Battle Royale 1.1
Posted on Mon Nov 19th, 2012 @ 6:48pm by Guardian Brann Connolly & Fae of Sky Maus & Fae of Fire Cat Random & Celestial Angel & Mystic Zachary Craft & Zumbe Jericho Stark
Edited on on Mon Nov 19th, 2012 @ 9:28pm
Location: Stark Academy and Stark Castle
Timeline: November 28, 2011 - 1000 am local
Oriel stepped amongst them until he was standing in the middle and with quick gestures moved people close around him with Summer and Jericho on the outside. He raised his hands straight up, palms turned outward and arms extended all the way and looked upwards, shutting his eyes. A silver circle flew out from his feet across the floor as if projected there filled with symbols and swirling curving lines that looked like the orbits of planets; some of them actually moved slowly around him at the center. Then he spoke a single word, executing his Consecration.
The world burst into brilliant non-blinding silver light and in a flash, they were elsewhere. They stood on a rounded platform with a low wall built along the edge at a vantage point where several stone steps had been arranged for people to walk along, climb up and sit on in vast rows. It was a sunken and fortified amphitheater with a round "stage" all the seating surrounded, the lowest seat several meters above the stone floor of the several-hundred yard-diameter circle.
In this area and around the vast circular area were smaller rounded seating areas like this one, each with stone seats set around so that those in the area and seating could see the entire arena space.
Zach was startled and fascinated but instincts always took precedence over curiosity. He squatted in to a low defensive stance looking for possible attackers.
Cat looked around the area with a raised brow. Things had been happening so often recently that she wasn't nearly as startled as she should have been by the newest change of scenery. She couldn't see anyone or anything on the stage. Her eyes scanned the area continuously as she watched the movement around them.
Brann enjoyed the arts and this place filled him with a sense of grand excitement and spectacle. He signed between his siblings and the ladies. :It's like the Quidditch stadium combined with a Greek amphitheater and the Roman Coliseum.:
:F.A.G.: Maus signed back.
:You say that like it's a bad thing,: Brann signed back with a smirk.
All around them people were rushing down the large step-seats, some to go to the bottom level and some to find seats in vantage points they liked. All many of people were present, several of which looked rather fearsome with fangs and glowing pits where eyes should be, heavy mail and elaborate robes for others. About half of them looked Human but were dressed in some sort of armor or elaborate clothing of some sort and many were accompanied by small creatures or devices that fluttered, glided or whirly-coptered around them.
Cat's eyebrows shot up. After what Angel had said about Jericho knowing their parents she wondered if any of them were here. Would they even recognize the children that they had given up? Or did they keep tabs on their kids through the previously unknown watchers.
Angel for her part had been in this... layer before, so the people while fascinating weren't new. She took a step back from the others and did what she'd been dying to do since they got here, stretch her wings. She would dare to try them out, not with this many people watching, but she could stretch and experiment with the muscles until the show started.
Jericho sat in the largest chair, the one that fit her size appropriately and gestured to seating around her, the stone seats looked uncomfortable but when sat in revealed they were actually rather nice. Oriel moved to the edge of the low-wall that surrounded their point of the quadrant and gestured, a complex glowing silver graphic of symbols and lines came up behind the wave of his hand, creating a screen that faded almost immediately to nothing.
"Thank you Oriel," Jericho nodded to him graciously and he blushed, embarrassed.
"You're very welcome Princess," he replied demurely and stepped back and held up his hand as if reaching for something only he could see. There was a soft ringing sound that in a second magnified to the ring of a small bell and into his hand appeared a short halberd with an ax-like blade that came down half of the shaft. It was sharp edged and the blade had runes worked into it so that instead of merely inscribed or engraved, sections of the blade had been cut out to make the symbols.
Zach immediately focused on the weapon, trying to glean any information about build, materials and whatnot. Unsure if he would know anything about anything in this...layer.
It looked forged from gold, steel polished to mirror brightness, titanium and inlaid with fiery opals and wrapped in layers of some sort of white leather. The ax-halberd, was accented with feather-like motifs.
"We're perfectly safe up here Oriel," Jericho commented idly.
