Sublime Showdown (Round 1: Faerie)

Sublime Showdown (Round 1: Faerie)
#1
Sublime Showdown (Round 1: Faerie)
In one of the far-flung corners of infinity, in what would be the grungy upper floor of a posh theater, six stagehands were assembled before their manager.

"We're going to try something a little different for the next show," it said. "I want each of you to find me someone from anywhere and anywhen. Someone who the audience can love or hate. Someone who can fight. Someone who can die. Bring them here. We're going to make one of them a star."

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Garuru - Barkeep (#454500)
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!? - Cliff and Snake (#000080)
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Brom - Dahlia Belstrap (#006400)
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bigro - Humbert Kinnaird (#ff0000)
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Whimbrel - Ikhinde (#a515a5)
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Flummox - Mariel (#707070)
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IMPORTANT LANDMARKS
Round 1 - Faerie

EXPLANATION FOR POSTERITY
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#2
RE: Sublime Showdown (Signups Open until 6/28!)
Name: Barkeep
Text color: #454500
Gender: Male
Race: Game Construct
Description: He is pretty much your ordinary bartender from any given fantasy Tabletop RPG. He has short salt-and-pepper hair and beard. He has a mysterious scar on his face, running just below his eye, but when asked about it, he insists it's no big deal. His clothes are a fairly generic brown, but they're clean at least. He likes to polish glasses in his spare time, though that's mostly due to giving his hands something to do. He is very amicable, only getting upset when someone threatens him with property damage, and even then, it's only an unnerving frown and polite insistence that they leave. Similarly, he is never unfazed by bizarre events happening in front of him. As a barkeep, all he wants is a serene life attending to people and hearing their stories. Should any severe conflicts appear, he will roll up his sleeves and attend to the problem in the most gentlemanly way possible.
Weapons/Abilities: He naturally knows all the rumors of the land, although no one is really sure where he got this information. People originally thought that it was due to the number of unusual people passing through his bar, but nobody has been able to find the people that may have told him all he knows. He is also a skilled one-man bartender, able to attend up to 15 people at the same time with both food and drinks, with very little delay. It's unclear where he actually gets the food and drinks, but no one seems to mind. He never seems to get tired or even take breaks. In fact, he has never even been caught sleeping. He also has a gun, for dire emergencies only.
Errata: Note: as a game construct, he functions differently from ordinary people, but he is physically utterly indistinguishable from other people, unless they pay very close attention to his habits. He will take on a human form by default, but if he ends up in a society with no humans, his form will be changed in order to fit in easier. He can't get injured, rather, his vitality is closely linked with the vitality of the place he happens to be in. In other words, only property damage can actually hurt him, and even then it will always be accompanied by a feeling of wrongness, like the rules were broken.
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#3
RE: Sublime Showdown (Signups Open until 6/28!)
And it's finally done. I rushed this a bit, so it's not my best work. Let me know of any typos/grammatical errors/things that need clarification so I can fix it.

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#4
RE: Sublime Showdown (Signups Open until 6/28!)
tentative reserve, internal debate raging over how I'm gonna tackle this.

Consider it tackled.

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[Image: 933hfLL.png][Image: aCQpT7Z.png][Image: iRoHjKM.png]
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#5
RE: Sublime Showdown (Signups Open until 6/28!)
Name: Mariel
Text Color: #707070
Race: Divine implement
Description:
Mariel is the instrument of God’s justice, an angel sent among mortals to judge the sinners from the saints, easing up the Savior’s job when He comes back down from Heaven. That doesn't explain why she’s made of stone and covered in moss and bird shit, but it’s a hell of a lot better than the “tomb marker somehow turned animate” theory, which doesn't explain jack. Besides, God works in mysterious ways.
She looks like what you might expect a stone tomb angel to look like. A gentle face, albeit totally unemotional, with a neat cascade of wavy hair that would definitely be shining and golden if it were real. The years of water streaming down her face have given her black streaks of tears (she weeps for the hearts of sinners). Immaculately sculpted wings are folded against her back. Her hands reflexively fold up into a praying position, ceremonially holding her prized possession: a rusty old stop sign, which she uses to behead those whose sins are unforgivable. Everything else is concealed behind a loose, flowing robe, also stone. All of it is pockmarked and worn, and of course, covered in moss and bird shit.
Outwardly, she appears confident in her faith, but sometimes she questions God's decisions and wonders why He made her out of stone, moss, and bird shit.
Nobody really knows where she came from, but it was a pretty big headline when she killed some dude in Times Square. It seems pretty impossible for something like that to subsequently disappear from the sights of the police and the military, but that's what happened.
Abilities:
She has a mean swing with that stop sign. She also seems to be able to produce copies of the Bible out of seemingly nowhere. She’s made of stone and can’t fly, but sometimes she, uh, forgets that.
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#6
RE: Sublime Showdown (Signups Open until 6/28!)
Name: Warpman(John Jacobs)
Text color: A heroic...whatever this is
Gender: dude
Race: Superhero
Weapons/Abilities: Apparently, teleporting (really, invisibility and vague particle abilities that help him make things more and less slippery) Stolen equipment from various supervillains, most notably King Squid's organic smoke bomb fluid.
Description: Warpman is a B-lister hero- not a big namer, but relatively popular. He does street level crime, and sometimes the bigger stuff, if they really need a hand. He looks pretty cool.
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He's exactly what you expect a hero to be- big, muscular, heroic. He doesn't talk much and has a dark and angry costume, giving him a fairly large cult fanbase.

Warpman is almost a complete lie.
John isn't a very good person. He was gifted in a complete freak accident involving lightning and unstable particles with the ability to control particles that somehow allowed him to control some friction and the interactions of particles with light. Not going to pretend I know what that entails.

He's a hero for money. The costume and his demeanor are a play for popularity.

Really, he's just a huge cynic who happened to be gifted, and is using his gifts to get paid.

