The Wretched Rite - Round Three - DSRS Darwin

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

"Where am I, what are you, and what the hell is going on?"
Alluvion didn't know quite what he had been expecting but it wasn't anger. He actually recoiled in suprise as the strange new creature waved an appendage at him and started rapidly listing off questions, and slid a few inches backwards across the smooth floor tiles and leaving a trail of moisture that evaporated in the space of seconds.

Then again, he supposed, most animals don't actually like being disturbed. What had he been thinking, just barging into its den like this and shouting? Clearly seperation from the river was clouding his thoughts, he would have to make amends quickly!
Reaching out with his extra senses he was pleasantly suprised to learn that they still seemed to work on whatever it was that he was conversing with. Not particularly well, he would admit, but it was more than he had expected from a creature so obviously not designed for aquatic life (those circular limbs looked so unsuitable for swimming, and it was much too large!). While he couldn't quite gauge his new companion's precise intentions, desires or prayers he could detect anger, confusion and a simmering background layer of... desperation? resentment? More than a little stubbornness too.

The potency of the emotions also came as a bit of a suprise to him. Contrary to popular belief, fish can get mad, however their brains aren't really big enough to process emotions for long so they rarely hold grudges and often forget why they were angry in the first place after a couple of minutes. Concepts such as fear of mortality, predetermination and existential dread are also alien to them, so the fact that he wasn't used to the subtle intricacies of the feelings of a sentient species means he might actually have misread the situation a little bit.

He did also glean one useful bit of information, Alice's gender. Fish also don't get offended if you use the wrong pronoun talking to them but she probably would, it's fortunate that he'd at least not stick his metaphorical foot any further into his mouth by starting the conversation that way.
The psychic investigation took him less than a second, so after only a very brief awkward pause he opened his mouth again and fired off a barrage of replies and questions at lightning speed.

"Most apologies mistress I did not intend to disturb you! I am Alluvion and I am... I am a uh..." he suddenly realised he didn't actually know the answer to the second question, but in the true style of his followers spent less than a second worrying about this and just forged on anyway "Probably a river! We are in your lodge are we not? Truly this is an impressive contruction! I have never seen one as the like? Where did you get all this stone, and how is it so smooth? I have seen many wooden lodges but they were far smaller than this, and made only out of sticks. What is going on? Well I was watching the fish and then suddenly we were all in a different place! There was a very very big someone there with us but fortunately I don't think he noticed me, then I was here and I saw your lodge. There was moving inside and nowhere else, so I came in to see if there was anyone around and there was! That was you and then you asked me some questions. I am sorry if I am trespassing in your territory just say the word and I will leave I do not even intend to try and eat you."

As he slowed down to an eventual halt, he realised that Alice was just standing there staring at him, an unreadable expression on her face (not that he was practised at face reading anyway, another social skill lacked by fish).
"Apologies again, was that too many words? I am not much practiced at speaking I am not sure what is accepted.
Please do stop me if I am doing something that is not to be done."

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

Vera strode down the middle of the street towards the smoke she had deemed a marker from fate. Perhaps others in this situation would have been more wary, sticking to the side-streets or dodging down alleyways in an effort not to draw attention to themselves. Vera felt no need for such stealthy tactics; she was filled with an unflappable confidence that can only stem from knowing no matter what course of action you take you will inevitably be the victor.

On the way to her destination she spotted a woman walking unsteadily down the street, she was clothed in tattered rags and with some kind of vegetation growing from her back. She seemed dimly familiar from the commencement of the battle; though Vera could not be sure. She had been pretty out of it with the ill-fate of the Unborn overwhelming everything in that realm.

Vera could not imagine that this decrepit woman would be able to put up much of a fight. She momentarily considered pulling her pistol and putting an immediate end to this first competitor, but this was an idle thought, one that even she did not believe she would realize. Vera aimed to savour this competition; savour what fate had in store for her. To this end she pulled from its sheath her razorwhip, wound it around her palm and marched towards Olivia, the woman who was to be her first conquest in this battle.


The words of the creature spilled forth like the river it claimed to be. It did not appear to pause for thought or consideration and by the end of its tirade Alice’s face was etched into a scowl, her arms folded, her eyebrows furrowed. For all the many things it had said it had not said anything profoundly helpful, and Alice’s mind could not help but fixate on the fact that it believed that this was where she lived; here in a mental hospital. Where the hell did strange monster creatures get off telling her she belonged in a place like this? Alluvion gazed at her with a rapt fascination, almost studying her, attempting to figure out just what she might do next.

“Get out of my way!” she yelled, marching up to the river spirit. “I don’t want any part of this hellhole!” And with that she stormed past the bemused river spirit. She headed straight for the double doors and out into the courtyard, where she stopped to catch her breath.

Out here in the fresh air, and no longer in a madhouse she felt a little better, though the thought that nothing had really been solved nagged at her. She was still lost and far from what passed for her home with little to no concept of what had brought her here. Plus there was the issue of those sleeping people, but she supposed if she had an answer to where she was and why she might be convinced to let sleeping phoenices lie. They were none of her damn business anyway.

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

Adelaide was, as to be expected, fucking furious.

It was insult enough to have been kicked in the face by a dolled-up dock whore just as she was getting close to a decent meal, then to have a fire of all goddamn things start drying up all the water in the area, but she drew the absolute line at having to deal with being pelted by fruit. Exactly what was she doing that seemed to shout to people, “Hello, I’m a friendly fucking person, why don’t you all just come up and have a go at me, I’m sure we’ll be best mates in no time and while you’re at it why don’t you chuck an apple at my head, that would just be fucking grand”? The rusalka was lost for an answer. She consoled herself by biting through one of M.’s roots and spitting it into the murky depths.

The plant-cat was not content to just sit there and take it like a champ, however. Adelaide’s skin, already raw from the waves of acid, was being raked by thorny claws and bitten by creaking jaws, scraped by twisting branches and slapped with leaves. The panther body curled around the rusalka’s and the two spun like furious dancers, locked in hissing, biting combat. Adelaide’s horrible undead strength was battling her increasing desire to flee from the acid burning through her skin as she ripped and tore at M., desperately looking for anything resembling organs. She encountered only more thorns, though, and as another apple bathed her face in stinging liquid she gave the creature a final, vicious slap with a muted crack and shoved it down through the water towards the omnipresent darkness.

Kicking sulkily, Adelaide pushed herself away from the now-sinking M. and swam for the surface where she circled slowly, licking her wounds. The drowning beast tilted frantically from side to side, futilely trying to right itself in the maddening darkness. She sneered. No one lasted long in her abyss, not even the strong ones. Either they drowned on their own like this one was doing or she did them the favor of helping them along. She’d let the water finish the plant-cat and then she’d have one less thing to worry about in this new hell of a place.

As the minutes passed, however, the rusalka noticed a rather prominent flaw in her plan. The panther body of her assailant hadn’t even slowed its struggling, let alone died. Its mouth gaped mutely in the greenish murk and its sides heaved in a mimicry of terror, but it thrashed with as much energy as it had gone in with. Angrily she eyed the shrub on its back, suspicion taking root in her mind. Plants drowned, didn’t they? Trees rotted in water. She’d built herself a nest of branches for her treasures once, when she’d first turned, and that had crumbled away in the mud. But that was weeks, she remembered. Not minutes. Idly she watched as M. convulsed and clawed at nothing, fighting for purchase on the emptiness that surrounded it. Its progress was negligible.


Think of the smell.


Above ground, the air was filled with the roar of collapsing buildings and the faint, terrible smell of burning flesh. Everyone near the fire had fled, and there was no one to see the surface of a particularly cloudy puddle ripple inexplicably; even if there had been, they would undoubtedly have been startled off by the sudden arrival of a massive wooden body exploding out of the water and skidding to a halt on the asphalt quite a distance away. Immediately the now-sopping creature was on its feet, vines and leaves quivering in the uncomfortably dry air as a dark head emerged from the water, a scowl so deeply ingrained in its face it could have been carved from stone.

“An’ stay the fuck out!” Adelaide shrieked, dragging herself up on her elbows. She pointed a curved nail at the sloping form of M. and growled. “You and yer apples, the both of you. Look’itch you’ve done to my skin!” She pointed to herself, indicating a few patches that were an even unhealthier color than usual.

The plant creature gave no response, only waving its head in the rusalka’s direction and stomping a rooted foot on the ground. It turned to face the burning buildings then turned back, tendrils waving. Its feet shifted and its tail whipped through the air.

“What,” Adelaide grumbled, leaning back into the water. She blew a few bubbles across the surface of the water. “D’you want me ta’ carry you again, y’great shrub? Or’re we going to play pantomime until we both burn t’ crisps?”

No response. The plant thing’s mouth opened and closed with a creak of branches.

Not knowing what to make of this, the rusalka considered diving again and resurfacing somewhere less likely to be occupied by moving topiaries that leaked nasty burning stuff and ruined her lovely skin. Anywhere near the fire was off limits, obviously, unless she wanted to be baked like a salmon, but there was still the hills. They wouldn’t burn for some time, she guessed. There had to be somewhere she could go without taking a boot to the face or getting her poor water all fouled up by nasty fruit.

