The Battle Royale S2 [Round 4: Burnination Studios]

The Battle Royale S2 [Round 4: Burnination Studios]
Re: The Battle Royale S2 [Round 2: Prospect Creek]
Originally posted on MSPA by slipsicle.

Jeremy scuttled backwards from the angry angel until his back ran up against the wall, startling him into tears again. Largely ignoring the Hatallan and the angel, he slowly crawled back behind the bar, sniffling the whole way.

As he crawled, he noticed a trapdoor on the floor that he hadn't seen before. Wiping his face (which mostly smeared it with dirt and dust), he grabbed what bottles of booze he could hold, and opened the trapdoor.

On the edge of the town, a door in the chapel opened and a dirty, thoroughly drunk young man tumbled out, landing flat on his back. A few bottles of various types of alcohol roll out on the ground next to him. "Damn... gravity... stuff..." he muttered, to no one in particular.

"Gravity's a bitch, Murderer!"

It took a few seconds for the doormage to realize the voice wasn't his own, and another few seconds to prop himself up on one elbow and look around.

"Buh.. wha..."

"Over here, Murderer! Heeeee~"

Jeremy swung his head around and was able to make out a small racoon, propped up on its hind legs, grinning manically at him.


Quite suddenly, a miniature unicorn appeard from nowhere and charged straight for the back of the racoon. Its horn penetrated the chittering mammal's head straight through, pushing through its left eye. The unicorn raised its head slightly, lifting the racoon off the ground. Still chittering, still grinning, the racoon was carried off around the corner of the chapel, saying "Followw meeeeeeeee, Murdererrrrrr!"

Jeremy lay still for just a bit longer, bobbing back and forth as he tried to process what had just happened.

"The.... fuck all..."

Stumbling forwards, the heavily intoxicated young man eventually set off in the direction of his chittering animal guide.

Re: The Battle Royale S2 [Round 2: Prospect Creek]
Originally posted on MSPA by Dragon Fogel.

Sirius couldn't understand it. He couldn't touch Geoff at all. Was this a hallucination, perhaps caused by the gas they had been warned about? But the pain of that barstool had been real enough...

For his part, Geoff couldn't touch Sirius either. Fortunately, he didn't need to. He tried to run right through the angel; but his crossbow wouldn't pass through with the rest of his body.

Sirius grabbed the crossbow as Geoff struggled to move it to the side. It was solid. He was more confused than ever. If that was a hallucination, then how did he have something that clearly felt like a crossbow in his hands?

His thought process was interrupted by another barstool striking him in the head. He dropped the crossbow in surprise, and Geoff grabbed it, then ran away before Sirius regained his bearings.

"What is this? Why can't I touch you?" Sirius screamed at the retreating Hatallan.

"A most interestink kvestion," Steinwaffe said in response. Sirius rubbed his eyes and looked again - the gargoyle had vanished. So he was hallucinating after all.

A crossbow bolt struck his left wing as he was distracted. That only made the problem clearer - he couldn't afford to fight if he couldn't trust his own senses. As if to underscore the point, when Sirius looked towards Geoff, he saw a second, identical Hatallan loading an identical crossbow. He wouldn't be able to identify the real one and know which to worry about.

After a moment's thought, Sirius' expression turned even more sour than usual. He did have another option. As an angel, he had senses that would allow him to view the world on the spirit plane. Sirius had largely tuned out those senses centuries ago - on his world, the residents of the spirit plane were generally even more irritatingly absurd than those with a physical presence. He'd gotten used to acting without those senses to get away from some of the madness - but now, there was little choice.

Sirius' eyes began to glow a bright green. He saw the spiritual presence of everything in the room. Tables, stools, himself, the arrow headed towards him...

Everything except Geoff. Were they both hallucinations?

Sirius quickly ducked under the arrow as he considered this revelation. How was this possible? Even if Geoff had been a ghost, he would have appeared on the spiritual plane. And someone was clearly firing a real crossbow at him.

What was more, Sirius could tell the gas was still affecting him. He was hearing unfamiliar voices, even though his view of the spirit plane clearly showed that no one was speaking.

He did, however, have one way to spot his assailant. The crossbow was visible on the spirit plane, and Geoff probably had no idea that it was. Sirius could see an aura around it, which gave Geoff's location away. But the Hatallan had proven immaterial before...

Immaterial to Sirius, at least. Geoff had been able to attack the angel with a barstool. Was this a double-edged sword? Could an indirect assault succeed? It seemed worth testing. Sirius grabbed one of the broken barstools and flung it towards the crossbow.

Re: The Battle Royale S2 [Round 2: Prospect Creek]
Originally posted on MSPA by Pinary.

The barstool hit Geoff in the shoulder, delivering a much stronger blow than he'd expected and sending him tumbling him to the sandy ground at the far end of the bar. He was rather thankful that the saloon's floor was mostly gone, really- sand was much more comfortable than wood, especially when approached at speed.

He lay there for a moment, content to relax on the warm, sandy floor, but the sight of the angel stalking towards him got him moving again. He rolled to his side, planted his hands, and pushed himself up- only to feel the sand sink a few inches and throw a load of gas in his face. He coughed a bit, tried again to stand, and decided to just crawl around the end of the bar, and as he did, a grin spread across his face.

Sirius moved toward the fallen crossbow, another stool held high. The crossbow was laying on the ground, and that meant the Hattallan wasn't far. A quick bash to the head, and they'd all be on their way, one fewer obstacle between Sirius and escape. Slowly, he raised the stool above his head-

"Are you familiar," Geoff asked, his voice coming from somewhere on the other side of the room, "with the rite of Kol's Flame?"

Sirius jerked his head around, looking for the source of the voice. He still couldn't see the Hattallan, but the candle floating near the middle of the bar seemed like an obvious giveaway. Willing away his spiritual senses, he confirmed it- the Hattallan stood behind the bar, looking a bit uncertainly at him, a mad grin plastered across his face.

"I'll take your frowny glare for a no," he said, wobbling a bit from side to side as he did.

Sirius just rolled his eyes. "You're drunk too. Terrific. Just-"

"No, not drunk," Geoff interrupted, eyes gleaming. "I just know what this smell is! But, before we get to that- Kol's Flame."

"What about it?!" The angel whirled his stool a time or two, getting a feel for the heft of it.

"It's a solemn ritual," Geoff replied, gesturing vaguely, "where two parties with a conflict can come together and discuss. As long as the flame burns, there is an understanding of peace between the parties. He who puts out the flame is seen as the aggressor and is therefore the guilty party. It's been Hattallan tradition for hundreds of years, and it's not something invoked lightly."

"And why are you telling me this?"

"Oh, right, yeah-" Geoff gestured to the candle he was holding, nearly losing his grip on it in the process. "This here is that. We're going to work this out calmly- unless, of course, you're going to fly in the face of a centuries-old tradition for some silly reason."

"No," Sirius said, sighing, "if it's a tradition of your people, then I will respect it."

"Excellent!" Geoff attempted to vault himself over the bar, managing only to roll awkwardly over it while holding the candle high above him the whole time. "Now! The smell!" Still grinning, he walked up to Sirius, passing him the candle. "I thought I recognized it when I arrived, but I couldn't put my finger on it. Now, though- now I know what it is!"

"And what would that be, exactly?"

"It's myna gas," Geoff laughed, vaguely walking his way around the room, "myna gas, can you believe it? I'm taken out of my home in the middle of an investigation, subjected to an insane meat-factory, and then what? I'm dropped in a place practically saturated with myna gas!"

Sirius gritted his teeth. "But what is this 'myna gas'?"

"Oh!" Geoff spun around to face the angel. "You don't know? It's a drug! It's a recreational drug commonly used by teens to get off their head! It forms underground, then seeps through sandy areas to the surface, where it's soaked into cloth, which is then burned, releasing it back into the air, where it can once more impair kids' judgment and motor skills!"

"And this gas is all over the town?"

"Oh, yes! It's everywhere! I mean, I have tracked a few myna-dealing rings back to their sources, but I've never seen anywhere with this much of the stuff!"

"Wait... Can this gas cause hallucinations?"

Geoff frowned at him. "Well, it's not known to in Hattallans, but I suppose it could for other types of people. That's not the important bit, though."

