Rating wars II: Electric boogaloo (Finals)

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Re: Rating wars II: Electric boogaloo (round 2 judging)

Post by AccursedBiscuit » Mon May 06, 2013 5:48 pm

Dunno if I'm one of those 7, but I am definitely interested in continuing :D
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Re: Rating wars II: Electric boogaloo (round 2 judging)

Post by vidius » Tue May 07, 2013 12:08 am

Internet. I has it.


As for what to do.. run a 3 man elimination round, with the highest scoring competitor thus far being safe, then have the 3 winners, and the highest scorer making up the semi finals and grand final.
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Re: Rating wars II: Electric boogaloo (round 2 judging)

Post by M0rtimer » Tue May 07, 2013 6:15 am

If I understand that correctly, that is what I had originally planned. And I still could, with the hope that everyone would actively participate, and I do guess that anyone that wouldn't would be swiftly kicked out... However, we've had 2 rounds for each participant so far, for what was originally meant to be reduced to 8 players, what has definitely kicked down to below 8 active participants. Hence it would make sense to reduce to 4 instead of 8, and having these first two rounds count only to have a single person skip a round. So unless those that missed making a second entry verify that they're going to do better, I will most likely cut down to 4 participants tomorrow.

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Re: Rating wars II: Electric boogaloo (round 2 judging)

Post by Arydra » Tue May 07, 2013 7:33 am

I would submit a full entry should I compete again. Can't promise that it will be amazing, but you would have something to read.
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Re: Rating wars II: Electric boogaloo (round 2 judging)

Post by M0rtimer » Wed May 08, 2013 12:50 pm

Alright... Firstly I apologize for the delay, I've been very busy for the last few days. Secondly, the results are in- So let's not wait, shall we?

Now, for those who missed an entry and I knew would still wish to further participate... I decided to count half of their first entry as if they had submitted a second as to not completely annihilate their odds of moving on to the half-finals (Though I believe it to be quite a hefty penalty). In the end though, that was only (barely) enough for one to make them stick up above the others. So, without any further delay...

Preliminaries: Winners

Following participants move on to the half-finals:
Vidius's The Rasping Suit!
AccursedBiscuit's Tibiscu!
I'mBob's Mazugord!
Dusk9's Kane!

Congratulations to the four of you, and my condolences to the others. I hope you enjoyed writing your character regardless.

Now, it's time to begin the half-finals... And all rules are off- With only one man advancing in each battle, everything is allowed. Good luck... And may the best writer win.

Half finals: Matchups
Vidius's The Rasping Suit versus I'mBob's Mazugord
Location: Twisted plains
You can feel it- The stone still miles away, you can begin to feel it's effect. Be it because of the stone's raw power radiating this wide, or the gods doing whatever they can to prevent anyone from ever reaching it... You can feel it. And see it too, as the surroundings seem to have felt it's effect as well- Plants and trees having taken on more unnatural colors, the ground seeming to have become stained black. A strange heat falls upon the place, to the point of almost burning- Yet there is no sun to be seen, hidden behind the clouds.
Still. Why some of the plant or wildlife has twisted into a more dangerous form, it looks to be mostly a scare tactic. Though there might be someone- Or something else, that does pose a danger...

AccursedBiscuit's Tibiscu versus Dusk9's Kane
Location: Edge of the world
It takes a certain amount of bravery to peek over the dangerous edge into the abyss. And a fool to even go near the place. They say the world stops there- And they could not really be blamed. For if one would dare peek over the edge, they would see nothing for several miles, only then to have their view obstructed by clouds. Assuming there is actually something hiding beneath them- Nobody ever managed to go down and tell. The area around the edge itself is bare- At times, clouds would drift over the ground, dropping down the edge as it were water, strong gusts of wind trying to drag any unweary traveler over the edge with it, tiny shards of ice carried by the wind. Harsh conditions- But following along the edge... You will find the stone. And another chalenger.

Good luck to all contestants, as usual. The only thing left to settle is the due date... Now, because of me being somewhat late and I'm guessing Wednesdays aren't the best days, as well as that with entering the half-finals I want to give all contestants the time they would need... I suggest we make it two weeks for the due date? I'll leave this up to the contestants, however.

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Re: Rating wars II: Electric boogaloo (round 2 judging)

Post by AccursedBiscuit » Wed May 08, 2013 1:14 pm

Two weeks is totally fine with me. I have a pretty flexible schedule, so if we go to one week that would be fine also. Whatever works best for you guys. These look like some really good matchups, I can't wait to get started :D Good luck guys
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Re: Rating wars II: Electric boogaloo (round 2 judging)

Post by lozlo » Wed May 08, 2013 1:28 pm

How about we put it back on a Sunday, that woud make it 1.5 week writing time?
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Re: Rating wars II: Electric boogaloo (round 2 judging)

Post by M0rtimer » Wed May 08, 2013 5:44 pm

lozlo wrote:How about we put it back on a Sunday, that woud make it 1.5 week writing time?

That could work. It's what the players prefer, really.

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Re: Rating wars II: Electric boogaloo (round 2 judging)

Post by I'mBob » Thu May 09, 2013 3:20 am

I would be much happier if it would be a week and a half. If we need to send it next Sunday I will not be able to send it at all. If the others want it to stay at Wednesday I will understand but I will have to drop out.
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Re: Rating wars II: Electric boogaloo (round 2 judging)

Post by M0rtimer » Thu May 09, 2013 3:21 am

That would be in two weeks wednesday Bob. You'd be alright. :P

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Re: Rating wars II: Electric boogaloo (round 2 judging)

Post by Dusk9 » Thu May 09, 2013 4:25 am

I'm happier with two weeks. I prefer having the extra couple of days after the weekend to finish up.