He isn't that muscular. Most of it is armored padding, stolen from a different, smarter super villain, repainted and put under some unstable particle costume which was also stolen. Of course, he has the muscle underneath from all that practice, but its really not as impressive as you'd expect from how he looks in costume. Almost all of his gear is stolen off tech-based villains.

Mildly paranoid. He works alone so that no one would track him down. He lies about his power because he believes that that way, his powers won't be used against him, and people would try to avoid capturing him. He believes misdirection will always give him an edge.

In order to fake being "Warpman," he uses organic Squid bombs to act as if he were disappearing, and then uses another when he turns uninvisible again.

Errata: Kind of a jerk.
Really, being a hero doesn't pay that much. Most of his income comes from mugging muggers late at night while invisible.
Probably woulda been a supervillain, but he figured he was more likely to get his shit pushed in that way.
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#7
RE: Sublime Showdown (Signups Open until 6/28!)
ok I'll reserve
I don't have an idea but i'll write Something
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#8
RE: Sublime Showdown (Signups Open until 6/28!)
I'll just uh... leave this here. Yup.

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#9
RE: Sublime Showdown (Signups Open until 6/28!)
Putting in a reserve, though might drop to give an even noobier friend their own chance
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#10
RE: Sublime Showdown (Signups Open until 6/28!)
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#11
RE: Sublime Showdown (Signups Open until 6/28!)
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let's post righteously & having good times /// check out The Book of the Courtier /// ensure proper vegetable consumption /// also check out The Blade and the Cycle /// post it up!!
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#12
RE: Sublime Showdown (Signups Open until 6/28!)


Name: CODENAME: OVERHEAT Civilian Alias: Ash Duncans
Text color: #22ccdd; blue fire is cooler than red fire
Gender: While Ash is a woman, and uses she/her, Ash prefers to attribute the "it" pronoun to OVERHEAT.
Race: If you asked Ash, she'd say "Anime Cyborg"
Weapons/Abilities: The most notable weapon that OVERHEAT has is its sword. The blade uses top of the line magnetism and electricity technology in order to cut through essentially any metal surface, usually leaving black marks around whatever it slashes. It calls it The Scorcher.

However, OVERHEATS main weapon is its own cyborg body. Clocking in at six feet and eight inches, and many many many pounds, OVERHEAT's robot body has all of the enhanced strength that you would expect of a robotic being, along with enhanced speed and dexterity. In addition to the usual cache of cyborg capabilities, it has a special magno-propulsion mechanism that basically enables it to eject its limbs from its body and then easily re-attach them. The body is powered by various solar panel fins attached around the torso, arms, legs, and head. Depending on the placement, the solar panels can move, and many are controlled via a magnetic system tied directly to Ash's mind.

Description: OVERHEAT is, as has been mentioned, a very tall and very heavy humanoid cyborg. Most of it is silver, with some black on the joints (elbows, shins, etc), hands, and feet. The body is very lean and flat, built more for mobility than for strength. Around the black parts of the body are usually the solar panels, which take the shape of fins, giving its otherwise round body some sharp angles. There are also fins on its waist (the right side, opposite of the sheath where The Scorcher is kept), back (just under its shoulders), and head. OVERHEAT's head has a single blue, glowing eye at the center of three visor like fins. There is a fourth fin on the back, it doubles as the handle and lock for the helmet, which is the only part of the OVERHEAT that can easily be removed from Ash.

Under all that armor is a woman with purple dreadlocks and a pretty energetic personality. Ash Duncan likes what she is and (for the most part) what she does. She is trusting and willing to believe that what she does will lead to happiness and justice, even if sometimes it means doing something that is sort of wrong. She doesn't really see much point is moping for too long, and prefers to look on the bright side and maintain an enthusiastic and bubbly attitude, if not for her sake, then to try to raise the spirits of anyone around her. She knows that the world isn't perfect, and that there is a lot of badness out there, but she wants to hope that what she does will benefit the greater good, even if it means that she, or rather, OVERHEAT, has to do something very bad.

Errata:Sometime prior to being entered in the Sublime Showdown, Ash received this e-mail.

Quote:Ash Duncans.
Or, specifically, OVERHEAT.
You have a selection of skills that I require.
In a few days, you will taken on a journey across the multiverse.
During that journey, you will encounter things beyond your wildest dreams.
Your mission, if you choose to accept it, will be to kill someone during this journey.
It should be noted, that even if you do not accept this mission, the journey will still occur.
If you accept the mission then download the program attached to this e-mail.
It will tell you when you are near the target.
You will be paid with whatever you wish.
Have a good trip :-)
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#13
RE: Sublime Showdown (Signups Open until 6/28!)
Name: Pismis 24-3
Text color: Smouldering
Gender: Identifies as a she
Race: OB class massive star
Weapons/Abilities: Being a ball of energy almost immeasurable in size, Pismis can release heat in near infinite quantities, emitting 33,000K of it without any effort. She also has great control over it, able to do anything from focus it on a single point in space to emitting an aura of it burning everything in a mile radius.
Pismis is a sentient heavenly body, and thanks to celestial abilities, she usually appears large for the average viewer's perspective (so to the average human, she would be about the size of a full-grown bull) and is bright but not difficult to look at. Of course, if she chooses she can change either of these things, growing huge and brilliant if the situation demands.
Description: Pismis is the fourth child in the Pismis 24 star cluster, the baby of the family. She ranks in as one of the hottest and most powerful stars in the known universe, but can't rank up with her three older siblings. Born on the bottom of the ladder, she is tortured by her eldest twin brothers. And after millennia of being subjected to the sadism of two of the only beings in the world more powerful than she is, it's no wonder that she feels powerless and alone.
Because of this, while she is aware of her awesome power, she isn't quite aware of how powerful everyone else is in comparison. As her entire life has been spent in the twisted grip of her brothers, she is instantly defeatist and submissive towards any other being. She desperately wants to have power though, and if she is put into a position of power she'll abuse it as much as possible and hold onto it for dear life. If she becomes aware of the sort of destruction she's truly capable of, she could be a nearly unstoppable force...but she can't quite realize that all-powerful potential.
Errata: Wikipedia page from which I blatantly used astronomic information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pismis_24#Pismis_24
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#14
RE: Sublime Showdown (Signups Open until 6/28!)
I'm quite pleased with the turnout so far! Only three more days until signups are closed. I think, much like the first battle, I will be giving priority to people with nothing else to post in. I'll also try not to have too much of a repeat of the last battle's roster.

