from his body, he began to flop along again, when a burst of emotion came into his mind.

It was his Darkwing. He stayed still, and the serpent landed on him. For a long moment, the two were inseparable.

I worried about you! the Darkwing said, its body trembling against Venox’s own. Bad water took you off the edge, but you told it to bring you back up.

Venox was stunned. He had…told…the water to move him?

Water confused now, the Darkwing continued. It not bad anymore. It going down into nothing again.

The spy rubbed his head a final time on the serpent’s own. He had no idea how to respond. After a brief moment of reflection, both of them continued on. This time however, the Darkwing stayed slithering ahead of Venox, tapping periodically on the stone with its wingtips.

At length, they reached the clearing. The Darkwing said the finger-beast was there already, making complex structures out of little sticks. The key was lying beside it. Venox dragged himself as close to Handyman as he could, and then collapsed completely. His massacred wing went stiff, and the spy’s consciousness threatened to fade.

Lacerations decorated every inch of his body, most of which had stopped bleeding. His twisted right leg now jutted awkwardly to the side, a few splinters of bone visible in the fleshy tear. Venox’s wings fared no better than the rest of him, bearing cuts and slashes beyond imagination. The Darkwing curled up beside its master, watching the spy’s teeth restore with silent fascination.

The round was over.




L.L. Bust

Detached: L.L. Bust can no longer keep his emotions in check. They force themselves on him, drowning his own thoughts and guiding his actions. Only strong willpower can keep them at bay, and only just.

Alone: Severe paranoia overcomes L.L. Bust. Betrayal seems imminent no matter where he looks.



The ground shook and rumbled around him and L.L automatically grabbed at his gun to prepare himself as trees grew and hid the patches of the night sky with their canopy. An image of a map somehow emblazed itself in his mind as he saw the tower grow in the distance and a gorge separating him from it. Suddenly as the transformation ended, everything grew too quiet for him. Somehow In the confusion, they had all been transported to different locations on the map and he only knew where he himself was. He was in position one, and the best course of action seems to be the bridge that was up ahead and led to Handyman. He had no qualms with killing the beast, they had given him the choice whether to kill it or have it follow him, and he was planning on doing the former. His one problem was that whoever was in position two was also going to be heading towards the bridge. He was tempted to light himself a cigarette but in the darkness the light would be like a beacon. He adjusted Blunderbuss on his shoulder and began making his way through the trees. He contemplated about what he’d do about the person is position two and hoped it would be Bl.An.C. The robot had shown that he was open with making an alliance with the bounty hunter, so if they found each other then all would be good. But then who would get the monster key? A voice in his head crawled around like an infectious worm.

Either of us. I’m sure we’d be able to kill Venox, and I would have no problem with killing that bat punk anyways.

What if he doesn’t see it that way? He could easily see your kindness as a weakness and take advantage of it. He’ll stab you in the back. The voice warned but L.L shoved it out of his mind as he continued walking. He tapped the side of his optic lens, trying to swap over to night vision or thermal to assist him in navigating through, but nothing was working. So disgruntled, he continued trudging through the woods, bumping into trees and stumbling over roots until he reached a clearing.

A plain of slowly swishing grass stretched in front of him. Ahead was a wooden bridge spanning over a ridge. He slowly began walking forward, his eyes scanning his surrounding, looking for whoever number 2 was. Suddenly he sensed something behind him and turned in a hurry. He watched to see Venox stumbling out, batting at the air around him. A panicked, wild look was on his face as he fought his imaginary opponents. “Hey Venox?” L.L called, “Bat boy?” But Venox didn’t react at all. L.L didn’t know why, but the simple act of being ignored pissed him off. “Venox answer me!” He aimed his cannon at the creature. “Goddammit don’t ignore me!” He fired and the cannonball hurtled past Venox’s ear. The bat boy seemed to notice t last second but instead of flying out of the way, he tumbled to the side.

The bounty hunter continued shooting, the gunfire echoing across the field. He didn’t care about being inconspicuous anymore. He found number 2, and for some reason, just the sight of the bat boy enraged him. He just remembered how Venox had threatened to light him on fire, and then there was Venox ignoring him. Venox was shouting something about not understanding why this all was happening and who Bust was. It just pissed him off more, did Venox see him as someone to remember? He would show him. It was easy to fight the darkling. He somehow knew whenever and wherever Venox would dodge to and also dodge any retaliation. He feinted and dashed forward, slamming into Venox with his cannon. He stood on top of him, his boot pressing down on the bat’s chest while his cannon hovered over Venox’s face. “So Venox, do you regret threatening me now?” The bat boy didn’t react, rather once again he began babbling nonsense as his eyes twitched around as he saw things that weren’t there. L.L grit his teeth and stamped down, “Stop ignoring me! Who the hell do you think you are?”

Suddenly his rant was cut short by the sound of creaking planks. The bounty hunter turned to see a glowing figure walking up to them. The hulking monster was twitching and jittering as it stumbled across the bridge. The bounty hunter looked at Handyman approaching them and then looked down at Venox. “Hey Venox look, it’s your friend.” He gestured over, and the bat boy followed where his hand was pointing with his eyes, spotting the glowing monster.

Venox just played dumb again and to Bust, it was the last straw. He got off and grabbed the bat boy by the leg, beginning to drag him over to Handyman. “Well if you don’t recognize him, maybe he’ll recognize you.” He grumbled and he yelled at the monster, “Hey monster, you hungry?” Venox struggled, flailing and clawing at the ground, but L.L was relentless as he pushed forward. Reaching the mouth of the bridge, he dragged Venox forward and kicked him, shoving him at Handyman.