"And what is the-"

"The important bit is this:" Geoff walked up to the angel, standing before him and looking a bit more steady than he had. "I've got a fair bit of experience, and right now, that experience is telling me two things: One, you're standing on a sizeable pocket of myna gas right now, and two-" he grinned again- "myna gas is flammable."

Slamming his foot down, Geoff burst the pocket, releasing the trapped gas. With that same foot, he pushed off, throwing himself backwards just as the rising gas reached the candle.

In a great rush, the air around Sirius burst into flame, burning fast and bright. It only lasted a few seconds, but by the time they were gone, so was Geoff, out the door and into the street.

Re: The Battle Royale S2 [Round 2: Prospect Creek]
Originally posted on MSPA by MalkyTop.

Timothy hadn't hung around with the Photographer so to be honest, he didn't know the strange thing very well, but he was pretty sure that he hadn't been like this before. In fact, his first memory of the Photographer was him shuffling around awkwardly and then crying about his camera.

Timothy's eyes suddenly darted around suspiciously. "Wait, this is what the gas does, right?"

"Hm?" The Photographer said cheerfully, looking away from a particularly interesting corner.

"Dammit, you're like, high or something, ridiculously high," the man continued, pulling his high collar even higher in an attempt to cover his face. It wasn't exactly comfortable. Sounding a little muffled, he continued, "Is there some sort of rag in here?"

"Err," the Photographer turned and spun around a few times in a very addled manner until he managed to stop himself. "...Ask...the bookend?"

There was a rag on the counter and Timothy picked it up and paused. The rag was filthy and had probably been here for years, soaking up gas like the bumbling moron behind him. He set it back down again and settled for his coat collar.

It was strange, but his head was feeling pressured. Like a big thumb from the sky was pushing down on him. He almost started panicking until he realized that it was just the usual feeling he got when communicating with the gods. But he wasn't communicating with them. This made him panic more. Was he already going insane from the gas? Or could he actually be insane if he was aware of it...? He was thinking about this so much that he completely missed the message one (or more) of the gods were trying to give him. Gods didn't really liked to be ignored so they pushed down on his head even more.

"Gah!" he yelped. Luckily, the Photographer didn't find this too odd as he had, by now, stumbled out the door, walked no further than three steps, and flumped on the ground face-first, mumbling something incomprehensible.

listen when spoken to mortal a voice roared in his head. He didn't quite recognize it.

"Alright, alright!" he shouted, still trying to hold his collar up while massaging his head. He decided not to ask 'who are you anyways.' Gods tend to be touchy about that. Instead he said, "Your vassal is listening,"

better said the god. Either he used to lord over a religion that hated vowels or he actually wasn't listening. hear me, mortal for you are getting a message from a god

After a pause and an impatient nudge in the head, the thief realized that was his cue. "Oh, thank you for gracing me with your prescence which I can't see. I'm sure your message is important."

Sarcastic or not, this seemed to mollify the unnamed god's ego and he continued. you know that funky gas going around

A little put off by the sudden change of tone, Timothy hazarded a "Yyyyyeess?"

breathe it

"Er, what."

breathe aaaaaalll of it suck it in the gas compels you

"I, uh," Timothy stuttered. It was true that he usually didn't expect sensible requests from the insane gods he kept in contact with, but this was just insane. "...Any particular...uh...reason....?"

do iiiiiiit there'll be candy

Timothy was trying to figure out the politest and safest way to say 'screw you' to a god but was thankfully saved by a yelp from the other room. Hopping over the counter, he burst through the door and, as he thought, found Wardell, who had obviously been the one who screamed. The bookish man was pressed up against the wall over his overturned chair, staring fearfully at a pile of paper on the ground which Timothy guessed was a book. Or rather, the remains of one. Wardell's scarf was hovering around, ready to attack the book again if necessary.

"What happened?"

He looked over at Timothy and tried to calm down a little. He managed to spit out, "Book...reading...and then, teeth..."

"Keep your scarf over your face," Timothy replied, a little glad it wasn't anything too serious. Like a second meat factory or something. "Hallucinogenic gas. What you saw was probably nothing."

Wardell stared at him wide-eyed for a minute before finally regaining his composure. He started adjusting his scarf even as he said, "I'm not sure if this is really effective in blocking out hallucinogenic gas..."

"It's gotta work somewhat, right?" he replied, trying not to sound worried. "C'mon, maybe we can find something elsssse what are you doing."

Wardell looked up from the new book. It was written by some guy named Stephen King. "What?"

"Do you have a compulsion or something, is that it? Are you going to die if you don't read anything for ten seconds? Do you suffer from withdrawl?"

"I like reading," Wardell said defensively.

Re: The Battle Royale S2 [Round 2: Prospect Creek]
Originally posted on MSPA by Dragon Fogel.

Sirius screamed and cursed as the flames surrounded him. The flames in the air passed quickly, but his wings and hair were still ablaze.

Calming down enough to concentrate, he raised his hand and prepared a spell.

"Holy Gale!"

A powerful blast of wind flew through the room, putting out the flame. It also knocked various bottles and mugs to the ground and scatted the furniture, but Sirius could move again. He wasn't sure how much the wind had dispersed the gas, however; the smell still lingered, suggesting the hallucinations were likely to continue. Sirius' suspicions were confirmed when, for the briefest of moments, he saw an elephant floating through the air holding a sign that said "Eat At Joe's".

The angel sighed with resignation, and returned to using his spiritual senses. At least this way he would know the difference between a real assailant and an illusory one. Geoff would be more complicated to deal with, but the last encounter suggested that if he had a weapon, at least it would be recognizable. And if the Hattallan were unarmed, then neither of them would be able to harm the other.

Ignoring the spiritless hallucinations, Sirius walked out of the bar. He looked down the street for signs of the other combatants. There were none.

But there was something odd, just outside the General Store.

It was a television set. And the town of Prospect Creek clearly was not advanced enough to produce such a device. It was obviously a hallucination... except, it had a spirit.

Was the gas affecting the spiritual senses, too? That seemed unlikely, but very disturbing if true. Sirius decided to walk closer to the television, seeing no other way to test his new hypothesis.

Re: The Battle Royale S2 [Round 2: Prospect Creek]
Originally posted on MSPA by Godbot.


“Well,” Timothy was muttering, “if we don't find a way out of the gas soon, it won't make a difference whether you'll die without your books.” He might have said something else, but Wardell tuned him out.

<div style="margin-left:40px"><div style="margin-left:40px">“It hurts,” Carrie groaned. “My stomach...”
“That passes,” Miss Desjardin said. Pity and self-shame met in her and mixed uneasily. “You have to... uh, stop the flow of blood. You-”

There was a bright flash overhead, followed by a flashgun-like pop as a lightbulb sizzled and went out. Miss Desjardin cried out with surprise, and it occurred to her
(the whole damn place is falling in)
that this might obviously foreshadow a plot point for later in the book, when
...Wait, what? Wardell blinked a few times, unsure if he had read that correctly.

<div style="margin-left:40px"><div style="margin-left:40px">There was a bright flash overhead, followed by a flashgun-like pop as a lightbulb sizzled and went out. Miss Desjardin cried out with surprise, and it occurred to her
that this kind of thing always seemed to happen around Carrie when she was upset, as if-
Wardell looked around, taking a few deep breaths. He adjusted the scarf over his nose and mouth. If I'm not imagining things, he reasoned, and this is a hallucination caused by the gas, then the text will change when I look at it again. He spent a moment staring into space, giving the book a chance to change. He looked just about anywhere except where Timothy was standing. Once he had more-or-less memorized the patterns in the woodwork, he opened his book again.

<div style="margin-left:40px"><div style="margin-left:40px">There was a light ceiling overhead, followed by a corn-like pop as the bacon sizzled and went out. Miss Desgarden cried out with surprise, and I kind of got lost in her eyes
(Do you want to fight, bitch?)
It was a dark and stormy DAY. I had left the dryer turned on, dryer turned on, dryer turned on--
Wardell threw his copy of Carrie to the floor, his swearing unintelligible through his scarf. Agitated letters skittered from the pages like ants, leaving inky trails behind. Timothy paid no attention.

“Will you stop that,” he demanded. “Wardell, you're hallucinating. Ignoring it and reading isn't going to change that.”

“I'm not hallucinating,” Wardell murmured, staring at his hands.

...Well, his free hand, anyway. He was already gripping another hardcover. Nervous habit.