It's also worth noting that S?1 already needs a replacement. If you can't even wait three days, it might be worth shooting your profiles over to Schazer to see if you can pop in the empty slot there right now.
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#15
RE: Sublime Showdown (Signups Open until 6/28!)
Username: Agenshiny
Name: Glitter
Gender: None
Race: Psilocybe protervi
Colour: #ED7777
Description: A diffuse cloud of glittering pink spores, barely holding itself together by some unseen force. Little sparkles flitter and coruscate across and in it like a champagne glass floating in the ocean at sunrise. It is a stunning sight for one so deadly. It doesn’t speak, not until it’s in your head, and by then it’s too late. It’s awfully friendly, and naïve, and has a voice like a bubbly laugh; it still doesn’t quite understand what it’s been doing to people since day one.

Items/Abilities: There exists on planet Earth an organism known as the lichen. Of course, things are never as simple as they seem; the humble lichen, seen growing on rocks and in cracks between bricks, is not a single organism at all. A lichen is in fact a symbiotic peace treaty between the Kingdom of Fungi and the Coalition of Photosynthesizing Protists - itself a complicated political entity; needless to say some extremely populous families of a rather high class maintain order in the scheme of things.

But that actually hasn't anything to do with the Glitter at all. No scientific organism worth their ATP would have anything to do with the Glitter if they could help it, and for very good reason: The Glitter is not a symbiote. It is a parasite.

Which again, isn't strictly true, either. We told you nothing is ever as simple as it seems.

The Glitter in its full state with its host is a similar symbiote, but it is normally found in a raw state in the wild: a glittering cloud of spores, a mycological biohazard blown about on the wind. Much in the same way the mycobiont draws light-spun energy from its photobiont partner, the Glitter, with its roots in hallucinogenic fungi, consumes minds.

This isn't always fatal, it insists. Not a parasitic relationship at all. It quite resents the idea.

In fact, colonization by the Glitter has unique neurological benefits for the host, the primary one being the slow but complete eradication of hesitance, inhibition, and eventually, sanity. Such complicating and ludicrous things, it surmises, is much better replaced with the golden fuel of ambition, confidence and optimism, which is quite the vim to get things done.

Unfortunately the hosts never seem to last very long.

Biography: I woke up this morning, and I could do anything. I knew I could do anything.

I stood up to my boss this morning. He wasn’t expecting me to call him out on his bullying but I did, I called him out all right, the old boy nearly had a heart attack from the way I lay into him. Got a promotion. I think I got promoted. Either that or fired. Either way I’m better off without his fat face. I’d like to punch it in. Twice. Maybe three times, until that fleshy nose of his bleeds all over his expensive suit. That’s a good idea. I think I’ll waltz right back in there and knock him off his leather chair.

Did it. This is a pretty sturdy cell. Bars are thick but rattley. I think I’ll rattle them. Ha. That’ll show them. I’m hungry now though. Jailer’s at the door. “You poor sod,” he says, “They say there’s no hope.” He walks away. He didn’t even bring any food.

If I put together enough money i could be president. i could be president of the world. i could rob a bank or make a scheme to get the money. this is a good idea. gonna do it. gonna get out of here. bars don’t come loose no matter how much i shake them. the jailer came by and broke my fingers. no one cares. i think my fingers are okay. i can move them.

i am still hungry. i wonder how my arm tastes.


[EXHIBIT 0001a - “scrap of paper, patient zero, JOTT outbreak id:jma_0001a”]
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#16
RE: Sublime Showdown (Signups Open until 6/28!)
Just popping in to note that the deadline would be midnight tonight my time, which means 7:00 PM GMT. If you really needed those extra five hours to get a profile together, let me know. Barring any such objections, the roster will go up then and the game itself will begin shortly thereafter.
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#17
RE: Sublime Showdown (Signups Open until 6/28!)
You would be hard-pressed to find a stranger crowd of beings occupying a single bar.

In the dim lights over the assorted tables of varying shapes and sizes, some of which were incomprehensible to mortal minds, there assembled a murmuring crowd. Some of them glowed with mysterious energies of variable hue. Some of them were shrouded in darkness so complete that it would be noticeable even at the bottom of the deepest cave at midnight. Others still had nothing unusual whatsoever going on with their luminance, but rest assured they were just as strange in other ways. Being a bar in the space between worlds, this place was occupied solely by interdimensional travelers, and tonight they were here for Darling's show.

The walls of bottles and tapestries containing this strange menagerie extended up into a stygian emptiness in which something stirred. Unseen hands lurched purposefully from a hidden catwalk behind the curtain in front of the stage and grasped several tiny wires. Smooth jazz began to play. Smoke machines at the back of the stage quietly clicked on, filling the space behind the curtain with a dense cloud.

The woman behind the curtain had been standing very still for a very long time. She wore something slinky and black, matching the long, curly hair that cascaded down her back. Bright red lips brought color to a frame of immaculately carved, bleached, and polished bone. The hooks connecting each delicate hinge to the tiny wires extending up into the darkness were cleverly concealed. The hands above took hold of these wires and began to sort them out. Darling clattered and shook with her first motion since the last show.