Before she could submerge, however, M. hunkered down and began to creep towards her, taking exaggeratedly careful steps as if stalking a particularly dense animal. Adelaide bristled, preparing to dive, only to find that the panther body was extending roots towards her. She bared her needly teeth in warning, but the tendrils came closer until they were a mere few feet away, then lay placidly still. The panther had stopped moving as well, frozen in a tense crouch. The rusalka found herself reminded of an awkward new neighbor, hand extended for shaking and face locked into a rigor of politeness. Except that in this case the neighbor didn’t have a face. Or hands.

M. had no knowledge of the language of Walkers, but it gathered from the memories of the panther it had once been what the corpse in the water was trying to say. The bared teeth and the extended claws were clear indications of hostility, as were the thing’s narrowed eyes and hunched posture, but the way it kept to the rear of its curious pool and regarded <i>M.</i>’s tendrils expressed an immediate unwillingness to fight. M. was also hesitant to begin another engagement: it was lacking some rather large roots and had sustained many more bites and scrapes of varying severity from the corpse’s attacks. It hoped that the pale thing would be able to understand its desire to discontinue their battle. M. was unsure of the corpse’s intelligence, though it by no means had high hopes.

Green water splashed again from the dead Walker’s strange pool- M. could not help but shudder at the thought of the terrible confusion that same water had brought on- but it was not the swamping wave that the corpse had thrown at it earlier. It only slightly dampened the strange ground as the corpse made that odd screaming sound again. Was it angry? It was difficult to tell if this dead Walker was ever anything but angry. It seemed to be gesturing now, though. Towards the hills.

As reluctant as M. was to follow the directions of any Walker, even (and especially) a dead one, it couldn’t deny what had prompted it to stay near the corpse even after it had attacked him so viciously. The strange water that surrounded it reeked of all the scents of a healthy river: fertile mud, thriving weeds, the spawn of insects and the blood of fish, all hiding under a powerful overtone of water not yet tainted by the stink of Walkers and their horrible toxins. Even as it had struggled in the highly alarming underground swamp (were there subterranean pools here? M. had heard of such things in the past) the plant spirit could not help but to wonder why no water flora existed in such fruitful waters. Perhaps the corpse had eaten it all? M. doubted this, given the sharp teeth he had become so familiar with. The spirit made a mental note to examine this dilemma later, when there was not quite so much fire in the area.

The corpse vanished suddenly, and M. looked around in surprise before noticing its dark and angry face emerging from a cramped-looking smear of water a quite a ways away. It should not have been possible to travel so far in so little time, but as the panther body began to lope towards the impatiently waiting Walker-corpse it found that it didn’t much care for what went on in the strange water so long as it stayed pure and the plant spirit didn’t find itself tumbling about hopelessly in its curious depths.

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

Taelia felt rather more confident and at ease now that she had someone with her that she felt she could trust. Of course, in a game such as this one, “trust” was a fickle thing, but when she considered that Poran could easily have stabbed her in the back whilst she had sat underneath the tree, she realised that it would be a little silly not to accept his gesture of friendship.

And besides, his music was nice.

Now that she had someone to talk to, the silence did not seem to be so constricting. This curious little creature was unlike anything she had ever seen before, and she found his rather noble demeanour, and the bizarre conversation they were having amusing.

“Where did you learn to play your music so well?” she asked.

<font color="#00C957">“Oh, well!” Poran said, clearly pleased by this compliment. “I always knew I wanted to become a bard. I went into training at a very young age, and was trained by some of the very best! But ah! A life for me was a lie of travelling and entertainment: I do what I do for the love of the art, rather than for the love of worldly riches.”

He was clearly ready to continue with this exposition when suddenly there was an explosion from the town. From their vantage point on the hills, they had a very clear view of the building on fire.

“Wow!” Taelia exclaimed.

“Well...I suppose it wouldn’t be called a battle without some fighting.” Poran said darkly.

“Do you think that was part of a fight?” Taelia asked nervously.

“If it was, and if that was someone using some sort of power, I guess it doesn’t bode well for either of us,” Poran said in his trademark cheerful point-blank style.

“Maybe it was just an accident,” Taelia said hopefully. “Maybe we should head down there and see. Maybe someone’s hurt.” She left it open as to whether this would be a good thing or a bad thing.

Neither of them made the first move to go at first, but finally, Poran plucked a note from his harp and, with a deep breath, began to make his way down the hill, Taelia beside him. He began to play a rousing tune with his harp designed to lift the spirits and increase determination, but other than that, they walked in silence for a while; the reality of the battle they were in hitting hard once more.

Finally, Taelia began to ask question that she had been burning to ask. “Poran? What...what is the last thing you remember before c- What on earth is that?” She exclaimed. They had walked into the village proper and turned a corner to see M. lumbering towards them. Suddenly, from a puddle directly in front of them, Adelaide, too, popped out.

The two groups stared at each other for a second, before Taelia stood in front of Poran and raised her sword.

“Who are you, and what is your intent?” She cried, inwardly pleased that her voice sounded a lot more confident then she felt inside.
Re: The Wretched Rite - Round One - The Rose Ring
Originally posted on MSPA by ch00_bakka.

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

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

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

Typical. Almost disconcertingly so. In the first confrontation, the immediate thought is to produce a weapon. Despite this, M. knew that Walkers were fearful creatures, rarely attacking if unprovoked. M.’s swampy companion was already conversing with the Walker in their strange language, so it diverted its attention to the flying rodent.

It seemed to be afloat by wings similar to that of a dragonfly or damselfly. Categorizing such a combination simply as another impossibility this day has produced, M. simply observed as the rodent began strumming a wooden instrument.

Adelaide brushed aside the sword. “This day’s been bad enough without people pointin’ bloody fucking swords at me at firs’ glance.”

She disappeared under the water and reappeared behind Taelia, peering through her tangled hair with a grimace. Taelia spun around and took a step back, attempting to maintain her air of confidence.

“Y’could start with yer damn name.”

Taelia blinked. “I am Taelia Omanguard, of the line of the Great Eluria Omanguard…”

Adelaide hardly paid any attention. Today’s feeding attempts haven’t been successful at all, but then again, maybe third time’s a charm.

Poran hardly knew what to think of the strange creature before him. It was larger than even the most fearsome of animals he knew back home, yet had the characteristics of a welcoming, fruitful apple tree.

“Greetings! I am Nempelio Poran kala-Sun, sixth child of the Sun clan. I don’t suppose you could enlighten me to, er… exactly what you are?”

The animal plant simply continued its eyeless stare.

“…Do you talk?”

No response.

I suppose that’s a no. But perhaps—Poran looked at his harp—the universal language might provide a suitable means of communication. He strummed a roll. Something appropriate. A jungle theme, perhaps.

With regard to the sounds that Walkers can make, there are three distinct categories. One is that which is made with seemingly-natural mechanisms, characteristically chaotic yet apparently suitable for Walkers to communicate rather cohesively. The second is noise, loud or otherwise, which is produced by the various machinery and other unnatural objects Walkers are capable of making. The third, the one with which M. finds the most intrigue and took the most deliberation in categorizing as different from noise, could only be described as rhythmic. Like noise, it was immensely varied in tone and complexity, but had a difference in that it consisted of patterns, and seemed to convey as much information to Walkers as their speech, even on M. itself.

For the moment, M. attempted to concern itself more with the fact that the flying rodent carried an object crafted from the flesh of a tree. Crafting objects from wood was an overwhelmingly Walker trait, but M. had seen its cache of beaver dams and nests. The look of bare, barkless wood was revolting. Like ivory, minus artisan appreciation.

Yet, there was something alluring about the instrument, a phenomenon M. had felt towards other instances of rhythmic sound as well. As if M. was supposed to be able to do something with it. Something M. was supposed to do.

Poran was baffled. Even the most ferocious of wild animals at least showed some form of emotional change with finely crafted music. Flowers and plants, even, seemed to look more beautiful in the presence of beautiful music. Could a living being be so starved of passion and emotion? Maybe it was deaf.

The bard stopped playing, feeling defeated. He noticed the plant creature tilt its head and a vine-like tendril extended from underneath its canopy, reaching for him. Rather, reaching towards his harp.

Under any other circumstance, Poran would not have let any wild creature to touch his belongings, especially not his instrument. But the moving plant was so strange that his curiosity forced him to stay motionless. The tendril came up and strummed the harp once before retreating.

Neither noticed a patch of grass peeking through the cobble that wasn’t there before.

That was enough experimentation for one moment. The flying rodent seemed to be of no threat; it’s time to resume reclamation. M. moved towards the nearest concrete wall, and Poran followed.

All materials Walkers utilize have their weaknesses. The proper way to dispose of wood is either natural decomposition or through fire, both of which restore the material of the wood back into its natural environment and give it proper and natural death procedures. Concrete was surprisingly resilient, but had the convenient weakness of acid, which M. knew to exploit all too well.

One apple, three vines, each in a strategic location. Within minutes, the wall would crumble, taking the rest of the building with it. M. approached Adelaide, still conversing with the sword-happy Walker. It bowed its head, formed a pitcher from a tendril, obtained a sample of swampy, fertile water, and headed towards the untouched hill.

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

Vera strode confidently towards her first opponent, the scientist with the plant growing from her back. This was it, this was the moment she had spent her whole life waiting for, the reason she had been in training for as long as she could remember. Part of her was eager to fulfil her fate, to just pull out her pistol and shoot Olivia dead where she stood, but most of her was keen to savour this moment. With a cocky grin she unsheathed her razorwhip and cracked it across the cobbled street. However she did not move to attack, instead pausing and savouring the anticipation present in this moment.