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Re: Rating wars II: Electric boogaloo (round 2 judging)

Post by M0rtimer » Fri May 10, 2013 3:55 pm

Alright, most seem to favor a longer schedule, so two weeks it- Submissions due by Wednesday the 22nd, 23.59pm forum time. Good luck to all contestants. :)

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Re: Rating wars II: Electric boogaloo (round 2 judging)

Post by M0rtimer » Thu May 16, 2013 4:48 am

A little bit less than a week left! Good luck... :)

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Re: Rating wars II: Electric boogaloo (round 2 judging)

Post by M0rtimer » Tue May 21, 2013 2:31 am

A little bit less than two days keft- good luck contestants...

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Re: Rating wars II: Electric boogaloo (round 2 judging)

Post by M0rtimer » Wed May 22, 2013 12:35 am

Deadline tomorrow- Good luck guys.

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Re: Rating wars II: Electric boogaloo (round 2 judging)

Post by Dusk9 » Wed May 22, 2013 12:40 am

How many hours do we have left?

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Re: Rating wars II: Electric boogaloo (round 2 judging)

Post by M0rtimer » Wed May 22, 2013 12:42 am

22 hours and 17 minutes to be precise.

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Re: Rating wars II: Electric boogaloo (round 2 judging)

Post by vidius » Wed May 22, 2013 3:51 am

trying to trim this entry down from 3k words... success levels minimal...
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Re: Rating wars II: Electric boogaloo (round 2 judging)

Post by AccursedBiscuit » Wed May 22, 2013 2:58 pm

Just got mine submitted. Whew, that one was a bit of a doozy. I hope it's not too long. Dunno what the word count is but it's kinda lengthy. Good luck guys!
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Re: Rating wars II: Electric boogaloo (round 2 judging)

Post by Dusk9 » Wed May 22, 2013 10:40 pm

Not as long as my other one, or as polished. But at least it's actually done this time!

Good luck, Biscuit :D

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Re: Rating wars II: Electric boogaloo (round 2 judging)

Post by M0rtimer » Thu May 23, 2013 12:45 am

Alright ladies and gents- It is time for the half-finals to be reviewed... Sadly, I'm still missing one entry, meaning one of you gets an straight pass to the finals. Still- The three other entries are amazing, so I hope you'll all enjoy.

Half-Finals: Battles
Vidius's The Rasping Suit versus I'mbob's Mazugord

The Rasping suit
So you want to know my story?

You want to know why I exist?

You want to know about the birth of fear?

Mother, Father.

I warn you, once you know you cannot forget. What is known cannot be forgotten. Not by you, just like it canÔÇÖt be forgotten by me. Oh how I want to forget.

Mother, Father.

But I cannot. Forget.

Mother, Father.

I can never forget the first time 

Mother, Father.

I will never forget his name

Mother, Father.

Dillon.. NO!

Then come with me, let me teach you about fear.

You see fear was created, much like you, your friends, and family. We were all created, by The Creator.

The Creator made all of this. In the begging there was air to breath, and rock to shape. There was fire for warmth and ice for chill. There was darkness and light to divide the day and force restfulness, but soon The Creator grew bored of creating empty canvas, for that is all that the worlds were. The canvas was unchanging, he could paint it as he liked, but at the end of the day, it would still be just an empty canvas. So The Creator expanded his talents. He created life.

Life was good. Life was different. Life breathed the air, shaped the rock, forged the fire, manipulated the ice. Life changed the world that he created. Life was an unknown. Life was good.

But life was too good. Having set out to design life similarly to the world it inhabited, The Creator has made life perfect. Life soon became predictable. Over the canvases of one hundred worlds life would always be the same. Life would live, life would expanded, life would cultivate. Soon life too became boring. The Creator needed more.

The Creator needed something which would break up the monotony of life, create difference and change where ever it went. The Creator needed more. So The Creator created Fear. Finally there was a source of motivation beyond perfection. He created a source of motivation bred from the most primal of urges, the urge to survive.
Truth be told, when this desire was first created, The Creator didnÔÇÖt understand the impact it would have. An entity beyond concepts like death cannot hope to comprehend, even in its almost infinite wisdom, how fear can motivate creatures which know and understand the full finality of death. But even though The Creator couldnÔÇÖt understand, The Creator saw the bounty of chaos this new gift wrought on his canvasÔÇÖs. The Creator saw fear and he saw that it was good.

But how do I fit in to that? I said I was going to tell you my story.

Then come with me to the birth of fear.


But that was then, and this is now.

Now is a warped purple tree splitting in sunder as a two handed sword, dark as night and sharp as sin hues it in twain.

Now is Mazugord, in all his half breed glory, rolling away from the nightmare sword in the dirt blue dirt. His body kicks up a plume of dust which explodes into a rainbow of color in the air.
Now is Mazugord bringing his own two handed sword up to meet Paranoia in a clash of metal on metal. Against all logic his battered blade holds steady against the nightmarish assault from his opponent. Regaining his feet Mazugord regarded The Rasping Suit ÔÇô as it had identified itself when it first invaded his consciousness ÔÇô with trepidation and hate. Here was an opponent he wasnÔÇÖt sure if he could beat. At least not in a straight up fight. But he had beaten every opponent he had fought so far, and this suit of nightmares and death would be no different. All he needed to do was find the weakness.

ÔÇ£You canÔÇÖt run forever Mazugord, you know that donÔÇÖt you. Even your dragon enhanced muscles will eventually tire. And when they do I shall carve you open, and terminate your species.ÔÇØ Extinction. Nothing motivates quite like fear and death.

Mazugord let out a scream of primal rage, the dragon blood that coursed through his half cast veins filling him with fury and rage. Fear and rage; the building blocks of fear and despair. As when the strength of rage and sense of rightness of fury are expended, all thatÔÇÖs left is naked, hollow, disbelief. Disbelief, which becomes despair, despair which becomes hopelessness, hopelessness which becomes fear. And the instant that fear set in, the battle would be over. The dragon kin will belong to The Rasping Suit

ÔÇ£This fight is already over. You just donÔÇÖt know it yet.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Never!ÔÇØ Screamed Mazugord, as he launched into another attack, his psyche gripping on to the only thing left to motivate him. The thought that at the end of this he would get to see his father. All he needed to do was win.