"The General has commanded me to be ready Princess," he deferred, "I apologize but in this situation, she has greater authority." Summer smirked and remained standing in her dress, barefoot, her ribbons fluttering in the faint breeze.
Jericho nodded once silently and turned back to the other serenely. "Questions?"
"No offense ma'am. But just what in the hell is going on?" Cat asked with her customary bluntness. "I get that we're in another realm and things are different here but why are we here? Nothing is done without more than one reason and I think there is more to this than just wanting to introduce us to this realm."
"An angel of some power and Battle Lord as your personal guards, exactly what are you princess of?" asked Zach and then looked at Ms Summer and nodded deeply in respect.
"Battle Master," Summer corrected smoothly as Jericho replied.
"I'm the Princess of Stark Academy, Castle Stark and its Demesne," Jericho gestured to the area around them as a small gesture. "We protect the Great Stones, The Thunder Teeth and the Thousand Winding Ways and all the people that make their homes and villages within."
Taking a cue from Maus but no one except Jericho or Pike would know he replied, "Thank you for clarifying"
"You have to see a map," Summer explained in an aside, "but it's basically the northeastern US from Chicago to Eastern Toronto and down to DC, encompassing West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio through half of Illinois."
"A few days ago someone," she didn't look at Brann, "called me out for making the castle into a bunker. I promised you answers. This is a way to those answers through display and through experiences. This," she spread her hands and gestured around them, "is the Battle Royale, Quidditch in your Harry Potter books but more dangerous, sometimes deadly and the stakes get higher and higher the further progressed you are in any of the participating Academies. What is decided by these is which Academies attract the next crop of students, which Academy is the best for the year, which Academy commands the others during the Ur-Season and of course, which Academy gets paid tithe by all the others. Today is the preliminary exhibition between members of the school, students or faculty may be called and matched against a like opponent with handicaps to more evenly match them against their disciplines and Passions."
"Nobody's going to call Jericho," Summer giggled, "they still use the tale of that to get first-years to go to bed when they need." Jericho gave her a severe look, which she blithely ignored. "I'm the designated Defender this year," she added, giving Zach a significant look. "As Host, we Defend against Challengers. As I am considered faculty, I'll be matched against faculty or other accomplished alumnus. These contests set up rivalries and alliances, most for a season, some for a year, rarely for longer than that."
"Why," Brann gave her a look of curious interest. "Why do the academies compete?"
"For resources and for popularity," Summer waved that one along. "More popular schools and schools that make better students get more students and resources. The school that wins leads the others for the year and commands their forces, if needed."
"So the winning school proves it has what it takes to command the others in battle against the Ur." He paused, thinking of the earlier talk he had with his orphan siblings, "Just what are the Ur? What is Ur-season?"
"The Ur are the enemies of everything of the earth, alive, unliving, undead and undying," she explained. "They opposed the Higher beings, which empower the earth and give life to all things from the Overworld through the Mortalworld and on through to the faintest of the Darkworld."
"Sounds totally Lovecraftian," Brann tried to wrap his head around it.
"In many ways that's accurate," Sapphire nodded. "Tentacular, alien, slimy- all that."
"That leads back to why we might see Miss Summer, er, that is, Lady Sapphire compete." Brann nodded, "Thank you, ma'am."
Zach nodded, eager to see his instructor at work.
"What are the rules?" Cat asked softly cocking her head to the side with her eyes scanning the arena. "After all if they can challenge students, and well we're the only students from our school, not to mention they're most likely to challenge those they see as being at a disadvantage. I think we need to be prepared. 'Cause I get the feeling one or more of us are going to be called out."
Zach in a voice that was riddled with anticipation and excitement, "Oh please let them think I am incapable of defending myself." Zach's chest start to physically heave at the thought of an all out match where he was allowed free reign.
"Can they call us out?" Brann spoke for the first time since they arrived.
"They can," Jericho agreed, "but if they're stupid enough to do that, they deserve what they get."
"And that evasive answer leads us to..." Maus asked.
Jericho glared at him and he followed Summer's example and blithely ignored it.