“I will give you a moment to make peace with your fate.” Vera’s voice was almost condescendingly kind, as though she was being almost unnaturally gracious by allowing Olivia just a few moments more before she ended her life. “If it helps I will not enjoy what I am about to do. I am merely an agent of fate.”

The words were just ceremony; she did not mean the words even as she said them. While she was elated to be finally carrying out her destiny she would admit that she didn’t particularly look forward to ending the life of another. Not because she felt sympathetic, it would be folly to feel sympathy for those damned by fate, but the actual physical actions of killing turned her stomach. None of this showed upon her face though, her smug smirk remaining in place as she readied herself for combat.


Alice was keen to put some distance between herself and the water creature that had accosted her, to be honest she was keen to put some distance between herself and this whole unfamiliar town. She would have done so if she had any concept of exactly where she was, and how to return to a location that made some kind of sense. Instead she wandered the streets of the town, peering through windows at the slumbering people who lay within. She wasn’t sure how she felt just abandoning that water thing. It had been rude yes but on the other hand it was the only actually awake creature that she had encountered in this strange place. Then again perhaps that was all the more reason to avoid it. In the distance she could hear voices. She experienced the same moment of indecision; it seemed likely that these were the voices of those who had inflicted this unnatural slumber upon the town, and therefore made sense to avoid them. But on the other hand what the hell did that accomplish? Whatever was going on, she refused to hide from it. She would not cower in the darkness and hope it left her alone.

She followed the sound of the voices through an alleyway to where a human and a humanish thing were talking, the latter of the pair semi-submerged in a puddle of foul water. Past them, there was something small with semi-transparent cyan wings and a strangely shaped tangle of vines was spreading something on the wall of a building, and then watching as that wall slowly rotted away and collapsed. The discussion between the humans paused as they regarded the destruction caused by the plant creature. Alice’s instincts told her in no uncertain terms that approaching the group was a bad idea, but she had come this far. Part of her, part that she hated but couldn’t help but agree with, noted that they were not her fated enemy, they could not kill her. She emerged from the alley she had been covertly viewing the group from, and stomped towards them.

“Who are you people?” Alice demanded. “And what the fuck is going on?”

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


Alluvion's sluglike method of propulsion was efficient, considering he didn't have any solid limbs to speak of, but by no means fast. As he flowed across the tiles of the sanatorium to follow the fleeing Tsote it was almost immediately apparent that he hadn't a hope in hell of catching up to her. Quickly realising this he tried calling out, "Wait... please!" but she showed no sign of stopping, either because she didn't hear or just didn't care.
Alluvion continued his doomed pursuit until she vanished from sight between a pair of houses depressingly close to the steel gates of the building they had just left before he stopped, defeated. Evidently these were not sociable animals living here, despite the close proximity of their nests to each other (now that he knew the houses for what they were he wasn't sure how he had ever mistaken them for anything else), and it had been foolish of him to barrage his find with so many questions. But this was all so new and exciting! He simply had to find out more about what kind of place he was in, how these amazing dens were constructed, what kind of creature had made that loud, echoing roar earlier and, and... so many other things!
Thoughts of how to get back to where he had come from hadn't even yet crossed his mind, he was so fascinated with learning about his new surroundings, nor the fact that if he didn't get back he was eventually going to die.

Now, if he wanted to get any answers to any of these questions he was going to have to go and find someone else to talk to (Talking, such a useful invention! Why don't fish do that?) and a tree simply wouldn't do. He'd only seen one other living animal so far (although he wasn't sure if he himself actually counted as an animal) and he'd just scared it away, so it wasn't likely to talk to him again. Maybe though, if he followed it, it would lead him to more of its kind. Presumably these nests were only used at night or to protect the young as while he could sense a faint something inside of each it couldn't possibly be enough to constitute a living being, so all the creatures must be somewhere else (looking for food?) and if he had been a creature under stress he'd definitely try to flee into a large group of his own kind for protection. Not that there were any of those around here.
His general animal-knowledge field hadn't had much effect on the Tsote when he had tried to use it to read her mind, but as he reached out with it again he could still get a vague sense of her presence some distance away, although she was quickly moving to the limit of his range. Now with a new purpose and a sense of direction, he surged off again in the same general direction as Alice.

Once again Alluvion's lack of legs hindered him somewhat in his pursuit, but even as Alice disappeared completely from his psychic detection field he still knew vaguely where she had been going and some minutes later found himself overlooking the same scene as she had, to see a loose collection of entirely dissimilar entities engaged in what could be a fight or perhaps just heated discussion.
His circuitous route around the alleyways had caused him to emerge from a totally different street than the one his quarry had confidently strode from shouting questions just a couple of minutes earlier, but unlike Alice he chose not to make a dramatic entrance. He'd already tried that and it had failed spectacularly.
Hoping they hadn't seen the sun glittering off his reflective body, Alluvion slipped backwards into the shadows to observe until he could deduce which one was likely to be most receptive to conversation. The confrontational approach hadn't worked last time and while his skills at interpersonal relationships definitely still needed a lot of work, nobody could accuse him of not learning from his mistakes.
Re: The Wretched Rite - Round One - The Rose Ring
Originally posted on MSPA by MrGuy.

"Fuck." Poran easily derived, though he still wasn't quite sure whether from context or the mysterious translation, the word's profane intent. He pondered if it was commonly used whin poetry. True, curses are rarely found in your typical ode, but that would merely make using them more groundbreaking... perhaps, when Taelia finishes her dialogue with the revenant, I shall obtain their opinions. Lacking the shoulders necessary to shrug, he instead shook his head before turning to Alice. She appeared quite similar to that contestant, albeit much shabbier-looking, and it was fairly clear she hadn't been there for the explanation of events, so she'd have to be brought up to speed. Taelia and Adelaide were busy intently discussing something or other, so he took it upon himself to greet the newcomer.

Poran quickly fluttered over towards the Tsote. "Greetings, madame!" He smiled at her with beady yellow eyes; her bronze pair stared back, uncomprehending. The Leskrin fidgeted a bit, frowned, and then smiled again. "Oh, my apologies. That is, nice fucking day to you! You appear to have wandered into a, hm..." He wracked his brain for other mutterings of Adelaide he'd barely overheard. "Ah, yes. Our battle to the fuckin' death, or some shit!"

Alice continued staring blankly at the foul-mouthed, yet otherwise polite, creature as he went on about bald guys and trees and harps endlessly. She eventually managed to send a signal by coughing repeatedly, as he blinked in realization. "Ah, terribly sorry! My name is Nempelio Poran kala-Sun, sixth--"

The Tsote sighed and glanced around. Surely there had to be someone more interesting who could explain it to her, because it was certainly difficult to pay attention to the ceaseless stream of blabber this creature was spouting.

Poran's ears twitched a bit. "Well, we're in an abandoned fuckin'--"

"You don't have to curse. I can damn well understand you without it."

The Leskrin blinked, then smiled. "Ah, terribly sorry. Anyway, an abandoned village, I suppose, and the lady in yonder puddle seems to share your proclivities in terms of word choice, which is why I was speaking in such a tone, you see, to..."

Dear god does this furry bastard ever stop talking. Alice rolled her eyes and wandered off. "Hey, thanks, but, I'll just figure it out myself. Seeya."

Poran stared at her, dejected, as she headed over to the puddle. Oh my, I didn't even get a chance to tell her about that one woman that looked so similar to her! Oh, well, no matter; surely she'll find out eventually.

Realizing they still didn't know all that much about the locale, Poran decided to fly higher in order to get his bearings. It did, indeed, seem to be an abandoned village; certainly, he couldn't see anyone wandering about. He did, however, catch the scent of smoke. He turned to see the inferno that used to be the police office, which soon threatened to spread to the neighboring buildings.

He quickly began improvising a frantic, discordant tune, seized by the desire to capture this moment. After a few seconds of this, struck by the realization that this might be a little important, he swooped back down to the other contestants to make sure they were still alright.

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

“So what’s going on here?”

Adelaide smirked, glancing up at the newcomer. She was in a better mood now that she had some willing prey (who, most importantly, hadn’t tried to attack her yet, or at least not very hard) and decided that she didn’t really feel like eating this new girlie. Not right now, anyway. She looked half-dead already; wasn’t much more than half a meal there to be had anyways. Pity. Nice hair. She laughed a pretty little titter and bared her fish’s teeth at Alice.

“Nothin’ at all, lady, just me and this fetching thing here havin’ a chat,” she purred, propping her head up on one hand and twitching the corner of her mouth teasingly. “See, she’s never met a rusalka before, y’see, and we’ve been havin’ quite the little heart-to-heart. Fancy that, eh?” She stroked a finger lightly across the back of Taelia’s hand, whose expression rapidly decided that it didn’t know whether to be disgusted or flattered and settled for mild embarrassment.

Alice stared. She didn’t like the way Adelaide was looking at her, dark eyes narrowed in what would have been a flirtatious leer if there hadn’t been something glinting in them that sent a chill down the Tsote’s spine. A muddled and cloudy fate hung about her freckled shoulders like a miasma, reeking of water and something odd and sharp that made her stomach curl. It was unusually obscure; Alice could barely read any of it, which unnerved her. All she could discern of this greenish girl was a vague disaster, long since past, and hunger, the hunger of a starving animal-

“Y’gonna keep staring, there, girl,” the rusalka chuckled, covering her bare chest with exaggerated modesty. “S’not polite, is it?” She shook her hair down, where it did a spectacular job of failing to obscure anything at all.

