The Wretched Rite - Round Three - DSRS Darwin

The Wretched Rite - Round Three - DSRS Darwin
Re: The Wretched Rite - Sign up today!
Originally posted on MSPA by MalkyTop.

bobthepen Wrote:MalkyTop has got the jump on all of you with a fantastic example of a character profile which she PM'ed to me (PM's are the best M's):

Malky Top Wrote:Username: MalkyTop

Name: Tinder Zebulon Pleasant (He has been trying to dump that name for a long time.)

Gender: Mah-mah-mah-male

Color: This is the color of time.

Race: Human, though he once dreamt he was a chicken if that counts for something.


She just needs a quick question to round it all out!
And here is my question:

Timber would stand, close his eyes and share a secret smile before finally asking, "Will you interfere with what I'm gonna do?"
Re: The Wretched Rite - Sign up today!
Originally posted on MSPA by Agent1022.

Username: Agent1022

Name: Charlie

Gender: Male

Race: Human, but at the same time multiversal constant. Destined to wander across realities and universes, leading to his title: The Eternal Wanderer.

Color: #693993

Weapons/Abilities: Physically, Charlie isn’t a particularly strong or smart person. But what he is is adaptable, and a survivor. He has many many lifetimes’ worth of not dying and he doesn’t plan on starting now: at one point in his journeys he wandered into the realm of an evil overlord and forced to compete in a series of kill-or-be-killed war games, covering an entire planet.

He won.

And then he escaped on a rocket ship towed by his modified bus/truck/everything.

Which brings us to the büjs. At some point it was an old rusty red truck, but since then his wanderings have adapted it to its purpose. Over its lifetime it has been nearly any motorized vehicle imaginable, thanks to Charlie’s tinkerings and adaptation, often taking on roles bordering on the narratively convenient rather than the realistic. That was, of course, in situations with massive resources on hand, so don’t expect miracles this time. The büjs has been described in legend as an ever-changing fount of potentiality and adaptation: In essence, the symbol of Charlie himself. Similarly, it is usually the büjs that takes Charlie to a new place to wander.

When Charlie was taken along with the büjs, it was in the form of a red convertible pickup truck lightly modified for travelling in the snows of a theocratic Siberian States. In the back seat and the bed are various items, among them several plastic canisters of kerosene, a box of maps, some changes of clothes and two sawn-off shotguns. The rest of them are just odds and ends, little bits and pieces left over from mechanical hobbying and metalwork.

Charlie does not like killing people or other sentient beings, but if they post a clear and present danger serious enough, there is a lot of exceedingly efficient and lethal talent in that man. Add that to the fact that whatever is thrown at him he’s likely to have seen similar situations before, and you have one surviving Wanderer.

Description: Charlie is a man whose origins are shrouded in mystery. He looks to be in his fifties, with his brown hair stranded with gray, his straggly beard salt-and-pepper. He has consistently looked to be in his fifties in every single sighting, stories spanning time, space and universes themselves. Legend has it that if he is not immortal, he is definitely very long-lived. It is said that for every role in the universe that can be filled, they are, and often arbitrarily by forces unknown. Charlie fills the role of the Eternal Wanderer, a being that is fated never to settle but instead to constantly move on randomly, blundering into histories and universes in a life that is, essentially, a cross section of everything there has ever been. Despite this and the immortal agelessness it endows, Charlie is still very much a human. He has his strengths and his flaws, primarily his adaptability and incredible stubbornness, respectively. As noted, he would very much prefer to avoid confrontation, and is particularly disapproving of people who seek it out. He speaks with something of a unique accent, with something predominantly Southern about it (lots of planets have a South!) – the only clue to his original existence. He generally wears brown since it makes him less noticeable: at the time of his taking he was wearing a brown woolen sweater over a garment that might once have been a white shirt, and some thick brown trousers.

Biography: In the center of the Holy Siberian States of the planet Earth, where there used to be a vast wilderness, there now stood cities and buildings. In the deep winter, however, these cities slumbered, their lights extinguished until spring warmed the wastes again. Here and there, dots of light flickered like glowing pinpricks in a vast white tablecloth of ice and snow.

In a small house on the edge of the city, smoke rose from the chimney and the merry flicker of a fireplace shone out the windows. Outside, tire tracks in the snow led behind the house, and the tracks of a slightly shuffing gait came from behind the house to the front door. Both sets of tracks were in the process of being obliterated by the falling flakes and blowing wind.

Inside, two old men sat at an old oak table in front of the fireplace and sipped Earl Grey tea from mismatched mugs. One wore a worn brown woolen sweater over a garment of indeterminable age, status and color, and a pair of equally worn brown thick trousers. The other wore a kind of off-white bathrobe. Though old, the two of them were old in very different ways. One of them had seen a large portion of the multiverse in his travels. The other had seen all the portions, and it was he who was speaking now.

“The Eternal Wanderer strode his way from time to time and place to place for millennia, always being in the right time and the right place to do the right thing. Many times it was to act. Many more times it was simply to watch.”

“Ah don’t think he woulda been in the right place and the right time ALL the time.”

“He was. No matter where or when he wandered, the world would need him. When he stepped from his Fount in the desert of the Dome, when he led the second charge at the Battle of the Somme, when he disembarked and built a ship in a floating sky-”

“But Mistah Prophet, he can’ have been welcomed everywhere. No way he was wanted no matter where he went.”

“Legends may dull your sight and memory, but my own remains clear. His presence was always required. When he-”

“He was always needed. If he was wanted for anythin’, it was for some questionin’.”

“…there was a time when he drove out of a landless sky and found a cold, bitter land. Perhaps then, he was not wanted.”

The brown-wearing man looked out of the window. Through the whirling blades of snow, the shape of a vehicle and the color of red was still visible.

“Ah know when ah’m not wanted, Mistah Prophet, an’ the büjs is gettin’ buried. Thanks for the tea.”

“Take care. And hold on to that kerosene, Charlie. You won’t be burning any Holy Government buildings today.”

“Ah hope you’re right, Mistah Prophet.”

“Please. Call me ‘The’.”

Charlie strode out of the Prophet’s house, and climbed into the büjs. He started the engine with a clutter and a sputter, and drove away through the snow.

And then büjs, wanderer, and about six cubic meters of snow disappeared.

“Ah crap.”

Question: “Ya know that lower back pain ya get after a coupla thousand years?

Re: The Wretched Rite - Sign up today!
Originally posted on MSPA by bobthepen.

Just a reminder: The deadline for entries is in about 12 hours. See you then!
Re: The Wretched Rite - Sign up today!
Originally posted on MSPA by Wojjan.

I ended up feeling really bad over entering Blaise with no backstory and no idea how to write him, so I'm entering another profile. Consider this an actual entry.

Username: Definitely not Wojjan

Name: Miyu Chikako, or Mimi Chicago in the western world. Once known as Shincho but some god took care of that.

Gender: Female

Race: Harionago. Demons that seduce young men, and tear out their guts by the spines on their hair.

Color: Does this exist?

True to her roots, Mimi has all the powers of a hard-working Harionago that entirely resents being one. She's got the looks that can basically seduce anyone even a little susceptive to feminine charms, and the smile of an angel that fell from heaven from being inherently evil and took up prostitution and killing. It's a smile that bares just the amount of teeth that it can mean anything from contempt to agreement and even “the look.”

She's got some poledancing experience she's rather ashamed of having (she was young and she needed cash, it's like that in the big city, okay?) and other than that she's a good kisser-of-death if that's even a thing.

But if you need a guy killed, she's also your lass. Her hair stretches about thrice her height, and she can control it limitlessly. It can perform any task with no matter how much precision. She could theoretically make her hair tie a ribbon in her hair, to give an example. Her hair is also reinforced at the ends with barbs, which secrete some kind of natural poison. It's complicated. It packs enough of a punch to utterly decimate any opponents, though, and combined with her limber hair makes for very efficient combat.


This is where Mimi deviates from the norm in her kind a bit. Not being dropped in traditional Japan, but in sleazy Los Angeles, Mimi doesn't wear a traditional kimono, but a rather baggy pair of pants and blouse, both tinted red and black. Maybe she's going jogging after the battle. She tops off her outfit with striped stockings, and adds glittery white kickers to the mix. You can't blame a thousand-year-old Japanese lady for trying to impress, but still her entire outfit seems a bit too much, and gives off a slutty, unkempt vibe. Unlike wrinkles from being infinitely old, it's hard to hide about five metres of hair. Still, Mimi manages to, by tying her black hair together in a ponytail.

She's a bitch. That's basically as in-depth her personality goes right now. She's been lied to, backstabbed, disgraced and her mood has hit an all-time low. She does have an excellent way to cope, which is inflicting all the misfortune she's been dealt to others.


Legend goes that among the many Sennin that come and pass – gods are no exception, for everything that is born has to die – there is always a delicate balance of good and evil, so as to leave the gods in the middle of disputes, with no obligation to act in any favor.

So you could say it was bad luck that brought Miyu down to what she is now.

It was supposed to be a simple plan. Nab some peaches for the two of them out of the holy garden, get granted immortality so they'd both get away scot-free. Tobosaku came up with the idea, but it required Shincho's full commitment.

But when Shincho approached the goddess of growth and spread out her hair to cover her vision, Seiobo got apprehensive. She knew that she was getting tricked, and immediately pushed her away.

As punishment for trying to deceive her, she passed judgement, and saw her fit as Sennin no more. Shincho was a name forgotten, she received the name Chikako. A girl of a thousand gleeful perfumes. She transformed Shincho into an evil, villainous creature, the Harionago. She was cast down to earth, forced to do naught but her last attempt. Seduce people, and bereave them of life.

Even now as the whistling wind rolls down the streets, and a charming woman smiles at you from under her umbrella, or the girl that danced your heart away last night meets you again and throws you a line, you would do best not to reply. For you never know when she introduces herself as Mimi Chicago.
quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur.
Re: The Women's Rights - Round 1: The Glass Ceiling!
Originally posted on MSPA by bobthepen.