Mother.. Father


As a child Dillon had always been curious. His parents had often travelled for weeks at a time, searching for the most exotic wares to sell at the local market of there port city home. HeÔÇÖd always travelled with them, from his birth as a little ball of swaddling cloth, to his youth as an ever curious munch kin, constantly underfoot. But his parents had never minded his curiosity, after all, in a world with nothing to fear, what is there to mind?

When theyÔÇÖd go exploring for treasures, Dillon would go with them. Sometimes his young keen eyes, and agile fingers would even find and collect things that his parents had missed. And for this, not only was it not a concern bringing Dillon with them, some times it was down right profitable.

ThatÔÇÖs how it came to be that young Dillon was climbing up the side of a cliff, the site of an old mining shaft, his parents meters behind him. The mine had previously been rich with sapphires, however the earth had become unstable with earthquakes around the location, and so no one dared mine it now. But the local gossip was that anyone fit and crazy enough to search around the mine might be able to find riches hidden away.

So Dillon and his family had come, seeking treasure and riches.

ÔÇ£Dillon, donÔÇÖt get to far ahead, we donÔÇÖt want you finding all the treasure by yourself.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£Alright Mother.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£Dillon, what did your Mother just say?ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£Sorry Father!ÔÇØ

But something pulled Dillon on. Beckoned him and called him.
Dillon. Dillon. Dillon.

So he climbed onwards. Climbed, and climb andCrack.. fell. The last sound he heard as he plummeted into darkness was his parents voices screaming at him, yet they already sounded so far away, and their own voices were lost to the strangled noise of his own as it caught in his throat in the very first experience of genuine terror.


ÔÇ£Mother.. Father!ÔÇØ


But that was then, and this is now.

Now was Mazugord tail lashing out to trip up The Rasping Suit as their bodies flailed around each other, swords now discarded from the previous clash of the two combatants bodies.

The Rasping Suit, caught off guard by the sudden unexpected lash, went crashing to the dusty blue ground, the particles of dirt exploding into an unnatural rainbow of color around it as it crashed.

ÔÇ£You think fighting in my head will beat me.ÔÇØ Screamed the enraged Mazugord, as he reclaimed his sword from the ground.
ÔÇ£You are evil demon suit. I thought you were a human at first but now I know better. And I know that you are evil. Your words wonÔÇÖt hurt me anymore.ÔÇØ He knelt over the suit, his eyes full of rage and hate, but he was winning the fight now, and the rage was overpowering despair ÔÇô the gateway to fear was closing. Raising his sword Mazugord followed the first lesson his brother had ever taught him, and plunged the point end into his opponent.

That Rasping Suit knew pain.


Pain. His world was pain. Dillon couldnÔÇÖt move his legs, one of them was pinned beneath his body at a painful angle. But he was still breathing. That meant that he was still alive.

Blinking Dillon cleared his eyes and looked around him. Above a shaft of light filtered down to him. From it his immediate surroundings where illuminated. He had plummeted into the cave through the foundations of the old mine. Wooden pillars climbed up the earth like snakes, stopping the rest of the ceiling from falling in on him.

From the world above he could hear his parents voice, high pitched with the previously unknown fear.

ÔÇ£Dillon. Dillon. Are you alright Dillon?ÔÇØ
He wanted to let them know he was fine, but his voice wouldnÔÇÖt work properly, and his mouth tasted thick with salt and rust.

ÔÇ£Dillon. Dillon?!ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£Stay put son, IÔÇÖm getting rope. WeÔÇÖre coming in after you.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£Dillon. Dillon. Dillon.ÔÇØ
Dillon This voice closer. Yet at the same time further away.
Dillon It was all around him. Beside him, in front of him, behind him.
Dillon It was inside him too. Calling him. Commanding him.
Dillon. The voice was right there, in the ground in front of him. Reaching out a shaking hand Dillon brushed at the dust, clearing away the dull metallic object which seemed to absorb the light around it. At first he thought it was obsidian, like the precious stone his Father and Mother sold sometimes, but as he brushed away more he saw it was larger then any piece of obsidian he had ever seen before. Smoother too. It was like a single piece of metal.. It was a helmet?

Yes. A helmet. Dillon rotated the piece of metal around in his hands. It was dark, and grotesque in appearance. The metal was cold to the touch, but as he pressed his skin to it he felt the voice in his head getting louder.
ÔÇ£Dillon.ÔÇØ It felt so right.
Above him, voices still screamed, but they where all merging together now.
All urging him in the same direction.
ÔÇ£Dillon. Do it.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£Dillon. Wear me.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£Dillon. We are made for each other.ÔÇØ

With trembling hands Dillon raised the helmet to his head.
And he screamed.


Mazugord watched the black ink leek from the dent heÔÇÖd pierced into The Rasping Suits armour. Despite thrusting with all his might, and with such elevation, the blade had only just pierced through the dark grey shell. But it had pierced. And now The Rasping Suit was writhing beneath him, a sound like the screams of a thousand children piercing his ears and mind at the same time.

ÔÇ£What have you done!ÔÇØ With a titanic burst of strength The Rasping Suit dislodged Mazugord.
ÔÇ£Dragon kin. You know nothing of what you have just done.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£I am The Rasping Suit Mazugord, and I know your worth. I am fear. I am terror. I am horror. I am what you fear to speak of, I am what you do not wish to know. I am the shadows that haunt your dreams, the voice behind your whispers. And you? A lone half breed, you think you can conquer me?ÔÇØ

Mazugord pulled himself to his feet. The Rasping Suits voice still whipped like a tornado in his mind, but he would not lose.
ÔÇ£Yes.ÔÇØ Mazugord snarled.ÔÇØ
The Rasping Suit faltered. He had never before encountered such certainty. This creatures fear, it wasnÔÇÖt bread from selfishness. It didnÔÇÖt fear for itself, it feared for some one else, for some one who couldnÔÇÖt be hurt. How was that possible? Every one feared. Yet here was a creature, bathed in uncertainty, yet armoured in a faith so strong The Rasping Suit couldnÔÇÖt penetrate it. The Rasping Suit raised a gauntleted hand away from its stomach, admiring the inky black liquid that coated the glove. For the first time in its life, the Rasping Suit was uncertain.