“You don't know tha-”

“I feel fine,” Wardell interrupted, “I just-”

“He's right, you know,” Wardell's scarf offered.

They simultaneously fell silent, and turned to stare at his scarf. Timothy did a double-take. He wasn't looking at the scarf.

“Wardell, did you just hear that?”

“Of course I heard it,” Wardell snapped.

“I heard it too.”

So? Why would-” Wardell froze as he started to respond. He nodded thoughtfully, pretending to understand, then realized with a start what Timothy was talking about. “If it's a hallucination, then why did both of us hear it?”

“I'm right here, you know,” muttered the scarf, clearly insulted. “I can hear every word you're saying.”

Outside, the Photographer rolled onto his side, breathing laboriously in his sleep.

The room suddenly buckled and collapsed inwards. The ceiling bulged, straining the supports as the floor contracted. A garish yellow clock that hadn't been there a moment ago crashed to the floor, shattering its faceplate. The table recoiled in surprise, scattering a fine Yixing tea set. An unfortunate teacup cracked against the floor and began to roll towards the center of the room. Timothy and Wardell watched, speechless, as the small clay cup rolled faster and faster down the ever-increasing incline.

Once it reached the middle of the floor, the teacup spun and wobbled neatly onto its base.

...And the floor promptly split open under its meager weight.

Floorboards drained like liquid into an inky void that now occupied the middle of the floor. The wooden planks shattered off of the walls, revealing pale yellow walls and some bay windows with a view of the ocean. The ceiling pinched inwards, splintering a crossbeam.

Wardell dropped his book.

Sensing danger, a rafter shook free of its bulging supports and clambered for the door like an enormous stick insect. The room contorted and caved in a bit more, trapping the rafter in place. Timothy ignored its groans and steadied himself against it as he tried to climb his way towards the door, which was slowly rising out of reach. Floorboards loosened and slid away with each footstep. Wardell's scarf flicked out and gripped the rafter for a moment as it pulled its wearer fringe-over-fringe towards the door. “It's okay,” the scarf announced. “We can make it!”

“Don't talk!” Wardell replied, horrified.

Timothy made up a prayer under his breath as he reached for the doorknob. It promptly skittered out of reach at his touch. The scarf wrapped its fringe around Timothy's wrist and pulled free of Wardell's neck, giving it the extra reach it needed to catch the doorknob and wrench it open. Timothy climbed through, followed by Wardell, who had been clinging to a vertical table. As he let go, it fell away into the void just as it reached the wall. On the far side of the room, several hundred feet away, floorboards fell away in ever-increasing ripples. There was a distant crack as the last of the floor broke off and fell away into the infinite blackness. The room was almost crushed into nothingness at this point, and as the rafter finally snapped, the walls slammed shut like a beartrap.

The two highly-unusual thieves ducked under the counter, which was now bobbing against the ceiling, and pulled the door open, revealing a brick wall. Wardell threw a hefty novel through the window, and they climbed through as the ceiling fell into the abyss, allowing water to spill over the walls and start to flood the room.

Just moments after they made it out, the building twisted violently and shriveled into the ground. Timothy checked himself for glass cuts, and Wardell sat down heavily on a nearby television, exhausted.

“We did it!” chirped the scarf.

Wardell grabbed it by the fringe. “DON'T.

Re: The Battle Royale S2 [Round 2: Prospect Creek]
Originally posted on MSPA by Dragon Fogel.

Re: The Battle Royale S2 [Round 2: Prospect Creek]
Originally posted on MSPA by Dragon Fogel.

Sirius had been frustrated enough at the idea that a television set had appeared out of nowhere and wasn't a hallucination. It didn't help to witness the general store collapse into the ground as Wardell and Timothy scrambled out of it. The sight was even stranger on the spirit plane - it was almost as though the building's spirit was exploding. Or imploding. Or both at once.

Sirius wasn't sure which thought was more disconcerting - that his spiritual senses might be affected by the gas, or that they were perfectly accurate. He decided that he would have to find out, and walked towards the evidently-real Wardell and Timothy. Wardell seemed to be arguing with his scarf, and much to the angel's annoyance, he could hear both sides of the conversation.

"I suppose I'm not fortunate enough that he's a hallucination," Sirius said, drawing their attention.

"Uh, I don't think he is..." Timothy replied, looking nervous. He didn't particularly want a fight with the angel if he could help it; he at least had some idea of how to handle the others.

Suddenly, the television's screen turned on, with no prompting. A small fuzzy animal appeared; it didn't belong to any species Sirius could recognize. Presumably it was some sort of mascot, he reasoned.

"LET ME OUTTA HERE!" it screamed out of the set. Then it turned its head around as if to look at the others, and much to Sirius' dismay, settled on him. "Hey! You with the wings! You can do miracles, right? So give me one so I ain't stuck in this box no more!"

The three simply stared at the screen dumbfounded as the strange mammal continued screaming at them. Finally, Wardell's scarf spoke up.

"Uh... maybe we can try changing the channel?" it asked, hopefully.

Re: The Battle Royale S2 [Round 2: Prospect Creek]
Originally posted on MSPA by Dragon Fogel.

Sirius stared at the rodentlike creature on the television set, then at Wardell's scarf, then back again several times. Finally, he spoke up.

"Do either of you have any idea what's happening here?"

"Well, uh," Timothy began, nervously. "It kind of started when we found the Photographer..." He pointed at the blubbering mass in the middle of the road.

Sirius turned to look, and was shocked at what he saw on the spiritual plane. Timothy wondered what the look on the angel's face meant, but soon shared it; apparently, one of the myriad gods "guiding" him had thought he should see this as well. Wardell looked at the two in bewilderment, then shrugged and started reading a book while trying to ignore his talkative scarf and the seemingly-endless string of expletives the creature on the television was spouting at the group.

Wardell would likely also have ignored the spiritual energy swirling around the Photographer, if he had been able to see it in the first place. Every so often, a small streak of energy would fly off, and then an item would be produced.

"Well, this explains the oddities on the spirit plane," Sirius commented. "He's creating items, and it seems to use spiritual energy. And the gas is probably making it worse. At this rate, it's only a matter of time..."

Sirius was suddenly interrupted by the spontaneous appearance of a blueberry pie over his head. The pie fell immediately, covering his face in a blue goop.

"...before he creates something that blows us all up, or worse," he concluded, barely holding back his anger at the sudden disturbance.

"So, uh, what should we do?" Timothy asked. He had a feeling he wouldn't like the answer.

"Simple. I'm going to kill him. No more dream-manifestations, and hopefully we'll be taken somewhere else, where there's no hallucinatory gas." He held up an arm. "You probably want to stand back, not that it really matters to me. Angel Sphere!"

The sphere of light formed, and flew towards the Photographer. But suddenly, a large wave of energy around him took shape, creating a smaller version of the arcology's dome around the dreaming Photographer. Just as with the original dome, protective glass caused the spell to bounce off harmlessly.

"Wonderful," Sirius groaned, as three ducks appeared and started circling overhead. "Now we'll need to get that idiot who can manipulate doors involved. Unless one of you has a brilliant idea."

Timothy shrugged his shoulders. Wardell buried his nose deeper in his book. Frustrated, Sirius grabbed the book and flung it away with all his strength, not caring where it ended up.

"And you! Stop hiding behind that book and help us to either find Jeremy, or break down this dome."


Elsewhere in the town of Prospect Creek, a drunken Jeremy stumbled over a book that had just landed in his path. He glanced at the title: Jumper.

"Oh, hey!" he muttered. "Thissa goodun'. Ima readit later." He shoved it in a pocket and promptly forgot about it a few second later.

Re: The Battle Royale S2 [Round 2: Prospect Creek]
Originally posted on MSPA by MalkyTop.

The Photographer briefly wondered why a giant owl would need a magical cupcake but focused on the task at hand once more. He needed to catch the giant flying fish and gut it fast before the giant owl turned into dust. Without the giant owl and his holy kisses, the land would surely die. He baited his hook with a pie. Pies were delicious.

As soon as he threw the rod into the sky-sea, though, the giant flying fish leapt up and swallowed the bait whole. He also swallowed the Photographer whole as well. The Photographer wished that he had a knife and then realized that he already did.


It started raining fish. Sirius was somehow not surprised. It still irritated him to no end, however.