The beast’s reflexes horrified Bust as an arm whipped forward to grab the bat boy. As the one arm began dragging Venox back, another grasped at its face and wrenched its jaw open with a sickening crunch. A long, pink appendage slithered out of its gaping mouth as Handyman hoisted Venox into the air. Venox attacked in vain as the beast simply ignored his efforts as its “tongue” connected to the back of Venox’s neck. All Venox said was eep before he jerked around and fell still. Handyman’s tongue detached as smoothly as it slid in and the beast held up its “friend” before with a nonchalant flick, threw the paralyzed bat off the bridge. It followed Venox’s decent for a short while before looking back up at L.L, who stood there pointing his cannon at the monster. Its feeding had only taken a minute, but a minute was enough. “What the fuck?” Bust murmured, “That was fucking disgusting, what the hell?” The monster simply stared back at him, tilting its head in curiosity and confusion as it didn’t understand what he was saying. “Well it seems like it didn’t recognize Venox. So much for friends.”

Exactly, that’s why you can’t trust Bl.An.C. The voice in his head stated. “No this is different, Bl.An.C isn’t some mindless monster, it’s a sophisticated and high tech robot.” He looked at the monster, this was one of the keys, but how was he supposed to transfer it without it eating him or something? He couldn’t explain it, but just being neared the thing chilled his heart and he couldn’t help but constantly readjust his grip on the trigger of his cannon and keep it pointed and locked onto Handyman’s head.

The monster stared at the child-sized bounty hunter, and sensing his fear, reached its hand out tenderly, trying to comfort the “kid.” The bounty hunter stared at the hand approaching and as it hovered itself over his head, he quickly jerked his cannon up and fired. The spot where he stood quaked and the monster simply continued on its way, patting L.L gently and very soothingly on his head. Even though the thing’s palm was the size of a trashcan lid, it was careful not to harm L.L, still seeing him as small kid. “What the hell did I get myself into?” L.L shoved its hand off and yelled at the thing, “Look, you. Follow. Me.” He talked slowly and used actions for all his movements, pointing at Handy then himself.

He walked past Handyman and continued his way down the bridge, but the beast surprised him by picking him up and walking with him in its arms. “What the hell?” L.L struggled, “Put me down!” But the thing ignored him and soon got off the bridge and back into the plains. “Do you even know where you’re going? Oh jesus Christ look at me, talking to a fucking monster.” Bust observed the hands he was sitting on and noticed that the wound had already healed. “Amazing regeneration, amazing strength, but as dumb as a rock, fan-fucking-ta-shit!” Handyman suddenly flinched and jerked, dropping L.L onto the ground. Bust rubbed his butt as he complained, “Okay, maybe dumber than a rock. Come on.” L.L began following the map that had been etched to his mind and started walking in the general direction of the exit. He looked at the other path and wondered if he would run into Bl.An.C. Suddenly he wasn’t so sure that the android would keep his side of the bargain. He readjusted his grip on the cannon, if it did come to that, he would just have to kill Bl.An.C first. However, it seemed like because he had to go at the pace of the monster key and protect himself from its harassments, Bl.An.C had already made it to the end. The two crossed another bridge and was met by another path, one that simply seemed to lead on without end.



Bl.An.C

Grounded in reality: Every action has its cause. But now Bl.An.C is forced into a reality where nothing is explainable, everything being false. He has lost all sense of direction. The land seems to warp beneath him, and the trees sway as if alive. But being able to touch and feel what should have been a hallucination seemed to suggest it was all real. Even the simplest logic seems hard to grasp now.

"There is no order in chaos", the voice echoes, "accept, or drown in its transiency."

Aloof: Bl.An.C is completely unable to tell the identity of each person. Their voices the same, and their appearance warps when he tries to discern them.



He couldn’t breathe. Cooper’s eyes opened to the sight of utter darkness; shadows seemed to choke him as he struggled to stand. Within moments, the suit recognized the threat to his life and opened the helmet.

The scientist’s mouth sucked in all the air it could and his eyes bulged out. His hands trembled as he felt the ground before him. Cooper was on all fours but couldn’t believe his sight.

The ground warped like crashing waves of an ocean, the sky seemed to spill onto the horizon like paint and the trees clawed at him with dancing silhouettes of themselves. Cooper’s eyes narrowed at the sight and shook his head.

“They’ve placed me on drugs,” he said as he rubbed the bridge of his nose. A couple of screams echo from his right. Or was it his left? He couldn’t tell really. Something was off. He shuffled forward, his legs meant to go forward so why was he moving backwards?

The ground met his back; his eyes stared into the sky. The hallucinations didn’t cease; what’s worse is that the hallucinations were consistent. He felt the very soil crash onto his arms like a true fluid yet when he rolled over to grasp it, it felt solid. Completely solid.

It didn’t make sense.

Cooper forced himself to stand and realized that he wasn’t really dizzy nor was confused in any way. This was reality.

A loud bang sounded somewhere; he couldn’t tell. It was as if the soundwave spiralled around him like water to a drain. He heard voices and knew he could tag them to a person but he couldn’t. The names escaped him. Cooper moved, step by step, to what he thought was forward. He looked to the trees, their inky black branches swept towards him like manic claws and he tried to evade. Some snagged him whilst others were dodged completely; their bark creaked as they moved, splinters flung themselves from their mother branch when they bent. The armored scientist trekked on and breathed in.

“Powerful drug,” he muttered. “Affects all senses.”