The Contestants have been decided and the entrants are...

ALL THE WOMEN (and a gender-swapped Tinder)

Re: The Wretched Rite - Pre-Round
Originally posted on MSPA by bobthepen.

So after a lot of deliberation and consultation I've picked 8 contestants:

1. Mr Guy - Nempelio Poran kala-Sun - (#00C957)
2. Ixcaliber - Vera Hawthorne/Alice Mason - (Red/Blue on Lavender)
3. Pinary - Olivia Reindana - (#008000)
4. ch00_bakka - Fiorella Gucci - (#FF88FF)
5. Aryogaton - Malus mancinella - (Italic #118833)
6. Jacquerel - Alluvion - (Bold Royal Blue)
7. engineclock - Adelaide Margaret Sheats - (#77978A)
8. A Killer Cuppa Tea - Taelia Omanguard/The Omen - (Red/Red on Black)

You guys will get to start round 1 once I get the intro post up either today or early tomorrow.

All of the entries though, were fantastic. We'd have a great grand battle from any combination of those authors. The combination I picked isn't necessarily the best (though I am really excited about it). In a lot of cases, it was just little things that had me choose one character over another. If you want to know why I didn't pick your character PM me or ask here, I'd be more than willing to let you know.

Overall though, I tried to pick a good spread of post quality with a focus on newcomers and characters that should interact well. If you didn't get in, remember that there is Pinary's villian battle coming up as well as Grand Battle Season 4. Or, if you'd rather focus on another character later - message me and I'd be happy to have your character appear in WR at some point. Of course, you would do the writing for them if you wanted to.

Keep an eye out for that actually. There may be lots of segments of this battle that aren't written by me or any contestants - it's a bit of a mystery to me right now as well.

Anyway, It will take me a bit to get the first round up and running (I expect late tonight/early tomorrow). In the meantime, feel free to read over the character entries, check out some other collabs, or maybe re-read an old classic?

Edit: I added a little thing to the rule list. Once the battle gets on it's way, try to keep non-story related posts in spoilers. That's already a general rule for grand battles but I figure I'd mention it anyway.
Re: The Wretched Rite - Pre-Round
Originally posted on MSPA by bobthepen.

“An ‘event’, in Multiversal terms, is a much different occurrence than what it is depicted as in the majority of stable universes. In these universes, causality is closely interlinked with time. Whether time operates linearly, circularly, in parallel, or in any other number of observed projections, every occurrence must be linked to a moment in that universes’ time. A Multiversal event, however, takes place outside the realm of any timeline. The causality of such occurrences remain unbound to a time system, until of course, they either enter a universe where a time system is imposed or such a system is forced upon them by an outside observer. Thus it is subjectivity which defines the placement of an event in a Multiversal system, and thus was this ‘event subjectively observed.”
-- The Wordsmith, Erstwhile Origins, Date Unknown

The Unborn, in its first convulsion, ripped through the Multiverse to summon its eight sacrifices. Ethereal tendrils, beckoned by some instinct or fate, shot blindly toward their targets. The Unborn lacked the finesse possessed by other Grandmasters in gingerly plucking their chosen from their respective homeworlds. The eight tendrils held no regard for the borders and barriers between themselves and the sacrifices. Like fissures in a faultline, the tendrils cracked, shattered, and collapsed the fractions of the realities they bore through.

Had Barabbas been more calculating, or more cunning, he perhaps could have refined The Unborn’s first act. Perhaps he could have even prevented many of the Grandmasters from sensing the ritual's initiation. As it was, however, The Unborn had brought destruction onto the Grandmasters’ realms. The damage was repairable, in many ways minor, but the Grandmasters would notice none the less. The Unborn could not hide itself.

At that moment of the contestant's selection, however, Barabbas was far more concerned with the rules in play. Should The Unborn, a entity following only the basest blueprints of its construction, stay true to the path set in place, the Wretched Rite would be a very short one indeed. The sacrifices would be torn from their realities with no regard for their survival. They would arrive on a plane composed of nothing, no substances or matter to sustain them. The Rite would begin with all eight contestants perishing instantaneously. The Unborn would gaze on their deceased forms and the ritual would end, the contestants undone, and their orchestrator born a being of death.


Barabbas had entered himself into the ritual the moment he had arrived. In this uninhabitable plane, Barabbas survived off rules and solely rules. The fundamental rules did not require a being there to guide the contestants and provide them with an explanation, but Barabbas had found the precedent and amplified it. The enforced rule stated his presence and survival was mandatory, that his demise here was not allowable. He provided a similar rule for the contestants.

The tendrils reached their marks. They wrapped around each contestant, engulfing them in an unseen field. The rule demanded the contestants remain intact, undamaged and unchanged until their proper time. Thus, heartbeats stopped, thoughts ceased, and bodies and spirits froze in unwilling stasis as the tendrils traveled back towards their origin.


The strength of the rule relied on the strength of the ritual. With The Unborn, a being of massive potential and simplistic will, fueling the Rite, Barabbas found the rules he enforced taking form in ways he had never fathomed. Around The Unborn, flat metallic rings began to materialize. Reality manifested itself into massive pillars situated on orbiting disks. The pillars collected light dispersed from The Unborn and scattered it around the rings. The once-void was illuminated. As the structure completed, the contestants appeared before Barabbas - a result of another rule enforced. Both Barabbas and the eight stood on the edge of the farthest ring, slowly orbiting around the turbulence of The Unborn.

Sustenance had protected the eight on their journey and continued to prevent their destruction amidst the void. Having reached their destination, however, they were no longer frozen. Their thoughts and perceptions were restored, as well as their freedom to move. A few attempted to shriek, but there was no medium to carry the sound.


The rule bound the contestants in place. Barabbas had hoped to not use it, but there was a violence in the eyes of some, and a few had begun to drift away from the slowly orbiting ring. The eight's faces froze in whatever minute emotion passed over them right after being transported and facing the coiling, flowing mass of The Unborn. Some betrayed fear, some exposed anger. In all of their faces, though, Barabbas could read confusion, and that called for explanation. It would be difficult to perform and perform well, though it was necessary.

To start, Barabbas extended to the contestants a few simple rules that he carried on his person. Gravity. Atmosphere. Language. These rules were more subjective in nature. They relied more on the experience of the individual than the precedents of the contest. Using them Barabbas had been able to stand and breathe comfortably when entering the void. They kept his feet firmly set on the base of the silver ring even though there was hardly enough mass to justify such an adhesion.

Gravity and Atmosphere tugged and wrapped gingerly around the contestants. Despite the alien sight of The Unborn, the eight began to experience familiar sensations. Gently, they landed on the surface of the disk. Air or water or soil like that of their homes appeared and covered them in bittersweet familiarity. Like a warm blanket, it served as a shelter. If the sensation did not drive the panic from their minds, it at least restored some clarity.

Language, like its companions, affected each being differently. For Barabbas, for whom an affinity and understanding of the mandates of dialect came naturally, the rule granted him an ease of communication with most knowledgeable beings. For the selected eight, some of whom had never uttered a spoken word in their existence, comprehension would be more gradual. Eventually, as the rule took hold, each member would understand and learn each other's dialect in their own time. Barabbas hoped that the rule would act quickly enough to allow a proper explanation.

With Atmosphere in place, sound was restored and Barabbas’ voice could reach the frozen contestants. The vibrant swishing energy of The Unborn raged behind him, and would have been ample distraction, but given their distance from the turbulence and the rule of Language, Barabbas was certain the eight should garner at least the basic meaning and significance of his words. With a careful purposefulness, the aged man crossed his wrinkled hands and addressed the sacrifices.

“Salutations,” he began, “I wish this meeting could have happened under more pleasant circumstances. I had hoped even more that it would not have happened at all. However, some events are unavoidable.” He glanced solemnly at the group before him. “My name is Barabbas Poe. I have been called here, much like yourselves, by the designs of destiny. Each of us here has a role to play in a ritual that has been repeated numerous times, but few times with consequences as great as these. The entity which we orbit around is presently unformed. It is known only as ‘The Unborn’, but its final name and nature has yet to be seen.”

“The ritual we have been selected to enact is commonly known as a Grand Battle. My role shall be to serve as an arbiter between yourselves and the driving force of this rite. Your roles, I am afraid, are more somber.” He paused for a moment, to re-examine the still frozen faces. “Most of you are destined to perish. Each time one of you falls, the rest will be transported to a new location. As there are eight of you, this means seven locations, seven rounds, and seven deaths. You may fight one another, or you may seek to ally yourselves, regardless, your fate remains.”

Barabbas considered revealing the destiny of the eighth contestant, the one to survive. Doing so was within his powers and there was precedent enough to ensure the safety of the one who survived. The contestants, however, were not all amicable, and he did not wish to encourage the actions of a murderer. Thus, he chose to emphasize the more significant point.

“The Unborn,” he coughed, “has chosen you all, by no hand other than its own, to partake in this wretched rite. Each of you shall in the end be responsible for The Unborn’s creation and formation, as frightening this fate may be. Know that this churning mass of pure energy you see before you ultimately has your life in its tendrils. Its choice of you was destined, and your end of destiny is inescapable. However, remember this, while your deaths will progress the ritual, your actions will determine the nature of this being. It will watch and study and learn from your every moves and thoughts and actions. While I cannot say exactly how or to what extent you will affect this being, I do know that its final nature will reflect your own choices as much as it will reflect those who placed its seed.”

Though the blinding silver light of the whirling mass was harsh to the contestant’s eyes, at once The Unborn seemed to drift out of focus, allowing a clearer view of their fellow victims to The Unborn’s whim.

“Uncustomary to tradition, I would like to speak with each of you before the round begins. I am certain that you have questions, and there is no need to rush into what destiny has set aside. First, allow me to learn your names.”

With this Barabbas loosened Restraint, allowing the eight freedom to speak. However, at the same moment, Barabbas enacted a simple rule, one which would allow him a glimpse of their characters through The Unborn.