The curtains drew back. The murmuring from the crowd grew silent. Smoke billowed through the opening, and a player piano slid onto the stage along a hidden track in the floor. The jazz grew a bit louder as Darling wiggled her way through the surging smoke to cheers and catcalls. She brought her wooden cigarette up to her mouth, and the tiny orange bulb on the end faded in and out.

Looking at this perfect little ivory marionette leaning seductively against the back of the piano, you would expect her voice to be melodious and sultry. It would seem expectation proves more important than reality, because the assemblage of beings did not seem to mind the noise that bellowed forth from Darling's puppetmaster. "Good evening, all my lovely guests," it uttered in a voice best described as a guttral, synthetic croak. "My name is Darling, and I've got a very special show for you tonight."

Backstage, six stagehands presided over six paralyzed contestants inside wheeled glass jars connected by ropes. Some fretted over their contestants' presentations, others relaxed with an air of easy confidence. One listened attentively at the door as Darling went through her opening bit to the crowd. Warming up the crowd, opening preamble, explanation of the rules...introducing the contestants! Right on cue, the first stagehand pulled the rope that would roll the lineup out onstage.

The crowd cheered as the six glass jars rolled neatly into place. Darling walked over to the leftmost jar and rapped her knuckles against the transparent barrier. The bearded man inside was unable to move in response. That is, except for his eyes. He had been propped up behind the facade of a bar, his hands frozen into place polishing a tankard. "Our first lucky contestant is called Barkeep. Where he comes from, that means he is a prime dispensary of the rumors of the land, and he can only be harmed by damaging whatever he considers his bar. Not at all like the fine folks we have keeping you in your drinks here, who can only be harmed by poor tippers."

The crowd chuckled as Darling moved to the next jar, containing a cyan-clad bald man with a dark complexion, frozen in place in the middle of a ferocious sword swing. Coiled around his shoulder and equally paralyzed was a snake whose eyes glowed with a bright yellow light. "These two here are Clombd and Snake. Clombd is a magic man with a magic sword and a magic snake pet. The fun part is that the part of his body that makes the magic doesn't work too well, so we'll get to see whether it's more fatal to the other five or to him!"

Darling sidled over to the third jar, which contained a begoggled cyborg punk girl decked out in green. She had been posed making a rude gesture with her hands while skating over a dirty chunk of asphalt. "This rowdy little firebrand is Dahlia Belstrap," Darling explained. "She's spent her life working for bad people on the bad streets, so frankly, this contest won't be much of a change for her. She's mean, green, part machine, and, oh, right, has a laser-powered rocket launcher on her shoulder. It doesn't rhyme, but I thought you should know."

The fourth jar contained a vicious-looking demon. He was frozen while rocking out with a guitar mid-powerchord, with stylized flames painted on the jar all around him. "You'd expect this heavy metal demon to be called Bloodrage or Bezelebrawn or something, but no, his name is Humbert. Humbert Kinnaird is a rockstar with a curse. The curse makes him look like this when he performs, but gives him a weakness to music he can't rock to. We'll see whether this contest is his masterpiece or his final tour!"

Darling gestured to the fifth jar, containing a stone statue of an angel. Her wings were spread out wide as she knelt in prayer over a stop sign, with the glass jar painted like a stained glass window behind her. "Meet Mariel. Somehow I don't expect her and the last one to get along too well, even though they're both made out of rock." She paused, briefly, for laughs. "What is there to say? She is pretty sure she's an instrument of some god or another, and has a lot of copies of his holy books stashed away in there. You might not think she's much to look at, but where she comes from, she stops traffic."

Moving to the final jar, Darling gestured to the green-feathered winged humanoid frozen inside, posed in a menacing snarl above a foam facsimile of a soulless corpse. "And finally, we have Ikhinde," she croaked, pronouncing it "Ik-hend". "This form you see here is just the shell she's currently wearing; you see, Ikhinde is a body-swapping apparition that can move soul and flesh alike. Of course, she's got to keep hers intact to use the ability, and the other five are sure to make that difficult for her."

Darling moved upstage as projector screens lowered over the backdrop. "So, I suspect these six poor saps are wondering what they're doing here, huh?" Gears turned noisily, and the six jars and their contents rotated the other way to face the screen. "Well, you lucky lot are all going on a trip around the multiverse, all expenses paid. What's more, you're all going to be stars of your own reality show while you're there. You'll go to up to five exciting locations, and at the end, one of you wins a prize and a trip home. The rest of you will be dead or double-dead, as the case may be. That's right folks, the only thing I ask in return for this exciting opportunity is that you kill one another. Each time someone dies, the rest of you get swept up into a new location, until there's only one of you left. Let's see where you're going first."

Somewhere, a projector began to whir. The screen lit up with an image of a dusk sky. Stars twinkled in decidedly non-star-like colors, the moon was much too large in the sky, and the ground was covered with a mixed forest of trees and giant mushrooms occasionally interrupted by strange and magnificent structures. "Neverland. The Between. The Twilight Forest. Faerie. This place and the folk who live here have had many names and stories told about them over the years. Some of those stories were accurate, and some weren't. If the story had a happy ending, it was probably the latter. One of you is about to find that out firsthand. One more thing, if you plan on waiting around for sunset or sunrise, I suspect you'll be waiting for quite a while. The less I say about it, the better, so without further ado, let's get this show on the road!"

The six jars emptied in the blink of an eye. The image on the screen split into six different images showing different locations, and a contestant suddenly appeared in each.
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#18
RE: Sublime Showdown (Round 1: Faerie)
A dark blade completed its arc with considerably less momentum. A Lesser Ouroboros slid down to its favored position about the waist, biting its tail and allowing its eyes to dim. Cliff was breathing heavily, unsure what he was or even should have been feeling at the moment. Placing his blade back into its scabbard, Cliff took a few steps and leaned against a nearby tree to observe the area and think.