Another explosion rocked the ground, another seismic wave wafted towards him only this time it was larger. Cooper stared behind him as the wave approached; threatening to crush him under its weight as it stood a good few meters taller than him. The scientists attempted to flee, his legs carried him only so far. His breath was shallow as the wave gave chase, a flash of light enveloped his back and a sigh of relief escaped his mouth. The wings expanded on both sides, the rumble of earthen tides was coming in close and Cooper could smell the soil. The wingpack revved and burst to life in a fiery display, only for unseen hands to grab and ground him. The fires died and the wings torn apart. Gravity developed a consciousness and it disliked being left alone.

The wave hit him like a truck; grass, soil, rock and insect crashed onto him and folded inward like rolling tide. Seconds later the tide weakened in resolve and settled with the pseudo android nowhere to be seen but in mere moments the newly formed topsoil cracks. A fist pops out like a fresh flower bud and blooms into an open palm. It grasps the ground around it and pulls the body out from underneath.

This wasn’t a drug. This was reality.

Cooper looked around as the space around him felt closer than usual, the trees -- their branches swept closer and slashed at his face. He brought his arms up to defend himself, light flashed from them as weapons began to manifest. Triangular blades buzzed to life and extended his reach by nearly a foot; they enabled him to fight off the shadowed branches and escape. He stumbled forward, the earth began to move again and the trees were relentless. He heard explosions and screams from someplace but the sound was everywhere, impossible to pinpoint; even his systems regarded the audio input as omnipresent.

Normal logic did not apply. Not in this realm.

At one point, he nearly slipped indefinitely on what looked to be be a rock face. It was frictionless; an impossibility in the natural world. Whilst another anomaly showed a hole that could never be illuminated. It was against everything he knew and it bothered him more than anything.

"What is it with this world?" He murmured. Cooper kept moving until he reached a clearing, a path away from the manic trees' grasps. Just ahead of him, lied what looked to be a chasm and a wooden bridge made of rope and planks. It didn't look steady but what would he know? Nothing in this reality made sense but he had to move. Stagnating in one area made him prone to this reality's dangers, whatever they may be.
Cooper walked carefully forward, a bit more sure of his step. "There is a solution to this..." he told himself. "This is all a problem.

Rocks are frictionless, skies spiral, trees strike, the ground has tides..."

He began to recite this world's facts but he still found it difficult to believe after each step he made towards the bridge. "Shadows are sometimes solid, sometimes liquid or gas. Holes deprive light," he said. "Then this chasm should be darker than night sky."

He peered forward, his head stared down the rupture in the earth's crust and saw nothing. It was simply black, no other color penetrated the darkness. The suit's helmet reclaimed it's user's head and the jade eye flickered alive. The pseudo-android gazed at the planks of the bridge and studied it.

"Observation: It looks like wood,” he said. “testing hypothesis.”

He grabbed a nearby stick and prodded the plank with it but then, several snaps echoed around him. The audio was everywhere but it was ominous. Someone was with him. Bl.An.C.’s eyes searched the area behind him. The shadow trees were moving, their shady branches became wisps of dark movement as they struck at something that approached. Within seconds, several appendages escaped from the bramble; their hands slammed onto the ground, tree and rock as they felt for whatever they could. A mass of fumbling dark limbs spilled onto the ground. In front of the flailing body was a plaster white face, its teeth clattered and snapped as it gazed around searchingly. The creature’s form blurred and warped on occasion but its a noticeable white outline glowed from it.

Bl.An.C. held his breath as the creature moved. Was this how humans were in this reality? Would there be more of these things later on? He inched his foot back slightly but the monster quickly picked up the sound. Thousands of tiny snaps echoed the forest, the beat of its numerous arms filled the air with terror as it approached the android with reckless abandon. The scientist inside felt panic rise from the bottom of his gut and nearly escape his mouth in the form of a scream, instead he darted to one side in an attempt to evade the charge. He felt a sudden tug as he soared for the brief moment in time, his face paled to see numerous finger had latched onto his leg and each of those fingers grew their own set of hands and digits as they creeped upwards at an alarming rate. The pseudo-android felt the sting of his faceplate meeting the ground once again.

“You motherfucking beast,” a scream surrounded Bl.An.C.’s ears. It sounded familiar. An explosion slammed onto the side of the hazy dark beast and its grip had loosened. The pseudo-android took the opportunity to pull himself up and slice the hand that gripped him with the beam blade. The hand and himself fell down, a satisfying sizzle signalled the cauterized appendage. Bl.An.C. quickly inched back as light enveloped his right arm. He didn’t dare move his eyes away from the creature as it recovered.

“Query: Who is there?” He called out.

“We had a deal,” the voice said. “Where the fuck were you when this beast came a-crashing towards me?”

L.L.?

The dark haze of a monster raised its body again, numerous arms sprouted from its person and enveloped the spiral sky in its limbful glory.

“Here we go,” L.L. Bust said as he took a cigarette and slipped it between his teeth. “Don’t let it touch you again.”

The bounty hunter grabbed a few of his rounds and loaded them. He didn’t seem to care what was loaded and just fired as soon as the small blunderbuss was ready.

The arms surged forward and the duo fought back. Bl.An.C. hacked away at whatever arm came towards him whilst his other arm blasted at what neared L.L. Bust. The bounty hunter’s blunderbuss fired its ammo and kept the arms at bay. Hands and arms plopped to the ground like beats of a drum.

“We can’t keep this up for long,” L.L. admitted. “We need to kill it.”

“Query: How do you propose…” Bl.An.C. dodged a swipe of a massive arm then fired at the next wave, “...we do that?”

“I don’t know, man,” the bounty hunter confided. “but he has a head, and shooting the head never failed me yet in my line of work.”