He launched another Angel Sphere dome-ward in hopes that it'll release some anger. It didn't.

"Right," he said, rounding on the other two (who unsubtly backed away a little). "I'm going to go find that moron. It'll at least get me away from this madness. One of you will have to stay here and make sure that thing doesn't...ugh...dream up something silly or potentially destructive or both."

Wardell and Timothy exchanged glances. "That, er, seems a little dangerous," one of them said.

"Well, someone has to do it. And, seeing as I can fly and cover more ground and scope out the area better than you two, not to mention I could blow you into smithereens if you argued with me again, the only thing preventing me from doing so being that I will, I say it makes more sense for me to go looking for that drunk moron."

"Right, sure, okay," the two said a little too quickly. Sirius gave them one last glare before flapping off, dodging falling fish very neatly. A knife nearly blind-sided him, but he knocked it away. Wardell and Timothy watched him disappear into the sky.

"So, uh," Timothy started. "I guess one of us should try helping out the crazy"

Wardell glanced at the Photographer again. The TV was still shouting at them for ignoring it. His scarf was still chattering. A salmon landed on his head and slowly slid off. No amount of books would help him ignore this.

"I'll search," they both said at the same time.

"I don't want to say here," Timothy said reproachfully.

"I don't either," Wardell replied just as forcefully.

"Look, one of us has to stay here, else that angel guy might come back and kill both of us as soon as he finds us again."

"If I stay here, I'm pretty sure I'll go insane." Wardell choked his scarf again as it cheerfully chirped, "But Wardell! You already--"

Timothy paused. "Okay. Rock Paper Scissors. Loser has to keep watch over psycho-dreamer here."

Wardell hesitated, unsure of the chances, but agreed.

Their fists came down once. "Rock."

Please, gods, one of you, let me win this.

Twice. "Paper."

I don't want to stay here at all. I'm not about to get stuck in another spontaneous black hole or anything like that. So please help me out pleeaaase.

Thrice. "Scissors."

The god who grants me this request will get a huuuuge sacrifice the next chance I am able, I swear upon whatever stupid name you have. It will be big and a virgin and delicious. Whatever floats your boat. I won't judge.


Wardell had paper. Timothy, scissors. The thief grinned with relief, unsure whether it was actually a god or just plain luck. Either way, he'd have to find a large sacrifice somewhere along the line. But he'll worry about that later. He turned to leave as Wardell groaned, calling back, "See ya, sucker!"

Wardell sighed, rubbed his face, ignored the consolation of his scarf, resisted the urge to kick the TV, and flumped to the ground. A chair helpfully appeared underneath him, and surprised, he flailed and almost fell over, then glanced at the Photographer, wondering if he should thank him.

He retracted that thought as soon as he felt a large tongue push against his butt. He had never jumped so high in his life. As the chair wobbled towards him, mouth wide open, he kicked it so that it soared down the road. It spontaneously grew wings and glided onto the roof of a nearby building.

Wardell rubbed his forehead again. He glanced at the book in his hand.


The inside of the fish was lavishly decorated and there was a feast already prepared inside, sitll warm. The Photographer walked around a little, admiring the room. The floor was bouncy and red and undulated like a trampoline. For whatever reason, he tried jumping on the trampoline, which allowed him to jump high enough to the chandelier. After looking around from the new point of view and seeing that it wasn't all that different, he stepped down to the chairs and sat down at the table. There was a turkey. It stared at him and helpfully pointed out a delicious leg. He ate it. There was a cake. But before he could take a slice, it turned into a pie. It was still delicious though. And then he found the magical cupcake. It was rather pink.

The giant owl that had always been in the giant fish obviously hoo'd its delight at the Photographer's success. The Photographer ate another turkey leg.


Wardell had confirmed the glass dome to be sturdy and, most importantly, mouth-free, so he had leaned on it while he read. He soon regretted it though as, quite suddenly, the dome started absorbing him like a giant bubble, and before he knew what was happening, he was inside the dome with the Photographer. It was rather cramped.

He banged on the now-solid walls. He shouted. He kicked the door and shouted some more. The scarf tried suggesting something and he told it to shut up. Then he tried to kick the Photographer to wake him up. He cursed and shouted when his foot got stuck and struggled for several minutes to pull it out again. He calmed down and pulled his hair back in agitation, wondering if he would be able to breathe in here or if the dome was actually airtight. He sat down. He told the scarf to shut up again. He hoped that when the Photographer woke up, he would have the courtesy to return his shoe.

Re: The Battle Royale S2 [Round 2: Prospect Creek]
Originally posted on MSPA by slipsicle.

Heatwaves obscured a stumbling figure in the distance, well out of sight of the town by now. The figure faltered slightly, then, mumbling to himself, continued walking.

If one listened closely, one could make out the details of some of the slurred mumbling. "... sshhut... shlut up you shtoop... stoopid... thing. 'm not a mrurudrururrrrr..."

To Jeremy's eyes, the impaled raccoon was still mocking him, its burbling cries of "Muuurdererrrr~" ringing in his ears; though it and its miniature unicorn were becoming more and more difficult to make out. Despite his drunkenness, he could tell his mouth was bone dry; he'd long since removed his jacket and was in the process of taking off his shirt, but his fingers couldn't quite grasp its ends.

He kept walking, following the hallucination. One foot in front of the other, plodding... no, wait, now he's on the ground. When did that happen? The ground was comfortable. He exhaled, and watched the dust dance around his face. Maybe he should just... close his eyes...

The figure was still, now. It had collapsed on the ground several minutes ago and showed no sign of moving. If one looked closely, one could just barely make out the rise and fall of breath, or disturbed dust around the man's parched lips.

In the man's hand, however, was a book. He'd picked it up earlier, and, lacking a place to put it, had opted to carry it instead. He'd simply forgotten it was there. And, as he'd fell, it had fallen open with his hand on it; its pages opening not to words, but to somewhere else...

Re: The Battle Royale S2 [Round 2: Prospect Creek]
Originally posted on MSPA by Nodge.

Swhales stumbled slowly to a halt. He'd been running at a respectable pace away from Wardell and the former Photographer, judiciously picking a weaving path in the opposite direction to which Sirius had flown. He took a moment to look around, then ducked through a shuttered wooden door and stumbled into the dessicated remains of what was once either a kitchen or the place where a lot of incredibly elderly jars of pickle had come to die.

Breathing in out in a quiet, gutteral laugh, he collapsed into a worn chair to consider the hand fate had dealt him.

Sirius had set him to look for Jeremy, something Tim had no interest in doing. Jeremy was not particularly threatening, and anybody who could travel through locked doors anywhere in the world almost had to be a thief. In Timothy's hastily written moral code you did not hunt your own, if only because they were smart enough to keep their valuables well-hidden. Besides, Tim still harboured some hope in a dirty little corner of the organ he passed off as a heart that he might be able to get out of this mess, and killing the escape artist seemed like the wrong way of going about it. Sirius had suggested - no, ordered that they leave here by killing someone as they had been instructed. Chewing away in the back of his mind had been the idea that eventually Sirius would simply kill all of them (including, and this was important, him) and leave. It wouldn't be inhuman of him to slaughter those around him, because he was not in fact entirely human.

Tim shook himself, realising he had begun to stare absently in to space. Sighing, he rose gently to his feet. He had already made up his mind, he realised. Before starting this introspective daydreaming, before even setting foot in the kitchen; he needed to kill Sirius. The problem was that Sirius, to put it mildly, could kill him stone dead by sneezing on him. With no chance in a fair fight and no opportunity to backstab a man who could fly, this meant dealing with the damned Gods again in the probably futile hope that they would do something more useful than for instance, paint the whole town green and make it rain cheese on toast.

He quietly piled up everything he could find; the books he'd got from Wardell (he'd never figured out what a Spekies was anyway), the loose change he'd had hidden in his sock, some of the unknowable meat from the Factory that had clung tenaciously to his bootlace, the jars, table and chairs scattered in the room and with a flourish, Sirius' somewhat grubby stolen eyeball.

"Alright then," he muttered to the empty air. "that should get their attention."
In the dubious privacy of his own head, he was aware that this might not be true; Mug Ruith for instance only accepted sacrifices with wheels in them, whereas the Dagda had made it clear early on that it would only accept Timothy's broken teeth as sacrifices; Molars for preference but Incisors if they're all he had on him. Still, it was a pretty good hoard. He fixed the solitary eyeball with a solid stare, placed his hand to his collar, and waited for the rush of voices that usually signalled the arrival of his Pantheon.