"It means one of your student advisers would duel in your place," a softly spoken comment made, a young woman Brann had seen reflected in a computer screen stepped down with a few other people to join them. She had long golden-colored hair and appeared quite Human, wore spectacles perched on the end of her nose with cut-crystal lenses a quarter-centimeter thick and had a peaches and cream complexion with a spatter of golden freckles across her nose and cheeks. Her resemblance to Oriel was dramatic and clearly not an accident. She wore elaborate layered robes that were open in the front and modest but colorful in gold, crimson and gray trim. She wore no weapons and carried no devices, unlike many of the others but the high collar of her outfit seemed to be one-piece with the shoulders in a mantle from which hung the crimson cloak she wore around her. She blushed a bit and offered her hand to Brann, "Desinora, your Guardian-Advisor."
"Oh," Brann jumped to his feet. "Desinora, hi, um..." he scratched the back of his head in sheepish embarrassment. "Sorry for scaring you that night."
"You shouldn't have been able to see me," she replied sheepishly. "It just startled me."
"Yeah, I have that effect on people," Brann laughed. He pointed between her and Oriel, "I see a family resemblance."
"Oriel inherited the Celestial Blood," Desinora sighed wistfully.
"And my older twin," he clarified admonishing her with a wagged right index finger, "is a Guardian. I think we turned out pretty well." Desinora blushed all the way to her hairline at the crack about being a Guardian
Brann flashed Oriel a fetching grin and blurted, "Oh, you turned out very well!" He cleared his throat and smiled sheepishly at Desinora, "You both have." He moved quickly to recover from his faux pas, "I'm glad to meet you because I don't know the first thing about Guardians."
"Which is why she was assigned to you," Jericho commented. "They were assigned because they're the most-accomplished of their type and years and have considered Instructor-Hero positions for their futures."
"Instructor-Heroes," Brann looked perplexed, "What's that? It sounds like something out of 'Naruto'."
"You make heroes with Instructors," Jericho explained, "so an instructor who is also a Hero should be qualified to make greater heroes, wouldn't you say?"
"Of course," Brann spoke with clear agreement. "It's obvious and I appreciate your taking time to explain."
Silently Jericho gestured to Desinora with her left hand.
"Wow, an Instructor hero." Brann nodded appreciatively. "Thanks for taking time to train me. I look forward to working with you,"
"And I you," she confirmed and looked up once, furtively meeting his eyes and then back down.
"Who was assigned to me and when do we start flying lessons?" Angel asked on the tails of Brann's questions. She was still fidgeting with them, not sure how she was going to sit on the stone steps.
"I was," Oriel turned around to face her. "We're different types but there's not many of us lying around and few of us have.... umm..." he paused as if trying to think of a pleasant way to say something.
"Not many Celestials are patient enough to be used as teachers," Desinora said softly, adoring gaze focused on her twin.
Angel gave them a look cocking her head to one side, "I've never had an issue with teaching."
"You were raised Human too," Oriel reminded them. "You understand the difference between humility and humiliation."
"If we are supposed to be evenly matched up then what need would we have for guardians?" Zach asked.
"Because they'd have to have limbs tied down and spells cast on them to handicap them down to your level," another voice replied as a young man walked up, straight black hair chopped jaggedly and worn around his face. He wore heavy armor, elaborate and stylized with dragon motifs, the metallic skull of one open and aimed at the side of his head and neck. The entire suit looked fanciful and impossible to move in yet he proved himself able to do so easily. In sheaths all over the armor he wore blades of all sorts, from braces of daggers to short swords, two katana-like swords crossed his back for an under-draw and long thick silver chains hung from his arms where they were attached to rings in the nostrils of dragons, looped around the arm three times before looping down to disappear under his indigo cloak and then reappear to attach to loops at the top outsides of each calf greave. "Daygon," he introduced himself to Zach, meeting Zach's eye with his reptile-like indigo pupils.
Shifter? is what Zach thought as he bowed his head slightly. He had no misgivings, this "man" was beyond dangerous and beyond his abilities. "I am not powerless nor am I untrained" Zach stated matter-of-factly.
"That's not exactly true Zach. We don't know all of the things that each of us can do and so would be considered untrained by those who were raised with their native abilities." Cat said with a shrug as she looked at the other man. The sheer amount of metal on the man made her fingers itch to look at the craftsmanship.