“Statement: Then its se-”

Several arms sprout from the ground, their fingers grasp on any surface they could touch. It didn’t take long before the pseudo android was lifted up by a dense pack of limbs.

“Bl.An.C.!” The bounty hunter yelled as he fired on the hand stalks; lasers cut through the limbs easily but more immediately replaced it like a coiling snake that slithered upwards. The jade eye caught the last glimpse of L.L.’s blurred image before other arms grabbed onto him from behind. The armored scientist could only hear his muffled protests as they were both pulled into the mass.

The armored scientist watched as his vision darkened only to see the creature face to face; however, the term face seemed to be lost on it. Ridges seemed to form its face and cylindrical growths emulated teeth. Bl.An.C. could hear thousands of snaps that came from the head as the teeth parted ways. Much to his horror, the ridges were not ridges but fingers. Everything about the creature was finger, hand and arm; its teeth twitched and jerked, even its face suffered the occasional sudden movement.

Something was wrong with it.

Even the fingers that held him squeezed and loosened randomly. Was it in pain?

A pink limb slithered out of the creature’s mouth, it was a fleshy hand that if Bl.An.C. could get at all to what it was, it would have been its tongue. It moved closer like a deranged snake, it moved smoothly at first then twisted and moved again. The digits of the creature seem to touch the energy blade as well even with prior knowledge of the danger it can cause to it.

The creature’s tongue moved closer to his neck but it swerved in directions the creature didn’t seem to want it on. It shook Cooper in frustration.

Take whatever information this crazy world has! Cooper thought to himself. Whatever you knew then, throw it away! It makes no sense here!

The scientist inside didn’t want to let go of the facts he knew, of the world he came to understand as true. The world here made fun of everything, laughed at the sense that was made and the rules that were founded. It was difficult to let go of everything you believe in but was it really letting go?

Bl.An.C. continued his struggle, he writhed under the grasp on Handyman but to little avail. He managed to move in the slightest as random jerks came about but nothing more. One more thing I can do. He thought. Light shone from his shoulder and a bleeping red light emerged from the flash.

Even if flight seems to be impossible in this world, they will still be able to muster a distraction.

Out from a rip in space and a flash, seven spherical drones dropped from area just behind the armored scientist. Their metallic bodies crashed on the rippling soil and rolled around before they finalized their bearings. Their jade eyes locked onto whatever blackened haze they could view and unleashed the torrent of red energy. Each of the seven faced different directions and each cut a swathe of lasers through the forest of arms. The arm beast did not flinch as his body was struck by hundreds of high intensity energy; it was more intent on latching his disobeying tongue on his prey. Bl.An.C. heard a thud on the ground and the voice of a free L.L.Bust.

“You did it!” the bounty hunter exclaimed as he grabbed his fallen blunderbuss. With a flick of his wrist, the pistol morphed into a massive turret. Both his hands fitted perfectly on the cannon’s two handles as he loaded it with one of his canisters.

“Hold on to your suit my mechanical friend,” he said excitedly. “I’ll have you out of that monsters hands in less than a second.”

“Statement: I’d rather have it now, L.L.” Bl.An.C. said; the drones were still mowing down whatever they could see, some were smashed by newly formed arms.

“Eat this!”

The turret fired, the canister escaped from the barrel in an explosion of fire and spark as it zoomed towards the beast. It struck powerfully with a massive blast, the sound echoed around the android’s receptors and deafened him for the moment. The creature’s body flailed around as it crashed onto the ground. Most of its arms flew in bits and pieces while L.L.’s face was that of a triumphant hunter.

Bl.An.C. fell to the ground as well, the constricting digits of the monster disintegrated into nothingness, a fluid that evaporated into the air nearly immediately. A hand was extended towards his faceplate and the armored scientist could make out that L.L. was speaking but he couldn’t hear at the time; instead he grabbed the hunter’s hand and stood up.

“Statement: Many thanks,” Bl.An.C. stated.

“No problem,” L.L.Bust nodded. “We’d best get moving.”

“Query: Do I look hazy to you?” The armored scientist asked as he tried to focus on the bounty hunter.

“Are you high?”

“Statement: Probably,” he said plainly. “Drugs, powerful ones.”

L.L. thinks for a moment; his turret of a gun minimized itself to the size of a pistol. He pressed the end of the barrel onto his cigarette and within a few seconds, the stick’s end lit up orange and smoke escaped the bounty hunter’s metal cheeks.

“Probably same with myself,” he said. “Emotions aren’t in check. I’m calmer than this but I just can’t restrict myself.”

Another puff of smoke. The earth rippled beneath their feet.

“Did you see the earth move like water?”

Bl.An.C. looked to L.L. Bust, inside the faceplate he was worried. Was it real?

Sounds of snapping fingers surrounded the duo and the bounty hunter wasn’t happy about it. He blew out another puff.

“Its the creature, we need to get someplace or something to actually kill it,” he said as he ran towards the bridge. Bl.An.C. followed but was reluctant to move forward the the bridge. It was untested. It could be a bomb, or its fragility would send them screaming down into the light consuming pit below. It didn’t make sense at how it was but L.L. noticed the land ripple which meant this was not just a drug. It was real.

The bounty hunter stopped and his brow furrowed. “What are you waiting for?”

“Statement: Nothing,” the android replied. L.L. stepped onto the first board of the bridge and continued onto the next without much of a hitch, he crossed the entire thing in seconds. Bl.An.C. followed suit.

Just several meters away was the tower, it was huge and spanned stories high. “You can fly us up there, see what -”

“Reply: Any means of flight is cancelled here. My wingpack and my drones fall to gravity so easily.”