After a few moments he began to feel somewhat foolish, stood in a dilapidated kitchen staring at an accusing eyeball with his hand around his own neck and listening to the silence. As he pondered what he would do if they did not respond, he realised that the eyeball was drifting towards the ground. Looking downwards, it became clear that the source of this magic trick was, somehow disappointingly, magic. The hoard had begun to dissolve, turning at first a golden yellow before blackening to burnt ashes and vanishing into the woodwork. On the edge of hearing Tim heard words whispered, muttered orders in a tantalisingly familiar voice;

"breathe the gas."

"Pardon, Oh Mighty One?" responded Swhales, feeling a little uneasy at the tone of the command.

"breathethegasBreatheTheGasBREATHETHEGAS!" Came the increasingly strident order and before he knew it, Tim was lying with his face to the floor, huffing at the eggy floorboards with all his might and nursing the biggest headache of his entire adult life. Several uncontrollable lungfulls later, there came a sigh that no earthly lungfulls could produce; his head burning fiercly and the myriad voices of his god strangely absent, Tim started to cough, rocking backward from the force as the air began to thicken, the room spin and his eyes stream...

And then he stopped. He stopped, because there was no choice. He stopped, because suddenly he realized who that voice had belonged to all along. He stopped above all because he was staring up, mouth agape as a form that previously had taken up several stories poured itself through an abyssl void to fit comfortably into a kitchen that would have been crowded out by an overweight gerbil.

A Door had been found, left unlocked by The Composer simply because she was not aware it existed. It had been difficult to win past the maddened Celtic Gods guarding it, oh yes, and a price would undoubtedly have to be paid; it would not be cheap. Now though, as it loomed through dimensions that had no right to exist over the man in the tiny, fetid little kitchen he had hidden in, The Eccentric did not care.

It would have Revenge. And Bolivian fire ants. And cake.
Re: The Battle Royale S2 [Round 2: Prospect Creek]
Originally posted on MSPA by Dragon Fogel.

Welcome back to the game, Nodge! That post of yours was worth the wait.

And in related news, reserved.
Re: The Battle Royale S2 [Round 2: Prospect Creek]
Originally posted on MSPA by Dragon Fogel.

Sirius wished he could fly high enough to get past the clouds nonsensically dropping fish everywhere. As it stood, however, he had little choice but to suffer the stench.

He was also slightly concerned that Geoff might see his flight and take the time to snipe him, but more for the annoyance than anything else; the Hattallan would surely notice the oddities and could probably be convinced to help in ending them, although he might oppose Sirius' solution.

The angel continued sweeping the area. He hoped the problem wouldn't get worse before he found Jeremy.


The whale had swallowed a skinny man in a dirty trenchcoat with a snake around his shoulders. The Photographer thought he seemed familiar somehow. The man kept yelling at the snake to shut up, then he held up a fan in front of his face and stared at it intently.

Suddenly, the whale started to shake! The Photographer wondered if there was a tidal wave. Then he wondered what color it was. Green, maybe.


Geoff blinked. He was sure there hadn't been a giant wave of green paint heading towards him a minute ago.

The myna gas didn't cause hallucinations for his people, so logically the fish falling out of the sky and the wave of paint were really there. The fish had certainly felt real when it had hit him on the head earlier. However, solving this mystery would be much easier if Geoff could find some shelter. He ran for the nearest building and slammed the door behind him.

Then he heard the shouting from a nearby room. It was Timothy Swhales' voice.

"Wh-what do you want from me? Please don't hurt me! I don't know why she took over your battle!"

Geoff's curiosity got the better of him, and he ran towards the kitchen to investigate.


Sirius groaned as he narrowly dodged a falling fish. There was no sign of Jeremy in the air. He was either in one of the buildings, or he had wandered into the wasteland around the town.

The latter thought gave Sirius pause. On the plus side, Jeremy would likely die of starvation or dehydration in a few days. The downside was dealing with the Photographer's imagination until then. It was an unpleasant thought.

Then the angel had an idea. He didn't need to eat or drink. He could fly out into the desert, and simply wait the battle out. Eventually the Photographer would destroy someone in a very stupid manner that Sirius did not want to know about at all, or one of them would starve. As long as the Photographer's insanity didn't go that far out, it would be perfectly safe. Of course, if the Photographer was still affected by the gas when they reahced the next arena... well, that would be problematic.

The risk paled in comparison to being constantly bombarded by fish from the sky, however. Sirius began flying out towards the desert, leaving the others to their fate.


In the dome, Wardell had been struck by a realization.

Whatever crazy things were going on out there, he didn't have to deal with them. He could just sit down, and read. All he had to do was ignore the scarf and the Photographer crowding him out. And the occasional thing conjured inside the dome. That wasn't so bad, really. He reached out for a book.

"Say, aren't you hungry?" his scarf asked as he did. Wardell ignored it. Even though he did have a slight craving for cheese on toast.


"Cheese on toast?" the Photographer said, after the man had picked up a new fan to stare at and gruffly given his reply. "Why, there must be plenty of it outside! I just hope the tidal wave doesn't ruin it all."

The man said nothing, and stared at his fan for a while. For some reason, he didn't unfold it. Maybe he felt uncomfortable.


"At least it's not fish," Sirius sighed, as the piece of toast falling from the sky struck him in the head. Leaving the town was definitely looking like the best solution.

As he flew over the desert, the rain finally stopped. He must have made it out of the Photographer's range, thankfully.

A few minutes later, he groaned as he saw what was very clearly a human passed out in the middle of the desert. And he was fairly sure he knew which human it was.

After some deliberation, Sirius decided that the Photographer's capacity for generating nonsense was much greater than Jeremy's. As opportune a moment as it would be to eliminate the door mage, there was a greater nuisance to be dealt with first. The angel landed nearby and approached the unconscious figure.


Wardell wasn't sure why he couldn't open the book. He'd opened lots of books. Why was this one sticking?

He looked back to his pile, only to find that the top book was still open.

And there was a hand sticking out of it.

He screamed, and turned to run, even though he was trapped in the dome.


"What's wrong?" the Photographer asked the trenchcoat man. "Why are you afraid? Is there a monster?"

The Photographer was suddenly afraid. Very afraid. He wasn't sure if he'd ever been this afraid before.

"That... that monster..."


Wardell soon calmed himself down enough to decide not to look back at that book that definitely didn't have a hand coming out of the page. It was in vain, he soon discovered. He hadn't realized how his screaming had been perceived in the dream world, how anxious it had made the Photographer.

Nor had he been aware that the strange being had "inherited" something from Sereno. No one had known of the subconscious transfer, not even the Photographer himself. But now it was here, and it was upset.

Wardell found himself face-to-face with Umbra, in a space that could barely hold the two of them. He knew this wouldn't end well.

"Um... hey there!" he said nervously to the dream-being, in a desperate attempt to placate it. "Read any good books lately?"

Re: The Battle Royale S2 [Round 2: Prospect Creek]
Originally posted on MSPA by slipsicle.

Bump and sort-of-notice: Nodge has asked to usurp my (now deleted) reserve, and I've said "sure", so... consider this... his reserve...? I guess?
Re: The Battle Royale S2 [Round 2: Prospect Creek]
Originally posted on MSPA by Nodge.

Re: The Battle Royale S2 [Round 2: Prospect Creek]
Originally posted on MSPA by Nodge.

The Eccentric glared down, forming amorphous limbs and destroying them in a constant cycle of regrowth, muttering to himself and looking vacantly into the middle distance with (currently) seventeen eyes. The Gods that had held the Door to Swhales's mind now chittered madly within his; annoying, but for a being that had once spent two millenia as a small plastic tea tray orbiting a dying star it barely even ranked as a distraction. They were too weak to interfere now.
No, the greater problems lay ahead. The Eccentric had only managed to extend a bubble of his conciousness into The Composers' little realm through the Door. The Eccentrics attempts to haul more of it's corpulent four dimensional torso through into this reality had met with absolute failure. Running through millions of potential possibilities in a single moment, The Eccentric came to two major conclusions.
The First; that The Torques' ability to grant access to the physical world was limited sharply by the faith of the user. Swhales appeared to be a bloody useless High Priest at the best of times; without the paltry sacrifices and the hallucinagenic gas, The Eccentric would not have been able to manifest at all. He doubted that most people would even be able to see him. Awkward.
The Second was that crayfish are incredibly stupid and would be first into the centrifuge when he lead the sealife revolution.