Alice shook her head angrily. “I wasn’t asking about you and her,” she said, glaring at the blushing Taelia. “I was asking about this. All this. Why are we here?”

Adelaide shrugged. “Y’heard the man, din’t you?”

“No! What man? I just showed up here!”

“We all did, chit,” the rusalka said, looking bored. “Did the whole yellin’ and screamin’ bit, some old bastard with one foot in ’is grave rambled fr’ an hour or so… you were there, girl. I saw you, din’t I?” She looked at Taelia for support, who nodded hesitantly. “You were ’en yelling yerself, towards the end.”

With a tired sigh Alice decided to give up this line of questioning. The girl was clearly delusional or confused or both. She hadn’t given up that smirk yet either, the one that made Alice feel like she was a piece of meat being circled by a wild beast, and it was starting to grate on her nerves. “So what now,” she said, staring around at the odd group gathered around. The flying mouse flitted far above their heads, occupied with some unknown task.

“You, um,” Taelia started, following her gaze nervously. “We’re supposed-”

“D’you remember anything, then?” The rusalka interrupted, tapping her hooked nails on the ground. She kicked her legs below the surface; water pooled up and ran out onto the grass. “Christ, ye must’ve hit yer head on the way here. Or gotten drunk.”

“Oh, be nice, Addy, she’s confused!”

“Shut up.”


“Look, I just need to know what I’m doing here-”

“Oh, that’s easy enough, girl,” Adelaide crooned, flexing the talons resting on her jaw. “Yer s’posed to die.”


Elsewhere, a princess slept.

No, I should be more specific than that. There were a number of princesses in the castle alone, let alone the town, most of them indistinguishable from this one. Blond, young, beautiful, and guaranteed to come with at least half the kingdom; she was nothing you wouldn’t expect to find in your usual storybook fare. But she was human, and that was more than could be said for the rest of the town. She would do in a pinch.

It’d been a rather slapdash affair, getting this all together. Not my fault, that. There are limits to what you can change in a given span of time, aren’t there? It wouldn’t be believable if I changed the entire setting beyond what I already had. Everyone asleep all at once; the usual nonsense about the Curse, the Sorceress, the Spindle, the Hedge. You all know where this one is going. On close inspection the parts of the story didn’t quite connect: why had no one heard of this curse before? Why had no one removed the spinning wheel from the tower room? Shouldn’t the princess have known about the curse? Sloppy, I know, but what else could I do? It wasn’t like I had time to plan this. Certainly if I had the arrangements wouldn’t have been quite so bland.

Our makeshift princess lay on a bed in the highest room of the tallest tower, her lily-white gown marred only by a single spot of blood on the sleeve. The symbolism was obvious: a maiden pure of heart struck down in the prime of her life by the cruel hand of fate. Tragedy at its finest. But of course she wasn’t really dead, not yet- merely cursed by the miniscule wound on her finger. A spindle prick. Her sixteenth (seventeenth? Eighteenth? What difference did it make?) birthday; a prophecy fulfilled. Classic. She would be woken by a hero’s kiss, the curse would end, and all sorts of uncomfortable questions about the type of man who would romance a sleeping girl would remain unasked.

But there was the hitch in my plan, the spindle in my finger, if you will. Heroes are just as rare as princesses. Probably even more so, given the one to three (or twelve, or five, or twenty) ratio that seems to crop up so often. Yes, I know what you’re thinking here- why not the Youngest Son, the Returning Soldier? The Merchant’s Child, the Unpresuming Fisherman? The usual suspects. Well of course I’d considered them, you silly fool. Who did you think I was? The problem was that the hero had to be an
outsider- no peasant lad would do in this situation, no matter how deserving. I needed a wandering Prince, or something of the sort. A strange hero, unknown in this land. Conveniently oblivious to the meaning of the Hedge and the true identity of the sleeping princess.

Just my luck to receive eight of them, then, isn’t it? Right out of the wild blue yonder.

It was of course a shame that so many of them were female, and the only true male not even human. In way, though, I suppose it was wryly fitting- this was an odd retelling of an old tale to begin with. A woman Prince was certainly not any more out of line than a patchwork legend about an insulted witch and a magic shrub, when you thought about it. It’s not like I had any other option. We have to make do with what fate gives us, alas, even I.

It would not be particularly challenging to lure the Prince, whoever she would be, to the castle. Any hero with half a dash of sense would recognize that the highest location was always the most important. Even now they’d gathered in the hills- if only I’d thought to include a Sleeping King or an Enchanted Grove! Such missed opportunities pain me; they hint at negligence and sloth. Still, the fire couldn’t keep them back forever, could it? It wouldn’t destroy anything of importance. That would make for a poor story indeed. Sooner or later, something would lure them back. It was only a matter of time.

Still, what’s a story without some drama?

In the lowest room of the tower, a sleeping dragon woke.

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

M. moved towards the hill in the distance – a preserve of nature, away from all this artificial nonsense that Man had decided to create where nature should rightfully reign supreme. M. spontaneously decided that he would return here once it had gathered its thoughts and worked out the best way to return this area to nature.

As it moved however, it became aware of a large source of water in the alley he was walking past. Directing its senses in that direction, it saw a strange sight – water holding itself in a certain shape without having a container in which to support itself. Wondering if this was somehow another human construct, M. moved a little closer. At the very least, it might be able to find a way to bring this large source of water with him to help him with the preservation of nature.

As M. moved closer to this strange anomaly, however, it slowly backed away from him. Confused, M. stretched its tendrils out towards this source of water.

“Erm... Hello there!” Alluvion boomed shyly. Try as he might, he was still not entirely sure what volume his speech should be at, though he was trying to be slightly less confrontational. His previous attempt at conferring with another living being had not been a great success, and it was not entirely sure what this creature currently walking towards him was. It looked vaguely like some of the trees that grew on the bank of his river, but in a strange shape that it had not ever seen before.

The tree began to move some of its roots towards Alluvion. Alluvion stopped moving, realising that this strange tree would probably benefit from its water just as well as a normal tree. He felt a strange sensation as the tendrils touched him, as though somebody was thinking to him rather than talking to him.

Brother River, M. began, how is it that you move in such a way, separate from any containing mechanisms?

“I don’t know,” Alluvion replied simply. “One second I was in my river, tending to my fish, and the next I was suddenly somewhere else. I’ve always been able to move like this.” Alluvion was a little confused at the question: he had never felt a need to question his motor abilities: indeed, they were the norm for him.

I sense that you, too, are a nature spirit, Brother. M. continued. Come, help me restore nature to this land.

“Yes, of course!” Alluvion replied enthusiastically. Incredibly happy that he had made a new friend, Alluvion made to move to the nature spirit’s side. Poran, who had been watching the proceedings flew down and landed on M.’s shoulder, strumming a tune on his harp.

“Mind if I tag along?” he asked, playing a hopeful, upbeat tune.


“Yer s’posed to die.”

Die. The word echoed in Taelia’s consciousness. The bitter finality of the word touched her less because of the word itself, but because of the nonchalant way that Adelaide had mentioned it.

Yer s’posed to die. Die.

Try as she might, Taelia could not remove Adelaide’s voice from her mind. Die. And the words kept echoing in her mind. Beads of sweat collected on her forehead and the world suddenly began to spin - a feeling of unreality began to overtake her, and she felt as though she was a cold outside observer watching the events unfold.

There stood Alice, mouth still agape at what Adelaide had said – unsure, perhaps, as to whether she had misheard, or perhaps that it had been a joke. Behind them, M. and Alluvion had starting talking to each other, Poran hovering unseen over their heads.


In her mental absence, something else, deep within her subconscious awoke and made its way to the forefront.

With an almost mental yawn and stretch, The Omen set eyes on the world after millennia of imprisonment. Almost disbelieving his luck, The Omen realised what had happened. An incredibly specific set of circumstances had led to him possessing this little girl – Taelia – the descendant of that same bitch who had imprisoned him in the first place. Relishing the irony, The Omen decided that he would play with his little toy before destroying her psyche and taking her body for his own. With an inward chuckle, The Omen hid himself within the shadows of her mind, and began to slowly manipulate her actions.

Die. She thought once again, almost whimsically. A curious word. One that changed meaning depending on the subject to which it referred. Die...You die. You’re supposed to die.


You die. I kill. You’re supposed to die. I’m supposed to kill.

I’m supposed to kill... you.


A pen flew across a page, writing furiously to keep up with the spring of ideas bursting forth from the writer’s mind.

That little girl with a sword looks a lot like a fairy tale character. Gretel? No, no, not that one... besides, there’s no Hansel besides her... Snow white? No, much too young to be worried about such things. Aaah! Little Red Riding Hood! A perfect match!

Now only to find a wolf...


No one noticed the strange change that seemed to be going on inside her.

Taelia raised her sword, preparing to follow through with her new thoughts and stab Alice through the heart. A single, clean swipe will be all it takes. She walked almost dreamily towards her, unnoticed by either her or Adelaide – their eyes only for each other – and raised her sword to plunge it into Alice’s heart...

...only to suddenly find herself somewhere else completely. It was not so much that she blinked and was somewhere else, nor that the scene gradually changed, but rather, one second she was in one place, and the next in completely different one altogether – like a scene change in a movie.

Blinking once or twice to ensure that she was not imagining things, Taelia looked at her surroundings carefully.