The Rasping Suit awoke. Reaching into the earth beside it, The Rasping Suit retrieved Paranoia for the first time. The blade still hot from the hell fires that had forged it, a single name etched into the top of its dark surface. If you could read the old tongue of legends, then you would know it said Dillon. Victim number one. The birth of fear. Sun shone above. The exit. The Rasping Suit flexed a gauntleted hand, than in one swift motion it punched a hole into the rocky wall and started to climb.
It could still hear Dillon sniffing and screaming somewhere in its twisted psyche.
ÔÇ£Dillon.ÔÇØ The voices came from above.
ÔÇ£Dillon, I told you IÔÇÖd come down for you. What are you doing..?ÔÇØ But all too late the human male saw the gauntlet grip at the ledge of the collapsed earth. A second later The Rasping Suit was hoisting itself up into sunshine for the first time, drinking in the world which it would bath in fear.

The man and woman standing before it hesitated, unsure. They did not yet know what fear was. Not truly.

ÔÇ£Have you seen my son?ÔÇØ Asked the man.
ÔÇ£Father. Father. Father!ÔÇØ Screamed DillonÔÇÖs mind in the back of The Rasping Suits psyche. Now was the time to birth fear. The Rasping Suit withdrew Paranoia.
ÔÇ£What are you doing? No. NO! STOP!ÔÇØ DillonÔÇÖs voice, tinged with terror. Beautiful and pure.
They tried to run.
ÔÇ£Mother. Father. NO!ÔÇØ


ÔÇ£I understand.ÔÇØ Mazugord had been prepared for another vicious assault; however the voice was no longer harsh. It wasnÔÇÖt tinted with deceit. It didnÔÇÖt rip at his mind like nails. That alone was enough to put Mazugord on edge. He circled away from The Rasping Suit as it advanced on him. Even unarmed he was still weary of this opponent.

ÔÇ£You do not fear. How interesting is that. And up until now I couldnÔÇÖt understand why. But I understand now. You do not feel fear, because you have nothing left to fear. You have lost all that you cared for. All that you loved. You are the last of your kind, and here I was thinking that would make you desperate and weak, yet instead it has made you strong. You are armoured in a faith so absolute and powerful, that even I, the harbinger of fear, cannot break it.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Keep your words to yourself monster!ÔÇØ Screamed Mazugord. He would not fail, not now. Not this close. He was going to see his father if it was the last thing he did. He lunged at The Rasping Suit, fending it off, yet the creature persisted towards him.

ÔÇ£Yes. I am a monster. And you see, that is why you cannot win this fight. As I am not just a monster, I am the monster. I am the eternal nightmare. Even if you were to defeat me Mazugord, I would still live on. Not just in your memory, but in the memory of everyone, as everyone must know fear.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£You just said I donÔÇÖt know fear you metallic fool.ÔÇØ Snarled Mazugord, he lashed out at the suit again, back peddling away from it while raining blows on the chest plate and arms.

I have you now.

Yes. You dont know fear, and Ive been fighting you like you do. That has been my mistake. But I dont need to fight you like you I would a normal opponent, Instead I should fight you like a true warrior. Instead I should fight you like your father fought that paladin

ÔÇ£Do not say his name. Do not even talk of him!ÔÇØ Mazugord flew at The Rasping Suit again, all slashing sword and beating wings, his enraged maw spewing out a plume of fire as he advanced. The Rasping Suit shielded himself from the worst of the blows with his gauntleted hands, feeling the half breeds psyche press closer.. closer.. closer.

YouÔÇÖre mine.

In his rage Mazugord had come to close, bringing himself within arm reach in the hope of being able to puncture the thick armour again like he had earlier. The Rasping Suit lashed out and caught his sword arm with one hand, while the other closed around his draconic maw, crushing teeth into delicate flesh. The movement was so sudden, so precise, so planned; that Mazugord barely had time to register heÔÇÖd been struck before collapsing on the ground, in agony. His sword cluttered from his hands as blood welled in his mouth. Blinking his eyes he started up at the suit of nightmares above him, somehow it had claimed his own two handed sword.

Father I just wanted.. to see.. my father Blood foamed at Mazugords mouth as he tried to form the words. It rolled down his chin and soiled the blue dust with red rivers, creating a purple quagmire around his mouth. The Rasping Suit stood over him. Even now, fear did not grip Mazugord, only disbelief.

Mother, Father.

ÔÇ£We all have parents. You will see your father again soon.ÔÇØ The Rasping Suit plunged Mazugord two handed sword ÔÇô still tinted with its own blood ÔÇô deep into Mazugord belly. He would be with his father soon. And so would The Rasping Suit. Retrieving Paranoia, the Rasping Suit headed North, moving deeper into the twisted landscape.
No entry.
Dusk9's Kane versus AccursedBiscuit's Tibiscu

Tibiscu squints as the clouds part, the midday sun shining directly into his eyes. Reluctantly, he stops climbing, waiting for the curtain of mist to fall back into place. The bright light, combined with the soaking wet rocks, simply made it too risky to continue - one wrong step, and he would spend the next few minutes tumbling to his doom.

He had heard of The Edge before. Of course, practically everyone he knew had - it was something of a legend back home. Many a monk had undertaken a pilgrimage across the land, in order to sit and meditate at its lip. Each had returned enlightened by the experience, their minds expanded.
Giratsu's voice spoke in his mind.

I always meant to come. But, my time never came. Perhaps....perhaps when our mission is complete, we can return?
Of course, my friend. Of course.

Eventually, the light faded, and Tibiscu resumed his trek. The twisting path which ran along this stretch of the Edge was long and narrow, with sheer drops on either side - a challenge for even the most experienced traveller. Fortunately, it seemed like he was almost at the end of it, the path appearing to widen ahead.