In that instant a tendril from the multiversal tempest struck Barabbas like a bolt. The wrinkled man toppled to the ground. His elderly form crumpled on the metallic surface of the disc.

For a moment, the contestants conversed. Barabbas did not know for how long or of what it was they spoke. He was flooded with the knowledge, images, and emotions garnered from The Unborn’s strike. The similarity of its presence to the fear that haunted his mind had unnerved him from the moment of The Unborn’s conception, but to have been suddenly and completely overwhelmed with that presence terrified the aged man. Even at this point, when this being was supposedly a blank slate, it projected such a horrific aura.

When Barabbas awoke, he tightened Restraint, once again locking the contestants in place. His countenance had shifted to one of urgency and frustration. He sifted through the information and knowledge garnered from The Unborn’s outburst. He had learned the contestants names, their origins, and, most importantly, he had discovered that The Unborn was not patient.

“Questions will not be necessary. Your facial expression, such as applicable to your kind, can on its own already serve as a splendid gauge of character. Still, the rules which I have set in place to limit The Unborn’s strength demand your mutual introduction to one another. We begin at once, for even though time stands still for you, not much of it is left.”

Barabbas began to walk, the high, sweet sound of his footsteps on the silver ring piercing through the droning buzz of pure, cold energy. His pace stopped next to a small creature, well-dressed and well-equipped. Though his face was difficult to read, the confusion of being entered was still plastered over his snout.

“Nempolio Poran kala-sun is the first of eight. A Leskrin born to the planet of Rozan, he has the appearance of a mouse with bug-like wings. This young creature is trained in the ways of poetry and music. His verses are known to evoke illusions as well as moving people’s hearts. Though he has once been able to escape a battle by means of his songs, it shall be up to him to find a way to elude and confuse the others of you.”

Barabbas continued in a circle, stopping next at a young woman who in the eerie light of The Unborn seemed as good as human. She seemed to be perfectly at ease, almost eager to face the competition.

“Vera Hawthorne shall be the second. She is a Tsote, beings that can sense fate as easily as sound. From the start of her young life she had been blessed, her predicted path nothing but victory and glory. She is fated to overthrow a destined enemy, one she might even encounter here in this contest.”

Barabbas had arrived at the next contestant, but he got interrupted by a sudden outburst of The Unborn. Worriedly he spun towards the luminous ball when the snap of a wire and an uncanny roar blew through the black expanse. Regaining his composure, he continued with held breath, hoping a second growl would not follow.

“Moving right along, the third of you is Olivia Reindana. This woman has met an unfortunate fate, colliding on an expedition with a parasitic plant. As she slowly grew weaker while the plant gained control over her body, she was forcibly returned home, living the life on an outcast. Her cloak covers her affliction well enough, but underneath it lecherous ivy crawls over her skin.”

Barabbas continued as solemnly as he could muster, but as he proceeded to the next contestant, he threw a quick glance towards The Unborn, clearly still distraught at the sudden groan. Next to him, as he stopped, hung a woman in a breathtaking blue gown.

“Next is Fiorella Gucci. This woman is fashion given form, with the ability of changing that form to whatever she deems stylish. She possesses some control over clothes, but has less of an effect on rags.”

Now Barabbas completed half of the arc he had formed. His footsteps, considerably faster than at the start, showed signs of hurry. He stopped the impatient pace at what seemed to be both a plant and a beast, with the shape of a prowling feline but at the same time bearing fruit.

“Malus mancinella is the fifth. It is an apple tree, made motive by both a complex process of science and a resident feral spirit, and possessing the instinct of a mighty predator. Its fruit had been modified by either influence to something far too tart to even consider it edible. The apples it grows will most likely melt through anything they touch.

Barabbas continued, already introducing the next contestant in the circle before he even got next to him. The blue draconian beast bore no facial expression, but it appeared deeply disturbed none the less.

“Alluvion is the protector spirit of the flora and fauna around his home, and his corporeal form is drawn from its waters. Though he has the inquisitiveness and innocence of a newborn, tame animal, do not be fooled into believing he isn’t a potent foe when provoked.”

Finally, as if Barabbas had intentionally left the strangest of contestants for last, the man arrived at the woman on whom most of the combatants would focus firstly. Her lower half was entirely drenched in the blackness around them, though it was not really black at all rather than true emptiness. It seemed as if she simply lacked a lower half. Ripples around her betrayed to contestants more attentive to the introduction that her fist instinct was to push herself away from anyone else present, her worried gaze betraying it to the rest.

“In counterpoint to Alluvion, the seventh of you is Adelaide Margaret Sheats. She is a being of the waters as well, but her domain is death rather than life. She has the interesting ability of being able to warp herself from any body of water to the next. To her, all water is one, and for you, none are safe.”

The introduction of the contestants finally ran to an end as Barabbas approached the last in order. It was a young woman, considerably mature for the youth her body portrayed. Her face bore true marks of worry and fright, but strangely her mouth was shut, clenched as if something compelled her to grit her teeth.

“Finally we have Taelia Omanguard, a serious young girl with a grim affliction. Sealed within her is a demon, The Omen, that has made her ancestral duty much more literal. That demon is fixated on decimating Taelia’s mind and soul, so as to take control of her body entirely, without she herself fighting the possession.”

Even as the final syllable of this final introduction entered each of the minds arrayed around it, the Unborn was whipping out tentacles of light. They wrapped around the pillars, absorbing them back into the Unborn’s writhing energy. Barabbas spun towards the pulsating cosmic fetus, just beginning to yell out “No!” as the eight chosen contestants fell into its light, and were gone.


In his study, worlds and realities away, a man pursues his collection of books.


The eight contestants fell into the burbling heart of the Unborn, and time began to slow down. Each instant was longer than the last, building towards eternity, and the silvery light around them grew dim. Finally, time itself seemed to snap apart like an elastic band stretched beyond breaking, and each of them shredded their way into the vicinity of sleepy hamlet.

So sleepy, that it seemed almost sepulchral. Elsewhere, Barabbas wove his constraints upon the Unborn, forcing from it Communication, and his voice came once again into the contestants’ minds.

“I apologize for the rough treatment, but to be frank it will probably get worse from here. For now you have been deposited in a formerly bustling village, full of diverse folk going about their lives. Now it stands abandoned, for reasons outside my knowledge. A unique aura suffuses this place, and it may influence each of you in strange ways. I cannot be more specific, as that is the way of things. Remember, the Unborn is watching. One of you will die here, but the right death may be the salvation of untold multitudes.”

Re: The Wretched Rite - Round One - The Rose Ring
Originally posted on MSPA by MrGuy.

The first thing that went through Poran’s head, after he realized his place upon some hill in the second completely unfamiliar planet of the day, was something along the lines of dear god, I’m being punished for my cowardice, please forgive me. The second thing, as he dashed towards the nearest tree, was some punishment! It’s so beautiful here! And the others look so interesting! He scrambled up the bark, flapping his wings in the hopes that it would make the ascent easier, the thought to simply fly straight up not crossing his mind. And all so big! Veritable titans, in comparison to what I’ve experienced. Why, I bet they could smash a Tropari with a single swing of their tremendous arms…

He eventually managed to find his way up to a sturdy branch, and slowly walked to the edge. You could see quite a lot from here; the town square, some sort of castle, a river in the distance… Poran was awed by the sheer largeness of everything before him. Amazing… simply amazing! This place must have been created for those titans, by others! Or perhaps by creatures even larger! He grinned and withdrew his inkwell, pen, and a piece of paper, setting them gently on the branch. What to write about… I suppose I could write something to do with the elements, and how they apply to each of us! That’s a classical theme, and for good reason! He immediately began hastily scribbling notes.

Earth = Olivvea, Plant-panther-thing (Noble!)
Air = Me, Vara
Water = Adelade (Pretty!), Uhlooviahn Olluuvion? (Majestic!)
Fire = Feeyarella (Also pretty, and I should see if she can offer me any of that fabric, seeing as my sash is beginning to get a bit frayed, and perhaps a hat would be nice to put this feather in), Tayleea

He looked at his handiwork apprehensively. Yes, it definitely looked like you would pronounce it, but… something told him it wasn’t quite right. Maybe they spelled things differently, used a different alphabet? They were from different places, after all. Oh, well; he’d simply have to do the best he could with what he had. Regardless, I should perhaps hold off on the odes until I’ve first composed something to the splendor of our surroundings; to hold off on that would be an insult to he who brought us here, and to the sheer majesty of this place! He gently folded up the sheet and placed it back in its pouch, and started on a fresh sheet of paper:

As the wind weaves through the groves and hills around
And ’bandoned empty town lay peaceful, undisturbed
My thoughts alight upon the sacred the grassy ground the cobblestone path below
And all that once tread upon it
Who once passed here? Merchants, pastors, soldiers?
Who has left their mark in every footfall?

He stared at his handiwork for a moment, sighing. This isn’t turning out very good, I don’t think… oh, but wait! He smiled widely as he adjusted the feather behind his ear. Maybe their cultures have different standards for poetry! Maybe they’ll think it’s excellent, or… at least decent. Ooh, this could be a very good learning experience! We could share backgrounds, and then whoever survives can bring back the knowledge of other cultures to their own! That way, we all live on in a small way, even if we die! He fidgeted and glanced around, not seeing anyone. Oh, but I’ll need to get someone’s attention so they can find out! Alright, then. Let’s see, what’s a nice, obvious tune…

Poran gently withdrew the harp from its pouch, and experimentally brought a few notes forth. Each string still rang out like the first day he had received it, a beautiful tone like a spring breeze, almost unnoticeable yet incredibly sublime. Once content that it was entirely in tune, he began bringing out a fanfare: to be specific, Rendelio Desmeth toro-Sam’s Twelfth Dart in Tone 6. Though it would have sounded far better on a trumpet, and certainly by someone with a bit more skill, it served the purposes of the Leskrin, in that it was very loud and was not likely to make anyone’s ears begin bleeding, so he kept on with it, humming along due to not knowing the lyrics, content in his perch.