"We're more than our abilities, Cat," Brann added his thoughts.
"Yes we are." Cat turned her attention to Brann, "I never said we weren't. What I said was that we are untrained in the use of our native abilities whereas many of the people here are quite well versed in the use of theirs. Therefore in comparison we are untrained. So basically we are at a larger disadvantage if we were to be challenged. Thus the need to tie down limbs and have spells cast on our opponents in order to level the playing field." She gestured to Daygon as she repeated his words. "It makes complete sense that until we have trained with things other than our fists and feet that we have champions."
"Or you're more trained with your fists and feet," a young man stepped forward, his hair seemed a wild shortish mass of flames and nothing else, black spiraling horns that looked like semi-molten iron with glowing ember crevices rose from his forehead straight up and out but ended a few inched above his skull. His ears were pointed and backswept and his eyes metallic gold and slit-pupil like a reptile or a felines. Despite his alien qualities, he oozed sexual attraction, wearing very little clothing and what he was wearing protected just his most vital areas with overlapping gold-studded leather plates on fabric underlayers. Even his long naked prehensile tail, constantly in motion, was covered with overlapping plates at the base and at the tip, strengthened with a spear-like blade. His clawed talons on feet and hands were clearly visible and he seemed to be heavily inked up with linear line patterns of symmetrical design all over his visible reddish-dusky skin. "Erris, you're Efrit-Advisor," he offered both of his hands to Cat to clasp.
"Cat." She said simply taking both his hands. "Nice tail."
"Thanks," he replied, communicating all sorts of suggestions about the tail, him, her and those things together in interesting ways.
"Erris," Daygon said his name softly, "Put your pants back on." And, as people's attention were called to it, indeed he was naked from the waist down. His pants had fallen around his feet. He turned to Zach and nodded, "I know you have training and are very skilled, as a mortal. You need more than that now. And while I am your advisor, Lady Sapphire is your Master. Therefore, I will spar with you until you can beat me."
Zach looked at him and then to Ms Summer. "I prefer her," he replied flatly.
Daygon cocked his head to one side and inspected Zach minutely. "Until you can beat me, you haven't earned the right to disrespect Lady Sapphire or myself. I, a lowly Warmonger, have the skill and power to thrash you as you are now. If you can't beat me, you're not worthy to compete for this Academy and you won't be able to defend yourself, or your friends, against the least of the Ur. And that season will be upon us all again in just a few months time."
Zach ignored the lizard. Knowing this was not the time nor the place for a confrontation.
Daygon looked at Summer with a very cold 'I told you so' in his eyes and proceeded to ignore Summer's initiate.
She smirked and tossed her hair.
Meanwhile Cat gave Erris a frankly appraising once over before shrugging, "Sorry, not interested. Horns just don't do it for me." Her tone was completely blasé even though she could feel the attraction that he gave off.
Erris grinned at her in a knowing fashion but still flicked his two pinky fingers and his trousers leaped back up and snapped themselves back onto his hips.
"Posturing aside," Jericho said suddenly, the tone of her voice cutting like a rapier through the situations, "the competition is about to begin and if any of you have anything to say to Summer, you should do so now." The look on her face said 'that was an order', though her tone had merely been pointed. Erris, Daygon and Oriel actually flinched away from her a little, Desinora almost began to glimmer and the other person as yet hanging back and covered almost entirely in a cowl and black cloak seemed to fade to translucence.
Cat gave a tiny snort as she looked at the assembled advisers flinching. "Summer, do you think they're gonna challenge you?" She asked as she settled into a seat. She had the nearly irresistible urge to sign 'two for flinching' to one of their group, the only thing that stopped her fingers was the fact that she physically sat on her hands.
"Oh Cat I'm quite sure I'm going to be challenged," Summer replied. "I've killed way too many of their friends for there not to be hard feelings."
"Is that kill as in 'you bitch, I hate regenerating from bloody pulp' or dead as in 'Game Over'?" Brann wondered.
"Probably the latter." Cat referred to the death question. "Though it makes me wonder when we are going to be participating and if it will be singly or in a group." Cat mused.