She was in a forest thick with trees. The foliage above was so dense that what little sunlight passed through the branches caused the entire dingy wood to exist in a state of almost perpetual twilight. The thick, gnarly bark of the trees seemed almost to bend towards her threateningly, and the shadows seemed to constantly move in the corner of her eyes – only to stop when she turned to look at them.

She was stood on a strange little path. The trees grew thick here, but it was as though they had shuffled to the side to create a regular gap between them. Every few feet along it there were little pebbles dropped, too uniformly spaced to be there by anything other than design.

She realised that her clothes felt heavier than normal. She seemed to be wearing a fetching deep red cape on top of her clothes, complete with a hood over her head, and carrying a wicker basket in her left hand. Her sword was gone, and she felt strangely naked without it.

The deathly silence was interrupted when she heard a rustling behind her, and saw what looked like a big, bad wolf stood on its hind legs emerge from the foliage and lumber towards her.

Taelia turned and ran.


A disorientated Fiorella emerged from the undergrowth, almost tripping over a root as she came, and wondering how on earth she had gotten to where she was- and why on earth she was wearing such an unfashionable outfit as she was. The fur was not exotic enough to be considered fashionable – indeed, it looked almost like dog fur! And what was this strange hat that she was wearing over her head? And how on earth had she gotten to where she was?

And who on earth was that girl in front of her? And why had she turned tail and ran?

And what was this strange knife in her hand?

A feeling of resentment and anger began to rise within her, and despite herself, she began to give chase through the foliage.

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


The girl was running. Running from her. Why was the girl running? Fiorella wasn't going to hurt her. No, not hurt her. Just... Make friends. Yes. I want to make preypreyprey friends. She chased after Taelia, through the thick woods. The knife proved ineffective in cutting through the foliage, and Fiorella stuck it in the belt of the strange fur pants she was wearing. She tore at the branches with her hands, ignoring the scratches in her palms and the blisters on her bare feet as she chased after her new friend. No! Stop running! Stop prey running from chaseitkillit me! She tried to call out to Taelia, but the words came out as a snarl. No. She prey doesn't deserve to be killtheprey my friend. She's just prey! Fiorella ran into a gap in a line of bushes. The Wolf loped out.

Taelia was losing ground to the beast behind her. She could hear its snarls, the snapping of branches under its feet, and her own heavy breathing as she slowly tired. Her skin was scratched in innumerable places where the branches had grazed her, and her feet were sore from the rocks and fallen twigs biting into her skin. The Wolf had the advantage in this terrain. It was catching up. She would be its prey. That isn't fair. I was the guard. I'm supposed to be a warrior. Not the prey of some beast. I'm not going to flee like a weak little girl. I'm going to--

The Wolf tackled the Girl. It wanted to end this Hunt. It drew its knife, and stabbed it down towards Taelia, only to be deflected by her sword. Prey! Prey struggling! It slashed again with the knife claws, drawing blood on Taelia's forearm. The Girl screamed. Yes. Prey. Prey is dying. Before the Wolf could stab bite her again, Taelia stabbed it in the arm, and the Wolf leaped back. Prey has teeth! Prey is fighting! It howled at Taelia, and slashed with the knife again. The Girl jumped back, and the Wolf stumbled, slamming into a tree.

In an attic filled with books, a hand pauses. A new character must be added to the Story. The Hero. In this case, a simple woodsman.

But who should this be? Few of the contestants are eligible for the task. The mouse-creature has the correct heroic mindset -- but he would never be able to defeat the Wolf. The river and the plant-beast are strong enough to prevail -- but they are not heroes, and without a true Hero, this Story might as well remain untold.

A decision is made, and the hand begins moving furiously once again, to complete the tale.

Alluvion, M. and Poran were walking through the forest. The river was not sure how the had gotten there -- the had moved through some bushes on the hill and found themselves in this densely wooded area. M. seemed happy about it, at least. The nature spirit was much more at home in the woods than back in town. "It is much more peaceful out here, yes?" Alluvion asked his companions. "Very quiet. No people yelling at each other." The river spirit touched a tree, leaving a streak of water dripping down it. This forest almost reminded him of home.

M. was happy to be away from the artificial rock-piles that the Walkers lived in. It did not try to understand how the three had gotten out to the forest. It was enough that the were there. In the peace of untouched land. M. sank its roots into the ground, and relaxed, drifting off into a state best described as "sleep". Its peaceful slumber was interrupted by a loud growl from the depths of the forest.

When Poran heard the growl, he leapt up from his perch on M.'s back, and said to Alluvion, "That sounded like a fierce beast! As fierce as a Tropari even! We should be careful!" A scream followed shortly after. "That beast must have gotten ahold of someone! We must go save them!" Poran leapt onto M.'s head and shouted, "Go! Go!"

M. did not understand why the little rodent was so eager to help what was obviously just a Walker. But it ran through the forest towards the scream, as if possessed by the little Leskrin's fighting spirit. The two of them ran into a clearing, with Alluvion following closely behind. M. saw a Walker in a ridiculous costume attacking another Walker, both of them armed with the metal sticks they loved so much.

M. would have just let the Walkers fight, but it leapt into action when Poran shouted, "<font color="#00c957">No! Stop the beast from killing her! Please!
" Ot leaped over to where the two humans were fighting, and pounced on the Wolf to get it away from the Girl. The Wolf struggled in M.'s grasp, and tried to attack the plant with its knife, but M. managed to pin it to the ground. </font>

The Wolf struggled. This thing was holding it. Keeping it from its prey. What is this? Plant! Animal! Not prey. Hunter! The wolf bit into its captor's leg, and immediately spat out the sour wood. It was out of its element. It was scared and confused. This was the way the story was supposed to go, yes. But that didn't mean the Wolf was prepared for it.

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

Though Alice had been momentarily taken aback by the rusalka’s casual revelation, she quickly recovered. “Not fuckin’ likely.” She folded her arms and rolled her arms as if her death was out of the question. Addy almost certainly would have had questions about this if at that moment Taelia had not collapsed to the floor unconscious. “Fuckin’ hell, is she always this faint-hearted?”

“How’m I supposed ta know?” Adelaide responded. Alice walked up to the sleeping girl and with her foot, rolled her onto her back.

“Is this a fuckin’ thing in this town or what?” Alice asked. “Are they putting somethin’ in the water round here?”

“They’d better not be.” Adelaide snarled. She thought for a moment and asked: “There are other sleeping people around here?”

“Well… yeah.” Alice replied sarcastically. “Have you been walkin’ around with your fuckin’ eyes shut or somethin?”

“I’ve had other things to deal with.” Adelaide responded. “Like…” she gestured towards the sleeping Taelia, and intended to gesture towards M and Poran, only she couldn’t see where they had gone. Alice knelt down and took in Taelia’s fate. It was muddied and confused. There were elements that said her fate was to unleash a great evil, that her fate was to die in battle, and that her fate was to sleep forever. It was giving Alice a headache.

“They’re fuckin’ everywhere.” Alice said, straightening up. “Don’t know how you could have missed them.”

Adelaide raised an eyebrow at a thought that occurred to her. She tried to dismiss it labelling it silly, but it wouldn’t be cast away quite so easily. Look at the scenario she was in after all.
“This remind you of Sleepin’ Beauty?” she asked, feeling a little silly as she said the words.

“Sleepin’ Moderately Attractive I Guess.” Alice said with a shrug, her attention fixed on Taelia.

“No…” Adelaide said. “It’s a story. This princess pricks her finger or somethin’ and the whole town goes to sleep because of a curse or somethin’.”

“Never heard of it,” Alice shrugged, “must be a human thing.” Maybe this fish-woman whatever she was was wrong, Alice thought. She was pretty sure that she was wrong about being told stuff by some non-descript man, so why would she be right about being supposed to die. If this was some human story then perhaps ending the story would send her back home and this whole ridiculous fiasco would be just a weird thing that happened to her once. “What happens next?”

“I dunno, the prince goes to the castle and wakes the princess with a kiss I guess? That’s how those things usually end.” Addy replied.

“Then that’s what I’m doin’.” Alice said.


Though the whole town slumbered, only one of its residents, the designated Princess; Red, had a dreamless sleep. Collapsed where they stood, the residents of the town soon found themselves forced into roles they were compelled to act out, and all to please a narrator who was not satisfied with one tale at a time.

The narrator had not been best pleased when these strangers arrived in town. She did not know where they were from or why they had been brought here. To her they were loose ends flapping in the breeze. They had no story to tell, but the potential to ruin the story she was telling now.

So she had let some of them slip into a fairytale dream of their own, so what? What if she was eliminating potential saviours for the sleeping princess? What of it? Though her head told her that all stories must come to an end and that the town must eventually awake, she wished that it did not have to. She loved things just as they were; that the people of this town were actors in the stories she devised. She never wanted them to wake up and things to go back to how they once were.

Hesitantly she let sleep engulf the intruders into this town.

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

EDIT: nevermind, I'm not gonna be able to get this post up, someone else can have a go. Thanks!
Re: The Wretched Rite - Round One - The Rose Ring
Originally posted on MSPA by Pinary.

"I will give you a moment to make peace with your fate," the alien-looking being had said. "If it helps I will not enjoy what I am about to do. I am merely an agent of fate." She was smug and confident, and it showed.

Dr. Reindana, meanwhile, was more confused than anything. Foremost in her mind was the way she hadn't blacked out and found herself somewhere away from what was clearly a threat. She really expected that that damnable plant would've taken over by now and made her make with the violence. Why it hadn't, she had no idea.