Re: The Wretched Rite - Round One - The Rose Ring
Originally posted on MSPA by MalkyTop.

Re: The Wretched Rite - Round One - The Rose Ring
Originally posted on MSPA by ch00_bakka.

Shit! Where am I? Fiorella looked around, bewildered. She was in a fenced yard surrounding a large building. The walls of the building were grey, and there were vines running up to the barred windows. The building felt menacing, and Fiorella quickly backed away from it and stood as close to the fence as she could. What is this place, a prison? And what was that Barabbas guy talking about? I have to fight? Fiorella walked up to the fence and looked out. This doesn't look like any place I've ever seen... Must be some little backwater town. She gave a little shrug. Now how do I get out of this yard? She walked around the building until she came to the front gate. There, a way out. She left the yard and turned around, to see where she had been dropped. "Bethleham"? What the hell is "Bethleham"? Huh. Sounds scary... I should get away from here.

She walked away from the madhouse, and had a strange urge to change her outfit. This... This doesn't fit. It needs to change. Something new. She thought for a second, and then concentrated harder. Her dress slowly became more and more complicated, and large, until it was a full ballgown. Her heels shrunk until they were shaped more like slippers than heels, and slowly became transparent, until they appeared to be made of glass. That... Feels right. Yes. This will work. She began to walk again, out towards the castle.

Re: The Wretched Rite - Round One - The Rose Ring
Originally posted on MSPA by Ixcalibur.

Immediately upon arrival in the deserted town Vera fell to her knees and retched. She would have done so sooner but for the fact that during her encounter with Barrabas she had been held in place. The encounter with the old man and… the Unborn had been an interesting one that she hadn’t really managed to process very well. She had been somewhat distracted by the awful stench of ill-fate. In that place, where the Unborn was still forming the smell of death to come hung in the air, foul and thick. It had overpowered the fates of the other contestants or of their aged host. It had nauseated her to her core, and it was only now that she could cough and splutter in an attempt to clear her throat of the lingering traces of ill-fortune. For a minute she just knelt there, her hands buried in the thick grass and gasped for breath. As she recovered she started to process what she had been told.

She had mixed feelings about this battle. All of her life so far, she had looked forwards to the day when she would find her fated enemy and best her in combat. This day should have felt triumphant, glorious even, but she was left with a cold feeling at the pit of her stomach. It was the knowledge that this battle, her fate, was linked with that thing; The Unborn. The idea that her victory would be integral in creating a creature whose very presence overwhelmed her with noxious misfortune made her feel sick again. With a sigh she pushed her opinions aside. They were of no consequence. It wasn’t as though she had a choice in the matter. Fate was fate and to insist otherwise was folly. She would willingly follow her fate through to the end regardless of whatever grim consequences there might be. It was what was expected of her and she would not disappoint.

Vera climbed to her feet and took a look around. It was a sunny summer day with a slight breeze that just rustled the trees. She was stood in the middle of the town square. The green had grown slightly wild, presumably due to the lack of anyone to tend to it; around it the paved area was eerie in its emptiness. She frowned as she came to the conclusion that there were no opponents in her immediate vicinity. Quickly unholstering her pistol she fired a shot up into the air. The loud crack of the antique gun carried across the empty town. That should attract some attention, she considered with a smile. There was the matter that she only had an extremely limited amount of ammunition, that which she had been carrying on her, and she had just used up one bullet just to signal where she was, but she wasn’t worried. If she needed more ammunition she was certain that fate would provide. In the meantime she strolled over to a wooden bench and sat down, idly wiping the grass from her pants as she did so.


For Alice there was no introduction. One moment she had been sat in an alleyway, swathed in rags and hating her life and the next she was sat in a dark hallway somewhere, minus the rags but still hating her life. She closed her eyes and opened them again, as if expecting to see the miserable alley she reluctantly called her home reappear. She pinched herself in case she was dreaming, it turns out that she was not. Slowly she got to her feet and made her way down the dark corridors. Doors with barred windows lined the walls. When she peered through the glass she could see empty cells, some of which were decorated with elaborate markings and pictures scrawled across the walls. She could hazard a guess what this place was. It was the kind of place that people like her ended up, those who tried to fight against fate. Try it for too long and some of the more lucky bastards would classify you as insane and shove you in here to rot away until whatever fate had in store for you caught up with you. The fact that she had just appeared in one did not help her feel at ease with current developments, nor did the fact that the place was apparently completely empty. Whatever was going on had fate written all over it and she wasn’t about to let it mess with her. She was getting right out of here and not looking back.

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Re: The Wretched Rite - Round One - The Rose Ring
Originally posted on MSPA by engineclock.

“-fuckin’ hell is the fuckin’ bloody world comin’ to, fuck, treatin’ a lady like this, I’m a goddamn lady I am, no grace in th’ world at all draggin’ me here and droppin’ me like a fish what’s been in the sun too long.”

Adelaide stopped her tirade long enough to shiver convulsively, wrapping her arms around herself and muttering nastily under her breath. She had found herself without warning standing on the peak of a hill overlooking a queer-looking town, under a bright shining sun that prickled her skin with the threat of dryness. “…lovely Adelaide…” The rusalka spit on the grass in disgust. No one had any business moving her around like a sack of old laundry, no they didn’t, didn’t even get so much as a by-your-leave ‘fore she was standing here clothed in naught but sunshine and the tangles of her own reedy hair. The bloody nerve of some folk.

Angrily she wrapped a thick pile of hair around her hand and wrung it out violently on the grass, noting with irritation that much of the water was running directly downhill, past a rock with dull brownish stains and some odd yellow tape. She saw that the tape was actually covering quite a bit of the hill in the few seconds before she stopped caring about something that wasn’t herself. “Couldn’ta picked a flat plot of land, eh,” she snarled, “too fuckin’ hard for you then, Unborn, hell kinda name is that for a proper decent horror? Didn’t do a lick of harm to no one and this is what they give me for all my sufferin’. All that river-making for naught, eh?” A bony foot stomped on the increasingly soggy ground. “An’ you could do me a bit of a favor if you bloody hurried up, then, I’m not about to be picked off just cause I’m lying about like a fresh-caught mackerel for the gulls!”

Adelaide had not actually heard most of what had been said in the brief introduction they’d been given beyond the whole fight-to-the-death bit, instead preferring to focus more on how angry she was followed briefly by how much prettier she was than the other girls. Bunch of sorry-looking good-for-nothing sluts, the lot of them, she thought. That pink one had even looked fresh from a uptown whorehouse. The rusalka glanced down at the pool that was finally forming from the droplets pattering down from her hair. Her reflection grinned back at her with sharp tiny teeth and she settled down a bit, giving her hair a final shake. Those other she-cats were no better than fish to her, after all, and she’d had plenty of practice catching all kinds of fish with her pretty little hooks. Especially the kind that were sluts.

Far more gracefully than should have been possible, Adelaide dove straight down into the fount of cloudy green water that was now lying unnaturally still at the top of the hill, plunging herself into the familiar silence of her home. She glanced down for a moment, watching the infinite blackness yawning beyond her kicking feet, before scanning what passed for a surface in this place. Other than the pool she’d just made, there weren’t very many other exits. A few dirty-looking puddles, beyond which she could see what looked like alley walls; an odd shimmery spot she couldn’t identify that couldn’t really be moving, no, she was imagining that, she must have been; something that could been a spilled glass of water; a billion other spots of water too small for her to fit through that pierced the gloom with fading spears of light. A few spots of potential, there…

But above all there was a huge one off in the false distance, a big forked thing like a pumping vein against the green of the rusalka’s water. A river, it looked like. That could be useful, yes it could, course if she surfaced there she’d sully the whole thing up green. Adelaide had always been a bit nervous about tainting large areas of water. Seemed messy, somehow. The sort of thing that’d make people sit up and pay attention, even start getting wary and stop coming around to see her. She could always save that for later, couldn’t she? No sense in making a scene before she’d even picked out which blighter she wanted to eat first. Making up her mind, she darted through the water towards one of the alley puddles. If she wasn’t going to be allowed to have peace, then she was damn sure she was going to at least have prey.

Re: The Wretched Rite - Round One - The Rose Ring
Originally posted on MSPA by A Killer Cuppa Tea.

She kept telling herself she was calm even though it was clear that she was starting to panic. She had struggled to understand exactly what was going on during the introduction, having felt mostly disorientated during the majority of it.

The last thing she remembered was touching a certain red orb, only to have a great explosion of power erupt from it. The next second, she was waking up to some old man with an unformed entity behind him talking about some Grand Battle to the death they were all to participate in.

Where am I? Had been her first thought, followed closely by Is this The Omen?

But as she thought more on what the old man – Barabbas – has explained of the situation, she began to realise that no, it was not The Omen that had bought her here, but instead some Unborn being that was to be defined by the very actions of her and her fellow participants.

As her thoughts turned to the fellow contestants, her mind did indeed begin to calm a little. Some looked as though they would be skilled combatants, but others less so – and hadn’t she been trained for such a battle since almost before she could walk?

She loosened the sheath on her sword – little more than a knife – and began to walk to ease off the nerves. She looked at her surroundings and was pleased to see a pleasant looking town – serene even – on a wonderful sunny day. This improved her spirits greatly, and she began to walk down a random path.

But coupled with this was a slight feeling of unease: it was the middle of the day, and this town certainly did not look abandoned. The houses seemed to be in relatively good repair, and it would certainly take some work to keep them that way. But there did not seem to be any people nearby, or anywhere at all in the town. The air was strangely still and the town eerily quiet.

Suddenly, she heard what sounded like a gunshot come from somewhere within the town. She stood frozen as the echoes of that sound reverberated around her, but was even more unnerved when there did not seem to be any immediate reaction. She decided quite suddenly that she wanted to get as far away from that sound as possible and began walking rather quickly away from the town.

Before long, she had reached the foot of a nearby hill, and the thought crossed her mind that she might be able to see a lot more of the surrounding area from the top of it. As she neared the top, she began to hear a sound unlike anything she had quite heard before. It sounded almost like the victory fanfare that soldiers back home would play, except played on an almost heavenly instrument.