That could wait, though. The little pink Welsh monkey was burbling something. He slapped it about a bit until it shut up, and then gave it some very specific instructions. Time was short, smelled funny and could not be wasted. Someone needed to be sacrificed soon, and it seemed Swhales already had someone in mind...
Problem is, he didn't stand a chance. As in, none whatsoever. Dead, gone, climbed the curtains, met his maker, been fitted for his final suit, toast. Funny though it could prove to be, The Eccentric couldn't allow his link to be severed yet. Time to start cheating wildly.

Geoff paused before he entered the kitchen. He was by custom and practice a cautious Hattalian; he would not have survived long in his career were he not and had no desire to meet Kol yet. He pushed back the encroaching brim of his toque, checked his crossbow and from a croached position firmly shoved the door wide open to look in upon a scene of abject oddity.
The gas in this room was so dense that it had gathered and rolled on the floorboards in thick, yellowed swirls. His hand went to his face, plastering his collar over his mouth. Near the back door of the tiny room knelt Swhales, mouth agape and eyes watering. The detective slowly followed his line of sight and on the floor, atop a small mound of ashes lay an extremely dishevilled eyeball.
He opened his mouth to speak to the man, not entirely sure of what to say to this bizarre fresco, when several things happened at once. So strange and sudden were these occurrences that Geoff was forced to recount them to himself moment by moment to make sense of them (convenient for a casual observer, no?).

The first thing he remembered happening was the eyeball rising rapidly into the air before coming to a dead stop a short way from the ceiling. There, it revolved so that the eyeball faced Tim, who appeared to be locked in a staring contest with it. Then, there was a deep gurgling as if someone had flattened out and deflated the Universes most potent pan-galactic rubber duck, and the north wall of the building erupted, replaced with a view to a toast and green-paint spattered landscape, dotted with the remains of the ruined town and chunks of smoldering wall. Geoff would probably have been more impressed at this were he not distracted by the eyeball he had been monitoring exploding forward and slamming Tim into the wall behind him. A bright flash was followed by a change in appearance for the mildly concussed Shwales, who was suddenly wearing a hideous long red shirt in place of his elderly jacket. Later inspection by Tim would reveal a small tag labeled 'Fruit of the Netherloom - for when only the Worst will do' under which was written the words 'Angelic resist +5. Do not handwash'.

Tim came to, sharply. The Eccentric was everywhere in his mind, but he at least was back in charge of his own body. He spotted Geoff, swinging his crossbow professionally but nervously between the vanished wall and Tim, and rose to his feet with his hands in clear view. He narrowed his eyes briefly; he didn't know much about Geoff besides his job, and he and detectives normally didn't get along well. Still, he hadn't shot him when he'd been dribbling in the corner, so that at least deserved a warning.

"Hello, uh, the floors' about to get a bit unstable." Tim smiled, trying to look disarming and not at all a great target for an infinite number of crossbow bolts.

Geoff managed to get to about the end of the double-you in 'what' before the flooboards rose up, shattered by interlocking shoulder joints. He found himself straddling a large, hair-studded carapace that had risen out of the ground directly below him. About a dozen had exploded through the floor of the building in their meteoric growth and now Swhales sat mounted on the one at the little groups' head. Geoff settled for shouting surprised, furious curse words as the creatures shuffled out of the building and started scrabbling at a respectable pace towards the open desert.

"What are these things!?!" roared Geoff, waving angrily at the increasingly deranged-looking Swhales.

"Apparantly, they're giant fire-ants, from somewhere called Bolivia." Tim cleared his throat, "Listen, it's all gotten a bit strange to be honest. What it boils down to is that I've got to go pick a fight with Sirius. Want to come?"

Geoff sighed, the urge to throttle the gangly weirdo subsiding a little. What a mess this all was. He was starting to feel extremely jaded by this entire event.
"Two conditions," He held up a finger "One, you answer my questions and two," -another finger- "I get a more comfortable giant ant. This one's full of rocks."

Re: The Battle Royale S2 [Round 2: Prospect Creek]
Originally posted on MSPA by Pinary.

The ants were apparently too intent on their goals to allow Geoff to switch from one to the other, so all he could do was get rid of what rocks he could and live with the rest. They moved faster than he would've expected, and by the time he was done, they'd already passed the last of the buildings and moved out into open desert. A gust of wind peppered his face with sand, and he retied the rag below his appropriated goggles. He imagined he probably looked rather strange. But then, he mused, it's not like strange is unusual at this point.

As if to emphasize that fact, the herd of ants reached the top of a dune and began their descent, slipping and skidding down the slope with next to no control. This didn't seem to phase them, either. They just kept on going, intent on reaching their goal.

After a bit longer, Geoff decided he wanted at least some semblance of control. Experimentally, he reached out for one of the ant's antennae, giving it a gentle tug. Either due to simple nature or, more likely, the interference of whatever being had caused these particular absurdities, the ant responded as he'd hoped, turning slightly in the direction he'd pulled. Taking a more firm grasp, he gave them a flick, urging the ant forward. Obediently, it picked up speed, bringing the Hattallan closer to the front of the herd.

Timothy was a bit distracted, what with the insane pseudogod nattering away in his head, and he didn't quite register Geoff's shouts at first.

"What, sorry?"

"I said, 'it's time for some answers!'" The Hattallan might have been annoyed, but behind the goggles and rag, Tim couldn't really tell.

"Alright," he responded uncertainly, raising his voice a bit in order to be heard, "what do you want to know?"

"Well, for one thing... What in Kol's name is going on?!"

"Ah, well, it's like this. You remember the Eccentric?"

"Yeah..." Geoff already didn't like where the explanation was headed.

"He kinda.... came to me, through this thing-" he gestured at his torc- "and now he wants me to help him get revenge."

Geoff had to pause for a moment as the ants crested another dune before be could respond. "Revenge? What, against the Composer?"

"Uh, yeah! She's got him really riled up, and now he needs me to sacrifice the angel so that he can manifest... or something. He's not exactly spelling things out for me here, okay?"

"Alright, sure, okay. So, just to be clear, he wants you to fight Sirius... with ants?! Does he not remember the part where he can fly?! It hardly seems that we stand any more of a chance riding these things!"

flying FLYING flying The Eccentric chattered away in Tim's head, only vaguely making any sort of sense. He can fly they can fly FLYING birds

Sliding down another mound of sand, Tim had a chance to think. "I'm, uh... I'm not sure what he thinks," Tim replied after a moment. "As I said, he's not exactly making himself clear."

"So do you have a plan, then? How are you going to keep yourself from being blasted into oblivion?"

"I really haven't had much of a chance to think about it! I mean, I've been busy having an insane... thing blabbering away in my head, and it's been a bit distracting!"

"Alright, fine, but that doesn't mean oh you have got to be kidding me."


Sirius, crouching down to examine Jeremy's prone form, saw movement out of the corner of his eye and turned to look. It took him a moment to process what he saw.

The ants, rather than sliding down the next dune, had simply kept going up, becoming airborne at the dune's peak and just flying through the air. They had no wings to speak of, but somehow, they were flying.

In Tim's mind, the Eccentric giggled madly. flying FLYING flying
Re: The Battle Royale S2 [Round 2: Prospect Creek]
Originally posted on MSPA by Schazer.

adverse circumstances have prompted a reserve. Please hold.
Re: The Battle Royale S2 [Round 2: Prospect Creek]
Originally posted on MSPA by Schazer.

"Hmph. That Eccentric is tenacious, I'll grant it that much."

The wildly flaying assaults on her pocket dimension had stopped a while ago, and the airborne and rather distressed Welshman seemed like the best explanation for the ceasefire. Its presence throttled by a torque's constraints or no, the madgod's influence was still visibly twisting the already (subjectively) warped reality.

The Composer sighed, and watched Sirius for a while instead. Unlike most other unfortunates that ended up being her charges, the goddess felt at least a shred of empathy for this one. Sure, there was a point when a no-nonsense attitude became something pathological, and that empathy wasn't nearly enough to entertain the thought of liberating the angel from his conscription, but... it was enough to hope he'd win. The Observer, disgrace he was, hadn't specifically rallied the Grandmasters to make his own All-Stars official, but she assumed that was his plan. Traipsing blissfully along in the Director's footsteps, as if he were a model Grandmaster!