The cut itched. Badly.
Absentmindedly, Kane scratched the two inch gash on the back of his hand. It had healed surprisingly quickly for such a painful wound, already covered by a crusty scab despite being only a day or two old. The cool white mist helped, soothing the inflammation from a sharp pain to a dull ache.
But still, it itched.

Trying to take his mind off the pain, Kane focused on his surroundings - in particular the abyss before him.
He was standing at the Edge. Literally, two feet from an almost endless fall.
With the wind blowing his cloak behind like a great cape, and the great drop in front, he probably looked like a heroic adventurer. Fearless. Unstoppable. Dramatic.

He didn't feel very heroic.

With a sigh, he casts his mind back. Searching his memory for that one promise he had made to himself, all those years ago.

"Don't do what they did."

It was a simple promise. Easy to follow. Easy to remember.
But over the years it had become clouded behind thoughts of wealth, and power. Thoughts of what he could accomplish if he just ignored those twinges of empathy, those pesky flickers of humanity. And over time, it had changed. No longer was it "don't do what they did". No, now it had become "do what you want".

They had stolen his childhood. His freedom. Turned his very life into what they wanted it to be. His opinion, his thoughts and feelings, had meant nothing to them.
And now, he was doing the exact same thing.

His musings are interrupted by a strong gust of wind, which threatens to push him off the Edge. Reflexively, he holds himself upright with his staff, using it to push against the ground and resist the powerful rush of air.

"A dangerous place to stand."

The voice catches him off-guard. He had been so caught up in his own thoughts, that he had failed to notice the other mind approaching silently from his rear. But he doesn't let it show. Showing weakness was never good. Instead, he replies calmly and without hesitation, hiding his surprise and internal torment beneath a mask of serenity.

"Only for those who are weak of mind and body. Any competent man should have nothing to fear from such a drop."
Turning smoothly, Kane scans the man.
Dressed in loose-fitting brown clothes, he looked ordinary enough. However the well-developed muscles and guarded stance marked him out as a warrior. The multitude of small scars that crisscrossed his skin confirmed this - nobody got that many wounds from simple manual labour.
As Kane observes, the stranger raises an eyebrow, crossing his bare arms over his chest. Kane's eyes are drawn to the peculiar tattoos that circle them, a trio of stylized rings that are inked onto his lower legs as well. The burn marks on his shorts, combined with his lack of obvious weapons, made it clear to Kane that there was more to these tattoos than met the eye.

"An odd sentiment. Either you believe you are physically incapable of falling, or have no knowledge of the effects such a fall would have on your body. Since you seem intelligent enough, I guess the former must be true - some type of flight magic, perhaps?"
"Not quite. I am simply confident in my ability to stay upright, and not slip to my doom."
Kane smirks at the stranger, letting said confidence show.
"That....makes sense, admittedly. No man who doubts their balance should walk that path. Still, it is not your own competence you should fear. There are men out there who's hearts are filled with darkness. Who may not even have hearts. Many of which I am sure would have no qualms with sending you plummeting to your doom....."
The man's face draws tight, his skin paling slightly in what looks like....fear? Kane instinctively delves into his thoughts, trying to see what could possibly have spooked him so badly. But the image he finds is not one he would have normally linked to such a strong sense of terror.
After all, an armoured knight in black - while unusual - was not inherently terrifying. Sure, his sword was rather viciously ornamented, but still......there must be something he was missing.....

Before any further thoughts can be observed, the image abruptly vanishes, pushed deep into the stranger's subconscious. Whatever that knight was, the man plainly does not want to dwell on it. As colour returns to his face, Kane decides to ignore the fear - for now - and focus instead on introductions.
"I am Kane, the traveller. You?"
After a short pause, the stranger unfolds his arms and bows deeply.
"Tibiscu, the monk. May I ask what, exactly, you are traveling to?"

As he speaks, a single thought flashes through Tibiscu's mind. One which causes Kane to do a mental double-take, and rapidly reassess the situation.
He had expected to face at least one other seeking the same prize as himself during his journey. Two had been an unlikely coincidence, but not entirely unexpected.

But three....!?

Tibiscu was suspicious.

The young man before him was well-spoken and intelligent, like a nobleman. But he was dressed in none of the finery that the monk would usually expect to see on such people. Instead, he wore dark brown fabric and an equally plain hooded cloak. The clothes of someone who wants to blend in, and remain unseen.
His voice was deep, with a calming air. Trustworthy, and friendly. However, there was something almost sinister about the way he shaped his words - like each vowel and constant were carefully constructed to influence Tibiscu's thoughts and opinions.

Strip away the fancy words, and what remained was frighteningly familiar to Tibiscu. This was a man who would lie, cheat, and steal to get what he wanted. Maybe even kill, if he had to.
It was like looking into a mirror to the past. Tibiscu's past.

If he was right, and this 'Kane' was also after the Stone.....then a fight was all but inevitable.....

The attack was sudden and violent. Kane transformed in an instant - from a calm, static figure, to a determined blur of swinging staff and whirling wood. Giratsu's instincts took over immediately, deflecting the blows as if they were nothing but annoying insects. It didn't take Kane long to realise that his attacks were ineffective, at which point he fell back, quarterstaff raised defensively.

Kane's voice had changed. The warmth and reassurance were lost, replaced by a cold, authoritative tone.
"It's not often that I'm faced with an equal in physical combat. However, don't take this to mean that you can stand in my way. I will get there first. No matter the cost."
Brow furrowed, Tibiscu replied calmly and passively. His foe was intelligent, if stubborn. Perhaps he could convince him to lay down his weapon, and avoid a fight entirely.
"Am I to take it, then, that you are also after the Stone? Like the others?"
His thoughts flash back to the knight, and the caravan destroyer.
Kane's eyes narrow questioningly, then widen in surprise and disbelief - as if he had just been shown something too crazy to be true.
"Impossible.....you mean to say that we have both faced opposition in our respective journey's? And the exact same number of foes, no less?!"
Confused, Tibiscu opens his mouth to ask how Kane could possibly know that they had faced the same number of opponents. But he is cut off instantly, as the cloaked man continues his minor rant.
"No, no, it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter if fate wants us to face each other. It doesn't matter if I must defeat three, three dozen, or three hundred foes. The Stone will be mine."