The ivy, as it happened, was doing its best to restrain itself. It could still jump in and take care of things, but the danger wasn't absolutely immediate, and letting its host gain some understanding of the situation was necessary. It had to have restraint, at least for now.

The biologist opened her mouth to speak, croaked something indecipherable, then coughed and tried again. How long had it been since she'd spoken to anyone? Weeks, months?

"Wait, hold on," she said, her first attempts at speech in recent memory coming out dry, raspy, and uncertain. "I..." She what? Thinking about it, no ways to talk this alien out of murdering her came to mind.

Vera smirked some more. "You what? Come on, spit it out." Pitiful wretch. This was going to be too easy.

"I, uh... I wish this thing was loaded." Olivia raised her shotgun (questions about its origins simply didn't pop into her head) and pulled the trigger, making a bit of a noise and puffing some air in the face of her attacker.

Vera scowled, but kept up her resolve and moved forward. She was not about to look weak in the face of the person she was supposed to kill. She was a hunter, rightfully so, and she would end this woman's life here and now.

Ivy fired again, the second barrel behaving remarkably like the first. Still, though, the alien wasn't deterred, so she had to go to plan B: the sword that, as a hunter, she of course kept strapped to her side for use in any number of situations.

Somehow, Vera hadn't noticed the blade until now, and she didn't make the connection as to what was happening even after her target had drawn the weapon. It took several swipes from the blade before she backed off a bit, and after considering her options for a brief second or two, she decided to beat a hasty retreat.

Olivia, her emotions not exactly the subject of the story any more, could only hope that the brazenly aggressive creature would learn a bit of humility from the encounter.


The narrator just swept that little side-plot under the rug and moved its players into the tale the other intruders were experiencing. Ugh- that one had just been so caricatured, so bland. She really needed to be more careful with her selections.

Whatever. They were over in the other one, and the narrator could just move on. Well, move on and steer clear of the shorter fables.


Dr. Reindana had barely taken her third step when the soft, slightly crunchy dirt road gave way into a rather nice, quaint kitchen. She spun around, but there was nothing but a bedroom behind her.

Sighing, she just busied herself with a familiar routine. The old teapot was worn, its floral patterns a bit faded, but that hardly made it any different from the rest of the little cottage. Old, worn, and floral seemed to be the overriding themes of the place, and as she leaned back and set a slightly-tarnished kettle to boil, she let her mind just wander.

Some time in the next minute or two, though, she ran a hand through her hair, and that brought the feeling of calm crashing down around her.

There were no plants in her hair. There was no ivy, no creeping plant weaving itself around her hair and rooting itself in her head and invading her mind. There was just hair, and a quick inspection showed that there was no trace of the ivy that had stolen her life from her and forced her to live like an animal.

She wished it was comforting, but she'd gotten used to the plant's presence over the previous two years, and to have it suddenly, inexplicably gone... it was unnerving, to say the least. And the overwhelming familiarity and comfort of the place- she'd never even liked tea, yet here she was brewing some like she'd been doing it for decades?

The kindly, gentle house suddenly seemed far less safe and homey than it had moments before.


Hedera reindanis hadn't the slightest clue why its host had collapsed to the ground, nor what had neutralized the threat in a similar manner, but whatever it was could be dangerous. Ivy was showing no sign of awakening, so it seemed that the plant would have to take matters into its own metaphorical hands.

Stiff-limbed and jerky, Ivy got to her feet. Her eyes gaped around, taking in the street, and she started walking away from her now-sleeping attacker.

She made it an impressive one step before falling to the ground and having to haul herself back up. Humans were so much easier to control when the commands were filtered through a consciousness- for now, though, that appeared to be a luxury the ivy didn't have. It'd have to settle for stumbling slowly over to a nearby building to use the wall for support, then move away from Vera at the closest thing to speed it could manage.

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

“Not much of a castle, is it?”

Alice glanced at the rusalka. She was bobbing idly in her pool at about the height of Alice’s waist, dark eyes squinting up at the boxy stone building that sat like a great toad in the middle of town. The dead girl had reached the castle long before Alice, vanishing in and out of scattered puddles at an impossible rate as the Tsote trailed behind. It must be easy not having to walk, she thought wryly. The rusalka had only paused long enough to make sure she was still following.

“The castle doesn’t matter,” Alice said. “As long as this princess of yours in there it could be a fucking box for all I care.”

“In that much of a hurry, are ye,” Adelaide snickered. “Ye’re fixin’ to make me jealous, there. Poor Adelaide, losing all the pretty girls to princesses. Where’s the justice?”

“If kissing you would get us out of here, I’d be chasing after you instead,” Alice replied, scaling the great stone steps that led to the castle’s gate and leaving the rusalka behind. The dead girl squawked in protest as Alice examined the great double doors that barred her way. They were painted a deep forest green and were weathered with age, the paint starting to crumble around the edges of the massive brass bolts the held them closed. Alice frowned. “How the fuck am I supposed to open these? Is there a magic key or somethin’ I should know about?”

“You’re the prince,” Adelaide said, suddenly next to her. “You figger it out.”

Alice jumped sideways in surprise, banging her elbow against the wood with a hollow boom. The rusalka’s grinning face was a foot from hers and her eyes were wide as the sky, big dark pools that threatened to suck her in and drown her. The girl had left the water and was standing on the steps clad in nothing but her long green hair dripping steadily onto the castle’s stone. She smirked at Alice’s staring. “No water in the castle for me to play in, girlie. Y’won’t mind if I go like this, will ye?”

“No,” Alice said curtly, turning away. She could feel a blush starting to rise on her cheeks and willed it away firmly. Giving the door a ferocious kick, she was steeling herself for a full-on tackle when without warning both doors swung open and the Tsote found herself flailing wildly in midair for balance. A sullen-looking darkness gaped in front of her, thick with shadows; Adelaide snickered and stepped into it, giving Alice a teasing look. Her pupils flashed in the darkness like a cat’s.

“Come on then, beauty,” the rusalka said. “Your princess is waiting.”


Dragons are, as a rule, ancient.

What young dragons do is rarely if ever touched upon in fairytales, as that makes for a poor story. Dragons exist solely for knights to fight them, and no one cares about where they come from. No self-respecting knight would fight a newly-fledged dragonet, much less bother to smash a nest of eggs. That’s boring. There’s no use having a fight if there’s no danger. Dragons are always ancient because only the most ancient dragons are worth writing home about when you hack off their heads and keep their tongues as trophies.

Dramatic as it was to have a centuries-old beast of hellfire, however, it did present some problems. Namely that old creatures wake slowly and aren’t at full capacity for quite some time after that. Normally this isn’t an issue and can even benefit the hero, as a drowsy beast is much easier to slay than a wary one; for the makeshift Prince, though, it did something worse. It did something unspeakable. It kept her from meeting the dragon at all.

The dragon himself (or herself or itself or themself, it never seems to matter) was a respectable old beast with scales as black as a sinner’s heart and horns that curved like a demon’s. His claws were ivory scythes, his fangs were iron spears, and some said his breath was hotter than the fires of hell itself, or at least they would if anyone had ever actually met this dragon before. He didn’t have a name; this wasn’t his story. He had no cache of stolen gold, no magic blood that granted knowledge of the speech of birds, nothing except the princess Red in her tower. In truth, he likely didn’t even know she was there at all. The dragon guarded this tower, and that was good enough for him.

He awoke in the dungeon that we will presume he was always in, wisps of black smoke trickling from his nostrils. He knew there were trespassers in his castle with the unfailing certainty of the omniscience a guardian monster always has of his charge, and he knew that it was his duty to fly up there at once and roast them to cinders. The dragon was tired, though, and old, so very old. He’d suffered centuries, and if this particular tale was anything like the others he’d slept through one more. The trespassers could damn well wait another few minutes while he stretched the kinks out of his wings. He was an old dragon and he didn’t have time to wait hand and foot on every upstart adventurer who wanted to rescue a princess.

That’s what happens you insist on formality. Inconvenience.


The hall of the great castle was brighter than Alice would have expected from the initial darkness they’d met. Stained glass windows bathed the area in a range of smeared red and blues, illuminating walls draped in threadbare rags that might once have been tapestries. The hall could fit a crowd of hundreds, but at the moment it was bare except for Adelaide, Alice, and a century’s worth of dust. Their voices echoed until they were convoluted murmurs that lurked in the castle like ghosts.

“S’colder than a witch’s tits in here,” Adelaide complained, shivering. She’d left a trail of murky water throughout the entire castle, peppered by the occasional sad weed or two. Her skinny arms were wrapped around her torso so tightly that her nails were digging into her flesh. “Tha’s not part of the story.”

“Oh, you’re an expert now?” Alice said. She wasn’t cold, but neither was she constantly dripping with water. “Well, do me a favor and tell me where the fuck the princess is. I’m not searching this whole fuckin’ castle just ‘cause you’re half-cocked on some stupid story that you can’t even get straight.”

Adelaide just grinned at her. A red spear of light from the windows fell across her face and turned the water running down her face to blood. “Someone’s in a dread hurry, it seems t’me. What’s this royal chit got that I don’t, huh?”