Looking up was agitating: though the overlarge satellite—no more than a glowing orb, too perfect to be the pockmarked, gazing moon of his homeland—was high, and the even grid of stars, organized by color and brightness in patters, rested upon pure black, there was a sense of apprehension and impatience, as though sky were choking on itself, attempting to regurgitate the sun.

The ground was no better a sight, though in closing his eyes Cliff knew he’d still feel the writhing of all sorts of insects and what-have-you amidst the crunch of dead leaves, so he focused his vision low. Some small creatures took experimental bites of his hand, which was resting on the forest floor, and he dug the heel of his palm into the dirt to crush a few of them before lifting it to his face. Obviously, no wounds were presently visible, but he knew as well as anyone that disease cannot be seen by the human eye.

Having calmed down to a degree, Cliff reached out to Snake mentally.

That… thing… called me Clombd.

That thing called me your pet.

Touché.

In other news?


Well, it looks like we’ve got another quest, but this time we’re paying for it.

By my understanding, it’s more of a vacation, though the price is murder and vandalism. But it sounds to me like we can take our time with it.

Vandalism?

I couldn’t understand quite well, but it seems one of our opponents can only be harmed by vandalism. The barkeep.

Right, yeah… that takes a lot of magic. We should watch out for him. And that one girl… the one making the Giridian greeting? She has… could you hear what that thing said?

A… like a siege engine, but smaller. It throws metal which sets on fire. Quite dangerous. Definitely not something I’ve seen from a Giridian. We’ll need to know more about the both of them. In the meantime, you need to tend to that hand.


Cliff looked at his bitten hand and agreed: his palm was swelling and reddening, seeming to twist inward in certain areas. Slowly, vortexes were forming in his hand, turning… turning……

Cliff shook his head and trained his eyes off of his hand. The wound still seemed minor, and he wouldn’t need much magic to heal it. It was affordable.

Telling Snake to stand guard, Cliff closed his eyes and focused intently on the area. It wasn’t long before he felt his skin shifting and liquid dripping from his pores, but by the end he was aching exhausted. Teeth clenched, eyes closed, he gradually began to relax, until he was sitting against the tree, knees folded, arms crossed, accompanied only by the sounds of his own heavy breathing and Snake’s slithering in a wide ring about his tree.

Well, we better be going
, Snake reminded Cliff, wouldn’t want to stay in one place too long in a vacation to the death.

Indeed. A vacation to the death in a land of stories
, Cliff smiled, standing up tentatively, and the two began walking in a random direction through the unfamiliar woods, not knowing in the slightest their destination.


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#19
RE: Sublime Showdown (Round 1: Faerie)
His eyes were flitting back and forth rapidly.

One moment, he was polishing an already-clean tankard with his trusted grimy handkerchief, the next, his body was frozen, and a bizarre sight was presented to him. Bizarre, yet glorious. Everything was different, the people, the architecture, hell, even the drinks. But it was undeniably a bar. He tried to take in as much of the place as possible. His head buzzed with information, that he could not quite make sense of.
  • That counter was made from the finest Plexispaceglass available in the Nautilus Termini system, discovered accidentally by Prosytterian ore miners in 54 (=- 4/3) rotations of Martonia.
  • This drink was made from the distilled venom of the Ambrosianewt, normally considered to be toxic unless mixed with Etherstrawberry Juice.
  • And those tentacled people over there were actually pirates from the farthest reaches of the Oblivion Nebula.

He had wanted to investigate more, but a guttural voice referred specifically to him, and it was only then that he realized what was going on. He had been taken to a battle to the death.

He continued to watch and absorb information, but now knew that this was not his final destination. Now disinterested, he started listening to Darling drone on about the rules and the other contestants. He had tried to glean information from them, but it seems they were still a blank slate to him. That meant they were like protagonists. This was unsettling. Fortunately, this being a battle to the death, they were not immune to death. He would be able to take care of them if they ever threatened his bar. Once he built it, of course.

Then, just as he thought he would, he was spirited away to the Realm of the Fey Folk. Now allowed to move again, he gingerly set his tankard down. Just then, he felt an odd bond to it. It was calling out to him, asking him not to let go of it. But it was too late. He had already set it down, and the bond was broken. He tried to pay it no mind, as he pocketed his handkerchief and looked around. Neverland was indeed a beautiful place. It was quite eerie, though, especially as he took a closer look.
  • These mushrooms were made artificially huge using a magical fertilizer made from the bones of the dwarves killed in the Great Sparkle Mountain Battle in 476.
  • These birds, although handsome, have been known to be violently territorial and invasive. Attempting to remove them led to the extinction of the brownies.
  • That tree was actually a notorious nymph sex dungeon, made famous for that thing they did where they would-

That's enough of that. He moved the information absorption to his subconscious, and he shifted focus to making actual plans.

Now then, what to do? He would definitely need to either find a bar and somehow claim it, or make a bar from scratch. Until then, if the unwillingness to let go of the tankard was any indication, the lone tankard would have to count as his "bar". He picked it up and felt a sort of relief. He supposed it would be a good idea to find a drink of some sort to fill it with. And so, he strode off in search of the nearest village.

---

Blue spires towered into the skies, cutting the moon into pieces. They glowed with a pleasing iridescent light. These were the famous landmarks of Wisteria, a relatively large elven city of around 500 people (considered to be a metropolis in these parts, he noted). As he approached it, he noticed his ears starting to narrow to a point, and his beard starting to disappear. He knew he would miss his beard, but he did feel more at ease. This would have to do.
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#20
RE: Sublime Showdown (Round 1: Faerie)
You are utterly expendable, Trang told her. You are the most miraculously renewable of resources on this beautiful blue planet. Any two goddamn bums I find off the street can squeeze me out a human being, no training needed. They just gotta do what comes natural. Now that equipment you are slinging is engineering genius, top of the line. Goddamn motherfucking rocket scientists with fucking degrees spent their entire lives designing and perfecting it. They took humanity and they pulled down their sciency lab pants and peed in the face of God. What did your parents do? Break a condom? Pardon me, while I hold my applause. Your bionic pinky's existence is ten times more marvelous and incredible than yours, and is worth inestimably more to us than you are.