"....are you su-"
Tibiscu's sentence is interrupted again - this time by the sweeping staff, which misses his head by a whisker as barely dodges in time. The next few strikes are easily countered, as before. But then, a surprisingly powerful strike hits him in the elbow, incapacitating his arm long enough for another to sneak past his guard and jab directly into his solar plexus. Lashing out on instinct, he catches Kane's own stomach, knocking him off balance in the process.

Mindful of the nearby cliffs, the monk backs out of range long enough to retain his composure, as his opponent does the same.
He is beyond reasoning, Tibiscu. We must incapacitate him first, then try to change his views.

Channelling the mystical energies as he was taught, Tibiscu clenches his fists tight, focusing hard. After a few seconds, the skin of his hands and feet begin to turn blue and harden, as a thin sheet of ice crystals form over them. This time, when Kane moves in, Tibiscu is ready - now no longer just defending, he stands his ground and starts to take a few swings of his own between blocks.
But, despite the monk's greater strength, Kane doesn't flinch. In fact, it almost seems like he knows where Tibiscu will target before he does himself, as the staff is always there and ready to deflect the attack.
Every. Single. Time.

It was a stalemate. Neither could hit the other.
At least, that's what Tibiscu thought. Then a smile appears on Kane's face, and he acts, knocking aside both of the monk's arms and sweeping him off his feet in a single action. Winded, he looks up to see the raised quarterstaff ready to come down on his unprotected head.
Thinking quickly, he places his palms on the ground and harnesses the ice cold energy within, freezing the moisture that had collected on the rocks. Pushing backwards with his feet, he manages to slide out of the way of the strike that splinters stone when it hits, ending up almost a two dozen feet from his opponent. And worryingly close to the Edge.

"Your magic wonÔÇÖt save you, monk."
Tibiscu scrambles into a crouched position, hands still on the ground.
"It didnÔÇÖt save the undead. Or the gambler. And it wonÔÇÖt. Save. You."
Without waiting for a reply, Kane starts forward, stepping around the frozen ground and preparing to attack. Which is when the monk sees his chance.

Flexing his fingers, he again coats the rocks in ice. But this time, he directs the majority of it to form under his opponent.
KaneÔÇÖs eyes widen as he feels his feet give way beneath him, struggling to stay upright as he careens towards the Edge. At the very last second, he manages to use his staff as a third leg and prop himself up, preventing him from falling over.
Which is when Tibiscu punches him, fists sparking with lightning.

Collapsing in a heap at the Edge, Kane his staff in defence...only to have it be kicked away immediately, tumbling down into the abyss. He watches it fall for a few seconds, his expression a mixture of sadness and anger, before turning back to the hard-eyed monk standing above him.

"Do you surrender?"
TibiscuÔÇÖs voice is emotionless, but his face is stern. Like a parent punishing a child.
"....what if I do? What happens?"
"You live. But the Stone shall never be yours to hold."
"...in that case, I decline."
In one fluid action, Kane draws a foot-long blade from within his cloak and leaps to his feet, aiming for TibiscuÔÇÖs throat. But the elemental monk, with his lightning reflexes, dodges the blade easily.
Leaving Kane with only one place to go.

Tibiscu can do nothing but watch as his opponent goes flying off the Edge. In a matter of seconds, the fluttering cloak disappears into a cloud, and an eerie stillness descends.

Well....I won.
Standing at the Edge, Tibiscu stares down into the abyss, his face emotionless. Inside though, the emotions of relief, regret, and triumph are all fighting for his attention.
Why, Giratsu? Why would he not just accept surrender? Was the Stone really worth his life?
The voice is faint, but recognisable. What was he trying to say?
Suddenly, he felt the ground shift. Everything began to sway, as if he was standing on the deck of a ship, and not dry land. An earthquake?
The swaying intensified, the very air now rippling in time with it. As it intensified, so did the pain which had now manifested in his arms and legs - looking down, they seemed fine. But they felt like they he had been fishing through a box of swords.
Then, everything exploded. The world disappeared before his eyes, reality shattering into a million pieces. As one single, powerful voice blasted through his head.

With a start, Tibiscu feels himself coming back down to earth, the ground solidifying beneath his feet. He raises a hand to his head, to steady himself, and sees red. What? His entire hand was coated in blood?
....his blood.

The cuts on his arms were long, and deep. Each one was methodically placed to perfectly bisect the tattoos, ruining the unity of the symbols, and removing them of their power. Who had done this? How!?
His musings are interrupted again, by the now easy to hear voice of Giratsu.
Behind you!
Recognising the panic in his tone, Tibiscu whirls around to find....Kane?

With a grim smile, the cloaked figure lashes out, catching the monk in the chest with his quarterstaff. Eyes wide, Tibiscu feels himself tip backwards, over the Edge of the World. But with the last of his strength, he reaches out and grabs hold off the shelf of rock, latching on for dear life. The blood makes it tricky to keep his grip.
The shoe on his fingers makes it even harder.

"I am sorry. About your tattoos. But, it was the only way I could ensure you wouldnÔÇÖt use them."
"B-but....how?! How did you do this? I saw you go over the Edge! I saw you die!"
"You saw what I wanted you to see. What, you thought you were the only one with unique skills? Mine are simply more....subtle, than yours."
TibiscuÔÇÖs mind races, searching for a way out. He could reach up and pull Kane over the Edge. Push Kane back, and then climb to safety. Climb down and around, finding another way up.
He knew that if he could just escape, he could apply the healing salve to his wounds. Fix his powers.
"Do you mean this healing salve?"