“Oh, well fuck. Let’s see if there are stairs inside.”

The duo move in and L.L. kicks the wooden door open with his foot. He enters cautiously and stares up from the center of the tower’s base. He whistles a tune and the music echoes upwards.

“Statement: I could go, stamina is not a problem to the suit,” he said.

“Go for it. I’ll keep a look out for handy monster,” L.L. said as he stood by the entrance of the tower.

Bl.An.C. stared around, the spiral staircase was moving to him like an escalator and the height of the tower seemed to elongate further into the distance. The feeling crept through him, he had to accept it as fact. He took the steps up the cobblestone staircase slowly until he got into a pace. The floor wasn’t physics defying yet, friction was still present and gravity seemed normal. His HUD readings were silent, no anomalies were reported. So far so good, other than the near endless steps, everything was normal.

Arms shot out from the walls of the tower, the sound was reminiscent of cannonballs that struck through the battlements. The hands felt around the insides of the tower, their digits like worms that frantically touched whatever they could. The number of arms didn’t lessen and instead grew. From below, L.L.Bust began his own assault on the creature. Bright beams of energy pierced through arm after arm; loud snaps were heard in protest but nothing more. If anything it only increased the speed in which the arms were striking through the walls. The android powered the beam blade once again, its energies buzzed to life with a cyan glow.

Bl.An.C. gazed around and noticed that he neared the top of the tower. The last steps were within reach and decided to make a break for it. Several arms punched through the opposite wall and slammed themselves close to the armored scientist’s position. With one quick sweep of his energy blade, the arms were dealt with and he passed through. Up on the top of the tower was a small room where a stone key was placed on a pedestal. It looked heavy and by the looks of it, plain and unuseful.

“Regret: We won’t be able to kill that thing with this,” he said.

The floor beneath him shook and broke wide open. Arms flared out from the floor’s center and engulfed whatever it could. The creature’s white face emerged from the collection of dark arms and suddenly the floor was slippery.

The stones around him floated as if gravity had forgotten they existed and the key drifted in the air. The monster stared at him hungrily, its arms moved towards him like a disturbed spider.

Cooper’s eyes widened at the realization. It was this creature’s fault. It was it that caused reality to bend and warp his perception. Wherever it was, reality was obliterated. The plasma gun hummed powerfully as he charged forward with beam blade at the ready. Arms began to converge onto his location but the pseudo-android countered; with blade and gun, Bl.An.C. pursued his target as he cut through the thick forest of limbs. The white face opened its maw and the pink tongue flicked out as he approached. No matter how hazy its image was to him, the creature was outlined with a glowing white. He knew where it was, where to strike and what arm came too close.

With a quick twist of his body, he dodged the tongue’s attack and swept his blade under the beast’s neck. The entire body convulsed as the arms fell in disarray. The yellowed teeth clattered and snapped; and reality began to collapse once again.

The background began to fall into darkness but the android could care less as the head was still very much alive. He plunged his plasma gun deep into the maw of the creature, his helmet whizzed back to reveal Cooper’s disheveled features and determined glare, as he fired the gun. Once, twice, thrice, until he was satisfied that the creature was felled.

The darkness around the two grew until nothing was left but the green glow of his own suit. Serenity wrapped around him like a blanket and silence cradled him to sleep. The creature was dead and it sufficed for him.

With a sudden jolt and throbbing pain in his head, Cooper awoke. His eyes widened at the sight of the creature’s face in front of his own; its pink tongue wrapped around his neck like a noose.

With a screech, the scientist’s energy blade activated and plunged it deep into the creature’s maw. He felt whatever grabbed him loosen and the ground meet his back. The monster staggered backwards with arms limp and weak. Cooper realized he was captured just near a banner of sorts with two other bodies nearby.

The haze was never lifted and he could never identify whichever or whoever they were.

Cooper stood, his head in a daze and memory in tatters. He couldn’t remember who he was as he staggered backwards and the forwards. The creature fell towards the entrance of the banner and unwittingly, the scientist walked towards it as well.

He fell with a thud, the creature just beside him.

Alternatively, Error also sent me a Google Docs version, so, if you'd rather read from there, you can either click here (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1qcmTV0I1ZV8q53CvQoSADxXQjR0M9CQ8tSw4gjzDxRg/edit) or on the word "It" on the next post

And there we have it. Everyone's submissions. Have fun reading them.
If any of the participants notice any kind of formatting errors, tell me and I'll edit them as soon as I can.

Please vote fairly. CnC and an ellaboration on whom you voted and why are encouraged.

The pool will last for about a week and a half. It ends on the last day of March

ErrorBlender
03-19-2015, 07:01 PM
I'll have it later, sorry.

It. (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1qcmTV0I1ZV8q53CvQoSADxXQjR0M9CQ8tSw4gjzDxRg/edit)

SJCRPV
03-25-2015, 07:57 AM
At last, Error has submited his entry. Give it a read : D

RichardLongflop
03-25-2015, 08:03 AM
HOT GOD DAMN
I almost gave up you as a person, Blender.

This is some good stuff. Lobo will be pleased. Hopefully.

Cassandra
03-25-2015, 09:03 AM
Great job ErrorBlender!

I really like the way your story described the shifting landscape and Handyman's attacks. That written work is EPIC.

ErrorBlender
03-25-2015, 09:56 AM
Here's what I can say :D, they're not much but here we go.

WafflesMgee:

Story was great, wonderful actually. Gore, blood and horror. I liked it.

Now then, Cnc.