She reached the top of the hill, but could see no one there. A little confused, she circled the tree from which the sound seemed to be coming from but could not find the source. The music was unlike anything she had ever heard before, and it was almost a relief after the deathly silence she had been met with upon landing in this world. She sat underneath the tree with a sigh of content.

Re: The Wretched Rite - Round One - The Rose Ring
Originally posted on MSPA by Aryogaton.

What oddities.

There was much that M. didn’t know. These oddities were everyday encounters, and they simply have to be taken into context and drawn for patterns. The previous several minutes, however, were completely meaningless, regardless of context. A turbulent and chaotic mess of heat and sound, living and nonliving objects floating in seeming nothingness with no apparent natural cause, and a long-winded tirade consisting of something reminiscent but unnaturally different from that of Walker speech? There was no context here, and no context means no significance.

M. shifted its attention to its surroundings, which it immediately recognized as Walker-ruled territory. It scraped the lack of grass under its feet. This was rightful territory of the grasses, and to replace it with an earth more devoid of life than the remains of a forest fire? What remained of the natural grasses that once flourished here were encased and enslaved into ugly patches, as if to mark the territory of one Walker against another’s. M. had seen such things many times before, but the Walkers’ weapons were too powerful and unknown to allow it to make any progress of restoration.

Luckily, there were only three visible heat signatures, two of which were rather faint and far. Unluckily, all three of them seemed to be Walkers. One was further into the path, in midst of Walker structures, another was on a surprisingly untouched hill under a lone tree. The third and nearest did not seem to notice M. at all, and despite being closer than the other two, seemed to have the weakest heat signature.

There was movement overhead. A heat signature, one surprisingly strong for its size; obviously a rodent of some sort. What confused M. was why a rodent—a live one, at least—would be in the air. It would have to investigate this further sometime.

M. walked towards the nearest tree. It had a shape cut out in the unnatural earth so that its roots had just enough room to hold it upright. Its limbs showed signs of being periodically removed, as if the Walkers had the right to dictate exactly what size the tree was allowed to grow to. There was, fortunately, some consolation: vines and grasses began to break through the unnatural earth and crawl up the structures. There was sun. This place might have hope after all.

M. picked at the earth, temporarily extending some roots in order to break it apart from underneath. As soon as cracks widened, it lifted whole pieces of cobblestone from the ground and threw them at the nearest building. After making a few minutes of progress, it noticed a figure approaching. It was the weak Walker, not approaching because of apparently curiosity or directed movement but because of aimless wandering.

A lone Walker would not be much of a threat. This weak one would likely be unable to stop M. from reclaiming this area, and the best course of action was likely to ignore it. However, as the Walker approached, M. noticed the growth on its back. M. circled the Walker, avoiding direct confrontation to look at this new oddity.

There was no mistaking it. Ivy growing on the back of a Walker. Strange. Ivy should be wrapping around fellow trees and misplaced rocks, not moving creatures. Not that M. didn’t enjoy seeing a plant overwhelm a Walker, but the ivy’s current position was risky.

Without the Walker noticing, M. extended some tendrils towards the ivy. In scientific terms, M. was collecting traces of hormones indicative of the ivy’s lifestyle. In natural terms, however—if one could talk to plants—it was a bit more meaningful.

Sister ivy, you seem stressed. Your home is unsafe. How may I assist?

Re: The Wretched Rite - Round One - The Rose Ring
Originally posted on MSPA by Jacquerel.

Alluvion blinked his eyes slowly, one at a time, as he attempted to adjust himself to his surroundings. Few people react well to being pulled across space and time and deposited somewhere else and least of all when it happens twice in quick succession but Alluvion was perhaps one more vulnerable than most. His entire previous and exceptionally long years of life had been spent bound to a single river in a single valley, so while he knew other places existed in theory he had never seen any outside of one hundred kilometre stretch of water.
Let's just say it was a little disorienting at first.

It also didn't help that he barely understood what he was doing here in the first place. Barabbas had done his best to explain but most of the words had sailed right over the elemental's head. He'd been too busy staring at the terrible form of the Unborn, somewhere over their host's shoulder.
He knew nothing of Grandmasters or Battles, but he thought he could recognise something of himself in the great boiling cloud of potential. If he was a god (if only a small one), surely this creature was a god of gods. He was so spellbound by his presence that it was a long time before he realised that anyone was there with him at all, and it took another not insignificant stretch of time before he realised that the movements of Barrabas' lips was meant to be some form of communication. Fish didn't tend to talk much, while their brains were just about big enough to form the desires and wishes necessary to facilitate Alluvion's existence they didn't have any form of language and their link was strictly one-way.
Fortunately, being beings that feed on psychic emanations, spirits such as he are adept at picking up meaning if not the actual words, and those followed quickly enough. Unfortunately it was still slow enough for him to miss most of the conversation. By the time he had begun to pay attention there were only a few introductions left before he was dragged through the universe a second time to yet another new location, this one at least a little more familiar.

That said, he probably wouldn't have liked what he had heard had he been paying attention. A river can be a nasty place sometimes if you're a fish and there's a bigger fish looking for you but the creatures calling for help are rarely the hunters, and as a being shaped by the wordless demands of his believers Alluvion tended to side with the prey. Granted, he'd occasionally find himself helping a starving pike keep itself alive but fish just don't have the mental capacity to fight or kill for fun and it was not something Alluvion would enjoy doing himself even with his own existence at stake, let alone something he had much practice at.
Happily, the time it had taken him to figure out that someone was even talking to him allowed him to quickly bypass all of this potential angst simply by not hearing any of it and instead allowed him to investigate his new surroundings with childlike enthusiasm, once he'd gotten his bearings at least.

He started out by trying to emulate the method of speech he had just seen employed. The underside of his head split into a cavernous maw filled with liquid and therefore entirely useless teeth. It took him a few tries to realise that air flow was required, but he seemed to be getting the hang of it when he was suddenly distracted by examining the floor.
"Ssssss. SsSSSSsss. SSSSStone? Stone.

He tried the word a couple of times, working the hiss out of his voice. There certainly was a lot of stone around, or at least a lot more than he was used to and in more colours than he had believed rock could hold. It covered the floor in unnatural, rectangular blocks. It rose up to either side of him in strange, flat, vertical cliffs that couldn't possibly have been caused by erosion (he was an expert on this). It formed weird, angular caves off in the near distance. These were what he found most interesting, caves suggested water and while he thought this new place was quite exciting he would be more comfortable if he knew where the water was. Clearly there had to be some somewhere.

As he came out of the alleyway though (for that was what it was, not some form of a valley as he believed it to be) he was further distracted from his adventure by the sight of green.
Not even the trace of a hiss on that one. The plants were spaced out randomly along a wide, flat bed of rock, poking through the stone at wide intervals. He ran a webbed hand across one thoughtfully. A couple of branches had been broken off from the sides, but weren't present on the ground beneath. Had something been eating it? The wide spacing of the plants also seemed very strange to him, how did they spread across such a long distance? How did the seeds penetrate the rock in the first place? And why were they the only plants around?
Narrowing his eyes, he exerted his empathy into the bark. The plant was content enough for a tree, it had sun, water and no competition, and yet it also seemed inexplicably wrong. Something had regularly been cutting bits from it, the ground to the left and right did not allow it to expand its root network much further and it could not hear the voices of any of its children, which surely must have begun to grow by now? It was quite a mystery, and the tree seemed to be about to explain the answer when Alluvion was suddenly alerted to movement in the distance.
The tenuous link to the plant abruptly broke, he'd never been that good at talking to trees as they didn't often grow by the riverside, and he snapped his head around to see what was going on.

Something darted past a large hole in the exterior of one of the biggest caves. He wasn't sure exactly what it was but it hadn't been a tree. He liked animals a lot more than trees, they were a lot better to talk to and maybe if he met one he could learn something interesting. He decided immediately that this was the place to investigate.
Words hung in front of the cave's mouth, above a collection of sharpened stone poles. Or at least, some kind of mineral. Alluvion wasn't really well educated on the specifics of metals but it was certainly shinier than your average rock and looked maybe a little harder.
This word did not mean anything to Alluvion, but it tasted bad in his mouth. He decided he'd leave that word alone for now.
He walked through the iron gates as if they weren't there, his liquid form passing easily through the large gaps and made his way to the entrance of the sanatorium. If he couldn't find whatever it was that had been moving inside, this largest of caves must surely contain a great water source.
This would be far more exciting than any trees.
Re: The Wretched Rite - Round One - The Rose Ring
Originally posted on MSPA by MrGuy.

Poran looked down over the edge of the branch as he continued plucking away at his instrument. Sure enough, there beneath him was Taelia, and she seemed to be enjoying the music. Well, that’s an excellent start. If nothing else, I can probably safely contact her. Then again, he was pretty sure what’s-his-face, Barnabas or whatever, had mentioned something about her… He’d been a bit distracted by the sheer spectacle of the whole thing, to be honest… anyway, she looked fine enough, if a bit large. Nonetheless, caution would have to be the order of the day with just about everyone involved, it seemed; to have an apparent friendship, only to be stabbed in the back for your trust of it, is surely the bitterest of all sensations. On that same hand, though, not being an oracle, doctor or anything of the sort, I have no way to glimpse into someone’s mind and instantly presume their true intentions; the only thing I can do is take what she says at face value.

He paused his music for a moment and frantically drew out the poem he’d quickly composed, not wanting to waste paper; in his hurry, he absentmindedly knocked the harp from the branch, where it landed on Taelia’s head with an almost unnoticeable thunk. He tore off the paper beneath the poem, and wrote a quick letter:

“Hello, madame! I am Nempelio Poran kala-Sun, sixth child of the Sun clan. I see that you are enjoying my music, which is a good thing; truly, this lends credence to the fact that music is the universal language, pleasing to all ears that hear it. Regardless of that fact, I am afraid that while I know your name, we have not been formally introduced, and it would greatyl greatly soothe me if you should declare your name, intentions, etc. etc. so that I may feel safe to reveal myself.