The monks eyes widen as Kane removes a small pouch from under his cloak.....and then proceeds to almost casually flick it forward. Over the Edge.
"You canÔÇÖt hide anything from me, Tibiscu. I know all your secrets. You lose."
His expression hardens, as his foot begins to press down on Tibiscu's hand. The monk's mind races, searching for an answer, for an escape. But none appears.
He can feel his grip weakening, his hands slippery from all the blood. And he realises that this is it.
This is the end.

Goodbye, my friend. I am sorry that I have failed.
Do not apologise. You did all you could. We did all we could.

Suddenly, the pressure stops. And Kane speaks.

"You are helpless, monk. Weak. You cannot possibly stop my from reaching the Stone first, alive or dead."
His voice is soft, almost neutral in tone. Emotionless.
"So....do you surrender?"


Nodding, Kane reaches down and pulls the monk up, over the Edge. Arms shaking, he collapses in a heap on the ground, relived to be alive. By the time he opens his eyes, Kane is already almost out of sight, walking away into the mist without a word of goodbye.

The itching had stopped.

For the first time since he had set off on this journey, Kane felt oddly....at peace.

The monk was alive.
He had defeated him, like the others.
But this time, no one had died.

"Don't do what they did."

This time, he wouldn't forget those words.
This time, he would be humane.
This time, he would not be some manipulative murderer.
This time, he would be Kane.
Tibiscu stopped along the trail a moment to survey the landscape. It was unlike anything he'd ever seen in all his travels. With careful footing, he peered over the edge, only to be met with a strong gust of wind and a view of nothing but clouds.

We need to get moving, we are too close to the Stone to afford to waste any time.

Giratsu was right. He could already feel the presence of the Stone, weighing heavily on his spirit. A powerful artifact indeed. Tibiscu resumed along the path, keeping a sharp eye out for any opponents. No one this far from civilization could possibly be friendly, and he wasn't going to fall for another trap.

Tibiscu, what is wrong? If we keep waiting, someone else is bound to claim the Stone. It is highly likely we will run into that suit again, so we must leave, now.

Tibiscu stopped in a moment of confusion. Was Giratsu now blind? He had already walked a great distance. He voiced his objections.

"No need to be so impatient, we can't afford to run into any traps, but I'm still making good time."

Giratsu was silent. Tibiscu tried to shake off the strange feeling, but couldn't. Something was wrong. Best to keep moving, though, so he started up the trail again.

Careful Tibiscu, someone is approaching. He looks ordinary, but he carries a staff. He is likely our next opponent.

Tibiscu dropped into a defensive stance and looked at...nothing. There was no one there. What was going on?

Tibiscu, on your feet, now! He means to drop us over the edge. I don't know what's going on but-

He was cut off, interrupted by an unknown voice penetrating Tibiscu's consciousness.

"I had expected to find greater opposition this close to the Stone. As it stands, you seem to be just another sheep. What are you doing, so far from your flock?" The voice boomed, stern, yet almost taunting him.

Tibiscu looked around desperately. Where was the voice coming from? What was happening?

Something is wrong, why aren't you fighting back? We are nearing the edge, have you given up? No, this is different, you seem to be paralyzed... That's it! I recognize this technique now! This man is a mindbender, he has put you into a world built inside your own mind, while your body becomes paralyzed. I have heard of people like this. They are few and far between. But we can admire rarity later, now you must snap out of it!

With the realization came sudden clarity. The ground felt more real, he could feel the sting of the wind, and... firm hands dragging him across the ground. So this was the man who had invaded his mind. He seemed much younger than the voice that belonged to him, but no matter. With deft movement, Tibiscu broke the man's grip and rolled away, body still adjusting to movement. How much time had he lost?

"Hmm, not many can break free of an illusion like that. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Kane. Something is different about you. I sense... more. What secrets are you holding, Tibiscu?" The mysterious man eyed Tibiscu as he rose into his fighting stance.

Dispatch this enemy quickly, we must make up for lost time.

Kane raised an eyebrow as Giratsu said this. "You know, I am rarely surprised. Who else do you have in there?"

Tibiscu tensed and launched his fist forward, and gasped in surprise as the strange man dodged with ease, butting him in the stomach with the staff. Tibiscu recoiled, and ducked for a sweeping kick for the legs. Only Kane seemed to have the staff against the ground beforehand. Pain shot into his shin, and Kane quickly brought the staff up, hitting Tibiscu in the jaw, sending him reeling.

This man is reading your mind, he knows your moves before you make them.

"Your friend is very astute. So, how exactly will you attempt to defeat me? My guess is your lightning style, due to its unpredictable nature. Am I right?"

Tibiscu withdrew slightly. He was right. A clever plan, he had thought.

"A clever plan indeed" Kane cut his thoughts off, "But to someone with access to all of your memories, highly predictable."

Tibiscu, I have an idea. Trust me, and follow my lead. With this, Tibiscu's body took on a different stance. He recognized this stance, it was Giratsu's! He relinquished control of his body to Giratsu. This will be the second time he'd witness the old monk fight.

"Creative, I'll give you that. But you must be forgetting, I can read your mind, too, Giratsu" he scolded and lashed out with his staff, but switched the direction of the attack mid-swing. It was a feint, in anticipation of the block. Although instead of a block, the blow connected. Tibiscu experienced a flash of pain and stumbled. What happened? Was Giratsu not used to fighting?

No, think, Tibiscu. What advantage do we have? Tibiscu thought furiously, trying to figure out Giratsu's plan.

"Yes, what advantage do you have, Giratsu?" Kane inquired, lashing out at Tibiscu's legs. Giratsu focused on dodging, and Tibiscu focused on blocking. Kane faltered for a moment, and went for a stabbing strike. This time Tibiscu was ready, slapping the staff off course, and went for a palm strike to the chest, but Kane was already retreating.

Tibiscu smiled as he saw Giratsu's plan. He finally spoke "You're pretty good at messing with minds. Let's see how good you are at multitasking."

As soon as Tibiscu spoke, Kane read the plan off his mind. "You are indeed clever. You mean to distract me. Very well, let us begin in earnest."

Giratsu launched forward for a roundhouse, but at the last second, Tibiscu redirected for a double palm strike. Kane had his staff raised to block his leg, leaving his stomach exposed. He staggered backwards, coughing.