The first part was present tense then the next was past. Was this intentional? I'm just asking though; the division cleared the confusion anyway. The other task you had where Handy's limbs jerk around weirdly isn't visibly there but I understand that in his hungry state you'd barely notice it but you gave his fine movements in parts where he was trying to consume L.L. and later when he devoured Bl.An.C.

You also switch tenses my friend. I have that problem so I point it out to you before Lobo does.

I'm pretty sure Lobo is tired of reminding me of it.

So far that's the only thing I can say. I'm glad to have read this. Awesome work, Waffles.

Cassandra:

You, my friend, are improving. I like how you describe the surroundings despite the lack of sight and hearing. You paint a weird dark picture that I can still wade into which is nice.

Cnc then? Let's go. Its all technical stuff, challenge wise things.

So far, I don't get why his sight is gone as well. The challenge only said he was deaf and that everything was a powerful hallucination. Another thing was that there would be no flying. The DarkWing flew to the tower which is odd and went against the rules. You also went a bit over the 4k limit.

Overall, it looks to be a solid piece. Good work, Cass.

Aquila:

Short and sweet, paranoid hunter has a new friend :D

CnC, my friend.

It wasn't too short or too long. The story showed what it had to do, all challenges were met nicely and described well. Though the story could have plodded on with L.L. meeting with Bl.An.C., showcasing a bit more paranoia but its okay as of now. :D


EDIT: Thanks Cass, I appreciate it :)

Cassandra
03-25-2015, 11:35 AM
Thanks for the CnC Error! I appreciate it.

About the "blindness" thing...well, it did say that night vision was disabled, and my setting was in forested darkness. Venox couldn't see because there was no light to see by. I didn't put torches in the tower (whoops, lemme get my level editor XD), so he couldn't see in there either.

Yes, I admit making the Darkwing fly was unfair...but I only misread the instructions. I thought that only Venox was affected by the no-fly rule, but after reading your story I realized your aerial bots were finding it hard to get off the ground. :O That was a major mess-up element in my story...sorry. :P

Wow, Venox went through a lot. He got attacked by things he couldn't see (my story), had his sanity torn apart by a body-horror beast (Aquila's story), made friends with the same creature (WafflesMcgee's story), and pulled off a successful vanishing act (your story lol).

I guess L.L. Bust got a little "busted" up too, didn't he? :D

RichardLongflop
03-26-2015, 05:19 AM
I'm not going to focus on grammar and such because it wasn't the point of this round.

Jesus christ I thought I saw a writer but up close I see that it's just a man-baby slapping a keyboard. how horrifying

So, you start off with Venox blind. Is it a hallucination? If it's because you have no 'night vision', do remember that night vision is something that helps you see much clearer in the dark, it's merely an aide. It doesn't mean the whole act of seeing in the dark. You'll still be able to see things, just not as well since it's only "the moonlight [granting] sight through the pitch black darkness."

"He could be anywhere right now! On top of a cliff, in midair" Midair? I do believe if you feel solid ground beneath your feet, you're not flying. Unless if you were on a flying island, but that'd be easy to discern.

So suddenly you have a tree trying to "pull free." Huh. It'd be hard having hallucenations about something you can't see. "They were being shifted every now and then by the wind." If the wind was that powerful, I'm sure you'd notice it before the trees did.

"but he couldn’t detect any other life…yet." I said I wouldn't do grammar but goddamnit this stood out. Ellipsis. Three dots used to show the omission of words. Meaning words that are missed out. It's often used in speech as a way to show trailing off or a gap, but in actual descriptions you should endeavour to use the thing correctly.

"Venox’s fur shot stiff and upright" He has fur now? Best put that in his character description. Up until now I thought of him as naked as a siamese cat, but only black.

Then he gets attacked by something. If this was meant to be a hallucination, then he shouldn't have been able to be raised into the air and thrown down with leg-breaking force.

Hallucenation feels slighty tacked -on, but what can you do.

I'm guessing the stone and brick was a bridge and you managed your way over to Handyman's platform. And you seem to have remembered the name you gave him. Whatever happened to "Knowledge without knowledge: Venox has lost all knowledge of each gladiator's identity, retaining only his previous feelings towards them"? I'm sure if he's blind right now he won't be able to see thing. If he can do all this just by feeling a large hand ravage his wing then I commend his telepathic abilities. Wait, he doesn't have them? Well then. It would have made sense if you used Handy's handicap of being visible once encountered, which would have been through Venox's blindness.

If the creature was fed, he'd have remembered venox since he's rather different than any other thing. Unless he was sated in the time between seeing venox and having venox 'think out' his words at him, telepathy again obvs, his attitude wouldn't have changed. You had conflict potential there, the friend that doesn't remember you and sees you only as food. But nope. Outta nowhere he remembers you.

"A sudden thought slammed into Venox’s mind. His Darkwing! He could summon his Darkwing!" Hoi. It was only Venox entering the tournament, and it should only be Venox in there. Just because you changed the character into a duo outside of the tourney doesn't mean the change should follow in there. I doubt the numbered folk would be like
"Oh. He's got a friend now."
"Throw him in, then! More the merrier. Let's chuck it at the lass going against our wishes and taking everything out of our control. I mean, best way of putting out a fire is throwing fuel at it, right?"
Just seems like a pointless deus-ex-machina because you couldn't handle the mangled mess you made your guy into.

"Not badly…Venox replied, relief flooding through his body" not badly hurt. Wow, yeah sure. A crushed wing, broken leg and some heavy back injury. Walk that right off.