So if you want to leave, you can leave, but if you leave, we're going to want everything we gave you back.


Strap's fingers wilted out of the double-Giridian-salute as her desperately firing synapses regained control over her body. She hit the ground with a heavy clank and immediately started rolling. Her skates whirred cheerfully as she helplessly skidded down the narrow archway of stone she had been deposited on.

With an unladylike squawk she crouched down and dragged her synthetic hand across the rock to keep from falling on her face. The arch dipped sharply to a near-vertical halt in the grass below. The drop looked near fourty feet.

Strap fumbled with the catch on her back and dropped the full weight of her Ventcore reassuringly onto one shoulder. She mashed the primary transformer and the barrel dutifully clacked a foot back and into Exhaust mode.

Right as Dahlia went over the drop.

“SONOVABITCH,” she asserted, spinning the Core around as she skidded toward the ground. Her finger, nail half-painted, closed around its trigger.

The ventcore frogblasted, boosting her bodily up into the air inches before she hit the ground. She did a clumsy forward somersault and ended up like she usually did when she tried a vertical blast: in the grass on her ass waiting for the pain to pass.

That was shitty, was her first thought.
This is not Chi-town, was her second.

Her hand immediately snapped to the bomb on her neck. More than fifty miles outside city limits was the tether, and Trang said if you broke the tether they give you a little off the top.

It wasn't tingling. No vibrations. No beeping noise.
She experimentally splayed her fingers out on the grass. Her bionics were all set, operating at full. No shutoffs.

Her green-gloss lips pulled up into a smile. Holy shit. Was she free?

Strap sprang to her feet and retrieved the Ventcore from the grass. Her elation wasn't tempered when she realized that she had just skated off a giant ribcage, sunk into the ground. The skeleton stretched its petrified way across a near mile, lying pale and dessicated on the mountainside she found herself on.
Rolling out before her was Faerie.

From up here, Strap couldn't see the bloatbeetles crawling along the ground, the Brownies in the alien trees, the Kraken in the impossibly blue lake, the Adar Rhiannon bobbing through the grasslands with their charmed corpses and sleepwalkers in tow, or the flashing blades of the Wild Hunt thundering through the forests. She couldn't see Berchtold, its white-cloaked leader, or Surma, the Violent Death personified, or the roiling Gap of Goblin. What she could see was freedom, and it looked awesome.

This was a friggin' fairy tale, and she was the prettiest princess at the ball.

There was a town down in the valley, all blue spikes and flashy lights. If she was gonna find all the other contestants in this freakshow, that was the place to look.

See, she'd already figured out how you game this system. No one moved on till one of them died. If they all just got along and no one killed anyone, they could just stay in cool fairy world forever. Okay, so maybe she wouldn't visit the cheese planet or whatever any time soon, but this was as good a place as any for a new start. She had an inactive bomb on her spine, some frictionless skates on her feet, and 20 pounds of blasting, vaporizing freedom on her shoulder.

Maybe on her way down the mountain she'd doublespin clutch off the big dead guy's skull. Just because I can, she thought for the first time in years. She lowered her goggles, angled the Ventcore, braced her knees, and squeezed that beautiful little trigger.

Things were finally looking up.
let's post righteously & having good times /// check out The Book of the Courtier /// ensure proper vegetable consumption /// also check out The Blade and the Cycle /// post it up!!
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#21
RE: Sublime Showdown (Round 1: Faerie)
The forest was blacker than any she had ever seen, and the trees grew taller than any she had ever seen. They grew uncomfortably close and seemed to be getting closer by the second. Mariel could barely see. She tripped on a root. How could she be expected to fight a battle to the death if she couldn’t get out of this bloody forest? Attempts to cut away shrubs came to miserable failure. A stop sign is not a machete.

“You’re silly.” A voice, high and shrill, came from above her. Mariel bristled.

“Come down from there, child.”

The visitor giggled. “I bet I’m older than you.”

“You will fall and hurt yourself.” Mariel looked up, but didn’t see anyone.

“Nuh uh. I never fall. How old are you?”

“I was created by the Lord Almighty, in the time before Adam and in the time before He gave life to all the creatures of the earth.” She still didn’t see anyone.

“You are silly.” She giggled and some leaves rustled above Mariel’s head. The child suddenly appeared in front of her, slim with pointed features and oddly-colored skin. She appeared to be wearing clothing made of leaves. “I’m Caspia. And I’m twelve thousand years old.” She studied Mariel’s face intently.

“Show me the way out of this forest, child.”

“I’m not a child! I’m Caspia!”

“Show me the way then, Caspia.” Mariel shouldered her stop sign.

Caspia disappeared into the undergrowth. When Mariel did not follow, she stuck her head out and giggled. “Aren’t you coming, silly?”

It was a long time coming out of that forest, with Mariel making slow progress, struggling to keep the bushes back and walk at the same time. Occasionally Caspia would disappear up a tree, and Mariel would have no choice but to wait for her to remember that Mariel was incapable of climbing trees. When they did break out of the forest, however, the view was breathtaking (although Mariel didn’t have any breath to take). A cliff dropped away suddenly to reveal the city. Although the light coming off it was blinding, she could barely make out immense spiral towers and busy black specks swarming around them. It was nighttime, but that only served to make the city even more blinding by juxtaposition. Her eyes barely adjusted in time to watch Caspia disappear over the cliff face. Mariel sighed and made to sit down, but Caspia’s face reappeared moments later, grinning.

“Just kidding,” she said, giggling.

They went down a ramp carved into the side of the mountain, which Caspia explained was for trade caravans, too big and clumsy to go down the cliff. “Just like you,” she had said with a grin.