It was only upon completing this letter that the bard realized he had lost his instrument; he hastily appended Oh, and I fear I have dropped the instrument that brought both of us such great joy in life. If possible, please locate it and return it to me. I am in the branches above, and I have no doubt that you shall be able to make yourself heard to me, so long as you keep your voice above a whisper. Thank you, madame, and good luck in this unfortunate arena.

He double-checked his work and, seeing no remaining errors, smiled and dropped it off the branch; it lazily floated down next to Taelia. He then quickly scurried closer to the center of the tree, where he felt it was less likely that he would be detected; it was only at this point that he realized their languages were almost certainly totally different—it was said that the incomprehensible babbling of other species was their own language, and he had noted that even within the Leskrin, the dialects of even neighboring areas were often utterly distinct—and it was unlikely she could recognize anything that he had written, not to mention she would probably have to have very good eyesight to read something so small even with his characteristically large handwriting.

He sat down and sighed. On the other hand, Barnabas or whatever it was had spoken to them in his language, correct? Which seemed to imply that they could all understand the same language, or at least that there was a system in place so that they could understand each others’ languages as their own. He sat down and hoped with all his might that his missive had made its mark.

Re: The Wretched Rite - Round One - The Rose Ring
Originally posted on MSPA by ch00_bakka.

Fiorella walked through the city streets, and stared at the buildings as she walked by, trying to find something she recognized. I've never seen this city before. And why is it so quiet? That old dude said something about the people disappearing. Where did they all go? I just want to see someone who I can talk to... She was trying to find a way to the castle, but all of the streets were curved in odd directions... Why isn't this place just a grid or something? God, some little towns... Hopefully there'll be someone up at that big building, she thought, staring up at the castle. And maybe a phone. She sighed. Probably too much to hope for. And nobody would really be able to help me... Or want to. All the people back home think I'm dead, and nobody at the F.D. would try to come and get me. She noticed an alleyway that went in the general direction of the castle, and started along it.

She got lost quickly. Fiorella hadn't realized that the alleys in this place were more like a maze than anything, and took a few wrong turns before she tried finding her way out. She noticed that the alley was getting her ballgown very dirty, and had a panic attack, quickly pulling a pack of tissues out of her purse and wiping off the dirt. Damn. I need to get on something less bulky. Her skirt collapsed, and folded itself around her legs, becoming a pair of jeans. She got even more lost, and eventually simply groaned and sat on the ground in despair. There is no way I am getting out of here. I'm gonna be stuck in these goddamn alleys for the rest of my life.

Then she heard a splash, and jumped up. "Hello? I- I mean, 'allo? Eez somebody zere? 'Allo?" She walked down the alley towards the source of the noise, and saw Adelaide, just after she came out of the puddle. "'Allo? 'Oo are you? 'Ow did you get 'ere? Eef you are one of the ozer, 'ow you say, contestants, maybe we can 'elp eachozer?" She walked a little closer, and tried to get the rusalka's attention. "'Allo! Can you 'ere me?"

Re: The Wretched Rite - Round One - The Rose Ring
Originally posted on MSPA by Pinary.

Ivy's companion was no fool. It knew that something strange was happening, and while its power had saved itself many times, it knew that strangeness needed thought to be unravelled. It knew that its best chance for survival here lay not in blind fury or stabbing fear- none of those had helped when they had encountered strange things in the past. No, this was a time for its human to be awake, and it had wasted no time in bringing her back to herself as quickly as possible. It would give her back her mind for now, and until she had a grasp of the situation, she would keep it. Then, however, it would be time for Hedera reindanis to take back control, doing what, through her, it would know needed to be done to survive.


Dr. Reindana was in an office. She hadn't been in one for years- the closest she'd come had been a warehouse she'd snuck into a few months ago. (Or had it been a year?) It still felt familiar, though- it had that thin coating of junk and papers sitting around that reminded her more of home than anything else could have. It was lived in by someone not terribly organized, not terribly tidy, and- judging by the stack of papers in the "in" box and the single sheet in the "out"- not terribly keen on paperwork. The blinds on the room's single window weren't in great shape, and under a crack in the ceiling, there was a bucket of water, crisp and cool, soothing her face as she splashed it onto herself and drank-

She knocked it aside, stepping back from it and wiping her face with her hands. She cursed. Here she was in some sort of civilization, and she couldn't control herself. She was a biologist, a scholar, not some animal. Civilized people didn't just splash water all over themselves.

Then again, civilized people didn't usually wear crude cloaks and live deep in the Amazon, either.

She did her best to stop dwelling on thoughts like that, failed, and just decided to rummage through some desk drawers instead. She'd given up on trying to rationalize stealing things quite a while ago, and now she simply thought of it as necessary. It wasn't like she could earn it the proper way, so she just took what she needed and justified it to herself by not taking any more than that.

Case in point, the loot from the desk. There'd been a lighter in there (still wrapped in plastic), a pair of pens, a jumble of paperclips and other deskly nonsense, a flask of something alcoholic, and what looked like some old, stale dog treats. She'd only taken the lighter and the pens (bringing her up to five, the newest two being by far the nicest), and left everything else behind. Well, okay, she'd taken a swig from the flask as well. She wasn't a saint.

She unwrapped the lighter, one of those old-style metal ones, and cautiously flicked back the top. She'd stopped bothering with fires after a few months in the jungle, as it wasn't exactly ever cold down there and she'd burned a decent section of brush away a few times too many. Slowly, she flicked the wheel. Nothing. She flicked it a bit faster. Nothing again. She tried once more, and this time, there was flame. It was small and warm, and for a bit, she just stared at the tiny, flickering fire.


Ivy was outside, and she didn't really remember getting there. There was something clenched in her right hand, held so tight it was digging into her palm a bit. She'd been looking at the lighter, she'd gotten it to work... and then she'd been out here.

The biologist sighed. It had happened before, and it was never good news. It meant she'd lost control again, done something drastic out of self-defence or because she was scared. It was that damn plant, she knew. It had made her overreact to something.

There wasn't much she could do about it. She'd resigned herself to spending her life living with that parasitic thing on her back, and sometimes, it just made her do things it thought would help it survive. She didn't have any choice in the matter.

Sighing, she put it out of her mind and looked around. The street was calm, empty, and it didn't look like any of the others were around.

The others. She hadn't thought much about them yet- the general "what is even going on," she'd gotten out of the way during the introduction. (Either her already-insane life was genuinely getting weirder or this was all some sort of delusion the plant was forcing on her. It wouldn't be the first time either had happened.) The specific others, though? She'd need to give them some thought.

Starting off down the street, she considered them one by one. The specifics of her considerations came to be much more interesting once their introductions had been written and she had something to start from. While she walked, though, her thoughts were interspersed with an unheard conversation that is, for now, just going to have to stand on its own.

Sister ivy, you seem stressed. Your home is unsafe. How may I assist?

Your concerns are appreciated but unneeded. This has been my home through two winters, and it has served me well.

Nonetheless, my offer stands. I would not want to see my kin hurt.

Well, if you want to come with, this one is intending to locate others of her kind.

That would not be wise.

I would not be alive if this one was a fool. Besides, I will not allow my home to come to harm.

Have care, sister. Confidence and arrogance are not so far apart.

Olivia walked on, still unaware of the plant-being behind her.


The office was starting to fill with smoke. The old, wooden desk was merrily crackling now, the stack of papers long-gone and the flask in one drawer glowing from the heat.
Re: The Wretched Rite - Round One - The Rose Ring
Originally posted on MSPA by A Killer Cuppa Tea.

Sitting underneath the tree with her sword on her lap brought back memories of Taelia’s childhood. Not much more than a child even now, the peaceful days of her past were not long gone, and cherished deep within her heart.

Before long, her thoughts began to wander. The soft sun, the gentle breeze and the ambience – now that the eerie silence was gone – made her feel rather comfortable, and presently, her eyes began to droop as she began to fall asleep.

Suddenly she jerked upright in sudden fright as something hit her head. She realised instantly that the music had stopped, but she couldn’t remember it stopping. It irked her that she couldn’t remember it stopping. She picked up her sword from where it lay on her lap and in her haste nearly forgot to remove it from its scabbard.

She looked around her, but could still see no one. She stood and circled the tree, looking around and out from the hill. She reached the spot where she had been sat before and realised quizzically that she had not seen anyone.

It was probably an apple or something. She realised. Instant relief washed over her and a small nervous giggle escaped her lips. It sounded harsh and loud in the silence that had once again filled the air, and as she sat back down, she wished that the wonderful music from before would appear.

As she was thinking, she was absent-mindedly running her hands along the grass when her hands felt something hard. Realising it was probably the stone that hit her, she raised it to her eyes and with a pang of something almost like fear she saw that it was a tiny little harp.

Panicked thoughts of malicious spirits luring you to their den with wonderful music only to eat you right up began to cross her mind, and the folk tales that are universally told to children began to fill her mind with thoughts of bogeymen hidden in shadows.

But then, the part of her that had been trained to be a warrior finally took over. I still have my sword, she thought, and I still have my wits. If any monster should come I will at least give them a good fight! She took a deep calming breath, and logic began to take over. Besides...if it had been a monster, it would surely have eaten me whilst I fell asleep (stupidstupistupid) rather then throw a little musical instrument at my head!

As these thoughts raced around her mind, a little piece of paper floated gently past her nose. She watched it absently before doing a double take and putting out her hand to catch it. The writing on it was tiny, but Taelia had very good eyesight and putting it almost to her nose she was able to read what it said.

The tight knot in her stomach began to slowly unwind as she read through the letter, and the relief that flowed through her as she read it was so great that she had to suppress another giggle.

He was probably as scared as I was! Taelia thought to herself, not realising that she had finally admitted to having been scared once the fear had worn off. He sounds like a nice enough person...and besides, he had his chance whilst I was asleep.

She stood and looked up in the branches to look for him, but she couldn’t see him. With a mental shrug, she cleared her throat, and – raising her voice slightly – introduced herself with the formal manner that she had been taught to treat strangers with.