His response was a thrust to the face, feinting into a strike to the ribs. Tibiscu gasped for breath as he leaped back. He was sure he felt a rib crack. It was going to be difficult to block or dodge his attacks, but at least now he could inflict damage.

Kane did not relent. He jumped forward, staff raised over his head. This was most likely another false attack, but Tibiscu took no chances. He focused on blocking, but Giratsu threw his body forward, tackling him and throwing both to the ground.

They both recovered quickly, and Tibiscu's arms and legs glowed bright red. He had to get rid of that staff. Giratsu raised his left hand for a downward chop, but Kane woudn't be fooled again. He thrusted at Tibiscu's now exposed chest. Tibiscu twisted to the right, shooting his right hand out and grabbing the middle of the staff.

He roared and focused his chakra into his right hand, burning the staff with intense heat. Kane kicked Tibiscu in the back, relinquishing his grip on the staff. The very center of the staff was now extremely weakened, glowing red embers. He tossed the staff to the side.

"You are certainly a worthy opponent. Time to pull out all the stops." He drew two lengthy daggers from his robes.

But this yet another distraction. As he extended his arms with the daggers, small spikes shot out from his sleeves. Hidden dart launchers! Tibiscu deflected the darts aimed at his face, catching three in the shoulder.

He ripped these out and tossed them over the edge. Kane took an offensive stance with the daggers.

"Those aren't easy to make, you know. I hope you have the coin to replace them." he dashed forward, each dagger coming from a different direction.

He's aiming for your chest, but he'll likely feint and go for the legs. Protect your legs, Tibiscu. Giratsu moved his arms to deflect a leg blow, but Tibiscu twisted out of the way and struck Kane in the side with a palm strike. Kane did not relent, though, and quickly slashed at Tibiscu's chest. Tibiscu did his best to block with his free hand, but both hand and chest suffered a sickening gash.

Tibiscu fell back, desperately fumbling with a pouch on his belt, ducking under an oncoming slash to the head, but Giratsu shot his hand up, two fingers aimed at his wrist. He connected, charging his chakra through Kane's wirst, rendering it limp, and the dagger fell with a clang to the ground. The man fell back, trying to shake his limp hand back to life, giving Tibiscu time to grab a handful of healing powder, first clenching it in his injured fist, then smearing it across his chest.

The blood coagulated quickly, and damaged ligaments soon began regrowing. Tibiscu coughed up the remaining blood out of his lungs and wiped his mouth.

"Chakra attack, eh? No matter, I only need one hand to finish you off." And stabbed forward while Tibiscu was still recovering. Giratsu moved to disarm his other hand, but Tibiscu remained crouched, performing a sweeping kick, connecting with Kane's side, directly under the ribs. The wind was knocked out of him, and Tibiscu focused on sending a barrage of lightning from his hands, but Giratsu struck with both palms against his chest, sending him stumbling backwards.

Kane gasped, trying to catch his breath, and raised his dagger in defense as Tibiscu jumped into the air, both hands clenched above his head, while Giratsu concentrated on a flying kick. The mindreader put his dagger in a position to block and damage Tibiscu's leg, but the strike never came. Instead, Tibiscu kept with the downward strike, sending the remaining dagger bouncing along the ground.

Tibiscu stood over the the unarmed man, both breathing heavily.

"You are disarmed. This fight can be over if you wish. I will continue, but I recommend you head back. You can join me at my temple when I claim the Stone. I will accept all students. You could greatly hone your craft." He stepped back, allowing his former opponent to stand up.

"In fact, I do wish this fight would be over. But I must decline your offer. I'm not very fond of monks." Kane chuckled to himself. "But I'm afraid it won't be you who claims the Stone." With that he threw his arms up, launching his remaining darts. Three landed in Tibiscu's chest, two in the leg. He stumbled, and fell onto his back, coughing up blood. He looked around wildly, he could barely see over the edge of the world.

Kane limped over and bent towards Tibiscu, grabbing on of the darts stuck in his chest. Tibiscu cried out in pain. "If it's any consolation, this will be a fight I will remember for a long time." Kane said, with a tone of respect.

Without thinking, Tibiscu grabbed Kane by the shoulders, and kicked his foot into his chest, throwing him over the edge. Straining, Tibiscu looked over the edge, watching Kane falling towards the clouds. He breached the clouds, forcing them aside, revealing what was underneath. It was total darkness. A pure darkness that sent a familiar shiver down his spine.

Using his remaining strength, he pulled the darts out of his chest. He'll get the others later. He just hoped there was enough healing powder in his chest to repair the new damage. If there wasn't, he might not heal completely and it would cause permanent damage. He would deal with that when the time came, though. Now was the time for rest.
And that makes the end of the half-finals. I hope all of you enjoy the entries- I know I did. Judging will now begin. And in a week or so, we'll move on to the finals...

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Re: Rating wars II: Electric boogaloo (round 2 judging)

Post by Dusk9 » Thu May 23, 2013 1:55 am

Mort's right - those are both brilliant! Nice work, you two :)

Also, a bit of clarification about mine.
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Re: Rating wars II: Electric boogaloo (round 2 judging)

Post by vidius » Thu May 23, 2013 3:00 am

So I win on forfeit...


Oh well.
"Winter is coming"

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Re: Rating wars II: Electric boogaloo (round 2 judging)

Post by Dusk9 » Thu May 23, 2013 3:24 am

If it's any consolation, I loved your entry. Especially the backstory and depth it gives to the Suit :D

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Re: Rating wars II: Electric boogaloo (round 2 judging)

Post by AccursedBiscuit » Thu May 23, 2013 5:15 am

Awesome submissions all around! Vidius, always love reading your submissions, cool to see the Suit take on a different perspective. And very well done, Dusk, I like the way you used the ice, very creative, very Tibiscu! I feel like this one's gonna be a close one, can't wait to see the final matchups!
I'm no ordinary biscuit. Just look at my horns.

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