At the foot of the cliff, the light of the city was once again blocked out by heavy tree cover. This time, however, there was a broad dirt path that wound through the forest, serpentine and lazy. Huge stone carvings guarded the road, grotesques and gargoyles worn by age and moss and bearing an uncomfortable resemblance to herself, minus the holy beauty and bird shit. They were obviously not intelligently designed.

The entrance to the city was marked by an enormous archway made from two trees bent together, their branches entwined where they met to form the top of the arch. There seemed to be no guards and no way to keep out unwanted guests.

The inside of the city was considerably darker than Mariel had expected. The dim wooden streetlamps were the only light source. An old hunchback pulling a wagon gave her a mistrustful four-eyed glare and hurried on his way, but elsewise they seemed to be alone. The buildings were brick and stone, run-down and covered in long sheets of ivy. Most were only one story. There were no spiral towers in sight, either.

When she asked Caspia about it, all she did was giggle and say “You’re silly.”

Frantic circus music filled the street. Someone capered madly down the street, doing cartwheels and staggering about drunkenly. When he saw them, he made a mocking little bow, and suddenly Mariel found his face inches from her own. He had no eyelids and his grin seemed much too huge for his tiny and unsettlingly evenly-sized teeth.

“Good evening,” he said. Mariel stumbled backwards and readied her stop sign for a swing. “Truly sorry if I have offended m’lady,” he said, tipping his hat. Underneath was a miniature orchestra, growing from his scalp. As she watched, the pianist made a little flourish with his hands. They bowed, and there was frenzied applause. The man cupped his hands together and opened them to reveal a tiny audience, their hands ablur.

Mariel lowered the stop sign. “I have no stomach for your magician’s tricks,” she said, even though her innards were not quite existent.

“Truly sorry,” said the man, settling his hat back onto his head and putting his hands in his pockets. His grin did not fade. “Where will m’lady go from here?”

“Wherever my Lord bids me,” she said.

“Your lord?” Caspia giggled. “Are you a slave?”

“No. A servant.” She felt sick. “Show me to the nearest church. I must pray.”

“Pray? What’s that?” Caspia turned to the man. “Mad Ergot, what’s a pray?”

“A prey, m’dear,” said Mad Ergot, “is the victim of a predator.”

Caspia giggled. “Not that kind of pray, silly.”

“When I pray, I pay homage to my God,” said Mariel.

Mad Ergot burst into laughter, slapping his knees and gnashing his teeth. Caspia giggled.

Mariel fumed. “What’s so funny?”

“You really are silly,” said Caspia.

Mad Ergot returned to his full composure as suddenly as he had lost it. “What dear Caspia is trying to say, m’lady, is that you have much to learn.”

“What? What do I have to learn?”

Mad Ergot paused. “I’m afraid there’s no putting it gently. Your gods have no use here in Faerie. There’s no two ways about it. We are our own gods here.”

“Heresy,” said Mariel. Caspia giggled.

Mad Ergot reached a hand towards her. What he meant to do was never clear. Mariel swung the stop sign and the head caught him in the wrist, biting deep into the flesh. She could feel bones cracking. Caspia’s giggles turned to screams as Mad Ergot jerked back.

“Iron,” he gasped. “You brought your cold iron into Faerie.” The flesh around the wound sizzled. Mad Ergot dropped to his knees. He had the look of someone who has just realized his own mortality for the first time. His hand fell off, blackening and shriveling. “You’ve killed me.”

Caspia turned and ran, giving Mariel one last look of fear and hate. Mariel could not look away from Mad Ergot, where he began to crawl away, into the shadows. “Iron,” he said. “Cold iron…”

I will show them the light, Mariel swore to herself. God willing, I will show them the light. Pray that I will succeed as Jonah did.
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#22
RE: Sublime Showdown (Round 1: Faerie)
Every star in the sky is a deity, sheltered by their merciful ruler, the moon. The sun is the devil-god which rises in the morning to rudely sweep it’s brethren from the heavenly sphere…

…the Mother Serpent sleeps in the pit of a hollow mountain, wrapped and knotted about herself in patterns mere mortals cannot comprehend, her mighty scales triumphantly blanketed in the down of the birds which she preys upon…

…there is only one God, and in seven days He made the world. He created the first man, the first woman, and on the seventh day He rested…

…if you go east to the city of Otavorsegan and best the Heretic King With Three Heads in single combat, he will grant you his Tearstone, which can be used to hold the Coveted Darkness. A strong +15 armor and long-range combat capabilities are recommended for this quest…


The Heart of Faerie pulsed and shook with excitement, the warm red light she emanated growing in brilliance and intensity. Seven new minds, bursting with unknown mythos, appearing in her great land, just as the worlds she relied upon to create were fading from her reach—it was perfection. She would find these Travelers. She would seek them out, take their minds, take their souls; reach through them and drag their worlds closer to her. Faerie would explode with the infinite possibilities their new thoughts would bring. Faerie would be immortal.

***

Cliff and Snake had been walking for quite some time under the unnervingly uniform stars when they reached the city. Still discussing the nature of their competitors, they were both relieved when the claustrophobia of trees which seemed to move inward and the overlarge spiders which had thrice jumped out at them and the cooing, illusory voices which fell from the branches receded and gave way to azure spires and crowded cobblestone walks.

The noise of street performers and vendors was disorienting, and the faces of passersby more so, but Cliff suspected that in his armor he would blend right into the blue-tinted crepuscule. Naturally the moment he attempted to slip into the crowd unnoticed, Snake’s eyes began to burn with a light that Cliff had never seen before. The color was off as well, now a tarnished golden-brown rather than the usual citrine. Cliff tried to keep moving through the crowd as though that was a normal occurrence.

Oddly enough, it worked. As he kept his pace steady and his wits about him, nobody thought twice about it, leaving the two Familiars to walk and talk in peace.

No, I don’t know what’s happening. But I have an idea.

Well?

It’s as if… the magic just feels different. It’s not the same magic we know.