Her respect for the mist-wreathed, misguided man notwithstanding, like many others, the Composer considered it a mere formality that the Director had to die. The Grandmaster was a laughing stock, and if the seven horrors the other Grandmasters were assembling to disassemble his vacuum cleaner (what kind of self-respecting Grandmaster would consciously choose that as his champion, anyway?) didn't take a sizeable chunk of him as well - well, that'd just be a disappointment.

If the Observer could put in a real effort, just this once, to outdo the Director on this point alone, with or without the Composer's meddling, the goddess conceded with a smirk that she'd forgive the cyclopian. Just this once.

And while the Composer mused and schemed and loathed, Jeremy had encountered an apparition that warranted not being a pathetic drunken dehydrated wreck. He dropped the book and scrabbled to his feet, or at least was pretty sure he did. The prickle of desert grains was still on the door-mage's hands, on his face; leaving abrasive doubt, but the rictus of anger that was Sereno's face was pretty convincing.

The reappearance and intactness of Jeremy's victim wasn't distressingly improbable enough, so Umbra burst from the sand with its feral shriek, clutching a rusted old rail spike. The real man's pleas failed to elicit any mercy from the hallucinatory one. If anything, Jeremy's begging just made Sereno smirk wider as the shadow plunged the rail spike into the door-mage's stomach, only stopping its furious clawing of his face as its master approached the wounded man.

Jeremy couldn't quite catch what Sereno said, over Umbra's howls and the pounding in his own ears. He certainly caught the faceful of sand, however, followed by the mouthful of Sereno's well-aimed boot to the teeth. He fell sprawled on the sand, severed muscles vividly protesting against his efforts to try and stand, or even curl up to ward off the worst of the blows raining on him...

The doormage could taste blood when his eyes snapped open. Rusty, dry blood and grit; but no stab wounds, and no vengeful ghosts.

Re: The Battle Royale S2 [Round 2: Prospect Creek]
Originally posted on MSPA by Nodge.

Reserved for my own horrifying schemes.
Re: The Battle Royale S2 [Round 2: Prospect Creek]
Originally posted on MSPA by slipsicle.

Sirius let out a grunt of disgust. Flying ants. The effort of considering the ridiculousness of the sight before him was simply too taxing; everything was ridiculous, and it would only get worse. He spread his wings, and flew to meet the army of flying ants.


Jeremy tried to groan, only to be rewarded with a dry coughing fit. He rolled over onto his stomach and struggled to push himself to his knees. As he pushed against the ground, however, he found one of his hands met no resistance, and fell back onto his stomach. He squinted blearily at the offending hand, and found that it was falling into... a book?

Jeremy's starved, dehydrated, feverish, and still thoroughly intoxicated mind took some time to make sense of this oddity. He lay there, waggling fingers he couldn't see, occasionally feeling... well he wasn't exactly sure what he was feeling on the other side of that book. Finally it clicked. Somehow, in opening the book, he'd formed a link to... somewhere else. The hand wasn't doing him any good in figuring out where, so he resolved to stick some better-equipped sensory organs through. Mainly, his face.

He dragged the book over to his head, still too drained to get off the ground. With great effort, he raised his head and positioned the book underneath, then plopped his face down and through the lin

Jeremy is falling. Sleremy is a rainbow! Joobooby is Vandrel Reinhardt, and he is in a battle similar to yours. Flimery floats through words which glisten as he tastes them.
Yardermy a-minor's his head to the b-flat, and_.______________.___rv___________________.te______________________he
Yardermy a-minor's his head to the b-flat, and__.___________.___.u__.y_________________h__.l___________________.t__.m
Yardermy a-minor's his head to the b-flat, and
Yardermy a-minor's his head to the b-flat, and_._.
Yardermy a-minor's his head to the b-flat, and__.__.
Yardermy a-minor's his head to the b-flat, and___.____
tens______.___________ds w___________________m to s____________________.

Triremery opens his mouth and smells come out. "
Wwwwwooooo"ooooowwwatching the letters swirl around him, Gerrumpery giggles at the blue w's which crawl across his skin and if you are hearing this, then you, too are screaming through a tunnel of sound.

Hopermermy feels a <font color="#74ffff">red
noise approaching, and can hear
his movement
as the end of the
tunnel grows in volume

Wardell stared at Umbra. Umbra stared at Wardell. Wardell's scarf stared at the Photographer. Jeremy's face erupted through the book with a decidedly weak "Fuck." Umbra, being Umbra, predictably did Umbra-things. Mainly, open its mouth and emit its rushing-wind scream and then try to kill everything. Jeremy was still trying to process what he was pretty sure was a mental breakdown when a figure quite literally from his nightmares descended upon the wonderful target of his immobile face. Jeremy screamed. Umbra screamed. Wardell's scarf screamed. The Photographer screamed and the glass dome shattered. The dusty ground turned into a pancake and the sky rained maple syrup and hot butter. A syrup wave caught the book housing Jeremy's face just before Umbra could do any real damage and carried it away. Jeremy drew another breath to continue screaming and inhaled sticky sugary goodness. His body spasmed, and involuntarily jerked his head out of the book. There was a moment of pancakey craziness and then he was back in the middle of nowhere with a book bleeding maple syrup.

His heart was pounding, his head was throbbing, he was hacking up sticky brown liquid and he was probably only about an hour away from dying due to exposure, but at least he felt awake, finally. Adrenaline buzzed through his limbs as he closed the book, picked it up and shakily got to his feet. He looked around. Of the annoying little raccoon which had led him out here there was no sign. Jeremy wavered slightly and brought a hand to his face to try and rub the drunk out of his eyes. It didn't work.

"Jeff," he muttered to himself. "Gotta... find Geoff. H'llno whattado." A flash from somewhere above him nearly startled him back onto the ground, and the rumbling shockwave of an explosion which followed sent him flailing onto his rear. He looked up to see an army of giant flying ants doing battle with the perpetually-angry angel. Jeremy's vision was suffering from the multiple toxins flowing through his dehydrated, nutrition-deprived system, but he was fairly certain that he could make out five or four or three or two figures on the ants. And at least three of them looked like Geoff. Or maybe it was five. Or none. Or one. He wasn't sure.

Still, it was enough for him. Jeremy fell backwards, flat on his back, and began drunkenly spasming his arms and legs in hopes it would be noticeable. He also started yelling for good measure.



Geoff was clinging on for dear life to the fire-ant's antennae, and he was pretty sure it didn't like him much. He pressed himself against the ant's body to lower his center of gravity, and in doing so he got a good look at the ground, and at a figure making a terrible dust-angel. He was fairly certain he knew who it was.

When Jeremy's drunken wail reached his ears, Geoff decided he'd had enough of this flying-fire-ants-versus-angry-angel dogfight and punched his ant in the head a few times until it got the message and began a much-too-fast descent towards the ground. Above them, Sirius was slaughtering ant after ant, though for all the masses which were dying he didn't seem to be making much of a dent. And every minute, they were getting closer and closer.

Geoff tumbled off his ant as it rather clumsily landed. It immediately took off once more, bearing straight for Sirius. Jeremy had stumbled to his feet moments prior and fell, more than walked, towards Geoff.

"GEOFF. We hafta find th' curvy wordsh!"

"... what?"

"TH'CURVY WORDSH, MAN. They tashted like... like beezz and they shaid... they said to seek'em out and uhhh... I deshided you should help. Yeah." Jeremy swayed uncertainly as he waited for Geoff's response.

"Uh. Jeremy, I think you've been hallucinating."

"NO MAN, THEY SHAID," Jeremy gesticulated so hard he nearly lost his balance,"whooaa, uhh, the curvy wordsh shaid... uh... Vannel... Vendel... Vendrull Reynhard... theresh people inna doors, man! Some guy, Vandal Rennhert or... shomthin'. Alsho yur r'ly cute." Jeremy smiled, bent over, threw up, wiped his mouth with his sleeve, straightened, and continued smiling.

Geoff looked at the barely-standing drunken youth pityingly.

"... right. Look, Jeremy, why don't you tell me all about it while we walk back to town, ok? You look like you could use some... everything."