“Greetings! I am Taelia Omanguard, of the line of the Great Eluria Omanguard, defender of humanity and, keeper-of-the-orb-in-training and heir apparent to the duties of the Omanguard family. I mean you no harm, Sir Nempelio Poran kala-Sun, sixth child of the Sun clan, and enjoyed your music immensely. It’s like nothing I’ve ever heard before! I have your instrument here, small as it is. Please, reveal yourself so that we may engage in conversation.” She finished with satisfaction, feeling sure that she had missed nothing out. “Oh, and thank you and good luck to you too!” She added quickly, remembering her manners. Despite herself, she felt her fear leaving her behind now that she had a companion, or at least something to direct her attention to.

I hope I didn’t mispronounce his name...

Re: The Wretched Rite - Sign up today!
Originally posted on MSPA by engineclock.

"'Allo! Can you 'ere me? Yoo hoo, are you deaf?”

The skin on Adelaide’s back twitched at the sound of Fiorella’s painfully fake accent and the rusalka barely restrained herself from sinking back into the water. She dragged her nails across the concrete and felt the side of her mouth twist into a snarl, blocked from view by a curtain of hair. Of all the folk to be scrounging in this particular alley, it had to be her. It had to be. Christ. Surely someone was having a laugh at her expense, she thought as she stole a glace back at the cheerfully waving woman. Let them laugh, then. What did it matter? She was hungry anyway.

Her eyes widened into a mockery of fear, her fair face smoothed out and she clasped her hands to her chest as she turned around slowly, gazing up at the nightmare that was Fiorella. “O-oh! I’m so sorry, miss, I didn’t see you there at first.” She lowered her head and tried to blush, but it was difficult when you didn’t have blood. She settled for biting her lip demurely and hating herself.

Fiorella hadn’t immediately noticed that Adelaide wasn’t wearing much in the way of clothes and she had to stop herself before she deviated from her highly fashionable expression of insulted aloofness. The nerve of this poor girl! Didn’t she have any regard at all for decency? Judging from the clueless expression on her face, probably not. Still, Fiorella had to admit that she’d done an admirable job at achieving the “natural” look with that curious hair of hers, and the cluster of mismatched chains around her neck was actually somewhat flattering. Clearly she was one of those hippie types who could get away with looking like they hadn’t bathed in years. It was the only possible excuse.

But she had to know… “Mon dieu! What ever ’appened to your clothes?”

The rusalka brought her hands up to her face, keeping her chest tactfully blocked with her elbows. The bitch didn’t look like she’d be the sort to fall for that sort of thing. “I- I was bathing in the river when I was called ’way. I hope no one took them, that would be awful!” She peered up with what she knew was a particularly pitiful expression and tried to hide her disgust.

“Such a shame,” Fiorella cooed. “You poor thing. Darling, I would love to give you some of mine to wear, but, ah- you’re just a tad bit messy, you zee. All zat filthy water.” She gestured at the water in a way that suggested it might be better put under a tarp somewhere and forgotten about. “I’m sure we can find you some’zing a leetle more bourgeoisie for you zomewhere. Wouldn’t that be nice, dear?”

She was prepared to face a little more shyness from the girl in the water, and certainly some gratitude wouldn’t have been out of place. The poor thing probably didn’t know pantyhose from garter belts, let alone how to pick out an outfit worth being seen in public. She should have jumped at the chance to have someone as impossibly haute couture as Fiorella even give the slightest thought as to assisting her in choosing new clothing.

Fiorella was not, however, prepared for Adelaide to rear back and scream at her with the voice of a banshee soprano.

“You fucking bloody bitch,” the rusalka screeched as she slashed her arm across the top of her puddle, instantly drenching Fiorella’s pant legs. “Who gave you the fuckin’ right ta’ talk about my water, huh? Who in fuck’s name are you, ye sorry excuse for a half-price whore?!”

The ever-fashionable Fiorella was too shocked to respond before her leg suddenly sunk knee-deep into what should have been a half-inch of water; she screamed in horror as the horrible stuff splashed up and soaked even more of her clothes. The filth! The germs! She was never going to get these stains out without bleach! Hyperventilating, she tried to pull away before a hand grasped her ankle under the water with a grip that was far too powerful to belong to a mere human.

Adelaide’s pretty face was twisted into a snarl of hatred, her fish’s teeth bared and her dark eyes wide with fury. She rose up out of the water, exposing more of her too-pale skin and the dark freckle-like spots that covered her sides. “How’s the water now, bint,” she seethed, letting her nails dig into the woman’s ankle and prompting a yelp of startled pain. “Y’should be honored I’d even let a rat like you far ‘nough into it to dr-augh, FUCKER!

Almost without thinking, an abhorrently expensive-looking flat had lashed out and kicked the rusalka straight in the face, missing her nose by a precious inch. Fiorella didn’t even notice Adelaide had let go before she was suddenly free of the horrible pool and limping away backwards, the seething fish-girl in the pool curled up defensively on the far edge of the water and holding both hands to one side of her face. The look in her eyes was enough to make sure that the personification of fashion didn’t bother to turn around more than once as she fled.

“You nasty little slut!” Adelaide’s shrieks followed Fiorella as she ran as quickly as was fashionably allowed out of the grimy alley, back towards anything that wasn’t a horrible fish-girl with terrible hair and a desire to kill her. “I’ll find you again, bitch, I’ll eat y’alive! You can’t run from me! I’LL PULL YOU UNDER AND EAT YOU ALIVE, Y’HEAR ME! I’LL FIND YOU!”

A door loomed suddenly out of the shadow of a building; Fiorella dove for it, her clawed ankle twinging in pain as she scrambled on the rough asphalt. She yanked the handle open and sank down inside the instant she was sure there was no water anywhere on the floor. She had no idea what had set that stupid girl off; probably she was just insane and, of course, incredibly jealous. Who wouldn’t be jealous of someone like her, Fiorella thought and tried to pretend she wasn’t shaking as she fixed her hair with trembling hands.
Re: The Wretched Rite - Round One - The Rose Ring
Originally posted on MSPA by Jacquerel.

The very second that Alluvion crossed the threshold he was overcome by a tangible wave of despair. The surrounding walls of the Sanitorium oozed with the desperation of its former inhabitants, the sound of maddened laughter and gibbering rushed through his head and then abruptly faded away. Whoever had lived here before had evidently not been very happy, if this place had its own guardian spirit it was one he did not particularly want to meet.
After he forced his eyes back open it took a few moments to regain his bearings, and several more to convince himself not to leave immediately. The echoes had not been pleasant but they were faint and he was reasonably sure the cave was not dangerous in any way, at least not to him and not any more. Besides, there was nothing interesting outside and he had seen movement in here, he eagerly wanted to meet something else alive so he could try "talking" to it, and there had been no signs out there. His mind made up, he turned to finally examine his surroundings in more detail.

This was about the point where he began to realise that these weren't some kind of natural formation. He wasn't completely unaware of artificial structures, having had to deal with beavers damming upstream of his home in the past, but he'd never imagined they could exist in this scale (or made of anything other than sticks, for that matter). Despite his lack or prior knowledge on houses he couldn't think of any other way the series of corridors ahead of him could have formed. He was no stranger to the concept of erosion and it seemed highly improbable that a river would cut such regular and straight lines by itself (and it wouldn't explain the other buildings, in any case). It was all very impressive.
As buildings go the Bethleham Sanatorium did not feature the world's most beautiful architecture, mostly consisting of long straight corridors leading to cramped cube-shaped cells, but it was still a big step up from a single-room mud-and-sticks beaver's lodge.

In his moment of distraction, he'd lost track of where he'd been heading, and in the maze of corridors that made up the sanatorium wasn't exactly sure where he needed to be going anyway. Fortunately, standing very still, he could hear the echoing sound of footsteps moving through the abandoned halls off in the distance. Eager to make contact with another living being for the first time since being sent here, he decided to just try calling out for attention. His head split almost in two as he opened his mouth, a space large enough to easily accomodate a man's head and lined with tiny sharp teeth styled after an eel's. It wasn't that he would try to swallow a man's head, or would be capable if he tried as water is not well known for its sharpness, but it looked pretty intimidating and he was completely unaware of the fact.
"Hello?! I know you are in here!
Come out please!"

The sound carried well through the empty space, echoing off the stone walls and repeating itself until the whispers faded into the dead air. After those encouraging words, surely his new friend would come right out from its hiding place and say hello?
Re: The Wretched Rite - Round One - The Rose Ring
Originally posted on MSPA by Ixcalibur.

It was not long before Vera grew tired of waiting for someone to find her. She was sure that fate would provide but she had learned from experience that fate rarely provided on the schedule that you wanted it to. As far as she was concerned this was a fight she had been waiting for her whole life and she was impatient to get it started.

She was all ready to pick a direction at random and trust that fate would provide when from a couple of blocks away there was the noise of an explosion. Though her view was blocked she could see smoke billowing up from that direction. The dark plumes contrasting with the azure blue sky; it was a sign, practically an arrow pointing the way to her opponents.

A grin on her face, and a spring in her step Vera hurried along towards the site of the explosion, ready to meet her destiny.


Alice strode purposefully through the upper floors of the old asylum, shrugging off it's eerie emptiness with aplomb. It was only when she came to what she could only presume was some kind of nurse's station that she came to a stop.

There slumped over the table, was a large humanoid bird in a nurse's outfit and cap. Her plumage was a vibrant red. For a moment Alice presumed the bird lady dead, she spotted her chest rising and restfully falling and concluded that she was asleep. Still alive or not this bizarre creature was unlike anything Alice had ever encountered.

The Tsote as a species knew they were not alone in the world, they had a while ago encountered other species from other worlds, amongst them humans. Through these encounters they had learnt that not every species was monogendered (though they still tended to presume female), or so in touch with their own fates. But that was neither here nor there, the point being that none of these other species that they knew of could even remotely be said to resemble the sleeping being in front of her. So where the fuck was she?