"Venox felt the beat of the serpent’s wings as it lifted into the air" Way to go about the no-fly restriction. Do you not remember "Flight is disabled as well as any sort of device or ability that may enable fast travel. "? It's not a character restriction, it's a round restriction. The thing shouldn't be able to fly at all. Also in the Abilities section of both Venox and Nightwing, telepathy is not mentioned at all.

And with the Handyman at your back, something the Host reminded you was a key, you decided to get the other key?

"Path up ahead, the serpent reported. High in the sky, like last one." wait a second. Are you saying one of the bridges leading to the tower actually lead to its top? Hhhhhhh.

"Black water" WHAT. And the fact that it actually physically moved him means it wasn't a hallucination. Is this your way of slapping a NEWER ability on your character just before the round is up? Uneeded.

Aaaaand Fin.

Well, right off the bat the thing seems rused. The first sentence is needlessly long to the point where the reading voice in my head started panting after it.

I do enjoy how you made the paranoia a different metal voice. Schitzophrenia does the same thing.

The scene of Venox batting away at invisible things is rather funny. Kinda distracts from the atmosphere of the whole place. Reader can decide if that's good or bad.

And then you decided to fire at Venox. If I'm right, lack of memory isn't in Bust's handicaps. So why attack the thing which, during the RP round, was so obviously attached to what was now one of the two keys to victory? Regardless of the fire thing, you could have used that.

How did you know that Handy was hungry? There was no attempt to chase after you and eat you, as far as I know he's just standing on the bridge, affected by the "Puppeteer and the puppeted" handicap.

Feeding scene was pretty cool. < 3

"Fan-fucking-ta-shit" Fan-fuckin'-dabby-dozy, fuck-a-doodle-doo.

And then- oh. It ended. Well then.

Damn, blender. Superb writing skill, as always. I thoroughly enjoy how you described Cooper's handicap. For several paragraphs. For a fifth of the whole story.

When you mentioned the plaster-white face, I was worried that you were describing the older stick-versions of Handy. I'm sure it won't be just his face being plaster-white, could have mentioned it being the rest of his body too.

I greatly enjoy the description of Handy you give. Great job, man. If you had posted this any earlier I would have lost for sure.

Enter: Bust. Man, Lobo was right when he called Bust a brick wall of a character. The floor has more life than he has. Oh, and his paranoia handicap is utterly nonexistant, along with Bl.An.C's "Aloof" handicap too.

A lot of co-operation here. Lobo wanted conflict, and not of the physical kind. Though your descriptions are good, your following the main points of the thing aren't.

Great job slaying the beast, though. Head's always the weakne- oh you were sleeping all along TWIST! AND IT'S THE END TOO, WHOO

Said a lot about Cassandra's, couldn't say much about Aquila's because he was doing some verbal moonwalking, and Blender's was written rather well except he missed a few big things and the ending says how rushed he was to finish it.

Whoo.

ErrorBlender
03-27-2015, 01:15 AM
Thanks Waffles. The Aloof part was kind of vaguely used there. I understood that the Aloof part was tha he couldn't recognize the voices but when L.L. Bust brought out a gun [or what hazy figure it looked to be] and the mention of the deal, Bl.An.C.'s mind simply trusted him to be the bounty hunter.

That's it. Bust's Paranoia, I forgot completely. I agree that the not only the head could've been plaster white for the sake of the outline but I wanted Bl.An.C. a clear sight on the head since it would be pivotal to the story. The conflict I portrayed here was inner conflict in Bl.An.C., the clashing of beliefs in reality and how he had to forego whatever he knew before in order to continue. But all has been said and done, the work is here and its up to the reader to understand without my explanation. Hah.

But again, thanks for the CnC. I very much appreciate it.

Chamel
03-27-2015, 12:51 PM
Oof, I had a hard time picking between Waffles and Error, honestly. But in the end I have to pick Waffles.

Waffles: VERY nice work, friend. You seemed to follow this round's entertainment prompt rather well, so kudos on that. Overall, i really enjoyed the pace of your story; it wasn't too fast, not too slow. The only thing that even really bothered me at all were the few instances where you did seem to switch tenses, but I absolutely loved it overall. Good job, Dick. <3
)A somewhat personal gripe I have is the way Bl.An.C talked. He's typically much more calculating and monotonous, and not so many "expletives". (Even if he was suffering from some weird :I

Cassandra: Can I just say I absolutely love the descriptions in your work. Just, truly well done. And it's quite impressive how well you managed to describe the area through the senses of a blind, deaf, "man"-thing. However, I found quite a few of your sentences a little too short. I feel as if that your awkward pacing of certain scenes drew away from the actual quality of the story, and I was too busy starting a new sentence to really comprehend the previous one.. But overall, your descriptions were hella, and I love little Nightwing. <3

Aquila: I think the biggest gripe I had with your work was the length. I enjoy reading what you write quite a lot, but the length with yours just didn't do it for me. However, on the bright side, I liked the whole emotion prompt for Bust. Using Venox's deafness and blindness to incite his rage, and the sass he gives after Handy feeds on Venox, that part was creative, so kudos to you my friend. <3

Errorblender: First off, fantastic work. Just through and through a very well written piece. However, the reason Waffles got my vote over you was due to one thing that bugged me. The pace in the beginning of your work seemed.. Too slow. Bl.An.C had a lot to take in, what with being in a reality where nothing is as he knew, but the pace of your story made it seem as if he was perfectly fine with it, and it dragged on a bit. Even though he's pretty good at keeping his emotions in check, I think it would have been a bit more entertaining if we had seen him freak out, even if just a tiny bit more. The pace didn't seem to pick up until about the middle of the "fight", but then the end was so near it didn't seem to have enough time to really sink in. That's all I really have to say about your piece, and in the end, it was a tough decision between you and Waffles. Very nice work, EB. <3

--Pew Pew--

Lobotomizer
03-28-2015, 09:28 AM
It was a fast paced story from start to finish, but not in an exceedingly bad way. Perhaps not intended, but it contributed to the almost slapstick, light humored feeling of the story, if not for the fact that two of the gladiators died a gruesome death. The style caught some interest, but ultimately it was more shallow than it could have been. The handicaps were mentioned mostly in passing rather than being a particularly crucial element in the story, and stripping down the story to its essential points it honestly has nothing much. The characters were the more griping part of it all; Bust was a brick, Venox turned into a psychopath, and Bl.An.C lost any sort of personality that he should have had. You could do better with emotions, and swapping the plot out for something less straight forward for a better read.