"Yuh. Yeah. 'K."

Geoff put a hand on Jeremy's shoulder, and the drunk leaned into the Hattalan's shoulder. Slowly, the pair made their way in the direction of the town, while the Bolivian-fire-ant air battle raged on above them.

Re: The Battle Royale S2 [Round 2: Prospect Creek]
Originally posted on MSPA by Dragon Fogel.

Reserved! Because it's been far too long since I made a Sirius post.
Re: The Battle Royale S2 [Round 2: Prospect Creek]
Originally posted on MSPA by Dragon Fogel.

Sirius had a mental list of absurd things that he found particularly unbearable. He was moving "Giant Flying Ants" up the list rapidly.

What bothered him the most was that Swales seemed to be commanding them. The Photographer's conjurations were bothersome, but they weren't actively hostile. The ant swarm was, and under the control of one of his opponents.

How had it happened? Perhaps Swales had some insect god in that mental pantheon of his, enabling him to take control of a swarm the Photographer had summoned? It seemed the most likely explanation.

Whatever the explanation, Swales was evidently responsible for this current absurdity. Killing him would stop it, if only by persuading the Composer to send them somewhere else; he had a feeling that she wouldn't be particularly inclined to bring the ants along. Unfortunately, there were too many ants; Sirius had been tearing off the heads of the ones that got close (and was somewhat relieved that they didn't bleed chocolate or something absurd like that when he did), and firing Angel Spheres when he had the opportunity, but it wasn't even making a dent in the swarm.

He did have a powerful wind spell at his disposal. But it would take his full concentration to prepare it. He'd have to put some distance between the ants and himself first.

And he had the means to do that. He just didn't like it.

"Ignition," he groaned. The flames flared up around him. The ants that drew near him were set ablaze.

Disturbingly, their charred corpses remained in the air. Whatever was keeping them airborne didn't get burned away, it seemed.

But for once, absurdity worked in the angel's favor. He couldn't prepare another spell while the flames burned, but the charred ant corpses soon surrounded him, as the ants foolishly tried to attack him through the flames - there were enough of them that Swales didn't need to order them to pull back, assuming he could even do that.

And that meant that the other ants couldn't get past him. Their exoskeletons, even burned, proved too hard for the stingers and mandibles to pierce. Behind his crude shield, Sirius began to concentrate.

Timothy was concerned. The ants had started piling on Sirius, even though he was on fire, and they hadn't stopped. And now there were a lot of dead ants keeping the rest from getting close. Sirius was the last person he'd expect to willingly surround himself with giant dead ants; that suggested the angel was plotting something, and Tim would have to find a way to deal with it.

Lacking other ideas, he offered a prayer to his new god. He was fairly sure he'd regret it.

You want me to do something about those dead ants? Certainly! But first, there must be cake!

Before Tim could request clarification, an enormous pink cake materialized in the air above Sirius. The simpleminded ants started flying towards the sweet confection.

Then, suddenly, it started to fall down.

Tim laughed despite himself. Sirius was going to be crushed to death by a cake!

His laughter was interrupted by Sirius' words. Or rather, the blast of wind that accompanied them.

"Holy Gale!"

The winds scattered the ant army, blew the cake apart and flung bits of it back towards Prospect Creek, and nearly blew Timothy off his mount. As it was, he held on tightly enough to still be riding it when a stray ant leg hit him in the face.

When the storm died down, the ants were confused, including Timothy's ride. Some had lost legs to the sudden blast, or were following stray bits of cake.

The ant corpses had been blown away as well. Only Sirius had been unaffected, and he was taking advantage of the confusion in the ranks to fly straight towards Timothy.

Re: The Battle Royale S2 [Round 2: Prospect Creek]
Originally posted on MSPA by MalkyTop.

Umbra didn’t exactly seem very happy when a perfectly rendable face managed to escape, nor did it seem particularly pleased about getting drenched in maple syrup. It expressed all this with a rather predictable scream, which caused the Photographer to tense on the ground. It turned back towards where that other fleshbag was, but found that he had taken advantage of the fact that the dome had disappeared, and had indeed been taking advantage of this fact for some time now. This displeased the shadowy thing even more and it screamed again. It stepped forward, and then its foot sank in the drenched pancake floor. In fact, its everything was starting to sink in the drenched pancake floor.

Wardell had made some surprisingly fast progress over the past few minutes, but now it was getting extremely hard to move around. Not to mention this copy of A Brief History of Nearly Everything, the illustrated version, was quite possibly forever stuck to his hands, which was unfortunate because, although it made a competent umbrella, it certainly was heavy and not something he would like to have to hold forever.

The air was saturated with sickly sweet syrup and every other breath was a cough, which didn’t help much because then he had to gulp down more sugary air. The butter wasn’t that much better. He had sunk all the way down to his waist and would have sunk even more if the syrup had seeped down that far yet.

So okay, this was pretty bad, but hey, it could turn out alright. If he managed to wade right out of this pancake debacle, in any case. He could see the edge of the pancake right now. And then he’ll climb out of the pancake, much like climbing out of a pool. A pool of syrup that has already dried and was really making him feel like a piece of hard candy.

Behind him, he heard the unmistakable screech of Sereno, who appeared to have gotten used to its pancake surroundings and was, in fact, burrowing through it. Or maybe swimming through it. Must be easy when you don’t have a respiratory system.

Wardell glanced over his shoulder and oh man that thing’s quick and wait a minute, was it actually possible to swim through a pancake. “Hey, um, scarf…thing. I really, really need you to grab the edge of that pancake there and pull me over, that’d be nice, especially before this killer shadow thing comes and tears me to pieces okay.”

“Burble,” the scarf burbled. It appeared that so much syrup had rained down upon it that it was having a hard time being flexible.

“Oh great, oh great, I am going to die, and then I am going to die in a giant pancake, I am going to die in a giant pancake with A Short History of Nearly Everything in my hands, I am going to die talking to a scarf.

“Burble,” the scarf burbled consolingly.

“Shut uuuuuuuuuup,” Wardell breathed out before Sereno caught up, grabbed his leg, and pulled him under.


The knife wasn’t particularly pleased about slowly sinking into a pancake wasteland nor did he understand much about what was actually going on. After all, as a knife, he really was just built for knifing things and anything else was sort of something extra. But he did understand that the Dream not appearing was a bad thing, possibly a Bad Thing and on the verge of being a Really Bad Thing. The appearance of that screaming shadow thing was all the way at the top of the sliding scale of bad thinginess, making it a Terribly Horrific Bad Thing. He had no idea what to do. The camera was the more sensible of the two. She just was. And now even in the Photographer’s dreams, she wasn’t fixed?

Something strange went on with him earlier, starting with him not responding at all to anything the knife said (which, at the time, was mostly ‘what the hell are you doing are you an idiot I can’t believe you’re saying this’). But, well, he was unconscious now. Maybe…his subconscious would be more willing to listen?

How did a knife ever get ahold of a word like ‘subconscious?’

Right now, the photographer was just shivering, which was a sure sign of a developing nightmare. But things were still being quite surreal around here, so maybe he could ease him out of it.

Hey. Heeeeeey. Hey, photographer. Dunno if you can hear me. But, uh. Hm. I’m not sure how to go about this…

And in the meantime, the Photographer was busy fending off the shadowy pancake demon lord with a cheese stick but oh man this was failing horribly, he should have brought some sugar. The syrup trap he was stuck in was just like glue and the magical chicken was having its life-force drained and gosh it was all his fault

It’s gonna be alright.

That came out of nowhere. Why did he just think that?

But suddenly, it did look like it would be alright. Because you have friends, Photographer, I hope you haven’t forgotten.

He always pulled through in the end and this pancake demon monster lord thing wasn’t going to beat him now.

Because I’m the photographer and I AM OKAY.


He had to admit, A Short History of Nearly Everything made a pretty good bludgeoning weapon. It was too bad Sereno refused to let go. He was pretty sure he couldn’t hold his breath much longer.

Suddenly, something made Sereno screech and whirl around, leaving Wardell free to kick himself away and give the shadowy thing a farewell smack. As the bookworm frantically flailed about to get to the edge of the pancake once more, he couldn’t help but notice the words ‘The Dream Has Joined the Party’ appearing briefly nearby before turning into butter.

The Dream had apparently joined the party.