The rusalka gave her hair a shake and Alice was suddenly aware that she was standing a lot closer than she had been, close enough for her to smell the cool plant-like scent that rose off her speckled skin. Her bare chest (when had she uncrossed her arms? Alice hadn’t seen it) gleamed faintly under the water, and her hair was clinging to it and her back and her hips and her arms as they wrapped around Alice’s shoulders. For a moment she was too stunned to move. Adelaide’s skin was smooth and cold against hers and the girl’s face was an inch away, all delicate bones and freckles and fangs. They weren’t so bad, she found herself thinking in her shock. They might even be cute, those little fish teeth. They wouldn’t hurt th-that- much- when-

She came to her senses all at once and shoved Adelaide away with a cry of anger. “What the flying fuck do you think you’re doing?”

Adelaide shrugged. “S’worth a shot.”

“Fuck you!”

“I was hopin’ to eat you, actually, but that’ll do. You were askin’ about the princess?” She pointed to a shadowy staircase at the side of the hall. “I’m guessin’ the girl’ll be in the tower. Best get t’climbing.”

Alice glared at the smiling rusalka, but couldn’t find anything to say other than a tangle of mismatched swears that only made the fish-toothed girl grin wider. “You,” she seethed, “keep your hands to yourself.” She turned sharply on her heel and stalked up the staircase to the waiting Red, doing her best to ignore the snickers coming from behind her.


The dragon knew when his moment had passed. It was the sort of thing that came with being an omnisciently localized guardian.

He could still stop them, these two intruders. It wasn’t too late at all, despite him having missed his entrance. He could almost
feel them climbing the tower staircase, step by agonizing step, with nothing to stop them but dust and each other. It would be terribly easy to fly up there and roast them both through a window. Like swatting flies with a flamethrower. So easy. So very, very easy.

So easy, in fact, he just flat-out couldn’t be bothered. He was a dragon, for god’s sake. What were two tiny morsels, more or less? The both of them together didn’t even make a tenth of a usual meal. And so what if they were in his tower? He’d guarded it for centuries. Nothing changes, nothing changed. He was an old dragon and he didn’t have the time to watch over every inch of it. Let these two go on their way. It wasn’t like he had anything worth stealing.

Besides, the dragon thought as he stood up and scratched his dorsal spines against the dungeon’s cavernous roof, what were two against twenty? He may be ancient but he could smell the sweet scent of red blood as well as he ever had. All the while he’d been sleeping in this hovel of a castle, a town had sprung up and visitors had arrived. Sweet fleshy humans and others as well, yes. He could smell them. He could smell them all and he was hungry, he was starving, he hadn’t eaten in a century. What were two little morsels against a feast like that? What were they to him at all?

The dragon destroyed the dungeon wall with a single sweep of a mighty talon and leapt into the air, black wings blotting out the sun as he rose like a specter of death above the town. Slowly, agonizingly slowly, he began to circle like a monstrous vulture, fire dripping from his Mercedes-sized jaws as he eyed the specks of color sprawled across the landscape. Pitiful offerings, to be sure. But beggars can’t be choosers and sometimes neither can dragons.

Such inconveniences.

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

M. manicella stared at The Wolf, as much as something lacking eyes can be said to stare. It had never managed to hold down a Walker before, and the feeling was rather satisfying. It had also never seen a Walker perform such a twisted parody of a woodland beast; M was unsure whether to be angered, confused, or approving of the activity.

Poran was equally perplexed, if not moreso. The thoughts running through his mind were phenomenally morbid-- slicing The Wolf's stomach open and filling it with rocks and dropping her to the bottom of a river, boiling her alive, tying her limbs together and tarring and feathering her, and so forth. He nearly proposed one, but caught a glimpse of The Wolf's eyes-- frantic, horrified, pleading. They didn't look particularly menacing at all.

He glanced at Alluvion. "What do you think we should do with her?"
The water elemental, despite not having much experience with non-aquatic behavioral patterns, felt the whole thing seemed rather out of the ordinary. "I am unsure. Is she capable of speech?"

The Wolf blinked. "Of course I can speak, you zilly creature. What do you zink I am, mad?"

Poran coughed. "Well, seeing as you were attempting to slaughter someone, presumably letting the crimson juices of their life force drip into your gaping maw--" he made a mental note of this comparison, in case it was ever necessary-- "it seems to me that, erm... that is to say, I doubt you are mad, but in any case..."

Fiorella attempted to squirm away from M., but his grasp remained resolute. "How inzulting of you! It is hardly my fault zat I ended up 'ere, er... doing zis..." It was at this point that Poran realized that the smell of smoke had long since faded, despite the wind blowing in a direction that it seemed should have carried it towards where they were. He did not get more than a split second to consider this, though, before a considerably more lupine Wolf emerged from the brush, clutching his head.

"Anyone mind tellin' me wha'the hell's goin' on 'ere?"

The dragon's descent into the village led only to further annoyance and disappointment.

First was the revelation that the place was already mostly on fire. It rather diminished the impressiveness of belching smoke and flame over everything if it was a mere redundancy. What's more, there wasn't any panic in the streets. Nobody pointing and shouting "dragon", nobody fleeing in a pattern that got them nowhere, nothing being toppled over. Come to think of it, nobody seemed to be moving around at all.

As he drew closer to the ground, he grew more and more annoyed. Sleeping! What kind of self-respecting dragon would eat someone sleeping, much less an entire town that was asleep? This simply wasn't how it was done. He was supposed to be asleep, and then The Hero would appear, and either cunningly kill him without waking him up, or wake him up just so the fight would be fair. There was even less challenge here than with those other two. Really, what was the point? He could get more of a fight-- and, for that matter, probably a better dinner-- by simply flying off a few miles and attacking a farm. He was almost positive that cows didn't simply stand there and wait for you to eat them.

How preposterous. Millenia he had waited, and what had he got to show for it? Two heroes he couldn't care less about killing, a town as interesting to hunt as a plank of wood, and no need for the devastating force of his breath. It was an insult to everything he stood for as a tremendous monster. He sighed and halfheartedly pawed at the library, knocking a few bricks out of the second floor.

Inconveniences upon inconveniences.
Which, for that matter, also explained the lot of the narrator. As if it weren't enough for these nine fools to come barging in just as she was getting somewhere interesting, now they were ruining the stories she gave them, too. And on top of that, she had a disgustingly ungrateful dragon half-assing the whole thing.

She was beginning to wonder if it was worth the effort herself, at this point, but she was The Narrator, and if she stopped then she might as well not exist. Unlike some crotchety old bastards, she was committed to her role, no matter how inconvenient.

She once again brought pen to paper, and redoubled her efforts.

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

Things had become very confusing for Alluvion in a very short amount of time. No sooner had he met not one but two other intelligent beings than they were leading him into a forest and then suddenly engaged in some sort of altercation with... something else. He could have sworn there was something he had been about to ask his new friends but he couldn't remember what it was. Thinking back, he hadn't actually been thinking too clearly since he'd entered the forest.

"Cut her open and fill her with stones... Yes, that's what you do to wolves", he found himself saying to quite some suprise from his brain. Was that even a wolf? It certainly wasn't exhibiting particularly wolf-like behaviour although he was only vaguely familiar with the animals from when they occasionally came down from their usual places to drink. And then when they came to drink... they fell in and the stones in their bellies drowned them? No, that had never happened...
While he wondered at what he was doing though, he was also striding slowly towards the pinned woman,
his liquid form rippling and lenghtening in odd ways. He was able to stride now for example, a long translucent pole was growing from between his fingers and some very strange flow lines around his mouth might have been some attempt at stubble.

This story had far too many characters in it and most of them still didn't have any proper roles. There was meant to be one wolf, one girl, one grandma and one woodcutter and only half the people here even knew what their jobs were. Well the singing mouse was far too small for any of the untaken positions and while the plant-thing had the requisite killing ability she'd be damned if she was going to cast a tree in the role of a woodcutter, so the final stranger would have to do. He wasn't particularly threatening either but he was at least the right size and had some sort of relevant natural knowledge. He also didn't seem to be putting up much of a fight which was honestly a bit of a relief after the rest of these miscreants had appeared and immediately started breaking plot threads all over the place with absolutely no regard to what she had been trying to set up. Now she only had the extra loose ends to tidy up, she appeared to have gained a second wolf from somewhere and honestly the first one had never been doing a particularly convincing job in the first place. Her new Wolf would be far more suitable which obviously left her original to take up the mantle of Grandma. There weren't any jobs left for either Poran or whatever that panther-tree thing was so she'd just have to get them out of the way. And preferably make sure they couldn't get back into it again.

Poran had experienced similar thoughts himself vis-a-vis hacking the woman open and filling her with stones but he'd stopped himself before acting on them, he hadn't pegged Alluvion on the type to take such an action either but then again he'd only known him for about five minutes and that seemed to be exactly what he was about to do "Erm... What are you doing? Stop? Please? I don't think she's- Alluvion absent mindedly flicked him out of the way with one hand. The blow didn't actually do all that much physically, this being because it came from a limb made entirely of liquid, but it did fill his mouth with water and coat his wings with heavy droplets, sending him tumbling to the grassy floor (every blade arranged in nice, even rows and completely free of dead leaves).
Alluvion was honestly very confused, for some reason he had decided he needed to kill this wolf who used to be in front of him but was now behind him in order to protect the girl that used to be the wolf who was attacking the other girl he needed to save (retcons can do terrible things to a man's mind) and so simply latched on to the most obvious things. He was a woodcutter, and in front of him was a tree. The tree was also perched on top of someone he was either supposed to kill or save, but it was a tree and he was a woodcutter.