Part of her wanted to leave the bird lady to sleep. She partly believed that upon waking the bird lady would see her, and say 'oh sorry dearie there must have been a mixup, you were supposed to appear inside one of the cells, not on the corridor' and then she would be trapped in this awful place, but only part, and not the rational part. That part of her told her something very weird was going on.

She brashly approached the sleeping bird lady. "Hey." she said. "Wake up." She waited for a response, but none was forthcoming. The bird did not even murmur in her sleep. Alice clapped her hands together, stomped her foot, banged a hand down on the table; they did nothing. Resentfully, she made sure her gloves were covering her hands and pushed against the nurse's shoulder. "Get up you lazy good for nothing bird." She said irritably; still no response. Frowning she took a sniff at the sleeping bird, and then took a sudden step back.

Her fate was clear; to sleep forever.


In the library a dark spirit narrated the scene. This wasn't how Sleeping Beauty originally went, with all these strange newcomers in town, but she could work with it.


Alice was running back, past the cells she hadn't even looked into, this time taking more of an interest. Some were empty yes, but some were occupied; their occupants fast asleep under flimsy cotton blankets.

"Hello?! I know you are in here!" A voice rang through the sleeping asylum.

Her pounding heart greeted it with relief, whomever this was she might have more of an idea what was going on. At least Alice hoped she would.

"Come out please!" The voice continued.

She hurried downstairs and quickly located the source of the voice; a creature like a serpent made from dripping water. You know what, she thought, whatever. After glimpsing some of the sleeping patients she wasn't much surprised any more. With no regard for her own safety she marched up to the river spirit and pointed an accusatory finger at it.

"Where am I, what are you, and what the hell is going on?" Alice demanded.

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Re: The Wretched Rite - Round One - The Rose Ring
Originally posted on MSPA by ch00_bakka.


Oh god. Oh god. Fiorella broke down into tears. She couldn't understand what had happened. What was that thing? Those teeth... There was no way she was a normal person. What did that Barabbas guy say? Some sort of zombie or something? Fiorella leaned back against the wall and closed her eyes. She couldn't take much more of this. Taken from her home, that crazy old man, that thing floating in space... And now this. Her clothes covered in muddy water, and almost eaten by a zombie. Oh, and I have to fight. Perfect. Just perfect. I can't wait for that bit.

Fiorella opened her eyes and looked around. And then screamed. There were bodies in the room with her. Several desks, with typewriters and some files, were in neat rows around the room, and at each desk sat a body, slumped in its chair. All of the bodies were humanoid, but most were obviously not human. The two nearest to Fiorella were a large bird and what looked like a wolf. When she recovered, Fiorella went up to the wolf and examined it more closely, then jumped back when she felt hot breath on her face. Are these things alive? What the hell is going on here? She coughed lightly, then said, "Allo? Monsieur Wolf? Can you 'ere me? Allo?" She poked the wolf in the chest, then shook him lightly, trying to wake him up. Is he in a coma or something?and what are these things? They sure aren't from anywhere I've ever been. She saw a badge on the wolf's chest, and examined it. The Kings' Men... Are they cops or something? Looks like it... If I do have to fight, then there might be guns or something in here... I've watched some cop shows, I think I could fore a gun... She searched in the wolf's desk for a minute or so, and after finding several old case files, a box of candy (which she left untouched), another box, this one full of ammunition (she out that one in her purse), and an ancient ham sandwich (which she accidentally touched - she immediately found the restroom and washed her hands afterwards), she had the idea of looking in the wolf's jacket. His pistol was on a shoulder holster, which, after about ten minutes of struggling with the unconscious creature, she stole and wire under her jacket. That feels a bit better. At least I have a weapon now. But I just don't think I could use it - maybe on that zombie thing.

Then Fiorella smelled something. She sniffed for a second, and then froze. Smoke. There was a fire here somewhere. And where there's a fire, there's usually some person. She followed the smoke smell to a door, and then opened it. And froze. The room was a blazing inferno. She slammed the door shut, and was about to run out of the building, when she saw the animal-people sitting at their desks. They would die. She stood there, as more and more heat came from the door behind her, and then grimaced. Shit. I have to leave them. She rn out of the building, as the flames started to burn through the door. Hopefully the people, or animals, or whatever they were, wouldn't feel their death. She fled from the burning building, and ran down the street, towards the castle.

Re: The Wretched Rite - Round One - The Rose Ring
Originally posted on MSPA by MrGuy.

Poran smiled to himself as he looked down at Taelia. She seemed, certainly, harmless enough-- at least as giants go-- and as far as he could tell, her intentions were just as sincere as his. He hopped off the branch and glided down, grabbing his harp before alighting on her knee.

"Greetings, madam!" He did his best to stand up tall, and gently plucked out a few simple chords. Ah, it seems to still be working fine. That's a relief, certainly. "It's quite a pleasure to meet you. I'd shake your hand, but I suspect it would be rather awkward."

Taelia nodded hesitantly, and smiled back. "I must apologize, small one. I at first thought that you might attempt to kill me while I was in an inopportune position."

The Leskrin found it impossible to suppress a chuckle. "I doubt I could manage that without a great deal of luck. The most I've accomplished is killing a Tropari."

She stared back, uncomprehending. "Well, er, they're sort of these really big black birds, about... one-fifth of your size, give or take."

"...So, a crow?"

"Ah, that depends. Can a flock of crows destroy a mountain in a month merely by pecking at it?"
"And on the beach, there are bright red creatures with thick shells and ten legs. The round ones are called crabs, and the segmented ones are called lobsters."

Poran continued scribbling notes, rapidly filling his last piece of paper. "I'm almost positive I've heard tell of the latter, though there's no name for them as of yet. They remain mythical at best." He gently folded the sheet and put it away, then took a deep breath.

"It's been quite informative conversing with you." Inwardly, he added Although considerably odd. Perfectly capable of carrying on a conversation, yet individual concepts cannot be expressed. Perhaps it's mental, and I'm merely overthinking it, causing it to occur; or perhaps it's an inherent limitation of the process, that minor differences between these creatures prevent the same word from being valid? "Anyway, I doubt my ability to survive on my own, so... would you consider an alliance, for the time being at least? I can assure you that I will be helpful." He quickly played a short tune on his harp, sending a flash of purple light spiraling into the air for an instant before it dissipated. "And, should we both last until the end, I doubt you shall have much trouble dispatching me."

Taelia smiled awkwardly at the joke, because it was true. If he ever became trouble-- which, if possible, seemed even more unlikely than before-- it would probably be child's play to dispose of him. And, certainly, an alliance couldn't hurt matters for either one of them. "Alliance accepted, Sir Nempelio Poran kala-Sun. Let it be a fruitful one."
Re: The Wretched Rite - Round One - The Rose Ring
Originally posted on MSPA by Aryogaton.

The Ivy’s situation was worrying. Not dire as of yet, as her apparent confidence seemed to show, but worrying. As much as the Ivy was overwhelming the Walker she used as a home, she was also a slave to its actions. M. would not so easily place a plant under the whims of a Walker, it could only respect the Ivy’s decisions and intervene only when such decisions place herself or a fellow being in danger. The situation was somewhat similar to M.’s experiences in dealing with invasive species and their unfortunate decisions, but the added danger of a Walker in between warrants extra precaution.

M. plucked an apple off its canopy and gently tucked it in a crevice at the base of the Ivy’s growth. Whatever danger she would find herself in, M. would know. It decided to wait and observe the Walker for a few more moments.

M.’s thoughts were interrupted by an explosion in the nearest building. M. tensed. Indeed, the upper floor of the office was a mess of unnatural heat, dancing through the structure in a chaotic pattern. Fire was the most dangerous of the unnatural forces, one that is most ruthless towards M.’s kind. Its main instinct was to attempt to extinguish it, but there were no appropriate tools nearby to douse or smother it. But… the only nearby structures were Walker buildings and the enslaved trees and bushes. Allowing the building to be destroyed would speed wild reclamation of the area. Let it burn.

A Walker dashed out of the burning building, ostensibly panicked, and ran off towards a larger building. M. lamented for a moment that it was not consumed in the fire, but otherwise paid it no heed. A flash of movement exiting the crevice between the burning building and its neighbor was more interesting. M. did not notice it at first, because its heat signature was effectively negative and thus nearly invisible compared to the inferno, but the fact that the moving object was shaped like a Walker caught its attention. M. had seen a number of Walkers successfully disguise their heat signatures, but never one that had an appearance so close to a… corpse. Walker corpses, M. had learned, were things to be ignored and left to nourish the grasses, but this experience was to be challenged if, indeed, Walkers figured out how to make themselves look dead.

M. approached the moving corpse. A smell distinctively reminiscent of swamp filled the air, and followed suit with the corpse as it shirked away from the fire. It noticed M.’s approach and sunk into the puddle of water it seemed to be generating, half a head above the waterline.

M. was confused. The moving corpse disappeared into a puddle. Upon a closer examination of the water, however, M. observed that it was deeper than it looked, as if there were neat holes in the unnatural earth in exactly the shape of the water on it. It was a physical inconsistency. This day already challenged a surprisingly large number of M.’s experiences, and it seemed to begin with the chaotic storm it had seen earlier. Perhaps it was time to figure out these anomalies.

M. lifted a foot towards the water and extended a root, intending to determine whether the hole-making was an unusual property of the water itself. Immediately, the moving corpse thrashed and seized the root, ripping it off and uttering hisses at M., who jumped back. The wound would heal quickly on its own, but evidently, the moving corpse was quite territorial with its water. Regardless, this creature seemed to share the same paranoia and aggression as a typical Walker. M. plucked another apple from its canopy and tossed it at the moving corpse. The fruit bounced harmlessly off, landed in the water with a soft splash, and proceeded to release its acidic juices into the water. The moving corpse, now furious, lashed forward, spreading a large amount of swampy water over M. Before it could realize it, the earth underneath M.’s feet disappeared and the moving corpse grabbed its legs and pulled it down.