I feel like I know what you mean.

Do you?

Well, everything here is different. These people… they’re all angles and pointed edges, like the Numeds, but they’re all marked. Like… remember the man in Neo-Ras who covered himself in paint to mock my people?

I do, but Amna is long gone here. And they don’t appear to be mocking anyone.

Exactly. The people, the buildings, everything here is different. It might not be farfetched to say that the magic here is different as well.

There are gaps in your logic, my friend, but it’s the only explanation we have for now. In the meantime, let’s focus on finding our opponents.

And with that, the subject of their discussion shifted back to the nature of their competitors. They spent several minutes walking aimlessly and wondering who to find first until they Cliff felt a tapping on his shoulder. He turned, quickly, to find himself facing an androgynous, humanoid figure made entirely of wood and other plant-matter, it’s face no more than a fiery light showing through gaps in a cage of knotted vines. Taking stock of his surroundings, Cliff noted that the area he was in was considerably less crowded than the street he’d arrived on.

Attempting to meet the being’s eerie gaze, Cliff inquired as to its intentions.


“You are not of this world. The Heart of Faerie wishes to study you in greater detail.”

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#23
RE: Sublime Showdown (Round 1: Faerie)
Deep beneath a mountain lay a grand hall lined with gold, lit only by candles and a fountain of molten rock. Slowly spewing it’s contents into a domed basin. The hall was empty, silent even, not a soul to be found. This is how the grand hall is most of the year.

But not today. Two lines of dwarves enter the hall from both ends, clanking armour and heavy footsteps that only a dwarf can muster. Upon reaching the centre where the fountain is they turn inwards, some partially tripping over their own feet from this manoeuvre. Continuing the inwards spiral around the fountain six times, until they come to rest in a circle around it. Standing in utter silence for what seems an eternity, one Dwarf lets out with a bellowing yell. “TOOOOOOODAY WE ARE GATHERED, the highest ranking officials of the Dwarven people. TO DISCUSS, the strategies WE WILL be using in the next conflict with the lesser beings.”
The rest of the gathering grunt in a knowing approval.
“WEEEEE SHALL BEGIN, with the traditional chant. TO WARD AWAY EVIL SPIRITS THAT MAY LURK.” The leading dwarf states as every second dwarf lets out a droning and low pitched 'ooooo’.

The rest of the dwarves begin to chant in an even lower tone to the droning for several minutes. The leading dwarf shouts “Evil spirits from the lower worlds, begone!” In an ancient language.

The ritual complete, one of the dwarves dons a panic stricken look. “Jonas, what is the issue? You look like you have just seen the devi-” The leader asks of him before being cut off by a large red horn being driven through his head into his lower back, leaving no blood. The the horn was so hot it cauterised the dwarves entire body on contact.
“Fools, your chant can not dispel the power of ROCK!” The towering demon, Humbert himself, said down at the stunned circle of dwarves. Removing his elbow from the leader, bringing its spine with it grating along the seared dwarves insides, cutting them as to spill the uncooked blood inside into the cavity left behind. Humbert folds the spine into a pick, snapping tendons and cracking bone. Putting his left hoof forward, Humbert with his demonic guitar strums across the entire line of strings.
“For you dolts, I will play you a melody” he calmly sings in a soothing tone. Several of the dwarves freeze in pure shock.

Humbert lets out a blood curdling scream and begins playing the guitar so quickly that his hands were a blur, no small feat given the size of them. Flames erupt from his body quickly scorching the two dwarves that were near to the leader. The others panic, and attempt to flee.

Ceasing the scream, it is time to begin the first verse. Kneeling on the centre fountain Humbert splits it perfectly in two sending the halves careening towards the doors at either end. Impacting they explode into molten steel and seal the doors. Humbert plays slower and quieter so the dwarves may hear his performance.

“- Now listen here you little shits, you're really getting on my tits -
- first you chant and then you flee, it's like you don't want to play with me -
- No use to try, no use to try, Call for help and you'll all die -
- No use to try, no use to try, When I play my song the end is nigh -”

Humbert, ending his first and apparently only verse jumps from his kneeling position into a power stance sending shock waves throughout the hall. Looking to the roof and letting out a scream once more the flames that were once restricted to his immediate area spread throughout the entire hall. The panicked dwarves struggling with the sealed doors are roasted alive.

The demonic flames first only targeting their bones, making them crack in their own bodies and roast the attached muscles. Then targeting the rest of the bodies their clothes are burned away immediately. As they cook, Humbert plays power chords and they float into the air. Their flesh deteriorates as the song progresses, the dwarves look to each other and simply sob, their tears unaffected by the flames that now completely fill the hall. The flames strip them till they are nothing but bones. Humbert ceases his awful screech at this point and stomps once with his right hoof, making all the bones crush into a ball in front of him.

Without an audience, the staggeringly huge demon realises that it just ain't rock no more. “I am done here” He says and the flames go out. Falling forward into the slanted roof Humbert smacks his head on a supporting frame and smashes his bovine skull to smithereens, shards of it vanishing before they reach the floor. A purple light emanates from the cracks in the skull and he reverts to his human form, on the floor in a heap.

“Oh for fucks sake not a-fucking-gain.” Humbert exclaims while raising his weary head. Spotting the damage he had wrought the unamused man simply sighs. The once golden decorations transmuted to copper, the perfect sphere of bone, the slowly growing pool of lava in the middle of the hall. It could only mean that it had happened again.

Almost on cue, the sealed doors burst open and armed dwarves pour in and are simply stunned that this old man could wreak such carnage.
Without a word, the guards pounce on Humbert and bound him up, taking him somewhere. Humbert didn't know where they would take him, but sure as shit they'd be taking him there.
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#24
RE: Sublime Showdown (Round 1: Faerie)
gonna slap a reserve down here, nopad's had plenty of time already
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#25
RE: Sublime Showdown (Round 1: Faerie)
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