M. though was not quite as slow to react. It had for some reason been filled with the strangest urge to whistle eerily in the breeze (even though there wasn't a breeze) or to climb into the basket of the oddly quiet girl with the sword (an even stranger idea, these apples would kill a walker if they tried to eat one) but these notions were easily dismissed as nonsense. It didn't really know what the river spirit was doing, but he was starting to look more and more like a walker and no tree could mistake what he was now holding in his right hand. Even a nature spirit that had manifested in a lab with the brain of a panther that had lived its life in a virtual forest free of human contact could recognise a lumberjack's wood-splitting axe.
M. pounced at the increasingly man-shaped Alluvion, flying straight through but shattering his human features into a ruin. The useless liquid axe collapsed back into a puddle and Alluvion stumbled backwards, away from the two women.

"It's about time that dirty thing got off, I mean really!", Fiorella cried as she started to pull herself to her feet, "It's just ruined this outfit, how do you even remove sap stains anyway?"
Her outburst was cut off by a somewhat unsympathetic Taelia who had sprung into motion the moment M was out of the way, grabbing Fiorella, pinning her against a tree and placing the point of her sword at the woman's throat.
"You tried to eat me. I am nobody's prey."

Wolf looked on somewhat nonplussed, this wasn't how it was supposed to go at all.
Re: The Wretched Rite - Round One - The Rose Ring
Originally posted on MSPA by Aryogaton.

The River was now an Axeman, the Wolf who was never a wolf was now again and was always a Walker, and the role of Wolf was now given to a more wolf-like Walker-reminiscent-of-a-wolf. And M.’s and the flying rodent’s most ingenious idea of filling the Wolf with rocks and throwing it into the river or River (Axeman?) was now assigned to the more appropriate wolf. Hardly a moment's worth of understanding. After all, letting a corpse rot underwater allows the nutrients to reach more places and sustain more riverside vegetation. Yes, this surely must be the appropriate course of action.

The Axeman might be an inconvenience, however. M. wanted to simply topple and sustain a warm homemade stew. No, that was absurd. M. wanted to rip apart the Axeman with its claws and teeth and make a good feast. No, M. was a simple forest tree, not some kind of wolf? Just let the girl have some delicious apples that will eventually eat through the basket given enough time. M. felt terror as the Axeman prepared to swing its deadly tree-murderer and lay waste to twenty winters of healthy growth. If only a tree such as M. could defend itself, then forests would not be so susceptible to the weapons and misdeed used and intended by the Walkers.

The biggest threat of course was the Wolf that ate wants to eat the girl and her grandma that she was attacking. As a Hunter M. had the obvious duty of stopping such immoral behavior against innocent loathsome people Walkers. M. raised its rifle and aimed at the terrible Wolf which recoiled from the big panther tree that sinked its teeth and claws into its fur. M. reloaded and landed an accurate swipe at the Wolf's torso.

What kind of tree attacks wolves? Apparently this one. It was probably best to simply cut down another tree this time around, no use to strain to get this specific tree after all. No, this tree goes down today. This was the tree that Alluvion the woodcutter should be cutting down and no scenario of trees growing legs and running away is going to stop him. His trusty axe that grew out of his hand served him and his father and grandfather well and would certainly not fail.

The Wolf underneath the soon-to-be-firewood tree was important and relevant somehow, the woodcutter knew. He had to cut its stomach open with its water axe and rescue the girl and her grandmother currently fighting over a few feet away and fill it with rocks. Then it would fall into the river and the moral of the story would be expressed and Alluvion would have a excellent example of wolves with rocks in their stomachs falling into rivers.

But for some reason his axe kept splashing on the tree with legs instead of cutting it down like it was supposed to.

It’s been long, too long. How fortunate that she was able to deliver food to her; she looks terribly sickly with acid burns and grime all over her. How unfortunate that Taelia was forced to kill her because she tried to eat her, due to some oversized features she did not have.

The Narrator laid down her pen and glanced over the latest page.

What a mess.

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

After a long and awkward climb to the top of the tallest tower Alice and Addy emerged into a lavishly decorated bedroom. If there was one adjective that encapsulated the room it would be ‘red’. Deep red curtains were drawn across the windows, not entirely blocking out the light, but illuminating the room with a scarlet hue. Around the room crayon drawn pictures were pinned to the walls. They depicted a small red hooded girl and a shaggy haired humanoid in a grey jacket. The furniture was ornate and antique mahogany, though covered in the plastic paraphernalia typically found in the room of a small girl. The focal point of the room was an ornate four poster bed hung with red curtains, red sheets and crucially a small girl fast asleep. An out of place spinning wheel sat to one side of the room.

For Alice this room might well have been decorated with decomposing bodies or heaps of treasure; she was paying no attention to anything other than the bed and the 'princess' that lay upon it. She was Alice’s ticket out of here, if Adelaide was to be believed, which come to think of it was something that was getting more and more dubious by the second. Alice wouldn’t have been massively surprised if she was just being lead to the rusalka’s bedroom. The only thing that had convinced her it was not was the lack of water and the abundance of red.

“Tole ya’ climbin’ this tower wasn’ jus’ an excuse to stare at yer ass.” Addy said.

“Listen up, whatever the fuck your name was,” Alice replied, wheeling upon Addy to once again find her standing uncomfortably close. “I just want to get the fuck out of this crazy place.” Alice stepped hastily back, averting her eyes from the naked rusalka. Adelaide would be difficult to handle for any Tsote. Their standards of what was socially acceptable would have made the most prudish human look like a slut; Adelaide was all but incomprehensible to their sensibilities. It was not helped by the fact that nobody had shown the slightest interest in Alice in that way, up until she met Addy. Her ill-fate was to blame, as with most problems in her life. Nobody would even consider being with someone with such a distasteful destiny.

Alice strode towards the bed, pulling back the curtains and gazed down at the innocent girl who lay there. She slept in a crimson hood, her hair a vivid red, her skin milky white. Alice’s heart pounded within her chest. She’d read the pamphlets, she knew the consequences that kissing could have, but here she was expected to do it like it was a normal thing; an integral part of leaving this crazy place behind. “Does it have to be me?” she asked. “Couldn’t you just do it?”

“Yer really that desperate t’ get away from meh?” Adelaide whispered into Alice’s ear. Alice spun around and stared at the rusalka; at the way that her hair hugged her sopping wet body, at the way her pale skin glistened, so slick and smooth and tempting, at the way strands of hair hung around her face framing her dark eyes, at the hunger that lived in the depths of those grey-green chasms. “See somethin’ yeh like?” Adelaide smirked; a predatory smirk, that of the hunter who believes she has already caught her prey.

“Fuck it.” Alice muttered, leaning in and kissing the rusalka on her cold dead lips. Every part of her was telling her that this was a bad idea, that Adelaide was not going to want to cuddle up to her afterwards, that she was putting herself at great risk. She didn’t care; Adelaide was the first woman to ever look at her as though she were more than a piece of trash to be stepped over. Besides, she reasoned, she couldn’t die; fate would not allow it to happen. Why shouldn’t she enjoy herself just this once? Adelaide’s lips moved against her own, the rusalka’s soaking hands grasping her head and holding her close. For a moment it was as though her goal in life, finally realized, was to bring warmth to Adeliade’s cold cold body. Suddenly Alice was pushing Adelaide away.

“Yeh tease.” Adelaide teased. “Nobody ever told yer yeh shouldn’t lead a girl on like that?”

“Shut the fuck up.” Alice said, busily fumbling with her gloves. After a moment she managed to undo them, casting away the leather gloves without even a glance where they were going. Her hands now unbound she stepped back towards Adelaide and with the very tip of her lavender finger, brushed aside a curtain of hair that clung to her face. Their lips met again. Alice ran her hands through the Adelaide’s matted tangle of hair and down to the small of the rusalka’s back. Adelaide’s talonesque hands pulled at Alice’s heavy black coat, helping her out of it one arm at a time, before tossing it casually away. They pulled apart, out of necessity more than anything else. Alice did not waste time with words; she pulled her shirt over her head and discarded it.

"Fuck off Red" Addy said shoving the child off the side of the bed. "We need this more than you." She swept Alice off her feet, lowering her onto the soft mattress with a peck of a kiss. Alice kicked off her shoes and Addy removed her remaining clothing.


The narrator believed that perhaps it was time to turn her attention elsewhere.

What a mess didn’t even begin to cover the events that were taking place any more. Just when she had thought things couldn’t get much worse the ‘questing princes’ had abandoned their quest to wake the princess to fuck one another in her bed. This was ridiculous. This madness had to stop if she had to stop it herself. It was her curse, and at her behest it lifted itself. Across the town the sleeping awoke to see their town burning. The thick black thorns that had sprung up along the town’s borders wilted and died.

This was perhaps the biggest and most literal Deus Ex Machina the narrator had ever had to pull, and she hated it. From the pile in front of her she plucked a fresh piece of paper and started writing a brand new story: The Nine Intruding Bastards and the Pissed Off Narrator.

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

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

[Image: XM5sGnt.png][Image: oD2Q6os.png][Image: 6SlFOCz.png][Image: fXUWhDZ.png][Image: C53uhZF.png][Image: BvZArpd.png][Image: lam0slf.png][Image: JmQq9We.png][Image: TGjrdJF.png][Image: zwqYyze.png][Image: OMnWsrl.png]
Re: The Wretched Rite - Round One - The Rose Ring
Originally posted on MSPA by A Killer Cuppa Tea.

Long Reserve