First and foremost, if I had to describe the story proper, it would be a grueling marathon of a read that is not dissimilar to the stories written by the less skilled writers that I've seen.

While you had every right to interpret the night sky as pitch black and thus rendering Venox blind, I feel as if the choice hurt the story massively. Everything was described poorly in a way which I could barely tell what was going on. Ironically enough, Handyman should have been completely visible given his handicap, and it would have sufficed a light source if you interpreted it that way.

Whilst you had made it seem Venox had gone through much, he really hasn't. He was severely hurt by his hallucinations as far as I can tell, but ultimately he met with a satiated handyman and proceeded to get the second key without seeing any resistance on the part of the two gladiators, nevermind the fact that attempting to possess two keys without any underlying, written motive was a terrible idea. Stripping the story bare, everything seemed to have gone exceedingly well on Venox's part without him doing much save for crawling through the place. Because of this, the entire story was essentially a boring car ride to nowhere. There was no actual conflict, physical or otherwise, because Venox never met a single, tangible threat that forced him to fight or stand, or a dilemma in which he would be hard pressed to make a decision in.

Remember, no matter how many words or events you wish to cram into the story, if none of them contribute to the story in a meaningful way, then they are ultimately useless.


I honestly have never liked the idea of assuming people's effort, but when I read your entry, I cannot help but feel as if you hadn't put in the amount of thought that you should have. Like Cassandra's story, everything went well for Bust. Venox was grabbed without much of an effort or struggle, fed said Venox to Handyman, and that was the end of the story. As with your first entry, you fulfilled all of the requirements without adding anything of your own, and like the first entry, it had nothing to offer as a story.

Your entry could have been organised a little better. I can see where you were going with describing the surroundings in the beginning, but the pacing was a little too slow to be all that enjoyable, and in the end it really boiled down to a fight between the two and handyman. That said, your overall writing is good. It was pleasant to see Bl.An.C. struggle with a different world, and the twist with handyman was good to see. I just wish that you incorporated and made use of the handicaps, put in more creativity and emotion into the plot story.

On the whole, I want everyone to understand that a story should not be thought of in a straightforward manner. I do not expect the prompts I give to be used to their fullest, but I want at least some of them to be a stepping stone to guide your entries to be better written. WRHG might primarily be about fighting, but that is no reason to neglect a plot and the written characters.

ryanjr
03-28-2015, 12:32 PM
Oh Mah Gawd...

This is so hard to choose. Im finding myself trying to pick between Bl.An.C and Cassandra.

Cassandra: I loved you descriptions of every facet of the story. Venox being blind and deaf really made him almost defenseless. I so loved it when you brought back the "forever" concept, "The stairs became another forever". The only thing I'm worried about is that the pacing seems too slow to be able to beat Bl.An.C and L.L. Bust to the tower without contest. However, you made me love a snake like create with wings and his darkwing so props to you.

Blender: Mostly I just enjoyed your story. You may have left out some parts like the distrust of L.L. Bust but the rest of it is explained and comes back later. The descriptions and feeling of a warped world annihilated any connection to reality. And the twist at the end of the story as wonderful as well as when he collapsed at the end.

Waffles: I liked your story, don't get me wrong. It was very descriptive and had an interesting plot, but parts of it seemed un-canon and wasn't what I wanted to read. I did like the way you changed perspectives from Handy to Bl.An.C to Venox. I also liked when the beginning and the elegant description of Handy's hunger.

Aquila: I'm going to be brutally honest. I didn't really like your story. It was so short compared to the others it seemed like you weren't trying as hard. Plus, he didn't win at the end. He now walks a path that leads on forever with the Handyman. And at some point, he is going to get hungry again.

Overall, as Im typing this, I still don't know who I'm going to vote for. I applaud all of you.

ErrorBlender
03-30-2015, 07:12 PM
Congratz, Waffles. You take the round :)

EDIT: Lobo, questions: How could it have been organized better? How is the pacing too slow? I've gotten the idea that to sink in the weird world into the readers, I had to slow it down. Was it too slow?

Lobotomizer
04-06-2015, 09:41 PM
I've forgotten to put in my own votes, so here they are.

Errorblender(2): Too much emphasis on the beginning, uninteresting plot and a sudden end. Whilst toting better writing than Waffles these issues put your story at his level.

Wafflesmgee(2): Nature of storytelling is a little jarring, and the out of character writing hurt your piece the most.

Cassandra(1): Confusing and less than interesting plot and writing makes your piece difficult to read and enjoy.

Aquila (0) : Lackluster performance makes your piece the worst.

To sum up.

Wafflesmgee: 5
Errorblender (excluding cassandra's vote): 3
Cassandra: 3
Aquila: 0

Aquila will be eliminated from the tournament.

ErrorBlender
04-06-2015, 09:45 PM
If we exclude Cass' vote I'd only have yours and SJ's.