"Depending on if it's a Challenge or if it's a Contest," Summer explained. "A Challenge is a Duel, essentially. The Challenger states when will satisfy his demand for the Duel and the challenged determines if they or a Champion will fight over it. If they choose to fight, they choose the weapons and the grounds. If the Challenged defers to a Champion, the challenger can assume the grounds but not the Champion's weapons. If it's a Contest then it's all fair, it's defeat-based and it's about winning a pre-stated goal and using the methods and field chosen by third parties, usually an Arbiter since nobody can accuse them of cheating more than once."
"I take they don't get a second time to cheat," Brann arched a sardonic eyebrow.
"There isn't anything left that can accuse them of cheating," Summer commented coolly. "And Arbiters are formed of the Passion of Justice and usually an element as well."
"How can such a thing cheat?" Brann wondered.
"Just because you know it's impossible doesn't mean some people aren't monumentally stupid," Summer pointed out. "I manipulated one of Lord Cross' sons into accusing an Arbiter of cheating during a duel he and I were having and the Arbiter vaporized him where he stood, thus ending the duel and assumedly satisfying the House Cross's honor." She shrugged, "It didn't of course, they knew what I'd done in short order and sworn to kill me or every member of their House would die in the trying." She dismissed that with a wave like there was an odor she was waving off.
"It's highly likely he'll be here to Challenge," Oriel pointed out to Summer.
She giggled gaily and smiled wide, "Oh I KNOW! Isn't it exciting?"
Zach smiled wide and nodded. He thought it was very exciting and he was mildly jealous.
The Advisors, every one, looked horrified to one degree or another except Daygon who just snorted softly and smirked a little. "You hope he'll Challenge you so you can try to kill him legitimately," he told her.
"Well of COURSE," she replied like he was a total idiot for not realizing it sooner. "That rabid dog and his entire get need to be put down as mercifully as possible and frankly if," she paused and then seemed to change course, "the other Prince and Princesses have to duel him, it's going to be open war."
"The Oaken Queen," Daygon commented.
"Oh yes," Summer nodded with a wider grin. "She almost went after him this last season because he slipped spies into her Academy to spy just like he did in ours. She caught hers about the same time we discovered ours, though she was more... thorough... to ensure it wasn't repeated. You know how she feels about children being used like that."
"She's a Fae," Daygon replied simply.
"In the Shadow-World," Summer replied almost sharply, "she's THE Fae." He nodded and then looked at the others to see if anyone had any further questions or wishes to give Summer since the far stands were beginning to populate and flags had risen in three of the other four arena-points.
"May Luna and Ares bless you," Zach said to Ms Summer in deep respect and a bow.
"Could that have been why the Payers went apeshit?" Cat asked cocking her head and looking at Summer. She normally wasn't into violence and didn't like to fight but for some reason she was itching to be at a point in her training where she could defend her home. Though she kept a firm grip on that particularly blood thirsty tint to her thoughts.
"Lord Cross sent the kids who spied on us," Brann picked up where Cat left off. "I never got the feeling like they wanted to do it but could they have been responsible for why the Payers acted weirder than usual?"
"No," Erris shook his head firmly. "It was because of you, Cat. Fire-type Passions are Creation and Lust, from which comes the finer emotions of Love and Affection. But Humans usually get trapped in the Passion of Lust."
"I wish I was there for all that. It seems like it would have been a lot of fun...for me," Zach said in morbid honesty.
"I think it was better you were kept away," Maus said, "we need the Payers." Then he turned to Summer and gave her a thumb-up, "'Luck."
"Live in joy, kill with style Lady Sapphire," Brann saluted Summer. He then sat next to Maus and gestured to Desinora, "You're welcome to join us."
She frowny-smiled slightly and cocked her head slightly, "I'm fine standing Brann; it's sort of my duty anyway, to be visible and standing doesn't really bother us anymore."
"That sucks," Brann frowned. "There are some things that are best done in other positions."
"Wow that was a record. A whole 5 seconds without a sexual innuendo." Cat snorted.
"New place, I had to get the lay of the land." Brann quipped.
Cat let out another snort but refrained from commenting.
Desinora just shook her head silently and kept her downcast eyes.
Zach took an empty seat, eager to see Ms Summer at work.